31 July 2018

July journal

Just two projects this month: the seven mermaid tails for Peter Pan ...

... and continuing work on a decorative pennant garland (May journal #5) that I'm making for youth camp in 2 weeks.

The garland pieces will all be attached across the top by a (really, really long) strip of dark blue with stars on it. So far I have 60 triangles of various sizes, depending on the size of scrap fabric I was working with, and 40 circle flowers done. I'm using every piece of blue in my scrap bin that won't be added to a quilt because it's too scratchy, too flimsy, or I just don't really like the print. It's going to be outside at camp, so I'm using the less-loved fabric that I don't care about it getting trashed. (And for that matter, it's all scraps that were given to me when people were cleaning out their sewing - someone else's rejects!)

27 July 2018

still insane

Two years ago, I went a little insane with making ten togas for the community theater's summer production of The Music Man (which I was in with 3 of my girls). We weren't able to do summer theater last year because it was the same week as our family reunion (it was Annie, which we were very sad to miss) but we are back at it this year! Peter Pan!

I am still insane, because this year, I declined taking an on-stage role and instead, I was backstage as the costume manager. I figured I needed to be backstage to help take care of my own kids - JK is technically too young to be in the production (the rule is 6/entering 1st grade - she's 5 and entering Kindergarten), but she was going to be dragged along to all the rehearsals anyway. As for me, well, I can sew or figure out costume planning, as already demonstrated with the togas, so that's where I ended up even before the end of the auditions.

JK arrived at the audition and marched straight up to the executive producer, Jane ...

JK, very firmly: I want to be the pink mermaid!
Jane: Oh? Is pink your favorite color?
JK: No. My favorite color is purple.
Jane: Don't you want to be the purple mermaid?
JK derisively: There aren't any purple mermaids. I want to be the pink mermaid.

Her role was pretty much cast in stone at that point. And since I'd already agreed to take care of costumes, I needed to figure out mermaid tails ... seven of them.

This is a small community theater that's all volunteers, so there's no big costume shop. Everyone is pretty much on their own, unless it's a specialty piece. My job was basically to decide (with Jane, and some consulting with the director) what the costume guidelines would be for the various groups - pirates, lost boys, islanders - and everyone was on their own to get a costume. The theater organization was able to rent an outfit for Captain Hook and a few of other pieces. We also raided the high school costume room (where we perform) for some more items. Lucky for us, the girl playing Peter Pan is a major cosplay fan, and had multiple Peter Pan costumes of her own - the director chose the one he liked best. And I'm traffic control for all of it.

Back to the mermaids ... specialty piece, so I made all the mermaid tails. Most was fabric pulled from my own boxes, but I did go buy PINK.

I looked up a couple of tutorials, but basically they were all made totally freehand and based on each girl's measurements. The body part goes all the way to their feet, with the fin separate. The fins have stiff interfacing between two pieces of fabric. I couldn't figure out how to enclose the seams and still be able to turn them on the curves, so I left them raw edge and finished them on the machine with a wide blanket stitch. I also sprayed everything really thoroughly with starch to cut down on fraying and unraveling, and used glitter glue on the edges. They're holding up pretty well.

Some of the girls did their own decorating with tulle, pearl beads, shells, and flowers. I worked on the ones for my own kids and a couple of the younger girls. Lots of glitter paint. Another mom covered them all in a glitter spray. They seriously look really awesome.

The mermaid scene is that they help Peter play a trick on Hook, when he "disguises" himself as a woman and covers his head with a lace shawl/veil. There's a duet between Peter and Hook that's really funny, "Oh My Mysterious Lady." My two littles are bottom right, and you can see that JK is indeed The Pink Mermaid.

Another costume I'm proud of is Tiger Lily - this one was all me. I decided that she'd wear a Polynesian sarong, and I made her flower crown.

(When TA and JK were not being mermaids, they were also islanders so they could run around and not have to sit the entire time.

So this is what we've done nonstop in the three weeks since getting back from vacation. And probably what we'll end up doing most summers for as long as we live here. It's long and tiring, but it's FUN. Theater is AWESOME.

P.S. Because I've been asked - yes, all 5 of my girls were in the play. SM was one of the Lost Boys. RG and JE were islanders. TA and JK were islanders and got the extra of the mermaids.

09 July 2018

June journal

1. the snail tote bag.

2. Y is for yellow shirt.

3. More zip bags! Two for another sister-in-law, Laurel (London got the travel set before), because every time she comes to visit from Virginia or we go there, she ends up cutting my hair. When she was here visiting in April and cut my hair again, I wanted to do something for her in return. She chose the fabric but I just finally got them done ... and then forgot to mail them to her before we left on vacation. So they're still sitting on my table. Oops.

