Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Greetings from sunny Florida!

I know I've been a little absent lately, but I have a good excuse this time.  After spending a few days out of town playing a gig, Sean flew up to Pennsylvania and we spent the weekend (drum-roll, please...) driving to Florida!  We made the last-minute decision to do it in one shot, so that we would have Sunday to rest before Sean had to return to work on Monday.  The drive was relatively uneventful (aside from a wonderfully horrible book-on-tape involving contagious mold spores, time travel, and monster babies) and Oliver was perfectly angelic.  In fact, I think he handled the drive better than I did.  So I've spent the past few days getting settled in our new house and getting to know the area a little bit.  We're living just outside of Orlando, and the weather has been beautiful for my first few days here!  It's been so beautiful that these guys decided to take a little stroll this morning, and I encountered them on my run:

Despite the fact that they were alarmingly large, I couldn't keep myself from sneaking a few pictures of them.  I think they're some sort of ibis?

I'm planning on picking up some fabric this week, and I've got quite a few projects on my to-do list, so I'll keep you all posted!  Happy Wednesday!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hola [h]ombre!

Hi, friends!  I diverged from my crafty norm today and tried something completely new.  I've been wanting to try fabric dye for some time now, and today I finally plucked up the courage and went for it.  Inspired by the ombre trend that's hit the nation, I picked up some teal Rit dye at my local craft store and tried some DIY ombre patterns.  I started with a plain canvas tote (store-bought and sitting in my craft box for a couple of years) a plain white T-shirt (with the same history as the tote) and some pieces of white polka-dotted fabric that I picked up along with the dye.  I do have a plan for this fabric, but I won't share it with you just yet!  (I can't give everything away, can I?)  Unfortunately, the T-shirt needs a little more tweaking before its internet debut.  In fact, it looked a little less like ombre and a little more like a plain, yet unevenly blue T-shirt.  But here's what I came up with:

While I think my technique needs a little work, I'd call this tote a success!  It was pretty simple, but I did hit a few snags while working outside (mostly having to do with extreme heat and giant predatory insects.)  I can't wait to try this again and see what I can come up with!

While I won't share my plans for these pieces of fabric, I can't help but share a little sneak peek, because I love love love the way the ombre pattern came out on these pieces.  This fabric started as white polka dots on white fabric, and (much to my delight) the dots magically stayed white through the dyeing process.  I'm so excited to use these pieces!

I'm loving this ombre trend and I'm all too happy to jump on this bandwagon.  I can't wait to make more!  At $2 a box, I'm itching to try some more dye colors on more fabrics...the possibilities are endless!  I hope you all had wonderful Mondays, thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Blue butterfly bedtime bliss

Hello, friends!  I'm popping in today to share a couple of projects I made last week for my sister's birthday.  My mom and I found this gorgeous silky (it's technically a polyester blend, but it's pretty luxurious to the touch!) fabric, printed with butterfly wings in beautiful blues and greens and I knew it was perfect for my sister.  I just love this fabric!  So I decided to make some sort of bedtime set, and here is what I came up with:

I knew I wanted to make some sort of a robe and a pair of sleep shorts.  I searched high and low for a pajama set pattern that included both of these items, and I just couldn't find any that I liked (and the pattern sets are around $15...that's pretty pricy!)  So in my desperation, I took a peek into the cheap pattern drawer at Wal-Mart and found two separate patterns (this one and this one) for around $1 a piece!  Neither was really intended for pajamas, but they both worked perfectly for my purposes!

The shorts have an elastic waistband and pockets (which I considered leaving off, but just couldn't because I am borderline obsessed with pockets.)  They also have buttoned-up cuffs at the bottom, although the buttons are sewn on and can't be adjusted.  I tried to choose flat buttons so that they would be comfortable for sleeping, and I ended up these shiny blue buttons...they were just the ticket! (see close-up above)

The robe took a little more time, because there was a pretty sizable amount of sewing that had to be done by hand.  But overall, it was still simple enough that I got it done in two half-days of work.  I struggled a little with the facing around the collar (why are those always to difficult to put together?!) but I'd happily do this project again!

I just love how they turned out!  Both projects were pretty quick to put together, and the fabric was perfect.  My sister has always loved butterflies, so when I found this print, I knew I had to get it...what a great find!  There's really nothing better than finding a fabric that's just perfect for a project!  As far as I can tell, my sister loves her presents and I'm thrilled!

