Saturday, September 11, 2010

So satisfying...

I am a quick project kind of girl when it comes to sewing or anything actually, which is why this skirt was so satisfying to me. I knew this fabric would be a skirt for K when I bought it and it's just as perfect as I expected it to be. I love red ric rac and add it to a LOT of things. I think this will even work for the holidays (and the 80+ degree weather we're having now).
I'm seriously in love with the new Oliver and S patterns, but really cannot justify buying all 4 of them at once and I cannot decide on just one. I am participating in the Sew Mama Sew Jump Rope Dress sewalong. I hope I'll have something cute to reveal by the end of the weekend, but it's NOT a quick project so let's hope I don't entirely lose interest before I've finished.

Friday, September 10, 2010

New beginnings

Both my kids started a tiny Waldorf school this week. It was a big change for my son in particular since we've been homeschooling the past two years. My daughter will be in the kindergarten a couple of days a week (although she'd like to go more). I was feeling so apprehensive about this change, but immediately was calmed by the rose ceremony that opened the school year. Things are going to be just fine.
My daughter wore a handmade dress that was mine as little girl. It's so nice to see her enjoying it as I remember that dress quite well. So nice to have had a crafty mom!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Half made by me

I can't even really believe that I (almost) knit a sweater for my daughter! I say almost because I started this project about 2+ years ago and then put it away (in pieces) to be completely forgotten about. Recently, a knitter friend of mine was interested in taking a look at my (completely unused, beautiful) yarn stash also packed away (remember I mentioned my love affair with supplies?!) since I mentioned that I'd love to get rid of some of it. She pulled the pieces out and said "Hey, I'll finish this for you." That was about the sweetest thing I've ever heard. Finishing projects has always been a challenge for me, but especially in cases where I've just completely thrown in the towel. So, she knit the sleeves and collar and then sewed the whole thing together and finished the edges...even put the buttons on (aren't they cute?). And then gave it back to me and Katya was thrilled to wear it. It's a tad wonky but I'm absolutely okay with that. I feel so incredibly proud and motivated to actually knit more. I wonder if I could pull off a sweater for my son for Christmas....of course, I'll need to go buy some more yarn (it's got to be cheaper than therapy...although sometimes I'm not so sure)!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I love supplies

Sometimes I think I enjoy buying supplies more than I actually enjoy sewing. I started off wanting to make some zipped pouches for a craft fair, so I stumbled upon and ordered some of these on etsy. Could anything be lovelier, I mean really? For me, the raw materials represent the possibilities ahead. So, I've been admiring them all day and, of course, taking pictures. Maybe I should actually make something, but now that I've spent all this time trying to fix my blog header, I'm tired and may just go watch a movie (and embroider).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Orphan dress

I laughed out loud today when my daughter said she "liked this dress I made her. It's just like what girls in orphanages wear." I guess she's been heavily influenced by all the Annie (as in 'little orphan') action going on in our house (movie, live musical, cd--over and over and over). I guess I do like kids' clothes to be understated and, well, boring. My eyes hurt when I see some of the barbie pink clothing available. Oh, and I'm pretty sure I was visibly annoyed when my daughter inherited a leopard print polyester dress from an older friend (it seems to always to be in the wash so she can't wear it.). Well, anyway here's my Ice Cream Social dress from Oliver and S with our sweet new kitten. I added an embroidered 'K' button to make it more enticing. I think it worked.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Not a single serious shot

I did a little photo shoot today at the zoo of a dress I made several months ago. It's the Oliver and S Playdate Dress, which seems to be discontinued now. I've sewn it several times now and really like it, especially this one even if it does look slightly amish. I love classic styling on children. I found this linen at Joann's where I'm sometimes surprised (pleasantly) by their linen solids. And, of course, she enjoyed wearing her new fall boots with it. Only in San Francisco can you get away with fall boots in July (in the western hemisphere anyway!). Oh gosh, I need to sew something for my son (something I constantly feel guilty about, but don't seem to do much to alleviate these feelings!). I actually have some cute pants I made many months ago for him....will post pictures soon just to make myself feel better. And I'm sewing for myself, well, I've cut out a couple of dresses for myself. Hopefully, it will amount to something wearable.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Crafting saves lives

I admit that I am a craft book junkie. I am truly tortured by all the new craft books coming out that I cannot afford, so when this book arrived on my doorstep a few days ago I'm pretty sure I squealed. I'd forgotten that I preordered it several months ago from Amazon. Oh man, it was worth the wait. It completely reaffirmed how much I love Hillary's style and I enjoy making softies probably above all else (kids' clothes run a tight second). Every single pattern is adorable. I think Olive and Archie was the first doll I ever made. After that, I was hooked.
Here are just a few of our favorites. I absolutely love her ideas for hair in this book. I've thought of using fabric scraps and of course felt and yarn, but check out the ribbon hair below or the absolutely adorable little boy doll with faux fur hair (my 8-year-old son who is a bit beyond stuffed toys asked me to make the 'naughty boy' for him...notice the crayon scribbles on the wall next to him?!). My daughter cannot stop talking about the sleepover dollies. I am quite in love with the Little Miss Storybook with her appliqued cape. Recently, I started making capes for my dolls, but this one with the hood is beyond adorable.

