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I couldn’t leave that organic cotton jersey to sit in the closet so I flipped through my pattern stash and landed on McCall’s 6031.  It was tough making something from scraps and not all of my pieces are on grain but it was satisfying not tossing all that fabric away.

I know I’ll wear this a lot.  Somehow my t-shirt supply has dwindled this year so a comfy separate was much needed.

I added two and a half inches of length to the bodice and could probably have lived with a half an inch more. I also ended up taking in about an inch and a half from the underarm seam to fix some gapage there.  It was a pain in the ass since the bodice is lined (with a mismatched fabric) but it fits really well now.

I somehow assembled the entire top without realizing that it was actually a tunic.  I though about keeping it that way but it wouldn’t have jived with three out of my four summer bottoms so I hacked five inches off the bottom.

This is a real contender to be made again. Next time I might make the cowl a little wider.

Also! New, quite possibly lame, craft obsession:

Friendship bracelets!

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Erin sent me a paper cut template a shamefully long time ago and I think she had all but given up that I would ever get around to it.  I thought Easter would be a good time to get this Peter Rabbit design in the bag and a new craft under my belt.

When I pulled this template out of the envelope I realized that Erin had actually sent me the entire Elsita set. Thanks Erin! Sorry I’m such a spaz!

Now I really want to make all of them, frame them and hang them in Kate’s room.  I’m hung up on finding white oval frames but since I can’t seem to find decent regular frames this might be challenging.

Chris is away all week on a course and it’s clear from Kate’s ten o’clock meltdown on her first full day without him that she misses him as much as I do. I’ve been trying to stay cheerful and active to waylay the anxiety of having no one to fall back on in this parenting gig.  We’ve been going for short, frigid walks, reorganizing our picture books, watching our little squirrel friend, and napping  / suffering through the pilates DVD that has sat in its wrapper since September (respectively).  Kate wasn’t much help but I also made this little heart banner as soon as I saw Erin’s thanks to a link from Austen.

It took maybe fifteen minutes including cutting out the hearts from some Amy Butler card stock that Erin sent me ages ago and it’s really fun in our dumpy living room that is about to undergo a major makeover. I’ll keep everyone abreast of that project as it develops.

I never know how to display Christmas cards.  We don’t have much shelf space, I’m not crazy about the look of them on the tree, and the piece of string tacked to wall is a bit amateur hour.  So, when I saw this idea in the round up of twenty years of holiday Good Things in the new Living I started collecting the supplies.

It took no time to make; just glueing some mini clothes pins to an embroidery hoop and tying on some ribbon.  Finding the clothes pins at a price that wasn’t total highway robbery was the biggest challenge.

Now I just have to wait by the mail slot for more Christmas cards to arrive (let’s get our acts together friends and family, I have just a few more days to enjoy them).

 

It has been snowing here for at least two weeks straight so I’ve decided to hunker down and make a whack of Christmas gifts and what I can’t make will be delivered to my door by the kind folks at Canada Post.  I’m planning a few things for Kate, one of which is almost done, and since I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read this I’ll give a peek soon but for now here are some things I’ve been distracting myself with when I should be sewing / knitting / embroidering / baking / childrearing:

  • I’ve always been dismayed by my lack of snowflake making ability.  Mine always look like some weird Aztec symbol.  So this video on how to properly fold a paper square and these templates opened a whole new world of paper cutting fun for me.
  • I printed this latke recipe over two years ago and finally made them this week and they’re super delicious.
  • This series on modifying a sweater have me itching to go to Value Village.  Maybe in the new year.
  • I have eggnog bars setting in the fridge from a back issue of Living and I think they’re going to be phenomenal.
  • I’ve been really lazy with meal planning these last few months which has resulted in me coming home from the grocery store with a carton of milk, a bunch of bananas and no meal ideas but this little meal planner print out inspired me to sit down and spend literally hours with my cookbooks and plan the next two weeks of dinners.  I think I even saved some money at Sobeys.
  • This handmade nursery totally knocked my socks off.  The rug alone made me feel like such a crafty loser.

