Today, I’m thankful for the impulse purchase of a Nutty Bar while I was getting Powerade (to go with my lunch). The bagel sandwich turned out to be a poor choice, so at least I won’t go hungry now.
Any randomness you’re thankful for?
Today, I’m thankful for the impulse purchase of a Nutty Bar while I was getting Powerade (to go with my lunch). The bagel sandwich turned out to be a poor choice, so at least I won’t go hungry now.
Any randomness you’re thankful for?
Didn’t I promise you pictures of pretty fabric on Monday? Yeah, I knew when I wrote that it was bad news, but I thought maybe, just maybe, it would motivate me. Alas, the project I chose to work on (the benefit of having finished my homework over the weekend)… not so much pretty. Good, but not what you would consider pretty (unless you really like hot pink jersey).
As for the photos, well, I did the best I could, considering it was late and I was using the timer to take them of myself. There are shadows in everything, but at least I didn’t use the flash!
I used Simplicity 6902, which is a vintage pattern from 1975. I liked that it was basic, and only required a yard of fabric (I had three such selections of fabric, and its harder than you might think to find adult-sized clothing that only takes a yard of knits).
I traced the pattern pieces (for views 1 & 3) onto my Swedish Tracing Paper, since the whole thing was uncut and in excellent condition (like, barely breathed upon condition). Then I pulled out my favorite t-shirt and lengthened the pieces accordingly. I traced the 10 instead of the 12 because when I held up the shirt I liked to the pieces, they seemed much bigger, and I’m not so much into baggy t-shirts.
As you can see, once it became time to hem this one, I decided to crop it up anyway, and probably a bit too much. That’s OK, though, because part-way through hemming I realized that this was going to have to be a sleep shirt and not a for-public shirt anyway (my machine was being really weird with that bottom hem, and the stitches are a bit wonky; also, I had a hard time hemming the sleeves because I didn’t follow the directions). It was, after all, essentially my muslin to test out the pattern, so it’s all good.
On this shirt, I learned how to do a proper neckline on a knit shirt, which was awesome. I think I’d do it a bit thicker next time, but that’s a small detail. Also, I love these sleeves (imagine them not so baggy). The whole thing went together in a much different order than I’m used to – shoulders, neckline, sleeves, sides, hem – but that really worked and made it easy. Including tracing, cutting, sewing, and hemming, this took me about 3 hours. I think I could get that down a great deal, especially if I decided to do some assembly-line sewing.
I plan on making view 3 (with the puffy sleeves) out of a green tissue knit that is just like the pink here. That might go poorly, since I have mixed feelings on puffy sleeves, but I’m willing to give it a chance. As a side note, I adore this fabric! It’s very lightweight and cozy and yet isn’t see-through (like most tissue knits – isn’t that what they’re called? I’m trying to remember from a few years back when they were all the rage). I might have to see if I can get some more.
On Monday, I mentioned that I spent some time cleaning my office over the weekend. I have some pics to share – be forewarned, though, because I took these late at night, so some are a bit fuzzy. Also, cleaned might not be the right word. Organized is more appropriate. The last picture, for you OCD-types, might make you a bit twitchy. My apologies.
OK, so you didn’t see the before, but the above picture is a huge improvement. Trust me.
Now, breathe deeply, and I’ll show you the organized version of my sewing table.
If you click on the photo, I’ve outlined all the details, but basically those two stacks in the middle there (actually 4 stacks, since they’re two deep) are projects that are either partially started or ones where I’ve managed to match fabric with a pattern (and for the latter, only the matched-up ones that are vaguely summery – I stored the wintery ones in the cabinet). Also, there used to be another box down there underneath, and that’s now gone. And I dusted. And the box in the bottom right-hand corner is stuff to post on Etsy, Craigslist, or toss in the Goodwill pile. You can kind of see the new rug – my office chair doesn’t like it, and especially doesn’t like rolling half on the hardwood floor, half on the rug, so… it might not be staying. I did like having something there, though.
I think I’ll knock out two more shirts (using the above pattern) this weekend, and then I can dig into one of the already-started projects that I found in that box (which may or may not be salvageable – I am a bit bigger than I used to be, especially in the hip area).
In keeping with the spirit of my earlier promise, most of those fabrics up there are very pretty. They’re just not terribly visible.
