Sunday, May 31, 2009

Finished in the car on the way to Bar Harbor...

pleated beauty handbag-back
Originally uploaded by mcghol "Pleated Beauty Handbag" from "Bend the Rules Sewing." I'm so pleased with this bag! Looking at everyone's photos on Flickr, I was worried that it would come out much too large. But I felt too amateur to be messing around with the measurements, so I just trusted the pattern and dove in, using that favorite vintage sheet (seen here and here and here before) and a vintage curtain. On the front is the free-motion embroidered flower I made. The back is unadorned. In the car on the way up to Maine, I stitch-ripped the other flower I'd added and then didn't like. I also finished hand-sewing the lining in the car.

This bag turned out to be perfect for vacation. Big enough for my usual purse stuff, plus diaper stuff, hat, sweater, burp cloth, sling, and sometimes more for Lucy, plus camera and whatever touristy brochures we picked up, plus books I bought along the way. But not too huge, as I'd feared. Just right!

(I'm not usually quite so matchy-matchy in my outfits. But, hey--I was on vacation. My options were limited. And who knows me there?)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

First swap!

Yay! I'm joining my first swap. It's a fat quarter swap, hosted by Two Hippos. Unfortunately, I'm such a newbie blogger, I can't figure out how to add the widget she created. Click on over to her blog to find out more.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fabric hunting on vacation

Long time no post...because, thank goodness, we're on vacation! We're on our now-annual trip to Bar Harbor, Maine. Will post more crafty goodness soon; I finished up my "Bend the Rules Sewing" "Pleated Beauty Handbag" in the car on the way up here, and am using it as my giant touristy purse/diaper bag/mom carry-all. It's been working great. I was thrilled today when the woman in the fabric shop noticed it and asked if I'd made it.

What? Fabric shop? Aren't I on the beach, or hiking up a mountain, or browsing the cute towns? No...I'm escaping for a few hours, given a break from my miserably crying baby by my wife. Let's talk about something more pleasant...

So I went to a tiny new in-town fabric store, a bigger just-over-the-bridge fabric store, and a huge surplus store which has fabric, and had a great time browsing all three. I saw fabrics and lines I'd only seen before on blogs, and got a few little bits to keep--a gorgeous Amy Butler print for me, the Alexander Henry cars one for a friend whose son will love it, and three great prints to add to Lucy's quilt. I wanted so much more! I can see how people amass crazy stashes.

Photos to come...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Free-motion flower for Pleated Beauty Handbag

Ok, this is the most fun I've ever had sewing on my machine so far! What? You haven't tried free-motion embroidery yet? Go try it!

This is all I've managed to accomplish yet on my "Pleated Beauty Handbag," which I'm planning to bring on vacation this weekend. Will I be able to finish in time?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sew therapy

It's been a rough week around here. After a particularly hard day, I was due for some "sew therapy." I began cutting out the pieces for the "Pleated Beauty Handbag" from "Bend the Rules Sewing," but got distracted when I started thinking about whether or not I wanted to include the free-motion machine embroidery (and whether or not I could even do that...). So I pulled out the sewing-machine manual and the box of parts, and lo and behold, I have a darning plate! Who knew? So I messed around with curvy lines and a flower. I definitely have a way to go to do this right, but it sure was fun and satisfying for a first try! (The flower looks better with a button center. Maybe I'll do that on my bag?)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Independence Days challenge, week 3

Week 3; plugging away little bit by little bit.

1. Plant something: spinach, kale, 3 types of lettuce.
2. Harvest something: violets.
3. Preserve something: violet jelly.
4. Reduce waste: used the leftover lemon peels from jelly to make candied lemon peels, rather than simply composting them as usual. Hoping it will be one little bit less candy I'll buy, too.
6. Build community food systems: Got children's help collecting violets for jelly. Made the jelly with a neighbor who's new to canning.
7. Eat the food: still using frozen squash in quick breads, and trying to use up last bits of frozen berries before they're in season again.

