Laura H. Friday, December 28, 2012

 Guess who didn't take a single picture of all those wonderful things she made for Christmas gifts?

If you guessed me, you are so right! Good job you!

Sorry about that. I nearly forgot to make my uncle's rice pudding. Then I nearly forgot to give it to him! So see, it was a forgetful kind of day.

But, on December 23, one of my new friends here had a baby! They did not know if they were having a boy or a girl, so I manfully waited to start sewing for tiny people until she arrived. That's right! A girl! Yahoo!

I decided last night that I would make two outfits for this new baby. Initially, I thought that I would do two Itty Bitty Baby Dresses, but I thought better of it when I couldn't decide what fabrics to use. Also, it is cold here. Thirty-three degrees is cold in Tennessee. I had a nice long think about what to make and decided with another couple of Rae's patterns - The Pierrot Tunic and her Basic Baby Pants.

First up, I lengthened the tunic into a dress. I've done this before for Elizabeth (I'll photo dump later on, I promise.) but I've never done the ruffle at the neck before. I gotta tell ya. It's stinkin' ADORABLE. I think it is a little much on one this small, only because the neck is a little stiff. But that may fix in the wash.*

I have to confess that I don't remember Elizabeth ever fitting in to things this small. But I think I have a box of tiny baby things in the basement that would prove I just have a faulty memory. I cut this one to the 3t length and hemmed nothing. That's right, nothing. I just serged the edges on everything. I think it keeps it pretty casual and ties in the serged edges of the ruffle.

Next, I did the tunic at tunic length and a pair of matching pants. These are flannel and so cosy! One thing that my friend and I agree on is not wasting stuff. So the fabric for both of these is from receiving blankets - the good kind that aren't stiff.

Maybe it's just us, but Elizabeth's blankets were always so rough to the touch. We couldn't use fabric softener at all with her (still can't. Boo!) so that could have had something to do with it. I shirred the neck and waist on these and toyed with the idea of doing the legs and sleeves. I actually didn't make the decision not to do that - the elastic thread ran out. I see a trip to Joann's in my future.

 I hope I can deliver these things today. I'll call my friend and see if she's up for a quick stop-by to leave them.

*I never wash things for newborns. And I tell the parents this. We learned the hard and terribly painful way that Elizabeth can't be near fabric softeners at all. Ever since, I just don't even try! Most folks wash new-baby stuff first anyway.

Laura H. Thursday, December 20, 2012

So we decided this year that we would forego the practice of not giving gifts at Christmas time and instead operate on small budgets and themes. This year's theme was "make or give something to make."

Y'all! I've made so much wicked cool stuff the past couple of weeks! And I can't show you a bit of it because I have NO idea if my mom, sister, or brother-in-law read this blog. So all the *HONK!*, *BEEP!*, and rice puddings will have to wait to have their picture taken.

Well, the rice pudding will be made closer to the day of giving it and it probably won't survive 20 minutes once opened. So, no pics of that. And I know that my uncle doesn't read this blog so I'm safe there.

First off, I did get the pleasure of testing the Go To Cape for Women from Go To Patterns. And I have ZERO pictures to show for it. There was an incident with a sharpie that I am not proud of (don't trace out patterns with a sharpie. Ever.) HOWEVER! You NEED this pattern. Trust me, you just do. I am both tall (5'10") and large (off-the-rack size 26) and the XL size in long fits me just fine with room to spare. So even though she may not advertise it, this cape will fit you. Yeah, you! You who has to (like me) add seven inches to a pattern to get it to fit you. Guess what? You don't have to do that with this one. GO AND GET IT!

ANYWAY. Here's what I can show you!

This was Elizabeth's opinion of my saying, "No." to opening the playdough she got at the playschool gift exchange. We were still at school, so I wasn't going to get in to that there. So, she stuck her tongue out at me. I laughed because it was both funny and TOTALLY my fault! I do that when the Boy Scout tells me no, so she comes by it naturally. But my laughter diffused what could have been a complete fit and we moved on. Love this kid!

And this is that same kid's Christmas present from her parents. I have to tell you, these kits have come a LONG way from about 15 years ago! This one is pretty stinkin' solid and I'm about 95% sure that the only things that are going to come off will be the fiddly gingerbread pieces that have about a quarter of a millimeter of gluing surface. But I could be wrong and they will stay on great. Right now, it is sitting in the sewing room waiting for the roof paint to dry before I put on the last gingerbread parts. Then there will be a hair of touch-up painting and it'll be done!

Then there's this dress. It has been cut out for about 3 months now, I just never stitched it up. Now that I have, I'm not as wild about it as I feel like I should be. I think I'm going to take the sleeves apart and put in a little gather about the point where the sleeves would be shortened to short sleeves. Maybe that will give it some shape. Oh, and me and the facings for this one? NOT bff's. It is actually not even faced at all because I just couldn't make the facing work with the collar somehow, nothing lined up right! So there was a moment of freedom when I tossed the facings over my shoulder and cackled. Elizabeth came to ask me what was so funny. I told her that I was just happy to be liberated. She went and told her daddy, "Mommy is wibble-tated!" And she proceeded to cackle. I was so proud!

