Thursday, April 24, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside...

This is the view out my front window:
It's been snowing most of the day today and it's just darn cold outside. Last I checked on my beloved it was 32F and feels like 26F.
That sure doesn't make me want to finish the next pair of capris I'm working on for the oldest. Even if they ARE very cute and have some of my very favorite dandelions print by Heather Ross on the orange background.... we'll see if I get to it. The girls are busy today. I think it's a bit of stir-craziness.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I love pink and orange

No fancy photos here... it was a quick and dirty photo shoot late at night.
Of course this was a few days ago, so I should have had time to re-shoot and make them pretty, but the oldest has been wearing them constantly.
I made her some magenta corduroy capris from the Dortje pants pattern by Farbenmix. My oldest is a bit tricky to fit. She does not look heavy, but she is 'sturdy'. (that's what my sister and I tell each other we are... it's our strong, German heritage... and of course 'sturdy' is simply the opposite of skinny ;) ). And she's tall. She turned six just last month, but is forever being asked if she's much older than she is. In CCD she's by far the tallest in her kindergarten class ... and taller than most of the first grade class.
Oh, I get lost in my writing wanderings..... mostly, I'm trying to say I'm glad I can sew. Call me a prude, but I don't like the clothing aimed at little girls.
But before I get distracted and go off on the current state of girls' clothing.. I'll get to the sewing photos.
The front
The back (my favorite!) ...
Close-up of the Michael Miller fabric
The oldest is wearing these right now even. Even though according to it's only 39F outside... and with the windchill it feels like 29F.
And yes, just yesterday it was nearly 80F.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The present..

Not another past post, but a post for right now... the present.
Quite clever actually, since one of these completed projects is a present for somebody but they don't even know it yet.
Yes, another strip purse. My machine is logging in many miles with all this tiny quilting for sure.
I don't know what my favorite part is for sure... either the lining or the strap (which is simply three pieces of material two inches wide braided... all raw edges left exposed so that in theory it will fray just a bit, which I think will look stunning).
And then my other project completed last night was a quilted placemat. Or at least that's what I started out making.... and later I felt it's almost too big as a placemat and would be so suited for being a tablerunner of sorts (but little). I haven't a clue if there's a word for what I'm trying to explain, but it would be perfect.
One side is a Kaffe Fassett print, and really I'm not always quite a technicolor junkie fan, but this one spoke to me in a big way. And the other side is one of my very favorite pieces ever and I had just a fat quarter of it -- and I used it all!
It's hard to get pictures that do it justice because it's such a tactile creation. I keep walking by it and petting it. I'm still amazed and how much a few straight lines will completely change a piece of fabric. When the two pieces were initially turned and topstitched they looked nice, but nothing special. Now with the square spiral quilting, it's taken on a new life... and I still can't believe it! I'm going to have a good time playing with various quilting techniques and how they change the tone of a piece completely.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Another blast from the past post...

It started out looking gorgeous this morning with loads of sunshine... I began thinking it might be even more gorgeous than yesterday.
Then I checked the weather report and it said there was a chance of snow. I initially scoffed at that... and now it's cloudy, grey and very windy like a cold front is blowing in. What a terrible way to make my thoughts of spring cleaning and sewing up lovely spring goods just disappear in an instant.
And so I resort to past events.
I'll probably go backwards chronologically. Or not. But here is one of my favorite pictures on so many levels... my girls are gorgeous (what? me be biased? quite possibly!), I made all three of their dresses and the picture is taken in one of the most beautiful spots I have ever visited -- and it's not that far from home! This picture was taken mid-March at a wedding of dh's cousin.
The older two have dresses from the Vida pattern by Farbenmix and the littlest has a dress from the Cara pattern by the same company. DD2s dress is all in Amy Butler fabric (oh, do I ever have a soft spot for anything Amy Butler!), DD1s dress is all in Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic fabric (it was a foolish purchase... too much money to pay for that fabric, but it *is* gorgeous) and the littlest's dress is all cotton poplin from Baby Nay.
I initially anticipated I would love the Vida pattern the best.. and while I *do* love it, I'm head-over-heels for the look of the Cara pattern. I really do need to get some more going. One for each of the older two. Because it's *that* lovely.
I'll now jump back all the way to last spring (probably May of 2007). Because it's not springy here at all and I'm longing for it. We had gone up to the mountains to a lovely fire look-out that they used back in the day to look out for forest fires. The view is AMAZING up there.
And my girls just happened to all be wearing something I made, so what a perfect show-off time.
And, because I love this picture...
My bare-footed baby, wind whipping through her hair, standing on the edge of the world with all possibilites in life laying ahead of her.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

If only it was this easy....

