23 October 2014

B is also for ...

Bento Ballet Bag. 

I found this tutorial for a little tote bag that I totally loved: the Very Shannon Origami Bento Bag. I've already made three and need to make at least three more. I made two for RG and JE for their dance class bags, and one for a friend as her birthday gift. My other three girls want them too - SM also takes dance but I haven't gotten her bag done yet because I had to do the birthday dresses first.

Anyway, the original tutorial mixes 3 different fabrics and doesn't line it. I used one solid cut of fabric and lined it to give it a little more strength and just for better looks. This is JE's bag. RG's bag has the same plain pink lining, and her's is pink with white Swiss dots on it. The birthday gift bag was a couple of shades of purple. Also, on the gift one, I left off the box corner seams so it can be reversible. The box corners do give the bag better shape, but it's fun to have it reversible.


And here's little Miss JE coming home from her ballet class with her bag carrying her shoes. Hooray for dance class! And she loves the bag.

22 October 2014

B is for buttons

More birthday dresses - another B word, and another Holiday challenge entry!

RG chose her pattern - the Oliver + S music box jumper (same as SM in May), and chose her fabric at JoAnn. It totally suits her. I made the pattern according to the proper sizing (altered for SM) but gathered the skirt rather than pleating it. I wish I'd made it a little longer for her, but it's fine.


She also chose the buttons on the back, which is the fun part. Note that they're doing the ombre thing - light at the top and getting gradually darker as they go to the bottom. The clothes I make are still super simple and basic, but I'm getting a little better at adding details and making things more personalized.


14 October 2014

A is for applique

I followed along, by reading but not sewing, with No Big Dill's "Sew All 26" challenge for herself and loved it. (I love her projects and photography anyway.) (Also, I've realized that one of the things that makes a sewing blog is the photography and settings ... and that's not going to happen here because I don't have time to drive all over just to find cool places to take pictures of the clothes I make, or set up fancy little photo shoots. You're stuck with my house as the background of pictures shot with my phone. Sorry. I'll try to keep the mess out of the frame.)

ANYWAY ... that was a rant ... I've thought about doing a Sew the Alphabet challenge myself when I finish some other things, but recently thought ... Wait. I can do it as part of all my other sewing! Between now and Christmas, the projects I'm doing fit in with A-B-C-D anyway! I need to figure out E-F-G because the quilt (my first quilt!!!) I've already started working on fits with H.

So. We start with A - applique. I'm doing an exchange with a quilting group I joined at the beginning of the year, and received a gorgeous "quilt picture," as my girls call it. This, for now taped up to the wall in my sewing area as inspiration, until I can figure out how to frame it and put it in my living room. Isn't it awesome?!?


SM loves it and wanted to make one herself for Grandma's birthday gift. I haven't learned yet how to piece quilts, especially into pictures, so we went with the applique method. I gave her a fat quarter of fabric (fat quarter = 18 x 22-inch cut of fabric) in blue, and she went through my scrap box to figure out all of her pieces. She cut and arranged for an entire afternoon one day, getting it all laid out. I did all the sewing to attach her little teeny pieces, and she did the binding. We didn't use batting or any quilting because it's a wall hanging, and, well, I'm out of batting right now.

SM using the machine by herself for the very first time!

Happy (late) birthday, Grandma!

I also did an applique on a t-shirt dress for TA's birthday - it took me a couple of attempts. The secret - stabilizer! Don't skip it. I wondered if I could get away with that, but no. I got about halfway around when the whole thing decided to get snagged in my machine. I pried it out and ripped a hole in the shirt in the process. So I removed the heart (lots of work with the seam ripper since the stitches were so teeny and compressed together) and started over, this time with stabilizer. And I covered the hole in the shirt. I need to reinforce a couple of sections of the stitching to make sure the edge of the heart is fully covered and doesn't start fraying in the laundry, but I got it on there in time for her birthday party at the park and she loves it!

Little Miss TA is 3 now!

28 September 2014

things to do with zucchini

I've always liked zucchini, but my mother-in-law had a garden this year so I got a LOT of it.  I've shredded some for the freezer, I've pureed some and added it to spaghetti sauce.  Here's a few other things I've done with zucchini this month.

Zucchini Boats - great to make with small zucchini.  Can be used for a whole meal or as a side.  Easy enough to change up the ingredients to suit your needs - add ground beef, mushrooms, etc.

Zucchini Chips - I've made these as chips (using small zucchini) and fries (with big to jumbo zucchini), dredging them in either milk or eggs.  Both work, both are tasty.

Zucchini Cobbler - I prepared the zucchini according to this recipe, but added my usual crisp blend for the top.  My husband loves apple crisp and gave a big thumbs up when he tried this.  And THEN I told him it was zucchini.  He was stunned.  This is now known as deceitful crisp at my house.  And this is awesome for large/jumbo zucchini because it uses so much up at once.

