Sunday, August 29, 2010

Let there be light!

Big smile on my face right now!  My weekend of sewing has ended triumphantly.  I devoured my new book and have everything checked off that I want to make (which is almost everything).  I finished the last item on my sales list (which is ok because I've been so busy for a while that I need a break to do some different things).  And I redeemed myself from this disaster

The lampshade in my bedroom needed replacing big time--it was faded, some of the thin metal rod bits were bent because there's a slight chance it's been knocked over a few too many times so it didn't sit straight anymore, and it didn't really match anything anymore.  But I love the lamp itself so I didn't want to replace it with something I wasn't crazy about.  So what's a crafty girl with too much time on her hands to do?  Make a lampshade cover.  And not just any lampshade cover--a removable, shirred lampshade cover.

I bought a new generic lampshade at Target:

Snooze....a little too bland for the base is more cream colored so something obviously needed to be done to this glaring white shade.

And now THIS is what it looks like:
I made it just a bit longer to it would have a cutesy ruffle without being too cute.

Once my sister told me what my math malfunction was last time I tried this it was easy.  It's essentially a shirred circle skirt for a lampshade.  I'll be back soon with a tutorial on how to do this should you fancy making one yourself.  In the meantime, you might want to take a read-through of Flossie Teacakes' shirring tutorial to get an idea of the basics, as I am just going to cover the construction of this without getting into the details of shirring.

I'm off to reward myself with vanilla meringue cookies.  Hope you have a Monday that doesn't make you say "Ugh! Mondays!"

Friday, August 27, 2010

What are you up to?

Because this is what I'll be doing this weekend....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mon Dieu! Tres chic! or something like that....

Most of my sewing adventures lately can be categorized as challenging.  Not exactly technically difficult to execute, but requiring a little more thinking (which I'm not always feeling).  The good part about this is that my thinkers usually come out better because I take my time and pay a decent amount of attention to what I'm doing.  This also applies to things I've made bunches of already because there's always gotta be a twist.

A lovely crafty co-worker brought to me a pretty scarf she had bought for almost nothing--it was a black meshy sort of fabric with a flocked Parisian print on it (yours truly of course forgot to take a picture of it).  It was too small to wear as a decent scarf, but even so the print would have been lost in the folds.  She wanted to use it for something, though, as she adores it.  The solution?  Purses (did you have any doubts there?)!  It was just the right size to coax two small purses out of it.  I couldn't just sew the scarf as it wouldn't last a day, so as a stabilizer she decided on a plain hot pink fabric underneath it.  When I went to put these together the mesh was a little thicker than I thought so the pink wasn't as vibrant, but it gave it this look that I don't even know what you'd call it:

The black over the pink makes the photo look highly pixellated, but the sheen is so much more even in actuality.

A slight change in the lighting makes this glasses case look a bit more purple.

To deal with the possible fraying of the scarf, I cut that piece last so it wouldn't have time to change its mind about staying together.  I then immediately applied Fray Check to all of the edges.  It seemed a bit excessive as it held together really well, but if I had skipped this part, with my luck I'd have had a pile of thread on my hands.  Other than that and being really careful about getting all the edges in the seams, it was business as usual.  I had to be verrrry careful with the glue because I don't think picking it off this fabric would have turned out as well as with plain old cotton.  They're sturdy little buggers--that extra layer, thin as it is, added some thickness to it--and they're already interlined with fleece.

For the lining my plan was to add this fun Michael Miller print:

'La Tour Eiffel' in Paris Pink. Yum!

When I got to the store this print was entirely too large to work at the small scale of these purses, and there was nothing comparable.  So I went with something much more basic, but with the same colors and hopefully a bit of the same feel:

It's not an ideal match, but the lining is invisible until you open the purse, so no biggie.  
I like shooting the linings of these bags because they look like big huge muppet mouths.

And that, said Bee, is that.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm not feelin' the brotherly love

Hiya folks!  You all know (or maybe you don't know so I'm gonna tell ya) that I hail from the lovely city of Philadelphia.  Some people would put sarcasm quotes around the "lovely," but I won't.  Good and bad I like living here, though I often shake my head and think "Are you flippin' kidding me?"  The city is constantly cash-strapped, but those of us who pay our taxes can't figure out why (other than the obvious mismanagement of funds)--they want to impose trash pick-up fees (which we pay for in our taxes already) and extra taxes on soft drinks (which I don't care about since I don't buy soda but know plenty who do so I'll be agitated for them).