Saturday we went out to shop for Rav4s. Remember last week when I said I knew exactly what I want? Well, Saturday we went off in search – just looking, of course. There was no rush, as the Focus is running fine. The first dealership didn’t have anything in the right color (they only had 6 Rav4s, and the closest to acceptable was Everglade Metallic, which is basically seafoam green, and not what I was looking for). We stopped to refuel, and then continued on to the next dealership. There aren’t really that many Toyota dealers in the Twin Cities area, so we ended up about an hour from our house.
They didn’t really have what I wanted either, since only two had 4WD (the color choices there were red or Super White – seriously, it’s called that). But, the salesman thought he had something else, and went to go see. He drove up in a 2008 (with 4WD, in silver) and we went for a test drive. Just like my other test drives of Rav4s, it was splendid, and just what I wanted.
haggled like a mad man (OK, he was actually quite calm, but completely willing to walk away from the fabulous deal we were offered), and it took an hour to convince them to knock the price down. Then another half hour of waiting for the finance people, and we were set to drive home!
That was quite draining. The finance person asked us how long we were planning on keeping the car. I said, “I don’t want to have to go car shopping for a really long time.” And truthfully, I really don’t. That was one of the deciding factors in which year models I was looking at (because while the 2003s are perfectly lovely, and owning a car with 100,000+ miles on it is no big deal to me after all the other ones I’ve driven, it would mean that I would have to go car shopping sooner than, say, a 2006 or 2007). We left the house at 11 and didn’t return until almost 5.
Complaints about the process aside, I couldn’t be happier. After extending our insurance policy to cover the Rav, we took it on its inaugural trip (excluding the drive home from the dealership)… to Home Depot. Because if we’re going to spend money somewhere, it’s a 50% chance that it’ll be at Home Depot. This is the life of a homeowner. Plus, we wanted to use the storage capacity of the Rav. We bought the extension ladder we’ve needed for a long time and strapped it to the top – that’s what those bars are there for, let’s use them! It was very exciting.
I don’t know if I’ve ever been so happy about a car. I still don’t know half of the things it does ( found the aux port, hiding in the center arm rest), but I’ve got the book to figure it all out (yes, I plan on reading the book – don’t you? I’ve never owned a car this new – who knows, it might have a “flight” button or “microwave popcorn” feature). Almost everyone who buys a Rav4 loves it, so I have a feeling I’ll be happy with this car for a loooong time.
Incidentally, it has to live outside for a while because 1) I have projects all over my side of the garage, and 2) it doesn’t actually fit in the garage yet. The ramp (from the previous owner) will have to be shaved down. The Rav is only 6 inches wider than the Focus, but I killed the passenger-side mirror on that at least twice.
[Edited to add: oh, we got it for several thousand less than retail. Thank you, Kelley Blue Book, for clarifying just how awesome of a deal we got.]
We now return you to your regular blog, in which I don’t talk about cars. I promise pictures of pretty fabric tomorrow.
I missed out on FF last week because I was keeping my giveaway open. Bummer. But, I’m back!
via Friday Fill-Ins
*I can now confidently say, “I want this make and model, these years are acceptable, this transmission, 4WD**, and these specific colors, please.” It feels really good to make a decision like that. That is, for someone like me, who often has trouble deciding what to have for lunch or what to watch on TV. Big decisions are sometimes easier, because there’s a lot more research you can do, and they naturally take a bit more time anyway. We started looking in early June, so it hasn’t been too long. (By “started looking,” I mean “we went to two dealerships on a rainy Saturday afternoon and haven’t been back since and have been ignoring phone calls from the nice salesman who’s just trying to do his job well.”)
**It’s not really 4WD. It’s 2WD, and it switches over to 4WD when things get dicey, like driving on icy Minnesota roads in September December. Just thought I’d clear that up. It is in no way an off-road vehicle or anything really requiring 4WD (don’t really see myself off-roading anyway).
People have strong feelings about matching. If I understand things correctly, coordinating and symmetry are good, but matchy-matchy is bad. So, let’s call this new jewelry “coordinating.”
