Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Flowers and flappers.

I saw this tutorial for an adorable embroidered bookmark (here's the original) and wanted to give it a this is how it turned out.

It's basically two felt circles (the front one embroidered) sewn onto an elastic headband. I just sort of did my own thing instead of going by the tutorial.

I love how it turned out, though it isn't entirely practical. It only fits on certain books. It works best on hardcovers, but the book can't be too large or two small (the elastic gets floppy on small books). I might make a smaller one eventually.

I'm one of those people who usually uses random scraps of paper for bookmarks, so this one is a much prettier option. :)

I also stitched this pair over the weekend. I know I've mentioned it before, but I love the Flapperdoodle shop. :) This is Kate's embroidery pattern: Eloise and Ramona Play Telephone.

They went by really quickly- their flapper bobs were by far the most time consuming part. :) I purposely framed them in the hoops (6 inch hoops) a little sideways, so that they wouldn't have to be hanging evenly on the wall for the line to match up. I wanted one a little higher than the other.

I did split stitch for outlining the hair, long/short stitch and satin stitch for filling the hair, and backstitch for everything else. Except for the dresses, which were just straight stitches.

P.S. Happy leap day! :)

Until next time,

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A denim skirt.

I made a denim skirt this past first item of clothing sewn in 2012. I hope to do better and average more than one project every two months, but I'm just now getting motivated about sewing clothes again. :)

I haven't owned a denim skirt since I was probably about 10 years old. I think I have this bad image of faded 90s denim in my head that scarred me from wanting one. Until recently, when I saw this one and realized that it could be practical and even pretty if I used dark denim.

I used McCall's pattern M5431, which is the skirt pattern I always use. I think this is my fifth skirt from that pattern? I've only made two skirts without it. I love the pattern because it has a yoke/waistband and hangs nicely, it's really full, and it's the perfect length (just below the knee on me- I'm around 5'8 and usually have to lengthen skirt patterns by several inches). I can't remember what view I always make, but the size I cut fits perfectly and I've never had to make any adjustments to the pattern.

I really recommend this pattern as a first skirt for any new seamstresses- I've been using it since I started sewing almost 3 1/2 years ago. :) It's pretty straight forward and there's only a little hand sewing involved.

This is a silly thing to get excited about, but it's my favorite part of the skirt:

Pockets! I'm such a nerd, but I love the fact that I have Lucy, Ricky, Ethel, and Fred in my pockets. :)

They're just simple side seam pockets. The pattern has an option for pockets, but they're sewn on the front. I used the pocket pattern from the skirt I attempted earlier in the week. The only problem is that I was sort of guessing at things, so the pockets are about an inch and a half lower than they should be. Still usable, but not as comfortable as they could be.

The pocket fabric is a printed novelty cotton from Schoolhouse Fabrics. The fabric for the skirt is a dark denim with a tiny bit of stretch that I got years ago at Walmart (back when we shopped there- I hate that store now, but that's for another post :) for a couple of dollars a yard. I had used little pieces of it here and there for wallets and things. So even though I theoretically had enough yardage, when I went to lay out the pattern, I almost didn't have enough. Some of my cut pieces had corners of selvage, but everything got hidden when I sewed it together. :)

The zipper is just a centered one set in the back seam. The simplest kind, in my opinion. I don't think about things like this when I'm sewing, so I ended up sewing the hook and eye in the opposite way I usually do. So it's a little tricky to hook, but not bothersome enough to change. :)

A look at the hem and an inside seam- finished with one of the stitches on my machine that's sort of like using a serger. I can't remember what the stitch is called.

Here are some of my previous skirts from this pattern. The one on the far right was the first skirt I ever sewed. :)

{P.S. I have got to be the most awkward person ever when it comes to posing for outfit pictures. I can't imagine how fashion bloggers casually and effortlessly do this every day. I always seem to choose the coldest and windiest days to get pictures. Plus I have a cold right now and had some weird stomach thing going on yesterday so I'm not quite feeling like myself. So please forgive my awkwardness. This is why I don't do outfit posts, along with my complete lack of fashion sense. :) Thanks to my mom for taking the pictures before church this morning.}

Until next time,

Friday, February 24, 2012

This week, I...

-Listened to my current favorite record repeatedly.
Almost to the point where I should be sick of it, but I'm not. It's Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, and they sound amazing together. I love all but maybe three songs, which is a pretty rare thing for a record. :) {Sometimes it seems like one record can include a couple of my favorite songs and some really bad ones.} The album is also sort of travel-themed and includes a lot of songs with a Latin/Spanish/I can't think of another way to describe it feel, which I usually don't like. But I'm addicted to this record.

{The album cover is cute except for their driver's license faces. Skin that looks sunburned, surprised and/or blank expressions...I don't know about you, but that's what my license pictures always turn out like.}

-Made an unsuccessful skirt muslin.
I saw this cute skirt and realized that I not only had that pattern, but also a couple of yards of dark denim. I decided that I'd make one like it. I wasn't too sure about the pleats in the skirt, so I decided to make a muslin first...

Thank goodness I did. It looked awful. Pleats and me don't get along. I think it's because I had to lengthen the skirt by about five inches to get it to a length I'm comfortable with (just below the knee). Pleats are pretty, but where the pleats end things get weird. Anytime I leaned forward or moved around in the skirt, the fabric just pooled up below the pleats. Not very flattering.

So I guess you could say the muslin was successful but the pattern wasn't. :) I'm just glad I didn't waste my good fabric. And this was my first time sewing pockets in anything...I loved how they turned out, and I ended up adding pockets to the skirt that I did make this week.