So here's what's got my goat this morning.  A friend of mine clued me into this, and I immediately got in touch with my old friend Google.  It appears that Philly now wants to impose a $300 fee on bloggers who sell ad space on their blogs--to buy a business license!  These ads bring in mere pennies, unless you're running a super-blog, so this fee seems extra exorbitant and ridiculous.  Some articles say that a blog has revenue potential, so they want to tax that.  As a commenter said to this post (see below) "I have lots of potential. I should start paying on all of it." Would it really be that difficult to weed out the corruption and overspending in city government so idiotic ideas like this don't need to be proposed?  I laughed as I wrote that part.  I'm with Technorati on this one.  As well as Aaron Proctor.  And the Washington Examiner.  And the Daily Caller.  And GeekSugar. And most of the comments on my own Inquirer.

(** UPDATE: according to the Mayor they are only requesting this of people who claimed revenue on their federal income taxes, but did not report to the City.)

You may be thinking "Bee. You don't sell ad space. Get mad about something that affects you directly."  OK, I will.  This next part was my originally intended post--the above just seemed too timely to ignore.

For the past two years the Philadelphia Phillies have been the Major League Baseball National League Champions, and in 2008 were the world champions.  While there are a lot of bandwagon fans, there are also a lot of hard-core fans.  And some of these hard-core Phillies fans want diaper bags made out of Phillies fabric, yo.  I ask you this seriously:  do you have any idea how difficult it is to find Phillies fabric that isn't fleece? Neither did I!  It is dang near impossible to find!  And when you do manage to find it? CAH-RAZY expensive! I can't imagine why they wouldn't make plain cotton with team logos on it for quilts and other items, but they make fleece. I understand fleece for football, played in the colder months.  I don't understand fleece for baseball, as though fans would only want a blanket in the winter instead of perhaps a quilt or something.  That something being a diaper bag.  This is the fabric I'm after:

I love it because it has such a classic look!

And these are the "deals:"
  • 2.5 yards...for $175!!!!
  • a fat eighth...for $20!!
  • a 10 X 10 piece...for $10!!!
It's rare and discontinued, so I get these prices.  My question is: why is it rare and discontinued?  Why can you buy fleece, but not cotton?  Don't they have any idea that crafters would snatch these things up to have a chance to make something for the sports fans in their lives?  I would think it's a major win-win for major league baseball and crafters alike.

Now, you may be thinking, "Bee. Please get some more coffee and chillax."  So I'm off to give the people what they want.

Back soon with some weekend sewing pics!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pop Garden Pleated Eye Candy

I made another one of those ginormous pleated bags over the weekend.  I have yet to make one of these for myself, but it is one of my most favoritest bag designs.  And it really is quite a sturdy thing.  The colors of this one I just adore--bright, but very sweet and fun.  Makes me want to put on my red ballet flats and go shopping. The lady I made this for chose the fabric, but asked for the same pocket features as this bag.  The side pockets add a bit of time to it's construction, but it really does add a little something to it.  Here, have a look-see:

This is Heather Bailey's Pop Garden line in 'Peonies.'

I had the perfect red on hand to match the lining.  But I forgot about the zipper. Usually I have enough zippers on hand have a lot of zippers.  Except for the ivory color I wanted.  I tried about six different colors and was thinking I'd be heading out the next morning for an ivory color when Mumsy says "Try that green."  And whaddya know?  Perfecto!
I love the way it came out.  Just enough to pick up the green of the accent dots but not enough to go "Hey--lookee me--I'm a green zipper!"

You've seen enough of the insides of my bags--so I'll spare you.  But here's a loverly closeup of the fabric:

 And some nice even pleats.

I really don't want to give this one up.  It's just so fresh and fun looking.  And the red shoes.  Don't forget about the red shoes.  Actually, go and buy yourself a pair.  They're very liberating for the spirit.

