1.30.2011

Obi Belt

I have loved the look of wide belts for quite some time now, but I was never sure if I could "pull it off."  Not to sound like a dumb-butt but I was never sure what to wear them with...and I didn't want to invest all that money in an awesome wide belt, only to have it sit in my closet for years to come.   So, I decided to whip one up to see if I could "pull it off."  Hence the creation of my little blue obi belt.


Hmm, I'm thinking that perhaps I should
clean the bathroom mirror before
taking a picture in it...

I had some silk dupioni left over from an old project and had just enough to make a four inch wide belt.

To make it I basically measured my waist and then decided how long I wanted the belt (I wanted mine to not quite touch in the back so I made it about three inches shorter than my waist measurement).  I then interfaced one side of the belt and cut each tie to be about the length of my waist.  I sewed each tie together inside out and then turned the tube right side out.  I then sewed the waist piece and the ties together inside out, leaving a two inch gap, turned it right side out, and hand sewed the gap closed.

My word to the wise for next time is to interface the entire waist piece.  I cut my interfacing about an inch smaller than the silk waist piece and the belt kind of folds over at the edges which drives me a bit crazy.  Other than though I think it turned out okay.

As for whether I can pull it off, the jury is still out.  I'm thinking that this tends to look better when worn with looser shirts and in trying to find something to wear with it I discovered that apparently I wear only skin-tight shirts because I could not find any loose fitting shirts (the brown one worn above is actually a maternity shirt).  Which leads me to wonder "when did I become so skanky?"

1.28.2011

Note to Self

When sewing with knits, make sure when you cut out the pieces that the stretch is in the width, not the length.

Duh!

Well, I certainly learned this lesson the hard way.  After I had cut out all the pieces for a Tee for Two I realized that the stretch in the fabric was going the wrong way.  I was hoping that it wouldn't matter too much.  After all, there's still a teeny bit of stretch the other way right?

Hmm, well after sewing up the shirt, I attempted to try it on the intended recipient only to find out that it was a BATTLE to get it over her head.

Mommy, why are you torturing me??
Now, I must say, that large heads run in our family so it's possible that Baby O may just have a gigantic head (much like her aunt Debbie), but I have a sneaking suspicion that having the stretch running the wrong way did not help the situation.

Fear not, though.  I eventaully got the shirt over her head and I was able to marvel at how cute she looks in her new shirt.

Version I - for tiny-headed children



As for the pattern, what can I say?  It's awesome.  It's simple and can be done with just a sewing machine (which is great, because 6 months later I still haven't replaced the blades on my serger....procrastinate much?).

I know that the pattern suggests that you leave the seams exposed on the outside of the shirt, but as pointed out by my husband, my handiwork is just not good enough to be shown on the outside of any shirt.  So I just ended up keeping my seams on the inside but I included some decorative topstitching.

I made size 2/3 hoping that it will fit Baby O for quite some time and the sleeves and length were a bit long, but I'll just plan on shortening the pattern for future shirts.  And there will be future shirts.

Especially with all the cute knits hitting the market now (hello Oliver and S fabrics...hello Michael Miller knits...)

UPDATE:  I made shirt number two with stretch going in the right direction and it is still a TIGHT fit to get it over Kid-O's head.  She may just be cursed with a ginormous head.  Anybody else have this issue?

Version II - for children with slightly
larger heads
Does this shirt make my head look fat?

1.24.2011

A Different Sort of Marathon

Two parents working full-time outside of the home + one awesome (but exhausting) toddler = total chaos inside of the home

(apparently I'm really into mathematical equations lately)

I've spent the last year and a half trying to figure out ways to make things "work" for our new reality but the fact of the matter is that our house is usually a mess.  Toys all over the floor.  Left over food on the table.  Laundry piling up.  Not exactly the calm, clean oasis that I would like, but I'm trying to make my peace with it.

One thing that does work for us though is massive cooking marathons on the weekend.  With both my husband and I getting home late in the afternoon there is little time (or desire) to put together meals and since feeding your child is apparently a necessary part of caring for your child, doing most of the cooking on the weekend works for us.

Case in point, this Sunday I made:



Roasted Vegetables






vegetarian meatloaf, gravy, and mashed potatoes (no pictures, but take my word for it...they were delicious!)