For just over two years now I’ve told anyone who will listen that I was going to buy a new Bernina Activa as soon as I could.  Somehow over that expanse of time I failed to realize that said machine costs over a grand and doesn’t even have an automatic buttonhole function.  I convinced myself that I would never be able to afford a decent sewing machine until I called the Triangle Sewing Centre* in Guelph (Ontario) and spoke with Christa who convinced me to buy this beast:

It’s the discontinued (ergo on sale!) Elna 7200, and she is fancy.  Not as fancy as many of those crazy quilting / embroidery / make you scrambled eggs in the morning machines but way fancier than my old Kenmore, which has a new home with my friend Michelle.  It can make a little knot at the beginning of your seam and sew your name and go real fast.  Christa assures me it will last me until my fiftieth birthday.  What’s that?  Miss Elna wants you to know that she has a little friend.

This an even beastlier Kenmore serger that I bought off my aforementioned pregnant friend Krystyna.  It is loud but baby K is already used to the noise interrupting her dreams.  They make a lovely couple don’t they?

*If you’re in the area I highly recommend this little shop. If you happen to go when shop grandson / Lego expert Paul is in store he can be convinced to put a felted bowl on his head and pose for a picture and you will keel over from the cute.

We are going into the city tomorrow and I don’t think either of us will be able to resist buying crates of plain onesies. I can’t think of a more satisfying ten minute craft.

This is Kohitsuji-chan from Aranzi Aronzo. I used the image from a postcard from my friend Maiko in Japan. She also sent me the mug and it’s a miracle that I’ve had it for a few years now and haven’t broken it.

This time around I was very careful to cut the transfer paper very close to the image so it didn’t leave lots of shiny remnants for maximum cuteness!

I am loving not being exhausted all the time.  I have a blueberry pie cooling in the kitchen for heaven’s sake! I’ve also had time for knitting while watching season one of Damages and making gallons of smoothies and mocktails.  Good times! I hope you all had a great weekend also.  Don’t be shy to say hello. It’s been a bit quiet around these parts and I miss reading what you all have to say.

I am officially on maternity leave for the next year!  I could not be more excited.   Work had not been so sunshiny for me and I am so glad to be able to go to sleep and not worry about what a jerk student did or said or what to do the next day and to be able to get up in the morning and not breath shallow stress breaths. Now I can really dive back in to making great things.

My first project turned out to be a bit of a disaster but I fell pretty amused by the whole affair.  I saw this tutorial for spiffing up t-shirts with bleach via the Make + Do blog and I thought it would be a great way to bring some maternity tops back from the junk heap.  For some reason every t-shirt I have gotten from Thyme maternity has ended up with strange grease spots after one wash. But just the ones from that store.  I looked like I was manning a chip truck all day.  Super gross.

First, I tried the stencil method on a dark purple long sleeved tee.  I copied a stencil from Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing for Baby onto freezer paper and blotted the bleach on with a rag.  The only problem was I wasn’t so careful and ended up with bleached blobs on the rest of the shirt.  Plus, the freezer paper didn’t hold up to the bleach and the design ended up less than crisp.  So, I soaked the whole thing in the sink with bleach hoping it would dye evenly.

Not so much.  But still fairly wearable.

T-shirt number two is the most epic of all the fails.  I thought I would daintily draw a heart on with a squeeze bottle as the tutorial author did.  The bleach flooded out of the bottle, soaked through the thick newspaper lining and left both sides looking more like a boob window than a heart. Ugh. I don’t even want to share this but in the name of learning from my mistakes:

This one’s definitely going back in the trash bin.

For some reason I didn’t abandon the nozzle method completely and thought I’d have more precision with the  pink nightmare under my belt.  I went for a wispy fern design on t-shirt number three. I got this:

Not totally heinous but the random dots of bleach on the sleeves and back hardly speak to a professional hand.

This is not to mention the fumes that probably shrivelled the poor fetus’s developing lungs and the little dot of bleach I got on the good t-shirt I was wearing. You can’t win ’em all!

