Thursday, May 31, 2012

My inspiration

Today I'm guest blogging over at whip up.  I'm talking about how my lovely kiddos inspire my creativity!  Go on over for a fun read.  See you there.

And just because I can't have a post without a picture. . .  Here's a peek at tomorrow's post!

vintage sheet quilt, detail

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What I've been up to

Hi everyone, I'm still here.  Just super busy with end of school stuff -- field trips, volunteering, baking for class, doing laundry for class, school picnics, etc...  Gwyneth finished up school last week and just before we brought in some simple teacher gifts - two for her teachers and one for Connor's.

teacher gift

I got the idea here.  The little flags say "Thank you for quenching my thirst for knowledge."  Each teacher got a re-usable cup with some iced Starbucks VIA packets inside.  Simple easy little gift, but all of the teachers seemed really excited to get them.

I haven't forgotten about the winner of the Lovely Lil Bunny Pattern giveaway.  So . . . (drum roll please) . . . the winner is:  ThreeOldKeys.   Congratulations!  You should be getting an email from me soon.  Thanks to all who entered.

As a thank you to those two entered and some new faces visiting the blog, I'm offering a 10% off anything in my Etsy shop.  Use the code THANKYOU10.  This code is valid through June 5th.

The rest of my time lately has been spent outside in my garden.  I don't have a green thumb, by any means, but I try.

Wave Petunia and Phlox
wave petunia and phlox

Wave Petunia and Sweet Potato Vine
wave petunia and sweet potato vine

Violets planted in an old birdbath, surrounded by giant hosta
violets in a birdbath

Coleus surrounded by cocoa bean mulch  (great, colorful shade plant)

Impatiens and Morning Glory Vine
Impatiens and morning glory vine

Beans (planted and grown by the kiddos) and some herbs
beans and herbs

Little Veggie Patch (tomatoes and cucumbers) with flowers
small veggie and flower patch

OK, here's quite possibly the only gardening advice I will ever give::   Planting a thick row of marigolds around your vegetable patch will keep out most pests (rabbits, squirrels, deer . . . ).  They don't like the smell of the marigolds.  I love using this natural border instead of a fence.  Looks much nicer.

tomato and marigolds

Over Memorial Day weekend, we were very busy as well.   We had a friend from ND come stay with us and he and my husband built a patio/porch.  The kiddos and I got involved too (as much as we could without getting in the way too much).  Connor helped load up the old rocks that were there.  There used to be bushes there, but they were infested with bugs that ate them away when we first moved in.  They looked so bad that we just cut them off at the ground and left the roots in.

out with the old

Once we got all of the rocks and extra dirt out we had a 7.5" deep hole that was almost 5' wide and 20' long.  I didn't really think about where we'd put all that dirt.  It ended up all over the back yard here and there between the hostas and ferns.

patio prep

Next we layered three inches of crushed gravel and two inches of sand.

crushed rock and sand

Finally, we started laying the pavers.  We started with the curved area first, cutting the few that needed to be cut.

trimming pavers to fit

Then it was laying, leveling, and more laying.

laying pavers

waiting to be set

Connor really liked this part.

overseeing the construction

The pattern we used was very simple and we used two colors of brick:  tan and mocha.

holland pavers in two colors

When my husband was all done laying the pavers, I swept sand into the cracks.  All done!

finished patio

Well, I think there is a trip in my future to Ikea for a few more things besides the glider bench we have here.  I'll show it to you again when it's all finished.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Giveaway Day

Over at Sew Mama Sew it's Giveaway Day!

This year I thought I'd participate by giving away a free copy of my Lovely Lil Bunny Pattern.


Simply leave a comment below to enter.  For a second entry, follow my blog and leave a second separate comment saying you do.  This is a PDF pattern, so the giveaway is open to everyone.  The giveaway will end May 25 at 5 p.m. PST.

Don't forget to visit Sew Mama Sew today to see all of the excellent things being given away.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mother's Love

"Mother's Love is Like a Fragrant Rose With Sweetness in Every Fold"

Mother's Love

For mother's day, I finished this vintage linen cross-stitch sampler for my mom.  My maternal grandmother started this sampler many, many years ago, before she passed away.  She had done the orange stitching.

