Friday, September 30, 2011

Keeping Track

A few weeks ago I decided to log as many past and current sewing projects as I could.  I had been mulling over all the sewing projects I've done in my life and only the ones in the last three years have ever been photographed.

I started out with a regular photo album... one with the full page sticky backs and plastic that covers the whole page.  I wanted something with lines to write notes on, so I cannibalized an old journal that I never bothered to use.  Each project gets one full page (front and back) in the album.  The notes and swatches go on the front (in most cases) and the photos on the back.

The cool part is I can write all the important details on the journal page, generally on one side or less, and then move it to the album.  Then I can add fabric swatches, trim/lace pieces, and pictures.  Polar fleece swatches don't work very well, so they don't get added.  I doubt really thick trims would work well either.

As far as information goes, obviously the more recent the project is the more details I can add.  The older ones usually end up with pattern company and number, the type of fabric used, maybe the size made, and where it went.  The newer projects get more details like the fabric mill (if known), the designer's name for the pattern or fabric if applicable, thread brand and composition, what company the notions came from (if applicable), any personal notes or thoughts about the pattern/project as I worked on it, etc.
I'm still playing catch-up with the older sewing projects.  Hopefully I'll get caught up before the year is over.  Then I just have to keep up with the entries as I work.

I don't think I'll do this for crochet or stitching projects.  For those I could pick up photo albums that hold two 4"x6" pictures on a page, put a picture in one slot and an index card with information about the project on the other.  Actually I already did that once before we moved and now that album has gone missing.  So I get to do it all over again.  Happily I hadn't gotten very far into it.

I can probably do something similar to catalog mini projects too.  Not sure how I'd want to do it yet.  It requires more thought.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


These ponies were so much fun to work on and cute to boot!  I have to say this Vogue pattern is now one of my "go-to" patterns for baby gifts.   (The fleece puppy and bunny toys I've already cut out also came from this pattern.)
 I decimated the majority of my fleece stash between these toys and the two hat styles.  In fact you can see pieces for the Tulip Hats in this picture- upper left corner.
 The first five ponies.  Yes I said first.  I have plans to do at least four more.  The three ponies that match the Tulip Hats are going to girl babies that have big sisters.  I just happen to have extra manes, tails, and saddles that match each pony's body color.  I'm going to make the big sisters ponies with the coordinating extras.  Fun fact:  If you look up "glutton for punishment" in the dictionary, you'll find my name.
 Here are the ponies ready to be stuffed.
Stuffed and waiting on embroidered faces.  I'm going with embroidery for the faces on all of the fleece toys because they are for infants.  Much safer that way. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Bit of Full Size Millinery

My grandmother would be proud.  Or at the very least amused.  She in fact was a milliner before marrying my grandfather.  Anyway, I needed a hat to wear to the Steampunk wedding.  Originally I wanted a pith helmet but let's face it... how many times would I wear a pith helmet?  And would it be enough to justify ordering one?  Probably not.  So to the sewing room I went... and the hardware store.

Some cotton print from my stash, some dupioni silk for contrast, a gorgeous trim, some wire....
 Before putting the wire in the brim.
After putting wire in the brim. (Note: I learned later after emailing the wonderful folks at the pattern company that the brim is currently upside down.  There was a correction needed in the instructions and since I made them aware of it, they're sending me a coupon for a free pattern.  Since there will be trim put around the brim both above and below, I don't think it will really matter.)
Currently the hat is waiting on me to get more trim, stitch it on, and then decorate it.  FH is making leather roses and maybe some other flowers as well.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Projects Which Are Cut Out and Waiting

I have several projects that are already cut out and waiting for me to work them into the queue.  At the moment they are all baby gifts.  Not all of them will be giving away right now.  Some will be stashed for the next round of babies.

Fleece bunny toys:
 Fleece puppy toys:
 Fleece pony toys:
In the next post there will be pictures of the ponies coming together.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Putting Through Paces

When I got the Singer back last week I needed to make sure everything was fine before I started back on the brocade waistcoat.  Happily I had a quick project on hand to work up.  Even happier is it's been in my stash since February and it's for me. :-)

