Sunday, April 29, 2012

Two Skirts

Because I'm not deviating from my to-do list enough, and one post just won't cut it for a Sunday, I bring you two versions of Simplicity 2226!

Colette Peony, Part Deux

What came first, the fabric or the pattern?

Well, I guess if you're being technical, the pattern came first.  Colette's Peony was released in September 2011 and I bought it immediately.  And then I made it in black "poplin"--it was way too light to be real poplin, so thanks Denver Fabrics--and was disappointed by the fit.  I still wore it, but I wasn't thrilled with it.

A month or so ago, I was snooping around on the Westminster site and saw Martha Negley's spring line, "Farmington."  I loved it immediately.  I picked up some olive Feathers from Alewives and found the Peony print at Purl.  

Hmm.  Peony print.  Peony dress.  Okay, they were obviously made for each other.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

Our weekly desserts are still chugging along in Casa Sposetta (slash-Regnier), but last week, thanks to Harris Teeter's weekly sales, we decided to switch it up.  We were all ready for Lemon Pie Bars: I had lemons, graham crackers and butter on my shopping list, and my zester was just waiting for me.  However, things didn't turn out that way.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Project 11: Oliver + S Bubble Dress

I'm just going to say it: this must be the cutest thing I've ever made.  I want to run out, grab the first two-year-old I see, and change her outfit.  Unfortunately, it will be folded and put in the storage ottoman with the rest of the baby clothes (the collection is growing alarmingly), but damn, this thing is adorable.

Pattern Description
Oliver + S Bubble dress, without scallops (view B), a fully-lined dress with back buttons and elastic hemline for a "bubble" effect

Pattern Sizing
Newborn to 10 (maybe?).  This is 18 - 24 months.

Did it look like the drawing on the envelope when you were done with it?
Yes!  The back of the envelope, anyway.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, very, and despite it being an Oliver + S pattern, there weren't any steps where I thought to myself, "Why am I doing this?"  It was very straightforward.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I loved how it all came together quickly.  I've had it cut out forever; I started sewing it last night around 10 and took maybe two hours to finish it up today.  Not too bad!

Fabric used
Sarah Jane Studio's Children at Play pinwheels.  I bought this from Whipstitch last summer as soon as the fabrics shipped and have held onto it since.  The lining is just cotton batiste from JoAnn's.

Pattern changes or any alterations made
I went with the non-scalloped view, and sewed five buttons instead of three (as you can see).  My buttons were so teeny three just wouldn't cut it.  Side note, they're salvaged from an old J. Crew sweater of mine.

Would you sew it again?
Maybe!  It'd make a great gift, but everyone I know is having boys!

I'm glad I finally made this!  It would make a great Fourth of July outfit for a little girl.

This is so stupid cute it kills me.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Etsy Store

I haven't mentioned much about it, but I opened an Etsy store earlier this month and finally (finally!) listed a few things this afternoon:

I've added links to the store and to the store's blog at the top of this blog, amongst the pages, if you feel the need to take a look.  I hope to add more soon!

Friday, April 20, 2012


I wasn't lying. I had more skirts waiting. I finished them after work. Phew!

Book Review--Bags: The Modern Classics

Before I even start, I'd just like to say that three years ago, when I was just a few days shy of graduating college, my book reviews were wholly different.  I'm glad my former professors don't read my blog.  Sorry guys.  Thanks for the education.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I posted this picture on Twitter last night, partly hoping someone would give me encouragement (nope!) and partly because I wanted to show myself just how bad things are:

That's my sewing table, which takes up about 1/4 of the dining room.  Maybe half.  I'm not good with math.  That's my old machine; to the left, four unfinished skirts, two baby blankets--to be fair, no one has given birth yet and I'm waiting on names, a baby dress and some wallets; to the back, a bag of wooden picture frames (I don't know), Washi fabric scraps waiting for another turn in the sun and the trash; in front, about, oh, fifty-to-sixty projects just hanging out.  On the floor is my purse.  This is what I see every single day.

I feel like that picture really sums things up right now.  There's so much promise in it!  There are clothes and products.  There's my life, my love, my sewing machine!  I mean, even the pin cushion is just hanging out, waiting for me.  But I haven't touched it since Sunday afternoon.  I can't.  Every time I look at it, I just get way too exhausted.