My girls love to play restaurant when I'm downstairs in my sewing room and they're playing in their toy room which has a little kitchen. They're often taking orders and bringing out food to the patrons (which can include myself or their sisters... depending on how we'll they're taking turns!). So I made some play money so they can pay for their goods.
But before the picture comes the specs of the project. I just looked around for some greens in my fat quarter stash (which is bigger than it should be ;) I'm good at collecting fat quarters and not so good at using them), found two that were suitable and made up a prototype. No pictures of that as the girls ran off with it. I didn't quite like the shape and I didn't use any interfacing at all and it was just too floppy. So on the second one I used a layer of interfacing under the circle and on one side of the rectangle with much better results. But I still wasn't as pleased with my choice of green for the satin stitching on the circle applique. So I made two more last night and I'm quite pleased with the shape, color and overall feel of these! They're approximately 3.5" x 7" (maybe 6.5" for width) and they have the feel of crisp dollar bills!
After all those words, here's the measy picture of two dollars ;)
My girls are loving them already.... but of course the fat quarter piece I used for the main body of the dollars is now gone... so I have to figure out another color to use. I'm not too concerned about the different colors in their money because they can always be different denominations then! But now I have to figure out another good green. My taste in fabrics doesn't usually gravitate toward such a monochromatic print... we'll see if I have anything suitable!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A project in patience...

I made this purse for my mom and it's been a long time in the making.

Her birthday was at the end of August when she requested a purse of this style. But she didn't get around to picking out the fabrics (what? she didn't want me to surprise her?) until September at least. And then of course I realized I was out of batting. And then there was the minor detail of my lovely, craptastic, cheap Singer machine on the fritz. Again.

And so it just got pushed back. And pushed back. And pushed back.

But I have a divine Bernina machine now (technically, I'm housing two right now... a 1008 and a 1010... one I've sold and just need to ship off... tomorrow I think) and my trusty Swiss-made machine sews like a dream.

The actual piecing is easy... it's the quilting that really hangs me up and makes me not even want to start.

But, I finally did it. And I'm very happy with the end result.

The brocade my mom picked out was stunning from the get-go. But I wasn't too sure about the solid. In truth, I'm a bit of a fabric snob... and this solid just wasn't meeting my standards. It felt a bit rough and is definitely on the thinner side. I'm still not sure I'd buy more of it, but the color along with the rest of the purse if PERFECT!

Enough chatter, on to the pictures...

My artsy shot:


A head-on shot... probably more true-to-color (at least when viewed on my monitor... flash was used, so there's some shadow, but it shows the shape well:


And then a bit of a close-up to see the detail of the fabric:


And to load this with pictures, a flash-back ("What?" you say, "How on earth can you have a flash back in your SECOND blog post here? "Well," I say, "it's a flash from my own past... that's how!")...

Here is the purse I made for my mom nearly a year ago (Mother's Day here in the states)



Another strip purse. This was a recycling project. I took an old shirt of my sister's (which no longer fit her... and it was still in her old room at my parents' house even though she's been out for nearly two years) and I cut it up and made a purse for her for her birthday last July. Lovely brocade shirt she got in... Las Vegas I believe. I used the 'right side' (the red) and the 'wrong side' for an appearance of two perfectly-coordinating prints:



Okay. Just one more. It's more folksy, I think. The material was given to me by a lady from church. Her mom lived across the street from our house and passed away about two years ago. The mom had material and the lady from church didn't sew but knew I did, so she passed it all to me. I'll admit here that not all of the material was really what I use. I just don't work with polyester on a regular basis. At all. But, what was LOVELY was a bin FULL of laces and trims and ribbons and GORGEOUS things to use.

I wanted to tell the lady from church thank you. I figured something made with her mother's material would do the trick. And I was in a strip purse mode so I went with it. My favorite part of this purse is the strap. It's just three pieces of material ripped and then braided together for a bit of a raggedy appearance. It was completely on a whim that I did it and I love the results. The pictures are older and were rushed, so no artsy-fartsiness about them. But you do get to see my mom's house.