Tuesday, November 30

New toy : Ruffler attachment

My Pfaff sewing machine came back from the "spa" (read Sew n' Vac tune up) on Friday in great shape. No more clicking and clacking: it sounds all smooth. Actually it's been better than it ever was since I "acquired" it second hand (as a barter deal) 3 years ago. The tension issue I had in the past couple of weeks are gone. No more thread breaking, bunching and other irritating problems that made me consider shopping around for an affordable replacement. The strike plate even looks like new. It's been so nicely polished I first thought it had been replaced. I'm so happy now that I know I have a few more years with this machine. So I bought a new toy attachment to play create fun stuff with: 


I know, I know. This is a scary metal beast. It looks complicated and ready to pinch or bite. Believe me it's a great toy: it's a ruffler foot. I know you can do ruffles without one. But when you do a LOT of ruffles this is the bomb. Wait until you see what I've been doing with it! I'm having tons of fun. Well worth the $15 I spent on it.

The downside is I can't play too much with is just yet. I still have to finish a couple of things on my Christmas list that need to be shipped to my family in Europe this Saturday at the latest. So I had to put my new toy away until I'm done with those. Priorities, priorities!

Monday, November 29

Christmas ornament giveaway - Week 3

As for the previous weeks, these ornaments made from satin and organza and lovingly sewn by yours truly. Time to enter to win this week's ornament selection:

A green tree and a violet heart




How to enter : 
  • Just post a comment and be a GFC follower. 
  • One entry per person 
  • Enter until Saturday December 4th 

Winners will be announced on Sunday December 5th.

More fabric flowers

It's been a busy weekend as usual. Baking and cooking for the family, more Christmas gifts made, finishing touches to little bug's new bedroom, and of course the regular household chores. I needed a little stress reliever. Flowers, they just make me happy. 






Sunday, November 28

Christmas ornament giveaway - Winners 1 & 2

I hope everyone had a wonderful time for Thanksgiving. We are now in the home stretch for Christmas. 26 days left, can you believe it !?!? So time to get the ornaments from the attic and trim the tree. Here is my little contribution for 2 of my lovely readers:

Winner of the  green star/ Ruby Tree

 Morgane from Bear, Dolly and moi





Congratulations!

Please email me your address so I can ship your gift 

Thank you to all that participated. Remember you get 2 more chances to win

Adventures in the backyard

I have to share a little story because my neighbors are so awesome. We live in a townhouse built on a short hill. The back of our house faces a rather steep partly wooded slope with a small stream at the bottom. A couple of weeks ago, my husband decided that rather than tossing our halloween pumpkin in the trash it would make more sense to let nature reclaim it. So he tossed it in the slope in the compost pile. And off went the pumpkin, along with his wedding band... on the wooded slope, covered with a thick coat of fallen leaves. Yikes! 

I had no idea about what had happened until I spotted him rummaging through the leaves down the slope. After a while, he sheepishly admitted what had just happened. Of course it had to happen on a Sunday evening, shortly before sundown. We both shuffled leaves until it got pretty dark. No ring. 

The next day, my husband picked up a metal detector at a local construction equipment rental place and we spend a few more hours that evening and the next one poking around. Still nothing. On the third day, as he was leaving to work, my hubby ran into Al, our next door neighbor. Al is a police officer, well over 6-foot tall, wide as a tackle, and a great guy with a huge heart. My hubby explained the situation and as luck would have it, Al has some experience with metal detectors so he offered to take over the search while my hubby had to work. 

That same evening, as I got home, I got greeted by Al, a big grin on his face and my hubby's wedding band in his hand. Needless to say I gave him a great big hug even though he is not the hugging type. And my hubby got him a box of cigars. Al again saved the day. I couldn't ask for a better neighbor

Friday, November 26

Meet my new baby

I mentioned in a previous post, I went to an estate sale last week. The lady whose estate was being liquidated used to be a professional seamstress but she had not sewn in years. There was fabric galore, stockpiles of lace, mounds of buttons, and many many more things to drool over. After shuffling through the fabrics, browsing the laces and digging into the buttons I turned around, and there she was, flanked by 2 giant Juki DDL-227, shy in her avocado glory: a Babylock EA-605. A gem, like new, in its original box. Not a scratch, not a chip, and, lucky me, nobody looking at her. I guess they didn't like green. 




I negotiated the price down a bit and that night, she came home with me. I brought her to the sewing machine spa and there is is, in my studio. I just need to find a way to mark the tension knobs, this model doesn't have a dial. Small detail all things considered.

I can't wait to get started !! I'm going to take her for a quick trip  to Aunt Joan to get a crash course this weekend. And I already know what my first project will be. It's still a secret though. 

