Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Two Knitting Projects complete

While on vacation last week, I finished not one but TWO knitting projects. Hooray for me - the queen of UFOs!! The first is a pair of Uggs-inspired booties; I fell in love with this pattern and just needed a baby to make them for. Fortunately, my dear friend cooperated and had a beautiful baby girl in August so she will get these booties for an early Christmas gift

The second project is a simple roll brim hat using a pattern from Knitpicks. Unfortunately, I decided it is too short so I'm going to undo it and add an inch. The yarn is Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande - heavenly soft!! As I was leaving a yarn store a few weeks ago, I walked by it and of course, as we all do, had to fondle a project made from it. SOLD!

More details on my Ravelry account for both the Uggs and the hat.

Fabric Luggage Tags

I found the cutest idea for a little something to attach to gift packages. I found this fabric luggage tag tutorial and made a few up for some special friends. I have more printed and cut out to make for some family members. I did mine a little different than the tutorial - specifically, I used June Tailor Printer Fabric (a bit expensive but when you use a 40% off coupon at JoAnn's, the price is more reasonable) rather than the freezer paper method and I appliqued the address section onto a coordinating fabric, rather than use the whole printed piece as the back.

I highly recommend this project!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Denim Skirt

I recently saw the skirt on the left in InStyle and thought it offered a cute twist on a denim skirt. A bit too short for someone my age but I loved the separating zipper. I also love what I think is pin tucking or maybe horizontal pleats in the skirt but there was no way I was going to tackle that! I considered using a colored double separating zipper in red but I too frequently go overboard on details and end up creating something gaudy instead of clever so I stuck with a simple black separating jacket zipper.

I decided I did not want a waistband and so I looked for a skirt pattern with no waistband and a vertical seam in the front. It wasn't that easy to find but finally I came across Simplicity 5259 and knew View F would work. I had to redraft the waistband since the front seam was now the opening but otherwise it worked perfectly.

I LOVE this skirt and have already worn in 3 times in the two weeks since I finished it (and shhhh, don't tell but it's not entirely finished - it still needs a hook and eye or some other closure at the top but you can't see it). The skirt is casual but the zipper and top stitching add a little interest. I think I'm going to make another one in black.

Cabin Jacket

I have had this pattern for ages - probably purchased it in the 80's (it calls for shoulder pads!) I've always loved the baseball style and when I was in Hancock Fabric a few weeks ago and saw this cute polar fleece, a jacket immediately popped into my head. The woman ahead of me in the cutting line was buying this fleece to make a blanket and I was holding my breath to see if she'd leave enough for my jacket. There was only 1 1/4 yd remaining. The pattern called for 1 5/8 but I cut the pockets out of some other polar fleece I had in my stash (that actually coordinated!) and was able to squeak the remaining jacket pieces out!

We are going away this weekend with three other couples to stay at cabins in an Indiana state park and I thought this jacket would be perfect for the occasion. So I worked on it all week before work and finished it up this morning. Just in time for our departure this afternoon!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


I started Quant last winter but didn't finished it before winter ended so I put it aside. I had wanted to try entrelac for a long time and when I saw this pattern, I knew it would be a good project for me. This matches the scarf I made last winter. I am getting ready to sew a pink wool coat and I think this set will match nicely!

Full details at Ravelry.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

V8305 & A Quick Appetizer

Note to self: put on makeup before taking photo.

I finished up the top from Vogue 8305 a few weeks ago. I bought a pair of pants that needed to be hemmed to go with the top and after the pants sat in my sewing room for a week, I proceeded to forget about the top. So I was happy to come across it in my closet yesterday morning. Even ignoring my terrible photography skills, brown is a hard color to photograph but I think you can get the idea. I LOVE this top and do plan to make one or two more. If I was in better shape, I would make the dress version but I don't need to be wearing a skin hugging dress at the moment! I originally made the wrap intending to wear them as the set but I don't like them together. Too much brown or something.

My friend Jen emailed me a great tip for an easy but delicious appetizer. I whipped it up in 5 minutes before book club last night and it was a hit! It's simply a bar of cream cheese with caramel sauce and granola on top. Serve with apple dippers. Thanks Jen!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bengals Capelet

Went to the Bengals game last weekend (enjoyed watching them crush the Bears!) I don't have a lot of Bengals-wear and of course, one cannot attend an NFL event without being decked head to toe in spiritwear. I decided a nice little jacket would be fun. I almost bought the actual Bengals polar fleece but decided it would be too gaudy. Instead, I chose a lovely tiger print because I thought it would be much more sophisticated... cough... cough...

