Monday, October 27, 2014

Vanity Case

If you follow me on Instagram you'll have seen a few photos of a bag I was testing for the lovely Christine. I've been very excited to share it with you but wanted to hold off until the pattern was ready for sale, and now it is so now I can. The bag is a quite generously sized vanity case. I do so love vanity cases or train cases or cases with hinged lids or whatever you want to call them. I've tended to shy away as they seem so labor-intensive or have things I don't care for doing (like bias binding the raw edges--I don't know why but that particular task irks me). This one looked nice and reasonably simple, so I jumped at the chance to be a pattern tester. I super took my time (it's very hard when you make bags to slow down and read the directions as you go because y'know...I know everything and all that jazz :) My stitching could be a bit better in a few places, but I knew I was keeping this and I tend to be more forgiving of that sort of thing when it's going to be mine.

The zipper installation is one I've seen but never done before--in order to make this unzip in both directions you just get two zippers and butt them up next to each other as close as you can and stitch. I threw in a few hand stitches to make it a little more secure because I choose to be neurotic about such things.

I'm not even kidding a little when I say that choosing my zipper was maybe the hardest part of the process. I have an odd amount of zippers in really weird colors (don't ask why because I don't know either) so I had a lot of colors to audition. It came down to green or white and green won the vote. I run a democratic sewing room.

I used a different sort of interfacing for this one in addition to my usual woven fusible. Have you ever heard of Annie's Soft and Stable? I've been seeing it a lot, but it's kind of pricey. I happened across an alternative recommendation that was very similar--headliner fabric (the stuff that makes up the inside of the roof of your car?). They had it at Joann's back near the batting and vinyl, so I bought a half yard for this. It doesn't come in white as Annie's does, but the tan I used doesn't show through too badly. It's actually really nice and sturdy, yet soft and squishy and easy to work with (though I did trim it from each seam after it was sewn). I'm definitely going to try it again.

I think the handle might be my favorite part :) It doesn't cut into your hand or get all squinched up 
and wrinkly--it's nice and soft.

This case is plenty roomy on the inside. Like...use it as an overnight case if you pack smartly kind of roomy.

I don't travel often, so if I used this bag for that purpose I'd rarely get to use it, so I think I'm going to use it for smaller knitting projects, or to hold my teeny leftover rainbow yarn bits while I decide what to use them for next. There's even a handy elasticized pocket on the inside for holding teeny things like scissors and tape measures:

As for the pattern: I really didn't have any trouble with the directions, and there are a lot of photos to help you along the way. My zippers were really long, so I was able to skip one of the steps on the outside as well as leave off the zipper covers on the lining; but if your zips aren't taller than you because you used to suffer from a weird zipper buying fetish those steps are included for a nice neat finish. I know these kinds of bags can look intimidating, but they're really not too difficult if you take it step by step. You can purchase the pattern at a very reasonable price here.

I don't know why it looks so crooked in this photo. I was trying to get pictures before I lost all light so I think I snapped at a weird angle in my haste. It's really a delightfully sturdy thing that is just begging to be filled with goodies. I'm glad I called dibs for myself on this one. Thank you, Christine, for letting me test for you! I am in LOVE with this bag and can't wait to have a reason to make more!

Linking up here:
Sundays: Submarine Sunday
Tuesday: Homework
Wednesdays: Your Whims Wednesday

Thursday, October 23, 2014

One More Experiment....

So Charity left a comment on my last post that she has seen continuous tape cut with a rotary cutter. I couldn't get my brain around how that would work with the method I tried, so I did some poking around online and found this tutorial by Pat Bravo. Because I can't leave well enough alone I decided to give this method a shot tonight. I had zero familiarity with it and had to follow the instructions as I went instead of just doing it, so that added some time to it. But not much at all. You sew one seam, cut some short lines with scissors and some short lines with a rotary cutter and end up with yards of tape. OK, it's a little more technical than that, but very easy to do.

This took me about forty minutes, including the extra time for stopping to read directions, so in the future I'd expect it to be even less. I would have ended up with the pretty much the same amount of tape as the other methods but my rotary cutter slipped and I ended up having to trim enough to short myself a strip. There is one thing I'm not in love with on this--when you do the final scissors cuts you're left with a few quirky looking little angles (not obnoxious...just noticeable in its unfolded state). Since this is cut on the bias and you're folding in the edges when you press the tape anyway this disappears amongst the folds and stretchiness (and will disappear even more when it's actually sewn to something). This bugged me for maybe four seconds, but I quickly and easily ended up with yards and yards of bias tape so I can deal with that.