4. Our church's youth group is doing "Trek" this year, where they dress up like 1850s pioneers and drag 500-pound handcarts around in the woods for a couple of days. (I am not sad that my own children are not yet old enough for this event.) The girls at church made their own skirts and AJD didn't like how her's turned out. She'd cut it in a huge rectangle, probably 2 yards long, and then just put elastic in the waist to bunch it WAY up. I was bribed with a multi-year-loan of a serger (!!!!) (while AJD serves a mission and goes to college) to fix it in one day, 2 days before we left on vacation. I chopped the top elastic strip off, cut the rectangle into more of an A-line structure, and used my Anywhere Skirt instructions to make a fitted waistband with a button placket. Muuuuch better!

So except for JE's field day shirt, all of the sewing this month was for other people. And all of it was done really fast, almost on the fly. June was a crazy month with the end of the school year and leaving on a 17-day vacation an hour after school ended from which we got home yesterday ...

July sewing is costumes for summer theater and the performances are in only 3 weeks. So I gotta get moving on that. Maybe in August I'll finally have time to do my epic letter Z, and sew some new clothes for the new school year for my girly girls ... and THEN, in the fall, I will get back to the quilts. Whew!!

05 July 2018

Mini Pink Doll Quilt

This tiny little quilt was supposed to be a Christmas gift for Cupcake, but I realized it was just going to get lost in the pile of presents so I didn't bother scrambling to get it done in time.  It got set aside for months before the Finish-A-Long helped motivate me to complete it.

It isn't anything fancy, starting as a pile of 2.5" squares, it ended up barely bigger than a standard piece of printer paper.  Everything (including the polka dot backing and floral binding) is pink and scrappy.  That binding was a bugger - I made it too narrow, attached it wrong and struggled to hand stitch it on to get this project DONE.  It isn't something to brag about, but I'm happy it has moved out of my UFO pile.

We match!

My Little Pony - Alder Skirt for Mommy?  Check.
My Little Pony - Maggie Mae for Cupcake?  Check. (Finish-A-Long #4)
My Little Pony - Baby Butterfly for Snowflake?  Check!

Check it out!  We all match!

03 July 2018

quilt square baby toys

I did rather well with my Finish-A-Long this quarter and got six of eight projects completed.  These crinkle baby toys had deadlines (baby showers!) so that certainly helped them happened.  I had made the first toy in March, and soon followed with these three more.  It was fun to play with the patterns, but I really do like the star.

For twins!

The way I made HSTs meant I had two sets of identical squares, 
so I could make two toys at the same time!
(Meaning I still have a second set of the pink/purple too.)

Purple, orange and black for a big fan of Halloween.

08 June 2018

Y is for yellow

I was not going to do a Y post with yellow - Mindy already did that. But for the second Thursday night in a row, I found myself with a sewing project that needed to be done RIGHT NOW.

Found out yesterday morning that Field Day was today at school, and the 2nd graders needed to wear yellow shirts. After some looking around, I figured out that the only yellow shirts for children that we own are all pajamas. But ... there's some yellow knit fabric ... and I did just get the Girl on the Go dress/shirt pattern from Oliver+S ... so at 10 pm last night, I made one.

Size 8, with the length at a size 10 because I like shirts to go a little further onto the hip. It took about 2 hours, because the knit was thin and kept rolling up on me, and I went reeeeeeally slow because I didn't want to warp it while it went through the machine.

Here's our fearless warrior girl ready to go to Field Day this morning!

I did a decorative stitch for binding the facing down, just for fun.

04 June 2018

another way to use a quilt block

JK's friend BR is really into snails, which utterly confuses her parents. It's really hilarious. But they humored her at her birthday last week (she turned 5). They had a garden themed birthday party on Saturday and even gave her live snails as a pet for her gift.

A couple of nights before her party, I was randomly surfing quilting blogs and came across a snail quilt block. Stop. The. Presses. I am making this quilt block for BR and putting it on a tote bag for her gift. Now. I didn't buy the pattern, but eye-balled it, and this is how it ended up:

The snail itself is 6x8 inches. If I were to make this again, I would start with an 8-inch colored square instead of 6 to give more room for the seam allowances. The body started at 3 inches wide. The corner squares started at 2 inches, and then were sewn on the diagonal and the excess trimmed off. The smaller size worked great this time because BR is a tiny girl.

