Sunday, January 31, 2010

it’s a wrap

When I was sewing Haven's wrap dress, I was in love with it from the beginning, and by the time I was finished that feeling had only increased. It was such a fun dress to sew and it turned out so beautifully. Although I wondered if the reason that I was loving it so much was because I was using some much loved, and very expensive fabric. So I was curious when I made Gracen's with far less expensive materials if I would love it as much, and if it would turn out as nicely. Happily, it did. The pattern really is that good, and I love her dress just as much. I even went so far as to make my own bias tape to bind the neckline and make the ties by using an extremely handy bias tape maker (seriously, I am in love with that tool and I cannot rave about it enough). It was the perfect finish on her dress. So in the end, this dress pattern is a clear favorite of mine as it just turns out a gorgeous dress, and is ever so easy to sew. Love that. Of course the best part is that both of my girls love their dresses. And Gracen had no problem dancing for me as I took her picture. Silly girl.



Friday, January 29, 2010

annie:musical fun and a parking violation

I finished sewing the dress at 5pm. And let me just add that the pattern was difficult, not fun, and one that I will never willingly sew with again. Ugh. Moving on...

 The performance started at 7:30pm so Haven and I got ready and headed out the door for the drive to Heidi's house.

 My parents had dropped by to see the dresses Heidi and I had made for Livy and Haven.


All Annied up and ready to go.


 We left it a little too close to opening curtain, so we found the closest parking spot we could, and ran the 1 block to the theater. We made it with about 5 minutes to spare, found our seats and settled in. It was fantastic, the sets were great, the actors were well cast, and Miss Hannigan was the best. We loved it.

And because Heidi and I couldn't resist, we bought each of the girls a little silver locket that we gave to them to open during intermission so they could have a locket just like Annie, thus completing their Annie outfits. Unfortunately, the whole locket thing was totally lost on both of the girls until we explained it to them So apparently the whole locket thing that Heidi and I were squealing over and so looking forward to turned out to be more fir us than for them. Oh well, they put their lockets on and loved it, so there you go. Three fun hours later, it was over and we headed out for the car.

We had parked in the parking lot of the old V-1 and there were several other cars there with ours, with nothing posted warning us of any violations to be incurred.  That we could see when we arrived in the dark anyways. Because as it turns out there was no parking allowed. Once we came within a few feet of the Suburban, there it was. A sign taped to the window from the towing service, and a boot on both the front and back wheel. Oops. The good news was that the guy that booted us was waiting for the call, and was there within 1 minute, no joke.

 But not before I had Heidi take this picture.

And this one. Do I look sad enough? I thought so.


So, with a $70 swipe of my credit card, a few jokes with the guy removing the boot, and much laughing between Heidi and I, we were on our way.

 (Heidi drove by the next day, and was finally able to see the very badly placed signs warning of no parking. Oh well, no hard feelings.)

We had a great night, the musical was wonderful, the girls had an awesome time, we had fun all around, and Heidi and I got be act like fools more than once. Which is the way it's supposed to be right? Livy and Haven are too young to be too embarrassed by their nerdy moms for now at least. Not hard though since there was no Darth Vader around for any kissing. Maybe Daddy Warbucks?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I have barricaded myself in my sewing room, where I am listening to music and frantically sewing like mad. Nothing like extreme panic over a looming deadline to get you motivated. And my 17 year old son is sitting behind me on his laptop, headphones on, watching a video on YouTube, done by some guy at MIT on Mutivariable Calculus, explaining vectors. And he is soooo unhappy I typed this, let alone hit publish. Something about messing with his cool factor or something. Like his friends ever read my blog. Please. Love you Dylan. And I love your smart brain too.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

should i really be fretting over a quilt this much?

I bought the fabric to add borders to the quilt, and after laying it out to get an idea of how it would look, I love it (thanks Kerry!). But now I have a new problem. A quilting blog I frequent recently posted about a quilt she just finished, and she talked about how rough it was quilting it herself on her machine as the size of the quilt was much larger than she normally tackles. The quilt she was talking about is the same size as my quilt. And she has been doing this for years. I'm a newbie at free motion quilting having only done two doll sized and one crib quilt. Nothing so large as this current quilt. So now I'm worried. If I add the borders it will make the quilt even bigger, and I am already worried about handling it all with my machine when I try to free motion it with the size it is right now (71"x82"-inches). So I am considering these three options-

1-Forget the borders, just add the backing and batting and free motion quilt it myself as is, then add this black tone on tone print binding on the edges and call it good.