I now feel that I have exhausted all bias tape making options, so you don't have to read anymore about it either (I heard you all sigh in relief, you know). However, I do love to explore options and try to find the best method for doing something, so I'm pleased to say I've now got two I can fully support (and one I'd like to forget I ever met).

Now I'm off to start a sweater sleeve (I'm finally on the sleeves!) and finish off Project Runway. Later taters!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Tale of Two Bias Tapes

Sounds like a fascinating tale, eh? Let's read on and see how it turns out :)

I mentioned at the end of this post  that the folks at Penny Cottons had sent me a couple of things to play around with. The other thing they sent me was a couple of their cigar rolls. A cigar roll is a half yard cut of fabric rolled up to look like...well...a cigar.

I shan't lie. I kept hearing Peter Brady doing Humphrey Bogart saying "Pork chops and apple sauce" when I saw these (because of the cigar?). Anyway, I adore handmade bias tape. When I actually finish a quilt I like adding my own bias tape to it as it can be whatever I want (and it's all cotton like the quilt, whereas the packaged stuff has some polyester to it). And polka dot bias tape? Mmmmmm-hmmmm. Love!

So I was overtaken on an empty Sunday afternoon with the desire (perhaps the need?) to test something pretty nonsensical. There's more than one way to skin a cat (so I've heard, that's not what I was testing) and I wanted to see which way of making bias tape was more efficient. I'll wait for you to put your socks back on because I know I just knocked them off. I had two identical cuts of fabric and I can always use bias tape so I headed to the lab (a.k.a. my dining room) to get started.

I'm not going to write tutorials for these methods because there are tons of them out there, so I'll link you to them in case you'd like to know the methods for yourself. The first thing I did for each cut was to cut one edge off on the bias--

--and then resew it to the other end so I had a big parallelogram.

If you need a refresher this is the shape I'm talking about--

My usual method of making bias tape is rotary cutting a bunch of strips and sewing them together, a la this tutorial. I used to skip the step of cutting the fabric and reassembling it into the above shape, stupidly creating a lot of fabric waste. So now I do it this way, with the only waste being whatever little bit (if any) is left over after cutting my 2-inch strips. OK, so I sewed my shape, cut my strips, and resewed them all together into one long strip. The edges were already slanted, so the sewing went together nice and smooth as all I had to do was line up the ends and sew, offsetting the corners just a tad--

So I sliced, stitched, and pressed the seams open. Then I ran it through my bias tape maker (one of those handy little gadgets I highly recommend as it saves a ton of time and keeps your fingertips from getting burnt off).

In about a half hour I had yards and yards (just a shade under eleven) of nice, neat bias tape. Good deal.

For a looooong time I have been reading about the virtues of making continuous bias tape. I would read tutorials and think "I just don't see how this is better" but never tried it. So now I have and feel free to judge (along the lines of "If you don't vote you can't complain"). For those of you unfamiliar with the process here is a really good tutorial on how it's done.

Essentially, you mark a bunch of diagonal lines on your fabric.

At the top you mark each section with a number from zero to however many strips you have (only the first few are necessary as the rest will fall into place as you go), and along the bottom you number the strips but starting with one. You then fold the fabric up so the right sides are together, matching up the numbered sections (so the zero part will be hanging out by itself for now) and pin. You get a bit of a twisty tube with the sections matched like this--

The lines need to be offset a little bit so that you'll essentially be sewing through where they criss-cross, as you're going to sew that seam you pinned. Once you do that, make sure your lines match up nice and neat (I had to redo this part as I didn't offset the sections the first time) and press.

Do you feel like you're reading gibberish? I felt like I was sewing it, and between drawing the lines and then pinning and matching up and sewing and pressing a twisty tube I was already beyond the time it had taken me to complete the bias tape with the other method. OK, so now you have to cut that apart. With scissors. So you start where that strip with the zero is hanging out alone, and just keep cutting along that line. And cutting, and cutting, constantly adjusting the fabric so you can keep cutting and trying not to make messy edges. And then you go run a marathon or read War and Peace or something because that might be quicker.

