Darling Dexter

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This kid has been an absolute ray of sunshine during this time! I wasn’t sure what it would be like to be alone with him for 24 hours everyday for whole a whole week. But it’s been great. He keeps me entertained and he’s been giving me lots of snuggles. It’s been easier not to think about the negative aspects of moving because I’ve been so caught up in all the new things he’s learning.

His favorite thing this week? These hand-me-down flip-flops! I put them on him one day when he was trying to wear my flip-flops, and he’s been totally attached since. He just stares at them and chuckles 🙂 Of course, I do too, look at those chubby feet 🙂

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I love his face 🙂 Even when it’s dirty. And I love how focused he gets on things.

I was also really excited to find some blocks in our storage unit. I’d bought them for a little boy I used to babysit. Dex loves them. He calls them “Bah!”… but then again, he calls most things “Bah!”

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Dexter, Art Vandal

In the process of moving, we’ve decided to let go of a lot of our possessions. Tonight I was going through my paintings, deciding what I could price to sell, and taking pictures. My 14 month old, Dexter, was being quite rambunctious. Why didn’t I just wait til he was in bed, you may say. Why, indeed.

To distract him, I gave him crayons. I thought to myself, “What a clever mommy I am! This will keep him from grabbing my paintings!”

A specific painting I photographed was one everyone seemed to love. It’s an appropriation of American Gothic I did in college. I call it American Urban.

Not five minutes after taking this picture:IMG_5413

I turn to discover that my dear Dexter is enthusiastically adding his own touch to the painting:IMG_5429

I gasped and exclaimed a long “Nooooooooooooooooo!”, with wide-eyed disbelief.

And then I started laughing. What can you do? Dexter knew I wasn’t happy, he had a concerned look. He probably figured the laughing was a precursor to a complete mental breakdown. So I squatted down to get a better look and he leaned in and kissed me lol.

All is forgiven, but he’s been relocated to the highchair to complete the rest of his studio time. IMG_5444

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Hopefully the crayon will come off my painting. If not, anyone wanna buy and Rebekah-Dexter collaboration??

Moving!

Crafting will be put on hold for a good week! Possibly more, depending on how long it takes us to get settled. We’re moving as early as this weekend. Everything is so up in the air. We have an apartment on reserve, but my husband still doesn’t know if he wants to live there.

So I’m holding down the fort here and trying to get things ready to move while he is working in Chattanooga. Hopefully the transition will go smoothly and I’ll be blogging about projects sooner than I think!

Impulsive Sewing Project: Design-It-Yourself Tunic

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I’ve been getting antsy to take a break from my (many…many…MANY) current projects in order to make something cute and comfy for myself. I decided at about 9pm tonight to start something! That usually leads to disaster, but so far, it’s going great!

I decided to use one of my vintage sheets because it’s soft and I liked the retro print for the tunic style. (The shirt I’m making is the red one up in the left corner.)

The idea behind Design-It-Yourself Clothes is that you draft your own patterns from your measurements or from existing clothing, making changes to design new styles for your body. I’d already used the book and some internet resources to make my perfect tee pattern. I used that pattern as a guideline for this shirt.

IMG_5316 I lined my pattern up along the centerfold, adding about an extra 2 inches to create the gathers at the waist. I also decided to use the hem of the sheet as the hem of my shirt. It won’t round up at the sides, but I really don’t know how much that matters. As you can see, it only makes about a half an inch difference.

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I then marked where the placket should go. (Placket??? New to me… it’s basically where the buttons go. Google it if you want a better definition 🙂 ) I went ahead and marked this on my pattern in case I decide to make this  shirt again.

This is where it gets tricky. The book gives very unclear directions for a lot of steps. They understandably assume that if you’re ready to design your own patterns, then you’ve obviously made many a placket in your day. So, there was not really an explanation for creating said placket, at least not one that I could really understand. So I felt my way through that one. I had to cut 3 different versions before I even came close. The one pictured above is wrong. It’s just the scraps from the shirt and was way too small. You need, as far as I can tell, 2 strips that are about 2 inches long than the opening and about twice the width of the opening if the front was unfolded. shirt Here’s a really crappy drawing to illustrate. Just pretend the lines are straight and that it was not done in a hurry at 11:30 pm. The dotted lines indicate that you will fold there, or that you have cut those placket pieces on the centerfold.