Friday, August 20, 2010

You So Salty

I've been having nocturnal difficulties lately (read: trouble sleeping), so I've been hearing more talk radio than I normally do.  Last night as I was toggling between asleep and awake they had a gentleman on to discuss some proposed rule that salt be removed from restaurant tables because its overuse can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems.  His reponse to this was that one's body needs salt; it cannot survive without it.  He also thought sugar should be removed, but I'm going to pretend I dreamed that part.  In an interestingly timely fashion, I came across this article on the many uses of salt.  Here are a few that are craft related:
  • Keep cut flowers fresh:  A dash of salt added to the water in a flower vase will keep cut flowers fresh longer. (You can also try an aspirin or a dash of sugar for the same effect.) 
  • Arrange artificial flowers:  Artificial flowers can be held in place by pouring salt into the vase, adding a little cold water and then arranging the flowers. The salt become solid as it dries and holds the flowers in place.
  • Make play dough:  Use 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons oil, and 2 tablespoons cream of tartar. Stir together flour, cream of tartar, salt, and oil, and slowly add water. Cook over medium heat stirring frequently until dough becomes stiff. Spread onto wax paper and let cool. Knead the dough with your hands until it reaches a good dough consistency.
  • Set color:  Salt is used commonly in the textile industry, but works at home too. If a dye isn't colorfast, soak the garment for an hour in 1/2 gallon of water to which you've added 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup salt, then rinse. If rinse water has any color in it, repeat. Use only on single-colored fabric or madras. If the item is multicolored, dry-clean it to avoid running all of the colors together.
  • Clean a gunky iron bottom:  Sprinkle a little salt on a piece of paper and run the hot iron over it to remove rough, sticky spots.
The rest of the article has oodles of nifty tips (46, to be exact) for everything from removing various stains to helping with mosquito bites.  Might be a handy list to have around.  Especially the gunky iron part.  Some of us have various adhesives from interfacings and such on the bottom of our irons. Not ME of course...ahem.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What's Your Creative Style?

Have you seen this quiz?  I don't remember how I came across it but it's kind of interesting to have a look-see into the subconsious of your crafty brain.  It's a few quick questions, and presto! Your creative side is psychoanalyzed!

As this quiz has it, here's me:

"You communicate through creativity.  You think of art as a means of reaching out to others but, at the same time, you use it as a shield to some extent. It’s a way of participating in society, in a community. It’s the way you communicate with others and the way they can communicate with you. Seen in this light, creativity provides the basic materials to build a bridge between you and other people, so you can’t think of it as something that lies outside your relationship with others. You like the attention and good opinion of others. When you show people what you’ve made — a birthday cake, or a piece of music you’ve written — it’s your baby, so you are very sensitive about any criticism. You need to be able to distance yourself from the result, and allow others to enjoy it and feel part of it, without it reflecting on you alone. Your creativity allows you (or would allow you) to feel part of the world. You’ve got an inner exhibitionist and you think that this strengthens your relationships. What you really want is for others to see the good in you. You prefer to get on the stage than stay in the wings analysing your inner life (although you do that, too). So let the show begin, but make sure your life doesn’t depend on the applause."

I don't know what the other results are, but this one seems pretty spot-on for least most of the time.  I feel most comfortable around people I don't know well when I can discuss something crafty, whether it's a craft I take part in or not.  I do tend to be a little sensitive to criticism, but I honestly feel that I've gotten much better at accepting it, so long as it's constructive (because who takes destructive criticism well?).  I love communicating with the online crafting community--not only does it help with difficulties I might be having with a project, but it assures you that you are NOT the only one who sewed a bag with the zipper closed so that you couldn't turn it right-side-out and had to take apart most of it.  The hardest part to get over is the "applause" factor.  I worry entirely too much about if someone is excited about something as I am, or if they really like something I've made or if they're just being polite.  It should be about the process and the artistic release, and a good result (but not necessarily a popular result).