When you've finished cutting, you still get to make it into bias tape. If you haven't got a bias tape maker you might cry at this point because that's going to take a while. But you still end up with some lovely bias tape.

OK, so how did these methods measure up? In case you missed my derisive tone I prefer the stitching strips together method. It's quicker and cleaner to rotary cut and you don't have to worry about any marking residue on your fabric. The strips line up neatly for sewing as that wee off-set is easy to eyeball. And it really works well for matching up stripes nice and neat. The cons? Well, that can be a lot of short seams that you have to press open (and maybe trim the dog ears off of). I included that in my time as you get a rhythm about it it's easy peasy so I don't really see that as a big enough negative.

The CBT method? First you have to draw a bunch of lines (which you'd be cutting if you did it the other way). Then you have to line everything up just so (and I mean just so) or your lines won't match up, and then you sew a pretty twisty seam that you need to stop and adjust a bit as it wants to get in its own way as you sew. Then cutting eleven yards of fabric strips with scissors? Just ugh. Any pros? Well, you only sew two seams. That's nifty, but the other stuff takes up so much time that it removes any benefit of minimal seamage. If you don't have a cutting mat or rotary cutter this would obviously be a better way, but if you need yards and yards of bias tape I'd assume it's for a quilt, and most quilters have those tools.

Both methods are certainly easy enough, and both yielded the exact same amount of tape with minimal waste. The continuous method took about double the time, so it's certainly not a time saver for me. Maybe I'm missing something that someone could clue me in on, but I'll be sticking with old tricks for this one.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Scarecrow and a Pumpkin Walk Into a Bar

A couple weeks ago the folks at Penny Cottons asked if they could send me some of their fabrics and see what I could come up with. I told them "Sure!" without having any idea what was coming through the mail slot, so I couldn't get my thinking cap on until I had the goods in my hands. They sent me a roll of their yarn-dyed fabrics (which I forgot to take a picture of in it's rolly cuteness). I kicked around a couple ideas (pillows, a boy-themed baby quilt, etc.) but really felt like doing something more crafty than sewy. Upon seeing the fabric, the phrase 'plaid pumpkin' popped into my head and would just not get out. So I decided to go with that. I was walking around Joann's (I go there without purpose and just wander around sometimes) and saw a few papier mache pumpkins on mega-sale (and I also had a coupon that applied to sale items so I couldn't not get them). I bought one of each size and almost skipped home.

I did add a few strips of my own for a little more color variety (the red, green, and yellow are mine).

I got out the Mod Podge and my sponge brushes and set to work. I painted the glue on the pumpkin one section at a time and smoothed a strip of fabric up the side. I started the strip at the bottom, pulled it towards the top, roughly smoothing it out (I was going for homespun and rough-shod), and then trimmed around the stem. 

I had to double-up on a few colors as I didn't lay things out in reality as neatly as I had in my head.

Once that was all in place, I slathered Mod Podge all over the whole thing, making sure the edges were smoothed down. I did have a few fray strings hanging out, but I didn't obsess about those too much, as it added to my homespun look.

For the second one I cut the rest of the strips I had used for the first pumpkin into rough squares (remember--homespun), and then just glued those down in a random patchworky manner. My mom worked on one side and I worked on the other to speed the process. Then that one got slathered in Mod Podge too, and set aside to dry on a piece of waxed paper.

I used a few of the remaining strips to tie bows around the stems. Raffia was my original plan, but more ended up everywhere else but tied in a neat bow.

I haven't made a fall-inspired craft in a while, and I love the way these turned out. My mother kept telling me "I don't know, I don't think I'm going to like this" but she then told me they're her new favorite thing. I still have almost half of the roll left (minus the two strips I used for the bows) so I'm thinking of maybe a couple of place mats or a small runner or a pillow or something like that....

Thank you, Penny Cottons, for the fabric for this project! They also sent me a little something else to work with, so I'll be doing that today and sharing it with you soon.

* The punchline to my title is "I told you the kids would be cute!" 
** It's actually not. I totally made that up. All of it.

Linking up here:
Sundays: Submarine Sunday
Tuesday: Homework
Wednesdays: Your Whims Wednesday

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Paging Doctor A-train!!