Zucchini Pizza - Yum Yum YUM!  Fabulous use for large zucchini (not too huge, or you get the soft spot in the middle with all the large seeds).  Tastes like regular pizza, but you don't feel so guilty eating a lot of it because there's no crust, just zucchini!  Definitely a favorite.

Zucchini Carrot Muffins - when given a lot of zucchini everyone's first thought is to make bread or muffins.  This was actually the last thing I tried (and they just came out of the oven).  I halved the sugar, and replaced the oil with more applesauce.  Very similar to the spiced carrot muffins I made last month, but with added pecans and raisins.  I'd make them again.  There are many other muffin recipes I'd like to try, so it's a good thing I've got a stash of shredded zucchini in the freezer.

25 September 2014

thrift store sheets

I found a purple Tinkerbell twin flat sheet at the thrift store, and there's not much more my toddler loves more than Tinkerbell (except maybe cheese).  And from that one sheet I made my own crib sheet (from this crib sheet tutorial), a pair of pajamas, and I'll use the last of the material for a little pillow cover.  Not bad for six dollars.  (And people say sewing is expensive.)

01 September 2014

happy anniversary!

Today is the anniversary of Operation Domestic Goddess! Sept. 1, 2006 was my first day as stay-home mom, full-time domestic engineer, happy homemaker ...

We've been canning all weekend. That means that Adam has been canning, and I've been washing dishes and getting more jars out of the storage room and kinda/sorta keeping the kids out of the way. 18 quarts of peaches, a bunch of small jars of peach syrup, 8 pints of tomato sauce, 8 pints of red cabbage chow-chow (a type of relish to put on meat), pickled peppers, a bunch of corn scraped off the cob and put in the freezer, and we still have probably 10 or 12 quarts of cucumbers to make into pickles. We're at 24 gallons and counting of pickles.

Today, I cut Adam's hair, had school with the girls, and mowed the lawn for the first time. Adam did the front yard and I did the back (which is a lot bigger). Tonight, I need to sit down with RG and have her choose her pattern for her birthday dress - RG and TA's birthdays are only 3 days apart at the beginning of October, so I need to get going on their dresses now to have both of them done on time.

We decided that Labor Day weekend is going to be LABOR Day for our family - we get work done with the house. We have beach plans for next weekend, when the crowds have gone away to school and work and it will still be 90 degrees. Ha ha ha!

Sidenote: For August sewing, I was planning to make a denim picnic blanket cut from old jeans for a Labor Day holiday challenge item. Alas, it was not to be. I cut some squares but didn't get very far. For as long as the summer is, I got a lot LESS done with sewing and around my house in June/July/August than I'd been planning. I really don't know why but I have very little to show for this summer.

My girls have been watching the sewing instruction videos on the MADE blog and JE liked the pillow cover. So I experimented with the envelope pillow cover with my couch throw pillows - JE chose some "spring" fabric and it went together very quickly. The back does have a bit of a gap - I need to do an overlap of 3 or 4 inches when I do it again rather than 2 inches as instructed in the video. The pillow is really poofy so that's probably why. My plan is to make Christmas pillow covers for the couch throw pillows - the couch is white and the covers zip off the pillows anyway. Should look good! Now to find the time to do it ...

many muffins

I've been on a muffin kick lately.  Last month I tried three new recipes, and within the last week I've tried five more recipes.  I tend to fail with sweet breads, never getting them to cook all the way through, so I'll stick with muffins.  They freeze well - I can pull out one or two, nuke it for a minute, and I've got breakfast.

Blueberry Applesauce Muffins - Specifically suggested for toddlers, my toddler did actually enjoy them.  Not something to add to my recipe box, but not bad.  Won't make them for a while again because my little one suddenly has decided she dislikes all muffins.

Peanut Butter Muffins - I honestly can't remember if I used this recipe or a different one, but either way the muffins just came out okay.  As much as I love the idea of a peanut butter muffin, the final product was a lot more rich than I expected.

Orange Muffins - After reading the comments I altered this recipe - switching the proportions of the liquids (one cup of orange juice and half cup of milk instead of the other way) and used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  I added more zest - at least from two oranges if not more.  Lastly, I skipped the glaze - there is already plenty of sugar, I don't need to add more.  And they were delicious!  Very light and fluffy and orange awesomeness.  After the first batch I made a double batch a week later.  This recipe is a keeper.

Oatmeal Cookie Muffins - The first bite of every muffin throws me off, but really enjoy it by the time I'm finished.  Slightly different texture, but not as bad as straight oatmeal ones.  I added mini chocolate chips, raisins, and crushed pecans.  My husband won't eat them (he doesn't like chocolate, raisins, and there's banana in there too), but they are pretty tasty, and good for giving away (I think - I've only eaten them warm).  AND they can be made gluten free.