-Made a skirt.
Successfully! After the pleat incident, I just pulled out my reliable favorite skirt pattern to make the denim skirt. It's been so long since I've sewn anything to wear, so now I'm really motivated and excited about sewing clothes again. :) I'll try to have pictures up soon, though it probably won't be until Sunday after church.

-Enjoyed some snow.
And some really warm weather. All in the same week. You can see more photos here.

-Cracked up over a line from the Dick Van Dyke Show.
You know how sometimes something completely random and not incredibly funny will just strike you as hilarious? I was watching season five, the episode called The Ugliest Dog in the World. It's not one of my favorite episodes by any means, but this one line towards the end put me in a laughing fit:

"I'm a freak." (At least you think that's what the man says, until...) "Part French, part Greek. Freek."

It doesn't sound all that funny, I know. Maybe you just had to be there (you can watch the episode here, by the way). Maybe it was just the way he said it...trilling his r's and all. :)

-Watched a French film called Mr. Hulot's Holiday.
I saw it on TCM at my grandparents' house. It was really quirky and I found almost everything about it endearing (I missed the first few minutes).

It's almost silent- one lady speaks in English and the rest of the very scarce dialogue is French with subtitles. It was funny (though at times a bit too over-the-top slapstick) and had a lovely beach setting. And there was this great jazzy background music, including one theme repeated throughout.

It's next on my Netflix queue...if I'm as impressed the second time around, you might see a review here sometime in the next week. :)

-Signed up for Wild Olive's Stitch Swap.
I'm so excited! You stitch something in a 4 inch hoop and send it to someone, and you get one in return (from someone different). I love getting mail, and I love sending it, too. I also love embroidery, so this is an all around awesome thing. :) This is my first swap, though I've admired the goodies in the Craftster swaps for years. If you embroider, too, and want to participate, go here for more details.

Until next time,

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Snowy day.

I love snow. And I was starting to think that we weren't going to have any this winter.

Then on Sunday it started...huge flakes like white confetti. The ground was so warm that it wasn't sticking at first, but it kept up all day and by the next morning we had several inches.

I went out early Monday morning and traipsed around for a while, snapping lots of pictures.

{Saturday was in the 60s and I saw people in town wearing capris and flip flops. The next day we had snow. Go figure.}

My goofy brother left this on my car...

Lots of animal tracks.

I promise I didn't make this track. :)

There wasn't enough snow to play in {I love sledding}, but I still had a nice time. There's something magical about snow, anyway, but that morning it was even more beautiful than usual. You know how snow has its own kind of quiet?

Everything was silent and sparkling. The sky was impossibly blue and the woods looked Narnian. It was one of those perfect moments that's sort of bittersweet because they don't come that often, and you never know how long you'll have to wait for the next one.

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." - Psalm 19:1

"He does not despise real woods because he has read of enchanted woods: the reading makes all real woods a little enchanted." -C.S. Lewis

P.S. I'm so glad I took the pictures when I did. Because most of the snow had melted by the end of the day. Now everything is drippy and muddy and slushy. But I'm not complaining. :)

Until next time,

Sunday, February 19, 2012

As you wish.

I finished this cross stitch piece over the weekend. Guess the movie?

Of course. The Princess Bride. :)

{left to right: Vizzini, Prince Humperdinck, Buttercup, Westley, Inigo, and Fezzik}

The pattern is from WeeLittleStitches' Pixel People series. It was so fun to stitch. :) It was a little time consuming, since you have to change floss colors so often, so I only finished about one character a day. It's on 14 count cream Aida cloth and framed in an 8 inch hoop.

I'm not entirely happy with the "as." I think it looks like "so you wish." But I'm not really going to mess with it anymore.

I loved the little detail of using gold metallic floss for the belt buckles, crown, etc.

Have you seen The Princess Bride? It has a little bit of everything: fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles... It's the greatest thing in the world, except for a nice MLT- mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe.

And if you haven't seen the movie, that last part won't make any sense.

It's a bizarre, kooky film in the best sort of way. It's hilarious, cheesy, random, and over the top. I think it's one of those movies that people either love or hate, though I've never heard of anyone hating it.

I stumbled across The Princess Bride by accident. I was buying Ever After on DVD, and it just happened to be a combo set that included PB. I had never even heard of the movie before. I watched it anyway, and I distinctly remember my first reaction.

I came downstairs and told my parents, "This is the weirdest movie I've ever seen. You have to watch it."

{They did and loved it, too. You know how the first few minutes make you think it's going to be an overly sappy love story? My dad said, "Is this a chick flick?" in an exasperated voice, and I just laughed because I knew what was coming...five seconds later the grandson in the film said, "Is this a kissing book?"}

That was years ago and I've watched it countless times since. Every time I see it I enjoy it more. And even though I've seen some even crazier movies since then, this one is still pretty close to the top. :)

It also happens to be one of the most ridiculously quotable movies ever. Try fitting these into normal conversation:

As you wish.

Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die. {must be spoken in a fake Spanish accent}

You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.

Fezzick, are there rocks ahead?
If there are, we'll all be dead.


You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you.
You seem a decent fellow. I hate to die.

People in masks cannot be trusted.

Why do you wear a mask? Were you burned by acid, or something like that?
Oh no, it's just that they're terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future.

Have fun storming the castle!

My three favorite scenes: any time Inigo and Fezzik are rhyming, Miracle Max and Valerie, and when Westley is recovering from being mostly-dead all day and is plotting on how to storm the castle with Fezzik and Inigo.

(Bad quality and unsynchronized, I know. But it was the only video of this scene.)

Do you like The Princess Bride?

Until next time,