Enough about me...take the quiz and find out about you!  And share if you dare!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Inside Joke Sewing

MONTHS ago someone asked me to help him out with a gift for his groomsmen in his wedding.  It's an inside joke between the three of them.  OK, I said.  No problem.  The details:  3 golf club covers.  Easy enough.  The kicker?  They have to be in the shape of Blinky.  Not Blinky the pursuit-loving ghost of Pacman fame.
Blinky the 3-eyed fish from the river near the nuclear power plant of The Simpsons fame.  Need a visual?


 Not this.

This was not an easy task.  There is not a single assist with this ANYwhere.  The closest I could find was how to cut a fish out of a piece of felt (like a kid might cut a fish out of paper), but I had to take a flat image and try to make it 3-D.  I had several samples that I worked up, different kinds of eyes, etc. Last weekend, I finally just went for it. I took my time, tried to think about each step, and finished them.  They're not the greatest, I wholeheartedly admit this.  BUT I do think they're pretty adorable.  And there shouldn't be much confusion as to what they are supposed to be.  I avoided a classic Bee blunder and made sure they fit the golf club before I finalized everything.  So, here they are.

The photo on the left cracks me up because the way the eyes are makes this fish look so concerned.  I guess it should be having three eyes and all...

He asked me to add just a touch of shading over the eyes to make it really look like the character.  I tested different markers on a swatch and eventually ended up with this:
Adds just the right touch...

So that was my sewing ordeal I mentioned at the end of this post.  I feel they should maybe be fatter or something, but I don't know.... I'm not an artist so I don't have that sense of perspective and spatial whateverness to figure it out...and I needed a pom-pom size between this size and the next one down for the eyes to be almost perfect.  I was so worried these wouldn't be good enough, but he absolutely loved them.  He filled me in on why these were so important to him and showed me what else he had come up with as part of this present, and let me tell you this--if someone ever gave me a gift with this much thought and time and effort behind it, wrapped in memories and good times, as a symbol of their appreciation for being beside them on their wedding day, I would flat out cry.  That's how touched I'd be.  I'm glad people don't give me gifts like that.  I get grotesque twisty-face when I cry.  It's not attractive.  No lie.

He gave me an exorbitant gift card to my favorite craft store as a thank you.  So everyone's thrilled! The best kind of business deal.

Book Review: "Saint Francis" by Robert West

The book "Saint Francis" by Robert West is a brief biography of Saint Francis of Assisi.  This compact little volume (so comfy to hold, by the way) reviews his brief life in a matter-of-fact writing style, as well as covering some of the history of the region in which he lived and preached.  Francis was born into a comfortable lifestyle, one in which he reveled through his earlier years.  He did things that made his parent shudder, as well as having the townsfolk look at him aghast (the way that one might look at some of the things teenagers do today).  And then one day, touched by God, he devoted himself to prayer and preaching, extreme poverty, and devotion to Christ.

This book was a little too dry for my taste.  A beautiful story was made a bit wooden, doing the subject a disservice by making him seem more like a nutter than a servant of the Lord).  There was also a bit too much speculation for a biography--there were too many instances of "It is possible that..." or "We can imagine that he may have...."  Towards the end, when Francis' miracles were being discussed, as well as his demise, the language became prettier, and made him seem more accessible.  I honestly struggled to complete this book.  The timeline was a little too jumbled, and I wasn't always sure of when certain events were occurring.  I did enjoy learning a few bits and pieces I was entirely unaware of (i.e. his participation in the Crusades), as well as reviewing the things I knew of (that touching little sermon to a flock of birds).  This would be a great book if I was writing a research paper on Saint Francis, but as a casual book left me a little uninspired.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Check out my other BookSneeze reviews by clicking here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

One for the Boys

Remember these?  I needed a few for a soon-to-arrive little guy.  Since baby anything is unspeakably cute I took a few photos, even though it's kind of a repeat.  My sister told me these don't technically qualify as a craft as all I did was iron them on; BUT I used a ruler for placement, and I bought them at Joann's Fabrics and Crafts, so....

It's gloomy weather today, so the lighting isn't so hot.

What's that you say?  You'd like to see a few close-ups? 
Aren't they just so cute you want to find a baby and pinch its cheeks?

And here is my favorite:
Look at that cute little duck tushy and the little bit of water under his sailboat!  Makes me want to snuggle with something... 