2-Trim the sides and top of the quilt enough so that when I add the borders it will come out the size it was before trimming, then back it, quilt it myself, then bind it with the same black tone on tone print as above.

3- Just go ahead and add the borders and not worry about how big the quilt ends up being afterward. Then take it to someone else and pay to have it quilted by machine (around $45-$90), and then bind it myself.


 I don't know, I feel like I'm over thinking this whole thing, and I just need to stop fretting over it. It's just a quilt. But here I am anyway. Any more suggestions?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

umm, now what?

I did go ahead and stitch the quilt top together yesterday. It's 71" wide and 82" long. All imperfect seam matching aside (seam matching perfection is something I decided did not merit any stress on this particular project, so I just let things work out as they may), I love how it turned out.


So here is my dilemma. I am unsure as to whether or not I should add borders on the sides and top of the quilt and then back and bind it, or if I should just leave the top as-is and just back and bind that way. And if I do add borders, should I use plain white fabric? Solid Black? Or a print? A simple print or bold and busy?

And in case this helps give you some idea, here is the small crib quilt in I made using the same fabrics, and I added the border using a large polka dot print and bound the edges in black with tiny white polka dots. I know, that's a lot of dots.


Tell me what you think, I want to hear it. Meanwhile, I'm going to be in my sewing room trying out all of these scenarios to see if I can make some headway.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

similar patterns, different outcomes

About two weeks ago, using this pattern...

I made this dress for Gracen.


Gracen herself is totally adorable, of course, and as for the dress...well I like it, but I just don't love the dress. The pattern was well written, easy to use and follow and it all came together fairly easily, but in the end it just didn't turn out the way I had wanted. And that's ok, it happens sometimes.

My little Gracen is still super cute though.

Here she is, telling me that she was done, it was too cold and she was going inside. What kind of a mean Mom makes her child go outside in winter without a coat on just to get a good shot of a dress that she only likes and doesn't love? That would be me. So mean. Anyways, I am hopeful that I will like this pattern better when sewn up into a top instead. Maybe next time.

Then last Saturday, I started in with this pattern by 'Patchwork Kids' (on Etsy).


In only a few hours time I was done, and I was in love with the end result. I LOVE this pattern.  Love. It. I think I need to marry it.

While both dresses looked fairly similar, there were some key diferences between them. The Kyoko dress is a mock wrap, with set in sleeves, an obi sash, with a loose fit and a pullover style.

This dress is a true wrap dress, with the sleeves already a part of the bodice so there is no need to fuss with getting the sewn on, a ruffle at the neckline that I felt could also be left off if you wanted a slightly different look with another dress, and I liked the way it fit and flowed better than the Kyoko. The wrap dress pattern is very smartly done and well written, and very easy to use. It's clearly my favorite of the two.


Haven's dress turned out beautifully, and she absolutely loved it (as did I!). It's looks gorgeous on her and I cannot say enough good things about this dress and this pattern. Seriously, it's a no brainer. I am hoping to get a chance to snag some more fabric this week for a few more versions of this dress for both girls, as I am just so happy with it. I love it when everything comes together and you get a great pattern and the happy result of a gorgeous dress when you are done.


And yes, more shots of my poor girls outside, without one bit of winter gear in sight. Such a crummy mom.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

totally random

Right now I am kind of mad. Not at anyone in particular.

I really like the show 'Parks And Recreation'. A lot.

Had a good and a difficult time in Primary today. My Primary class was very good. My son was not.

I really like making soup in my slow cooker.

I wish I didn't have a gigantic, pulsating, angry red zit on my chin. What am I, 13 again?

I loved the weather today.

I really love my new boots.

I am tired and will be going to bed after I post this.

I lost Rob's number, called my Dad and he gave me Rob's cell number, so I called that number, and I'm fairly certain the guy with the thick Asian accent was not my brother Rob. Unless Rob is dodging my calls and faked me out. I'm not a very good sister, so it's entirely possible.

I was busy sewing and didn't notice it was the New Year until 16 minutes after midnight.

My teenage son is really cranky anytime after 9pm.