I saw this pin a while back about cutting the mesh off the pack and play to make a little low-to-the-ground toddler bed. Well, Elizabeth is having none of that (and frankly, I'm not either!) but I did like the idea of her having a contaned space to play in my sewing room. This is PERFECT. She is up off the floor away from stray pins, has her things (bigbigbig bear, lacing beads, and my old fisher price farm with the door that moos at present) and I've covered it over the top so that the cats can't dive-bomb her. She is so good in the sewing room, too. She knows not to touch the machines and that if she can reach out her little hand and touch the ironing board, she's too close. I don't bar her from playing in the fabric, but she favors the scrap heap most days.

And that is pretty well it. I should have pictures after Christmas of all the stuff I've been making. Except that rice pudding.

Laura H. Friday, November 30, 2012

Ahh, the Holidays. I could sit here and go on and on about how wonderful it is to be surrounded by my crazy family eating things that are bad for us, but I won't. Not today. No, today is where I issue a warning to all of you who have gotten sucked in to the hype that is pre-lit Christmas trees.

Then I'm going to tell you what to do with them after half of the lights go out due to the non-replacable fuses in the strings blowing. But first, some backstory.

The Christmas that I found out I was pregnant, I decided to get us a new tree at the post-holiday letdown markdown sales. So I went and came home with the best white tree ever! I LOVE white trees! The ornaments show up so much better and the colored lights look amazing on them. So a white one it was. Fast forward a year and Elizabeth has arrived and is celebrating her first Christmas with lots of drool and teething. We put up our tree and it looks fantastic! Fast forward another year and we are in a TINY apartment with barely enough room for all of us to be in the living room together and my white tree in a storage unit about a mile away. So no tree.

When we moved to a bigger apartment, I figured I'd find a way to fit that tree in. Then we moved in to this house and I KNEW we'd have one. So as we are moving, I give the tree the once over. It isn't white anymore. It is yellow and smells weird. (TIP: Don't store the tree in a rubbermaid box. That's no good!) So it gets tossed and the hunt for a new one begins.

Even during the sales, new ones were going for $45 or $50, and we really waffled. I'd told my mom about needed a new one and she actually found one at a Women Are Safe thrift store in my hometown. SCORE! And it was just like hers - pre-lit, 7.5 feet tall, and green. I'd long accepted that a green one would be our fate (Boy Scout wasn't crazy about my white one) and this one had his favorite - colored lights! WAHOO! So my mom bought this one and we were so excited! I helped her put hers up so that I knew whwat I was doing with ours, came home, and began. I got that whole thing together and fluffed up and plugged it in.

More than half the lights were dead. The bottom rows on the bottom and middle sections and the top of the top were dark. I unplugged, replugged, and wiggled every light.

Then the internet told me that these trees have fuse bulbs! Great! Find and replace! Easy as p....

This brand's fuse bulbs are not replaceable. If I want my pre-lit tree to work, I'll have to buy a replacement strand (actually 4 strands) from the manufacturer for $15 a strand. And put them on myself.

I'll paraphrase what I actually said about this to, "Great scott, sir! Whatever could you possibly be thinking in charging such an inflated price for something I will then have to install? I think NOT! Thank you and good day! Be sure to not let the door strike you in the hinder-end as you exit!"

Then I realized that the strings are just *wires* and if someone put them on, then I can get them off. So I did!

Now before you get all excited about ripping the lights off a pre-lit tree let me tell you something. The Chinese or Pakistani individual who put them on in the first place is an EXPERT at their job. They did their job with a complete and total dedication that I just don't think many people in this world appreciate. And I'm NOT being sarcastic, either. I don't know who they are, never met them but I admire their ability to do what they do 'cause let me tell ya - after having undone it I've concluded that there are only two people in this world who I would do that for again and both of them have put up with me since I was soiling my diapers. I've done this ONCE, the people who put these lights on do it for a living!

I *wish* I had pictures. I *wish* that I'd had the sense to take some. But I didn't. So I'm going to tell you how to do this the easiest way. I got lucky and hit on this early in the process. It still took me about 4 hours to de-light a 7.5 foot slim tree.

Step one: Stop thinking about the number of lights and tips that are on the box. If you don't stop thinking about that you will have defeated yourself from the start. Also, wear old clothes and long sleeves.

Step two: Take the tree apart in to its sections. Disconnect everything from a power source.

Step three: Starting where ever pleases you, flip your first section upside down. The bulk of the wires will cross on the underside of the branches to keep them out of plain view. As you look at the underside of the branches, there will be lines of wire crossing over the bottoms. Cut *every one* of those wires with wire cutters. Every one! These lights don't work once you've lost that non-replaceable fuse light, so there is no point in saving any part of them. CUT!

Step four: Repeat the cutting for every individual branch there is. Also, the wires that circle the trunk need to be cut too. Cut between every branch.

Step five: Now, grab one of the bulbs by it's base and PULL. If everything is cut, it will corkscrew off without much trouble. It will be kinda tough to get some going and there might be some that you missed a loop on. Just keep the cutters handy and cut whatever needs cutting. Toss the little bits of wire and lights promptly. If a light is attached with a little clip, just pull harder. Most times, the clip will come right off.

Step six: Don't forget the middle wires that circle the trunk. Just pull those things out of there. You don't have to be very gentle at all. Any of the fake needles you knock off or cut with the cutters will be just that many fewer that you have to sweep up in three weeks.