So that's that...just a quick share of cutenessHope your day is nifty!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Things I Don't Need

I heart notions. Big time.  Not ideas, although those are nifty too.  The little gadgetry that comes with crafts.  I own knitting notions that I've never used.  I have 112 million needle toppers, but I only ever used one pair at a time (as I only work on one project at a time).  I have oodles of stitch holders, but I don't knit anything where I need to use them.  I just adore sifting through all those little thingees when I'm looking for something else. I love them so much I want to own them for crafts I don't even do.  I don't scrapbook--but I want to own all those swell little punches and stamps and stick-on embellishments just because.  I don't know if it's an official disease, but I know I have it.

So...yeah, of course this applies to sewing.  I have tube turners, chalk liners, pincushions (note the plural) full of pins with different heads, bodkins, point pressers, and stuff I don't even know right now because I can't think of it all.  I just lurve it.  So why would I need more?  Because some day I might need it.   

 This needle and pin sharpening pad could save me some money on needles (the ones that I don't break because I forgot to switch my needle position after I attached a different presser foot.  Oops).

This yardstick compass would have come in handy recently when I was making circular cushions for my grandma's porch.  My method of "string tied to a pen" was a bit choppy.

 This gypsy gripper is great for stabilizing your ruler on your fabric to remove the cringe factor of "please don't let my hand slip; please don't let my hand slip."  Plus it reminds me of a little girl's plastic play telephone.

These pin magnets are super useful.  Or I assume so.  I don't ever drop pins when I'm sewing where they get stuck in the rug and then I have to either find it with my foot or watch it ricochet across the room when the vacuum hits it.
This "sixth finger stiletto" helps keep your fingers away from your steaming iron, or helps keep something fiddly in place as it heads towards your needle.

 Sewing themed button-headed pins.  As though pins aren't sewing themed enough.

True story:  I went to Joann's last week for a few things (I was very well behaved, I promise).  They had a cute little package of pins there for only $1.50--thirty pearlized heart-head pins in various colors.  I figured if nothing else they'd look cute in one of my pincushions.  I honestly thought they'd be seriously flimsy.  Wrong!  They're super awesome and I swear to you they made my sewing more enjoyable tonight (don't ask me why or how--I'm probably just weird).  I was seriously wanting to take the drive to go buy more of them.  But if there is one notion I don't need it's more pins.  I may just need this pin cushion, however:

And then I'd need more pins for it.  Such a vicious cycle.

My birthday is in May, and Christmas is, of course, in December.  Just sayin'.  If you want you can pretend they're sooner.

Notions pictured here can all be found at Nancy's Notions, except the teapot cushion, which I found here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


One of my Facebook friends posted this video to her page.  I promptly stole it, added it to mine, and tracked it down on YouTube so I could get the code and share it with you here.  No matter where you live, what your political views are, etc. you can't help but be touched by the sheer, unbridled love and joy in this video.  Grab some tissues and enjoy.

And if you were having a good makeup day...I apologize.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Oh, the places you'll go!

"You're going places, baby" award from Meream

The rules are simple.  Recipients simply have to state where they think they'll be in ten years.

Tougher than it sounds.....If you asked me this ten years ago I would have imagined I'd be in a completely different place than I currently am.  Not necessarily happier, or better.  Just different.  OK then, ten years.  My vision for 2020 (hehe--vision. 20/20. geddit?)...

1.  I'll have a family situation at that point--the whole hubs and kids thing going on.  The hubs will of course be my soul mate (he'd better be if I'm waiting this long).  Ideally, I'll be fortunate enough to be able to stay home with the tots....if'n we don't have tots, then I could just sew and craft all day.  He'll be cool with that I think...

2.  I'll have a business at that point, beyond my dinky little online shop.  Something real, like with jangly bells and a "Yes, we're open!" sign.  I don't know what I'd sell yet.  Either funky gifty stuff, sewing goods, or books.  Or all 3.  Yes, it will be 3 storefronts next to each other with different wares in each, and a secret passage system so I can work all 3 at once.