I made up this necklace/earring set Tuesday night, with the intent of wearing it with the pictured shirt on Wednesday. I’ve made quite a few necklaces, which is odd since I don’t really wear them much. I think one of the problems is that lots of necklaces are the wrong length for button-front shirts. I made this one as adjustable as possible, so while it’s short enough to wear with a button-front shirt, it could also be worn with a smooth-front shirt. Anyway… Perhaps not the most efficient way (time and energy-wise) to make jewelry, but it got the job done (and wasn’t hard to find the next morning, since I’d set the set aside, along with the shirt).
I’m actually quite proud of those last two shots, considering I took them myself while wearing said jewelry, using the mirror in the bathroom to check the view.
The only problem I had was that the flowers, which are on a separate chain that dangles behind the leaf pendant, often moved around and were out of place – to the side of the pendant, in front of it…. I couldn’t hang them directly from the pendant, however, because there was no room for that. I’m wondering now if I can figure out a way to slightly affix the chain to the pendant in some way that is not visible. I’ll have to look into it.
This was the first time I’ve made any jewelry since… early June, I think. I had moved my supplies up to my office (instead of in the family room by the TV) because we had a house guest, and they never moved back downstairs. I thought about it several times, but there’s an embroidery project that I should be working on instead, because there’s a deadline, so I didn’t let myself play with beads. I made an exception this once.
I made a dress this weekend, and it was actually wearable! In public! In fact, I wore it all day yesterday. No one asked if I made it (another success), and I kind of got compliments on it. But, before I show it to you, I thought it’d be funny to review my dress failures.
So, you understand why, when I asked what my chances of success were for my next attempt, he voted for failure. I mean, 4 1/2 out of 5 failures? I seem doomed. [Editor's note: it seems like this curse is solely limited to dresses. I've made some fantastic skirts in the meantime, and some other projects that I haven't exactly finished yet (hello, trouser pants with the weird bunching under the zipper). And my quilting projects have overwhelmingly been a success. That's comforting, right?]
I had a feeling this might be a success, however. Let’s break it down so you can see why.
I absolutely love this fabric, too. It’s a “stretch luxe jersey” something from Fabric.com (that’s no longer available), and I’m glad that I have a couple of yards in cream. It has great drape, and is just a bit slinky (as in, must wear smoothing undergarments). The only problem with it is that it doesn’t breathe. At all. Never again will I wear this dress for a lunchtime walk in 85* weather. Yuck. But overall, it’s great fabric. I think I’m going to use what’s leftover to make a tank top, if I have enough.
I’m so happy it all worked out! Is the curse lifted? We’ll see. Monday night, I tried to pick out another dress to make, and could not match up any fabric with a pattern (though I have ample amounts of both). I’m still a bit gun shy, I suppose. So, I spent the evening doing a tiny bit of cleaning in my sewing room, and finishing up two projects (that olive linen dress? hemmed, and I hemmed the lining of a store-bought dress that needed a small modification to be wearable).
My next step is to pick out a dress pattern that will look good made out of cotton, because that’s the majority of my stash. If you have recommendations (knee-length, fitted at the waist please), let me know.
I was trying to keep the giveaway front and center last week, so I didn’t blog on Thursday and Friday. I had tons to say, but I don’t remember any of it. Bummer. I did take some pictures, though. Very random….
Lastly, some pictures I took with my iPhone while drove me home from class last week (we were a one-car family for a week while he had some work done on his car)….
I’ll tell you about my weekend (and a success story) tomorrow!
We had some bad weather this weekend, but only lost some tree branches.
Oh, you didn’t care about that? You want to know who won the giveaway?
Thanks to everyone who entered! I had draw the winners, so his comment didn’t count (not that it would have anyway). He drew #6 and #2.
So, congratulations to Amy, winner of the stack of batiks, who said:
And, congratulations to Adrienne, winner of the quilt, who said
I’ve sent you both emails!
Regular posting will resume shortly….
This marks my 3,000th blog post! Here is a screenshot to prove it:
So to celebrate, I’m having a giveaway. (Some people have giveaways at 100, I apparently have them at 2,300 and 3,000.)
I made this up last July – I tested the pattern for Robert Kaufman Fabrics, who provided everything I needed to complete it.
For the most part, it turned out lovely. There was one rather large error, but if I don’t point it out, maybe you won’t see it?
