Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Knitting for Porcupines

Um hi....it's been awhile.
I haven't been sewing lately because I've been too busy knitting!  Being a lefty I could never find someone to teach me...until I discovered knitting tutorials on YouTube.  I'm a YouTube junkie these days!!!  Anyway I ended up learning continental just like a right handed person.  It was easier to learn and since I'm pretty ambidextrous I didn't have any issues.  I am a very proud lefty though so I did feel a bit like a sell-out by conforming to the right handed world rather than lefty adapt, but I got over that.  Fellow lefties please forgive me!!!

I adore Staci of http://verypink.com/ she has fantastic tutorials and great patterns.  I followed her tutorial on how to make a dish cloth and it turned out great!

One of the perks of knitting is http://www.ravelry.com/ I'm SnugglyPorcupine of course.  I have my current project listed, but I don't have any pics of my version so far.  I'm really terrible about taking pictures!  Anyway here is the pattern I'm doing.  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lacy-zigzag-scarf
By CraftFloozy 
Since I'm really sensitive to animal fibers I can't knit with wool (bummer I know).  However I found this bamboo and pearl yarn and I fell in love!!!  http://www.yarnbow.com
Color: Geisha
I'm about 75% complete and hope to have it done by Christmas.  It is so beyond soft and snuggly, it would make any porcupine happy!!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Meet Pete the Peacock

Sew Weekly's 30 Days of Pincushions Giveaway made me realize I needed a proper pincushion for my sewing table.  I have a mini one in my embroidery kit, but it's too small for more than a few pins.  When I saw Spincushions' pincushion I was immediately drawn to her shop.

I loved all of her cushions, but I fell in love with her peacock version.  I was even more excited because she offered a kit so I could make my own!

Pic from Spincushions' Shop
My kit arrived within a week, which given it was coming from southern Australia to Kentucky that's pretty speedy!  My package contained the required supplies with the exception of the stuffing, which I already had on hand.  The felt for the top, bottom and sides were pre-cut, along with the green squiggles and beak.  This was super helpful since I'm terrible at cutting (have I mentioned this before, LOL!)  I had to trace out the pattern for the peacock body and feathers.

Construction was pretty fast and the directions were clear.  The only part I got a bit confused on was sewing the cushion all together.  The instructions said to use a running stitch, but I couldn't figure out how that would be really secure.  So I did a whip stitch instead.

I think Pete the Peacock (I'm compelled to name everything, hehe!) came out adorable!
My finished pincushion!

Then I was thinking a wrist pincushion would be nice.  The lovely Cupcake Goddess of A Fashionable Stitch had been hinting about a new product in her shop, a wearable notion.  I was really hoping it was going to be wrist pincushions and it was!!!  They appeared in her shop today!  I purchased her beautiful "Summer" version, which is actually the one (or a similar one) on her wrist in the pictures in her post.

Pic of "Summer" from A Fashionable Stitch

I can not wait to use it, especially when I'm tracing my patterns and making fit adjustments.  I will be using it while making my Beignet skirt, which is all cut out and waiting for me to get some time to start sewing! 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sweet Success!!!

I finally completed a sewing project!  I was worried it was never going to happen.  LOL!

Well it isn't my Swing Dress, that's still being slowly hand basted to the underlining.  I'm really dragging my feet aren't?!  However it is Sewaholic's Pendrell blouse!

I was excited about this pattern because it seemed easy(ier) and would fit nicely in my wardrobe.  I chose a rayon challis I found at Hancock.  It's kind of heavy, and frays like mad...but it's a dream to wear! 

I traced off the largest size and for once I was happy about that.  All the other size lines seemed very confusing.  I made zero pattern modifications and it fits really nicely.  I kept the long length for versatility.  Plus I have a long torso as it is and it's nice to have a shirt that will either stay tucked in or won't show my undies when I sit down! 

