Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Billy Cardi with Fat Tuesday

       So....here it is folks. Fat Tuesday's version of the Billy Cardi. 

      I found this adorable cardigan on No big dill several months ago and decided to make one as a gift. We won't mention for whom or for what holiday as it has not been given yet...but lets just say that the fabric was bought in early December and the cardigan was just made a few days ago. Oh but girls, (boys? are there any boys present?), it is so easy and fun! I was a little edgy, (in truth I've been puting it off for sheer lack of confidence), but it came together so quickly. I could have done it in one evening if I hadn't started at 10:30 at night. In fact I didn't even need to cut apart a shirt to use as a patten; I just smoothed out one of my current long sleeved t's and it worked out great. Thanks so much to Katy for the fantastic tutorial!!  (Pretend not to notice that hers is a bit cuter than mine...).

        A few notes:
              *The Sulky thread that is used for the detail stitching breaks easily- Katy very 
                kindly mentions this and tells you not to use it for seams- I'm just reiterating 
                because it broke several times on me just during the detail stitching.
              *I personally wasn't able to get my fancy stitching large enough to notice on the 
                ribbed jersy, but that was quite possibly opperator error so give it a try and tell   
                me how it goes for you.
              *This whole project took me about three hours (and over half of that was figuring 
                out the pattern and cutting it out) and 1.5yds of fabric (buy as much fabric as she 
                says to, I'm quite a short and small girl).
              *Go thru the trouble to do the top seams inside out and sew them down- it's such a 
               great detail and it takes the piece from Old Navy to handmade chic, nothing 
               against Old Navy of course!
              *It's super comfy, go thru the extra time and fabric to lengthen the sleeves like she  
                says- so worth it!

      So thanks again to Katy from No big dill, I love your cardi. In fact, I'm off to find me some good jersey to make one for myself, I want to sew thumb holes in the sleaves of the next one!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Let the Sunshine In!!

Here in sunny San Diego, we've had a week or so of (in my humble opinion), perfect weather.  The sun has been shining, temp floating around 75/80 at the beach, and all sorts of people out and about enjoying the outside.  I got some sewing done, but only because it was a sew-date with my girlfriend and coworker, Catherine.  She and I often bring our latest crafty creations in the office, each offering oh's and ah's, as well as technique tips for how to accomplish something as fantastic as whatever we brought in.

So last week, Catherine showed me the tutorial for a project she wanted to do.  I loved it so much, I told her I'd make it too!  I'm being vague here on purpose, because the not-quite-finished-yet project will be given to Melody for her <belated> birthday gift... once it has been gifted, I'll put up the link from where we found the tutorial, plus some pics.

Back to this past weekend of gloriousness.  Catherine and I had our sew-date sipping Iced Tea and feeling the warm Santa Ana breezes come through her house - most of the windows and doors were open.  The project turned out to be a new challenge that neither of us had tried before: Binding.  Now for all my fellow blog cohorts, quilting/binding is pretty common, but I haven't yet ventured into the world of quilts.

To round out the weekend, my Boyfriend, David, built me a thread board to hang all my thread spools!  I gave him this pic as an idea (Thread Board Tree):

Original Thread Tree Inspiration
Then, when I was off busy at my sew-date, he took the concept and ran with it!  One inspirational sun pendant (and sunny day as well), jigsaw, man-tools of whatever other sort, and a few hours later, and ....

Man who knows how to use tools ~ yay!


*** The construction of the board and nails is complete.  Now, I'll be painting it a deep burnt orange someday soon to really finish it off.  I love how detailed & personalized it is.  Thanks honey!


P.S. My tasty refreshing beverage while I type is a glass of chilled water with a few cucumber slices and a splash of lemon juice.  It's late, and I'll be heading to bed soon ~ it's a perfect "mocktail" as my nightcap.

Meet Sergio Mendez

This is a good friend of mine and Holly's...

He's a little bit moody at times, and can easily fall apart when he feels like he doesn't want to do something.....like serge.