However, seeing as how it doesn’t match any of our decor and I’m not too fond of the batiks, I’m giving it away! I’m also giving away a stack of batiks that are left over from this project. So, there will be two lucky winners (assuming that I get at least two comments)!
So… leave me a comment here and I’ll randomly pick winners Friday, July 16th.
Comments are now closed. I will post the winners on Monday. Thanks for visiting!
Do you remember that sneak peek I gave you last week? I got it almost finished over the weekend (not completed: hemming).
How bad could it be indeed. Bad enough that there’s no photo of me in said dress (though if you’re good, i.e. leave me nice comments, I might get to take one later).
You see how that bust part kinda hangs out there when it’s on the hanger? It does that on me too. This dress was clearly made for someone with a C cup, which is so far from reality that it’s laughable (really, there has been much laughter about this dress). Unfortunately, due to the construction of the bust, there’s no way to re-engineer it to make it work.
What else is wrong? Well, quite simply, there is absolutely no way to adjust the gathers in the skirt (there are ties that go through the front and wrap around to the back, which makes sense only in person, as I cannot explain it better) to fashion a look that does not make me look 6 months pregnant. No joke.
Part of the problem with this is that I used a medium-weight linen, which has body instead of drape. The linen wants to billow out from all those gathers, not drop or flow.
So, lesson learned, must pay attention to drape/body factors of fabric when matching with a pattern.
The other lesson learned from this experience (when coupled with another dress disaster where I accidentally made myself a gorgeous muumuu, complete with French seams and a lovely rolled hem), is this: I have a waist. I need to wear dresses that have waists. Not empire waists, but actual waists. When I was in high school, we were calling this style “baby doll” – it didn’t look good on me then (especially since the dresses were short, and I was tall…), and it doesn’t look good on me now. I’m not exactly sure what you’d call my shape – a thin rectangle with a dent in the middle? I’m not exactly hourglass, but pear-shaped isn’t exactly right either (even though that seems like it would be it, seeing as how I’m lacking on top and hippy). Whatever it is, I need to wear clothing that accentuates the fact that I have a waist, not clothing that tries to hide the waist area (which many people, understandably, want to do – I’m just not one of them).
No worries about the dress though – it will get a new life, in ‘s closet. She came over last night, tried it on, and it looks so cute! So, I will hem it up for her, and perhaps get a picture of her in it to show you, and then the dress can fulfill its destiny, while I continue on my quest to make myself a dress (since my last three attempts have failed miserably).
Thinking about these lessons, I had to go through the other patterns I bought at the same time and see how many of them will not work for me. But first, a laugh for you:
Now let’s look at those patterns and see how much damage I’ve done (we won’t even think about the rest of my patterns, some of which suffer from the same problem as the pink floral muslin I made up for Easter – ooh, a dress success! – that being curved side darts which create a poofiness at the tummy that is less than flattering, and some of which, I’m sure, suffer from this high-waisted problem as well.)
[Editor's note: pardon the crappy photos - it was 8:30 last night when I remembered to take these, and there was almost no natural light left, and I was too impatient to share with you to wait until tonight to take the pictures. I hope to re-take and replace them, but in the meantime, you'll have to suffer through these.]
Well, in light of that, I’m feeling a bit down about myself.
Does that not inspire you? Maybe you can’t see the fabrics well.
Feel free to shower me with compliments and/or advice now.
[Editor's note: come back tomorrow. Big post tomorrow - I might be giving something away. I'm just sayin'. You don't wanna miss it.]
OK, that might be an exaggeration, but it really did seem like the parts we ordered to reassemble the grill would never show up. They finally arrived on Thursday (was it a whole month ago that we ordered those?), and we spent the evening reassembling the grill.
Logically, this meant we needed to use the grill as much as possible. So, I did some research, and realized that I didn’t have any grill-worthy recipes for another Linkfest post. Why? Because I’ve had quite a few grilling Linkfest posts in the past, some quite recent: 5/20/08, 9/14/08, 10/9/9, and 4/21/10.
I settled on the only one I hadn’t already shared (it was the lone bookmark that was for grilled anything), Grilled Soy-Glazed Chicken and Scallions from The Kitchen Sink, mostly because it was the only one that I didn’t have to go to the grocery store to get additional ingredients (I was interested in the tequila-lime chicken, but we don’t have any tequila in the house, and it seemed like an important ingredient). OK, technically we didn’t have sherry, but I figured I could make a substitution on that without ruining the recipe.
