Friday, May 31, 2013

Sad Giraffe

This giraffe has been sitting on this chair in the living room for over a month waiting for ears, eyes, horns, and a tail.  The ears are on a shelf somewhere and the little black felt eyes have disappeared.  Ugh.  Poor little giraffe.  It does not even look like a giraffe.  Sad thing.  

P.S. I'm using the pattern out of Wee Wonderfuls.  The link is back to Wee Wonderfuls, but to a post featuring someone else's giraffe.  Wee Wonderfuls offers a license whereby you can make stuff from her patterns and sell it.  I have not done this yet.  Sad giraffe is wanted by no one.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pillow Talk

I made these two pillows again.  These are a gift for a friend who just moved to a new place.   Her old place was adorable with a ton of brightly colored walls, so this is my way of telling her to keep up that tradition.

I used an Asian brocade for the first side and then pieced with a gold floral brocade.  I'm thinking that the gold is vintage.  It doesn't smell like it, but it feels like it.  
The instructions just wanted me to iron the inside seams, but since the brocade is so heavy, I thought that some stitching would hold everything down.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Ax-Man Cometh

We had a couple of hours off the other day, so we went exploring for a bit without the baby, which is something that we rarely get to do.  We first tried a Vietnamese bakery and had a tofu Bahn mi.  Delicious.  We would have eaten a meat one, but they only served pork and we don't eat that because pigs have the intelligence of dogs, apparently.  And then we had a chocolate croissant.  Also delicious.

After that, we stopped by a bookstore called "Landfill Books and Music."  It was the oddest place.  They had a very strange selection. My husband browsed the music section, because that's his thing, and I checked out the books.  He said that it was just bizarre...something about lots of copies of one record by Olivia Newton John.  As for the books...if the worker had not been sitting on his ass in his backroom doing whatever it was he was doing, he could have been out on the floor alphabetizing the books by author.  I had to scour each and every shelf to find anything of interest.  Plus, like the music, there were a bunch of copies of one book.  I'm thinking specifically of Gorky Park.  Also, all of these books were published in the 70's and 80's, I think.  There was nothing modern at all, which was fine by me, because I used this as a chance to build my collection of Victoria Holt books.
I loved these books when I was younger.  They are gothic, I think, and they always feature a young girl and a mysterious stranger and I just ate them up.  Speaking of gothic, I also grabbed one book by Daphne du Maurier.  I have yet to find an older hardcover copy of Rebecca, so I'm making do with whatever other books I find by her.

Next up, I told my husband that there was a surplus store that I wanted to check out.  I thought it could have been an Army-Navy surplus store with some other stuff thrown in, but I was not sure.  I think he was skeptical, but not so when we stepped inside and saw this monstrosity:
Awesome.  Meet Ax-Man Surplus!  And Teddy Ruxpin as pilot of a book!
This was the best place. It was not an Army-Navy surplus was just surplus! They had a ton of odd bits and things and whatnot from corks to washers to plastic bottles to whatever.
They also labeled the bins with clever signs and things.  My husband described it as someone's lifelong art project.  
Blurry, sorry:
It says, "Plug it up U.S.A. style!"

I didn't know the policy on photos, so I only snapped a few, but there were so many fun and clever things.  It was great.  I can see coming here for future birthday parties to stock up on odd favors or if we want to do an art project of sorts, this would be a great place.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Not Mine

So I mentioned that I was recovering an old umbrella, right?  I went back to my second class and everything was going great until I went to open up the umbrella.  The canopy fit perfectly, but there's a problem with my little end piece.  It's too complicated for words and I don't think that a picture would work, so here's my classmate's umbrella.
She started out with one of those clear plastic umbrellas and it was a struggle at first to cut out an accurate pattern, but after everything was sewn together, she slipped it on and it was a perfect fit!  The plastic end pieces that hold the umbrella to the ends of the ribs were not available, so she had to improvise with some beads.
Oh!  It's fuzzy!  I only took one photo.  Boo.  Anyway, she used a little wooden bead and then a little metal bead to secure that.   I think she was planning on doing a different color bead at each end point.  Pretty neat.  

Mine is in a sad pile on the floor in my craft room.  I need to use a drill, but I have all these horrible images running through my head of drilling off a finger.  Blah.  I'll figure it out.   

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Birthday Gift and a Bonus

We went to a birthday party today, so I spent some time at the sewing machine this weekend.  I wanted to do these gifts up last week, but I was too depressed by the utter disaster area of my sewing room.   I think one night I went in to clean it and just curled up in a ball and napped.  Just the thought of tackling it made me sleepy.

Anyway, the first gift was a pillow.  My kid loves pillows and I think it is adorable when she puts her little head on one.  The birthday girl's room is animal themed and her initials are G and E and since I had these furry animal appliques (courtesy of my mom), I decided to make up a coordinating pillow for her.  One is side is an elephant and the other side is a giraffe.  

I debated for a while on the background fabric.  I wanted to do a dark blue brocade for the elephant, but in the end I went with the pajama fabric and just used one pillow for both animals.

