Saturday, August 22, 2015

Gold Ring pattern is in the shop!

Ornament No. 5, rollin' off the assembly line. I'm not sure why this Gold Ring pattern took so long to get out. Well, yes I am. Trips, vomit viruses, busyness, family in the hospital, freelance jobs, other projects and also a few days of general summer apathy sprinkled throughout. But it's done! I can see fall coming around the corner and I'm getting excited! Tights! Wool skirts! Soups! Cozy Christmas handmaking!

*singing in operatic falsetto* Fiiiiiive gooooold riiiiings...
Or blue rings. Or pink rings. No reason you can't sew outside the box. I'm a big fan of unexpected colors.

There's room on the back to add a name or date if you like.

This ornament, just like the previous four in this Twelve Days series, uses a Sulky printable stabilizer to streamline the process. It really makes the whole thing so quick and easy. No hand-tracing or transferring embroidery patterns! Just print and sew right on the printed lines. YES. Then the stabilizer dissolves away in water.

To download the PDF sewing pattern for Gold Ring or any of the other Twelve Days series, visit my Etsy shop or my Craftsy shop. I plan to release Goose a Laying this fall!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

mixtape for my new teenager!

I've seen this thirteen coming from a long way off but it's still surprising it's here. Thirteen! ThirTEEN. I have a teenager! She's the sweetest, bestest teenager around and still loves to hug her momma. Still hates coffee though. So puzzling.

To celebrate, I made my girl a reversible, furry stinkface pillow, a banana cake and also this mixtape. If you are new here, mixtapes have been a birthday tradition with my girls since they were teeny. I love putting them together. I tried to pick songs with a 'teenager' theme, along with other songs she likes, songs she'll grow to like, and songs from memorable movies. That Rush song is in honor of my Schmoopie. He's so proud his daughters are getting into his music. She likes Spirit of Radio but Subdivisions is a perfect anti-conformist teen anthem, I think.

That first song was perfect to blast on our sound system the morning of her birthday. It's an over-the-top stereotype of teen princesses. "Gimme a break, I'm just a teenager..." Pretty funny. Here's my birthday girl getting a sweet hug from me at Nana's house...

...which turns into a half nelson and her saying "MOOOOMMM!" as I'm trying to tell everyone the beautiful story of the morning she was born. "Thirteen years ago at eight o'clock in the morning I was saying to the nurse, "Someone just kill me..."

Well, she was 9 lbs 2 oz. She owes me big.

Oh, thirteen! I remember you well! I was still so awkward looking and nervous and dissatisfied about everything. Braces. Anxiety. Terrible hair. My teenage daughter is so not that. She seems laid back and completely comfortable with being herself. She loves to read fantasy stories, draw, listen to music, and go places with her Dad. She's funny. She's meticulous about privacy and is mortified when I walk around the house in my underdrawers. (Hey, we are all girls here! For pete's sake!) She's getting lean and lanky like her Daddy. As she's pulling away from us and gaining independence, she's also getting a fine, discerning mind of her own and such a caring, tender spirit. We love her so much!

Monday, August 10, 2015

stinkface pillow for my new teenager(!)

I'm not sure how my oldest daughter managed to turn thirteen. THIRTEEN. There have clearly not been enough years between when she was a wee baby and right now, but she insists this is correct. We have a teenager. Great gophers. But back to the pillow. You may have already seen the genesis of the idea at the bottom of this post, or the fur selection here.

Now it's a reality! Why, yes, it is reversible! So she can display whichever side she is hyper-feeling at the moment:

You STINK. Go 'way.

Best day EVER! Hug me!

The eyes and mouth on both sides are wool felt applique and the noses are large pom poms. I used a 16 inch round pillow insert I bought at JoAnn so I didn't have to stuff it myself. Easy. The Mr Stinkface side is actually two pieces so that the lowered brow could overlap the eyes.

It's hard to tell, but the back (Mr Happyface) is actually an envelope opening, so it's two pieces also. The overlap edge runs just under the pom pom nose. It's hard to tell it's there, which is just the way I'd hoped. I intended for the lower half to overlap the eyes a bit, but it likes to pull away. I tacked it under the nose but I'll probably sew it all the way across.

During the making, long tufts of fur flew everywhere. I will no doubt continue finding it stuck to my socks and pulling tiny, invisible filaments out of my eyeballs for months. But this faux fur is the softest, bestest feeling fur and such a pretty color! It makes the pillow irresistable. You find you simply must squeeze it, pet it and finger comb its face. It's like an oversized tribble.