We're in the middle of a lot right now.  We don't feel at home in our apartment (and the recent ant invasion is really making us feel, well, itchy) but we can't go anywhere.  We dislike (okay, hate) living in DC more and more with each new day, but until we hear back from some HR people, we can't leave.  We aren't married, but we aren't dating--we're not engaged either.  Even Eleanor is just like, whatever, wake me when something exciting happens.  She's been sleeping on the DVD player in between bouts of cross-country track running through the apartment.

I'm not religious, but I'd like to think that someone is listening to me and my thoughts, and I'm hoping, wishing, praying that someone has been listening lately, because I've been thinking hard.  I'd really like some help--just someone make something happen soon--but until then, I'll just keep stacking up everything, promising to no one in particular that I'll make time for them soon.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bourbon Bread Pudding

Did I tell you I bought the Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook?  I did, I think.  And did I tell you how sad I am to discover it once I've left Savannah, once I no longer frequent the Bull Street library right near the bakery, once it's no longer on my drive to and from work?


Project 10: Simplicity 2605

I know it looks like I've been slacking lately.  I've barely updated the blog and I surely haven't been sewing (I know that's what you're thinking).  What's happened to my momentum?  Has she lost it?

Well, yes.  And no.

I've been a cutting fool lately.  I decided to open an Etsy shop to sell things I make and to also use some of my stash/scraps.  The scrap box wouldn't shut and I didn't just want to toss anything out.  However, Etsy stores require work and work is something I already do in an office nine hours a day.  So, things are moving slowly.

However, I did order tags, and my business cards arrived Saturday!  Things are moving along, albeit slowly.  I had an awesome time designing the banner for my shop, and made about ten in the process.  I still think I chose the wrong major, but there's nothing I can do about it now!

So Etsy shop + being totally flat broke + still owning a broken sewing machine! (yes, I know) = no sewing.  I cut out and worked on four pencil skirts, the Oliver + S bubble dress, baby blankets/bibs/burp cloths for friends, and about 50 (maybe more) purses and accessories for the store.  But is anything done?  No.

This project barely made it.  I've had terrible allergies lately, and while I was working on this, I said, "And goodnight!" to no one in particular, walked to the bedroom, took off my pants and crawled into bed.  I slept for two hours--just enough to dent my day and take away my Benedryl hangover.  I don't nap anymore, so this was weird, but I needed it.

On with the show...

Pattern Description
Simplicity 2605, view F, a pencil skirt with front pleats, back darts, a wide waistband and a slit in the back.

Pattern Sizing
Big four, 6-22.  This is a 16.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the envelope when you were done with it?
Yes!  It's a skirt.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Oh, you mean I should follow instructions?  I don't think I even opened the booklet once the front waistband was attached.  They're easy.  You can do it.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
It's a straight skirt with a waistband.  Perfect!

Fabric used
I've made four of these, but only photographed one.  The one above is made in Martha Negley's Flower Box collection.  I also used another Martha Negley print and two Dear Stella prints.  Maybe I'll eventually have time to take pictures of those.

Pattern changes or any design alterations made
I used an invisible zipper.  I also paid no attention to anything the book said.  So there could certainly be changes I don't even know about!

Would you sew it again?
Definitely!  A simple skirt like this showcases the pattern.  It's perfect for quilting cotton because the print is really on display.

It feels nice to have one fewer project sitting on my sewing table.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dream, Dream, Dream

When you become part of a couple after haaving single-centric thoughts for a long time, you feel very conflicted about yourself.  Keep in mind that I've been with Nicholas for almost two years, and until the past few months (and a few months in 2010), I've thought of us as a unit.  We will be together and will face things together.

However, lately I've been focused on thinking about my dreams, my goals, and my life, which is half of ours--not one quarter, not three quarters.  Half.  It entitles me to no more nor less than him.