 I found kits to make fun half-circle napkins at one of the local quilt shops.  I loved the fabric in one particular kit so much, so I bought enough to make a dozen napkins.  The design is called "Floral Bouquet Napkins" from Boardwalk Quilts.  Here is a link to their on-line store for those interested.
 The finished napkins followed by a close up of the thread colors.  I used green on the cream fabric side and pink on the green fabric.  I'm wishing now I'd have used the pink for both, but they are still pretty and usable so I'm letting it slide.  I may go back and do another row of topstitching so both sides have both thread colors.
All in all this dozen took maybe an afternoon to make.  That's with the fabric pre-shrunk the day before.  I'm planing on putting together some other fabric combinations for holiday gifts once the other sewing is done.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Oh So Dapper

A quick note before the real post commences.  FH and I wanted to thank all my blog friends for their support and condolences with Tempie's sudden passing.  It means a great deal to us.  Happily the blog will still have posts every two to three days for the next several weeks as I've been prepping many ahead of time. 


Here is the finished waistcoat, with cravat, being modeled by FH.  I'm not done with his linen shirt yet, but hopefully will be by the weekend.
If you poke the picture, you'll notice he's growing short mutton chop sideburns to make the effect more fun.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Requiescat in Pace Tempie Bun; 8-1-05 to 9-14-11

September 14, 2011

 This news will probably shock most of my blog friends.  I'm still in shock.  As Wednesday's post was automatically going up at 9:00am, I was watching Tempie refuse to eat again.  And she started exhibiting strange neurological symptoms.

I called FH and he came home from work.  We gathered her up and started driving south.During the ride she snuggled close to my hands and dozed most of the way.  A couple of times it looked like she was having tiny seizures.
 We don't know how it happened, but somehow her intestines and gut became distended creating a block sort of like a kink in a hose.  To make things worse her gut flora were all out of whack, making her gassy and somehow preventing the fluids we were giving to reach a plug of dried food in her intestines. 

 There was additional damage to her intestines as well and a necropsy confirmed she would not have had much more time with us.  And none of that time would've been comfortable.

  I think every human in the room cried.  She's fought off every other challenge in her life.  I guess she just used up all her strength too soon.

 So she went to sleep one last time at the vet's while in her daddy's arms and me stroking her head.  The vet kept saying sweet things to her and she went to sleep.  She was a wonderful companion and can never be replaced.  Binky free my sweet angel.  You are forever loved.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

More Frustration

Tempie stopped eating on last Friday (9.9.11).  Sadly we had just taken her to the vet for a molar trim the week before and thus we were mostly broke.  We had just enough cash to get her a local vet who could take digital x-rays... sadly it seemed I knew more about what I was seeing in the picture than they did. 
Disapproving bun disapproves.
What it showed could either have been digested food or some sort of fibrous material sitting in her colon.  And lots of gas in her intestines.  When rabbits are blocked like that surgery is possible but not always successful. 

So FH and I decided to keep treating her at home with everything we could (freshly pureed pineapple,medicines, Critical Care via syringe feeding, massaging her belly) and hope for the best.  Saturday she stopped swallowing food given via syringe.  She would only take water.  Sunday was an "iffy" day...she passed a marble sized/shaped poo and we're not quite sure how she managed it.  Monday was worse; no improvements and she was visibly weaker.  

On Tuesday she passed another marble after I gave her a butt-bath.  When I put her back in a clean cage she immediately started eating her litter.  I ran and got her fresh food and she started eating it and then started drinking water on her own. 

 At this point we're hoping she continues to improve on her own.  I'll still be medicating her and supplementing her diet with syringe feedings.  Hopefully now she will swallow.  I'm also hoping our regular vet will have received the digital x-rays and have a better idea of what is going on. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Power of Duct Tape

So given that I'm a difficult fit for clothes and sewing anything for me requires a ton of pattern alteration I finally bit the bullet and made a dress form.  Yes.  Made a dress form.  :-)

With the information in this article:, a good friend, a couple of unusual items, and several things I had around the house... I now have a dress form that is (sadly) an exact copy of me.  Once I find the right saw in the garage, I can shorten the pvc pipe to be the correct height for doing hems too.

This does two things for me.  It allows me to sew for myself with greater ease and frustrates the daylights out of me since I haven't been able to loose more than 10 pounds in five years.  *sigh*  Oh well.  That's what the new doctor is for...

Anyways with my purple twin around I can at least make clothes at fit correctly.  And once I loose some tonnage I can easily cut into the form and alter it to fit.  Oh and the black electrical tape is covering lengths of leather lace at the bust, waist (natural), and hip lines.  They will let me see those lines through light/sheer fabrics and feel the lines under dark/heavy fabrics.