Step seven: The top is trickier - there are no hinged individual branches. Put a movie on and go one at a time.

Step eight: Walk away. Once all the lights are off, just put it down and walk away for a while. This is a hard, tedious, time consuming thing to do. Just walk away until you can come back and do the putting-up routine. For me, that was two days.

So now you ask, "Why do this at all?" Well, there's plenty of reasons. For us, it is a combination of 1) not wanting to waste my mom's money, 2) we like the shape of this one, and 3) it is still a good looking tree and we don't want to go buy a new one when an old one will still do with an investment of time on our part. That third one is a real kicker. With lights that weren't working, we did not feel right re-donating it somewhere (like taking broken toys to Goodwill.) And it was still a good looking, full, attractive tree with many more years of use in it. I can't toss something that is still useful! So, lots of hours of work and the investment is protected and there's not another tree in the landfill.

That being said, I did not realize how dangerous the job was. I advise long sleeves from experience. I didn't discover until I was in the shower that I actually had forearms covered in paper-cut like scratches. I discovered this with the help of the water. And yeah, I yelled. So cover those arms! You will be thankful you did.

Laura H. Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My sister is having a birthday today! She lives nearly half a USA away from me, so I can't be with her on her birthday, but our mom is there and I hear there is a party and cupcakes (probably swanky ones. ooo!)

Sister-mine is a pretty swanky gal. She's *very* fashionable, knows how to accessorize, and has shoes for every occasion. I'm also sure that she holds the patent for the 'ponytail out the back of a baseball cap' hairstyle.

So I made her a bag! I asked her what colors she was wearing and the only thing outside of black, brown, and grey were teal and cranberry red. Blissfully, I could work those two colors together!

When I saw Kristen's Fold-Over Clutch Tutorial, I actually skimmed it and didn't think much more about it other than, "That's really cute!" and "Wish I knew where that box of doilies went." We were sort of in a panic of moving still and I was in a not fantastic place mentally.

Then, time drew short for sis's birthday. First I thought I'd make her a dress. That got scrapped due to time. Then I thought about a scarf. But she lives in Texas so that's a little pointless. So, like Winnie the Pooh, I had a think, think, think and decided on a bag. Scrapped lots of ideas before I remembered the fold-over tutorial. 

Never did find that box of doilies, but this off white lace is really nice. And a little more my sister's style - feminine but not too complex.  Oh, and it is lined.

I have it on good authority that she likes her present! Hurrah! Success! Mom tells me that she's impressed with my skill. That just tickles me - I'm sure the faces I make when putting in a zipper are comedy GOLD.

Laura H. Saturday, November 24, 2012

Laura H. Friday, November 16, 2012

So we have gotten moved. THANK GOD.

This move wasn't as bad at the last. I didn't get hurt until the last day and that was minor and over after a day of staying off my feet. We also didn't really expect help and are EXTREMELY grateful for the help we got! My mom bought moving help for us (load and unload in 3 hours? YES PLEASE!) and my friend Rachel helped out by giving opinions and cleaning the kitchen at the old place.

Elizabeth came home and we all managed to settle in fairly well. The dust has settled and the curtains are almost all up!

Sadly, our male cat Oliver isn't adjusting so well. He is a shy, skittish sort and spent the first 24 hours hiding in the litterbox. Now, he's licked himself bald and raw down his back and on his missing boy-parts. I'm going to get some of what we call relax-a-cat for him. We had some from the last move, but he didn't need it. I have no idea where it is now. I'm sure that he will be fine once he has had a few relaxed days here. He just doesn't have his Spots picked out yet and can't find a place where we are not moving around all the time. It will work out just fine once everything is in its final home.

And speaking of home, my sewing machine came home on Monday! The serger is still at the shop, but I'm sure it will be done soon. The daughter of the shop's owner runs the *business* while the owner does all the repairs and tune-ups. The daughter is also the one who does sergers. I'm next on the list, but she's got business things to do, too. I can be patient. I have the sewing machine and it sounds AMAZING. Humming silently and better than brand new! I can't wait to have them both back, but I'm patient for now.

And what's the first thing that I sew when it got home? Blackout lining for the windows in Elizabeth's room. I hope that I NEVER have to mess with anything like that again! I don't think I've used such foul language at fabric before. But the blackouts work great - her room seems to be south-facing and is blistering hot during the day as well as nicely lit by the neighbors at night. All of those problems have been solved now.

I'm off just now to lint-roller the couch again and remove a little more of Oliver from it.

Laura H. Tuesday, October 23, 2012

So we are moving again. Hopefully for the last time in a while. 'Cause this moving thing STINKS!

So where are we going now? Well, same town, just the other side. We have found a house (HOUSE!) for rent in another neighborhood that is more space and less rent. And it's nice. Needs painting inside and a rake or two outside, but it will be so very wonderful to have an extra bedroom and a living room bigger than a postage stamp.

And the best part? We will get to have the dog again! Hurrah! After nearly two years, our good old girl Sugar will get to come home!

It's going to be a busy couple of weeks around here. With packing and moving, I don't know that I'll have much to say that is smarter than "oog. paint fumes."

And my sewing machines go in for cleaning and servicing tomorrow morning! They will be gone for two weeks, so there won't be any distractions to my doing as I ought and packing. And packing with Lizzie around will be challenging, so she'll go spend the night at her Granna's house a couple of times! Yay!

