Thursday, January 26, 2012

Very Berry Handmade Giveaway

I've been doing a weekly sewing challenge this month with Sew Much 2 Luv which is about to come to an end.  It has been wonderful to have the encouragement to actually get some sewing projects completed, comments from other sewers about my projects, and, most of all, seeing all the projects of the other participants.  No housework getting done, but I'm so happy to be checking off  a few things on my long list of projects.

In search of more sewing encouragement, I stumbled upon the Very Berry Handmade Giveaway:  Resolved to Sew 2012.  The fabric for the giveaway is so beautiful, bright, and cheery!   There's even some crushed walnut shells for stuffing pin cushions.  I've steered away from making pin cushions because I like the rough grains in the manufactured ones.  Who knew you could get crushed walnut shells to stuff them?

Check it out and join in!  Just click on the link above or here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Newest Member of the Crew

That's Kelsey, Kiefer's girlfriend holding one of her Christmas presents.  His name is Cooper.  Doesn't he look sweet there?  Actually he is a little devil who runs around so much it has taken me this long to get a picture of him that doesn't look like this:
or this:
How does he move so fast that he looks like a ghost dog?

Here's the real Cooper:
So, how long does this puppy stage last???

He does sleep sometimes--kind of:
Oh, don't let that sweet little face fool you.  He's just worn out from attacking everyone and everything.

Japanese Knot Bag

After the dragon stuffie, I needed something nice and easy.  This pattern is from Helen Heath's blog, Show Your Workings, and it's free!
This is what it looks like opened:
You slide the longer loop handle through the shorter one.  You can put your hand through the longer loop and let it hang on your arm or wrist. The pattern at Helen site has pics of hers.   This was so quick and easy!  Check out the pattern.  It's such a cool little bag.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Dragon Has Arrived - Review of DIY Fluffies Yoki the Dragon Pattern

I'm naming him Skye Blue (Yes, I am name stealing from Beyonce)
My very first dragon and likely my last.  This was from a pattern, DIY Fluffies Yoki the Dragon.  I paid $9 to find out that I would need to draw in the one centimeter seam allowance on most of the pieces.  What an absolute pain that was!   Some pieces such as the arms and wings could just be traced onto the fabric with that being the sewing line.  Most of the larger body pieces, though, are sewn to other curvy pieces.  The seam allowance is not only essential, but needs to be exact.  Why create a pattern with sewing lines rather than seam allowance lines???  I also needed to figure out placement of the wings, arms, eyes and nostrils--no nice little dots marked on the pattern pieces.  Also no nice little dots to match one pattern piece to another.

After making about 40 stuffed creatures last year, I felt I would easily be up to this, but I found the pattern to be confusing or vague in several essential places.  I finally blew the pattern up to twice the size (if I'm going to do this work, I want a good size beast to show for it),  ignored half the directions, and improvised.  Some of the changes were to make it more kid friendly.  The original seems more like a "I'm going to sit on the shelf stuffie" rather than a "I'm going to get dragged around by the ear" one.  I started to write up the changes and take pics, but this would have been one very long post.  Should you decide to make one and have questions, I'd be happy to share.

This is the third time in the past few years that I've gotten a pattern from a small company only to find that I am going to be doing a lot of work to actually have usable pattern pieces.  Too bad we can't see what's inside before purchasing them.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Butterfly Cabinet, A Novel by Bernie McGill

I loved this book despite it's dark theme.  The Butterfly Cabinet is  loosely based on an actual incident that happened in l892 in Ireland.  A well-to-do mother is accused of having caused the death of her child.  The chapters alternate between a  woman, now in her nineties, who was employed in the house at the time of the death and the prison diary of the mother.  While the central mystery revolves around coming to understand what really happened that day, much of the writing brings the reader to understand why it happened, what about these characters brought them to their actions on that day.

To me McGill's is descriptive writing at it finest.  With some authors, you see the descriptive writing.  It jumps out at you.  It is distracting.  I'm usually thinking about the fact that the the author is working at being descriptive rather than focusing on the story.   In this book, however, you see the story.  It unfolds tugging your emotions in countless directions.  Just when you think you know a character, McGill gives you more information forcing you to rethink your previous conclusions.

The only negative for me was that the modern day story (well, if you can call 1968 modern;-})  is hardly developed. The book is comparatively short.  There was certainly room for showing how these past events affect later generations.  The main story line, though, is well worth the read.

It's a great choice for a book club because McGill does not force answers on the reader.  She presents the information.  We decide--and it's not as easy as it sounds.  It's the kind of story you think about long after finishing the book.  I don't often push for books in my book club, but this is one I'd love to delve into with others.  You can click on the book cover below to see what Amazon reviewers have to say.  If you do read it, let me know what you think.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hood from Simplicity 5857

This is what you do when your resident model is still sleeping and you
want to get a photo of the new hood.  Kinda creepy, isn't it?
This hood is from the same pattern I used for the beret last week.  I wanted this to wear with a couple of my jackets that don't have hoods.  I love both hats and hoods, but I tend to lose my hats when shopping.  With this I can just push it back while I'm at the mall or getting groceries.

The pattern called for fleece, but I went with a corduroy and silky lining.  I wanted it to lie flatter when I push it back. While there is no give when sliding it over the head, there was more than enough room for me to get it on and off comfortably.  I will admit to having a bit of a pinhead, though.  If you try the pattern in a material that doesn't have stretch, do a muslin first to be sure it will be okay for you.
Here is it on the in-house model, Melissa.
I love this fabric!  It's from Joann's.  Those embroidered bits look so much better in person.  By the time I went back to buy more, it was gone!  Maybe it will be back next year--I do hope so anyway.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Beret from Simplicity Pattern

You have no idea how long I've been hanging on to this pattern (Simplicity Accessories 5857).  This month's sewing challenge from Sew Much 2 Luv has given me the push to actually accomplish a few things.  All the waiting to do this and it took about an hour from reading the pattern to finishing the sewing.  I used a small piece of leftover fleece from last year's scarf.

Thanks to Melissa for modeling for me as always. There she was trying to eat breakfast, and I have her posing for me. (How does someone look this good right after getting up in the morning?)

You can join the challenge any week this month.  No need to do it every week.  Give it a go if you have some sewing project in the works or just go see what everyone's been up to.  I've gotten so many great ideas and found great new blogs while wandering through the entries.