Saturday, February 25, 2006

Sewing While Intoxicated

I really prefer sewing to knitting because it's faster (and cheaper). But the quickness of sewing also lends itself to carelessness, and sometimes I just need to slow down and check what I am doing.

I made these kimono-type baby jackets for my Etsy shop, but they look too wide, even though I followed the pattern. I don't know if I should redo them, or just put them up and see if they sell

It's such a simple pattern

I don't know why it's giving me so much trouble. It's really frustrating me. And I am very annoyed with myself, I had wanted to make one out of this fabric

but I placed the pattern the wrong way and the skeletons are upside down. I don't have enough to cut out another one. And then I had an idea to do a patchwork one, but piecing it together caused the proportions to change slightly, so the lining I cut doesn't fit. I need more fabric, you need a yard piece to cut out the whole thing, and all my fabric is scraps right now.

I did make this patchwork hat for the Etsy shop and was pleased how it turned out.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Crazy Crayons

Today we made crazy crayons. Well, I made them because the paper was really hard to get off the crayons and the girls were getting frustrated. I was using a razor blade to slit the paper and Ivy was annoyed she couldn't use it as well. It's a fairly simple task, you just gather up broken crayons, break them up into muffin cups and melt in the oven for about 10 minutes at 250 degrees (according to Martha Stewart, whose website I just checked, the correct temperature is 150 degrees) I should have checked the website earlier for the additional advice on placing the muffin tin in the freezer so the crayons pop out. I just pried mine out with a knife. Unfortunately, there is no clean up advice given, so I may have to get a new muffin tin, or else future cupcake batches may taste a little waxy.

Here they are cooling off. I was getting lazy and threw in some fat crayon pieces, which didn't melt very well.

I need to really check through my patterns, I have doubles of a number of things because I forget I already had them. I also have a really bad habit of not putting the tissue pieces back into the envelope, which makes it difficult if I ever want to use the pattern again. I did rediscover these great vintage patterns that I should use someday.

Finished the little baby bags, now I need to get them up on my Etsy site. They turned out pretty cute.


When I was in junior high, I used to read the fashion and beauty books over and over. Most of the books on the shelves were pretty outdated, there was one that I think was written by a woman who owned a shop. She told a story of having some items in the window created from paisley piano shawls, a woman stopped in because she admired them and mentioned she had a similar piano shawl at home. The author invited her to bring it in and have it created into something wonderful and the woman demurred, because she couldn't possibly cut up such a lovely item, and walked out, dooming herself to sensible safe clothing forever. I wasn't even sure what a piano shawl was, but apparently it would transform someone in a marvelous fashion. Unfortunately we didn't have any such items tucked away at home, so I was doomed to sensible clothing from the JCPenney catalog.

Several years ago I was lucky enough to find four whole saris at a local thrift shop, for something like 2.25 each. It was an amazing discovery, and I remember tucking them into the shopping basket with a bit of awe. Three became curtains for the living room, the leftover pieces were turned into a rather sheer pair of harem pants (which I never wear, because they are well, sheer). I still have one whole one left, it's maroon and green with gold embroidery. It's not as sheer as the other ones, and would make a great pair of pants, but then I would have to cut it up. I am never going to wear a sari anywhere, there is no reason to keep it, but I like owning it. On the other hand, it sits in one of my fabric boxes. I still am undecided. It seems such a shame to take scissors to it, but hoarding it is rather a shame as well. If it weren't for the fact that it is the last whole one, I probably wouldn't care. And really, the fact that I found four was remarkable. Ah, what to do. I really could use a pair of fancy pants.

This is so magnificently 1970's, but I really loved this when I saw it as a kid, even though I was already a bit too old for Puff the Magic Dragon. Although the one I really loved was Puff in the Land of the Living Lies.

Puff The Magic Dragon

Edited to correct the link, it would probably be more fun if you could actually watch the video I was trying to show.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

No Motivation

I am having trouble finding a project that inspires me right now. I have been working on some tiny baby pouches from this book to sell in my Etsy shop.