When my sisters were little they had this fabulous Fisher Price doctor kit that came in a "real" doctor's bag and everything. A lot of hours were spent playing with that set. It looked like this:

I think my brother and I may have had a similar kit, but an older version. While I don't remember the contents, I do feel like I have a vague memory of the box--

Going through images on Google it looks like the Fisher Price doctor's kit hasn't varied much over the years, each bearing these essential contents (A-train loaned me his gear for a few minutes)--

When Rachel brought the tot over one weekend with his little doctor's kit, we all saw the bag it came in and looked at each other like "What the hell?" Apparently this is what FP considers suitable for an aspiring doctor to carry their necessities in--

As a current former kid I found this appalling. It's not even a nice tote bag. It's quite cheap feeling. I had full intentions of making a new bag for a while, and last week a new pattern and new fabric came together in a light-bulb moment for Saturday sewing motivation. My blog pal Jane (who sells patterns and sews bags and has a delightfully wry sense of humor) put out her new pattern for her Little Boxy Bag. I loved the shaping of it so I bought and printed that puppy out right away. Then I remembered that my sister Alicia's co-worker gave her a nice-sized cut of faux leather, which she was perfectly willing to share with me. I have never sewn with the stuff before, so I was a little bit nervous as I had no idea what to expect. My scissors sliced through like a hot knife through butter, and my 80/12 Microtex needle and Teflon foot showed that stuff who was boss.

I was so amazed at how nicely it came along (as this is surely the type of thing I'd mangle right out of the gate). The fabric was very soft and supple, and felt almost like real leather. Even the top-stitching had me grinning (I'm not going to lie--a lot of the time I put into making this was me staring at it at various stages, just admiring how nifty it looked as I was nervous I was going to do some unimaginable sort of thing to it along the way).

I got very nervous at the side where the pleating is done, and I thought "Oh, OK, this is where your lack of forethought is going to bite you in the rear." I had an extremely bulky thing to stitch through--four layers of pretty thick faux leather, and four layers of cotton, with a zipper in there. I thought my machine was going to throw a tantrum and a repair bill might ensue. But I simply said "Harriet, you can do this." And she did. She sewed through about a half inch of layers like it was nothing. I was floored. Pleased down to my toes, but shocked. It was one of those things where you want to run up to anyone and say "Look at this seam!!! Now feel it!!!" 

My pull tabs got a little eaten in the seam, but, as my mother keeps reminding me "He's two!" And I know that, but he's two with a perfectionist auntie. However, I know how to pick my battles and a smaller than intended pull tab is a nice trade-off for a successful everything else. I was going to line this in red, and started to before I remembered a fat quarter of fabric I had from something else that might work. I already had the zipper gusset sewn in, so that was staying. But I was able to make the bottom of the lining in this most perfect print--

And everything fits in there, snug as a bug in a rug (which is a creepy expression if you think about it too much, so don't).

I gave this to him today, and my sister exclaimed "It's even better than I thought it would be!" Which, thanks, I guess, hahaha. The A-train immediately listened to my heart (which, coincidentally, is right behind my belly button) saying "Lub-dub, lub-dub...sounds good" and then went back to playing trains. 

This may be one of my favorite things I've made (which, I feel like I say that a lot about things I make for my nephews--I think it's the love in the stitches). I can rest easy knowing that a sufficient doctor's bag now exists.

As for the pattern--absolutely superb. Plenty of photographs and descriptive text. Nothing is left to question like some patterns. As I've made bags before (just a few :) I could skim some of the directions, but for the parts that were new to me (those side pleats) I took it step by step, and boom--perfect pleats in one shot. The only issue I had was bulk, but that was entirely due to my choice of using faux leather instead of regular fabric, and that just required some trimming and no real difficulty. That's how awesome the pattern is--the only trouble was no trouble at all. It also took not much time to sew--this could have very easily been maybe a one to hour project, but I had thread color changes and presser foot changes that slowed me down (as well as the stopping and grinning and strutting around, which takes more time than you'd think).

All in all I had a fabulous fabric weekend. I finished testing another bag which I can hopefully share soon, and made up another project for fall which will be up as soon as I can get pictures (these earlier sunsets are still taking me by surprise as I don't have the time in the evenings for sunlit photos as I did what seems like only yesterday). But I'm not complaining--it's getting close to sweater weather!!! Which reminds me...I've got knitting to tend to. Later, taters!