Shades of blue

Finally getting around to writing about some older projects...

First, I made myself a third skirt using "Sew What! Skirts." I'm getting a little better each time. This one fits me more closely, and I like the way it looks, though it's a bit snug when I sit. I love this fabric (vintage sheet--used in Lucy's kimono, too) and didn't want to waste it on a badly-made skirt, so I was waiting until I got a bit better! I'm pretty happy with it overall, although after wearing it once, I realize I'm going to have to undo the waist to tighten up the elastic. I love the vintage curvy trim I used, which you can see on the photo of the pocket detail (please ignore the marking-pen lines--hadn't washed it yet).

Next up is my second try at transforming a onesie into a dress (I've complained before about how onesies get damp with our wool diaper covers, although that problem seems to be lessening over time--are we getting better at cloth diapering? are the covers getting more absorbent?) I sliced off the bottom of the onesie with a rotary cutter and sewed on a gathered skirt made from a vintage pillowcase. I added vintage rick-rack and buttons, and then made a matching pair of bloomers, again from "Weekend Sewing."

And, coming soon...violet jelly (from a recipe here). Here's the first step, which I did today with the kids...gathering the violets.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Independence Days challenge, week 2

It's been a really hard week around here, so I completely forgot to post about the Independence Days Challenge. Here's my measly account:

1. Plant: lemon thyme, creeping rosemary, grape tomatoes, anise, yarrow
7. Eat the food: I'm still working on clearing out last year's frozen food to make room for this year's. We've made lots of bread and muffins with frozen squash and pumpkins. But Andi's on this insane elimination diet right now to try to address a possible allergy for Lucy, which means she can no longer eat locally, vegetarian, or any of our stored food. We're buying all kinds of things we normally wouldn't.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Modeling the mama-made wardrobe

I guess I've been sewing quite a bit, because there have now been several days when Lucy's worn entirely mama-made outfits! Here she is, modeling "Lucy's Kimono" (from Weekend Sewing) and a pair of her felted-wool-sweater longies. The kimono came out pretty cute after all!

Independence Days challenge

So far, this has been a crafty blog. But I was a late-comer to crafty mama blogs. The first blogs I read were environmentalist blogs...and that's a big part of who I am. In the same way that I'm super-focused on learning more about sewing this year, last year I was intensely focused on local food. (We're still committed to eating locally, but now it's just a matter of course.) One thing that really helped define my summer last year was Sharon Astyk's Independence Days Challenge. She challenged me to try to plant and preserve a little every day, rather than trying to do it all in one fell swoop. So, I'm in again, although I'm already behind this year! (I'm going to cut myself a bit of slack, though, in this new-mama year.)

The full explanation is on her blog, but the general categories to tackle each week are:
1. Plant something
2. Harvest something
3. Preserve something
4. Reduce waste
5. Preparation and storage
6. Build community food systems
7. Eat the food.

I like the idea of posting on Mondays, because I'm most likely to have accomplished something on the weekend. So here's what I've done this week (not much!):

1. Planted: 3 Guomi bushes, 2 Aronia bushes, 2 Sandra Berry vines, 1 Ruby Autumn Olive bush, 1 Serviceberry tree, feverfew, bee balm, horseradish
2. Harvested: hardly anything--a snippet of chives here and there...
6. Build community food systems: I did most of the planting with the 1-5 year-old children in my early-childhood program, and they're eagerly awaiting the harvest. I'm also re-introducing them to the herb garden, where they harvest snacks every day. And I guess showing my freaky food-storage self to my "huge" bloggy audience should count here, too.
7. I'm working on clearing out the freezers of last year's produce in preparation for this years. I'm stretching the last few jars of applesauce by mixing them with pureed frozen blueberries and strawberries.

There's a big plant sale this Saturday, so maybe that will get me motivated!