A greater feat than the actual cooking though was washing all the dishes after the cooking marathon.   

Whew!

We'll probably make one more meal around Wednesday or Thursday but until then, this should get us through the week.


1.23.2011

J + S = Baby

Our family moved a fair amount while I was growing up...five elementary schools, two middle schools, two high schools.  As a result of moving so much (and my innate inability to keep in touch with people) my friends from school that I still talk to are few and far between.  Because of this, the fact that I still keep in touch with Jon is a miracle in itself.

I met Jon on my first day of school in Argentina.  He wore doc martin combat boots, tight rolled jeans, and suspenders.  And after introducing himself he proceeded to tell me how much he hated Argentina and how much I would too.  Needless to say, he was a little ray of sunshine (ha!).  Fast forward many years later and he now reminisces fondly about his years in Argentina, lives in suburbia, has an awesome wife (who I love!), and will soon have a little baby...and I could not be more excited for him.

Behold, the manifestation of my excitement...a quilt for their baby-to-be.




Made from five patterned fabrics (mostly Moda fabrics), a great deal of gray Kona cotton (my quilt critic husband has declared that he loves the gray, mostly because he was "sick of all the white"), and binding made from leftover fabric from this skirt.

And the back?  Well, that's actually my favorite part.


Because honestly, the best thing about this baby is going to be that it's from Jon + Sarah.

1.21.2011

I'd Like To Thank My Husband, My Child, and the Academy

This past Wednesday my heart went pitter-patter because not one but two amazing blogs mentioned my humble little blog for a Stylish Blog Award.  Have you checked out the amazing creations of Elizabeth and Kati?  If not, what are you waiting for?

The "rules" of the award say that I must share seven things about myself and in an effort to make you all feel better about yourself, I've decided to share seven blush-worthy facts about little old me.

1.  A couple years ago I arrived at work only to realize that I had put my underwear on sideways.  That's right, I walked around all day with my crotch up on my hip.  Don't even asked me how I managed to do that.

2.  Because I was too embarrassed to ask to go to the bathroom as a kid I peed in my pants at school way past the age that any child should be peeing in their pants at school.  I'm not going to say how old I was...I'm just going to say I was too damn old!

3.  I've become paranoid about checking that everything is in place when I leave the bathroom after an incident when I left the bathroom at work only to realize later that my skirt was tucked into my underwear.

4.  I've also become paranoid when wearing anything with ties on it after accidentally dipping them into the toilet on more than one occasion.

5.  Since having a kid I've developed the unique ability to grow one very long and unattractive hair on my chin (or as my husband calls it my "billy goat hair").

6.  Speaking of hair, when I was in a 6th grade a boy at school decided it would be funny to call me "Hairy" because I didn't shave my legs.  In typical pre-teen overly dramatic fashion, I told my mom that I would rather have no legs than have hairy legs.  Looking back, that probably wasn't the wisest comment.

7.  When I was in 2nd grade I would often wipe my nose on my shirt and then suck the snot off...that is until a kid caught me doing it and made fun of me.  I think that was the beginning of my refined culinary tastes.

And in the spirit of continuing the award, here are some blogs that I love and I hope that you love too.

1.20.2011

Splish-Splash

Do you remember when taking a bath was this much fun?


Yeah, me neither.

But fortunately I have a little one around to remind me.

1.18.2011

Not So Badass Anymore

This weekend I stopped by a local fabric store and spent way too much time looking through bolts of fabric. When surrounded by thousands of yards of fabric my indecisive nature tends to take over, but fortunately the little one was fast asleep in the car...and I'm pretty sure that the big one (otherwise known as my husband) was also taking advantage of the time to grab a quick nap.

In defense of my indecisiveness, I would like to point out that I was at the store to pick out fabric for a quilt for a baby who's sex is currently unknown and I've learned over the past several weeks that while I may have fairly liberal views on what is "girl fabric" and what is "boy fabric" apparently not everybody feels similarly (gasp!).  I'm pretty sure that being limited to "gender neutral" fabric slowed down my already glacial process of picking fabrics and in the end I decided to just go with a mix of blues and greens (which I'm sure scream "BOY" to some people, but apparently not to me). 