And to add crazy to crazier, I think I'm hostessing a baby shower at our new digs 7 days after we move in.

Hi, I'm Laura. I have never hosted a baby shower before and seldom ever had anyone but my closest and most dear friends in my house before. But you gotta start somewhere, right?

Oh, look! Here's the baby! She'll distract you all from my insanity!

 Okay, so maybe that's not the best advertisement for my sanity. But sometimes, we don't go anywhere in the afternoon! And do your jammie pants math everything in your wardrobe?

Laura H. Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Every time we sit down to pizza in this house, Elizabeth says the title of this post. It is a possibility that we will eat pizza on my birthday this year, but I hope the Boy Scout doesn't flake out on me that much.

I have the best birthday ever. I was born on Halloween night! Ha! And I love the kid-side of Halloween. The scary movies, haunted houses, and chainsaws can take a hike! That stuff SUCKS. But a fun costume, some candy corn, and a crisp evening makes me happy.

And. You know. Maybe a ghost tour. Cause I have done those before and love them! They involve intellectual scares - just words and stories. There's no stuff-jumping-out, actual maniacs wielding chainsaws, or twisted psychological mess. It's a once-removed scare - eerie! That's the word! Eerie!

But anyway. So birthday time is upon me. I love my birthday. I don't care how old I am (turning 34.) I adore all my gray hair. My crows-feet could be bigger but more years of happiness will help that. The only thing I'm not wild about about getting another year older is this: cooler weather aggravates the beginnings of arthritis in my hands. I escape it in the heat, but the chilly nights make my hands hurt.

But if that can stay my only complaint for another 20 years, then my crow's feet will be so great that I won't have any room to complain and I'll stop groaning when I flex my right hand every morning.

But, I have a favor to ask of my readers. I want a present! It is of the copy-and-paste sort. See, my hatred of cooking is legendary. I get angry and throw things when I cook. So we have decided to do freezer meals as much as possible. You know. To spare my heart and our child from thinking the kitchen is the 'Angry' room.

So from each of you, I'd like a recipe. Preferably easy to double, easy to subtract cheese from (the Boy Scout is a weirdo cheese hater) and freezable. I'd love to see what everyone has! So, comment me a recipe for my birthday!

And no. Pizza is not a requirement. :D

Laura H. Friday, October 12, 2012

An hour, right? Weeeeeell.

How about 4? 'Cause see, my little person decided to hoot in her bed for two hours before finally falling asleep. (We have a 'you-will-stay-there' rule here. Mommy and Daddy need a little down-time, too.) Then she napped for two hours. So, in the four 'down' hours today, I think I got caught up.

First up, a pair of shirts! Both are cut from the GTSD pattern, just somewhere between tunic and tee length and cut in a little on the sides so it's not so flaired. The purple pixies are from Kitschy Coo and it is a DREAM to work with. I got a metre of it and it is some crazy width, like a million miles. Actually, I think it is 60-odd inches. And sooooo soft! The yellow-orange is from an old tee. I had to piece the sleeves to get long sleeves for it, but it is kind of nice - I'll be able to make them short sleeves with some snips and a quick hem.

Then these two from the same pattern! The print is a thermal knit that I got from Joann's off the Red Tag rack. I think it is some of the last that I bought before we left Knoxville. I've been saving it up for just now. The purple refused to be photographed properly in the drizzling rain, but it is an old tee of mine and shh. I didn't have to hem a thing!

Then there is this. I really think this is the GTSD at it's finest. I'd not done a waistband of any type yet and I *really* waffled about it. I waffled until both sleeves were in and I just had one side-seam left. Then I decide to just do it and if I hated it, I could rip it out. I'm so glad I did it! I'm also glad that I just did the internal casing - this fabric was so STUPIDLY expensive (to me, $9 a yard is a small fortune) that I want every inch of it to be as visible as possible. And it is so cute! And I'm so proud of it.

There is one more top that I didn't get finished - another turtleneck that is a turtleneck for the same reasons as the other one - a lack of matching or coordinating rib. But that can be done tomorrow. I'm making a serious dent in this pile! The serger being back in the game is helping so very much!

Laura H.

Wow, did things get crazy around here in a hurry!

But, when you decide to move furniture, there always seem to be some unexpected consequences. Like now, Elizabeth can get back to our bathroom. I totally didn't see that coming so there was a considerable amount of time spend re-hiding things that we'd hidden in there.

I've come to the conclusion that this child has far too many balls. Far. Too. Many.

So other than a couple of more pairs of leggings (one red, one black velvet) which I'm not taking pictures of (due to booooring) here's what I've been working on!

PJ pants - two pairs and both flannel. See, naps here are pantsless things, but it has been quite cool in the afternoons. Enter the pj pants! The pink ones were a Hobby Lobby (maybe?) remnant and the blue was an old flannel pj top. The pattern for both is Rae's B3Ps and the blue had to be pieced.

 I really love this pattern. But piecing it (like piecing anything, really) is a lesson in head-scratching. It is awesome otherwise. I've been making the 2t size for about a year now and just adding in extra leg length. It is going to be great! Next year, she'll likely have the potty thing down and they will still fit! I have a pair of black cords that I'm shooting for three winter's worth of wear out of.