Anyone interested in making their own should note:
1. Duct-tape that is any color other than standard silver/gray comes in smaller rolls, so you will need to purchase more of them than their silver counterparts.  I'd advise buying the silver and then three or four rolls of the pretty stuff to use on just the last layer.  I used approximately 145 yards of duct-tape.
2. A person my size should expect to need about 8 pounds of fiberfill.  I used a little over 7.25 and I think the hips aren't as stuffed as they could be.
3. Patio umbrella stands make great bases for these forms.  I bought a metal one so I wouldn't have to worry about sand/water leaking into my sewing room.  Just make sure you measure the diameter of the hole before you buy the pvc pipe for the form.
4. Before you cut the duct-tape covered shirt off, have your friend mark 36" off the floor all around.  This way you'll know your stance for hems... and know how long to cut your pvc pipe.
5. Lastly and most importantly... BEFORE you start getting taped up, use the bathroom!  I was stuck in that thing for about three hours. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Showing Off Bootie(s)

So in the mad dash to finish machine stitches before relinquishing my trusty Singer last week, I was able to prep five pairs of fleece booties.  Add in a random pair that was never finished before and that gave me six pair to finish up.  These are all sized for babies born in late spring-early fall to wear come winter.  After I finish sewing the last two pair that I've already cut, then I get to ponder the smaller size for the two winter babies.

 I used Vogue 7707, view C, but I omitted the suggested piping for the cuffs.  Some of my contrast fabrics were busy enough already.  Btw this Vogue pattern is one of my "go-to" patterns whenever someone is expecting.  I love this pattern.

 The pile o' booties waiting to be sewn.  I started the purple pair before I thought to take a picture.  One blue pair and the cream pair are waiting for me to get back to them.
Six finished pairs of booties.  The navy blue and red were the random pair that were never finished from a few years ago. 
When I was going through my stash of buttons I found a bag of animal faces like the ones I bought for the Panda Nursery.  I guess I liked them more than once!  Of course this means I have a use for all the non-panda faces in the package I have with the mini supplies.

Oh and the Singer is home as of Wednesday morning.  I'm so happy to have it back!
Time to get back to work!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sqeal for New Shoes!

I can't believe I've forgotten to post about these until now!  I have new shoes for the wedding!

They are extremely comfortable.  I've worn them walking around for seven hours at a time without any pain.  I ordered them from Clockwork Couture.  The company is really great to work with and they arrived within enough time that I could have exchanged them for a different size in time for the wedding.

I love these boots!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Back to Sewing Projects

The sewing machine is still gone, but here's another batch of cuteness that got (mostly) finished before it left.

I used the same pattern envelope as the Tulip Hats and made a couple of Newsboy style hats for the boys.  There's going to be at least one in this batch of six, and it never hurts to have a gift stash.  I do think that some of the older sisters might like this kind of hat, so I might be making larger ones in different colors for them.

 The blue and cream hat will probably get a button on top to hide the poorly fit corners.  I think it will be even cuter that way.
 I'm not sure how, but this one turned out perfectly on top.  I think I will leave the button off the top.
Of course FH saw these and asked if one of these was for the one boy we know about.  I said yes and he said, "oh.  I was thinking you should make a red one with a white circle on the front and put and 'M' in the circle."  He has a point.  The parents-to-be are gamer geeks like us and grew up with Super Mario Brothers like we did.  *sigh*  So I have another hat to cut out once the sewing machine is back.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Today is my dad's 91st birthday!  The best gift of all is he's doing really well with learning to walk again.  In a few months the doctor says he'll be able to walk with just a cane again.  :-)

Since I'm actually typing this ahead of time, you'll have to settle for a picture of last year's cake.

Yes.  It was as good as it looks.  That is real fruit.  The full size sheet cake was comprised of two flavors: strawberry mousseline and black forrest cherry. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fleece Tulips

I love sewing for all babies!  And I found the cutest pattern last week.

The first three babies are going to be girls and I thought I could reach a happy medium between my desire to make this style hat and not drowning the babies in pink.  The best part is I only had to buy one yard of fleece (the green), the rest was in my stash... which is now happily depleted.

Add a tiny flower on top to hide the lack of perfect corners and we're all set.
 These are the newborn to six month size, so they'll fit the girls perfectly for winter and be a pretty splash of color.  I'm thinking (hoping) that their ears will also be covered nicely.

I think it took me about three hours to make these.  Or less.  I started them Sunday afternoon and was done in time to watch the football game with FH.