Linking up here this week:

Sundays: Submarine Sunday
Wednesdays: Your Whims Wednesday

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I Sewed a Shirt

Sometimes I go on a little kick where I want to sew clothes. They're usually pajama pants and t-shirts, as I really don't know much about fitting and darts and shaping and all that, so I go with easy patterns and fabrics (i.e. knits). A few months ago I bought a raglan shirt pattern, and a few weeks ago in a moment of pure whimsy I bought a fabric I normally wouldn't (because even I have to admit it's a little much). After careful cutting and pinning and sewing and serging I had a new shirt. A shirt I have mixed feelings about (and not because of the fabric).

Behold this rare instance where I appear on my own blog:

Take a gander at my short fat fingers I'm always griping about :)

Yes, I'm headless, but be glad of that. It's really hard to take photos of yourself without looking like an absolute dingus (whatever that is). I looked demented or cross-eyed or high in each one, so I hope you don't mind that I cut my own head off.

So, the shirt. I know the foxy fabric (I bought it from Girl Charlee) is nudging that fine line, but I like it (age appropriateness not being judged at this time :)  As for the shirt itself the fit is good enough--it's long enough, and that's always a good thing.

But here's my problem with it--the neckline.

First, I feel that the pattern has a neckline that is too wide for a shirt like this. It just didn't feel right on, if that makes sense. I felt like I was constantly adjusting it, and that it often looked more like a scoop neck. It almost felt like it was hovering over my body instead of laying on it, as I'm pretty sure a t-shirt is supposed to do. Then there's the slight puckering and the fact that the neckline doesn't lay flat as it should. So here's where I'm going to give you my two cents (actually closer to a nickel) on this pattern. I do have some experience sewing clothes, and I know what patterns should look like. From my understanding of pattern grading, you don't make a size (presumably your own) and then simply draw lines all around (say a half inch away, for example) to make the next size up, and then the same for the next size up, and so on and so forth, so what you're left with is a concentric looking pattern. So that was my first clue that this might not end up as peachy as I was hoping, that the grading was just not looking right.

Second, I really get irked when I spend money on a pattern and am told at a certain point to just make it fit, be it clothing or a bag. No, designer, I gave YOU money, YOU make a pattern where things fit. That was how this neckband was. My very first sewing project (and one that I made a bunch of times after that) was a t-shirt, and the neckband was a ring that you sewed to the neckline, matching your notches and so on. It worked perfectly every single time. The new trend in t-shirts seems to be that you stretch your band to fit your neckline (leaving a shoulder unsewn), and then sew that shoulder seam. This leads to a couple things. First--the neckband usually doesn't lay right. The front usually curves more deeply than the back, and so needs more of the fabric, which it doesn't get with this stretch-to-fit method. Second, you don't have nice enclosed seams on the neckband--you have a neckband seam that is part of the shoulder seam and just looks a bit amateurish.

Finally, when I write tutorials I assume that the reader doesn't have much experience so I explain a LOT. I feel a garment pattern should tell you which direction to press your seams (and if they should be open or to one side) so that even a beginner can have a decent looking product. This pattern lacks that. Since I'm a firm believer that a good press is one of the easiest ways to get a professional looking result, this bugs me too (as pressing is not mentioned once).

One of a gazillion shots that didn't turn out--the best is the one where you only see the tip of my elbow. I just thought we needed a visual break in the midst of my ranting.

So would I make this pattern again? No. I have a similar raglan pattern that I could modify to get the waistband and armbands (which I do like), but that would fit much better overall and that I'd be happier with. I'm glad that I bought this pattern on a day when they were donating that day's pattern proceeds to a certain charity and that my money didn't go to the designer of a pattern that even I (with my minimal clothing sewing experience, but with a lot of sewing reading under my belt) know is messed up.

My ranting might seem over the top for something trivial, but in a time when buying from indie designers is supposed to be the in thing to do because they're "better" I really get annoyed when one of my 'Big 4' patterns (alleged to be inferior) is the one I prefer for a multitude of reasons. Also, consider the cost of sewing--it's not the cheaper option anymore. People want good results for the precious time and money they're investing.

Phew. I don't like being critical of someone else's work because I know what goes into it, but I have seen a lot of people make this pattern and sing its praises. I suspect it's because they're all more slender than I am and are making a size truer to the baseline pattern that all other sizes stem from (as the designer is a slender gal herself). While I try to be more of a booster, I don't believe in false boosting for the sake of being saccharine and in love with everyone and everything. That helps no one, and doesn't fit my belief that your work should speak for itself and not rely on cheerleaders. My personal feeling is that this pattern did well due to the site being pretty well-known, and not because of the skill of the designer (which, let's face it, clothing pattern design takes a bit of know-how and some quite technical knowledge). I suppose in the interest of full disclosure I should tell you that this is the Lane Raglan from Hey June. I wrestled with sharing that as I didn't want to seem like that person, but I also wanted you to be aware if you had eyes on this pattern.