When I got home I decided to throw caution to the wind and I cut up the fabric without pre-washing it.  While it's been beat into my head to always pre-wash fabric, I realized that you all out there in blogging land don't always do it and your quilts end up looking lovely...and if it's good enough for you, it's good enough for me.  Plus, I loathe ironing the fabrics after washing them, so this was really a win-win situation. 

So off I went...cutting the fabrics up and sewing them back together.  I was loving it.  Every spare second I had this weekend I spent running down to the basement to sew a little block together.  In fact, I was loving it so much that I even decided to square-up all the blocks (something that my lazy butt almost never does!)


Before I knew it the whole quilt top was done and I sat back and thought to myself "man, I am one badass quilter." 

That is, until this guy came along and asked me "is that part supposed to be like that?"

Please note the slightly frightened look on his face
as he realizes that he just pointed out a mistake
 That's right.  He found a mistake (left side, right in the middle).  Ughh!  So much for being a badass.


So now rather than continuing to congratulate myself, I'm spending my time ripping the quilt top apart.

Super.

1.17.2011

I Now Present to You Kid-O

This evening I told Baby O "You are the best baby" and she told me, "No.  Kid."

I have a kid.

How the hell did that happen?



1.14.2011

Knitting in Two-Minute Increments

The past year and a half has taught me many, many things, one of which is that it's incredibly hard to get things done with a baby or toddler running around (I know that every mother just said "Duh!" but cut me some slack).

I've learned that every second of free-time counts when it comes to getting things done which is why having my sewing machine down in the basement doesn't always work so well.  There's no running down there for two minutes to get some sewing done and because of that I usually only end up sewing on the weekend.  Technically I could sew at night, but truth be told, I usually collapse into bed around 8 p.m.  (Yeah, I know.  You're totally jealous of my wild and exciting life!)

So, I've learned how important it is to have a knitting project on the needles, laying around the living room, perfectly available for when I have 2.25 minutes to knit a round or two.


Knitting definitely fell by the wayside when I discovered by love for sewing, but I think it's definitely making a come back.

Especially seamless, top-down garment.  They hold a special place in my heart.

Yarn: Malabrigo
Color: Emerald
Take a couple measurement, do a little simple math, and you're good to go.


This sweater required a little more brain power than normal because of the cable running down the front of it (taken from Vogue Stitchionary 2).  And apparently it required more brain power than I had available because once it was all finished I realized that there is a mistake at the bottom of the cable.


Fortunately it's a fairly small one that I think would only be noticed by a very vigilant knitter.

Fortunately, Baby O is not one yet.

When Your Husband Knows You Too Well

In working on my first Tee for Two last night I asked my husband, "Do you like the exposed seams or the seams on the inside?"

He looked at what I had done so far and answered, "It seems like if you're doing exposed seams you have to be really careful and precise and that's not really your thing."

I can't decide whether I should be offended by his comment or amazed that he knows me so well.

1.11.2011

Poor Baby O


You see the things that you have to put up with when you have a mama who likes to knit without a pattern.

Flash Back (Finished Pre-Blog)

I've always been fascinated by rag rugs, but the fact is that I need another reason to hoard scraps like I need another hole in my head. 
When I came across this tutorial though, I knew that this project was perfect for me.

1) I could go out and buy just the right amount of fabric for the project and therefore avoid the need to save scraps for years on end (although I suppose this defeats the purpose of a "rag rug").

2) The resulting rug would be relatively small (you know, just in case this project turned out to be a disaster).

So off I went with my jelly roll  in hand, braiding away, and sewing it all together.



I wish I had a picture from when I made this rug.  Just imagine me sitting at the dining room table for hours on end, with my big, pregnant belly, surrounded by yards and yards of braided fabric.  It was glorious.

And now this little rug sits at the edge of Baby O's crib.  My how times change.

1.09.2011

Bubble Skirt - Take Two

Top three things I love about Ella's Bubble Bottom Skirt.

1. Elastic waists are so forgiving when you're not sure of the EXACT size of the child that you're making it for.

2. It's quick and easy.  (I sewed the entire thing while my husband and daughter were grocery shopping, although I did have the fabric already cut out)

3. It's just so freaking cute.




This is my second time making this pattern (which is always a good sign)...this time it's for my next door neighbor who is turing 7 later this month.