Oh, you wanted to know about the food too? Turned out great! I highly recommend Grilled Soy-Glazed Chicken and Scallions. No pictures – it was too yummy, and we ate it up before I could even think about getting a shot. Add corn on the cob and watermelon, and you have the perfect summer dinner!
All that hard work has really paid off! Grilling is on the menu several times this week, and we used the grill twice over the weekend. We really missed our grill and are glad it’s back!
(For those of you who are wondering why we did all that work, a new Broilmaster of the same series, which would arguably be a bit fancier, costs upwards of $1500. So, yeah, a couple hundred dollars and some manual labor? Totally worth it. Also, we will be buying a cover for it so that it will be protected from the elements, especially Minnesota’s harsh winters. That was too much work to let it sit out in the weather!)
via Friday Fill-Ins
Now that I have a real house, it feels like any “new” furniture we get should be, well, real furniture. Or, at least, furniture we plan on having for a while. Not “this will do for now” furniture. There are exceptions, and arguably most things from Ikea may be considered “this will do for now.” However, their website is relatively easy to navigate and they have good pictures.
But here’s the thing: I have had a really hard time nailing down exactly what my personal “style” is. There are quite a few design blogs I read, and from those I have learned what I don’t like. Well, those and Craigslist.
All that said, what I’ve really found is a lot of dislikes, without much guidance for actual likes. Bummer. This isn’t really a problem, since we have no immediate needs for furniture. I would like to have a general vision for the house, though, so that I have a goal to work towards.
To that end, I have quite a few pictures that I’ve printed out and put in a notebook. Since I did it that way, I can’t actually share them with you, because I have no idea where any of them come from. So instead, I’ll share with you my thoughts on some current Ikea furniture. Seem random? Perhaps, but I started this post two months ago, and after being in draft status that long, I can’t really remember what I meant to say. That happens sometimes.
Being in the process of refinishing some of the bedroom furniture (and I use that phrase “in process” very loosely), I’m drawn to dressers. I dream of the day when we have a headboard, and a cedar-lined chest at the end of the bed. Also, some day in the future (a long way in the future unless I find something fabulous for $25 on Craigslist), I would like a corner hutch for the dining room. Yes, we do have one whole corner in that room, and I have a plan for it (not everyone in the house agrees with me on this, but seeing as how this is a plan that won’t come to fruition for quite some time, that’s not really a problem).
(Clicking on the pictures will take you to the appropriate section of the Ikea site.)
So, to end this random, pieced-together post, I will not complain about the difficulties of figuring out one’s own style while having to negotiate a significant other’s [quite different] style, or muse about couches and how I don’t even want to think about the day when we have to pick one of those out together. Instead, I’ll say this: it’s a good thing there’s so much variety out there, even if it does make decisions* like these difficult. How boring would it be if we all had to decorate with Malm?
*By “difficult decisions” what I really mean is “first world” problems, or “rich people” problems. I mean, it’s not like we’re struggling to find food to eat or pay our mortgage. These are really quite petty things in the big picture. But, what else is one to talk about on one’s blog, if not petty things?
I want to share with you some pretty things that have come into my life recently.
As an extra bonus, here’s a slideshow of all of the pictures I took on the 4th with my iPhone (OK, took the first one of me).
I took a bunch of photos this morning before leaving for work, just for you!
I think I’ll start with pictures of the garden, since that changes every day.
For reference, here’s where we were on June 16th, the last time I photographed it.
I took some other seemingly random photos of the garden, but they really did have a purpose. You see, we literally had a 7′ tall, 1″ diameter tree growing out of one of the lilac bushes. I had cut it down to the ground last year, probably around this time, so it grew 7 feet in 12 months! Crazy! asked me to send him a leaf so he could identify it, so I dug around in the yard waste bin this morning before work (it’s trash pick-up day) and found one. Then I took some pictures of the tree we have that’s growing out of the fence (also cut down last year, also not giving up on life) so he could help out with that one. This is what happens when you don’t weed often enough (I blame the former owner and the year the house was vacant).
There’s still significant pruning and weeding to be done before I can show off our yard this year, but we’ve made major progress.
Don’t worry, I saved some pics for tomorrow.