3.  I'll be twenty pounds lighter (I've been working on that for a few years and think I'm heavier than when I started).

4. I'll have a hundred blog followers.  At the rate I gain followers this seems like an adequate goal, bwahahaha.

5. I'll still have my sense of humor.

6. I'll have more inky scars.  Probably no more than 3 ever, but definitely 2.

And who do I think?

Lisa at u-handbag--who is already so well on her way she's out of sight.  Her site gets millions of visitors yearly, she has a book coming out soon, and she may be one of the sweetest people ever.  I want to follow her around in a  non-stalkerish way and absorb some of her awesome.

Adrianna and Susan at Crafterhours--they started blogging when I did but check out their blog, which has grown exponentially compared to mine, with tutorials and nifty ideas galore.

 Kandi from Kandipandi's Pad --she's a fairly new blogger who is always putting together the cutest fabric combinations, and makes some pretty nifty beaded items too.  I want to raid her Cath Kidston stash.

That's all I've got for now.  I know these things are kind of goofy, but they're fun.  They force us to reveal a bit about ourselves that we otherwise might keep hidden, and connect us to others.  That might be my favorite thing about blogging.

Monday, August 9, 2010

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging for this brief announcement...

I won!!  Not the lottery (didn't buy a ticket), not an Academy Award (because I'm not in movies), not at the game I played with my nephew last night (because I just don't have good game-winning luck).  I won a blog giveaway for which I had my fingers crossed.  I had to submit a picture to the Flickr pool at Sew Christine, who had a giveaway for this:

It contains 100 sewing projects, ranging in difficulty, and contributed by bloggers from all over (Christine has a tutorial for a wallet in this one).  I wasn't able to get my mitts on the 2010 version, but Meream contributed her tutorial for a yoga mat bag to that one (which I followed as one of my first solo projects. The instructions are available on her blog).  When I grabbed the pic from Amazon there was a negative review that said "Each of these projects goes across a few days--you don't get a project each day."  I chuckled and thought "Well, duh! What planet do you live on where there are 100 days in a year?"  I googled and decided she must live on Mercury, or thereabouts (88 earth days in a year).  Teehee.  Sometimes I get bored....

Many times when I need a break from my regular bag-making or the more difficult projects people ask me for, I look for something small and adorable to make to amuse my brain and use up my fabric stash.  I'm pretty excited to receive this calendar, as it seems perfect for such a purpose.  I don't know if I'll be able to make it until 2011 to peek...I may have the projects done by then...or not.  At my rate sometimes I could very well live on Jupiter (12 earth years, baby).  Ask my co-workers--some think I live there already.

I've got a blog award to write up, as well as pics from my own personal sewing challenge (ordeal? nail-biter?  fill the swear jar project?  OK, I'll stick with challenge).  Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Biggest Commitment Since Using Level 2 Hair Color (28 shampoos, yo!)

Soooooo.....remember when I was all "Dude, tattoos are permanent!" and said I'd never be able to decide what I wanted and blah-de-blah-de-blah?  Apparently, I'm a liar.  Because I've got one now.  As a matter of fact the bandage just came off, that's how fresh it is.  As it turns out I had been tossing the idea around while, unbeknownst to me, my sister Rachel was doing the same thing.  We decided to go together and get pretty scars scratched into our skin.  My sister Alicia designed Rachel's tattoo (which I don't have a picture of right now but it's wicked), while I found a few things on the internet for the artist to sketch out.  Now please excuse the photo because it's kind of hard to take a picture of your own throbbing ankle, but here it is:

Isn't that a sweet bee?  Geddit? Bwahahahaha...

The only thing I was really adamant about was that it had to be a sweet happy bee, a bee that loves it's whimsical little life of rolling around in flowers all day.  It could, under no circumstance, be an angry bee with a stinger.  I am in love with this bee.  The colors of the flowers are so much more vibrant in real life. Alicia told me, when all was done, "It's so you!" and I think I agree with her.