If you've made this I'd love to hear if you had any issues of any sort with it (not in a gossipy, validate-my-rant sort of way, but so that I don't feel like the only one and therefore possibly crazy).

UPDATED: Apparently I AM the only one. I've been perusing the internets this morning and there's nothing but love, but also a fair bit of this not-right neckline. And each one I see I think "How is that not driving them insane????" So I guess I'm crazy. You were probably already aware.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sooooo I Painted Something

I was recently informed that I have been remiss in posting to my blog. What actually happened is my mother said "You're slacking on your blog." I'm not sure how it happened or why, because I have been sewing and knitting (heavens, have I been knitting. I'm knitting and purling in my sleep!) but the sewing projects have been functional things--fixing zippers and the like. And I'm not sure that even though the yarn I'm using is beautiful that you'll want to see pictures of endless heathery tan ribbed knitting. I'm hoping to break the low-blogging habit I've gotten into. I have noticed, though, that blogging in general seems to be fading a bit. I guess it's because Instagram can make it so easy to share a picture and a description without logging on, uploading pics, and trying to think of what to write. Still, I'm a wordy person and I am very low-skilled at texting in an efficient and quick manner, so I prefer my blog, actually. Consider that long-winded thing an apology for my absence, haha.

OK, so anyway. The only things I can really do are sew and manipulate yarn with a hook or some needles. I can't make jewelry, I am not a good cook, and I certainly don't have a bone in my body that can draw anything (unless we're talking about a house with two windows and a door, an apple tree, and possibly a rainbow--because I'll nail that). A few weeks ago, though, my sisters got all "Hey, do you want to do Painting With a Twist?" I don't know if you have that where you live or anything similar, but you basically go to a place, bringing your own snacks and drinks (alcoholic or otherwise), and sit in a room while an instructor and some assistants help you to make the featured painting for that particular night. I fell in adoration with the painting for that night, and figured if I was stinkeroo that I would just switch it with my sister's (who has painted before and is pretty good for the dabbling she does).

There are a few long tables in the room, and you're kind of packed elbow to elbow (I would have liked a little more room and a few more paper towels, though). The instructor tells you exactly what to do--where, how, what brush, what color, and so on. It's almost fail-proof. I was feeling really nervous because I'm much more comfortable behind my sewing machine. Having the first step being blending your paints in a way that looks like moonlight didn't ease my nerves much. I was feeling kind of "Oh, dear" about it at first.

But as I looked around the room I saw that everyone's moonlight looked like one of those Halloween treats where you wrap a tissue around a lollipop and call it a ghost. The instructor told us to paint a shadow on the moon, but my Sheldon Cooper brain wouldn't let me (I couldn't help wondering what would be casting such a shadow, and that it would have to be a planet or something to really have an impact and then we wouldn't be painting a full moon and I wasn't going to get anywhere so I skipped that part in the interest of science).

Then you pick up another brush, and hold it this way, and do this, then hold it that way and do that, and before you know it you have some terrain and a spooky looking tree.

I felt much more comfortable doing this part as it was much more defined than the blending colors part. That weird sheen is just the wet paint. You get a few minutes to blast it with a hair dryer so you don't get black all over the next part. You get a sponge, dip it in some paint, and dab it on the branches. My critical self (which never shuts up) thinks this part could use some work, but my logical self knows that it's a first painting and not bad, and my creative self absolutely loves it for what it is and for the fact that I have it hanging in the bedroom and that it makes me gaze at it for a few minutes each night before bed.

I like how the tree looks like it's hugging the moon. My pink splotches could be more logically placed, as it looks like the moon has a bad case of pink eye, but the stars and the moon I just absolutely love. Love!

So if you have something like this available to you I super recommend it. I initially said yes in the interest of girls' night cohesiveness but was very nervous about being able to make anything other than a mess. My mother felt the same way, and almost literally looked like a deer in the headlights as we started. But all of us left feeling quite successful and proud of ourselves--and you can't really beat that as a business model.


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