And the blue ones are so crazy long, Elizabeth will be taking them to college with her. Okay, not really, but they may get three years of wear from now.

The other item is another Go To Signature Dress. See?

 Please excuse the horrible picture. I say that a lot, and I'm still learning the camera but this was really about the best I could do! I'm thinking that the morning sun on the balcony isn't agreeable at all. So you get a pic of this dress slouching and looking pretty awful on a hanger in a prison. Well, sort of.

The fabric was on the Red Tag table at Joann's and when I saw it, I sorts had to have it. And add in that the Red Tag stuff was on sale for 50% off, that just cemented it. 2 yards and $7 later, tada! The neck posed a HUGE problem, tho. No matching rib and I didn't want a contrast neckband. I'd already cut the front, so a cowl was out. The fabric itself has a silver glitter to it, so I didn't want a lining out of it and a contrast lining wasn't making me happy either. So, I decided to try a turtleneck!

The first one wouldn't go over Elizabeth's head. Much screaming ensued and I re-made the collar. I have no idea if this one will work, but it will come closer. It's a full inch bigger. I left out the outer pleats on the front and actually did some math (GASPSHOCK!) and altered the back to not need to be pleated. Then I cut a piece of the fabric four inches tall by 13.5 inches long. I seamed it together on the short side, then folded it in half and stitched it to the neck. It actually looks pretty good!

This fabric is the Devil. Pure and simple. Demonic. From Hades. This is the Devil's answer to strawberries straight from the patch. It will not hold a press and is capable of breaking needles on it's printed on dots. No joke! I broke both a sewing machine needle and a serger needle on this thing beause lines of dots lined up and the needle couldn't go through both.

But it is done and I'm not doing anything else to this dress! I do love it, tho. And Elizabeth calls it her 'eggy dwess' and says 'oooo, spawkee!' about it. Of course, wearing it will be a different story. I hope the itchy factor won't doom it.

Laura H. Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ahh. It is a lovely day in Tennessee. A bit chilly, but at least it isn't wet! I don't do wet and chilly together very well.

Right! KCWC! Fall! 2012!

This was my  'cut out and ready to sew' stack this morning.

Can you tell that I've moved things around? 'Cause I did. With the Boy Scout's help (he arrived back from the gym too early and caught me moving a dresser alone. Ten more minutes and I would have had it!) we moved the dresser into the closet and YAY! I get to sew in something other than a closet! However, all the fabric is still in the closet. The best part?

My machines are back together at long last! Hurrah! Even better is that they are against the wall that our loud, snoring, screaming neighbors are on the opposite side of. Hence why I have no qualms about serging at 2am. Hey, you scream as I'm falling asleep every night for a week, I serge without remorse.

But today, I've gotten six items started and three finished! Yay! The done three are skirts that I made from fat quarters. I admit that I didn't think I could manage skirts from a fat quarter for Miss Legs and Diaper Booty, but this from Rae made me rethink that idea. And made me run to Joann's again.

These two, Elizabeth picked out.  Granted, she picked them for her Annie to have dresses, but as Annie isn't very popular around here, they can be skirts for Elizabeth. Everything except the purple bands are from Joanns. And that purple came from my grandmother's sewing room.

 This one is all my doing. Which means Elizabeth will probably hate it. But I don't really care because I'm an Evil Mommy and will make her wear it anyway. It is a little spring-like but it is colorful. That means most of her wardrobe will do with it.

And I did finish up a pair of pink leggings too, but leggings are boring to look at. Besides, they aren't all that amazing - they are pink and made from an old turtleneck with the neck as the new waist and the sleeves as the legs. Whoo-boy. That may be too much excitement!

Laura H. Monday, October 8, 2012

Ooo. It is early!

Elizabeth spent the night at her Granna's last night (much to both's delight) which leaves me awake at 7:30am but without my little to cry for some milk or a graham cracker.

I miss her!


Anyway, I've gotten a pretty good jump on stuff for KCWC Fall already. I have a LOT cut out and ready to sew up. Three jumpers, 4 or 5 total dresses, 3 or 4 tees, 4 pairs of B3P's, 3 fat-quarter skirts, and strips for piping. I also have planned but not cut 1 maybe-dress-maybe-tee, 3 more tees, and 4 pairs of leggings (one black stretch velvet.) There's also the patterns I've not done anything with yet that have definate plans (or that I just a burning desire to use) like the Sunday Brunch Coat and Skirt (baby blue with the sheet strip inside and multi-colored buttons), the 2+2 blouse that will be a long sleeved dress (white with read dots, accented with solid red trim. It will get a little jacket-thing, too), and this cute pattern for pjs that I'm going to use the top for an everyday top.

Don't panic on my behalf. I doubt that I'll get it all done. I'm going to be content to get everything to it's next stage - patterns to cut out patterns, cut patterns to cut fabric, cut fabric to actual clothing. And clothing to the wash, then on to the kiddo!

Hmm. Guess a picture would be good in here wouldn't it?

She picked the boots.
That is the little dress from this post. It came out really cute, even if the neck is a little big! And Elizabeth likes it. She found her boots in the closet and decided to wear them. but then she decided that walking in them was 'weerd!' As they are a size too big, I have to agree with her assessment.

Laura H. Wednesday, September 26, 2012

So, over at luvinthemommyhood, there's this... facebook-y sort of fill in the blank thing she's doing all about creativity. I figured that I'd jump on board since I love these things.

