Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fall Fun

Me and my girls:
Well, you can see one of them, anyway! :)

It finally feels like fall here, and over the weekend we went up to the mountains to enjoy it. It was a wonderful, busy day - first we did a corn maze, then "panned" for gemstones, then hit the pumpkin farm. The weather was gorgeous, and everyone had fun. What a great day!

The corn maze was actually quite big, and it had a card with a series of punches you could do while wandering through it. M got cranky after a while, so she and I bailed to have a snack while A and Iestyn finished up all the punches. Here's a picture of her examining the map:

(Which was surprisingly unhelpful for getting around the maze, if you ask me. Once you're in the middle of all that corn, all directions look pretty much the same!)

The panning for gems was very popular with both girls. They each had a bucket of rocks/dirt, which we rinsed and put through a sieve, and you were supposed to find the gemstones. Of course, the girls both ended up deciding about half of their bucket was "pretty", so we have a LOT of little rocks in our house now... ;)

They did each get a few nice quartzes and some other things like that, but mostly it was just fun to play with rocks and water.

After that it was time for the pumpkin farm. We went to Burt's Pumpkin Farm, which we've visited many times before, but never when it was this crowded. It was totally nuts! But the lines (for what we wanted, anyway) were actually pretty short, and we got a bunch of pumpkins for a reasonable price - sugar pumpkins for cooking, some small ones for drawing faces on, some bigger ones for carving.

Here's A getting a wheelbarrow ride before we picked out any of the pumpkins:

And M picking out one of her " two perfect pumpkins".

It was really a lovely day. Time with my family doing fun activities in beautiful weather. Just exactly what I wanted. :)

Pony. HRTS. Pony.

A, who is in kindergarten, has been learning a lot about reading and spelling since she started school. Naturally, she practices these things at home, which has led to M also practicing them. Even though she has no idea how to spell anything except her name. I got a video, and I had to share, because it's about the cutest thing ever:

Friday, October 17, 2008

The barter system

My friend Mary is a metalsmith/artisan jewelry maker. She makes all sorts of really lovely things, and is the source of much of my jewelry. :) I was visiting her the other day to get my sister a birthday gift, and I took along the corduroy coat that I made. (She's always very excited to see my stuff.) And she loved it - so much that she wanted her own in black! Meanwhile, I'd been looking at her stock, and there was a necklace that I really liked a lot. It's a little different than her usual stuff, but really striking. So we ended up doing a deal - she gave me this really cool necklace, and I'm going to make her a jacket. I got to take my necklace home with me, so I guess I better get moving on the jacket!

(Oh, I'd include a picture of the necklace, but the ones I've taken this evening have been horrible - I'll have to wait until daytime.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fun birdie dress!

In my to do list post, I mentioned an outfit for A. I haven't done the pants yet, but the birdie dress is done, and it's SO CUTE! I'm really very pleased with the way this one turned out. Look for yourself:
And a close-up on the birdies:
I cut them out of knit (the pants will be the same knit, as are the collar and cuffs), ironed them on, then embroidered them. Embroidery still isn't my thing (my stitches are very uneven! Plus it still makes my wrists hurt, same as the cross stitch I had to give up), but I do really like the look.

Hopefully it'll fit A correctly - it looks huge to me. Ah well, I can always re-hem it if I need to. I'm sure the top part is fine, since I based it off a pattern I know fits her. The outfit is a surprise, but I showed her the birds to get her reaction. She said "Awww..." in the cheesiest voice you can imagine. (Somehow we have an extremely cheesy child. I don't know where that comes from!) So, I'm thinking the outfit will be a hit - yay! Now I just have to do the pants.... And maybe start on some of the rest of the list....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

To Do List

I feel like I have a million projects in my head lately, so I thought I'd write them down.

Let's see:
Outfit for A - dress with (embroidered) applique birdies plus pants to match
Outfit for M - long sleeve shirt with applique/stencil (maybe a pig?) plus pants to match
Halloween t-shirt (me) - white ringer tee with black ribbing with Halloween stencil - maybe a witch hat?
Long sleeve raglan tee for me - still trying to figure out the sleeve pattern, so I think this will require some experimenting
Flirty Skirty apron - I want to use my purple/green Kokka flowers for this, but I need something for the contrast fabric
New purse for me - the fabric for this has just been sitting there for ages, but I need to figure out the new design and I've been putting it off
AB Barcelona skirt from some pretty fabric I already have
Purse for my MIL (much figuring to do with that, too.)
I'd like to try again on the hot pads. I think I know what I did wrong now....
Various other shirts that I have patterns and fabric for (for me), although most of them are more spring/summery, so I may wait a bit on those
I kind of want to make a big picnic blanket (like an extremely simplistic quilt), but that's not a top priority. Probably means I'll do it next, lol!