Next I cut out my back using my tee pattern. This time I cut right on the fold, because I didn’t want any extra material in the back.IMG_5327

Then I pinned my shirt together from the outside and tried it on. That hurt a little… I guess not every pin was pointing out 🙂 But I figured if I could slip it on with pins in it, then getting it on without them would be a breeze. I forgot to take pix as I pinned it and sewed it, but here is a picture of it put together before sewing: IMG_5328 I sewed the placket sides first, starting with the left side (if the shirt was on). This is the side with the buttons. Then I sewed the side with the button holes. I did it in this order because you’ll want the button hole side to overlap the side with buttons.IMG_5332 Then I created the gathers by sewing across the edge and pulling the threads. Then I folded the bottom of the placket pieces under and overlapped them the way they needed to be. I pinned it all together and then top stitched the bottom. Tomorrow I will actually topstitch around the rest of the placket, but it was just necessary to get this part done. This was probably the hardest part, because it requires a lot of agility. it’s a small space and a lot of overlapping bits that want to slide around. Also, you want to make sure you have enough overlap for those buttons and button holes. I barely did, but I was afraid if I made it any tighter, the shirt would be uncomfortable.

Then I easily sewed the side seams and shoulder seams. This is where I decided to stop, because all that’s left are the sleeves and the collar. I want to think about what sleeves I want. I’m leaning toward a loose 3 quarter length with slight gathers at the shoulders, but I’m also really tempted to do sleeveless.

Here’s the shirt on my duct tape double:IMG_5332 There’s a lot of extra room around the neckline. The neckline will curve when I’m done with it, so hopefully that will take out some of that bulk. Also, I’m going to do a little work to the back which should also help. but I’m really pleased with the front view!

IMG_5335 From the side, it’s annoyingly shapeless. But I’m very small on top and my butt sticks out. so that happens 😦 I’m hoping that by making darts in the area indicated in red that the fit will be more flattering.IMG_5337 It’s not bad from the back either, but once again, it could benefit from some reduction in the upper back.

At any rate, I’m very happy with how it’s turned out. Especially for a spur of the moment decision 🙂

Fruit Cobbler

I love cobblers! They’re the best comfort dessert. I typically use strawberries or cherries. Tonight, I used strawberries and peaches, because that’s what I had on hand and I was worried they might go bad.

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I use my mom’s recipe, and little by little, I’m tweaking it to create exactly what I want. Here is the most recent recipe I’ve used:

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Feel free to print this out for your collection! You won’t regret it 🙂 The cobbler I made tonight was still a little on the sweet side, and I believe that was because my fruit was so ripe. In the future, I’ll probably back the sugar down a little. But it was still incredible. Strawberry and peach was a nice combo! Also, I didn’t have any vanilla ice cream on hand, but I recently discovered that it goes great on this cobbler!

(Note: You can use self-rising flour instead of Bisquick or pancake mix, but it gives the cobbler a slightly gummy texture, sort of like a dumpling. A baking mix will give it a fluffier texture, which my husband prefers.)

**Thanks to Homemade By Jill for introducing me to picnik, a cool and free photo editing site. Jill has created a great step-by-step tutorial that I used to make this recipe card!

When Life Interferes With My Crafting…

Things have been crazy for us lately. My husband was recently laid off. Then he, fortunately, found a job. Unfortunately, it’s 3 hours away. So we’re moving in less than a month. He’s actually going without me at first and I’m staying here to take care of things while he works.

Then, this week he ended up in the ER for mystery stomach pains. Two potential diagnoses were toss out, so he will have to go to a specialist, when he can find time between moving and starting a new job.

This has not let me much time to consider crafting. I did get to sew today on my sister’s quilt. I also made two dresses for one of Dexter’s little buddies, but I can’t post pictures until after I give them to her.

I suppose I just wanted to post an update 🙂

The end.

Sew, Mama, Sew! Show Us Your Stash Questionnaire

For a lot of you, this may be a really boring blog post. It’s about thread 🙂 You’re welcome to just look at the pretty pictures and then move on. Unless, of course, you are truly interested in info about my thread 🙂

If you’d like to answer the questionnaire on your own blog for a chance to win Amy Butler and Kaffe Fassett thread, then jog on over to Sew, Mama, Sew!,  one of my absolute favorite sewing sites.

  • How did you select colors for your personal thread collection?

I’m always drawn to bright colors. In the past, I had tons of red thread, because most of my projects were in red tones. Just recently I’ve started branching out to some gorgeous blues and greens.IMG_5264

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  • Do you always match the color perfectly to your project?

Not always. I try to get close on certain projects, because I feel like the piece should stand on it’s own merit, without any distractions.

  • Do you ever use contrasting thread?

I use contrasting thread more recently. I used to be really afraid to, but I especially like the contrast in my baby items. I guess I feel the freedom to play a little when it comes to those things.IMG_5275

  • Do you use the same color in the bobbin as the upper thread?

I usually do, because I hate when some of the bobbin thread is visible on top in a different color. That’s a machine issue, and until I know how to always make things run better, I’d prefer not to risk it. If it’s something I’m just throwing together for myself, I don’t always worry about it.

  • What if a fabric has big areas of very different colors?

