Sunday, December 6, 2009

Back again

Once again I am back after a brief hiatus. November marked the start of the Christmas season at the studio so I've been working a bunch. Add to that a malfunctioning computer that I ended up having to reformat, and the cold that EVERYONE in the studio has had at some point, and there is how I spent my November. I did manage to squeak out a project though.

Craftster is/was running a challenge where one was to go to a thrift store, find something that would normally be passed over due to its ugliness, and give it a new life by turning it into something awesome. Total project cost was to be under 20 dollars. I was intrigued by the contest, at the time I wasn't sewing much other than hems and minor repairs, I felt like I was in a rut why not give it a try.

I managed to sneak a two hour long visit to the local goodwill one day after work. I found my ugly item fairly quickly, at first I thought it was beyond hope. It was a 100% acrylic sweater dress from the 80s with fabric accents that were poorly sewn on. I put it back on the rack and continued perusing the store, but I keep looking back at the rack holding my breath anytime someone was looking through the rack. In the end it had to be mine. I brought it up to the cashier and we had a good laugh about it after I explained why I was purchasing it and headed home, total price paid: 4.99. The rest of the evening was spent brainstorming ideas.


I kept coming back to the idea of a motorcycle jacket inspired cardigan. There was just something about the diagonal line of black ribbing on the dress that reminded me of the typical biker jacket. So I went for it. Armed with fray check, double fold bias tape, a really long zipper, and my seam ripper I went to work. Due to time contraints I worked on it about 30 minutes each night, I like to think my mood dramatically improved because of my nightly sewing.

{Gatsby inspects my progress -all pins were removed for his safety}

Lots of pre-planning, basting, machine and hand sewing later I ended up with this.


The collar overlaps in the front and has a snap closure, the button is merely decorative. Please excuse my weird hand placement...I don't know. Anyways, once the collar is undone the sweater can be unzipped.

{zipper action shot!}

So there it is, win or lose I had a lot of fun during the whole process and I got out of my sewing rut and that is truly what matters. If you want to see the other entries into the contest here is the link.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When the workplace and hobbies collide

I recently got the chance to use my knitting skills for a projects at work. During one of our slow days my manager and I were talking about ideas for photos. She said "I really want hats for infants" and showed me a few pictures of what she had in mind. Almost immediately I offered up my services. Two days later I had these...

Originally my manager had asked for a gender neutral infant sized hat, but that plan had to be scratched. When I went home and looked at my inventory there was little in the way of gender neutral yarns that I thought would photograph well and/or was willing to part with. In the end I decided to forgo neutrality in favor of vibrant colors and fantastic textures.

The first hat is made from Moda Dea's "Cache" (2355 siren). I whipped it up on size 8 dpns, guessed the amount of stitches that needed to be cast on and was actually correct on the first go, . I then proceeded to K1,P1 in the round until it measured 5 inches in length. I used the ever so handy kitchener stitch to bind off then sewed my fun and sassy tassles on . Can I just say how much I love the texture of this yarn when its all knit up?

Hat #2 was also worked up on size 8 using Lion brand suede yarn in teal (the darker blue), and mystery yarn puchased from goodwill several years ago. Same process as the hat before, only the ribbing on this hat is K2,P2 and has pom poms rather than tassles.

So far I've only seen the pink hat in action and it looks great against our brown minky baby blanket, once halloween is over and people start wanting winter pictures, they'll probably get more use. Just wait till the matching scarves are finished!

A few days after bringing them in I was asked by a coworker if it would be possble to knit hats for all their family members. They understand the specialness of a hand knit hat and are willing to pay actual money for it so yay!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Did you know its September?

This month has really flown by for me which is why I haven't updated anything until now. The first week or so I was pretty much at work. Then came Byron and Gatsby's big day, they got neutered! They had a skirmish in August which surprised and terrified me, leading to their immediate separation. Gatsby became territorial and developed a bad habit of marking near Byron's cage much to my dismay. I was upset with myself for putting off the neuter for so long that it had escalated to the point of having to keep them separated. Watching them look at each other through cage bars longingly was hard, but I knew that I couldn't let them play together due to their raging and unpredictable bunny hormones.