Next I'm going to tackle my Beignet pattern.  I have a lovely light grey cotton twill and navy buttons.  I'm a bit concerned though because I relied a lot on Tasia's sew along posts for my blouse (even though the directions were very clear, I like the tips and tricks) and this pattern doesn't have that.  I've also never done buttons before so it's going to be an adventure. 

During my posting hiatus (I'm blaming work) I made homemade Samoas (also known as Carmel De-Lites).  I used this recipe.  They were quite time consuming to make, but the end result was pretty tasty.  Plus you get bigger cookies, and three times as many than the official Girl Scout ones. 
Side-by-Side comparison

I'll still support the Girl Scouts (especially since I remember my days selling cookies), but during the 10 months out of the year I can't get actual Samoas, I can whip these up instead. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Crazy days!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!  Though I'm not Irish I like to get in the spirit and wear green.  Unfortunately my green swing dress is not finished so I chose a green t-shirt instead.  Since green is my favorite color it's easy to find something appropriate. 

So my dress isn't finished, but the pieces are all there.  They just need to be put together.  My sewing machine was in the shop for a week longer than I expected and it caused me some scheduling issues.  I do hope to have it completed for my trip back home to Chicago in May. 

I have a baby shower this weekend so my gift (Anna Marie Horner receiving blanket) has taken priority.  I'm so excited because I tried a new technique for making bias tape.  I used the tutorial on Colette's site for making continuous bias tape.  Lining up my lines was a little fiddly, but the strip came out great!  Now I just have to actually make it into the bias tape and then the scary part....sewing it on the blanket.  I can't sew a straight line it seems and this voile (which is what a layer of the blanket and the tape are) is slippery.  I'm considering trying my new Sewline glue pen instead of pins, but I fear it may stain the fabric. 
Has anyone tried this pen?  Did you have any issues?! 

I will be sure to post some pics of my finished blanket.  I really hope I can have it done by Sunday!  Just in case I did get another gift so I won't show up empty handed at least. 

I have a new assignment at work and my days went from low key to 90 miles a minute!  This has severely impacted my time and energy to devote to sewing...or anything else really.  Hopefully I'll get used to things and it all won't seem so overwhelming soon.  In the meantime you may not hear from me much.  I also have another idea for my blog that I'm considering...so changes may be coming.  Good ones I hope! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Radio Silence

I've been quiet lately because basically nothing crafty is happening.  My sewing machine is still at the shop and I'm starting to think I'm never going to get it back.  So my swing dress pieces are just hanging out collecting dust.  Ugh!

Meanwhile I did receive my new patterns from Sewaholic and Colette.  I purchased my fabric for the Pendrell today.  I picked up a jersey knit from Gorgeous Fabrics

I'm a sucker for anything argyle...it must be my inner preppy coming out!  LOL!  I'm unsure how the pattern will work out with the princess seams, but we'll see.  Any tips for me?!

In other news I did make some amazing cookies!
Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies
They have chocolate chips in them for some added texture and a lovely coffee flavor that isn't over powering.  I got the recipe from one of our Taste of Home cookbooks.  Here is the recipe if you would like to try them for yourself!  Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The A-B-Cs of M-I-A

Ashley of (Never Home)maker did this survey and I thought it was too fun to pass up.  

A. Age: 33, and will be 34 in May

B. Bed size: Queen

C. Chore you dislike: Dusting

D. Dogs: Scout, a Shepard mix, and Ripley, a Huskie-Rottweiler, both are rescues so we can't be sure

E. Essential start to your day: Checking my rain gauge and entering my data into CoCoRaHS, I'm a weather geek.  If you are too and live in the States you should sign up, it's a wonderful organization!

F. Favorite color: Green, but I like color so there isn't really a color I don't like

G. Gold or silver: silver or white gold

H. Height: 5'6" but you probably wouldn't know it because I'm always in either Danskos or heels (unless I'm driving, in which case Crocs).  I always wished I was taller. 