When I found out about the DC job, and the fact that it was pretty much mine, I told him I was going with or without him.  And so he came.  I always felt like I owed him for doing me this favor, but seeing now what has become of him--promotions, a mature attitude--I realize that he was doing it for himself, though he didn't know it yet.  Had he stayed in Jacksonville, he would have kept his job at the pharmacy, his open-ended college enrollment (technically a student, though hadn't taken classes in years) and he probably would have found someone else.  I would have moved on, either liked my job or hated it, and done my thing as well.  We make these choices and then live with the consequences.  Thankfully, he came with me, and we were just saying over the weekend how glad we were to have moved in together, because it has made us a stronger couple.  We wouldn't have known that living at our parents' houses in Florida.

Because I don't love DC--sadly, what happens to dreams when they fail?--and because I'm completely, utterly unfulfilled at work and because I don't have a social life unless you count playing with my cat or going to Chick-Fil-A with Nicholas, my sights have been set elsewhere for months.  Over a year, maybe.  I am not one to stick it out and plod through.  I am one to run away to the next thing.  However, this coupleness means I can't do that.  I must stay at work so we can pay our rent.  I must think of him when I think, "I could leave and be back in the South by daylight."  Because it really has nothing to do with Nicholas.  It's everything I've brought on to myself.

It's setting in that I'm 24.  Twenty-four is not 34.  I don't need to get married, have babies, buy a house just yet.  As nice as those lives sound, it's also wonderful to think that the next five years could be spent in five different places and I would still turn out 29 at the end, no matter which path I took.  I love change.  I live for it.  While my day is structured, thoughts of leaving, of new places, of open windows and sunny spaces and weeping willows--that newness fills my dreams.  Should I feel bad for this?  I'm in love with a very stable person who spent the first 24 years of his life in the same house, eating the same food and talking to the same people.  I am not that woman.  I am not a root-planter.  I went to three middle schools, two high schools and two colleges.  I go and then I'm gone.  It's only been since living here that I've become meek and afraid.

How do I approach these ideas?  How do I say, "let's do it"?  I've only had to think of myself and my plans until this point, and now, thinking of someone else's makes me realize I have no idea how to do this.  I'm afraid he'll go along easily and will resent me if he doesn't love the tourist life.  I'm also afraid I will wake up at 50 with grown children and a beautiful house, unable to say I lived in Charleston or I returned to Savannah.  How do I reconcile this?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Weekend Baking

I've instituted a new rule in our house called Naps and 'Zerts.  The name is based on this:

However, the idea has nothing to do with Pawnee.

I made a strawberry cake last week while Nick was napping after a busy Saturday morning of errands.  I realized that being alone in my little kitchen, listening to music and measuring out ingredients, really centered me.  (I know how dumb that sounds.  I'm ashamed.)  I rely on sewing usually to calm me and satisfy that need to create, and I also cook every night, so I'm no stranger to my kitchen.  But there was just something about doing this alone that really helped me chill out.  I'm not normally on my own schedule at home--either I'm making dinner in the hour between my getting home and Nick's arrival, or I'm waiting on him to finish making pizza so I can clean up (on the weekends)(side note, how can one man make such a mess with flour?).  Either way, there are outside pressures, none of which were present while I was alone with my cake batter.

So I figured I'd start enforcing naptime.  Sorry, Nicholas, but it had to be done.  Honestly, he doesn't mind, because I'm not bugging him to go with me, and then he wakes up and there's food!  It's like magic!

This weekend I made a cake while he was awake (I know, I'm already breaking my rules) but I made muffins the next morning before he woke up--so I guess it counts.

Coconut-lime mixed berry cake

Ingredients all laid out--yes, I do that.

Chocolate espresso banana muffins

The coconut-lime mixed berry cake was Nick's choice, and he likes it, though his one gripe was that he can feel the berry's seeds while he eats.  Everyone feel sorry for the boy with the cake.  I chose the muffins, which are a recipe from Baked bakery (found here) and they did not disappoint.  We originally had 17; we are now down to eight.  I made them yesterday morning.

Anyway, I really like having goals and projects, if you couldn't tell.  I have earmarked my cookbooks (Flour bakery, Mad Hungry, Back in the Day bakery, A New Turn in the South...) and I hope to keep cooking for the foreseeable future.  Stop by my cubicle--maybe you'll get something!  Also to make sure I don't weigh 400 pounds.

Whatcha baking?  Care to share a favorite recipe?

Images by Freepik