family, knitting, living

Posts tagged “sewing

Misc……

It’s been a busy summer here. I feel like I have spent the entire Summer behind and without enough energy to do everything I want. (or at least everything I think I should be able to do and still have time to enjoy life)
I spent the day with the girls…all day…a day they needed and I needed. We are together all of the time except for the 30 or less hours I work each week. But, I spend so much of my down time trying to play catch up that we don’t spend large chunks of quality time together. So today, we finished breakfast and were in Grey’s room by 10. Grey spent all day working on making American girl doll hammocks using her sewing machine. I was there for moral support and the occasional tech assistance or to talk her down off the ledge. Mycah cuddled up with me and I helped her with her hand sewing and we watched Julia and Jaques make desserts on Hulu. We all had a really good time. I also knit a bit between consultations. Grey said this was the best day ever and I have to agree. Here are pics of Grey creating and of her creations. I am also throwing in picks of the 16 pounds of zuchini I shredded, bread I made, sweater I finished a bit ago and the shawl I started. Busy, busy….but in a good way.

20120723-220641.jpg

20120723-220652.jpg

20120723-220704.jpg

20120723-220712.jpg

20120723-220728.jpg

20120723-220736.jpg

20120723-220751.jpg

20120723-220801.jpg

20120723-220811.jpg

20120723-220835.jpg

20120723-220846.jpg

20120723-220855.jpg

20120723-223119.jpg

20120723-223138.jpg


Gardening May 20 and a Finished Object

Well, the garden is growing by leaps and bounds.  I am a week late in staking the tomatoes and like always…I regret it!  Good grief, they have taken on a life of their own and I am waiting for one of them to stand up and say “FEED ME.”  I started making tepees for the tomatoes and cutting them back, but only got through five or so. I went ahead and put the tepees in, but have not yet trimmed and tied up the rest.  I was too busy finally unfurling my espalier fruit trees.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espalier  We have five apples, a crab apple and two pears.  We have not been able to allow them to be completely untied because we had not finished the permanent support system for them.  Today Henry finished the work (with a little help from my dad) and we were able to remove all temporary support and attach them to their new home.  I am so thrilled.   They look stunning and I found a couple of pears growing and a lot of crab apples.  I was hoping for fruit this year, but not counting on it due to transplant shock.  I think we will get a little, but not much.  Next year should be great, though.

ImageImageImageImageImageImage

In totally unrelated news, I finished the skirt I have been working on for about six weeks.  I sew on the bus and any time I am waiting in line or for the girls.  This skirt is from Natalie Chanin’s first book, Alabama Stitch Book.  http://www.amazon.com/Alabama-Stitch-Book-Celebrating-Contemporary/dp/B004KAB3FC/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1337567159&sr=8-3  As you can see on her site, you can purchase a hand made skirt from her and would not have to do the work.  http://alabamachanin.com/store/collection  However, I am a little too stingy and a lot too interested in making to actually by one.  She shows all fo her techniques and even gives the patterns in her books.  I had the good fortune to meet her one time when I took a workshop with her and I must say…she is very genuine and warm.  I love her business model, her dedication to sustainability and her love of her home.  AND>>>>>>I LOVE MY SKIRT!

ImageImageImageImageImage

I have to say…I am feeling a little lost without my skirt at my side, calling out to me to do a little stitching.  I have to decide what to start on next.  I really want to make a couple of tops from her newest book.  I wonder if I can get it done before our vacation???


E is for Enlightened

e was a hard one for me.  I have chosen this word based on a random word generator, so I am really stretching here.  However, I am enlightened after my weekend with Lori.  Lori is my best friend and a master seamstress/costume designer/patterning instructor/college professor…etc.  She has been working with me for a couple of years on my sewing skills.  I have a high desire to learn, but apparently little patience.  I have been progressing steadily and have made two or three dresses for each of my girls, a skirt for each of them and a couple of tops for myself.  With hose items i learned to do pleats, to install and invisible zipper, do a buttonhole, elastic, hem and make small adjustments in a pattern.  the one thing that I have avoided at all cost has been bias tape.  I attempted a blouse from http://www.amazon.com/One-Piece-Wearables-Garments-Accessories-Domestic/dp/1592533442
One Piece Wearables that  made heavy use of boas tape before my sewing lessons with Lori.  I made the rookie mistake of trying to encase the raw edges in one pass and the result was so poor that I threw the entire lot in the trash!  I have avoided all bias since then.  well, that, my friends, is over.  Lori taught me some of the tricks of the trade regarding bias tape using the very same pattern that had kicked my butt before.  So…I have been enlightened…thanks to Lori.  No bias tape will ever kick me again!!!!