I. Instruments you play(ed): I played the violin in the 3rd grade for two months

J. Job title: Software test project coordinator

K. Kids: None

L. Live: in the bluegrass of Kentucky

M. Mom’s name: Deborah

N. Nicknames: Mia is actually my nickname, as my given name is Michelle.  My family also calls me Shelly.

O. Overnight hospital stays: None, since my birth :)

P. Pet peeves: I really have too many to name...but people who know they are going to pay for their groceries with a check and don't even bother to look for their checkbook until their entire (usually enormous) order is rung up get extra special eye rolls from me. 

Q. Quote from a movie: "At least you'll never be a vegetable — even artichokes have hearts. Amelie

R. Righty or lefty: Lefty and proud! 

S. Siblings: younger brother, Matthew

T. Time you wake up: around 6am

U. Underwear: cotton bikinis in lots of colors and patterns

V. Vegetables you don't like: Peas, blech!

W. What makes you run late: Something outside my control because I'm that annoying person that always shows up 20 minutes early. 

X. X-rays you’ve had: I've had tons, teeth (yearly exam), wrist, hand, ankle, ribs, head, back...ok basically everything has been x-rayed at some point. 

Y. Yummy food you make: cookies, cakes, pies, bread and ice cream :)

Z. Zoo animal favorites: I love going to the zoo (well run ones where the animals are properly cared, of course)!  I really love all the animals so it's hard to pick a favorite, but maybe the elephants or rhinos

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What to do...

My sewing machine went to the shop today and it won't be done for a week.  :(  So I have plenty of time to trim up my swing dress pieces.  I'll have to come up with a few more crafty activities in the interim. 

I do have to hem our new living room curtains (with fusible tape). 
And I have this adorable embroidery pattern I would like to stitch up.  I'm not sure on what yet though. 
I finally picked up some patterns I've been dying for! 
Pendrell blouse



So as soon as my machine is fixed up I'm going to a busy bee!!! 

Monday, February 28, 2011

I can at least make bread!

This blog has become my sewing rant session...I really hope for some positive stories soon, if not for the sake of my readers, but for my sanity! LOL

I cut out all my fashion and lining fabric for my swing dress.  Because I find ironing large pieces of fabric awkward I decided to iron after cutting, it didn't seem to wrinkly anyway.  Well...it ironed up nicely and I was so happy with everything, then I wanted to sew my fashion fabric and lining together and suddenly panic set in.  All my fashion fabric is too big now...doh!!  So now I'm going to try to line up my pieces with the pattern again and trim.  Ugh...this is a mistake I'll make once (I hope!).

I was able to sew a few pieces that were pretty close and my sewing machine decided to give me fits.  The bobbin case is loose and the whole thing falls out of place, causing the machine to lock up, my fabric to get eaten and the most horrible noise.  So sewing is on hold until I can get it serviced, I don't want to seriously break my machine, or break it more than it already is. 

Sewing really has a way of rattling my confidence.  I read blogs of other beginner seamstresses and they seem to be whipping up beautiful things daily!  I'm definitely not in the same category.  So I have to remind myself that I am good at something...like making sourdough bread.  Here's proof:  :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fiddling is complete!

Last night I finished my final muslin for the swing dress.  I'm sure there are plenty more tweaks I could do to improve fit, but I'm getting to the point where I need to either finish this dress or toss it to the side.  I didn't tack the zipper in this muslin in the pictures so the one side is loose, but overall I think it looks alright.
This Saturday Mr. Snuggly is going hiking with friends, and while I would like to go I think it's best to rest my back.  So I'm going to hole myself up in my sewing room to work on my final dress.  We have a party to go to that night and it would be awesome if I could have it done in time to wear, but I won't push it. 

Also I got my invite to a good friend's baby shower.  I would really like to make a blanket and like these project kits from Anna Marie Horner, but all the fabric choices look too girly to me.  She's having a boy so I would like something at least gender neutral.  What do you think of either of these?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My back...I mean I'm back!

