Sunday, January 27, 2013

Are Peplums Still In?

I sure hope so, because I love this shirt.  I don't know what I can say about Vogue 8815 that hasn't been said--seriously, it looks like everyone on the internet has made some version of this--but I'm officially a follower.

No makeup, weird hair, messy sewing room, and Nicholas, who is nine inches taller than me, didn't take this picture at my eye-level.  How many ways can I offend my readers?

I used Jay McCarroll's For the Birds print from Habitat for this.  I bought this back when FreeSpirit was having a "tent sale" at Hawthorne Threads--I think it was $5 a yard or something crazy like that?  I did buy it with this top in mind, but it sat around forever, unwashed, until I finally picked up Vogue 8815 a couple weeks ago.  This is also my first Vogue pattern, as they're normally insanely expensive, but both Joann and Hancock Fabrics were having a $3.99 sale earlier this month.

I'd like to point out that I am narrow-shouldered and short-waisted, and have a pretty decent-sized rack, but I didn't adjust this at all.  Not even a bit!  It's not too long for me and it nips in at the waist.  Thumbs up.

HOWEVER.  As you will see, my zipper is messed up in the back.  I sewed it normally and, once I zipped it up, noticed the waistlines didn't match by a good half-inch.  What the h.  So I took the zipper out and reinserted it, causing the cluster along the back neckline.  I will say that I never wear sleeveless shirts without a cardigan, so I don't think I'll offend anyone with this mishap.

I did have one issue with the invisible zipper.  Bernina invisible zipper feet are known for their magic: you don't have to iron the coils or anything!  Which was great on the left side of the top, but on the right, it just didn't happen.  I went back to get a closer seam but I think I'm still off by a bit.  Hmph.  Anyone have some insight as to why the right side is bringing me down?

Have you made this yet?  Why the hell not?  Finishing this top means I'm officially caught up with my Sewing Project Plan, and can start on February projects a few days early.  I can't be the only person who plans this much--I also have spreadsheets tracking the fabric I've bought, how and when I used it, the projects I've completed, and the fabric I want to buy.  I can organize just about anything.

And on that OCD-ridden note, have a good week, everyone!  Stay warm; winter sucks.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Today's Obsession

I'm an obsessive person.  It runs in my family.  We don't dabble in hobbies; we hit the ground running and become professionals in a matter of weeks.  Supplies, books, magazines are bought quickly and in large amounts; blogs and YouTube channels are subscribed to at lightning speed.  I'm no different than the other women in my family when it comes to this, which is why I'm now researching gardening and planning how to make the most of my small backyard.

The problem is, no one cares about my obsessions.  Sure, I can share a few with my mom or friends, but for the most part, no one approaches me and says, "Tell me what's been consuming all your free thoughts today!"  I'd gladly share, if there were any willing participants.

But wait.  Guess what!  There are.  You, my blog readers, are willing participants!

No, come back!  I promise they aren't lame obsessions!  You'll like them!

I don't know if this--my daily obsessions--will be a daily series or just occasional.  Random is a pattern, right?  So we'll go with that.  I would also like to say that I'm not sponsored by anyone--even Nick doesn't give me money--and these blog posts are meant to be light and fluffy, so don't judge them too harshly.  Lord knows I didn't.

I wish I could backdate some entries but that's cheating.  Monday I was obsessed with CSAs, and Tuesday I was obsessed with dotted Swiss fabric.  Do you know how hard that is to find?  I'm talking about the good stuff, too: visible, fluffy dots; sheer fabric; vintage appeal and price tag.  I'm still searching.

Today, I'm obsessed with...David's Tea!

Let me preface this by saying I've never had David's Tea.  But I love tea, especially chai, though I get really nauseous from it and don't know why.  Maybe it's the spices?  Anyway, I've heard of David's Tea and was bored so I figured I'd start looking into it.

It's pretty amazing.  David's Tea is al organic and many varieties are vegan, if you're into that.  And some varieties have sprinkles in them.  Some have edible glitter.  There's an entire collection devoted to chocolate.  Are you in love yet?

Yeah, those are jelly beans in the tea,
However, there are two downsides: David's Tea is online-only for me (no location in North Carolina, which isn't super surprising) and the tea is loose.  I have never had loose tea before.  I'm even researching compost bins (another obsession, another day) because I want to compost my tea bags!  So if I bought David's Tea, I'd need a mug or teapot with an infuser, and I'd probably need a honey pot just for the hell of it, and now this is an adult version of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, which was always a favorite of mine as a kid.

Regardless of downsides, this is a fluff series, and I want to focus on that.  Let's talk about tea flavors!  I don't like green tea, so we'll ignore it.  Black tea, oolong, and rooibos are great fun and with a flavor like carrot cake I really can't go wrong, right?  And as long as I'm internet-window-shopping, I can "buy" whatever I want.  Carrot Cake, Birthday Cake, all the varieties having to do with getting over a cold (be prepared)--those will all go in my imaginary cart.  Then I can have the perfect Sunday morning, making expensive and delicious tea while reading blogs or watching a movie.  Maybe a friend will come over and drink some with me!  And we'll eat scones that I baked the night before.  None of this is happening, but it sounds wonderful, all thanks to tea.