I went into nurse mode for about a week making sure my boys were comfortable and happy. Yesterday was their two week post surgical exam. The vet said they were fully healed and looking quite nice, though we are concerned with the weight that they put on during the two weeks since the operation (Byron put on 6 ozs !). All in all life is now back to normal, possibly a little better. Since the neuter Gatsby has not sprayed one bit- that alone is well worth the money spent, liter box habits have improved on the whole, and I think they're starting to like each other again. In another couple of weeks the boyfriend and I plan on reintroducing them and seeing if they can forgive and forget.

On the craft front I've been fairly productive as well. I have finally managed to tame the beast known as yeast and produced some fantastic cinnamon rolls. Truth be told I went a little overboard on the filling, but that's okay in my opinion. I want to make these again when my mom and sister come to visit later in October. This time around I want to incorporate pumpkin into the recipe somehow to add some seasonal flavor to these babies. Mmmm. So keep an eye out for that next month, I'll provide a link to the original recipe as well.

I managed to start and almost finish knitting another hat using the knitty foliage pattern that I adore. When I say almost finish, I mean I need to redo the cast off due to it being super tight, which means I have to find my handy dandy crochet hook which I packed up last year at this time and have not seen since moving.

In true pro-craft-ination style I also have started and almost finished making a new purse. All that is left to do is stitch around the opening of the bag... give me another two weeks and that should be done hehe.

On a final note I have also been working on my side project which I've been promising to reveal for over a month. Though I doubt people have been clamoring to find out what it is I've been working on, I think the time is drawing near to reveal it. Not today, but soonish.

That is all for now, enjoy the rest of September!

Monday, August 3, 2009


In my last post I showed off my semi-completed Christmas present, now I am quite proud to show off the finished ornament.

The back is just red fabric from a t-shirt that I have had tucked away in my fabric drawers, the green ribbon I picked up from one of my local dollar stores that has a phenomenal craft section.

{side view}
One present down, so many more to go...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thinking ahead

July is almost over and I've been working on finishing up a Christmas gift for my mom. Now, it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I think she'll love it.
I would like to think the reason I was able to have such a good relationship with my mom while growing up was our mutual love of horror movies. Specifically those of the zombie genre. At a time where most teens would do anything and everything to stay away from their parents, I was spending time with my mom analyzing the social commentary in Romero's zombie pics. It made sense that I try to capture that bond in ornament form for my zombie loving, ornament collecting mom. That is when the idea of a decapitated zombie hand holding mistletoe came to mind.

I began by sketching out my idea, using my own non-decapitated hand for a model, researching what mistletoe looked like, improving the rest. I finished the outline in January, but put it aside afterward due to embroidery burn out (see Christmas in July post). Now after picking it up again last week I have this.

{picture was taken sideways... too lazy to fix)

For the mistletoe I used white glass cats eye beads that I picked up from Joann's. I liked adding that tiny three dimensional detail.

{Up close detail picture}

{Angled view of hand}

Now all that is left is to sew it up and give it to her. I'm thinking I'll give it to her around thanksgiving so it can go up on the tree.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Christmas in July

While at my parents I was finally about to take a picture of my first and only embroidered work. It was a gift to my mom for Christmas. The subject is our family's canine companion, Dylan, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi.


After seeing this post on the Craftzine blog I felt strangely compelled to try my hand at embroidering. I don't know why I decided to start this ambitious project two weeks before Christmas, but I did. I finished it in early January right before my holiday visit. I don't remember the exact measurements, but it is pictured in an 8X10 frame.

{click picture for a much larger view}

At some point in the next couple of months I wouldn't mind trying embroidering again. I'm thinking more line work and less filling in this time around. I guess we will see what this Christmas brings.