Saturday morning I woke up with a twinge in my back.  I chalked it up to sleeping on a hotel mattress.  After standing and walking a lot all day I was in a world of hurt.  Unfortunately it hasn't improved much, but hopefully I'll be feeling human soon.  2011 has been terrible so far for me health-wise, ugh! 

Anyway due to my issues I haven't gotten much sewing done, however I did make it over to Hancock for the President's Sale.  I picked up three new patterns, each for a $1.  I got three Amazing Fit patterns because I want to get fit down so when I got to other patterns I know better how to adjust them to me.  Plus they are all nice wardrobe basics. 

Simplicity 2404 Empire Waist Dress
Simplicity 2562 Wide Leg Pants
Simplicity 2339 Button-down Shirt

I also picked up my lining fabric for my swing dress and one of those handy hem markers so I can hem my dress without having to trust my husband with pins.  LOL!

As for dress progress...I completed my new bodice muslin and thought about just going on to my fashion fabric.  I'm so glad I didn't!  I decided to remake the whole muslin and found that I didn't increase the width of the skirt enough to accommodate my FBA.  I would have been so devastated if this had happened with my good fabric and didn't have enough to re-do it.  I'm sold on doing a muslin, especially while I'm still learning!  I'm hoping to finish this muslin up tonight and get to work on my finished dress.  I'm getting so excited because I think it will be very cute (at least I hope!!!).  Even if it does end in disaster I've learned a ton which makes it worth it. 

Have you heard of Pinterest?

I found out about this site from Stitchywitch.  I got an invite and signed up!  I did my first board of my dream wardrobe.  If you would like an invite let me know!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fiery Chickens and Furry Shoes!

So I don't have any pictures of my latest (and hopefully last!) muslin for my swing dress.  It's coming to together nicely though, but it may be a touch big now. ::sigh::  Also I got a gathering presser foot for my machine and it is so much easier than trying to pull threads!  I won't be working on the dress for a few days (see below) but hope to finally cut my fashion fabric next week.  Ugh, I hate feeling behind, however I know I will be frustrated if I don't get the fit right. 

This weekend we're heading out of town to Columbus, OH for the Fiery Foods Festival.  Mr. Snuggly is a hot sauce/chili pepper aficionado and I love going to the North Market
Isn't that a cute logo?!  It makes me giggle.  :)

Today there a networking event at work so I dressed up a smidge more than usual.  I was happy too because it was a good excuse to get my favorite heels out of the closet. 
I got them from the Nine West shop in Manhattan years ago on a business trip.  I love the faux fur (I hope it's fake but don't know for sure) detail. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sewing and Cupcakes!!!

Last weekend Mr. Snuggly and I went to IKEA for some sewing room furniture shopping.  I ended up getting everything on my "must have" list.  I tested out all the desks and decided that the Jonas desk with the pull-out side table was perfect.  This is a HUGE step up from the card table!
I decided to go with the black-brown version because I thought it would look nicer than the birch, unfortunately it didn't come in white.  I did get the Jules chair in white though and I love how it looks with the darker desk. 

I was also able to get my comfy chair and footstool.  Now I can comfortably watch tv and do my hand stitching.  I got the dark gray Tullsta chair and I love how it looks against the lighter gray walls.  You can also get covers in different colors, so I may get one so I can have a different look.  Because it's too small to curl up on I got a little Solsta Pallbo footstool.  Here's a pic...complete with Scout who is always hamming for the camera!!  LOL!

I haven't gotten a chance to actually sew at my desk yet, but I'm excited too!  I'm desperately behind in my swing dress so I need to get to it! 