Anyhoo, I made this capelet from McCalls 5985. Or maybe I should say the pattern was simply the starting point. I kept losing my train of thought when I was sewing and so the end result is a little different from the design. For instance, I serged the front opening closed and then realized that was where the zipper was supposed to go. Then I forgot that I was using the hood. Finally, I decided to leave the elastic off the bottom because I wanted it to hang free rather than be gathered at the waist.

All in all, it turned out to be just fine to wear to the game. I actually received lots of positive comments from people at the stadium (I think they were sincere and not actually laughing at me!) in spite of my daughter's comment, "You are NOT wearing that to the game. No Mother, I..... AM..... SERIOUS!" If you can't embarass your kids occasionally, you're not a complete parent!

The guy liked it!

I already showed off the lovely pumpkin hat I made just in case it got nippy. You really have to see them together for the full effect. My daughter got lucky the temperature did not dip below 55 degrees.

"I never win ANYTHING!"

Isn't that so annoying when you hear people say that? I mean... who DOES win?

Oh wait.... ME ME ME!!! That's who!!!! LOL. I arrived home today to find not one but TWO packages sitting on the counter. One from New Hampshire and one from Loopy Ewe. My first thought was I don't know anyone in NH and my second thought was, "Did I order yarn from Sheri and forget about it?"

But it turns out, each package contained a prize I won!!! And Holy Toledo, Batman, these are two fantastic prizes!

On the right is a gorgeous postcard created by Summerset Banks. Most of my blog readers know Summerset but if not, she is a fantastic designer / artist / sewer who makes these beautiful embellished garments that are truly artwork. Each one takes her hundreds of hours and she has won many awards for her creations. Every time she completes an ensemble, she makes a few postcards with a sample of the embellishments and sends them off to random winners who enter her contest. I loved the theme of her most recent ensemble which she entitled Garden Path. I plan to frame the postcard I won and display it in my sewing room which just happens to have yellow walls almost the exact same shade as the postcard. I wish you could see the details she put into the flowers on this postcard. It gives me a whole new level of admiration for her designs!

On to surprise package number 2, which contained a lovely skein of handpainted yarn from an indie dyer called Tempted. This yarn is called Luxe Grrl and is a merino/cashmere/nylon blend. This skein is a lovely swirl of bright jewel tones. I am not sure what I will make from it but I can't wait to try it out. Thank you so much, Sheri for hosting your contest. Oh.... "What was the contest?", you ask? I had to name my favorite flavor cupcake!!! If that's not a contest made for me... Hooray! Sheri described the prize would be full of color - she wasn't kidding!!

What a great ending to an already great day!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bengals Hat

I'm going to the Bengals game tomorrow (Beat Da Bears!) so I decided I needed a Bengals-themed hat. That was before I realized the forecast for tomorrow is sunny and 60 degrees but I digress....

Anyhoo, I love cables and found a cute and quick design from Picnic Knits. The pattern is called Snappy Hat because it goes together so quick. It calls for a chunky yarn but I found the perfect shade of orange ("pumpkin") in the Lion Brand Woolease Thick and Quick which is even bulkier than a chunky. I simply made the child size hat using size 10 needles and it worked fine. If I did it over, I would probably make the hat a half inch shorter. Full review and details on my Ravelry account.

Now, I must wrapped up my bengal tiger print capelet to wear!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Halloween Cuteness

Those of you who follow Stacy's blog know how darn creative she is but my favorite of all her creations is this "Candy Cauldron". She submitted the idea to Sew News and they published it in their October / November issue! I fell in love with it and couldn't wait to make one myself. The design itself is very clever. It was quite easy to pull together and probably took 2 hours total. Originally, I had planned to make one for a 2-year old to use as his Halloween bucket but it turned out bigger than I anticipated and he's just a wee little peanut. So instead, I will be gifting it to my oldest daughter tomorrow. She LOVES decorating for Halloween and I know she will love it. I hope to find time to make another one this weekend to mail off to my other daughter at college. I'm sure she and her dormmates would love receiving a basketful of candy!

Isn't that blue skeleton fabric adorable? Someone gifted it to me years ago - at least 15 years, i bet!

I think this design would also make a cute Easter basket or even a centerpiece for a baby or wedding shower. Thanks so much, Stacy!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vogue 8305 - part 1

I've mentioned before that I'm a big believer in the 10/20/30 minute sewing philosophy - i.e. even if you only have ten minutes in a day to sew, take advantage of it. Those small increments add up. Between work, travel and family, I don't usually find large blocks of time to commit to sewing so this works well for me. I love mornings so I like getting up 30-60 minutes earlier in the morning and spending some time in my sewing room before I head to work. The following was sewed over the course of a few weeks by sewing in small increments. (I sewed other stuff in between; I have ADD when it comes to sewing and knitting for that matter and always have multiple projects going to suit my mood.)

