Saturday, November 13, 2010

Saturday Stream of Consciousness

I'm sure it's not a good idea to blog ONLY when entering a contest, but perhaps that was just the incentive I needed.

Halloween wrap-up
This year I sewed:
*5 Ducks (Donald or Daisy)
*4 lions
*2 Dorothys
*2 Princess Tianas
*1 frog prince
*1 peacock
*1 tin man
*1 scarecrow
*1 Glinda
*1 colonial boy

Those are my boys and niece as the Wizard of Oz crew. Who can resist a 2 year old Dorothy travelling with her posse of devoted older cousins?

I really feel like there was more, but it's been a long time since Halloween and I've tried to put the memories of the related sewing mayhem out of my mind (I am STILL sweeping up duck fluff and lion mane fur!). I wish I could be as successful getting rid of all the lingering candy at my house, but eating it myself is not exactly working towards my goal of dropping a few pounds. Oh well, it's the holidays, right?

So once again, here I am with an excuse about why I haven't been sewing. Really, it just LOOKS like I haven't been sewing because I haven't listed a lot. I have actually beens sewing quite a bit.

My new obsession is aprons. I made my first one about a year ago, and intended to keep it for myself but it turned out so cute that I couldn't resist listing it (money > clean clothes while baking... that's a greater than sign up there. Yes, there is math in my Saturday blog. Don't sue me). I bought some adorable Pillow & Maxfield fabric for my birthday and intended to use it to make myself an apron, which I would for real keep this time. But, well, it turned out too cute (and I decided that the particular pattern that I enjoy making is not very flattering on me. And we all know that baking should be about looking good!) so I will be listing it as soon as I get pictures. But here is one that I made, love, AND took pictures of! You can love it, too, and buy it. I plan to go crazy with this particular pattern because A) it is adorable, and B) it is great for using up leftover scraps that I cannot bear to part with. To this day, I am still lacking my own apron. Maybe I should try making one with fabrics I don't like so I'll want to keep it. At any rate, keep your eyes on my store because I have lots more to add!

But the point of this blog was that I love fabric and I love free things and the fun & friendly Melanie from Above All Fabric has given me the opportunity to get fabric as a free thing! First of all, I have to say that I adore Melanie. No, I've never met her and now she's going to think that I'm some kind of weird cyber-stalker, but she really is amazing. Her fabric selection and customer service are perfection, and she always has some kind of great sale or promotion going on. Hands down, she's got the best online fabric shop around. Did you know she even has a wish list feature on her site? I am filling my list up since Christmas is just around the corner. Imagine a Christmas where all the packages were filled with fabric! It's a blissful thought, isn't it? So I'm telling you about the wish list, giving me the chance to win some free fabric. And if YOU blog about it, YOU can be in the free fabric contest, too (details here)! Yes, your entering the contest does decrease my chances of winning, but it's the giving time of year, so I'm giving you a chance to win, too (3 of us can win- let's make it be me and two of my friends. I just won't say who, and you can pretend I'm talking about you!)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Did you miss me?

Hi, my name is Carol, and I used to sew.

Here are some of the things I've been doing since you last heard from me:

Sewing costumes for Arts Alive's production of The Robe.

Coordinating summer programs for Elon University's Challenge Course.

Starting up a non-profit homeschool tutoring program- Archway Classes.

Being a single mom while my husband traveled for work all summer.

Vacationing at our parents' homes in Virginia Beach and South Carolina.

And reading- oh, reading! I used to read all the time and stopped when my oldest was born because I just didn't have (ie, make) the time for it. But this summer all of my boys can read and now I can read, too! My fare has mostly been tween & adolescent fiction (Mysterious Benedict Society, 39 Clues and Hunger Games series) and I love it!

Now that I am done with most of the above activities, I have time to sew again (HOORAY!) and my list is long! A quilt for a sweet little boy diagnosed with cancer, testing womens knitwear patterns for a friend of mine (I can't wait to show you the results!), and sewing LOTS of Halloween costumes are all on my list. And then I found my stash of Halloween fabric and I *really* want to make something with it now, too!

So I just relisted all of my ready-to-ship Halloween outfits in my etsy shop and am offering free shipping on them to anyone who tells me they read about it in this blog post.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sewing for me!

I never sew for myself.