I mean, seriously, Sergio...All I've ever asked you to do is ONE TYPE OF SEAM.  Granted, you're complicated, you have four threads to sort through like 78 times a second, and you have two needles that need to kind of be in sync with each other, but REALLY?!  I thought girls were complicated, but you are beyond complicated.

Sorry you had to see/hear/read that folks.  I often talk to machines and other things that can't possibly carry on a conversation.  I just got Sergio Mendez back from the shop, cause he was missing something on the plate (where the needles go through), and then his presser foot lever was cracked and broken.  He's a mess.  Let's just face it.

My trusty....er....not-soooo-trusty sewing mechanic got him back to me 3 weeks later, and I've been serging everything in sight.  Three weeks is three weeks too long!

So, I made a deviation from my normal quilting routine and made a couple of pairs of shorts for my little guy (using Dana's kid pants/shorts tutorial)!

Come back soon to see what else Sergio and I accomplished!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

If You're Riding a Horse at 40 MPH

So... I got all inspired this week to start on my quilt. I got out everything to cut, which by the way is my least favorite part of sewing, and everything was going great till I got to my last fabric. I mismeasured. And not by a little bit but by almost 2 yards. I guess it's my own fault for trying to copy a quilt I saw on a blog with no pattern. But seriously, 2 yards, I must have been smoking crack (not literally, but figuratively... if there is such a thing as figurative crack). Mostly I'm bummed because now I have to wait till next month to go buy it, on a budget here, and I am a little nervous that they won't have the fabric anymore. oh well. I will make do a forge ahead if necessary.

My double ARGH this week came as I tried starting my scrap quilt. I am trying to be brave like Miranda and not pin anything, especially since there are 783 pieces, but I am struggling. I did the first two rows and 90% of my seams don't line up. I am pretty sure it's because I am not pinning and therefore my seams aren't all exactly 1/4 inch which is essential in quilting (if you want it to look perfect) so not all my tumblers are the same size. Here is an example of what I am talking about:

I am trying to live by the motto of my Quilting class teacher, Constance. She always says something like "if your riding a horse at 40 mph hours are you going to see it (meaning your mistakes) then who cares." That is easier said than done for me especially if it's going to reside in my home. If it's off to someones else house, well then I don't have to look at it. Ha ha. I am determined not to take out the first 2 rows, but I think I am going to bite the bullet and pin the rest of the 731 pieces.

Well, until next week...


Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I had a special birthday treat on Sunday afternoon.  It's not my birthday yet, but I've started celebrating the entire week leading up to my birthday....you know...just to get enough celebration out of my lovely husband, and enough dinners out to feel like I've had a cooking vacation!

So, on Sunday, my little family spent the afternoon at my mom's house, and my Grandma is visiting for the month, "drying out her bones", as she says.  (She lives in Seattle.)  I was working on a quilt for a friend, and I brought it to show my Grandma, so I could get a little pat on the back from an amazing lady who has passed on her blanket-making-passion to me.  Well, we got all motivated, and I started putting all my individual blocks together, arranging them, and she started picking them up and pinning them, getting them ready to go through the machine!

With my kids playing in the other room with family members, I was given the gift of sewing for an afternoon with my Grandma!  And the ironic thing is, she was my assistant.  Instead of the days of yore, where I would be picking out the next square to go in the quilt, she was dutifully picking up the next block in the pattern, and pinning it, right sides together, and making sure the block was facing the right way.

Sometimes we talked.  Sometimes we didn't.  Sometimes we commented on the chaos happening in the other room.  I got the top almost finished, with her help.  And it was a really big treat to sew with my Grandma who I don't get to see often enough.

Grandma with my little Marshall on her 90th birthday!