Like the title says, I'm back from my weekend with the parents. It was a good visit, a bit short, but good.
I got to go to Corn hill opening day, we got there nice and early to avoid the crowd and potential thunderstorms.

The vendors, as always, were great, I wish I had more money and more room in my suitcase. Sadly due to the chance of thunderstorms I decided to focus on perusing the booths, rather than taking pictures. I also felt kind of weird taking pictures of booths especially if I did n0t purchase anything from the vendor. So instead I'll be sharing some pictures of the general neighborhood.

We arrived at about 9 am walked around, made our purchases, then headed to the absolute best food vendor who's name escapes me. It's a tradition, we have to eat there, we have to enjoy our "artichokes french". Artichokes dredged in flour, sauteed in butter with lemon juice and garlic, topped with Parmesan cheese and bread (for soaking up the butter). It's a good thing they only come around once a year, or else I would have had a heart attack by now.

I wish it had been a better day, we could have spent more time walking around, maybe next year. At least we left before the torrential downpour, I can't imagine how the vendors coped with it. The next day was gorgeous, of course, but I had a train to catch. I'm hoping to find something similar in my area this summer, anyone know of such things in the Albany area?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Simplicity 2804- I feel like Batgirl

Can I get a "Da na na na na na Batgirl!" I recently decided to make Simplicity 2804 view c out of some left over dollar a yard fabric that I used in a previous project.

I had very high hopes that this project that I started on a whim could possibly lead to a nice summer shirt for work. From what I have heard form others it gets unbearably hot in the studio over summer, Simplicity 2804 seemed to be a nice solution with its breezy dolman style sleeves. The pattern was easy enough, a front piece, back piece, neck band, waist band, I cut everything out and sewed it up in a span of 5 hours with multiple breaks for eating and watching Across the Universe.

Then I tried it on, like the title of the post says, I felt like bat girl. Not only that, but a stumpy bat girl.

As you can see by the picture above I probably wasn't wearing the best pants for the outfit, I just happened to have them on when I finished. It wasn't until today when I tried them on with a pair of straight leg jeans(which I've worn two times counting today) that I realized the shirt wasn't a complete wadder.

I played around in photoshop to show a comparison of the shirt with my flood pants vs jeans + strappy sandals. The photos could be better, but my camera was running low on battery so I'm short on pictures. I wish I had more shots that actually show off the shirt but oh well, maybe another time., always knew about them, but I've never really taken the time to experiment/visually document it until today. I think I'll be paying more attention to this now that I've actually seen it in action.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Heads Up

A quick little post about a cute new accessory of mine. If you noticed, I've chopped off a lot of my hair, at least 6 inches, which leaves me in dire need of something to control my no longer weighted down locks. I managed to whip this up one day before an evening shift at the studio basing it off of a head band I bought at H&M a few years ago but can no longer find.

I loved the bright cheery yellow plaid, so summery, so perfect, well almost. It needed something... buttons!

Red and blue buttons placed on the right side of the headband with one cutesy blue button with a smiling yellow airplane (which you can't really see in the photo). Hey, I work with primarily kids at the studio so I'm allowed to let my inner child express itself sometimes.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Its funny how memory works...

I distinctly remember coming home from work one night in March, eating a gigantic bowl of mac & cheese, and then set about cutting out pieces for my hopefully wearable muslin of simplicity 4076. After reading so many great reviews on it I decided I had to give it a try. Despite my eagerness, I got sidetracked with work and life. The pieces sat on my table for close to two months. Earlier this week I sat down in front of my sewing machine and bam, I got my groove back.

I made view b, the wrap top with short sleeves. My only issues are:
(1) I feel the non-gathered side feels a little looser than it should be
(2) I would add about two inches of length in the torso to prevent unnecessary exposure of my midriff.
(3) the neck line stick out a bit, but I think I'm at fault on that one.

Other than that I think it looks pretty good for a project that was almost forgotten.