Let me take that back: the few times I have tried to sew for myself have been disastrous, so I just don't do it. Here are my problems:

1) I usually sew for kids, so when I cut things to be my size they look enormous (and I don't want to feel enormous)

2) Commercial pattern sizes are so bizarre. It bugs me that based on my measurements, I need to sew a size 12 or 14 for myself (everyone go check your patterns to see how small I am, LOL!). It just doesn't seem right. Then, inevitably, if I cut and sew the size that the pattern suggests I should wear, it ends up being too big!

3) I am too picky about how things fit and get frustrated if something I'm making for myself doesn't turn out the way I want it to. Then I get mad that I wasted all that time and fabric on something I am never going to wear...

See what I mean? It just doesn't go well.

But last week I ordered some gorgeous fabric from Above All Fabric, including this pretty print from Sandi Henderson's Farmer's Market line. In my mind, I was going to use it to make a little girls dress but the scale is much larger than I anticipated (the flowers are about 6" in diameter) so I had to scrap that plan. I love this fabric so much that I decided- not without a great deal of trepidation- to make something for myself. But what? I had just over a yard of fabric to work with. An apron seemed like a good option, but it's too pretty to just wear it in my kitchen. I decided I would squeeze a skirt out of this meager yardage.

I looked at just about every pattern out there and settled on this one. I chose option J which called for 1 7/8 yards of fabric, but I knew that I would be shortening it by a few inches and could use a coordinating fabric for the parts that don't show. I was determined to make it work (get it? make it work? and it's a Project Runway pattern? okay...)

Start to finish, it took me less than 4 hours (including a few interruptions from the kiddos). The pattern is very straightforward and would be easy for a novice seamstress. I wouldn't suggest it as the first pattern you ever try: it does require a zipper which can be kinda tricky, but it would be easy enough to try for your first zipper project.

And with no further ado, here it is! Maybe a tiny bit shorter than I would have liked, but pretty darn good for the limited fabric I had. My favorite part is the contrasting gingham-esqe fabric that I used for the yoke and pocket linings. And the fact that I found a zipper the EXACT color of the fabric.

Monday, March 15, 2010

sharing the love

I discovered Back40Life on etsy a few months ago and have swooned over her gorgeous vinyls ever since. But alas... every time I end up with money in my PayPal account, it ends up being spent on fabric. So when she offered a $25 giveaway in her shop last Friday, I happily entered and even more happily- I WON!

There are LOTS of things in her shop I would love to have for myself, but one of the things I had to do when I entered was comment about my favorite thing in her shop. Well, the first thing that caught my mind was actually something for a dear friend of mine. Here's the story:

My friend's husband had a vasectomy shortly after the birth of their 4th child, and as the months went by afterward, she became increasingly upset that her family was "finished." Knowing that ALL things are possible with God, she followed Hannah's example in the book of 1 Samuel and prayed that God would send them another child. Lo and behold- she did conceive again 2 years after the procedure, and she knew without a doubt that she would be having a little boy. She knew right away that she would name him Samuel, and he was born 10 months ago looking more like his daddy than any child I have ever seen! He is such a sweet miracle baby.

My friend is moving into a larger house this weekend to accommodate her larger family, and Samuel is going to have his own nursery. I know how special this verse is to her, so I am choosing to use my Back40Life credit to purchase this vinyl for Samuel's new nursery.

If YOU would like to win something, I encourage you to become a fan on my Facebook page- I'll be giving away a $34 credit to my etsy store on the 17th!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Monkey gets a Makeover

For quite a while, I've been needing some work done on my little monkey logo. But graphic work is scary in my mind. Who do you hire? How do you know if you will like the artist, or their work? And most importantly: how on earth will I pay for it?!?

As fate would have it, I met a wonderful new friend a few months ago who does- you guessed it- the most amazing graphic design work! It has been such a joy working with Andie Freeman of Wowhouse Designs. She is just opening her etsy shop, but you can see more of her work on her website. She's also got a cute little etsy shop called Scribbles and Nibs.

Be sure to pop around my various social media outlets (over there --> on the sidebar) to see the many versions of my monkey's makeover!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

Thanks to all who commented hoping to win the adorable modkid dress bag pattern. You ladies have some fun travels planned! The lucky winner (who would like to go to Australia or on a Disney cruise with her bag) is Jennifer Bailey! Jennifer- please contact me with your shipping info.

As far as travels go, I was able to go on a brief journey of my own yesterday- I took the older boys skiing for Finn's birthday! It was their first time skiing (and my first time in over 10 years) but we all did great and had perfect weather.