          Patience is not my strong point. Well, let me set some perameters around that: patience while SEWING is not my stong point. You've read my "about" page right? The love of fat quarters (i.e. small quick projects), the lack of pinning, the using of the rotery cutter to cut out EVERYTHING, the revoltion with patterns...no, it could be said that I am not exactly a perservering sort of seamstress. Which is why these poor girls got to listen to me whine about my lastest big deal project: a quilt for my wonderful mother in law.
            "Whatcha' doing tonight M?"
            "Oh cutting pieces for this quilt, which I'll be doing FOREVER. Mel, you don't mind do you? If I sit on your floor FOREVER and cut out pieces for this quilt? 'Cause I'm going to be here FOREVER!"
             Poor sweet girls- they were very forbearing. They listened to me whine about cutting, about pinning, (yes, I pinned a little- later I found out it was very nearly totally unessecary, I COULD have just pinned two rows down the middle and been fine I bet), about quilting. Very sweet, very forbearing. In fact not a one of them pulled out the lovely queen sized quilt that Melody has on her bed to show me the bajillion little pieces and roll their eyes as I cut out 6" by 6" or 6" by 18" rectangles.
              But it is done y'all, done. And it turned out so pretty! Please don't mind the poor photos- I'm ashamed (seeing as my other job is as a photographer) but the lighting in my house is horribly awfully horrific for photos at best; and these had to be taken for posterity the moment after the quilt was done and the moment before the quilt was packed away in several layers of plastic to be mailed to my MIL the next day to arrive in time for Christmas, (which for the record, it didn't- but I've come to terms with it, and she LOVED it which went a long way toward making the lateness not matter- for me that is, she never minded the lateness in the firstplace because she's gracious like that). I love it, well, as much as you can dote on an inatimate object that is a whole state and a half away that is.                            
                   So here it is folks, a family tree quilt of my own design. 

                  My foray into quilting has come and well, almost gone. My three babes each have one (babes is figurative folks, they're 5, 3, and 1), my mother in law has one, and I have one more up my sleave- a scrap quilt for myself with all the lovely bits from clothing, and bags, and FUN things to sew that I've done in the last year or so. And then I am done with quilting- perhaps forever. Holly, Melody,  Mary: hats off to you and your patience and your darling quilts but me and my fat quarters are very happy over here in the land of no pinning with projects that can be completed during naptime.
                   In reveiw:   Patience- 0
                                      Quilts- 4
                                      Love of parentheses and using all caps for emphasis- 2,794

                    Until next tuesday.....

Monday, January 23, 2012

How do you unwind?

How do you unwind after a long day of work, carpooling, errands, etc.?  I prefer to sit down at my sewing table and work on various projects, gifts, etc.  I prefer to keep the TV off, and crank up some tunes.  Usually I spend most of said "sew-time" searching for a tutorial of the project to be made, then when I find one/few, I get stuck perusing the blog or site where the tutorial resides.  Many a time, my rabbit hole of looking at cute tutorials leads me to start pinning the pics of the projects I want to do someday on Pinterest, or getting ideas for totally different projects altogether.

When it's all said and done, I need to conciously tell myself to focus on the project at hand.... and then I sew.  And once I'm started, I don't want to stop.  I'd rather keep going on a project until 2 AM - it's like an adrenaline rush, and the importance of the time of night (or early morning) goes by the wayside.  My latest project & oh-so-incredible-first-time-feat was actually make a piece of clothing.  Not like a one size fits all apron, but a dress... from a pattern.... that was to be worn... for an audience... and to be finished in... 3 days!  It was quite an endeavor, one for which my fellow Monday sewing ladies called crazy. Yet, I did it!  My costume dress came out great and I am so excited that it turned out well.  Plus, now I'm no longer afraid of venturing into a new world of sewing and crafting my own clothing/costumes. I'm hoping someone caught a pic of me wearing it, otherwise I'll lay it out and snap a couple soon.

Oh, and back to the original question at hand: "I unwind by spooling up" as my boyfriend so wittily described. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sometimes I Get a Good Feeling...

Two things you need to know about me; 1: I almost always have a song in my head and if I don't, well then I am singing what I am saying/doing/thinking. As a result of this sing-song characteristc (if you can call it that) a majority of my posts will have song references. 2: I am pregnant so whether you like it or not I will also talk a good deal about that.