Plus, of course, loads of Christmas presents, which probably belong near the top of this list, but I don't want to write them down here, just in case. So, I'll be sewing constantly for the next year, if this list is anything to go by. :)

ETA: Oops - I almost forgot the two ghost costumes I need to make!

Edited again: (see what I mean about my list?) And also some more bags for wrapping Christmas presents in, since I've mostly given up wrapping paper. And I want to make fabric sandwich type bags for packing snacks. I have a tutorial for those somewhere.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cloth balls

I seem to be in the middle of a little baby boom at the moment. Well, not ME, but a lot of people around me. So I wanted to share a couple of pictures of one my new favorite baby gifts. I found this tutorial for cloth balls a while back, and they're a fun way to use scraps and make a baby/toddler gift all at once. Plus, when the toddler decides to throw the ball, it's fabric, so no one will get hurt. Bonus! Anyway, here are some pictures:

Fun, no?

I love my jacket!

Last fall, I kept searching for a cute dark brown corduroy jacket, and I just couldn't find one that I liked. This fall, after an added year of sewing under my belt, it occurred to me that I could probably make myself a jacket. And I did!!

I used this Vogue pattern, view B, to make an unlined cord jacket. I was a little paranoid about it, since I've always heard Vogue patterns were complicated, but since it claimed to be "Very Easy Vogue" (and it was the only pattern I found that really looked at all like what I wanted), I decided to try anyway. I did warn my mom I might be calling, though. ;) As it turned out, it actually was a pretty easy to follow pattern. I'm not sure I'd do it as a total beginner (which is what "very easy" implies to me!), but I found it mostly straightforward. And this is the result:

(Please ignore my lack of a head. I looked a little crazy in the only picture that really showed off the coat.)

There are a couple of things that I might change - I definitely need to shorten the sleeves a bit, and I think I'd make it slightly longer if I were to do it again - but on the whole I love it. It's a great weight for our current bizarre October weather; I found some adorable sunflower buttons which make me quite happy; and I feel both proud and cute when I wear it. What's not to like?

And I was pleased to discover in my fabric stash that I have some olive cord that I could use to make another jacket if I want. It's very thin, though, so I think it would need to be lined, so that may take some thought. I'm loving the feeling that I can make it if I want to, though!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

2 hour trousers

I have approximately a million different ideas of things to sew (and plenty of fabric) - honestly, it got to the point last week where I was feeling completely overwhelmed by my entire craft space. So over the weekend I decided to do a quick project just to have something easily checked off my list!

I've used Petchy's 10 minute trousers tutorial a bunch of times now to make pj pants for the girls. It takes me longer than 10 minutes (mostly because of finishing things things nicely) but they're certainly a quick project to whip out. Anyway, I used the same method to make myself some cute owl-y comfy pants last night.

Close-up of the flannel:

They're very soft and cosy. The waistline isn't quite as nice as the pair they're based off of, but I think they'll be lovely once it's actually cool enough to wear them. I think there's enough left to make some pjs for one or both of the girls, too.

I've also been working on a brown corduroy jacket which is just lacking buttons at this point - stay tuned for a post about that. Between those two things, I'm feeling better about my giant list of ideas, so hopefully now I can concentrate on working through it, rather than feeling stressed by it!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sometimes things don't go as planned.....

So, I love the Sew Mama Sew blog - I always find interesting projects and tutorials there. So, I was poking around on there, and I found a tutorial on making my own hot pads. (Which, of course, I can't find anymore.) So, I thought that sounded cool. That looks straightforward and easy! What a fun Christmas craft!

Bwa-ha-ha! It turns out that I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to quilting things. All those layers mess me up! I didn't have too much trouble with the sewing the fabric together part, but after that I'm a mess. As are these hot pads.....

The *really* sad part is that the extremely wonky one on the left is actually the last one I did. They just keep getting worse! I don't have a picture of my first one, but it's actually relatively straight..... I think I need to have fewer layers of batting, or more insul-bright or something, but somehow I do not think that hot pads will be the Christmas craft of the year. Ah well. At least I have plenty of time to come up with a new one! :)

Isn't the fabric pretty, though? Farmer's Market by Sandi Henderson - such a cute line!