Saturday, May 29, 2010

Winter Nest Fabric Panel

I just bought this gorgeous fabric panel by Kristen Doran.
I'll make a pillow for my bedroom.
The black is exquisite, but sold out currently, so I got the green.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Voila--Ashlyn's Dress!

I'm finally showing the finished dress that I mentioned earlier.
I talked about fabric choice here.
And solving a problem here.
I used four fabrics, and Amy Butler's pattern for a jumper and bloomers in her book "Little Stitches for Little Ones".
Amy Butler jumper with bloomers pattern

Let's talk about the bloomers first.
I had mentioned already that I added some appliques, but I wasn't happy with the way one of the flowers didn't match on the front seam (not that I had tried to match them exactly, but I actually did think about alignment of the pattern across the front).
So I added a fairy face to the front, which not only solved my problem, it made the bloomers a lot cuter too.
(click on images to enlarge)
The photo doesn't show how glittery the fabric actually is.
I used variegated thread in green tones to stitch her to the front
Fairy applique on bloomers
I added thin silver ribbon to the hem, using a zigzag stitch to couch the ribbon in silver thread
Tiny silver ribbon couched with silver thread

The hem of the dress got two more rows of silver ribbon, overlaid by a green velvet ribbon
Ribbons embellishment

The ribbon was just shy of being long enough to meet, so rather than trash it and buy new yardage, I added a flower that I made from the bloomers fabric (two flowers were cut out, one was interfaced, sewn right sides together then turned, hand basted to give volume).
Flower embellishment
This was another example of a problem having actually been a positive, in that the end result is better than the original idea.
The button in the center of the flower is the same as the buttons used on the shoulder, only in a smaller size.

I added another fairy applique to the bodice, and used the bloomers fabric on the band to tie it all together (the pattern calls for the band and bodice to be the same fabric)
Fairy applique on bodice

Fairy Dress
I'm told this fits her perfectly, so that's pretty exciting.
I wish I had thought to enter it in the San Diego County Fair, but I didn't research the option until the deadline had ended.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thrifty find

Ceramic Head
I'm still debating if this is really cool or really creepy.
It's a handmade ceramic head that I bought at a thrift store for $1.
It's signed on the bottom with a date of 1972.
Kind-of looks like JFK.
I thought it would make a fun garden ornament, but I didn't want to ruin it by putting it outside, so it's in a pot under the eaves.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Recycled bags mat

Knitting Plastic Bags
One of the projects I'm currently working on is knit in the same stitch as the scarf I just posted about, except this is on #10 needles, and the yarn (or "plarn") I made from 1-1/2" strips cut from plastic bags that newspapers come in.
I like this plastic because it's thin and pliable, and the clear bags (when used as yarn) read white, while other bags become a metallic silver.
I'm working this in two halves that I'll stitch together.
The one pictured is in green tones (plus a few yellow and white).
Another one is in blue tones (plus some grays/silvers).
My plan is for this to be a welcome mat.
I'm almost finished with it, but I'm waiting for more green and more blue bags.
Basically right now I'm out of yarn!

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Second Knitting Project Finished!

Yay, I made another scarf.
This pattern is called "The Magic Scarf" in Crazy Aunt Purl's book Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair.

Knitted Scarf
I used #11 wooden needles, and Filati FF Funky yarn, color #46, a wool/acrylic made in Italy.

Here's detail of the stitch.
It looks complicated, but it's just a knit 5, purl 5.
Knitting Detail

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Friday, May 21, 2010


I have to say that I love how Google plays around with its logo, especially on holidays.
Today is a PacMan theme, complete with sound effects, but I couldn't get the pic to save.
Here are some other fun ones:


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Amos Lee - Colors (feat. Norah Jones)

I cannot stop listening to this.
Love it so much

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Girly Tutes

A multitude of Fabric flower tutorials on Tip Junkie
How to easily make a tutu, on Cut Out + Keep (an easy-to-follow tutorial with lots of pics)

Or another tutu, this called A Fairy Skirt, by Lazy Mama Designs
Or here's a tutu by Cafe Mom.
I love the idea of using multiple colors of tulle and sparkly tulle
Simple Bandana Dress tutorial, by Joy's Hope
Super Sock Pig Toy!
Tutorial by q.d. patooties

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sewing Tip!

If you dread sewing in zippers, boy do I have a cool tip for you!
The manager at the Beverly's Fabric Store in San Diego told me about a product called Unique Stitch by Dritz (the package says Collins, but I guess it's Dritz).

Basically this is a glue in a tube, for adhering fabric to fabric (like on a hem).
"A stitchless sewing adhesive".
The bond is permanent and washable, but not recommended for dry cleaning.

But what I like to use it for is holding zippers or ribbon trim in place until I can stitch it.
That way I don't need to waste time basting by hand, and what I'm stitching doesn't shift or twist.
It's great!
I'm not even using my seam ripper for once!!!

The product label says you can use this to permanently add pearls or rhinestones to a garment.
It also suggests appliques, but I personally like the look of stitching in conjunction with fusing for appliques--I think it looks more professional.