Have a great Fri-dee!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Third time's a charm

I've had a few discouraging days of sewing.  Not discouraging in the sense that I think "I HATE THIS!  I'M NEVER SEWING AGAIN!!!" but the kind of discouraging that makes you think "WHAT is going ON here?"  I had my epic geometry fail on Sunday, even though my shirring was quite nice.  Last night I tried to remake a shirt that I was informed by several people made me look chesty, pregnant, or postpartum and breast-feeding.  The shirring on the shirt was just under the chest--I removed all of it and decided to redo it several inches down, similar to another shirt I have that I love and does NOT make me look awful.  So I did the whole shirring thing, and...another fail.  First, the unshirred shirt was huge, so I trimmed it (too much).  By the time I shirred it, it was just...bad.  Plus the seam down the center of the front, as well as the horizontal seam across the chest, were making things worse.  So this shirt will no longer be in my life.  When I informed my sister Alicia of this she got this secretly pleased look on her face that she would no longer have to see this shirt (which she hated in all of its forms).  The shirt was very inexpensive, so no great loss, but I did like the print.  This? Is why I don't sew clothing that isn't pajama pants or skirts.

So what was my success? Surprisingly, clothing.  My build is such that my hips are a healthy size--my main ordeal when buying bottoms is that I need something that will come over my hips but not gap all around my waist or be huge in the legs.  I had bought a few pairs of capris last year that I loved.  This year, I don't love them so much.  They're a little longer than I like and a little wide in the leg--I dunno why I didn't feel this way last year. But this year I took my mighty Gingher shears to a few of the seams and have 3 pairs of capris that I am more likely to wear tomorrow than I was today.  The main triumph is that I did it all without cursing.  I think the hems are all good, but we'll find out if I was precise enough when I put them on.  With my luck I'll miraculously have made them longer on one side and the other side will be Daisy Dukes.

And since I think a post should have a photo, here are some flowers for you.

They remind me of raspberry Creme Savers.

Hopefully I"ll have some successful crafting to share soon.  Emphasis on the successful.  Hopefully.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A for Effort

Dear Mr. Gilbert:
I apologize for asking you in a sarcastic manner, 18 years ago, what I would ever use geometry for in real life.   I told you if I ever needed to fence in an abnormally shaped section of my yard that I would expect the guy I hired to build the fence to know such things.  I was adamant about the "fact" that circles and triangles would not be so prevalent in my life that I'd need to understand those crazy measurements you tried to teach us.  It became abundantly clear to me this evening that you were right, that we could not know where or when but one day we would need to know such things.
Bethany, who is mad at herself right now

I. Feel. So. Dumb.  The technique of shirring is abundant in the sewing world right now--it's on a ton of the blogs I read, the fabric stores have samples of shirred garments on display, and so on.  I don't sew clothes well, so I thought I would make a shirred lampshade for my room.  It would slip right over my current lampshade, and if it worked well I could make a few for when my mood changed.  I measured my old lampshade oh so carefully.  It seemed terribly logical to me that the shape should be a trapezoid, and that it would magically fit a circular object.  I measured several times. I had crazy amounts of fun shirring.  And when I put the lampshade on--it was like that moment in 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' when Clark realizes he forgot to bring the axe to the Christmas tree farm, right down to the 'boing' noise I heard in my head.

Here are a few of the comments I received:

     ~ "Where's the 'flare'?"
     ~ "Oh. What happened? Why is that part pointy?"
     ~ "What made you think a trapezoid would fit around a cone?"
     ~ "It's like that time you tried to knit me a messenger bag and you thought the pattern was wrong instead of you being wrong."
     ~ "That's really funny! I love your effort, even if the result was bad."
     ~ "Can't you see it's supposed to be more circular?" and of course...
     ~ "Hahahahahahahahahaha!"

I am out of the fabric (which I LOVED), and the piece I had started with would have been perfectly sized for this project (done properly).  I spent an entire evening shirring row after row--but this was ridiculously satisfying.  And it was all visually so interesting to see (especially after I took the iron to it).  I didn't want to part with my failure.  So I resewed the side seam so it was cylindrical, and I think I'll use it around a vase to cover the stems (especially if they're fake flowers) or just to cheer it up a bit.  So lesson begrudgingly learned for next time.

 See? Cute! It's one of those fake patchwork fabrics, and the colors were just so bright and cheery.

 I'm going to go take the edge off of my sourish mood with some reading.  Or online fabric shopping so I can have another go at this with something I love equally.


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