I did find some time to make some tasty treats for Valentine's Day.  I used Bake It in a Cake's recipe for Chocolate Covered Strawberry Brownie Bites.  Though I didn't have enough strawberries to make mini's so I make regular sized cupcakes. 
They have white chocolate buttercream frosting.  I really need to work on my frosting skills, but luckily my gold sprinkles from Bake It Pretty distract from the mistakes nicely.  :)

Friday, February 11, 2011


I currently have a raging sinus infection, which I explained away as allergies for weeks until I started to get constant headaches.  I finally bucked up and went to the doctor and got some antibiotics.  I'm hoping to feel better soon so I can get back to my dress.  I'm feeling dreadfully behind!

I noticed that I had a lot of pulling on my bodice and thought I could benefit from a FBA.  This also lengthened my bodice about an inch which was something I wanted to do anyway.  I had never done an FBA before, so I used my Fit for Real People book and Snug Bug's tutorial as my guides.

Warning crappy phone pic...my camera battery died.
I'm going to sew up my new muslin and see where things are at once this stuffiness clears enough so I can look down without my head exploding.  I'm hoping this helps, if not I'll just go with what I had and maybe wear a less va-va-voom bra with it.  :)

Tomorrow I'm off to IKEA to get my sewing desk.  YAY!!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stitching Love

When I was a kid I used to do cross stitch, the kind with the pattern printed on the fabric.  I found it so satisfying to make each stitch.  I then moved to counted cross stitch which usually frustrated me, because at some point I would mis-count.  :(  So I put stitching down for a long time. 

Then I discovered Sublime Stitching and started doing embroidery! I love all the different floss colors, the amazing patterns and the variation of stitches.  No longer limited to X's (though sometimes an X is the perfect stitch). 

Below are a few of my favorite pieces, all of which are Sublime Stitching patterns. 

Pillowcase for niece, sorry the pic is so dark

Tea Towel given to my grandma
Totebag given to my friend Karen  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I'm a stylish blogger!

The wonderful Marie of Welcome to Marie's Place gave me a Stylish Blogger Award.  Too sweet!!!  
The rules are to post seven random facts about myself and then pass the award on to 15 other bloggers.  15 seems excessive so I'll pass it on to a more sensible three.  
  • I'm left-handed and I take great pride in my lefty status.  I like the fact that only 10% of the human population is lefty.  :)  
  • I have a husband (Mr. Snuggly), two dogs (Scout & Ripley) and two cats (Squeak & Sprout).
  • I'm terrified of clowns, porcelain dolls and mid-size birds (robins, crows, blue jays...they're evil!).  
  • I spent two amazing summers working on a dude ranch in Jackson Hole Wyoming.  I miss it terribly!
  • I came in third in my first and only adventure race.  I thought I was going to die the whole time, but I got a trophy!  
  • I have a degree in History, which I never use, but really who does use a history degree?!?
  • My favorite snack food is fried Cheerios.  My mother made them for me as a kid and because I love my readers here's the "recipe":
    1. Melt stick of butter in a fry pan
    2. Add just enough Cheerios so that they all get coated in butter
    3. Fry up on med/high heat until they get toasty brown and smell delish!  
    4. Sprinkle with salt and munch away!  

So I would like to pass this award to:
The lovely Liz of zilredloh.com
The magnificent Mary of idlefancy.com/
The fabulous Kim of bigbgsd.blogspot.com/

Monday, February 7, 2011

It looks like a dress!

I don't have much faith in my sewing skills at this point so the fact that my muslin resembles the picture on the pattern has me pleased.  However tweaks must be had. 

I quickly and poorly basted the zipper in the left side so that's why the one side looks extra wonky.  So one alteration I'll make is the shorten the skirt, which is something I didn't even think of doing while constructing the muslin...doh!  The back seems a little too baggy, but I'm not sure if it's just the pattern or too big.  Also the bodice seems extra baggy on the sides, but this might be my less than stellar gathers. 

Also I found the edge of the midriff piece kept flipping out, do I need to top-stitch closer to the edge, or do I need more length on the bodice, it does hit pretty high?

Also I'm doing a sleeveless version, do you think I should decrease the width of the shoulders?

Now here's a problem...
That's my thumb coming through the side seam.