A few weeks (months?) ago, someone started an informal "Cozy / Cardi" wrap sew along at PR. I already had this pattern in my inventory so I decided to try one. I used a lightweight poly knit from my stash. I finished it over the weekend. I did shorten it by a few inches as I am a bit vertically challenged and I was afraid I would trip! Ok, slight exaggeration - it didn't really touch the floor - but I didn't need it quite so long. I used Vogue 8305 and highly recommend the pattern. It is very fitted and quite flattering.

I also made the top out of the same fabric but decided I didn't like wearing them together. I'll show the top in another post (after I've made a skirt to go with it.)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Special Day / Special Friend

A year or so ago, a Pay It Forward exchange was making its rounds in the blogosphere. The idea was that you signed up on someone's blog and they would send you a little something in the next year. In return, you agree to "Pay It Forward" by making something for several other people. I "signed up" at my friend Gaylen's blog partly because she makes some really cool stuff and I hoped to be a recipient. LOL.

Fast forward to yesterday. I left my house at 7:15 am and didn't get back home until almost 10 pm after a day of work, errands, dinner with friends. I was exhausted and walked in the door intending to go straight to bed but what do I see... A package from G Marie! I ripped that baby open and out pops the fantastic Colonnade pictured here. Yes, that's right. The Colonnade that I have coveted since the pattern came out and have in my queue at Ravelry. I was not thrilled about the two-tone look and had decided if I ever got around to making it, I would stick with one color. So now I am the thrilled owner of a gorgeous corally pink Colonnade!

I wore it to work today and was immediately greeted with oohs and ahs! Perfect timing, too as the weather has turned nippy here in Cincinnati and just right for an accessory like this one.

G as you already know, I adore it and can't thank you enough for my special gift.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Finished Projects

My friend Robin and her husband Joe recently had their first baby. I finally got to meet her last night and she is a doll baby! I made her a little blanket and some booties to celebrate her arrival. Details on Ravelry for the blanket and "Merry Janes" booties.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

About time

Those of you who follow my blog know I'm always right there on the fashion edge. (cough cough, sarcasm intended.) So maybe it took me three seasons to jump on the knit dress bandwagon. And I'll probably be sewing a maxi dress three seasons from now. But better late than never, right?

Anyhoo, I saw this top two years ago

and loved it but could never find a pattern to make something similar. Someone left me some good instructions for creating my own pattern but in addition to being a behind-the-trends sewer, I am also a lazy sewer and that would have required too much effort on my part.

But fast forward to this past weekend when JoAnn and Hancocks both had 99 cent McCalls patterns. #5664 will do very nicely for my top!

Hooray! I may make the three quarter length sleeves since it will be for fall.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Jalie 2794

I finished my first Jalie top! Everyone is right - great pattern! I'm not going to do another review at Pattern Review since there are already 55 reviews posted. But my mini review is that this was very easy to sew and quick to put together. Tracing the pattern off took about ten minutes; much easier than tracing off the Burda WOF patterns. I will definitely be making more of this top in prints as well as solids.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A lotta summer; A little sewing

I haven't spent much time in the sewing room this summer. Heck, I haven't spent much time in my HOUSE this summer! Not complaining but I have missed sewing. I was able to make a knit top and finish up a sundress I started last summer (and put aside because I thought I had lost a piece - I did not.)

First up, a morph of NL 6655 and McCalls 5852. Full review here. I really like how this one turned out. I made a woven version two years ago and the knit version I just finished is much more comfortable. And aren't those ruffles too cute! Please excuse how wrinkly it is. I didn't notice until I saw the photo and didn't feel like redoing a photo after ironing. The ruffles are not uneven - it's just the way the photo was taken.

Next, I finished up a sundress I started last summer. It's made from some fairly flimsy challis I purchased at Hancock last year. And might I mention that I was also approximately ten pounds thinner last summer? If I don't breathe, the dress fits perfectly. I still need to hem it but otherwise it's done. The pattern is one of Simplicity's "It's so Easy" line and it really was easy.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bonnie Pulitzer

I loved this fabric when I saw it a year or two ago (purchased somewhere online; don't remember where). It reminded me of Lily Pulitzer fabric and I thought it would make a cute dress or skirt for one of my teenage daughters. Oh silly me... How could I forget my girls don't have much use for my "creations".

So, in an attempt to get my sewing mojo back, I decided to whip up something quick and thought this fabric would make a nice springy skirt to wear to the office (we're very casual) or for one of the many graduation related events that are coming up. I used an McCalls 7904 (out of print) and in approximately two hours, had the skirt finished.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


I knew I hadn't posted in a while but didn't realize it had been a whole month! My travel schedule is killing me!

