Sunday, March 29, 2009

Smashing Spring Top

My sewing this week has been for Steph and my weekly creativity challenge. This week a spring top. See our joint blog for more photos and the scoop.

My Spring Top, waiting for good weather

This one was a tad to small it's heading to my nieces Laurel & Jordan!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sharing Space

My creative space has been getting much more use by other family members this week. Hopefully participating in the Made by Rae 'Spring Top Week' challenge will get me back in there.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ink Drawings to celebrate with!

I'm trying to learn how to create simple quick ink drawings. Taking inspiration from Monica Sheehan's book "be happy" I tried my hand at a few this weekend to celebrate a two special occasions: An engagement and a 1st birthday!

Card Front

Green Goodness, stitching the world back together: volume 1

This will be my sporadic musings on being green. For the last few months I have been thinking about re-usable wrapping paper. My friend Kathryn was working on her version of this for Christmas gifts and when I finally caught up with my Sew News reading I found that they had a contest in December for re-usable wrapping paper. Taking this inspiration I started formulating a design.

As I had two birthday presents to wrap this month, I decided to put my mind and stitching to this task. I came up with two ideas. One pretty ordinary but effective, the other a bit more creative.

First, I ordered my nephew Ethan a personalized coloring book from for his 4th birthday. To wrap this gift I made a re-usable tote bag, which I personalized with iron on embroidery letters. Hopefully he will learn from a young age the beauty of the tote bag.

I must admit I'm a bit of a tote bag addict. They do make great gifts though. Three years ago I made cloth shopping bags for all my girlfriends for Christmas, they still comment and tell me they are using them three years later.

For this tote I measured the coloring book and cut a piece of fabric one inch wider then the width and twice as long plus two inches. Serged the sides, hemmed the top and added the webbing straps which were recycled from wrapping linens I received as a Christmas gift. I then ironed on the letters.

Second, also from I ordered Keenan's little buddy Oliver a personalized story book for his 1st birthday. For this wrapping I cut a single piece of fabric 13" x 27". My idea was to make cloth napkins which would remain hooked together in the middle for the wrapping. Then the recipient could simply cut between the two of them for use. To accomplish this I choose a decorative stitch that would stop any fraying that might occur after washing and stitched around the edges of both napkins. Leaving about 1/2" between the two napkins side stitching. I pinked the edges to make it more decorative and help cut down on fraying. Then I wrapped the book, using a safety pin as tape. I wrote quick instructions on the back of the card. The end result was a big hit at the party and looked great.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Can you believe how fabulous this fabric is? It was on sale at Fancy Tiger and I had to buy some. It's flannel! I only bought a yard, because I couldn't think what to use it for other than a receiving blanket at the time. Now that I have had some time with it I can think of all sorts of things. I'm going to head back tomorrow to buy a few more yards. I will also get more info, who makes it, designer, etc. for the blog.

And, here they are the completed lizard pajamas. Keenan was kind enough to model for me, although it is a bit tricky to snap a photo as he wants to crawl over and grab the camera. I'm not a huge fan of the pattern I used for the top, Burda 9617. It has snap closures on both sides of the neck, but in a stretch fabric, I don't think any snap closures would be needed. I did make the pants from this pattern on another occasion and they are fantastic, like baby 'hammer time' pants, tons of fullness and fun. I will grab a photo next time Keenan is wearing them. The lizard pant pattern Simplicity 9853 worked great. It is a one piece pant pattern which once you get the hang of it is super easy. With this pattern I was able to accomplish my initial intention of modifying a pattern to fit Keenan. Now what fabric to use for the next round, rough tough park pants?

Today I sent out a last minute invitation to all the creative women I know to invite them to a Swap-O-Rama-Rama this weekend. I believe the original brainchild behind this is Wendy Trymayne you can find her info at Basically you all bring unwanted clothing which you then up-cycle into new garments by de-constructing and reconstructing them. What I love about the idea is that it's not about being perfect, more about being creative and sharing with each other. I'm hoping it will help me break out of my sewing barriers. Hopefully enough people will be available to give it a go. I'm sure the results and photos will be great!

My other project this weekend was to start another blog in collaboration with one of my best friends Stephanie. We both have the intention of being more creative in our daily lives and decided to support each other on this with a joint blog in which we will trade off coming up with a creative challenge to do each week. My task was to come up with the first challenge, Steph's task was to create the blog. Feel free to follow the fun.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Cover up

One of my biggest pet peeves with little boys clothing is that it becomes age inappropriate very early on. After 12 months it seems that you can't find anything without sports, television show characters or monster trucks on it. As my son at 13 months is wearing 24 month tops, we are often given gifts that fit into this category. Recently we were given an orange sweatshirt, my favorite color, with a monster truck embroidered on it. Keenan started wearing it and every time I thought "oh, I just hate that monster truck". Finally last week I thought, I can do something about that and in 15 min. I was able to nicely cover up that monster truck.