So thanks for indulging me, and thanks from Nicholas because he didn't have to listen to it.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Too Many Hobbies

I don't know how much time I seem to think I have, but apparently it's enough to have a new hobby: calligraphy.  I took a class today at our local Paper Source and am in love.  I mean, I always have loved calligraphy and types, and I tried to teach myself calligraphy when I lived in Savannah (it was an expensive failure for someone who couldn't afford groceries), but to have someone show me how to do it reinforced my feelings for the art.

The class was small--there were six women, ranging in age from mid-twenties to mid-sixties--and the teacher was phenomenal.  She's local and self-taught, which is always so impressive, and was very friendly but still instructional.  We went through the basic alphabet of traditional calligraphy and then into an alphabet of modern calligraphy, which is much more my style.  We used a chisel marker and Micron pens, and a few students experimented with her pointed pen (nib and ink) but I didn't.  The class was three hours, which gave us all plenty of time to experiment and get to know each other and her.  

In short, I had a great time!  I bought tons of pens and a sketch book, so I guess this means I need to start practicing my letters.  It's very difficult to learn a new way to write, especially after writing a certain way for years.  We all have certain traits--some people write straight up and down, others write in loopy letters--and to suddenly shed those is harder than you'd think.  I'm up for the challenge, though!  I'm also looking for calligraphy blogs for inspiration, so if anyone has recommendations, I'm interested!

We also learned how to line envelopes, which is neat!  And that's my instructor's letterpressed business card.

In other news, my friend Kelby finished our wedding announcements!  I don't know if I've mentioned it here, because I'm purposely trying not to, but we're sending announcements to friends and family when we get married instead of inviting anyone but our parents and my brother.  Kelby is super talented and graciously agreed to work on our announcements as a swap--I'm making her some gifts as a thank you!

We've chosen Paper Source's Cement color as the paper, and I think we'll use a local printer to get those ready.  We aren't getting married until the fall, so we have plenty of time.  Just as a note, the fonts are all from (I picked them out and sent the files to Kelby) and the artwork is available for purchase from The Ink Nest.  I bought the September, October, and November packs and Kelby worked her magic with the images.  I love how they turned out!

I hope everyone had a great weekend, and you spent less time on the computer than this guy.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Handmade for Newtown

Hi there! I just wanted to update everyone that the Handmade for Newtown auction is LIVE and open until Friday!

You'll need to "like" From the Heart auctions on Facebook-- from there you can find all 115 items up for bid. I saw a few pieces of Mendocino and some great FQ sets from Hawthorne Threads!

There are some awesome items up there, and everyone was so generous with their donations. Go check it out!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Anxiously Awaiting Spring

I'm so happy I'm back into the swing of things.  I'm no longer afraid of my new sewing machine, I've completed a quilt, started another (which is a top-secret project for the time being), and made a few clothing projects, including a rooster-print apron that confirms I am becoming my mother.  As much as I love the holidays, taking down the tree was not met with depression this year.  I was ready to move on before Christmas even happened.

As you know, we're back in the south, which means warmer weather, even though we aren't on the coast like we have been in the past.  While I'm still freezing 75% of the time, the temperatures haven't been too bad--50s and 60s during the day, 30s and 40s at night.  Compared to D.C., this is heavenly.  With this weather, we're naturally looking toward spring: we're going to buy bikes, I won't have to wear tights, and cotton will replace wool in my wardrobe.  What could be better?  I love fall, but winter and I just don't get along, no matter where I live.

I bought a ton of floral, feminine fabric before Christmas and have been chomping at the bit to use it.  It's hard to motivate myself, or even convince myself it's a good use of my time, when I won't be able to wear anything for at least a month, if not two.  It's a bummer to look at all these floaty, bright fabrics and know they'd just sit in my closet...

You know where this is going, right?

Whatever, so I gave into temptation!

I sewed up the Amy Butler Lotus cami last night--a surprisingly easy sew, given how detailed (and sometimes tedious) Amy's patterns normally are.  A few notes about this:
  • I've owned this pattern since I first decided to start sewing.  I think I bought it off, back when my knowledge of websites and pattern designers was severely limited.
  • I couldn't be happier with my Bernina's buttonhole stitch--each buttonhole was a breeze and a thing of beauty.
  • I had to make a size large on account of the fitted nature; when I made the Anna tunic a million years ago, the medium was large enough for me.
  • As you can see, I used one fabric throughout, and for the facing as well; I don't understand why people feel the need to throw as many quilting cottons together.  Two is fine, in the right context, but some of these pattern designers just want more and more and then you look like a crazy lady.
Here are more pictures:

The fabric is Sarah Watts' Timber & Leaf collection by Blend fabrics.  I bought it at Hawthorne Threads as soon as it was released.  It's a high thread-count, so very soft, and such a feminine theme.  The birds in this print look like they're hand-stamped--they're a bit see-through, and positioned in layers on the branches.  I also have this print in gray and plan on making a Pastille from it.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with this!  I will mention that I meant to actually wear this and take pictures, but it's 10 AM and I'm still in my pajamas and a hoodie, so that isn't happening.  How do other bloggers do this styling thing?!  It's Sunday, I'm not wearing makeup.

What have you been up to lately?  I bought an invisible zipper foot for my new machine yesterday and have heard it's totally worth the $54, so I hope that's true.  I also signed up for a calligraphy course at Paper Source!  I'm so excited about that.  I tried to teach myself calligraphy a few years ago and it didn't go so well.  I hope this one goes more smoothly!

Images by Freepik