Over the last month, my oldest daughter accepted a great job (staff accountant for Macy's Corporate Services). She starts part time today and will become full-time upon graduation from UC in mid-June. My other daughter is winding down her senior year in high school including the last cheerleading/basketball banquet, mother daughter fashion show, and two proms.

My son and I have been doing a ton of yard work and I'm trying to win the war against dandelions, however, I'm failing miserably.

I have squeezed in a little sewing and even some knitting. My friends hosted their annual Kentucky Derby party Saturday. The day was beautiful (after a week of rain) and it was a very fun time. I made a dress for the occasion and a matching hat - tradition for the derby party! Here is a photo of all the ladies

And here is one that shows the dress [note to self: posture, posture, posture]. The pattern is Simplicity 2886 and full review is here.

I started a blanket for a friend who is due to give birth in August. The yarn is Cotton Ease and the pattern is a basketweave design. It's easy mindless knitting for the daily bus ride.

I finished the back of a sweatshirt. Pattern is from The Yarn Girls Guide to Beyond the Basic by Julie Carles and Jordana Jacobs and the yarn is a cotton/wool blend called Main Line from Knitpicks.

That's what's been going on in my world lately.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Happy Spring!

Just a quick shout out to say howdy. Lots going on lately. Nothing earth shattering but I have spent almost no time in the sewing room and little time knitting! Took a mini vacation with my son. My daughter got accepted into her first choice for college - THE Ohio State University. Had a fantastic birthday. Two of our three cars got hit. Resurrected dinner club - co-hosting this weekend. Oldest daughter graduates with accounting degree - interviewing with fingers crossed in this economy!

I miss sewing and knitting but I really miss my bloggy friends!! Hope you're all doing well and enjoying spring!!

Photo-less posts are boring so here is a shot of my "Not Your Standard-Issue Sweatshirt, Take Two by Julie Carles and Jordana Jacobs". Yarn is Knitpicks Mainline - a cotton wool blend.

And I leave you with our dinner club menu for this weekend. Wish us luck! All new recipes!!

Dinner Club Menu:
Cucumber Gimlet
Coriander Lime Shrimp
Fig & Goat Cheese Crostini
Asian Pear salad
Chilean Sea Bass with Wild Mushrooms on Three Cheese Polenta
Roasted Asparagus & Red Peppers
Coffee-Chocolate Layer Cake with Mocha-Mascarpone Frosting
Cheese / Fruit / Nuts assortment

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Quack Quack

I finished the Ducky Hat and Booties for my brother and SIL's new baby. They really turned out cute! Pattern here if you're interested. A few flaws in the pattern but easy enough to work out.

Monday, March 09, 2009

The sisters I never had!!

I grew up with three brothers. I always wanted a sister (although being the only girl ensured I got my own room). So I'm thrilled to have been bestowed The Sisterhood Award by three of my blogging sisters! Thank you to my gals Lindsey, Ann and Louella!!

But don't go borrowing my clothes without asking or I'm telling Mom!!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Purple Fat Lady Dress

I have had my eye on Butterick 5244 for some time. Simple lines but fun details. I loved the purple version on the package and decided to make it exactly as pictured after finding a great deal on clearance matte jersey ($1.50 per yard!!) from one of the online fabric stores in a gorgeous imperial purple color.

PR reviews indicated some issues with the pattern but sounded like nothing that couldn't be resolved. One of the complaints about the pattern was the bulk around the neck. I couldn't tell in the pattern picture or drawing but there is actually a collar on top of the yoke that is the identical shape as the yoke. I didn't realize until I cut it out and re-read the pattern that it was even there so after reading the criticisms of the added bulk and how it lays on the back of the dress, I decided to omit the collar. It definitely is not necessary.

The welt pockets were was a challenge for me and although not perfect, I was happy with how they turned out:

And look how cute the tabs on the yoke are:

I finished the dress in time to wear it to my son's mother-son / father-daughter dance. I paired it with black tights and black boots. I really liked the look and was happy I got it done in time to wear it out. We took lots of pictures of my son and I. So why did I post a picture of the dress on the hangar? Well, after viewing pictures of me in the dress, I appear to be 20 pounds heavier than I am. I am stumped. When I look in the mirror, I don't see the same thing and I even asked my daughter who is always honest when I've sewed a dud. She didn't think I looked fat either. But I definitely do in the pictures; thus, no modeled shot of the dress! I think it's a combination of it not being a figure hugging dress with the fact that I really do need to lose a few pounds.

Seeing those pictures of me provided a good kick in the butt to return to WW and start exercising. I've had a fair week. I did get out and walk twice and even did a pilates routine this morning but I ate and drank more than I should have. Somehow the scale was on my side this morning and I hope next week is even better. Bathing suit season is around the corner and I plan to be ready!