So with these two things in mind, Flo Rida is the inspiration for my post this week. Sometimes I get a good feeling... well I guess it would be more appropraite to say sometimes the bad feelings go a way. In these nausea free moments I have decided to seize the oppportunity, graciosuly abandon the couch and housework, to work on some sewing. I have 2 quilt tops and bottoms I would like to finish by the time I travel to Oregon in April. My mother has an awesome machine and I would like to take advantage and possibly quilt them both while I am up there. Ambitious? Maybe. Impossible? Well I guess that depends on how often I get these "good feelings".

Well last week I left you a picture of the fabric for my king size quilt. So today I leave you with the scraps for my scrap quilt.

560 down. 223 to go.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

State of the Sew-In Address, 2012

SEW..... (how can I NOT start off with the most dearly beloved sewing pun?  That's going to get used a lot around here, I just know it!)...

We all got together for another Monday Night Sew-In last night at Miranda's house, and I am so excited about how it continues to change, and grow, and morph into something.  I'm not quite sure what that "something" is, and it's probably a different "something" for every different person that comes, but what I like most is that it's important for all of us.

For me, personally, our Monday night rendezvous(es?) are about camaraderie.  They are about laughing with our head thrown back (maybe that's just me?); about eating brownies and popcorn and then wondering why I did that when I have to touch fabric in the next ten seconds (me, again); about telling the latest motherhood victories and struggles with other moms, about living vicariously through some of the stories and adventures my non-married friends tell.  I mean, sure, we each have a project to work on, and we have to work hard to make progress on it between all of our breaks for eating, talking, laughing, drinking, picking a playlist, and winding bobbins.  The projects seem to be the formal reason to get together, while the result of getting together is not always a finished project.

Instead of a finished project, we have laughed together.

Instead of a finished project, we have sung songs that have been stuck in our heads the past two weeks.

Instead of a finished project, we have shared stories that make us feel like we aren't the only one going through _______________. (fill in blank as needed)

Instead of a finished project, we have connected.

Monday Night Sew-In is like informal therapy, costing only the price of fabric, thread, sewing supplies, and the occasional sewing machine tune-up.

Long live the Monday Night Sew-In!

p.s. I do have to add that many people DO finish projects at a sew-in, but I am never one of them.  I am positive that social sewing CAN be quite productive, but for me, not while I have snacks and sewing in competition with each other.  Snacks always win.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I keep hitting re-peat-peat-peat-peat-peat-peat

Yes that is indeed a Selena Gomez lyric and I am 30 years old, however, it accurately describes how I feel my days have been lately. I am in the first trimester of baby #4 and everyday I feel like laying on the couch doing nothing. During this repetitive couch-lying saga I have daydreams of reorganizing my "sewing room" so that it is functional. Here is the unfortunate truth about it now:

It actually looked a lot worse before Christmas. The other thing I have been daydreaming a lot about is starting my quilt for my (although I really should say "our") bed. Here is the fabric I have picked out (and, this time, approved of by the other half):

Laying it out and seeing it gives me slight motivation to kick into gear and break free from my lazy (nauseous) days.... Let's see if next week produces any results.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Let's Get it Started!!

Let's start a blog, Take 2!  With a little more organization and group-thought, we're on our way to next totally fab, funny (hopefully), and silly sewing blog in the big world of sewing/craft blogs. 

Anyhoo, I'm 'sew' excited for this blog and the awesome gals who are also part of our Sewing Under the Influence posse! I'll try not to use the obvious play on words ('sew') too much, but no promises... I need to work on getting the creative juices flowing a little better.

Speaking of creativity-enhances-juices, I am going to share one of my favorites.  It's Red Velvet from Cupcake Wineries.  Insert speed talkin' commercial guy voice: Cupcake Wineries did not endorse nor sponsor this plug for their truly tasty vino.  I figured it's only fitting to be enjoying my fave vino of late as I'm creating a cupcake-themed baby blanket for my girlfriend whose about to have a baby girl.  She'll be sweet and little like a cupcake, plus that's her nursery theme.  I can't wait for the big day.  I'm secretly hoping she's early and can share my birthday with me this weekend... But, alas, I'm not in control of such timings of life.

Here's the finished blankie... it's so soft!

Pink Cupcake Baby Blanket