Thursday, November 25

Time for reflection

This year has been a turning point. I have learned a lot about myself. We are reaching the season that brings the inevitable "year end review". Time to think about the past, time to think about the present, time to think about the future. My year end review is still in progress but I count myself lucky. A healthy loving family, friends that care, a job that keeps food on the table and a roof over our heads, what could be more important than that? So I'm very lucky I have this, and luckier for everything more.



Happy Thanksgiving
I hope you can spend this day in a homey atmosphere, surrounded by those you love and who love you. 

Wednesday, November 24

Proud copycat

The votes are in. I'm a copycat. Well you all knew that. My herringbone tuck pillow project is the runner up of the Copycat Challenge in the Home Decor category !! The prizes are such a treat (well my husband might object about yet more crafting going on)  but I could dance with joy.

Check out all the winners and runner-ups here. They are all awesome and I'm humbled to be in such good company.


Tuesday, November 23

Tootles, booboos and other considerations

I've had the craziest week. Between being on call for work (this implies serious sleep depravations), the fast approaching Christmas craft deadlines, and some home improvement put on hold that need to be finished, I'm afraid there was a bit more on my plate than I could really handle. The result: I got hurt.

Let's rewind to last Monday. First night on call, first night with very little sleep. The following 5 nights were more of the same. Thankfully, my boss is aware of the on-call hardships (he is on the rotation) so I was able to work from home rather than driving to work risking a car wreck. My hubby and I have also been trying to make some progress on little bug's new bedroom. And we have. The baseboards and quarter-round are installed, the closet overhaul is done: spackled, repainted new bifold doors installed (after some "custom fitting"), new shelves and hang bars. Left on the list for the finish: a few paint touch ups and a big scrub, curtains and sheers, a trip to Ikea for a bed, and the big move of course.

So this week on top of answering the emergency calls overnight, working on handmade gifts in my studio, I was helping out the hubby with the DIY stuff. My daughter also helped: She was handing the "tootles" (i.e. tools) to mommy and daddy. Mom and Dad know how to use tootles :). She is also getting very excited about moving into her new room soon and pushing for the finish. I almost forgot: we have the added pressure to complete in time to turn the nursery in an acceptable guest room by December 20th for my in-laws.

I should have steered clear of the kitchen but I didn't.  What happens when you are over-tired, distracted and use big sharp knives? Yep you guessed, you cut your finger instead of the bread. The cut was not deep enough to warrant a trip to the ER but it's a definite impairment and doing too much is preventing it from healing. No pictures but it's not pretty and I managed to cut trough the nail too - ugh! Poor little bug was right there and ran to daddy to tell him mommy had a big booboo. 

SOooo I have made a big decision: I'm taking a couple of days off the studio - not from blogging though. Besides, my faithful Pfaff is also in dire need of a break after all that sewing, so she is going to the Sew'N Vac shop today for a spa treatment. We will be reunited on Friday. In the meantime, I will concentrate on little bug's bedroom and tidying up the house/studio. Thanksgiving will be celebrated at Aunt Joan's so the house doesn't need to sparkle. Small favors. I'll stick to the basics: vacuum, mop, dust, de-clutter. Oh and yes SLEEP. Sleep will definitely be a big part of the long weekend.

Monday, November 22

Christmas ornament giveaway - Week 2

Giveaway closed - Winners announced HERE


Unfortunately there hasn't been qualifying entries in the Week 1 giveaway. The week 1 ornaments are back up for grabs for a total of 2 sets. You can enter until Saturday November 27th, winners will be with random.org and announced on the following Sunday (11/28).

The first set consists of one green star and one ruby tree.


The second set is one Golden Heart and one Green Tree



How to enter : 
  • Just post a comment and be a GFC follower. 
  • One entry per person 
  • Enter until Saturday November 27th 

Winners will be announced on Sunday November 28th.

No winners

Only 2 entries for the Christmas ornament giveaway this past week- neither are qualifying entries ...

Sunday, November 21

Tulle and satin Christmas wreath

After bathing in tulle and satin for days for various tutu orders I had a few left-overs.  I started folding and stashing away all those goodies to move along with other project. That's of course when the idea of a tulle wreath decided to pop in my head. Of course I had to work on it right away.

After a couple of not successful ideas, I finally came up with a simple design that required very few supplies that I all had in my stash (and my closet):
- 1 wire coat hanger
- a strip of batting material
- left-over tulle - 1 yard total
- scrap pieces of satin
- a couple of buttons
- my beloved glue gun

I didn't take pictures since I made it up but I like it so much I'm thinking about making a second one - maybe a bit bigger. I will then take pictures and put a tutorial together.



