Wednesday, May 29, 2013


 The holiday weekend was so, so nice. The weather was lovely, in the 60s with sunshine and blue skies. We didn't do a whole lot, but on Monday we took the kids to Griffis Sculpture Park, a very cool place about an hour south.

We only saw a fraction of the 400+ sculptures because it was muddy and frankly, because Hubs is not that much of an outdoor-family-fun kind of guy. I was lucky to get him to come at all.

I've visited several times over the past 20 years and really wanted the kids to experience it too. I will definitely take them back, probably in the fall when the leaves are changing, to see more.

Then the weather changed over to cool and rainy, rainy, rainy. We had gray skies and thunderstorms for two days and it was awesome. I really dread the upcoming hot, humid summer. Mama is just not cut out for it. I enjoy the more temperate days. Plus, duh, on those days I can get more sewing and crafting done!

 My son requested a "4th of July shirt" (I don't know why) so we found some patriotic-looking shirting on sale at Joann's. Whoa, I thought the shirt looked blurry because of the plaid but now I think it's just a crummy photo. Whoops.

I realized once I'd started placing the pattern pieces that plaid is trickier than I remembered. I tried really hard to line things up so it wouldn't look crazy.

I'm kind of proud of how the pockets came out. I fudged the placement so the darker vertical lines of the plaid would match up. 

And I'm pleased with the collar, even though I technically put it on backwards...the interfacing ended up fused to the wrong piece but it lays fine so no one needs to know, right? I love making these little shirts, they are immensely satisfying despite not being all that difficult. Even my husband is impressed, and after showing him all my projects for the past 10 years it takes a lot to make him really sit up and take note. He even said he would wear one if I made it for him! I'll probably do one or two more for my son to get better at making this pattern, and then move on to a pattern with a collar stand. Learning new skills and stretching beyond my abilities is so essential to my everyday life, because otherwise I just feel like a maid/cook/laundress and that's no fun at all.

Speaking of learning, I'm sure I'm the last person to figure this out, but youtube is PACKED with awesome videos and tutorials about garment construction and sewing in general. (Those Crafty Gemini "sausage" pillowcases are in my sights!) It's incredible how many people, including professionals, are willing to give of their time and skills to help others learn. I can't get enough!

I've also been stitching away at my giant sampler, finishing up the alphabets in the center as well as the frame surrounding them, and moving on to an urn and leaves. Very relaxing.

And of course there is knitting. I haven't settled on a big project to make right now so I'm just doing socks. Good enough for now, and quite portable for the playground runs that are becoming more frequent as the weather changes.

So that's what's going on in my neck of the woods. What are you working on?

Monday, May 20, 2013

circle of diamonds

When my husband and I first met I made no pretense about my hobbies. Within a few weeks I was happily knitting and/or crocheting while we watched movies together on the couch. He was very supportive, but I do recall him saying it was a really neat hobby, but I wasn't going to start knitting shawls and doilies and old lady stuff, was I?


Oops. Looks like I knit a doily.

Oh well, so what, it was fun! I am always looking for a new and interesting challenge to keep growing my needlework skills. This was a combination of knitting in the round, lace, and using cotton thread.

I'm not planning to knit up a hundred of these and drape them all over the house or anything, but I might make a few more. They are a small, satisfying project and they do look nice here and there.

This one is at home on the piano, snuggling with my fiesta ware vase* and candlesticks.

Well, it's 80 degrees and a bit humid (barf), I have one kid with sniffles and one home sick from school, and nowhere to be this afternoon so I think I'll get everyone settled down for a rest and spend some time with my alphabet cross stitch. With a glass of ice water. In front of a fan.

*Oh my word! I have thought this was a vase since I received it as a wedding shower gift ten years ago, but looking it up I discovered it is actually a utensil crock! No wonder the opening is so wide...I just thought, since it was given to me with the candlesticks, that it was decorative and meant for flowers!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

lots of spring sewing

I know, I know, first I'm all, "I'm back to blogging!" and then I vanish for weeks. My excuse is that allergy season has hit HARD this year and I've been really miserable. No one wants to listen to me whine, so I've just stayed quiet. 

The upside to hiding in the house with all the windows closed is that I've had lots of time to sew. In fact, I've done more sewing over the past several weeks than I've done in the past several years. I don't have photos of everything because much of it has gone into immediate use. 

We found that this year it is impossible to fit Daughter into any store-bought shorts. And believe me, we tried. I dragged that poor child to every store in the mall to try on every brand and style. If they fit in the waist they gave her wedgies. If they were long enough they were too loose. There was no winning. Even the adjustable waist kind were hopeless. Absolutely nothing fits. So I started out by making a total of 9 pairs of shorts between my two kids. Some for wearing out, some for sleeping. Because in addition to no shorts for Daughter, when the weather turned warm I also discovered my son had no warm-weather pajamas. 

These kids and their nonstop growing. Sheesh!

So let's see, there were shorts and pajamas, two dresses for Daughter, three sleeveless tunics for me (one lawn, one linen, and one "mystery fabric" that's some sort of lightweight cotton), some pique capris for me that were so ridiculous they went straight to the donation bag, and the above "church shirt" for my son. (That's what we call shirts with collars around here, to keep him from showing up at the breakfast table on church mornings in a t-shirt.)

Hopefully I'll be feeling better soon - usually the end of May brings the end of the severe allergy season - and I can get outside with the kids and better photograph some of the stuff I've been making. 

Oh, and lastly, here's a stern warning for the sewists out there:

I can't believe I'm even showing this, I'm so ashamed of myself, but I thought it might help someone else. I was stitching the collar on my son's shirt, and using lots of pins because it's fiddly. Somehow I broke the cardinal rule of NEVER EVER sewing over a pin (it was buried in multiple layers of fabric). The needle hit the pin and bent so badly it's now curved. I am hoping and praying the needle bore the brunt of that stupid error and my machine is ok inside. It seems to be fine so far. But let this be a lesson, friends. Never, never, never sew over pins! I don't care what your mom or your grandma or the old lady down the street who taught you to sew is NOT a good idea, ever. You can do potentially hundreds of dollars of damage with one little pin.

I'm off my soapbox now. Hope you're all having a good weekend and may the pollen counts where you live be low!