It’s hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone again but all the new toys around here tell me it’s so and it’s time to reflect on the year in craft.  I love setting these little goals for myself, even though I fail to ever set personal ones.  Here’s a look at the 2009 list:

  • Blast the stash.  Yarn and fabric buying will be a reward for good behaviour (i.e. paying off debt) or will be requested as gifts.  I need to work with and rework what I have, including the old clothes quilt I started four (!) years ago.  If I buy yarn or fabric I want it to be because I’m inspired not because it’s 30% off. I think I really did well here.  I finished the quilt and the only yarn I bought was for the cabled blanket.  That’s it! I still have some stash to work through but most of it is from unravelled projects.
  • KISS.  Hand painted and variegated sock yarns have their place but I need to amass more solids and semi-solids to have more pattern options. I didn’t purchase a single muli-coloured skein.
  • Think outside the crayon box.  I always, ALWAYS choose cool colours (not as in hip but as in “what season are you?”) and I need to branch out to more neutrals and earth tones.  Maybe even orange *shutters* The only yarn I bought was a rather somber grey so I give myself kudos for this one too.
  • Be thankful.  I’m pretty lucky to have a working sewing machine, camera, dozens of craft books and many other accouterments.  I’m going to try not to be jealous every time a fellow blogger gets a new fancy toy and be happy with what I have. The materialism that seems to have risen with the rise of craft is a peeve of mine and yet I fall into it myself. This is ongoing but I really feel that I learned to love my sewing machine.  My Bernina lust is an infrequent twinge and I’ve realized that my machine is reliable and sturdy and really what more can you ask for?
  • Lay off myself.  I have completely reworked my Ravelry queue to include only two items.  Everything else has gone into favourites.  It started to feel like a task list to be checked off.  I want to knit more on a whim and design from inspiration rather than feeling married to the list. I think I got a little better with this too.  I still need to empty out the yarn cubby completely before I can cast on freely but I’m almost there.
  • Take my time and enjoy.  It’s a hobby not a race.  If there’s a technique a pattern calls for or an extra little touch I could add I need to get off my arse and pick up a book rather than ignoring it and pushing through for expediancy. There is still something deep in my psyche that tells me to knit or sew my ass of so I can move on to other things and that will probably be a constant but I think I did learn some new techniques and tricks.
  • Take millions of pictures of my finished garments.  I tend to take four or five and trust that one of them is good.  It never is. Still have to work on this one.  I should have some new help with my fancy pants new Nikon D5000 although I have to learn how to use it first.  Any digital SLR hints that you can throw my way are much appreciated.  So far my portraits of Bowie are top notch but my project and yarn photos have all ended up in the trash.

And so onward to 2010!  I’m not going to be so hard on myself this year what with the baby coming and all but I would like to continue culling the yarn collection and embracing the world of neutrals.  I’m so inspired by Elly and Jenny’s Scandinavian aesthetics and I can’t wait to explore that more.

See you next year!

  • We found a great home in the city for the puppy.  We thought it was going to be heartbreaking to turn her over but once we met the owner and saw her home we felt really great about it. Phew!
  • Chris and I tried making these ornaments yesterday and they were a total disaster from start to finish. Crafter beware. Now we need something to make to give as little gifts with a limited palate of Martha Stewart glitter.
  • Friday night we went to the little Santa Clause parade in town and then I made the annually much anticipated Newfoundland Cheese Biscuits.  If you haven’t tried them yet please do.  They’re totally addictive.
  • I keep meaning to apologize for not responding to everyone’s comments but WordPress has once again changed their commenting system and has made it a major pain.
  • My blanket is half finished!  I can’t wait to bind off.  I’m aiming to have it finished by December 10th when we have our big twenty week ultrasound where we’ll find out the baby’s sex.  Then I can really start cranking out the baby clothing.
  • We’re trying Tofurky for the first time tonight.  I have low expectations but Chris is intrigued so we’ll see.