And as for the chicken dinner, well, I'm about to look up some new recipes for my crock pot. We've got a winter storm heading our way this weekend and I need comfort food when it's cold outside. Stay warm, everyone!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Testing, testing...

Several years ago, when we were both new to the boutique sewing world (on eBay, back in those days...) I "met" Patty Young of modkid fame when we were both members of Adagio Bleu Studios. It has been amazing to watch her career take off since then- if you haven't seen her fabric lines or patterns, you are really missing out. They are amazing!

I was lucky enough to be chosen as a tester for her newest line of patterns, and just before Christmas I received a box full of fabric from her latest collection, Flora & Fauna, along with the rough draft pattern for the dolly-sized modkid dress bag! Her pattern books are so beautiful and easy to use- full of colorful pictures, helpful tips, and easy-to-follow steps. While this was a more complicated project (it involves zippers, grommets, and gussets, oh my!) the conversational tone of her clear instructions helped me create a gorgeous garment bag. Wanna see it? It's the turquoise hummingbird one on the inspiration gallery page.

What about you? Want to try it?

Like I said, this is not a pattern for beginners, but if you are an experienced seamstress you should give it a try. I am going to give away one copy of the modkid dress bags pattern which includes instructions for both the dolly size bag I made and the larger girly bag (shhh... I'm not a girly girl but I may have to make one of these for myself!) If you'd like to win a copy of this pattern, just leave me a comment telling me where you would like to travel with this garment bag. If you'd like to promote this giveaway on your social media of choice (twitter, facebook, etc.), feel free to do so! I'll be randomly choosing a winner on the night of my son's 10th birthday (this Thursday, January 28).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Proud Mama moment

My 3 boys usually dread going to the fabric store, and sometimes I bribe them by promising to buy them fabric to make something like pajama pants. I also make them entertain themselves at the pattern table by looking through Simplicity and McCall's pattern books (Halloween costumes are their favorites).

A few months ago, Finn (who will be 10 in 2 weeks) expressed interest in sewing something himself. Not wanting to squelch his creativity, I bought him a pattern (Simplicity 3553) and allowed him to pick out fabric to make his own pajama pants. He found a royal blue tie-dye fleece that he loved and I went with that since it would mean we wouldn't have to worry about finishing any seams. I had him read the instructions and take his measurements, and the pants got cut a few weeks before Christmas. And then they sat in my sewing room for a month.

Fast forward to this week when our local Chik Fil A was having a pajama party night and kids wearing pajamas got a free kids meal. Finn didn't want to wear any of his store-bought pajamas (too embarrassing), so I encouraged him to sew the pants he had started on last month. I got out my old/back up machine and gave him a brief tutorial on how to stitch forward and reverse and keep your seam allowance correct and let him go. It was nerve wracking (would he sew through his finger? would the seam allowance be even?) but I realized that this was HIS project and I needed to let him experience the success and failures that come with sewing. Yes, the seams got a little wobbly at times and he did poke himself with pins frequently, but in the end he had a great fuzzy pair of pants that he was proud to have made himself.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Holiday hangover

I think that's what I have. Holiday hangover. Holidays are fun at the time, but when they're over, you feel awful and usually have a big mess to clean up.

Compounding my holiday hangover is the (temporary) expansion of my household. My cousin is in the process of moving to NC from Florida, and she and her daughter are temporarily living with us while they look for a home. We love having them so even their long-term visit (they arrived 2 weeks before Christmas) hasn't been too disruptive except in the sewing arena.

You see, their bedroom is the room formerly known as my sewing room. Everything sewing-related got boxed and put away (most of it in a somewhat organized fashion) before their arrival and hasn't seen the light of day since. I almost feel like I am the member of some kind of 12 step program. "Hi, my name is Carol, and it has been 3 weeks since I sewed."

So that, along with two 4 hour Christmas trips and the putting away of decorations and all of the new Christmas presents (all in less space due to our house guests), has me feeling a little hung over.

I wish I could take some Tylenol and sleep it off.

The good news is, they found a house to rent today and will be moving in at the end of the month. Maybe things will settle down then.

Or maybe not.

The X factor in all of this is my husband's job. They told him on Christmas week that his position had been eliminated (nice, huh?) but the company would like to transfer him to a different location. The location of this location is yet to be determined. Selling our house to move in this real estate market seems like a nightmare to me, so we are praying that something opens up locally for him.

This was my very long blog of excuses about why I haven't posted or listed anything new in a while.