Hi all! Well, my laptop is on the fritz at the moment, which keeps me from sharing my layouts from the newest Scrapbook and Cards Today. I'll get them up ASAP, but in the meantime head over to their blog for a fun card from Becky Fleck, and a giveaway from Jillibean Soup!
(All supplies Pebbles Inc. "Happy Go Lucky" and American Crafts.)
Happy birthday to my favourite scrapbooking magazine! I've been so proud to be designing for SCT for the last two years. Hop on over there to take part in the festivities, and enter into the AMAZING draws this week! SCT, may you continue to grow and bring the best ideas to scrappers all over the world.
Somebody started Pre-School this week, and she was pretty stoked. To say she was ready is an understatement. Ever since we signed her up to start after March Break she would tell everyone (and I do mean everyone), "I going to pee-school after March Break!". She actually sang it. Then she would say that she now has a big girl bed, and no more diapers. (She hasn't worn diapers in six months, so I'm not sure why that came up.)
I took her down to the school and she practically ran into the classroom. They had to remind HER to give ME a hug goodbye! She got to paint, and do music and, most importantly, have a snack. The teacher called her a "little firecracker". That was just day one. Just you wait.
I am debuting a new class, "Magazine Style", this Saturday, March 26th from 1-4:
If you have back issues of Martha Stewart, Real Simple, or Canadian House and Home, you will love this class! Learn how to analyze everyday magazines for layout design and colour palettes. Magazine graphic designers do "double layouts" all the time-- why not take advantage of their work? After a lecture and handout filled with original, never-before-seen layouts, you'll pick your own magazine spread to use as inspiration for a one or two page layout. Sound interesting?
As a little preview, I'm releasing the first page of the class handout to show you what "Magazine Style" is all about-- and to share a brand new layout.! There will be door prizes, lots of product to work with, and a ton of inspiration! Follow this link to sign up. Please note that the deadline for sign up is Thursday March 24th at midnight, so I have time to prep the handouts and supplies.)
I've put the first page of the handout up as a pdf on Scribd right here
I hope you have a look-- and if you're in Toronto area that you come by!
On my learning-to-sew journey, I started with sweater felt mittens and dolls, then moved on to simple on line tutorials, then on to printable patterns--- picking up new skills (and new outfits for the girls) along the way. Finally, I decided to tackle tracing patterns from the Japanese pattern book I bought back in January, as well as the bonus issue of Ottobre Designs that I received with my subscription. I taped some IKEA paper roll (for the kids' easel) to the patterns sheets with low tack tape, held them up on our big window in the kitchen, and started tracing. ("Those are plans for breaking into the Vatican, right?" asked Q, looking at the mass of intersecting lines and curves.)
Here is the resulting outfit:
I love it-- but it's too big. :) In this photo the shirt is precariously positioned on her shoulders, and the pants are hiked up. They're supposed to be capris. Still, at least she will be able to wear them for two summers.
Details on the top, from Happy Homemade Vol. 5:
This is the top from the cover, on the right. I haven't learned to do button holes yet, so I just did snaps. There is a dress version of this that would be sweet to make, and if you just leave the elastic out of the bottom it becomes a tunic top. I'm still totally in love with this fabric.
In terms of figuring out the instructions in Japanese, I mostly just followed the pictograms, although I did use a page of sewing translations to figure out two important words: front and back. After that it was smooth sailing. The top would take about 30% less time if you used a package bias tape for the trim, rather than making your own. I do like the co-ordinated look, though.
The pants are from this issue of Ottobre:
The capri pant pattern is named "Audrey", so of course I had to make them! Audrey's height was in between sizes on the pattern, so I made the larger one. I chickened out on putting in the invisible zipper and went with elastic instead. Still way too big. I'm thinking of adding a drawstring waist, and hemming them up about 3 inches. I love the little side vent!
Still perfecting that "I'm getting my picture taken" face.
After all this sewing, my machine had a little breakdown last night. The feed dog isn't moving the fabric along. Anyone have any ideas why this might be happening?
Maybe she just needs a rest-- my paper trimmer is ready to go, though!
No? You mean, it hasn't officially even started yet? Oh, brother. I am going to have to regroup, and quick. Today was a challenging day. There were good moments-- playing with balloons, muffin tin lunch, smoothie popsicles-- yes, good moments to be sure. There were also bad moments when I wanted to run for the hills. Number One has taken to simply ignoring anything I say that displeases her. Number Two, on the other hand, is prone to screaming, "No, YOU sit down in YOUR chair!", or whatever I happen to be asking her to do. Ugh. I won't lie. There was shouting. (Cringe.) I try so hard...but sometimes it just comes out. Yesterday I tried breaking out into song, rather than try to shout over top of them. It worked. They were so flabbergasted to hear me belting out "She'll be Comin' Around the Mountain" that they just stopped and stared. I think I will try to remember to do that the next time I am close to blowing a gasket. If I have to say, "Please DO as you are ASKED!!!" one more time...
Okay! I've let off some steam, now on to the two things I did manage to get done today. Two refashions from thrift store finds. The first is a ruffled size 14 skirt from Children's Place, a bit of a splurge at $4.99:
I figured the ruffles and scallops were a ton of work, so it was worth forking out five bucks. It also had an adjustable elastic waistband, like they have on toddler pants. (What 14 year old needs an adjustable waistband, I ask you?) I pulled the elastic tight before trimming the sides, so there was no need to fuss with keeping the side zipper. I used this tutorial to quickly turn the skirt into a fun summer halter for Lily. Very girly, indeed:
Audrey's dress turned out great-- but was a little dicey along the way. I started out with a Suzy Sheir women's top, size small, that I got 50% off at Goodwill-- a whole $1.50!