Peanut Butter Apple Muffins - The peanut buttery flavor was much better than the straight peanut butter muffins.  Maybe the apple balanced it out better.  Not sure how often I'd make these, but it's a good use for a couple leftover apples that no one is eating.  (And again, I didn't make the topping.)

Mini Coconut Orange/Lime Muffins - I really liked the texture that the coconut added - a slight crunch without being overwhelming.  Much faster than the straight orange muffins (no squeezing oranges), but yum!  I did make them semi-mini and find that size perfect.  And this morning I tried them with lime - it worked!

Spiced Carrot Muffins - Delicious.  Warm, spicy, carroty goodness.  I was very hesitant when I made the batter - half of it was the shredded carrot!  But it baked up beautifully.  Since I'm going to eat muffins anyway, the least I could do is include more vegetables sometimes.  I think I'll make these often during the fall and winter.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins -  Husband approved.  Following the baking instructions (425 for five minutes down to 375) made a nice crisp top with fluffy inside.  Light lemony flavor, that could be enhanced with the glaze, but tasty as is.

23 August 2014

tally-ho

This week I made seven dishtowel-bibs.  I had already made four earlier this year for Cupcake, so this batch was easy.  Cut a circle in the dishtowel, attach ribbing.  Done!  And I made another simple baby blanket, bringing my total up to eight for the year.  Two layers, usually one printed cotton and the other flannel, stitch right sides together, turn out and then top-stitch a zig-zag around the edge.  Now, with all the babies coming, I've got a stash of gifts!

17 August 2014

t-shirt / birthday dress

I wanted another try at the birthday top, but I lengthened it to make it a dress.  I like this new one better, but the fit still isn't quite right.  Considering I put the whole thing together in a day I won't complain too much.  And it's a different sort of t-shirt dress - the bottom half is made from one of Aaron's old shirts.  Working with knit wasn't as intimidating as I thought.

31 July 2014

sewing tally for the year so far

Seven months down, five to go.

I didn't do KCW this time because it was the same week I was planning for a friend's baby shower on Saturday at my house. It was my first time hosting a baby shower - or any kind of party besides a birthday party for one of my kids - so that took up my time and attention for the week.

I've been keeping track on a list of everything I've sewn this year so far, and honestly, with the year only half over, I'm shocked at what I've accomplished. Before July 1, I had sewn the following:

- 5 flannel nightgowns, a variation of the Oliver + S playtime dress. It's a tunic pattern and I lengthened it to the floor.
- 4 heart pillows that spelled out L-O-V-E.
- I helped a friend make 2 simple skirts out of my leftover Minnie Mouse fabric for her girls to wear at Disney World.
- 4 tier skirts and an Oliver + S ice cream dress, all with Dr. Seuss fabric. The dress was JK's birthday dress.
- JE's birthday dress: Oliver + S rollerskate dress.
- "sewing camp" for SM and 2 friends. They made dresses and square block quilts for their dolls.
- SM's birthday dress: Oliver + S music box jumper
- 9 (NINE) Independence Day skirts: all simple skirts, added pockets, ribbon trim. (That reminds me. I need to post a tutorial on the pockets. I'll make another one and take pictures as I go ... but that would mean I need to get a new camera. Mine has apparently died.)
- a t-shirt dress for TA. Attach fabric to the bottom of a t-shirt and ta da! A dress!
- jumper Sunday dress for JK. I actually started it last year from a random unknown pattern but never finished it, and I found it. I tried it on her and it still fit fine around her torso because I'd made it really big. I did have to add a wide ruffle around the bottom to make it long enough for her. It turned out awesome - I love it!
- SM's white baptism dress, from a McCall's pattern that quite frankly, I didn't really like. But the dress turned out nicely!
- 4 comfort blankets for JK, which started as a king-sized blanket on my bed that she co-opted as her "I can't sleep without this" blanket. I cut it into quarters so we would have travel sizes, and hemmed them.

That's 24 articles of clothing made for my own children, and various other items for other people and my home. AND I've fixed 14 things that are in my rather large mending pile. AND in July, I handstitched the edges of 2 flannel baby blankets to give as gifts to friends - one having her first baby, and the other having her first grandchild.

And here are pictures of the clothes I hadn't posted about yet:

SM's baptism dress. The pattern had no closures at all - it was a pullover dress. The fabric should apparently have some stretch to it but this did not so it's a little tricky getting on and off. I have to help her. The front hemline was rather odd - a weird slant to make it look like there's an overlap but it didn't really work. I added the sheer white overskirt just for fun because SM wanted it and bonus! It hid the screwy hemline.

JK's jumper. I need to get a shot with the ruffle - it totally makes the dress.

TA loves her t-shirt dress! And playing with bubbles. And her cousin Cupcake.

Like I said, I'm shocked at what I've accomplished. Here's to another 6 months and beyond of handmade clothing for my daughters (2 more birthdays still!) and just generally being creative with fabric!