I improved muchly on my fur cutting technique this time by reading up on some tips on how you should slide your blades under the fur to only cut the backing instead of just scissoring away at it like you would regular fabric. This keeps it from having uneven, chopped looking fur at the edges and seams (much like my unfortunate mom-trimmed bangs in a long ago school picture.) Excellent.

I had some trouble attaching the eyes and mouth because even though I glue basted the pieces, they kept shifting around on the fur. My softie support group suggested I trim the fur underneath the felt pieces (thank you, makes perfect sense) but I was too afraid to do that because I might want to adjust the placement (the glue was washable). I ended up just gluing the heck out of the pieces all around and then hand sewing the edges instead of trying to wrestle them through the machine. Turned out fine.

I think my thirteen year old turned out fine too. I love you more! (x infinity squared)

Monday, July 27, 2015

my view lately

Samples, writing, samples, revising. Getting very close to finishing up the Gold Ring pattern. Yay!

Monday, July 20, 2015

pompeja pillow cover(s)

One for me and one for my birthday girl sister, Lori. Pillow covers make great handmade gifts! No fastener required if you do an envelope opening in the back. You can showcase gorgeous fabric without using a lot of yardage, just 19 inches square for an 18 inch pillow. Easy to mail, too. These colors seemed right up my sister's alley. They sure ping my meter. Brights on dulls! My favorite. I'll get yours in the mail to you, Lori!

I used my own tutorial to make them. Even though pillow covers are pretty simple to sew I was a little vague on how I did my piping last time. My blog comes in pretty handy to me. Har. I'm my most loyal reader.

The fabric is that vintage Swedish curtain piece I recently purchased. I have some scraps leftover that I can use another way. It's just too pretty to throw away.

In situ. How I hate this old brown couch in our dining-area-turned-sitting-room. I think the color is called "Slough of Despond". But the new pillow certainly makes it easier on the eyes. I'd so love to replace the couch with a light and bright Ektorp. Someday!

Monday, July 6, 2015

wiksten tova for me

Finally the follow through. I actually bought this pattern two years ago. I was fizzing with excitement to make myself heaps of cute tunic tops at the time. Then the muslin I made was too small and I was stymied by the adjustments needed for my shoulders, yada yada yada...couple years go by and I attempted it again.

I used a chambray linen blend by Robert Kaufman that I had in the stash. I'd say it was a success overall. I think it's a cute top and this is the first time I've ever sewn set-in sleeves without wanting to cry. They eased in like a dream. The photos in the pattern are a bit hard to decipher (because of the fabric she used) so I read this great Tova sew-along by VeryKerryBerry and she has some really useful tips.

I made it in a larger size overall this time to fit my shoulders and ended up having to take it in quite a bit on the sides. I think if I did it over I might just try to widen the shoulders instead of sizing up. I think the neck looks too gapey on me in this size and I'm not thrilled with the way the collar lays open. I think I might try to make the neck opening smaller next time.

The trickiest part by far was sewing in the yoke. It's makes for some pretty weird contortions as you sew!

Two minor mods I made: I cut 1/2 inch off the collar piece. I made it as is on the first try and it stood out in a strange way, probably because the neck opening is too roomy. I redid it with a thinner collar as shown. I also added three tucks to the hem just to jazz it up a bit.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

what I'm up to

Busy, busy, busy. I always envision lazy summers but somehow that never happens. Doing lots but blogging little. Sewing, traveling to see family, teaching Bible classes (I just finished a quarter with my truly awesome 4-6th graders), VBS madness.

And of course I'm working on two patterns right now, the Gold Ring ornament (5th in the Twelve Days series) and the EarlyBird NightOwl Pillow. Busy digitizing pattern pieces and making test samples for both.

I've sewn a couple of shirts for myself but I can't seem to find a good time to photograph them. Or the motivation to get shots of me wearing them. Or the courage to show you. I'll do that soon. Ish.

And my head was completely turned recently by this vintage curtain remnant on Etsy. I love the combination of the brights with the dull brown. It's a 60s print called Pompeja by Swedish designer Marta-Lena Bjerhagen. It needs to become a pillow for my couch. I'll squeeze that in between samples.

I hope your summer is going well! Or your winter, for my friends in the southern hemisphere.