Since I love them, I never do them. I've found that the more I adore something, the worse it probably is for me. But in this case, I can't see what it could hurt!

* i'm longing to make "the brown and yellow gingham dress i just drew" right now.

* i want to try "tatting".

* i wish i could sew with "all the lovely, expensive fabrics i see online".

* i dream of making "reasonable clothes for myself".

* i keep track of my ideas by "doodling in a one-subject notebook".

* i'm inspired by "nearly everything".

* i would love to meet "Michelle Obama" in person. (i'd love access to her wardrobe.)

* my favorite fiber is "cotton".

* i like to sew with "wovens".

* my favorite color is "red. all shades but fire engine.".

* i rock at "making it work!".

* i would like to learn how to make "patterns for myself from scratch".

* i like to listen to "the hum of my machine" while i "sew".

* i bring my "eyes and ears" everywhere.

* my favorite thing to "avoid" is "anything kitchen-related".

* my favorite things to "recycle" are "t-shirts".

* my crafting space is "a dark, pokey, huge mess".

* if i had my own crafting room it would be "huge, sunlit, and still a huge mess!".

* i sew with "a Singer Tradition".

* i like to "sew with" "unexpected fabrics".

* i can never get enough "strawberries".

* i adore "Elizabeth".

* i also enjoy "history" and "murder-mysteries".

* i like to fill my shelves with "patterns, books, and toys".

* i create the best when i'm "left to my own devices".

* i am currently excited for "the fall kids clothing week challenge".

* right now i am "procrastinating on a project i don't want to do".

* i love to watch "Poirot and Miss Marple" while creating.

* my guilty pleasure when it comes to creating is "making the old new again".

* my current favorite music crush to listen to while creating is "the local classic rock station".

Laura H. Monday, September 24, 2012

So. Over the years I've been proud of stuff. Usually, it falls to pieces because it's not really stuff worth being proud of in the first place. Like my hair. Long, really dark save for some silvery-grey streaks, mad-as-snakes kinds of curls. Then, I nurse Elizabeth and it (almost) all falls out. Stupid alopecia. Stupid DNA.

But I digress. I've been really, honestly proud of nearly all the things I've made for Elizabeth to wear in the cooler weather. Now, that may spell their doom in some plumbing disaster, but for now I will be proud.

See, age has taught me some wisdom.

You all might remember the pile of racerback dresses that I made back in the summer. They have been great! They fit well and were very cool and comfy. Well, it has been 42 degrees around here in the mornings and little sleeveless dresses are a thing of the past. I'm making over all of them (including the white one if I can find it.) I finished the first one tonight.

Please forgive the un-amazing lighting. Elizabeth is wearing this to playschool tomorrow so there will be no daylight pictures for a little bit.

But seriously! I cobbled together two patterns - the Racerback Dress and the Go To Signature Dress, lopped off the top of the original and attached this cute owl print that I found at Joann's (I only got a half-yard. The price was a touch high, but it is good, sturdy knit.) The neckband is the rib from the original $2 shirt.

I'm not sure why I'm so proud of this playdress. Maybe it's the franken-pattern. Maybe it's because I didn't think the colors would work. Maybe it is just nice to know that my skills are coming along nicely. Whatever it is, I hope it keeps up!

And that all stray sparks, weird weather, and odd animal mishaps can hold off long enough for me to know if these little things can hold up to toddlerdom!

Laura H. Thursday, September 20, 2012

So, after this I expect to have a note from Kristin of skirt as top revoking my right to ever make another dress even vaguely resembling a Sweet Tartan. I will *totally* understand too. I promise, promise, promise I'll do my level best to not make another one until spring!

And let me tell you, after working out the sleeves (without realizing I made it way too hard), realizing they were weird and wonky, ripping them out twice to fix them, then getting the skirt on backwards and realizing it was about 6 incihes shy of being full enough, ripping it out, cobbling together a better skirt then realizing I didn't have enough of the off white to do a full under-skirt, there is *very* little that will induce me to make another of these before April.

Just sayin'.

Anyway. Here she is. The fall/winter Sweet Tartan with puffed, banded sleeves. And buttons selected by the Boy Scout because he has Crazy Button Selection Skills.

 The fabric is some from my Grandmother's stash that has probably been around since the 80s at least. The off-white is a sheet from Goodwill that I threw in the sink with a bunch of tea bags until it was the color I wanted.

So, a couple of tutorials helped me make this dress.

1) skirt as top's Sweet Tartan dress tutorial. duh! I've made a blue-million of them and the sleeveless versions are too too adorable.

2) This indietutes tutorial on how to puff a sleeve. I totally drafted one from the pattern which was both dumb and time-consuming. So I'll add this - if you are adding a sleeve to something sleeveless, just grab a basic sleeve pattern piece and puff it extra. if it wasn't a perfect fit to start, the puffing will allow you to take up any extra and will just be extra puffy. Which is the point of a puffed sleeve.

I think I'm Sweet Tartaned out. This one has whipped me!

Laura H. Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Are you?