I just used this glue when I attached tiny 1/4" ribbon as an embellishment on a little girl's dress.
The glue held the ribbon in place beautifully until I could couch it down with metallic thread.

Now that I've tried this method, there will be no going back to basting--give it a try!
It's very inexpensive too, and it doesn't leave your garment feeling stiff or sticky.


Saturday, May 08, 2010

Another Bias Tape Pattern

I continue to be fascinated by vintage patterns using bias tape to make appliques.
The newest addition to my collection features ducks, birds, a sun, and a ship.
Bias Tape Ducks, Ship, Birds, Sun
(click on images to enlarge)

This pattern was a Kate Marchbanks mail order.
The date is not indicated, and the postmark on the envelope is not legible.

The unique thing about this pattern is that there are designs inside for several more items.
Teddy bears:
Bias Tape Teddy Bears Pattern

Lamb and Tulip:
Bias Tape Lamb and Tulips Pattern

and what they call a Cock Motif
(it looks like Pennsylvannia Dutch to me):
Bias Tape Cocks Pattern

These would make a cute quilt! Especially a baby quilt!
They were used for decorating aprons or children's clothing.
The designs were intended to be used with polka dotted or plaid bias tapes--once plentiful, but now difficult to find.
Then again, I guess it's a lot easier to make your own these days, with lots of bias tape makers on the market.
The designs are embellished with embroidery.

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Friday, May 07, 2010

Knitting and Cocktails!

Every first and third Sunday afternoon at The Whistlestop.

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

Avast, me hearties!

Next weekend, my aunt (my dad's sister) will turn 95!!!
She lives in Puerto Penasco, Mexico, and she's throwing a Pirate Party!
I won't be attending this party, but I went to her 88th birthday party.
I took a bus ride from Tijuana to Puerto Penasco, about eight hours on a Mercedes bus with good movies in English.
The only bizarre part was the random stops so machine gun toting army could get on board and check out passengers.
Machine guns were also at each bus terminal, and all the toilets required pesos to unlock them.
I was so afraid of not hearing my bus boarding notices at stops, I just hung out by the bus.
If you don't get back on in time...they leave without you!
Even after all my years of Spanish classes, I still can't understand the language.

Anyway, at my aunt's 88th party, her mariachi friends played.
There were tables set up, and food cooking, and people were dancing.
It was awesome!

My aunt broke her leg not too long ago, and now she fears walking.
Sadly, a lot of elderly people become too dependent on walkers and wheelchairs and scooters, out of fear of re-injuring themselves, but what they really need is to keep moving! Keep walking!
Well, what kind of present does one get a little old lady who is almost blind, and basically in bed or a wheelchair?

My mom took my advice and got her the Homedics Sound Spa--a little machine that makes the sound of ocean waves, or rain, or (my favorite) birds tweeting.
My mom bought a bag of popcorn to cushion the mail journey (I said, oh no, you should have gotten Pirate's Booty! Oh well)

I decided to get her something she could wear to the party.
I spent hours looking at custom tee shirt sites, thinking I'd get some sort of image with "Show me Yer Booty!" on the front.
My aunt, you see, is a bit of a card.
I found some fun tees like a pink Jolly Roger with pigtails, or a rubber ducky with an eye patch, or a multi-colored parrot.
But I really wanted to add her name to the shirt, and I really wanted to be able to use Olde English script.

I ended up ordering through Zazzle.
I got a lady pirate with Tia Maria (Aunt Mary in Spanish).
I got the party card displayed above from Zazzle too.

When the husband of a friend of mine turned 50, she threw him a little kid's style party, with ice cream caterers scooping out yummy sundaes.
Upon entering, each guest also received a pirate hat, an eye patch, and temporary tattoos.
The fun thing is their last name is Yahr, so all night everyone was saying, "Eye be garr, yarr..."
Pretty funny.
But I love the whimsy of it, the tongue in cheek, the good old-fashioned fun.

Other gift or decorating ideas for an adult's pirate party:
*treasure boxes filled with gold coin chocolates
*scroll on parchment paper (with burnt edges of course) perhaps as part of a scavenger hunt
*or use a scroll for the invitation, using bottle invitations (see my tutorial). Place a handful of sand in 12-ounce plastic bottles, with perhaps a few rhinestones, and a scroll marking the party destination
*food served might be rough and tumble, like a whole pig, or turkey legs
Obviously rum drinks or these cocktail recipes.
More cocktails here.
In my aunt's case, a bottle of Tia Maria makes more sense!

I love the party this lady threw (a photo staging area! Genius!): read about it here

Pirate Merch
Talk Like a Pirate (pages of more links at this site)

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Saturday, May 01, 2010

May Day!

It's May 1, which means it's May Day!
I love festivities and traditions.
May Day with it's flower baskets and Maypoles is based in pagan ideas--I think it's all fascinating and fun.
May Day around the world
Some history of the day: here,
and history of Maypoles: here
interesting history and origin
an amazing collection of Maypole postcards (real photos)

Vintage Japanese matchbox cover:

Peanuts Garden Flag I saw on ebay

May Day craft ideas