Even in this simple change, I was thinking, do you think it's going to look homemade now. I love homemade, why won't I want it to look homemade? Maybe it goes back to my middle school days and being embarrassed by my homemade esprit bag. Hopefully I can instill earlier a love and appreciation of handcrafted items in my son.

This weekend I will be seeing one of my pregnant friends. I typically make receiving blankets for friends but recently have become bored with them, even with the addition of pom pom fringe. I needed something new. Looking around our nursery my eyes fell upon a stuffed frog with a rice heating pack in his belly. We use this all the time. When Keenan is sick we use it to keep him warm and also for easing gas pains. So I made a animal shaped baby rice heating pack. A quick gift using old flannel scraps. It is about 6" in diameter and filled with un-cooked rice. Next time I will add essential oils or herbs for a little scent after warming.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


My son walked for the first time today. Completely in tune with his personality of being strong and confident. He got his balance took a step or two, then you saw the shift in his mind set and he up and walked across the room, amazing!

I feel like I have had a similar shift in mindset and made amazing strides in the last 24 hours creatively. Last night I dropped into a craft night at my local alternative craft store, Fancy Tiger. I have thought about going millions of times and finally did. I was only there for about fifteen minutes as I had to get home to nurse but in the fifteen minutes I was able to have someone mark the sleeves on my jacket remodel and buy more yarn to finish the dryer balls. I also stopped next door at the good will thrift store and found an amazing table cloth, to use for fabric. This is something I have also always wanted to to do, buy linens from a thrift store for fabric. With a $2.99 price tag, this was a great find. My total bill was around five dollars when I added in two pair of pants for my son, perfect!

Thrift Store Fabric

I hurried home to find my son asleep and my evening open for sewing. I finished the dryer balls and put them in with a load of laundry to felt. Next task a shirt to complete my sons pajama set. One thing I find kills my sewing motivation is the task of unfolding a pattern, hunting down the pieces and doing the crazy origami it is to re-fold a pattern. I was stopped dead in my tracks just staring at the pattern envelope. Another deep breath and a thought about the blog and I talked myself into it. An hour later I was sewing on the snaps the final step. Lizard pajamas ready to go.

Today I was home mid-day waiting for a service appointment, he called and was running late. I took advantage of the time and added straps to my sons sun hat, another project lurking around my sewing room since the fall. It maybe took fifteen minutes. Why do I let things like that sit around. I'm feeling really good about the momentum I have started. Just need some inspiration on the jacket. I guess I will start with the sleeves, now that I have them marked.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


This is my blog. Why? A place of inspiration for me. To share the things that I love and make me happy.

I'm hoping it will inspire me to create more. To live the life I dream of living.

I have sewn all of my live, one of my earliest memories is playing with thread cones under my mothers legs while she sewed. She is a sewing goddess, she sews for a living, a sewing teacher. I did competitive sewing, Make it Yourself with Wool, as a child. I was a tailor for a department store during high school and college. All of this adds up to being a great seamstress.

The problem: I'm to confined, to perfect, everything has to be done the right way.

The goal: to break through this mental block, get dirty creatively, have failures along with triumphs and love every part of it.

This problem does not just reside with sewing, I am creative for a living a landscape architect. It holds me back at work, at play and in my interactions with the world. I'm going to change that.

Current Projects:

My son turned one in January he is a string bean, tall and skinny. Clothes don't fit his body well, so I am working on altering a pattern to fit his unique body. My first attempt is a pair of pajamas out of fabric covered in 'leaping lizards'.

Already I am feeling critical about this project and posting this photo. Deep breath, this project is fun and full of love. Who wouldn't want a lizard on there butt at night.

Next Project: one for me. Recycling a wool jacket originally constructed by my sister for 'Make it Yourself with Wool'. I think at the time this was a winner. Now a bit outdated, but I love the gathered back. I'm thinking I will shorten the sleeves and jazz it up a bit. Maybe some funky lining or a cool embroidery design, ala Oilily. Any thoughts or ideas out there?

Final current project, and by current I mean the ones that I am actively working on. If I listed all the projects in the works, well that would be ridiculous. If you sew, you know what I mean.

Dryer Balls! My husband calls me a hippie because I am an all natural, tree hugging, granola eating, home canning, CSA loving momma. So my current green project is dryer balls. Basically balls of wool yarn, felted and used to fluff stuff in the dryer in place of dryer sheets. I read a blog on how to make them after seeing them offered on Etsy (I heart Etsy!)

I have made wool felted balls before for my son to play with. I used instructions from a waldorf craft book for those. This was a terrible, time consuming, hand felting process. The instructions I'm using this go around seem much more user friendly. Make the yarn balls, about the half the final size of 6"diameter, put balls in nylon sock and tie off. Throw it in the washer and dryer with your clothes. This will partially felt the ball. Next finish making the ball to just larger than the desired finished size. Back into the nylon sock and wash/dry again until desired felting is achieved. Wala! Mine are halfway done. I ran out of yarn. That is today's outing.

And there it is my first post. Kinda fun!