Laura H. Sunday, September 16, 2012

I've taken a break from cutting out to start stitching things up. Elizabeth sort of needs some 'too cool for sleeveless, not hot enough for a coat' dresses, so I've done several of those. Also, I've reworked a pair of jeans because lightweight jeans are also awesome for playschool. I've manage to do one sewing project a day for the past 7 days. Two Pierrot's, these four, and the burgundy pants. I'm not showing those because there's a somewhat suggestive set of tracing marks on them.

Breaking up is EASY.

Dear Carters:
I'm sorry. I'm breaking up with you. Not only is your stuff all beginning to look the same, your prices suck.
Not to mention I found this pattern called the Go To Signature Dress that allows me to get looks way cuter than yours and hemlines that are not booty-tastic.
Sorry again. Hope you understand. And if you don't, go get the pattern and try it out.
Really easy.

And really, what's not to love? I'm even going to be using this pattern for Elizabeth's long sleeved tees - I just measured and hacked the pattern off. Only on the tees, I'm going to gather the neckline instead of pleat. I love pleats, but the gathering will be a little bit more casual looking. Excellent for tees.

Would you like fries with that?
Another little dress that I finished up was the much-anticipated School Uniform Dress knock off that I made from some of the Boy Scout's old work shirts. I have pictures of the before - the work shirts before I started cutting in to them. And while the franchise office said he could keep them since they were changing over to all dress-shirt-and-tie business, I don't trust that blatantly advertising the name of his company won't bring down the wrath of the CEOs and them take away a dress this adorable.
No, just a large juice box.

Granted, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out, but I doubt that the Powers That Be are reading this blog.I cannibalized a 4t boys polo shirt for the pieces, then left the original placket intact and added a dummy button below the functional one. I love that I have enough of the teal left over to add another ruffle to the bottom! She will need it before she outgrows this little dress. I wonder when 'teal' month is at playschool?

Trivia: My sister named me for...?
 This little dress is getting called the Little House dress. It is another Simplicity 2377 and it is so long! But I've already cut off a lot, so I'm just going to leave it alone. The fabric was in a bag of stuff my great-aunt and her daughter gave me last week. It was an a-line skirt when I took it out of the bag. Next day, it was this dress.

I'd made up some green gingham bias tape for my first attempt at the no big dill bias tape tutorial and then promptly forgot that I had it. I found it again and decided that using it on this would be both cute and handy.

Laura! From the Little House show.
I've decided that casings are just too easy not to use. And using the bias tape around the bottom hem adds weight without bulk, which is great on this dress since the fabric is so very thin. This dress is great for fall in the Southeast - fall colors, summer weight. And considering that we will be going to the National Banana Pudding Festival in a couple of very short weeks, it will be nice to have something on Elizabeth that can be layered.

And last but not least, the jeans. These are Made by Rae's Big Butt Baby Pants pattern. Elizabeth wore them so much that when I dropped the hem for this year, there was a wear line! So, I snatched this ribbon from one of her birthday presents and worked my magic. I can't believe she's grown so much! The original hem was at the red stripe on the ribbon. Where'd my wee-baby go?
Well, wherever that small little thing went, she'll be looking pretty adorable in her rainbow pants. Although I think I can file 'bows for jeans' under Not Doing It Again.

Laura H. Thursday, September 13, 2012

I got Rae's (of Made by Rae fame) pattern for a Pierrot tunic instead of the Charlie tunic because of the big old goofball ruffle around the neck. Then I realized that I have about two fabrics that would look anywhere near okay with a ruffle at the neck. And both of those are spoken for for other things.

So the first two I make? No ruffle!

 From the depths of the 'why did i buy that?' bin comes this fabric. I've still got a lot left! It is so big and bold and busy that little Elizabeth is only just now big enough to wear it without looking like some sort of crazy-print loving mommy is trying to make her suffer. Still, this is a pattern 3 and we will see how it fits. I love that this pattern only touches the child at the shoulder - it means I can add a little to the hem and she will be wearing it for YEARS.

Hey, my kid! I can dress her crazy until she protests! And she's only protesting clothes in general right now, not specific items
 This one is awfully fun. See, back in our pre-child days when we shopped a certain blue-and-white clad major chain store for everything, our newly-wed selves needed both a Christmas tree and ornaments. We were (as ever) pretty broke so we went with the multi-box of assorted colored ornaments. We open the box at home and start pulling out and hanging ornaments on the tree.

The Boy Scout pulls out a mushroom shaped one. We laugh. Then I pull one out. This continues until there are eight of these things! Thus a tradition is born - every year, we hit up that same big chain store and search until we find a mushroom shaped ornament. Sadly, the past two years, there's not been *any* mushroom ornaments to be had. But this year, our own little fungus can be decked out in mushrooms! They will go great with her burgundy corduroy pants!


Anyway, here's some detail shots of the necks. The casings are just bias tape. The orange is store bought and left over from Elizabeth's Halloween outfit last year. The red check is made my me! See, I do use those remnants!

Laura H. Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Just in time for cooler weather (hey! low 70s is cooler around here!) I decided that Elizabeth needed a few new dresses. I've done three this weekend - The 'why-did-i-ever-buy-this-fabric' dress, the 'very-nearly-free' school uniform style dress, and the Little House on the Prairie dress. Here's the 'why-did-i-ever-buy-this-fabric' one!

 This pattern is my own personal go-to pattern. When there's a play-dress needed, this is what I use for wovens. It is Simplicity 2377. When I bought it, Elizabeth wore a 2. So I also have Simplicity 5695, which is the smaller sizes and fewer options version. I've made both but this is the first one I've made with the next size built in.