Many years ago, I saw a bumper sticker that said "Art saves lives." I thought about it for a long time and did not know exactly what that meant. When I was looking through this new book with my kids (trying to negotiate which one I would make first with them), I suddenly thought of that bumper sticker and knew exactly what it meant. When I began sewing 5 years ago while pregnant with my second child, it really marked a new beginning for me and, as silly as it sounds, making things really has saved my life. It has made me a little more excited to get up each day (so many projects to finish or start or both!) and has certainlymade me think of 'things' in a whole new way. I look at mass produced clothing, toys, furniture with a more critical eye. Whenever I talk to a friend who is down, I suggest trying to embark on a creative task to help get out of their funk. I know creativity means different things for different people, but there is something downright therapeutic about making something with your hands. Oh, I just love it so.

And the love that my children bestow on the softies I've made over the years has made me so incredibly proud. I know they will remember this about me ("mama and her sewing" they sometimes say) and hopefully carry a little bit of craftiness with them throughout their lives as well.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Brother and sister

I recently made these dolls for a brother and sister. I just love how they turned out. I used the Poppy Doll pattern from Hop, Skip, Jump. I've made this doll several times and it always comes out cute (and slightly different, which is what I love about making dolls). I struggled with the boy clothes and just settled on these overalls I had from a doll pattern. I wish they were a little more "boy", but time was limited. I'd like to create a cute (but not too cute) boys' outfit sometime. I like coming up with my own doll patterns, but also really like using patterns from others since I enjoy learning a new way of putting a softie together. Just like I keep ordering patterns from Oliver and S because (I keep telling myself and my husband), it's cheaper than sewing classes and buying all the adorable kids' clothes out there! Speaking of which....I may be starting a patternmaking class soon. I am excited beyond belief!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Favorite holiday (for the color scheme!)

I can never resist making a new dress for the 4th of July. I'm always drawn to red, white and blue; it just says summer to me. Such a great combo, no wonder it has been chosen for so many flags around the world. I used this free Oliver & S pattern and I'm quite pleased with the result. I have a stack of patterns I'm just dying to get to work on, but I'm in the midst of a deadline for some adorable dolls. Be back soon.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer sewing and seam finishes

I've been ignoring all housework the past few days to spend time in my sewing room. I came up with this skirt yesterday just before dinner and finished it after the kids went to bed (at to do something about these bedtimes!). I knew the plainess of the skirt would be met with resistance so I added the doily at the last minute then I got sucked into researching doilies on etsy (wow!). I love this skirt. The pictures don't do it justice. Linen just has that gorgeous sheen about it. I, of course, imagined her wearing it with a neutral top and saltwater sandals, but she insisted on her hot pink shirt and lacy leggings. I am sure the sparkly flip flops will follow!

I wanted to share the "insides" of my sewing, which never look very beautiful. I'm sure I am in the minority when I admit that I love pinked seam allowances. It reminds me of all the things my mom made for me. I love how it makes something look instantly 'handmade'. I do have a serger and use it on occassion, but it makes me nervous (I have once made a hole in a dress while trying to finish the seams). I'd like to use it more, but for now I'll just pink my edges and enjoy the imperfections of it all!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A bunny is born

I absolutely love making softies, so when we are invited to a birthday party I am always eager to make a stuffed toy if I have the time. I dread the day when my kids are too old to give these kind of gifts (I think I was pushing it a bit with this one for a 7-year-old boy). I never thought I'd enjoy making softies so much but I love the suspense I feel during the process; you never really know how it will turn out until the face is embroidered on and then you just love the new creature. The face is by far the hardest part for me. It sometimes takes me as long to embroider the face as it does to put together the rest of the body (which explains why I was off in the corner sewing on the face at the party and this blurry picture I got!). I made it from this great pattern, which I highly recommend. My kids both want me to make them one....oh, twist my arm!

I'd like to be more confident and start making my own patterns, but I just don't feel as though I have time for that kind of trial and error. I have made dolls from my own pattterns, but I'd like to play more with variations. I do learn a lot from working with patterns and feel great about supporting someone else's hard work by buying independent patterns.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Teacher's gift

I was in charge of creating a teacher's gift for my son's class. The trouble was, the teacher is a man, and we all know that men are notoriously hard to sew for. I really thought long and hard about this gift since I wanted it to be something he might actually use. Finally, I remembered this pattern that I bought a while back, but never used. I would have loved to have the kids do something even more personal (patchwork squares of their art across the front), but we were short on time and I was also aware of walking the line of too much kids' art on a man's gift. i just had the kids sign their names with fabric markers on a piece of linen. They all added their own little image, which I think turned out so sweet. I like the way it came out and I enjoyed working with this pattern. I'll definitely make it again (maybe for my husband for Father's Day?!).

I actually have been sewing a ton, but have such a hard time maintaining the blog. I'm hopeful that I can find a rhythm for this over the summer. I'd love to be more connected in 'blog land' since I find so much inspiration there!

Friday, January 8, 2010

new year's morning

We celebrated new year's morning with some papa-made blini with jam. Yum!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What I've been up to

I made a quilt for my daughter's preschool class live auction in December. I was feeling very generous when I offered to make it since it's our last year at the school (sniff, sniff). I knew I would be be rather "control freaky" about the whole thing. So sure enough, I ended up doing the entire thing except the rather tedious task of printing all the images. I was also lucky enough to have the quilting donated by a local quilt shop; what a, I could get used to that!! As much as I really loved making the quilt, I happily saw it go home with a grateful winner (a friend so I can visit it if I want). Now, to fill my own house with handmade quilts. It's a goal for the new year, but first some new clothes for myself that I've been working on.