{back and poor posture}


Thanks for looking

(p.s) I hope every one called their moms, or mother figures, today and wished them a happy Mother's Day

Friday, May 1, 2009

The wheels are turning

I've been off for the past two days and have been trolling about various sites, getting ideas, then falling asleep on the couch. Next week I have a bunch of time off as well so I'm hoping that I can avoid the couch and actually be somewhat productive, rather than just thinking about doing it. That's about it for now, I will leave you with some pictures of my buns.

{Byron chinning some cardboard)

{Formerly the unamed bun, now known as Gatsby}

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


The Easter picture season is all done and over and I am overjoyed. Now I can get back to working on my own projects.

I would also like to take this opportunity to introduce two new members of the family. A little back story first.

For the past 5 weeks or so the studio where I work had Easter bunnies available for pictures. Horrible idea, kids and bunnies are not generally a good mix especially if you throw in an inattentive parent who lets their kid run wild with little to no discipline. If the job market wasn't so bad I would have quit due to this gross exploitation of these gentle creatures. I stuck it out though, became super protective of the little guys, educated parents and children about proper handling and care of rabbits. Then the night before Easter finally came came, marking their retirement and the beginning of a better life with me and the boy.

{Helping the boyfriend fix the cage}

We are working on renaming them at the moment. I like to think of it as a witness protection program for rabbits.

{The unnamed bun}

{Sir Byron Bunnicula VonBunnington}

They seem pretty happy with their new, quite, child free environment. Took them to the vets today to make sure they're in good health, which they are. Talked to the vet about getting them neutered, got an estimate which made me cringe and I am now in the process of trying to figure out a way to afford the cost of the surgeries. I'll make sure it gets done, it just may take a bit longer than I had originally expected. At least they're happier now and I no longer worry about how they're being treated when I'm not around.

{The End}

Monday, March 2, 2009

You know...

All this work is cramping my style.

That's about all I have to say. No real progress has been made since my last post due to my recent surge in work hours and it seems like that will be the trend until Easter. I guess it's a good thing, I'll have rent money at least.

Oh well.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pleats me

For your viewing pleasure I now present you new look 6868 - a work in progress. No before pictures, sorry :(

{Tie Detail}

Last post I was complaining about my latest project and the sack like qualities it had. I didn't want to have this project turn out as a bust, so all I could do was try to make it work.

I deemed the problem to be the mid weight fabric I was using. The pleats at the collar just weren't laying down as nicely as I would have hoped for. After doing some general fussing around in the mirror I decided to sew those suckers down. A second later I had tossed the shirt on my home made dress form and began basting the pleats in place, down to about my waist. I tried on the shirt again and it seems to have made quite the difference in the fit of the shirt. However, I think I need to continue the pleats further down on the shirt due to their extreme puffiness.

{ Far away}

{Close up puffiness and loose threads}

It is starting to look more presentable, looks much better on me than on my dress form, but it still needs more work.


Friday, February 20, 2009

New shirt or bust?

As I am posting this I'm in the process of making my new shirt for work, work for me. When I first thought about making some shirts from work I was thinking about using some knit fabric that I had with simplicity 3790. Later I remembered that fabric had been set aside for a specific non-sewing related purpose. No sweat I thought, I'll just use some different fabric and pattern. The pattern I used was New Look 6868 view D.

Initially I was really drawn to the tie detail. However, after completing it I was left with a big sack like shirt that had a tie.

{Artist's Rendition}

The fabric that I used was a mid-weight cotton blend, which I think attributed to the sack like look of the shirt. The pleats along the collar don't drape as nicely as they should. So here I am, taking a brief break from my attempt to restyle this shirt. So much for having a new work shirt for tomorrow, maybe later in the week.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Now for something completely different

I've been seeing this quiz posted a lot so I figured why not jump on the band wagon.

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are an Audrey!


You are an Audrey -- "I am at peace"

Audreys are receptive, good-natured, and supportive. They seek union with others and the world around them.