I hope you all had (and are still having) wonderful weekends as well!  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Flirting the issue skirt

I've been sewing up a storm lately.  I know you're probably thinking something along the lines of "But you haven't posted in days!  And the last project you posted was dyed eggs!"  But I really have been working on a few exciting things to share over the next few days!  So today, I'm going to start with a  little skirt I made this morning.  This was another fabric kit that I've had sitting around for a while.  I got the fabric for this "Flirting the Issue" skirt (I wish I could claim credit for that sassy name, but that-along with the design-goes to Anna Maria Horner) as a birthday gift last year, and the pattern can be found (along with her other adorable free patterns) here.  It only took me eight months to work up the courage, and a half-day to make it.  So without further ado...

The kit came with this lovely brown floral cotton, and a sweet solid pink for the lining.  The directions didn't exactly call for the little white ruffle but I just couldn't help myself.  Doesn't it just remind you of Neapolitan ice cream?  (And what could be better than that?)  This fabric was so lovely, it was one of those pieces that I loved the more I worked with it.  It is soft to the touch and just sheer enough to look delicate (and hang nicely) without showing too much underneath.  The wide elastic band at the top is ultra-comfortable, and the pattern allows for a customized fit.  It was a breeze to make and I think it's just perfect for the coming warm weather...I see many more of these in my future!  I love it so much I think I might just wear it out to dinner tonight.

Happy Friday the 13th, and happy weekend!  Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more projects!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Hello, friends!  I hope you all are having wonderful and relaxing Easter weekends.  I saw this marbleized egg-dying technique on the Martha Stewart website, and have been wanting to try it ever since.  My mom and I had decided not to really dye eggs this year, but when I mentioned I wanted to do these, she ran out and bought some white eggs and a color kit.  They were so fun to do (albeit rather messy!) and they actually came out sort of like the pictures on Martha's website (which is a miracle, considering my track record with Martha's projects.)  Here are my perfectly imperfect marbleized eggs:


Aren't those little bunny candle-holders adorable?  These eggs were the perfect festive project for me today, and I love them so much I don't want to crack them and eat them!  Now if only I could get enough of the dye off of my hands so that they resembled human hands again, I'd be one happy girl.  I'm sure that will happen eventually.  Anyway, happy Easter weekend!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Dress success

So I know you're probably thinking I've deserted you and this blog, but I promise I haven't!  In fact, I've been sticking to my guns and forcing myself to do some real, from-a-pattern, clothing sewing.  And I have my first successful project to share today!  Made from Vogue pattern 1220, here is the fruit of my labor:

I have to admit, I'm pretty proud of this project, and I can't help but toot my own horn a little bit.  I used some sort of mystery fabric (I think it's some kind of polyester blend) that I picked up at a flea market some time ago.  It was one of those times that I bought an enormous quantity of questionable fabric for no particular project.  After I washed it to get out that weird musty flea market smell, I let it sit around in my stash until this week, when I realized it was just perfect for this dress.  Isn't the pattern on this fabric great?  What a find! 

So once I decided to use this great fabric for this great dress pattern, I cut out all of the pieces and then proceeded to let them collect dust on my ironing board for more than a few days.  To be honest, I was scared of the instructions.  There were thirty-six steps, most of which included techniques I had never done and described using words I'd never heard of.  After a few days I just decided to give it a try (and forbid myself to look more than one step ahead) and it turns out it wasn't so bad after all!  In terms of sewing techniques, I had a lot of firsts while working on this project.  To name a few, I made my first darts, pleats, pockets, button fly, and French seam.  And most importantly, this is the first real garment that I've made that fits (I almost can't believe it!) and that doesn't disintegrate when I sit down (it's a miracle!)  Here are a few close-ups of my handiwork:

Just to liven things up a little bit, (and because I cut the pieces out before I actually understood how they fit together) I cut the bodice back, the skirt back, the sleeves, and the belt with the fabric pattern running horizontally, while I cut the front pieces vertically.  I love the effect!  Overall, I'm just thrilled with how the dress turned out and I can't wait to make it again.  I'll try to snap some pictures of me in the dress this week (my dress form was practically busting out of this one!)  I'll post them when I can...thanks for stopping by and happy weekend!