For some reason my midriff piece didn't reach all the way to the side seam.  I cut the same size as the bodice so I'm not sure what happened.  Did this happen to anyone else?! 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Muslin #2 much better!

Last night I sat down at my sewing machine, took a deep breath and started into muslin bodice #2.  Here's the result: 
While I totally hosed the shoulder gathers I think it turned out fairly well. At least it's long enough now so I'm not showing my...er...unmentionables.  :)

With that success I kept going with the instructions.  I pleated the back (my first pleats!), darted and attached the skirt backs and did the bodice gathers.  It was getting late by then so I decided that was a good stopping point. 

I'm going to have to practice gathers.  I can't for the life of me get them even.  It seems they bunch up from one side to the other, or end up with flat gaps in between.  Luckily I have plenty of scraps to play with. 

I believe I will be taking tonight off from sewing.  Mr. Snuggly has barely seen me in days and I think my brain needs a break too. 

I'm finding learning to sew is more of a mental challenge than I thought it would be!  Is that what you've all found too or am I just being silly?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Muslin #1 is a Bust!

Well it sort of looks like Casey's version in her tutorial.  This was my first time doing gathers and they turned out reasonably well considering. 
It looks like I'll be getting more practice too, because this muslin is way too short.  I tried it on and took a picture, which I can't post because it's a bit too revealing.  I think what happened was that I shorten the bodice per my measurements, but I didn't realize at the time that I'm a bit too busty for the shorten length. 

So I poured myself a glass of wine and got back too it.  I decided to trace out the bodice and back at their original lengths and see what that does.  I'll sew that up tonight hopefully. 

Oh and here are pics of my newly painted walls.  This is of course before I moved all my stuff back in.  I hope to get my new furniture in a month or so.  February appears to be a busy month!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Muslin Shenanigans

My sewing room has a lovely fresh coat of grey paint and white trim now.  I would post pictures, but I forgot the cable I need to transfer the files from my camera to my computer.  Totally lame...I know. 

So I wasn't able to make any progress on my swing dress last weekend.  I tried to play catch-up last night.  I cut out my muslin and attempted the first few steps of the pattern.  Gosh the instructions are confusing!  It didn't help that the instructions don't describe or illustrate the right/wrong sides of the fabric and it really didn't help that my muslin also doesn't have a right and wrong side.  I was so confused with which bodice piece went on what side.  I'm such a newb!  LOL!  I eventually figured it out enough to "try" it on with it all pinned up.  I needed Mr. Snuggly to help so I didn't stab myself!  I had shorten the bodice per Casey's directions based on my measurements, but I'm afraid I may have shortened it too much.  Fingers crossed I'm wrong. 

Casey posted directions on how to handle the shoulder...thank goodness!  Casey actually seems to do the directions in a different order than the instructions and her's makes much more sense.  Tonight I will take apart what I've done and redo it.  I've never done gathers before and I'm a touch wary of getting them right.  I've got my sewing book though and it has some nice pictures and how-to's on the subject. 

Once I get that done, I'll take some pics (and remember the camera cable!), and hopefully they won't be too embarrassing!  :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sewing Room Revamp

This weekend I'm going to be painting my sewing room.  We've lived in the house for two years and this will be the first room we paint.  In fairness the previous owners painted all the rooms colors we liked.  However now I'm ready for a change.  I'm painting the walls gray and the trim white, to provide a neutral background for my furniture and fabrics to pop.  Plus I wanted the room to feel peaceful. 
Valspar Autumn Fog
Ultra White

I'm on the fence about furniture, though it will most likely to come from IKEA.  I'm thinking of the Expedit Workstation.

Also from IKEA Hackers site, I love this idea for an ironing station.  It uses the Norden Occasional Table.

I will have to add things as I go along, but Grolan Kitchen Island is on my wishlist as a cutting table.  I would love to have something higher than my bed to cut my fabric on. 
I'll post an update once we get the room painted!