I thought I  had sworn off giving away handmade items after the reaction that I got at Christmas, but somehow I found myself sewing this little skirt up.

If this goes poorly I swear I'm taking a handmade gift hiatus!

Baby O Says...

Don't worry about me.  I'm as good as new.  And I'm digging my new bandaid!

Sunday Bloody Sunday


Yep, that's blood.

Don't worry.  She's fine.

Her parents, on the other hand, are sporting a couple more grey hairs nowadays.

1.08.2011

Dear Sarah, I Love You To Infinity

I have a little sister.

Let's just call her Sarah (well, because, that's actually her name).

Sarah leads a far more exciting life than me.

She's enrolled in grad school in Egypt.

But is currently doing an internship in Turkey.

And will be leaving in a couple weeks to do field research in Ethiopia.

I told you...a much more exciting life than me.

Recently, Sarah came home for Thanksgiving and surprised me with a beautiful piece of fabric from Turkey.


I immediately began to think about what I wanted to make with it, but it stumped me for quite a while because while she brought me about three yards of this fabric, the fabric is only about 30 inches wide and has a fairly open weave (which makes it incredibly soft!)  

And then inspiration struck.

You see, Sarah has been using the majority of her time in predominantly Muslim countries collecting scarfs.  Yeah, yeah, she says she's getting a masters degree and working with refugees, but I'm pretty sure she actually spends her days roaming through bazaars purchasing scarfs because that girl has a ton!


So it was only fitting that I make this fabric into Sarah's signature piece of clothing...the scarf.

Only I wanted to make it into my new favorite type of scarf...the infinity scarf.


I love the way it came out.




I think it'll be the perfect scarf to wear as the weather transitions from winter into spring...if only that would happen sometime soon.

Teşekkür ederim, Sarah.
(That's thanks in Turkish...yay, google!)

1.07.2011

Just because...

...sometimes we all need a little dose of cuteness in our lives.


(And after starting a new - and earlier - work schedule this week, this is about all I have the energy for).

1.04.2011

Mean Mommy

Yesterday Baby O woke up from her nap in a foul mood.

Screaming, crying, and inconsolable.

We asked her what was wrong.  And she just continued to scream.

We offered to play with her, read to her, sit with her.  And she just continued to scream.

We tried to console her, comfort her, and ultimately bribe her.  And she just continued to scream.

At one point I was worried that she was hurt, because she never cries like this.

And when I say "like this," I mean like a caged tiger.

She sounded crazy.

After checking her over and reassuring myself that she was okay, I decided "I have to get this on video."

So being the very mean mommy that I am, as my child was in the middle of some sort of crazy tantrum, I broke out the digital camera to take a video.

Now before you tell me "you are the worst mother in the world," I have to tell you this. 

The only thing that eventually got her to stop crying was showing her the video of her crying.

She was entranced.

And apparently as amused by her mini-tantrum as I was.

video

1.03.2011

On Letting Go

Each time I make something for somebody I hope that they "get it."

I hope that they understand that a handmade gift is a gift of love and a gift of time.

I hope that they see that I strived to make the perfect give just for them.

I really do hope that the recipient "gets it," but I'm not always sure that they do.

Case in point - this Christmas I gave someone a quilt that I had made and while they thanked me and told me that it was beautiful, they never even unfolded the quilt to the look at it.  All night it sat folded up in a box in the corner.  I couldn't help but feel a sense of disappointment at their reaction.  I realize that not everybody is going to jump up and down with excitment when they receive a handmade gift, but I'm pretty sure that there's a small part of me that hopes that that's the reaction that the gift will get (or I hope that they'll atleast unfold it to look at it!).

I'm trying to make my peace with it.

On a more positive note, I have to tell you that I'm one lucky gal because my husband "gets it."  As this person was looking at the quilt I could hear him piping up in the backgroup, "Carolyn picked out all those colors just for you.  Carolyn spent a really long time making that quilt.  Carolyn spent a lot of time in the basement sewing."

I think that definitely counts as Reason Number 2 that I love my husband. 

(Oh, and in case anybody is wondering, my mom was actually very appreciative of her quilt and did not complain once about the size.  Whew!)
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