Monthly Archives: December 2012

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Monday Outfit: Reversible Coat + Knit Dress with Bow

**Apologies to those trying to leave comments – there was a hiccup with the database (or so I’m told) and some comments were lost. I did get to see them before they disappeared, so thanks if you tried to leave a comment in the last day or so! **

We are in full vacation mode around here. Wake up time: 10:30am. Hair: unbrushed. Moods: swinging all over the place. This was one of our more challenging photo shoots and I’m afraid K’s rat’s nest hair is the main focal point. We started out on a good note (see the smile? there’s another one coming up below). Then things devolved quickly and you would think I was putting her through Chinese torture the way she whinged. My ambitions to finish up the 2012 handmade wardrobe with a bang-up series of photos was crushed. The pattern is loosely based on a dress from this book.

That wand she’s holding is from a science experiment kit Santa brought her. So much wizardry – she loves it.

Ah, but the dress is pretty cute, right? It’s made out of this cool knit fabric that is the palest grey on one side, and black on the other. I added a chevron patterned grosgrain ribbon as an accent at her waist. I was going for an entire reversible ensemble, but the black side doesn’t look as good.

The reversible coat is SO cute, but these photos don’t do it justice. I was distracted by the pouty lips and lost focus while shooting.

Rat’s nest. I can’t even call it charming bedhead. That is just wrong.

 

The plaid is a brushed cotton, I think? I really need to get better about keeping track of fabric types and manufacturers. I have an embarrassingly large stash and quickly forget from where/how much/what the fabrics were.

This is the first fully reversible garment I’ve made, and I’m pretty excited about it. The deep purple side is some kind of stretch poplin, I believe. I basically made two versions of the hooded coat from this book and stitched them together.

 

And I’m wondering…three days ago, K lost one of her front teeth and her wisdom teeth are growing in. This could possibly account for the mood swings. Or maybe too much sugar. Or too much attention from Grandma. Who knows.

Anyway, that’s a wrap! I clocked in with 39 handmade clothes for K (40 if you count the to0-tight-skinny-pants).  Stay tuned for 2013 creations – there will be tons of kiddie clothes to be sure, but I am going to venture into adult clothes…for me! I am notoriously camera shy, so this is WAY out of my comfort zone, but you’ll be seeing my mug pop up here and there. Grown-up clothes take me much, much longer to make so they won’t show up quite as often or regularly, I think.

Thank you, you lovely lovely readers for stopping by my little blog and leaving such heartening comments. You’ve made 2012 extra special for me and I hope to return the favor with fun and creative posts in 2013! Things might be a little spotty as I gear up for the art show in the next couple weeks (and the husband said something about changing servers and slices and I stopped listening after he started talking about some doodad called a database transfer), but by the end of January, I will be going full-force, I promise!

P.S. I updated the 2012 recap post to include these items :-)

2012 Handmade Clothes Recap

Blue Sewing Machine Illustration by me (gouache + digital)

With Christmas safely tucked behind us, I’ve been reflecting on the past year as we head into 2013. I started this blog in July of 2012 and embarked on my sewing mission in August. In approximately four months, I have sewn 37 items for K (including the polar bear hat). I can’t believe it! I really started getting into the groove in October when I joined in the KCWC fun.

Although I pin my hand-sewn clothes images to one of my boards, I thought it might be fun to look at the monthly breakdown of my creations below – I have some blog re-design plans in the new year for easier navigation and will include a page with all the sewn garments.

I’ll be posting the last outfit of the year on Monday, but want to leave you with this compilation of K’s 2012 handmade wardrobe. Links to the posts for each item are included below.