C is for Crafting Our Lives

Craft is both a noun and a verb.  The noun craft means, among other things, a skill or ability, especially in handwork.  The verb craft means, among other things, to make or fashion with skill.
In college while working on my BFA, majoring in metalsmithing and minoring in sculpture, I had a tenuous and stressful relationship with the notion of “craft.”  In the academic context, “craft” was second tier due to the utilitarian implications of a craft, such as jewelry making, ceramics, fabric arts, etc.  It seemed the only way to legitimize that kind of handwork was to turn it on its head.  Even then, irony reigned supreme when dealing with “crafts.”  On the other hand, my sculpture professor railed about the lack of craftsmanship in some of my peers work.  Craft has forever been a word loaded with meaning for me.
Today, I have allowed myself a little more freedom and take a little more comfort in using the word craft.  I think I prefer craft as a verb and the definition of “to make something with skill.”  Arguably, not everything I do is with the skill of an expert, some may say none of what I do is expert.
Here are some of the thins I have been crafting this week.  not all of them were perfect, but they were done with love and a sincere commitment to doing the best I could at the time.
This is a wall organizer I hacked for my husband.  Henry looses his keys, his wallet and his phone on a daily basis.  I decided that he needed a place to charge his phone, stash his wallet, camera and keys that could live at the front door.  I knew I wanted it to hang on the wall so it was not more clutter on the table.  So, I found these Real Simple wall pouches.  I really liked them other than the bland canvas.  I jazzed them up a bit with some Anna Marie Horner fabric   http://store.annamariahorner.com/  .  (Nashvillan, by the way)  The little pocket is for his cell phone and enables him to plug it in for charging and hang it!  He really likes it and i am really happy I have crafted up some piece for me and him…now I don’t have to nag and he doesn’t have to stomp around looking for his phone!
These are lotion bars I crafted with my friend Aziza.  We are trying to get a little cottage business started.  we are currently focusing on finding the best organic ingredients, perfecting our methods and packaging these little jewels.  They are beeswax, cocoa butter and shea butter.  They smell so good and have no fragrance at all.  Our little lotion bars are more than just lotion bars, they are the product of a couple of women crafting a friendship.
This little picture is terribly hard to see, I know.  But, trust me, it is one of my most favorite things I am currently crafting at the moment.  This is an apron for one of Mycah’s teachers.  Another mom, my friend Camille, is making one just like it for the other teacher in the class.  Mycah is in a mixed age kindergarten.  They are 4, 5 and 6 year olds.  We had them write their own names on a piece of paper and then laid them out in a pleasing composition and transferred them tot he aprons.  We are now embroidering each child’s name.  Each little name I embroider causes me to think of that little person.  The handwriting even looks like each child.  Mycah’s teachers are amazing women and I hope that the little imprint each child left on this apron will remind them of the love those children feel for them.  Camille adapted this idea from Amanda Soule’s book, the Creative Family.  http://www.soulemama.com/  Amanda embroidered her children’s drawings onto linen for simple, beautiful bookmarks.  I thought this was a great adaptation that Camille thought up and cannot wait to finish it so the teachers can enjoy them.
The last set of pictures is from my most important and ongoing project…my family.  Henry and I spend a good deal of time crafting our lives and those of our girls’.  Growing a family is a craft, a skill on is not born with and one that no one tells you how to do.  This was Saturday night a tour first neighborhood movie in the park night.  We walked the 2ish blocks to the park dragging our trusty and dilapidated red wagon filled with a blanket, bug spray, glow sticks and snacks.  The movie of the night was The Goonies.  It was an amazing night, one well worth the effort, just like any fine craft!
Whoops…forgot my little ironic song……….. http://youtu.be/hbjOEnxTF8c

New entry, without photos or finished objects!

I’ve spent most of my free time sewing with Lori today.  (the time that was not filled with making dinner, taking grey to a playdate, meeting with the contractor or the myriad fo other things that seem to happen over the course of a day)  Anyway, I cut out my pattern after extensive alterations to said pattern by Lori.  I happen to be very lucky as Lori is a fashion design and patterning instructor at a university in GA.  So, she worked on a commercial pattern that I purchased because it was similar to one of my favorite summer shirts.  I am very hot natured these days and I hate to wear unflattering things just because they are cooler.  So, I thought  I would make a few tops.  Lori have really worked on this pattern to get it to fit me and look the way I want.  Of course, i happen to like details…those little details  that make sewing something an absolute crazy pain in the ass and I am an adventurous beginner at best.  I made several error s this evening due to being tired and having a headache, so I have nothing to show you.  In the morning I will rip part of the neckline out and sew in the facing.  then I will hem tha shirt and I will be able to show you a beautiful finished object…………I hope.

On a totally different note, I started a pair of socks last night and they are going well.  They are infinitely more portable than the shawl that has to grow beyond comfortable portability!!!!