Omiyage:Handmade Gifts From Fabric In The Japanese Tradition but I don't know, they just aren't that great. I feel lazy sitting around not making anything, as though I am wasting time, but I don't know what I want to make. My new craft books won't be here until the middle of March, maybe something there will inspire me. At least with Spring approaching I can start on flowery, light dresses for the girls. I have some beautiful white fabric with aqua flowers I found at the thrift shop. It reminds me of a dress I had as a child that I only have the vaguest memories of, I think it also had an aqua grosgrain ribbon sash. I should look through my vintage patterns and make Ivy a dress with a fitted bodice and full skirt, like little girls from the '50's. Making dresses for her is fun, becuase she still is little enough that they don't take long to make.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Windy Night

The wind is really blowing fiercely tonight. We live in a rather ramshackle Victorian, and the windows are rattling in an intimidating fashion. Most times I love the big trees on the treelawn, but right now I am sort of worrying about them coming through the windows.

Ivy fell asleep early tonight, and woke up with a stomach ache, she's okay now but both of them are watching Hamtaro movies. Hoping to get to bed before 2AM.

I tried to make some little shoes like these

Baby Shoes

but the results were disappointing. I tried to make my own pattern, and the shoes are lopsided and just rather clumsy looking. Sometimes I think things will be very easy and I can just do it on my own rather than buying a book. I think it would have helped if I had used interfacing, I have an issue with interfacing in that because much of my sewing knowledge is self-taught, I never really learned to use it. I do have some somewhere. Probably lots of it, because it's so cheap when I really think I need it I just buy more. I should look for it, but it would probably be easier to just continue buying it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentines Day

Cat and Monkey for Ivy and Miranda. The monkey has its heart on the right side because Ivy has dextrochardia--her heart is on the right side. It functions normally, it's just reversed.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Much Japanese Cuteness

I am not sure why I find Japanese cuteness far easier to tolerate than many other forms.
This appears to be the website of an illustrator. One of my Kuri Kuri books has an article on her that features instructions for a cloth elephant and an owl purse. I don't know if she makes cloth items as well, or just books--or maybe the books are cloth. I need to work on my Japanese, it's been pretty slow going lately.
I really like thise hats, especially the patchwork flap hat, fourth picture down

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Monsters and a Monkey Dress

When I saw the photos of Hillary's Brand New Shiny Craft Room over at Wee Wonderfuls, my first thought was complete envy over the stacks of fabric, my second was that I needed to buy more fabric. Fortunately, I was able to satiate myself with a small selection of calico and flannel

I hauled out the dress for Ivy that was giving me so much trouble at Christmas, it's going to be a great birthday dress. I think I am going to paint cloth mary janes to match, with sock monkey faces on them.

A pile of monsters awaiting eyes, destined for the Pittsburgh Knitting Festival

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Bits and Pieces

Wonderful website for putting things together out of all your scraps and bits

Kiki Doll

This is Kiki, from Kiki's Delivery Service:

This one is my doll. The girls can play with her if they ask, but she sits on my desk. I think she may need a broom.

Some time ago I saw a Japanese book that used children's drawings to make quilts. Each drawing was a block, the drawing was transfered to fabric and then embroidered. It was such a whimsical way to preserve drawings--I feel guilty when I throw some of them away, but I can only save so many. So last weekend I went out to Jo-Ann Fabrics and bought tracing paper in muslin, eagerly explaining to the staff what I was doing "how cute!". Back home, I looked through the folder of drawings I had saved, transfered a few to muslin and begin a clumsy backstitch--embroidery is not a strong point, I need to practice more. I finished a drawing of a cat, when Miranda came over and rather hesitantly explained that these were her private drawings and she didn't want them made into embroidery.

Part of me was torn between "but it's such a great project!" and respect for her wanting control over her drawings. And respect won. But I haven't shelved the project entirely, I am hoping Ivy will be more receptive to seeing her drawings rendered in cotton.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Finished the crocheted cat. It's okay. I used a heavier yarn than the original pattern, so it turned out much bigger. But Miranda likes it. I would like to try some in a lighter guage yarn. I also think the pattern would be pretty easy to adapt to other animals. I would like to make a monkey for Ivy