AUGUST (2 items)
1. Ooh La La Dress
2. Floral Dress (same pattern as Ooh La La Dress)

SEPTEMBER (5 items)
3. Bubblicious Dress
4. Geometric Top
5. Brown & Silver Top (with open back)
6. Brown & Silver Skirt
7. Starry Night Peter Pan Collar Shirt
8. Burgundy Tiered Skirt

OCTOBER (12 items)
9. Gold flowers Sunki Dress
10. Mustard Jacket
11. Grey Polka Dot Skirt
12. Sunki Green leggings
13. Sunki Black+White Striped leggings
14. Stripey Knit Top
15. Mustard Jodhpur Pants
16. Red+White Herringbone Jacket (same pattern as Mustard Jacket)
17. Grey Knickerbockers
18. Boho Dolman Top
19. Sashiko Sailor Collar Pullover
20. Lucky Culotte

NOVEMBER (11 items)
21.  Ikat Dress + Faux leather Peter Pan Collar
22. Boucle Coat
23. Hooded Capelet
24. Grey Almost Skinnies
25. Caramel/Camel Shirtdress
26. Camisole Dress
27. Polar Bear Hat
28. Sweatshirt Re-fashion
29. Aqua Cords
30. Knit Dress with Black/Grey/White Stripes
31. Houndstooth Jacket + Pleather Elbow Patches

DECEMBER (9 items)
32. Plaid Tunic
33. Notched-Collar Knit Shirt
34. Color-Block Jacket
35. Pink Linen Gathered Dress
36. Black+Gold Knit Bolero Jacket
37. Polka Dot Party Dress 
38. Reversible Coat
39. Knit Dress with Bow

I would say that for the most part, K really liked the clothes I made. There were a few duds and some that are consistent favorites. I obviously make things that suit my taste, but I do try to keep K’s preferences in mind too.

Epic fails: the skinny pants (not pictured above. They were simply too tight) and the Boho knit top. The Boho top was just poorly made because I don’t know how to draft patterns. Yet. I will master this one day. She also detested the knickerbockers and refused to wear them after photos were taken.

Loves: the polka dot party dress and all the knit items are in heavy rotation (stripey top, notched collar shirt, black/grey/white stripe dress, leggings). I think I need to beef up on my knit-sewing skills for 2013! She also adores and often wears the Sashiko pullover as well as the grey and aqua cords.

2012 was a phenomenal year for me. I’ve connected with so many amazingly talented and kind folks through my little blog, and I can’t wait to see what the new year will bring. I’ve also learned a lot about myself, developed some new skills and am near bursting with so many ideas to share with you all next year. What are your plans for 2013?

Happy Weekend!

Happy Holidays + Polka Dot Party Dress

Hello! We are in a frenzy here, but in a good way. My mom is visiting from California for a few weeks, and not only do we get to sample her glorious cooking, K gets to practice her budding Japanese language skills. That up there is a little tree in K’s room. The ornaments are about an inch high, and we’ve had them forever.

I made a little party dress. It’s a french-inspired dress from this book. I’ve had this polka dot silk-like fabric in my stash for a while now. It’s probably polyester, but feels very luxurious. Because it was sheer, I fully lined it with some shimmery silver fabric, also from ages ago. Together, the dress is oh so opulent. K is completely in love with it and has not wanted to take it off. I too am smitten with this dress. My life suddenly feels incomplete without a polka dot dress in my wardrobe.

The sparkly purse is from my mom. The navy glitter tights are from Crewcuts.

I also made a bolero sweater out of a black knit streaked with gold filaments. I’m not sure that the shape works perfectly with the dress, but it gives it that fancy factor and again, K loves it so much she refuses to wear the dress without the bolero. The pattern is from this book.

Alright, my friends. We are off to celebrate Christmas and revel in the season. I will be taking a few days off of this here li’l blog to do just that. I’ll be back on Friday with some fun updates. Oh, and thank you to the folks who sent me photography tips! The time of day really makes a difference, but I’m also getting a new camera which I’m so excited about!!!

Wishing you a Christmas filled with peace and joy with loved ones. Happy Holidays!

Happy Friday + Monogram Keychains

Happy Friday, friends! So…I’ve been posting sewn outfits regularly on Fridays for the last few months, which I love doing because it’s a great way to end the week, but I’m going to start switching things around here. Goodbye Happy Friday reveals, and hello Monday outfits! I’m pretty excited about the next handmade ensemble –it’s for a Christmas Eve Eve party we’re going to on Sunday, and I want it to be a bit dressy.