I loved the print, the soft, stretchy cotton, and the band at the bottom. I am not used to stitching knit material, so things are a little bunchy here and there, but here is the result:
Isn't it cute? I love it. Here's what I did:
Trimmed off the tie at the bottom, and sewed it up.
Took a portion of that fabric to create a yoke at the neckline, then added a pleat and button.
Used another piece of that fabric to help take in the back a bit. This is a bit thick, now that I look at it, but I was working quickly.
Pinched about an inch from the bottom of the sleeve and zipped it through the machine, curving down to the side seam, to take it in just a bit.
Folded up the hem in half and zipped around that. I thought of adding some elastic, but I don't think it needs it.
I think this will be a cool, fun dress for summer-- she could even wear it to school, I think.
They got together at the end for a totally unprompted snuggle:
I love 'em to bits, even if they do make me want to tear my hair out at times.
My hobbies have always provided me procrastination fodder. This weekend I hosted a dear friend's baby shower (photos tomorrow!), and after it was over I just couldn't bear to spend my evening cleaning. I had already run the dishwasher twice that day, not to mention all the cooking and decorating. I needed to do something different, and sewing or scrapbooking feels productive-- and therefore a reasonable alternative. (Isn't it great how we justify things to ourselves?)
Anyhoo, that night I made the cutest little onesie dress for my friend's newborn. I used this tutorial. The onesie used to belong to Audrey, the pink fabric is from my trip to the Salvation Army, and the ruffle is off a crib sheet that I got for $2 in the "As Is" section of Ikea. About an hour of work, and I had this:
As with most projects, it will be much quicker the next time around. My favourite part is that because it's attached to the onesie, the skirt will stay down in place. I used to hate it when dresses bunched up under my babies' arms/necks all the time. The new mama popped by with her little girl last night, and she loved it. I believe she squealed. I also am prone to react to baby clothes with a squeal, too, so I get it!
Sunday was a quiet day, and interspersed with laundry and dishes, I decided to try out the Laila pattern by Yeppar, on Etsy. I want to make a few pieces for my niece, Becca, who turns 7 in April, but I don't trust myself to make something perfectly the first time-- my kids are my test subjects. Good thing, too, because I had to pick apart three different seams on this top-- and I'm pretty sure I sewed the yoke on inside out. (I don't blame the pattern, although some of the directions could be clearer.) It still fits well enough for Audrey to wear, though:
(That's her new "I'm getting my picture taken" face.) Audrey loves the fabric because she can read all the words.
My first button:
I will make the bodice longer next time. Also, somehow the back ended up about an inch shorter that the front. To cover that I took a strip of selvedge and sewed it to the bottom. I think it looks cute!
I always love text as a design element, and, of course, you don't need to hem the selvedge edge! Close-up:
One thing is for sure-- shirts are a lot harder than dresses. No surprise there.
Every day I have to give Audrey a nut-free snack for school. (I absolutely support a nut-free environment. If a kid's life is on the line, a little inconvenience is not too much to ask.) However, all the nut free granola bars I have found at the grocery store are covered in chocolate, or filled with chocolate chips-- not what I want her eating on a regular basis. Alternatively, most of the granola bar recipes I've found use peanut butter as a binder. Not going to work. This recipe uses a mixture of honey, butter, brown sugar and molasses boiled together into a syrup as binder. Also, it's no bake, which I always appreciate. Now, there are nuts in the recipe-- but I just replaced them with an equal amount of cheerios. Voila--- nut-free. They are yummy-- both girls loved them-- but I think there is too much sugar. I already reduced it a bit, and I think next time I will cut the brown sugar in half, and add some flax seeds. With those changes, I recommend this recipe!
Not too long ago I bought this skirt at The Salvation Army for $4, with a mind to turning it into a dress for Audrey:
The skirt is (was) size 2, with pleats and lining. Pretty quickly it became this:
This was my first skirt refashion, and I think it turned out beautifully. I think this is my favourite dress so far. Here's a quick overview of the steps:
1. I turned the dress inside out and had Audrey hold it in place with the zipper in the back, then I pinned down the sides, letting the skirt flare out a bit past the waist.
2. I used my rotary cutter and grid ruler to cut away the excess fabric, allowing about 1/2" on either side. (I should have left about an 1", because the dress was too tight, and I had to pick apart the stitches and sew it again with a REALLY skinny seam. Live and learn.)
3. I used some of the scraps to create the straps. I took three inch strips, ironed them with right sides together, sewed up the long side of each one, then flipped them right side out. Then I pinned them on the dress while Audrey was wearing it. In the front, I put the straps on the outside, and added buttons as a false closure. In the back, I put them underneath, then attached them in a slight "V", because I find they don't slip off her shoulders that way.
4. The neckline ended up being a little low, so I added the ruffle. I made another strip like the straps, then I sewed it into a ruffle by folding the fabric up and over as it went through the machine. The I sewed it onto the dress:
I added white bias tape to the bottom, because I love that look.
Audrey loves her dress. She ended up wearing it to school with a long sleeved t-shirt and tights, and she told her teacher that her mommy made her dress. I'll have to teach her the word "refashion".
Well, I had a new dress for Audrey to share today-- but my laptop isn't working. Bummer. So, here is a layout i did last night for a challenge over at studio calico-- plus a photo of the kids in their cousin's hand me downs. I love hand me downs!