As for constructing the pillow itself...that caused me a bit of sewing anxiety.  Why?  Measuring!  I hate measuring things sometimes.  It was a 12" pillow form, so I had to decide what size square to cut.  I read all these things and they kept saying I needed an 11" square, but that absolutely baffled my brain, so I cut the square at 13", I think.  Obviously it is not taut on the form, but I think it is still okay.

Next up, I used a vintage (possibly that considered vintage now?) pattern from Butterick.  It only came in size large, which is supposed to fit a 22 to 26 pound kid.  My fifteen month old is about 26 pounds, so I figured it would fit her and the one year old would grow into it.  
I made the little yellow dress, though they call it a jumper.  I skipped the little panties, because I'm afraid of elastic.  I'm also afraid of buttonholes and I had to tackle that.  Yikes.
I revisited the prairie bonnet and created a little matching hat.  It's a pretty sweet little dress.  I worry that the buttons are a little heavy.  I followed the pattern directions and added two buttons to each strap so that it can be adjusted.  I lined it with the sweetest little print.  
I've had the lining in my stash for ages and I was so happy to find the perfect project for it.  It's so soft and snuggly.  
And I made a little card.  Nothing fancy.

Oh...did I say there was a bonus?  There is!  I made another little dress and bonnet to keep!
The main print was purchased when I first started sewing and was convinced that every single fabric I saw should be turned into an apron.  This never met that fate and, instead, sat in my closet for five years.  I lined it with a little calico.
And here's me in the car frantically trying to install the snaps on our way to the party.
One of the holes got ripped when I tried to pry up the incorrectly installed snap.  I did two females instead of a male and a female, so I had to fix that in the car.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Top Secret!

I am working on an album for my husband and I anticipate giving it to him in October for our anniversary.  I should've done this for our first anniversary (that's the paper one, right?), but I didn't, so I'm doing it now.  It's just a little album highlighting from the time we met until present.  

I am using a 12 x 12 spiral bound black scrapbook.  I love this style of scrapbooking.  I know that those plastic sleeves are there to protect your memories from the grubby fingers of time, but I'm entranced by the tactile nature of the open pages.  Seriously.  I love to feel all the bumpy letters and the flocked stickers.  

I'm not going to show many pages of this album, but there are two so far that I am fond of.  I have wanted to do this next one for many years and am so excited to finally do it.  We have three photos of ourselves together where we both look really good and they were all taken in our first year together.  The first was taken in New York during the weekend that we decided to be together, the third was taken on the monorail in Las Vegas on our way to my sister-in-law's wedding, and the second was taken on my first trip to California where we picked out our first apartment.  Anyway, the photo is called "Dog Beach," because that is where we snapped it.  To memorialize it, I recreated the beach using sandpaper, fuzzy dog stickers, and bubbly wave stickers, as follows:
 Do you see the one dog sniffing the other dog's butt?  That made me laugh.  I don't think my husband will appreciate my potty humor, though.  Oh and the other two dogs were not meant to be humping -- just playing -- but it didn't turn out that way, I guess.  Anyway, the only thing I am missing for this layout is a picture of our dog to add to the mix.  

The next page I am sharing was from our trip to the Bahamas for my sister's wedding.  We did one of those off-the-boat snorkeling excursions.  They got us all set up and gave us these little feed bags of fish food and then instructed us to never ever ever ever open the feed bags under the water.  So what does my husband go and do?  He opened up the feed bag under the water and the fish swarmed.  He screamed, I laughed and it is one of my favorite memories of him.  So over the years, I've been collecting little stickers and embellishments to use on this page.  Here's a snippet of it:
I changed the color saturation in the photo and used some matching metallic purple paper to represent underwater and then I just stuck fish all over.  Pretty fancy, I know.  

Anyway, that's what I've been secretly working on.  Hopefully it will all come together.  I printed out photos through Shutterfly many many moons ago and I only printed out the first two years, so I still have five years to cover, which includes new pets, engagement, whale watching, marriage, new house, and baby.  Phew...I hope I have enough pages!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

May Showers

Well, technically, we had May Snow, which is perhaps why I've been such a crabass lately.  Seriously, I've been so cranky.  I've had no motivation to email or blog or anything.  The sun is finally out, though it is super cold out today and I was kept awake all night by the wind whistling between the houses.  And, adding to my general crankiness/anxiety, whenever it is windy like that I worry about tornadoes.   

Anyway, last Saturday I took an umbrella recovering class at Treadle Yard Goods.  We got as far as deconstructing the umbrella, tracing our pattern pieces, and sewing them mostly together.  I'm using some floral yardsale fabric from my mom.  It's just a cotton, so I'll have to Scotchguard it, or whatever it's called.  I also have to go to the hardware store and get some sort of drill bit for boring a hole into the umbrella topper, because it broke during the deconstructing, but can be fixed with a hole and a new dowel.  Anyway, here's a teaser pic:
I'm off for my second class today, but before I do that I need to go to the ER with my kid in order to follow-up on a fever and a rash from last night.  This just adds to the Crank that I am.