Instead of Japanese pattern garments, I have monogram keychains for you today. Made out of silver pleather, I thought they would be fabulous. Well, they’re pretty cool, but still a little flimsy for my taste — perhaps taking only 10 minutes apiece is an indicator that I need to work on these a little more. But they’re almost there, and they look pretty in these photos, I think.

The “S” and “I” are for neighbor friends, who are like sisters to K. They are a year older than K and though not super girly, they would definitely appreciate some silver pleather. Once I have the kinks worked out, I’ll post a little tutorial. They are so easy to make! K thinks they are the bee’s knees.

The week doesn’t feel complete without showcasing some kind of sewing project, so here’s the much adored pink penguin backpack I made last year. K used this for summer camp, and let me tell you, it was a sensation. I had several girls asking me if I would make them one too.

It’s from the same book that I used for the polar bear hat. Love oliver + s! It’s a little too small for every day school use, but very handy for weekend outings.

I can’t believe Christmas is next Tuesday! I will be sewing until the last second, I believe…I haven’t even gotten all the supplies for the tipi I planned to make. Ah, it reminds me of college and cramming for exams the night before. I was known as the queen of all-nighters, but I hope it doesn’t come to that. Have a merry weekend, all!

Art Walk

Just a quick note to say that I’ll be the featured Ballard Art Walk artist for Drygoods Design, a most fabulous fabric shop and newly opened sewing studio here in Seattle. The Art Walk itself is on Saturday, January 12th, 2013 from 6-9pm, but my work will be up and for sale for the entire month. I’m painting and stitching away, and will provide some sneak peeks as it gets closer to the date.

 

Some thoughts + Holiday houses

Although I am still very emotional and am feeling awkward about putting forth these lighthearted posts in the wake of the tragedy and sorrows of last Friday, I also very much want to highlight the goodness in the every day. I want to reflect on ways to celebrate the small things, to immerse myself in creative ventures, to invest time and love into my family, friends and community. I’m doing my best to stay true to that.

With that in mind, I remembered how a couple of weeks ago, I had some friends and their children over to our house and had a wonderful time making gingerbread houses.

This one is K’s. Martha Stewart would weep, but I used this kit from Trader Joe’s. I have to say, I really like it. It’s kind of quirky (it’s called a “Hexen Haus” which translate’s to witch’s house) and the kids had so so much fun putting it together. They each got their own house, and the mamas helped with the icing. The candy factor is a little sparse and I included vinegar in the icing to make it a glue-like substance so that was a little gross, but otherwise, I deemed it a successful DIY party. We have it on our living room credenza and it makes me smile every time I see it.

I’m seeing so many great house-related crafts online and wanted to share a few of my favorites that I fully intend on trying out with K. A snow globe with an edible gingerbread house. Cute tags. Mermag‘s always awesome DIYs. Lit-up houses – so much inspiration….

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Mer-girl

This week, I am hunkering down to get the last of my Christmas gifts done and want to make headway on some art projects. I’m getting close.

Above is one of my all-time favorite illustrations I did in watercolor many moons ago. I love that the mer-girl is riding a seahorse, exploring through the depths of the sea. One day I want to wander through the world on a trusty steed too, seeking out adventures.

Alright, back to hunkering down…

Shortbread Cookies with Dark Chocolate Icing

Ina Garten is a goddess. I don’t think there is a single recipe of hers that I’ve tried that hasn’t come out amazing. OK, these shortbread cookies have only five ingredients (butter, flour, vanilla, salt and sugar), but still, it’s all in the proportions and these shortbread cookies are perfection. Every bite is probably irreparably clogging my arteries, but it’s so worth it.

The recipe is here, and I give you my word that these will be the best shortbread cookies you’ve ever tasted. The one thing I would advise is to keep your eye on the oven, because these got brown around the edges a lot faster than the stated 20 to 25 minutes. With my oven, they were done in 12 minutes or so.