Mother's Love, view 2

When I was young and just starting to embroider, my mom went through her box of unfinished projects and among others, she handed me this one to practice on. I must have been only about eight or nine at the time, but even then I knew how special it was and I couldn't undo the orange stitches (although at the time I didn't like the color).  I didn't know what colors I wanted to add to it, so it went untouched on the bottom of my sewing basket for years.

Mother's Love, view 1

Now, many years later, it's finally finished.

Mom with Grandma

Love you MOM!  -- From me and grandma.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Easy-Peasy Skirt with a Ruffle

easy-peasy skirt with ruffle

OK, so it seems like you've seen this fabric a lot lately, but it's almost gone.  I think the only think left I could make would be something for a doll.  You can read about how I used this seersucker fabric here and here.

But I did have enough for an Easy-Peasy Skirt with a Ruffle added at the bottom.

easy-peasy skirt with ruffle, view 3

To add a ruffle to the Easy-Peasy Skirt:::

Determine the length of the ruffle.  This one is only about 2" finished.  I think I started with a 3" piece of fabric.  For the width, use twice the width of your skirt width.  Sew the ruffle edge into one continuous loop, then finish the bottom edge with a nice hem.  Gather the top edge of the ruffle by sewing a simple straight stitch at the top of the fabric edge using the longest stitch you have and then pulling the back (bobbin) threads.  Position the gathered ruffle at the bottom of your skirt and sew together, with right sides facing.  You can secure the extra ruffle fabric from the back side of the skirt by topstitching next to the seam of the ruffle.

easy-peasy skirt with ruffle, view 2

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Fruit Stripe Gum Ruffled Halter

ruffled halter, view 1

I had some of this pink/orange/yellow stripped seersucker fabric from another ruffled halter that I made for my niece's birthday, so I made a smaller version for Gwyneth.  Someone commented on flickr and said that the fabric reminded them of Fruit Stripe Gum (and that's what I think of too now.) :D

ruffled halter, view 3

The back was a little loose, but no problem!

ruffled halter, view 5

You can read about the details of the halter here.

It will be great on hot summer days!

But for now she was having fun picking "wish flowers".

Wishing Flower

She told me you make your wish and blow the wishes (dandelion seeds) away.

ruffled halter, view 6

What was she wishing for?  . . .

A trip to Disney World to meet a princess.

ruffled halter, view 2

Friday, May 11, 2012

Petit Pain au Chocolat

petit pain au chocolat, 3

When I traveled to France many years ago, one of my favorite things to eat was pain au chocolat, which literally translated means "Chocolate bread".  It's really more of a croissant baked around chocolate.  Super yummy!  These are little versions -- and couldn't be simpler to make.

Start with a package of refrigerator crescent rolls.  I'm fond of the natural brands, but any works.  You'll also need a chocolate bar -- any kind that melts well.

petit pain au chocolat, 1

Open up your crescent rolls and lay out the triangle shape and place a small amount of chocolate on top.

petit pain au chocolat, 8

Fold up the two short corners of the triangle and pinch the seam together.

petit pain au chocolat, 7

Fold up the long corner of the triangle.  Remove any little extra of the dough that you don't need and pinch closed to ensure the melted chocolate stays inside.  Your dough should look like a pyramid.

petit pain au chocolat, 5

Bake according to manufactures directions on the crescent roll package until lightly golden brown.

petit pain au chocolat, 4

Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Let cool for at least 10 min (the chocolate inside gets really hot) and enjoy.

petit pain au chocolat, 3

Bon Appetit!

petit pain au chocolat, 2

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Easy Peasy Skirt with Pockets

This is a re-post of a guest blog I did a couple months back -- just in case you missed it!! 

Easy Peasy Skirt w/Pockets

Spring is upon us and it's time to make some skirts!  Skirts can be an easy addition to your wardrobe and easy on the wallet too -- especially if YOU make it.  These skirts have great, deep pockets.  So useful and practical.  Every skirt should have pockets!  The Easy Peasy Skirt with Pockets is simple enough for even the beginner sewer and a quick sew for a seasoned pro.  The skirt I'll be showing you how to make has a stripe at the bottom.  For more variations on the Easy Peasy Skirt go here!


