Monday, February 28, 2011

Sewing Room Goodies

There are a few things I have added to my sewing room in the recent past that have changed my sewing and MY LIFE!! Ok, maybe a bit overdramatic, but they have been awesome so I figure I should share. The rest of the world probably already knows they just forgot to tell me about it. :)

*An awesome pair of scissors for FABRIC CUTTING ONLY!!! I caught my hubby with them outside while he was putting Christmas lights up - not a good moment for him. ;)

*Chalk. HELLO! Where have I been? Sewing chalk makes life so much easier. It helps for cutting straight and adding markings from patterns onto the material. You won't find me without it again.

*A quilter's ruler. I have never REALLY done quilting per se, but this ruler is for so much more than quilting. My son likes to take it from my sewing room to play with, and I gotta say I love it that much that I get a little antsy about it.

*A serger. My serger is incredibly basic and inexpensive. Normally I am not a fan of Singer, but serger's are CA-RAZY expensive except for this bad boy. It cost 200 bucks I think - which yes is not cheap-cheap, but it IS serger cheap. Works like a charm, and the feeling of having full-on finished projects with professional looking edges ROCKS!

*A bobbin organiser. Before this, I had one of those annoying plastic cases - which I might add I have never seen a purchased one that wasn't broken in some way. Anyway, the case bugged me to no end. Now, I just keep them next to my machine for easy grabbin'. Love it.

I have wanted one of these thread organisers FOREVER, and finally found one at Michaels. One day when my sewing room walls aren't concrete I will have it tidily hanging on my wall.

Also, I should mention if you find this:

kicking around in the "75% off cause we're already 2 months into 2011" bin BUY IT! I love it, and hope to make so many of the projects in it. I have bookmarked at least half of them. I apologize for my excessive use of capitals in this post, I guess I'm a little excited.

While we're on the sewing room, here are a couple more little glimpses of mine. I would REALLY love to peek inside other's creative corners/spaces so if you're so inclined let's see some sewing room posts!! And PLEASE, pretty please don't forget to come back here and link me there so I don't miss out!

Friday, February 25, 2011

{This Moment}

{This moment} is inspired by Soulemama, and beautifully done by so many.

Enjoy your weekend!

"Four Corners" Nursing Top

Another Anna Maria Horner pattern from Handmade Beginnings has reached my completed list. I was really hoping I could get it done before the baby decided to make an appearance, and I did. I figure if it wasn't done it would be sitting on my to-do pile for quite some time probably until it's use had expired. It took me a long time as I worked on it in very brief bursts of time, but it finally came together. My dress-form is not sized for me (clearly) and so I have no idea how I'll feel about it once I can wear it post pregnancy without it being a "belly" top. I tried it on once and thought "wow I wish I made this longer" and then I realized it probably won't be THIS short in a week or two!
As it was, knowing I prefer a longer fitting top I made the S/M size but used the length measurement for the M/L size. It only adds an inch, but still. If I made it again I would maybe add 2 or 3 inches to it.

I am regretting using the orange coloured material. I don't know why I used it because as soon as I started I thought that it would look bad with my skin tone and it kind of does, but seeing as I'm not much of a sleeveless person, I'll likely always wear a cardy with it anyhow.

I'm in love with the patterned fabric which is Kaffe Fassett, and I'm sorry but I cannot remember the name of it. I just browsed his site and he has some other amazing ones. I just love how bold and patterned all his creations are, from his fabrics to his quilts and beyond.

That's four things checked off my list!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cloth Pre-Folds & Thrifted Wool

So, I mentioned recently that we quit our diaper service simply because it was becoming easy enough with Levi that we knew we could do it on our own (especially after bringing cloth with us to Italy and seeing that we DID do it on our own). The other reason was cost. Two babies with a cloth service was going to be too much especially after this whole ridiculous HST crap brought the price up considerably. What is with taxing a cloth diaper service???

I thought about putting together some pre-folds like the ones in Amanda Blake Soule's book Handmade Home, and finally just got serious about it this past week. This will save us from buying the first stages of newborn and small size diapers - hopefully...

So thanks to my hubs for humouring me and accepting my plan less than 2 weeks before our babe's due date! I have made 10 so far as a test to see how we feel with them. They are made out of old t-shirts and a few old flannel blankets, and one side is from a large piece of super soft flannel that I just bought brand new. For the 10 nappies it cost under 2 bucks to make (only the new flannel cost me). Not too shabby. The soaker in the middle is a mix of t-shirts, flannel & terry cloth (again all of it from our old stuff). We'll see how we go with them.

My man has promised to keep an open mind. As we have been spoiled with our deluxe cloth diapers, I'm afraid his faith will be lost at the first blow-out, but we shall see!

I am highly sensitive to wool, so haven't ventured to make more of these yet, but this wool cover was made for Levi by my mom and I'll for sure be giving it a try. If it doesn't seem to bother the newbie I have a couple of thrifted wool sweaters waiting in the wings to become covers. It seems they come highly recommended by a lot of people as opposed to your average waterproof cover so it's worth trying.

Speaking of thrifted wool sweaters and that lovely book Handmade Home, (which I seriously can't get enough of, and I have tagged nearly every other page for everything I want to stitch up!), I made a couple of her Family Sweater Hats for myself and baby-to-be yesterday and they honestly took maybe 20 minutes each to put together. Can't wait to see it on our little one. Hubby and levi will be scoring one of these soon as well!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Thrifts of the Week

This past week I found time to do a wee bit of solo thrifting and came home with some pretty sweet stuff.