I’ve been really into Dala/Dalecarlian horses lately. I think they’re so cheerful and festive and I think we can all use some uplifting. These are an homage to those wooden animals pervasive in Sweden.

I used this kind of chocolate for the icing that strikes just the right balance with the extraordinary buttery taste of the shortbread. K was especially excited about the cactus and turnip cookie cutters and did a good job with them. We blasted cheesy Christmas songs while we made cookies and I felt like it was all very Norman Rockwell. And it made me happy.  We delivered the snowflakes in a little mason jar to some family friends, and I hope they enjoy them.

 

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Try as I might, I have no adequate words to express my deepest sympathies — my prayers are with the families of Newtown, Connecticut. I am heartbroken for them all.

Happy Friday + Color-blocking

It’s the end of the week again, which means Christmas Eve is 10 days away…I am a teensy weensy bit overwhelmed. Anyway, Happy Friday! Have you been enjoying the color-block trend as much as I have? I recently acquired this very cool fabric, and it’s got Lycra (though mostly cotton) that gives it a sheen and stretch and almost raincoat-like feel to it. I immediately wanted to make a jacket.

This pattern from this book is actually a peter-pan collared coat, but I didn’t want to break up the clean lines of the fabric so I removed the collar. Love the pleat in the back, and the little belt detail.

I also made a gathered linen dress that is a beautiful dusty rose color. It’s remarkably close to the color of K’s room’s walls (where almost all these outfit shots are taken). It has a lot of grey tone in it, subduing the pinkness. You can see my messy zigzag seams where the dress skirt is flipped up a bit – I’ve been too lazy to operate my serger, which is cantankerous and makes me equally so.

The dress pattern is from this book, and for some reason it looked really weird when I first finished sewing it. I pluck, pluck, plucked many seams out and adjusted the fit multiple times. Even so, K says the elastic areas are itchy…hmmmmm. Need to tinker with this one a little more. It’s really cute, though.

The lighting is tough during these winter months. I haven’t been able to get many decent shots lately, and out of 300+ that I shot, these few were the only halfway presentable ones. I dream of upgrading my camera and getting some semi-professional lighting one day (I’ve heard these are good). There is a long and ridiculous story associated with how I fell into a swimming pool while holding my better and now defunct camera (RIP). I’ll tell you about it one day.

Here you can see the coat a little better:

Have a fun weekend, all! I hope you have lots of festivities planned with loved ones.

 

Holiday Crafts Roundup – Ornaments

With jingle bells in the air, I’ve got my crafting on these days, and it’s like Santa’s workshop around here. K made these beaded snowflake ornaments last year (using this) and they add great sparkle to our tree – aren’t they pretty?

In a couple of weeks winter break will start, which means loads and loads of extra time with K. I’ve been gathering a jillion craft and diy ideas and thought I would feature a few of my favorites every week – it’ll be an easy reference for me for those moments when screechings of “I’m bored!!” begin. Some of these may be a bit advanced for very little ones, but would be fun ideas for a crafty party with grown-up friends.

For this week, I’ve scoured the net for handmade ornament inspiration!

GLASS

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I love the idea of bringing nature inside of a glass ornament and how beautiful are those ombre ones?

GLITTER + SPARKLE

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Every tree deserves some bling. I think the miniature tinsel wreaths en masse would be so darling.

FELT

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Give me a piece of felt, and I can happily craft for hours. I especially like these two – one for the kirigami-inspired style and the other for the unexpectedly cute humor.

WOOD

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These gorgeous wooden ornaments are by artist Leise Dich Abrahamsen and are so inspirational! I wouldn’t copy it exactly of course, but it would be fun to make balsa wood ornaments with movable joints. And those washi tape + toothpick stars are too sweet.

DOUGH + CLAY

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There’s something intensely satisfying about shaping ornaments by hand out of clay or dough. The added bonus of the gingerbread (1) and cinnamon/applesauce (3) cookie ornaments is that your house will smell cozy and delicious. And the clay feather! Must absolutely make.

I hope these inspire you too and I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with the Happy Friday outfit!

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