How to Get Along with Me
  • If you want me to do something, how you ask is important. I especially don't like expectations or pressure

  • I like to listen and to be of service, but don't take advantage of this

  • Listen until I finish speaking, even though I meander a bit

  • Give me time to finish things and make decisions. It's OK to nudge me gently and nonjudgmentally

  • Ask me questions to help me get clear

  • Tell me when you like how I look. I'm not averse to flattery

  • Hug me, show physical affection. It opens me up to my feelings

  • I like a good discussion but not a confrontation

  • Let me know you like what I've done or said

  • Laugh with me and share in my enjoyment of life

What I Like About Being an Audrey

  • being nonjudgmental and accepting

  • caring for and being concerned about others

  • being able to relax and have a good time

  • knowing that most people enjoy my company; I'm easy to be around

  • my ability to see many different sides of an issue and to be a good mediator and facilitator

  • my heightened awareness of sensations, aesthetics, and the here and now

  • being able to go with the flow and feel one with the universe

What's Hard About Being an Audrey

  • being judged and misunderstood for being placid and/or indecisive

  • being critical of myself for lacking initiative and discipline

  • being too sensitive to criticism; taking every raised eyebrow and twitch of the mouth personally

  • being confused about what I really want

  • caring too much about what others will think of me

  • not being listened to or taken seriously

Audreys as Children Often

  • feel ignored and that their wants, opinions, and feelings are unimportant

  • tune out a lot, especially when others argue

  • are "good" children: deny anger or keep it to themselves

Audreys as Parents

  • are supportive, kind, and warm

  • are sometimes overly permissive or nondirective

For a two question quiz its not bad, I can't really argue with the results with the exception of

  • * Tell me when you like how I look. I'm not averse to flattery

  • I don't know how to handle compliments on my personal looks, so I'd prefer not to get any at all, especially comments from strangers at the bus stop. However, feel free to compliment what I'm wearing if it's something I made.

    In sewing news I've cut out the pieces for my new work shirt and did some prep work (basting) yesterday night. I changed my mind as to the pattern I was going to use, but I'll post my reasons why in my next post.

    That is all for now, take care

    Tuesday, February 17, 2009

    Mini vacation plans

    Today is the first of my four days off from work, which is music to my ears and sewing machine. Now don't get me wrong, I do enjoy working at the portrait studio, but Valentines day was ridiculously busy and left me longing for some nice, personal, quite time at home.

    So what to do? My main goal for this mini vacation is to make a shirt for work, most likely using simplicity 3790 since it comes together so quickly and easily. No interesting fabric choices, just some stretchy knit black fabric that will suit the studio's dress code and cover my backside while bending over.

    Lately I've really been aching to show off what I can do, what I can create. I love being asked, "where did you get that" and being able to proudly respond "I made it". It's the best ego boost ever. A co-worker recently complimented me on one of my fabric cuffs and suggested selling them. Oh if only...

    I can't deny that the thought hasn't crossed my mind, or that I've designed logos and such for my potential entrepreneurial endeavor. It's just that there is a lot of paperwork and legal things that need to be considered beforehand. It takes time and money, both of which I seem to be lacking an excess of.

    Ah, to dream

    { The Complimented Cuff}

    Wednesday, February 11, 2009

    Spring fever

    It's over 50 degrees here today, yay!

    I doubt this nice weather will last much longer, but it is helping fuel my need to sew, specifically my need to sew new spring/summer clothes. A recent visit to my fabric collection unearthed about three yards of this black fabric with white floral silhouettes and plenty of stretch. I don't remember where it came from, but I do remember it being quite the deal. It didn't take too much time for inspiration to hit. Using simplicity 2852 view c, I was able to make this sweet little tank top/tunic with a bubble hem.


    This top came together pretty quickly. I did most of the prep work the night before (cut out pattern pieces, fabric, applied interfacing, all that good stuff) and was able to sew this up in a an afternoon.


    After seeing the pictures I will be looking at the actual garment to see is one shoulder is longer than the other, or if is just my typical schlumpy way of standing that is making it appear that way.

    Thats about it for now, I just want to go outside today and take advantage of this early spring-like weather before it's gone.