Friday, November 19

What I've been up to this week




This has been a low activity week in the crafting department. It's always the case when I have my on-call rotation week for work. It is hard to get anything done when the phone keeps ringing and you have to pickup. And with the accumulated fatigue of the very short nights there isn't much energy or creativity left in me.

I did get the tutus for my nieces finished. I love the way they turned out. My sister likes them too. SO I'm only waiting for the little princesses seal of approval. My little bugs adopted them so I think it is pretty safe to assume they will too.


I signed up for the Craftaholic Anonymous Christmas gift exchange and I have started putting together something for my partner Dee. She and I have a lot in common so it's a pick made in heaven ! I can't really show the progress here because Dee knows about my blog and I don't want to spoil the surprise. 

More fabric is getting turned into scarves ... again I cannot show those because... they are a surprise for people that read my blog.


The highlight of my week has been a quick trip to DC for an estate sale. I didn't go for furniture and jewelry but for all the sewing equipment, notions and fabrics that were for sale. A true treasure cave believe me. I grabbed a brand new older model Baby Lock serger for a song. I'm taking it over to the be serviced before using it though because it's been in its original box for over 10 years. I also got a few yards of silk and wool cloth for $20 and a whole bag of accessories, bead, buttons, treads and trims for $15. Here is one small portion of just the buttons. Aren't they gorgeous?


 It was a lot of fun and I'll be posting more pictures of the loot very soon. I already have tons of ideas about what to do with some of the goodies I have just grabbed.

Last but not least it's the final day to vote for the Copycat challenge finalists... Check out my submission:
  

And head over to Sew Much Ado to vote ...




Voting open until friday 11/19

Thursday, November 18

Tutus for sweeties...


Check out my little angel.. or is it a ballerina? Or even a fairy? Who knows. She wanted a tutu to go with those little wings. How could I say no when I have spent two days in tulle and satin.

 I used Heidi's ( HoneyBear Lane) tutorial again, but sticking closer to the model this time around. Once I finished hers, little bug was happy to model the cherry red tutu I made for her cousin, miss L. who is 3 1/2 and looooves princess stuff. So I added a hint of pink. 

The apple green tutu is for miss M. (2 years old in a couple of weeks), her other cousin. I went for a hint of blue on this one as the green was a bit too overbearing. It is smaller and still has a couple of pins so no tryouts. I love how they both turned out. I can't wait to see photos of  my nieces strutting their stuff in red and green... It's so much fun to make dress up clothes for little girls. And so much fun to watch them play in them.




Photobucket 
See it here  






Shhhhh

Wednesday, November 17

Stash disclosure

More scarves on the way after a little shopping trip. Yes yes, my bad. But also remember I'm MAKING a lot of presents this year. Unfortunately there hasn't been not much sewing going on the past two evenings. The major cause : this is my on-call week for work. What that means: I get all emergency calls for my department from 5PM to 8AM during week days and all day Saturday and Sunday (yes, you are reading this right and that's on top of the regular work week). Thankfully I only have to do it for a week every 6 weeks. And mostly, it is pretty quiet. Except not so much so far this time.  

At least I was able to catch up on emails, work on couple of tutorials and I'm consoling myself of the lack of crafting by dreaming about the great things I'm going to make with my new stash additions:

Don't you love the combination of chocolate brown, pink and lime green?




And how about this sweet field of flowers on an Turquoise background? 



Tuesday, November 16

Tutorial - Herringbone tucks pillows















For a pair of 18x18 pillows you will need:
  • 2 pillow forms 18x18 - I make mine from scratch but you can buy them at any craft store
  • 2 yards of fabric in 44" wide - I used moleskin because it has a bit of stretch it is very soft and doesn't wrinkle which is a bonus for throw pillows.
  • Coordinating thread or invisible thread
  • Ruler and fabric marking device - chalk, pencil or marker
  • Sewing machine (best with fence attachment)
  • Scissors, pins and other basic sewing supplies

Remove the selvage then cut your fabric in half lengthwise this will yield 2 long rectangles about 21 inches wide
Tape it to your cutting table with painter's tape, especially if you use stretchy fabric
Mark a grid 2x2 leaving 6 inches unmarked on one end and 18 on the other end. This is the part where you need to be fussy and precise.
Iron each short line to mark the pleats
Set your sewing machine fence to 1/2 inch
Fold and sew along each pleat
Iron as flat as possible
Sew along the line lengthwise every other line
Iron the pleats in the reverse directions
Sew along the skipped lines


Hem each end
Pin the fabric right side in with the short flat on top of the long flat
Sew the sides leaving 1/2 in sewing allowance


Wash to remove the marks
Put your pillows inside the pillowcases

Put your feet up and enjoy !




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