The block isn't quilted at all, but there is interfacing behind it. I used this tutorial from Simply Notable for the bag itself. It's a good sized bag for a small child for library books and carrying random toys around. I also experimented a little bit with the handles - I originally cut the strips at 2 1/2 inches wide like usual, and then folded them shut like bias tape. My addition was that I tucked a 1-inch wide strip of low-loft quilt batting into the fold before I sewed the strip shut. I like how that turned out - makes it softer to put over your shoulder! Planning to use that again with future bags.

31 May 2018

May journal

Quilts, crafts, and clothes. Covered it all this month.

1. X is for X block in the Squared Away Block of the Month. The X was March's block, and I also did April's block. Green done, yellow done. Still working on pink for May.

2. Four more blocks for the Night Sky quilt. I'm trying to get section 2 done of the quilt, but it's not quite coming together yet. I wanted to do more on this project, but at least I hit the minimum.

3. Two pairs of shorts, one of TA and the other for JK. More coming.

The purple speckles was from the remnant bin at Hobby Lobby. The ice cream cones are from Made EveryDay, the Boardwalk Delight line.

I think I resolved my Shorts conundrum. I have the Kid Shorts pattern from Made Everyday but it only goes to a size 10. SM is way out of that now. I was trying to figure out how to size it up, and I probably still could. But I discovered that Oliver+S has a FREE!!! Sunny Day Shorts pattern online, so I printed it off. They're made differently - Kid Shorts does not have a separate waistband, Sunny Days Shorts does. They're put together differently, even though they look pretty much the same when they're done. And hey, I don't know that SM will even fit into a 12 anymore - I've been buying her 14/16 at the store, and even went to the Juniors section when we were shopping for a dress for her last week. So we'll see. But at least I have one more size up after the Kid Shorts 10.

4. On Sunday night this week, I got a sewing bug, and in just a little while, I made a swim cover for JK. Adam asked how this dress is different from any other dress ... it's not. It's regular fabric. But the top is too loose to be modest so we'll call it a swim cover. JK found the bow in my basket of random items and asked me to add it.

She's ready for the pool! Bring on the summer!

5. I started ... another ... WIP ... a fabric pennant garland for summer camp. I'm going to our church's youth camp with SM as one of the adult chaperones, and this is girly in that campsites are "decorated" somehow. So enter a pennant garland. This is just getting started so no photos yet.

It has the typical triangles but also flowers scattered randomly in between. I made a bunch of flowers as a hand-sewing project (and one was even swiped by JK - she had me stitch it to a hair tie). The gathering stitch would be MUCH faster on the machine, but I wanted a hand project to carry around and knocked out over 20 of them just while sitting in a women's church conference. This particular version of a pennant/flower garland is from the book Sewing Bits and Pieces by Sandi Henderson - I got it from the library for a different project, but this looked cute too.

This has been a great way to clear out blues that quite frankly, I'm not going to ever use in a quilt because the fabric is too rough, doesn't go with anything else, or I just don't like it. Putting those fabrics in a garland that's going to get the crap beat out of it by being outside!

We have a baaaaaaaack-splaaaaaaaaash!

This was the last major piece of our kitchen puzzle, and kind of on a whim, we just got it done. I wanted glass tiles in some shade of blue. When I was running errands at Home Depot once, I went through their entire in-store selection and really wasn't happy with it. It's mostly brown-toned, which doesn't not work with our gray/black counter at all. I found a couple of things and took samples home but nope. So we tried Lowe's and hooray! They had a lot of blues! We brought home a bunch, and the all-white that Adam liked and grabbed at the last second was the winner. The blues didn't look right with the counter - that was a hard match. The white/gray was also the cheapest - score!

I went to a Saturday night book club and when I got home, Adam had most of it up. (I need to leave him unsupervised more often.) I just had to come through behind him for the wipe-down of the extra mortar. (Typical. He makes a mess, I clean it up.) It still needs the grout and to be polished off, but the tiles are up! Hooray!

28 May 2018

X is for X-block

I got behind on the Squared Away quilt block of the month challenge after just January and February. Now that it's May, I did March and April, and this is where X has arrived for the Alphabet Challenge - a quilt block!

March's color was green to celebrate the start of spring ... which did not arrive in my state until April, so this was wishful thinking.

April was yellow:

I like the sunshine! I needed some of that in April, because spring didn't come until the END of the month!

May's Squared Away block is still under construction. I made a whole bunch of HSTs, but then didn't like them. The white scrap fabric that I used is really flimsy. Now that Mindy and I have decided to give the twin quilts to our daughters who are "twinsies" (Cupcake and JK are very close in age, and were best friends last summer), I don't know that this fabric will hold up very well. Also, the pink in the HSTs didn't go with any of the other pinks I have - I didn't coordinate that well at all. So I need to start over on the May block, but had to put the quilts on pause to make summer shorts for the girls.