I still stick with the same color. I’d probably match the most dominate color, or use something deliberately contrasting, like black or white.

  • Do you have any tips or suggestions about choosing thread?

I don’t experiment with thread brands. I’ve never had problems with basic, inexpensive Coats & Clark. So I’m not sure my suggestions mean much 🙂 But have fun with it, and take risks sometimes. Build a small stash of basics, but add a few colors when you can!IMG_5265

  • Can you show us a picture(s) of your thread collection?

Certainly! I normally keep my thread in a photo box. I’m hoping to one day get a nice rack to keep it from tangling. IMG_5243 

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  • Do you ever buy thread because you fall in love with the color (without a particular project in mind)?

Rarely, because I waste enough money on fabric 🙂

  • Do you “invest” in thread?

No, I go cheap. There were 2 times I bought special thread: I bought some “fancy” thread in college for a project. The brand is Mettler and I got it in pink, green, and blue. The second time I bought special thread was when I made mei tais. I bought heavy-duty thread to support the weight.IMG_5252

  • What types of thread do you have? (elastic, quilting, all-purpose, wool, etc.)

Pretty much all-purpose, and a little of my heavy-duty is left.

Mapping Out My Quilting Plan

It occurred to me last night that I have 5 months to finish my 3 Christmas quilts. I can be a bit of a procrastinator. 5 months sounds like forever, right??

But when I divide that by 3 quilts, that’s roughly 1.67 months per quilt! Um… time to panic!

So, I have to make myself start putting some quality time into those quilts. Not only have I taken on a gargantuan task, but I also chose to venture into unknown and potentially complicated pattern territory.

It’s so hard for me to focus on just one project. I get bored, or I get super excited about something else! But I have to harness my energy, because I don’t want to give my sisters IOU’s for Christmas. That would be jerky.

So, here’s the plan:

Quilt #1- Deborah’s Owl Quilt

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The front of the quilt will have 12 pink and blue blocks, shashed with dark brown. At least one block will have an owl. My sister wanted to think about how many owls she wanted 🙂

IMG_5217 The back will have a pink and brown striped fabric, with a strip of pieces from the front along the bottom. Then I’m going to attempt to do a tree in brown, via ohfrannson!. I probably will not do patchwork on this tree, because I really don’t think it’s necessary. And then I’ll have 3 little owls peeking out of holes in the tree.

I have 6 blocks completed. So if I could do 1 block per day I’d be done in a week.

Week 1: Complete blocks.

Week 2: Cut sashing and piece blocks together.

Week 3: Work on the back. (I’m going to call this one week’s worth of work, but I don’t actually know how long this will take.

Week 4: Sandwich quilt and start quilting!

Week 5: Quilt.

Week 6: Bind the edges and clip threads.

Quilt #2- Alisha’s Bird Quilt

I have all the fabric for this quilt, and a general idea, but it’s still mostly in my head. It will consist of some combination of the following fabrics:

IMG_5233 And it will have a design similar to this:IMG_5224 I sketched this out without really paying attention to the quantities of fabric I have on hand. Most likely I will have to play around with color combinations. So, Alisha, don’t get attached to it 🙂 Also, I’m not sure about how to put this together, so I sure hope ohfrannson! has a pattern!!

Week 1: Work on planning. Which color do I have enough of for the background, trees, etc?

Week 2: Cut fabric.

Week 3: Piece back ground.

Week 4: Piece tree 1.

Week 5: Piece tree 2.

Week 6: Piece tree 3.

Week 7: Cut back pieces.

Week 8: Piece back. Appliqué birds on front and back.

Week 9: Sandwich and quilt.

Week 10: Bind the edges and clip threads.

(Uh-oh. This plan is 4 weeks over time-budget.)

Quilt #3- Michelle’s Bird Quilt

Sigh. Now that I’ve mapped out Alisha’s quilt, I know Michelle’s is essentially the same except in different colors. So, it, too, is slated for 4 extra weeks. I can’t let this happen! I just need to remember this is just an estimate and kick it into high gear!

Michelle’s fabrics:IMG_5241 This batch is a little messy because I’m currently using some of the fabrics for another project 🙂

And for some reason, I thought it would be faster to revamp the same picture in Paint. It was *not* faster, but it was fun 🙂final painted bird quilt IMG_5224

Week 1: Work on planning. Which color do I have enough of for the background, trees, etc?

Week 2: Cut fabric.

Week 3: Piece back ground.

Week 4: Piece tree 1.

Week 5: Piece tree 2.

Week 6: Piece tree 3.

Week 7: Cut back pieces.

Week 8: Piece back. Appliqué birds on front and back.

Week 9: Sandwich and quilt.

Week 10: Bind the edges and clip threads.

Wish me luck! And the ability to focus. I’ll need it.