Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sewing Ups and Downs

I have been pretty lucky with this sewing thing. I've only ripped out a handful of seams in my short but busy tenure with my sewing hobby. I've lost count with my projects and until a week ago, I'd never ruined a one. But I had to completely scrap some beautiful pink knit fabric after my first attempt at smocking. I blame my eagerness to make progress (Cat was already done with her project!), my distraction-- talking with a great friend while trying a new technique, and my negligence in reading the instructions. I went by Cat's directions, but I would have understood it better (probably?) if I'd cared to read the section instead of just hear the summary. So much of sewing is prepping/planning/thinking it through beforehand, and I didn't prep well this time. Luckily, there was enough pretty pink knit fabric left to try again, this time much smaller for my Harper girl.

My favorite thing about this project was the think-I-can stick-to-it-iveness (that's a lot of hyphen!) and my husband's reaction. E usually smiles and thinks I've made something cute, but he's never surprised. That's his way of complimenting me (of course you're that capable!). But this time, he oooed and aaahed and says it's his favorite item of clothing Harper's ever owned. I feel victorious.

Here's another "up". I made this dress for our neighbor's, Rylee's, fourth birthday. I did it in a bit of a rush at the end of last week because I mistakenly thought her party was last Saturday. When I arrived and didn't recognize the other guests, I realized I'd mixed up the dates. Classic case of Mom-brain. So it's currently wrapped up, ready to give at her party this Saturday. But before it leaves our house, I remembered to photograph it with Harper modeling. She served as my dress form in the process as well, so hopefully it will fit Rylee well.

My new serger (thanks, Mom!) really helped me make this dress much quicker than it would have taken me with just my regular sewing machine. It was fun to do the felt applique on the side as well. I busted out my acrylic paint to do the seeds. I also made a little bow clip to match-- can you see it? Super matchy. Four year old girls like that.

And then, the other day during my sewing hours (nap time), I decided: work before play. I needed to sew the seams on my mom's curtains. They were promised as part of her Christmas present when I drew her name last year. Since they are for her second home in UT, there was no rush to get them done. But her next trip there is coming up in May, I think, so I wanted to get on it so she could enjoy them. The simple task of sewing the straight seams turned nightmarish. The tension is all wrong. Too tight, too loose... I've changed needles, I've tried everything. I've been seam-ripping like there's no tomorrow. The weirdest part is that the first panel (there are 6 of these suckers) went relatively well, and it wasn't until the second panel that I had a lot of trouble. I'm hoping that I'll figure out the problem soon and that the machine isn't the problem. I ended up just "pressing pause" on that one. I'll probably look at it again during nap time today. Any crafty friends have an idea? It's canvas fabric, sewing through three layers. Wish me luck.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Silhouette Reading Pillows

In an attempt to make my sewing prudent and useful, here's the latest creation. We were given these pillows at our wedding years ago, covered in a merrimeko print that no longer matches our bedroom. We hadn't used them in years, so I thought we could repurpose them and pass them over to the kids as "reading pillows". They now sit at the end of their beds, marking a special place for each of them to enjoy a book.

The design was inspired by "diffractionfiber" on etsy. Harper was quick to tell me that Jack's is just a "picture book pillow" since he can't read like she can. They both immediately recognized themselves, and immediately showed possessive love for their own pillows.

I couldn't have done this project without Ethan's help in Photoshop! I tried to do it old school with a spotlight and shadows, but what toddler can sit still that long and not want to see what Mama's doing on the wall next to them? The computer was the way to go-- thanks, love!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Toffee, Butterscotch, and Mango

I've been too timid to try it for about 5 years now... but I finally got up the nerve and dyed my hair today. Lisa at CA Looks said she mixed "toffee, butterscotch, and mango" to give me the shade I wanted. She also left some of my natural highlights around my face, which helps it look pretty natural. I am happy with the result; I feel much more appropriate. Unlike most blondes, my hair wasn't darkening with age, it was becoming ashy and dull. At the same time, I felt like my skin was becoming pinker and the combination of those two things left me feeling washed out. This color feels so much richer and I feel like I look healthier. I also love the light and breezy cut. What a needed change!

Thanks to Grammer Lynda for watching the kiddos and for being my photographer so I could post this. I appreciated that break, the "me time" out at the salon. So fun!