I'm hoping to find the right sized frame for the awkward size of the linen towel I picked up. It had a tag on it saying "Handprinted Made in Poland". I'm a big fan of bright, bold colours when it comes to decorating and would love to hang this baby up. It would stand out so nicely on our bright yellow kitchen wall.
The handmade pottery piece - blue candleholder - is my favourite, but I'm very much in love with this little blue glass birdie candle holder as well. Really have a thing for birds lately...

The flowered material is currently in the form of curtains and someone has written on them with a blue marker:
Made 1969
Washed '74

I'm happy to say they have once again met with a washing a mere 33 years later in 2011.
Anyway, in my mind this material is a knee length, full skirt, and the other diamond patterned material I picked up at a different shop is destined to be it's waistband. Must seek out the perfect pattern now...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Too Soon For Spring

A sunny, and beautiful Thursday and Friday had me brimming with plans for Spring. Dreaming of afternoon walks, going to the park, bike rides, driving with the windows down, balcony door sitting wide while I'm in the kitchen, a beautiful breeze cruising through the house.
And then came Saturday morning...

I learned my lesson. I shouldn't be so greedy, especially this early!!

Ah well, there are a lot of great things to do indoors too!

Friday, February 18, 2011

{This Moment}

{This moment} is inspired by Soulemama, and beautifully done by so many. It reveals a moment from our week that is special enough to stand alone, without need for expression, or explanation.


Glimpses of Winter

I am very thankful for an ACTUAL winter this year after last year's disappointment. I have really enjoyed the constant replenishment of fresh white snow (it helps to have basically no driveway to worry about, and no where you NEED to drive to). :)

Now that being said, today was a BEE-OOTIFUL 10 degrees C, and I gotta say it had me aching for Spring. That smell was in the air - you know the one that smells fresh, springy, a little bit like dirt? Ya that's the one. It quite quickly helped to get me past my love of winter (for this year), and ready to move along. Here's to more days like this one!


Thursday, February 17, 2011


I can't believe it! My afghan is FINALLY finished!!! I think I'll have a glass of champagne to celebrate -oops, not quite yet! Maybe a glass of sparkling pomegranate juice instead. ;) But really that was just shy of a year in total. You can see it in progress here and here. It has been epic, and I am VERY pleased to strike this one off my list!

I used the free Stripes! Blanket pattern from Lion Brand.
I made a few small changes to my blanket, one of them being that I used five colours intead of twelve.
I used Vanna's Choice yarn as they use in this pattern, but the colours in mine are:
Mustard, Olive, Terracotta, Colonial Blue, and Chocolate - in that order.

As in the pattern, using double crochet, I changed colours every two rows. The colour sequence was worked through a total of ten times, ending with an additional two rows of the yellow (which I started with as well) for a total of 102 rows (as opposed to 96). The length is just perfect for getting cosy on the couch with. The entire blanket was bordered in five rows of single crochet with the Chocolate.
I am oh so happy with it, and am now wondering what oh what will I fill my beautiful basket with now??

Saturday, February 12, 2011

{This Moment}

{This moment} is inspired by Soulemama, and beautifully done by so many. It reveals a moment from our week that is special enough to stand alone, without need for expression, or explanation.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Sock Knitting

I forgot to fill you in on my final 2 sock knitting classes.

Following the first class we were meant to work our way down the leg for a total of 6-7 inches, in time for the turning of the heel the next week. Needless to say I didn't quite get there. I arrived happily and quite proudly with my little ankle sock (it wasn't quite that short but I had only made it about halfway).
The other funny bit was that when I walked in thinking things were pretty great I glanced around at each person's sock and realized that mine looked nothing like theirs, and theirs all looked pretty much the same. They all must have messed up eh? ;)

Everyone was very lovely and told me how great it looked, but I just wasn't feeling it. I was coveting a nice tall ribbed sock like I was seeing around that room. I continued with the turning of the heel which went well, and was actually quite exciting to watch take shape.

Fingers crossed I can do it again because, needless to say, here is where I am with my socks now...

It's for the best because I have no idea where my mistake was, so to copy my error for the second sock would have been a little tough. My time with sock knitting is not yet over!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thrifty Upcycle

I just thought I'd share with you something very easy to find in your local thrift shop that makes for a really nice gift, or can add a unique little something to your own space.

I was always seeing piles of these glass hurricane shades at second hand shops for one or two dollars and knew there had to be something useful for them.

Funky lonely little porcelain plates are always readily available and while they can make a great soap/sponge dish for next to your kitchen sink, or a nice little spot on your vanity for loose change or lip balm, they also work great with a shade and votive.

*It helps to have one with you when selecting the other, to ensure that the inner cup rim of the saucer nests well with the shade.

Happy Thrifting!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Daddy's Little Helper

Oh, how our little guy loves to help his Dad. Tools, vaccuuming, whatever. The second Jim walks through that door he has a little shadow until we sit down to supper.

We'll have to train him to like doing dirty dishes and laundry as much as he likes tools! heehee ;)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Little Boy Trousers

My two little boys...just had to try writing that one out (for those who don't know it will be so in approximately 3 weeks!!) :). But yes, I finished two pairs of pants, one each for my two boys! Yay!
I used Anna Maria Horner's pattern for Quick Change Trousers from her book Handmade Beginnings.
I have found at first glance her patterns to be quite daunting (that's the inexperienced sewist in me), but once you get going, and work it through gradually, it really wasn't difficult at all. The second pair was definitely much simpler and much faster (and, as you can see, half the size!).

The material I used is Michael Miller's Play Stripe Lagoon & Groovy Guitars Lagoon for the larger size, and Play Stripe Lagoon & Zoology Lagoon for the smaller pair. Also for both pairs I used a simple black cotton piece for the back panel on the stripey side.

I REALLY love these sweet little pants, and definitely have to figure out how to adapt the pattern to fit a size larger than 24 months.