And before 9pm too.

I still love him.

I want to grow my hair out. But I will most likely get irritated with it and get it cut short again.

Seriously, my boots are too awesome for words.

Still mad.

I miss certain people.

I wish I wasn't so shy. I always thought I would outgrow it. Guess not.

I wish I had a mindless crochet or knitting project I could work on right now, I am in need of something to take my mind off things for a while.

Maybe I'm not really mad, just irritated. And a little sad. And tired.

I'm going to read "Persuasion" for a bit before I go to bed.

I didn't do any holiday baking this year.

I hate all of this "not knowing" business. Seriously, there has to be some kind of reason. ugh.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009: a reprise in pictures


Baked bread often enough that I was able to convert everyone so that they prefer homemade bread over the store bought variety.

Starting to feel settled in our new house.


 Picked my crochet stuff back up again and had fun with a few projects.

Made treat cups for a movie night with the kids.


 Celebrated a birthday with a very pink heart cake, topped with lots and lots of sprinkles at the explicit request of the birthday girl.


  Spent several fun filled days with my sweet friend Amy, who makes the most exquisite Thai food ever. Yum!


Our TV was accidentally pushed out of the tv cabinet and was smashed. We were reduced to using a 13 inch tv until we were able to buy a new one. Thank heaven for tax return time, it enabled us to buy this...


It makes movie night a lot more fun.

Haven got glasses. Cutie.



Celebrated this naughty little punk's birthday. So naughty. So cute.

Had fun making frozen yogurt and ice cream with the kids.  And even more fun eating it.


Joined in on my very first Quilt Along. Loved it.

Made Green Smoothies for the first time.


Celebrated 3 more birthdays.


 The start of the remodel/repairs we thought would only take a few weeks, and instead ended up taking all summer long to complete.



Haven's baptism.

Made a bunch of blankets and handkerchiefs for Craft Hope for orphanages in India.

Quilted a crib sized quilt on my sewing machine using free motion quilting for the first time. Loved it.

Had a portion of the basement tented off due to a chance of hazardous mold growth from the flood earlier that summer. An air scrubber was left to run night and day until we could be sure there was no cross contamination with the rest of the house. There wasn't.



Ended up having to rip out half of the kitchen for the repairs. These cabinets stayed here for several weeks.


Began working on a cheerful and very colorful afghan using granny squares.

Our garden was a success, and we had an abundance of squash to pick from.

The huge amount of zucchini from our garden gave me the opportunity to bake yummy treats like this zucchini chocolate cake.


The rest of the kitchen had to be ripped out, and we were without counters, a sink, or a stove for several weeks.


 We started some demolition and remodeling projects in the entry way and the girls bedroom.


 Craig and Dylan tiled the laundry room floor.


We removed the cast iron woodstove from the dining room and discovered that the brick wall had been a real fireplace after all, and they had bricked over the opening to install the woodstove.


We started canning and preserving.

We had lovely weather most of the month.


We picked, juiced and canned the grapes from our arbor, and ended up with 57 quarts of grape juice concentrate.

My cute sister Heidi came out for some canning fun too, and we had a great time picking apples.


Heidi had the most fun.


Picking the last of the apples for the season.


 The last bit of the canning. Celebrated two more birthdays in between.



I had fun working on and sewing twirl dresses for the little girls. They had even more fun twirling in them.

Finally gave in and had Carpal Tunnel Surgery. Totally worth it.

Gracen decided to cut her hair and gave herself a mullet. *sigh*


 Took her in and had her hair trimmed and fixed. Much better now.

Had a wonderful Thanksgiving with lots of food, family and fun.


Made off with some awesome Black Friday deals, including super cheap winter gear for the kidlets.

Bought some new Christmas ornaments.


Made new dresses for the little girls. They loved the aprons on the skirt. They both love to wear matching outfits. Pretty sure this won't last too much longer.

Decorated the tree.

Got carried away crocheting snowflakes...


and sewing hand muffs.

Had a few snowstorms with enough snow to ensure a white Christmas.


Fought mightily with the binding on this quilt, persevered, and won.


We had a lovely Christmas at home, opening presents with the little ones that morning, and then another round of gifts for the two oldest once they arrived home that afternoon.

Saying goodbye to 2009, and looking forward to what lies ahead in 2010.

Happy New Year!