The first thing you'll need is to measure your waist (we'll call this W) and distance from your waist to where you want the skirt to fall (we'll call this L).  I wanted my skirt length to stop just below my knees so for me that was 20". 

So let's determine the width of your skirt.  If you want a full skirt you'll need two pieces that are W x 2.  For a less full skirt do W x 1.5.  I made a full skirt.  Once you've determined the width of your two fabric pieces let's determine the length you'll need to cut.

If you're making a skirt out of a solid piece of fabric, you'll just take your desired length measurement add 1/2" for the bottom seam and 2.5" for the elastic casing.  This casing size is enough room for a 1.5" wide elastic.  If using a 1" wide elastic, you'd only have to add 2", and so on.

Because we're adding pockets, we'll be using two panels (a front piece and a back piece) to assemble our skirt.  It is also useful to assemble it in two pieces if we're making a skirt for someone other than a small child.

So our final dimensions for our two panels (for a full skirt) are:
Width = W ( + 1")    
Length = L + 3"

We add the one inche to the waist (W) measurement for seam allowances.

If you're making a less full skirt, the width of each of your two panels would be:
Width = (W x 0.75) + 1"

If you want to add a 4" stripe at the bottom, you'll need to change your length measurement.  So for the main fabric length we take off the stripe length and add still add our 2.5" for the casing and 1/2" for a seam allowance.  To the stripe length, we add 1/2" seam allowance (to sew it to the top piece) AND 1/2" for hemming at the bottom.

Main Fabric Length = (L - 4") + 3" 
Stripe Fabric Length = 4" + 1" = 5"

So there you go::  You'll need to cut two pieces of each the Main Fabric and Stripe Fabric.

Main::  Width = W + 1" 
           Length = (L - 4") +3"
Stripe:: Width = W + 1"
           Length = 5"

Now that you've got that cut out, you can cut out your pockets.  Use the pocket template found here.  (Note:  If you're using the pocket template for a child size skirt, scale it down before printing.)  Cut out the two pieces and tape them together overlapping the shaded portions.  Cut out two pockets on the folded fabric (so you end up with four pieces). 

For your elastic piece, I like it a few inches shorter than the waist measurement.  You can simply put the elastic around your waist and see what feels right.  Allow for an inch of overlap on each end.

Now we can start sewing!

Lay down your main fabric top piece.  Pin a pocket piece 5" down from the top, right sides together (as shown).  Sew in place with 1/2" seam allowance.  Zig-zag the edge next to the seam you just made.   Repeat on the other side of the front panel.  Then repeat for the back piece.


Iron the pocket flat.  Now all right sides are facing up.


Pin the bottom stripe to the bottom of the main piece, right sides together.  Sew with a 1/2" seam allowance and then zig-zag or serge the raw edge.


Fold the finished edge toward the bottom stripe and iron flat. 


Top stitch this down to keep it flat.


Place the bottom and top pieces together, right sides together.  Pin the sides together, going around the edges of the pocket too.  Sew down the side of the skirt, going around the pocket outer edge and continue to the bottom.  Finish the raw edge with a zig-zag or use a serger.  Repeat on the other side.

Hemming the bottom edge by folding the raw edge at the bottom of the skirt up 1/4".  Press.  Fold up an additional 1/4" and press.  Pin in place and sew in place with a seam close to the upper edge of the fold.


Now let's finish the top.  To make the casing for your elastic, fold down the top edge 2.5" and iron in place.  Fold the raw edge under 1/2" and iron.  Pin in place. 


Sew around 1/4" from the bottom of the folded edge leaving an opening of about 3 or 4 inches unstitched.  Place a safety pin at one end of the elastic and start feeding it through the hole you left in the casing.  Place a safety pin at one end of the elastic and start feeding it through the hole you left in the casing. 


When you've gotten the elastic all the way through the casing, pin the two ends of the elastic together with a 1" overlap and sew in place.


 Tuck the elastic into the casing and sew up the opening.  And you're done!



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