Randomness and Catch-up, again, again, again

I am determined to post tonight.  In all honesty I have wanted to post a number of times over the last month and have just become too irritated with the Mac to do it.  See, I have been a PC user until this past Christmas>  I needed a new computer, so Henry bought me the one I wanted terribly… MacBook Pro.  It is awesome, but I did not take a clas…I am not that kind of person, I like to figure things out on my own.  Unfortunately, the thing that would have helped me the most is what I need to post easily.  I need a simple explanation as to where to store things and how to access them easily so that I can load the photos into my post.  Agggghhhhh, I will beat this!

Anyway, onto the blog.  We are in the middle of renovation land at the moment.  The new house has had much work done to her and will have much more work to come.  Henry and I have painted the living room, the dining room, the guest room downstairs, and the girls playroom.  Now, while this may sound like no big deal, let me explain…..our gal is tall!  She has 12ft ceilings which required the purchase of a baker scaffold.  We have not turned on the air as we want the house to air out both the paint fumes and the order that she has acquired before our purchase.  Anyway, it is hot in TN.  It takes me and Henry 2 days per room to lay on two coats of paint.  The dining room took three days because we had to paint the poop-BROWN ceiling.  We still have the girls room, our room, two bathrooms and the yet to be completed kitchen to paint.

In addition to the painting, we will be ripping out the master bath due to some hidden water damage and not hidden hideousness and the kitchen will be finished by the contractor and a library will be built in the other guest room downstairs.   All of this is supposed to be complete by the end of July so that we can move in and get settled before the girls start school.  We are crazy!  We will make it.  Here are a couple of pictures for your enjoyment>>>

That’s the kitchen before.

Above is the before of the dining room.

In news unrelated to the house, I have been doing a bit of sewing, knitting and hand sewing.  I took a class with Lori at Textile Fabrics http://www.textilefabricstore.com/public_html/  .   The class was on reverse applique and was with Natalie Chanin.  http://alabamachanin.com/   It really got me excited about working on ANYTHING again.  I have barely knit in the last couple of months because of the house and because I had gone back to work temping for my old company.  I have been so busy and so tired, I have not felt like doing anything.  It was great to get my hands busy making something again.  The creating bug bit hard, so I took advantage of having Lori at hand and dug out two old unfinished sewing projects.  Last summer I attempted a dress for each girl and made some fatal errors in the construction.  This was before my week long sewing lesson with Lori.  I sheepishly dug them out to show her.  She said it was salvageable and we began to rip.  We ripped out most of my sewing, ironed and repaired.  Now, my girls each have the dresses I promised them last year.  I also cut out another dress for Grey last night and sewed it.  She was pretty pleased with it as well!

I would love to tell you more, but I will save it for later as this stupid post has taken an hour!!!!


A Little Catching Up…Again

Sorry about the utter lack of content of late.  All summer has been spent visiting our dear friends in GA or them visiting us.  We also went to the beach with them…so we have been burning up the road.

The girls started school about two weeks ago.  I would like to say that I have been lounging in my satin robe eating bon-bons hand fed to me by Henry.  Alas, I cannot.  I have been volunteering at the library a good t, taking yoga a couple times per week, going crazy with Mycah’s chef birthday party and being a bit under the weather.  Oh, well…I don’t like sitting on my ass anyway….it just gets wider when you do that!

One trip to GA was exceptionally productive for me and I do have a couple of pictures to prove it……of course, I had to steal them from Wendy’s website.  (more on that later)  I’m sure everyone who reads this blog knows that I have some talented friends.  One of whom, is he Fashion Instructor at a private university in GA.  She is responsible for directing my husband’s purchase of my new pride and joy…the Bernina.  She decided that I needed some intensive sewing lessons; as in 4 days of non-stop, 10 hour a day sewing.  I had a really good start from working with Tracy and from the little knowledge needed to do the finish work on my knitting.  So, we worked and worked.  I learned how to make box pleats, how to finish seam allowances, how to make buttonholes and to put in invisible zippers.  I also learned the fine art of pressing and interfacing.  Anyway…I came away with a shirt for myself, a dress for each girl and a skirt for each girl.  AND…they actually look like something I would pay for…in a store!  Here’s a pic of the dresses and my top.

5491_1221581217490_1167727645_670122_4496992_n

Now I am just going to add a bunch of photos…some of from the first day of school and some are from Mycah’s Birthday Party.  She had a chef’s birthday…that explains the aprons.  The kids made a mess and had a blast.  Also, the photo from the last post with the yarn and such in it is from a swap I received from a  great gal in VA.  I was trying to get the picture from here to Ravelry asap since it is bad form not to acknowledge receiving a swap as soon as you get it.  Plus, I got a great swap, so I really, really wanted to make sure my partner knew I was appreciative.  So, I threw it up on the blog hoping it would help me get it on Rav….it didn’t work.  I had to link to my blog.  But, at least it is in the blogosphere, somewhere.

One more thing, check out the photos Wendy took of the girls.  They are on her website.  She is starting up her photography business and I have to say…if you are in Middle TN, you’d be foolish not to use her!!!!!     http://takingsnapshots.squarespace.com/