See, I sew for keeps. And play-dresses are kind of a dime a dozen. But I *know* that before winter's end Elizabeth is going to be firmly in a pattern 4. She's already in a store-bough 4t due to being a tall little person (she's just topped 36 inches tall. It's genetic!) And come to find out, this print of fabric is one I really like, tho it matches NOTHING on planet Earth except the other two fabrics in the series (which are both awful and hideous equally busy prints.)

So this little dress is sewn to a size three but cut to a size four! HA! Smarty pants Mommy!
 There are some pretty glaring changes that I made to the pattern. One is the shirring at the neck. There's very little of it, but it looks different from the pattern because of it. Also, the ultra-deep hem. About and inch and a half of it shows, but there is another inch folded over within that. And the sleeves did not get the elastic either. I decided that while the shirring is easy and the casings are easy, I am LAZY. Or I could blame it on wanting to be able to layer it in really cold weather (and shut it! 32 degrees Fahrenheit is COLD!)

 She wore this dress to playschool today and the Center Director pointed out the color of the month to her. They have a color focus for each month, and I think I may be a sneaky-pete and make a few more multi-colored dresses so she's nearly always wearing the color of the month. Next week, I'll show you the Little House on the Prairie dress that I made so she's got two days worth of brown to wear. Brown is this month's color and she only had one little Old Navy shirt in brown. Problem SOLVED.
 And here's just a couple of more pictures of my bubble-master girl. Another lovely thing about this dress - it doesn't show the bubble drips too much! Bet you didn't even know they were there, did you?

Laura H. Monday, September 3, 2012

Well, that took longer than I'd hoped.

Two days of fiddling and I've finally got this blog a new look. What do you think? I like it. It's the first time I've ever made my own header image and liked it.

It only took me ten tries before I was happy with the color of the little orange 'button' on the end. But here it is!

Today finds me unexpectedly toddler-free. I felt like death warmed over last night and my mom took Elizabeth for the night. I'm a lot better this morning and Elizabeth is coming home this afternoon. So, I've got a bit of freebie time and I'm thinking about what to do with it.

I think we all know what I'll end up doing!

I'm in the cutting stages right now still. It is slow going as I can't cut while Elizabeth is awake and running the show. I can't see her from where I cut, so I just play with her or draw endless moo-cows in red marker instead. Which is nice! My artistic skills have really developed under her demands of happy-faces, sad-faces, ducks, dogs, stars, and hearts. Oh, and the moo-cows. Mustn't forget the moo-cows.

But I could get a lot cut out this morning. I've already vacuumed and picked up stuff, so I really am free! Whee!

Is it telling that the only thing I really *want* to do is go get my little person?

Laura H. Monday, August 27, 2012

So we never made it to the county fair this week. Between battling allergies and getting a new-to-me car, there was just no time!

The car thing too about 5 times as long as it should. Somehow, every one of us who looked at the car never noticed the HUGE FREAKIN' WIRE sticking out of the rear passenger tire! Once we noticed it, for some strange reason it took four hours to get a new tire and have it changed out. But, I've got a new-to-me small SUV.

I know, awful woman! Don't I care about the environment? Gas prices? Politics? In short: yes, yes, and no. But there are some hard facts that have got to be faced. One of the main ones is this: I am negatively mending from that stupid epidural fiasco round about two years ago. My back is still not quite right from it and neither is my left leg. So, to decrease strain on those parts, a higher-profile vehicle is a must. Also, My old car (as grand as she's been) was getting unreliable. It is nothing but luck that I didn't have Elizabeth with me the day the alternator died in a flash flood and had to wait four hours for AAA to show up. And the weird fan-noise was distressing.

And incidentally, the cure for gas prices is driving less. And the cure for politics is to realize that no matter what, in this country the citizenry is in control and *can* rise up in protest of the powers that be. We are all just too fat and lazy to do more than update facebook statuses about how our own personal opinion is right and the 'other side' is a bunch of Godless baby-eaters who dance naked in the moonlight pooping on the Constitution.*

BUT! New-to-me car! Yay! It is a Grand Vitara in really dark blue that I've decided to name Kitara. Gonna get one of these for the back window. The Boy Scout approves it as both amusing and appropriate.

In other news, I did go collect my two entries from the fair this year. Ahem:

That's right! Two blue ribbons! I only wish I knew what my competition was. I am frankly FLOORED by both. And I'm telling you this right now - that Sweet Tartan is getting retired to the back of the closet. This summer, it has been worn to a wedding, a fund raiser, church a million times, and has now won a blue ribbon at the fair. It is done! That's a good life! And the diaper? It's a stunner too. Imagine a diaper winning! What a hoot! It's going back in the drawer after it's washed and will be used and used. It's my favorite and I've missed it this week.

I'll end this post with 'comb' as Elizabeth calls it. This outside rug will never be dirty again now that we have discovered the joys of foam between our toes.

*And lets be reasonable here. Given the protection of the original document, the likelihood of the Constitution being crapped on is quite low. I think the docents and security guards would eject any random poopers before their task was complete. Not to mention as the windows are blacked out, the moonlight part is unlikely as well. Same with the no-food-and-drink policy.