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! 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How do I wash this?!?!

I don't know about you, but when I buy a new piece of clothing I'm baffled by all the washing symbols on the tag.  Triangles, dots, circles...the only thing I can figure out is the iron, but even those may have additional markings.  I finally had enough and googled "washing instruction symbols" and found this page: Guide to Common Home Laundring and Drycleaning Symbols  I printed off the .pdf version and plan to post it near my washer.  Who knew there were so many symbols?!?
This one is my favorite because it looks like "No Candy", but really it's "Do Not Wring".
95% of my laundry (which at this point is all RTW clothes) gets treated the same though.  I always use cold water with cold water detergent and then in the dryer with those dryer balls instead of dryer sheets.  A few things get hung/laid out to dry and sheets do get fabric softener mainly because I love the smell.  LOL!

Now that I'm sewing and will hopefully be adding some handmade items to my wardrobe I thought I better find a better solution for delicate items.  I've heard several of my favorite sewing bloggers rave about SOAK.  I loved the idea of not having to rinse the item since in the past I could never seem to get all the soap out.  So I picked up one of their Aquae gift packs with the assorted mini's so I could try out most of their scents. 

It smells awesome!!!!  I actually washed the doll clothes in it and they came out beautifully.  They also sell cute washing labels so if you're giving away/selling  your handmade items you can add a tag and they know exactly how to take care of their new clothes.

And look it even has the "Don't Wring" symbol on it!!!  By the way, I'm just a fan of SOAK, I wasn't paid for these comments or given a free sample. 

How do you wash your handmade clothes?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sew-Along Supplies

I'm gearing up to get started with Casey's Swing Dress Sew-Along!  This week my pattern and fabric arrived.  I still have a couple of other items to pick up, but I'm almost done shopping. :)

My dress fabric is a lighter green than I was hoping.  I'm not surprised given I bought it online.  I think it will still be quite pretty.  Very Spring-ish!

I posted my fabric on the Sew-Along Flickr group and aloveforvintage suggested I use a cute floral for the belt.  I realised that I had a fabric in my tiny stash that would fit the bill.  Here it is, what do you think?

I'm considering actually making this dress sleeveless so I can avoid that beginner's headache.  I would probably trim the armholes with bias tape made from my belt fabric.  I'm not postive I can do that with this pattern though.  Hhmm...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ice Cream and Toffee and Chocolate...Oh My!

While I'm new to sewing, I'm not new to baking.  I love whipping up chocolate chip cookies, which E eats straight out of the oven with reckless abandon!  I've made plenty of pies, cakes and trifles for our dinner parties and family birthdays.

However recently I made Chocolate-Covered Pretzel Toffee, I'm trying to branch out to candy making.  I made a couple of blunders, common for me with new recipes, but it came out pretty well.  I've made notes on my recipe so I'll know better next time. 

For Christmas E got me the ice cream attachment for my beloved mixer.  I also found a recipe done by Jenni of Jenni's ice cream.  If you find yourself in Columbus, OH you MUST go to Jenni's!  In fact you can even order their ice cream online.  The internet is the best!  :)

So last weekend I ended up making Jenni's vanilla bean ice cream and topped it with the crumbs of the toffee.  So delish!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Scissor Happy Lefty!

I'm left-handed which means scissors have always been a pain in my backside!  If I try to use regular scissors it just mangles whatever I'm cutting.  If I try so called "right or left" scissors (which are right-hand with a symmetrical handle) I have to contort my head and put my work at a weird angle in order to see where I'm cutting.  This is because the blade actually blocks your cutting line.  However being that I've never had true left-hand scissors before I didn't realize how awkward it all was, I just thought I was a crappy cutter!

Well after reading many sewing blogs where Gingher scissors were touted I decided to look into them.  After stewing about spending some extra cash on them I decided to purchase their True Left-Hand Dressmaking Shears. These have the blades switched so the cutting line is visible to a lefty.

I was excited to open my box and see these beauties.  They are beautiful and heavier than my other pair.  However at first I couldn't cut with them!  I was so confused and upset that they didn't help at all, but I kept trying to cut and suddenly I realized something.  I was using them just like they were "right or left" scissors and that I needed to look at the side of the scissors, not over the top.  Eureka!!! 

I'm still not the greatest at cutting, but at least now I can see!  Now if only I had paper cutting, and pinking shears that were left-handed I would be all set.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Doll Clothes...Yikes!

For Christmas I received a joint gift with my niece, it was a kit to make doll clothes (similar kit here).  The kit was easy to follow and made two jumpers, a blouse and a stuffed dog.   
Sorry about the crummy pics, I used my phone because I was too lazy to find my camera.  I'll do better next time.  :)  I wish I had a doll to put them on because laying them flat kind of makes them look wonkier than they are, but dolls kind of creep me out so I don't own any beyond one Barbie.  LOL! 
This is the other jumper with the blouse.
Even though this was a pretty easy kit, I learned a lot.  I'm a beginner so I have a long way to go with things.  The blouse has set-in sleeves and that was a bit tricky and required several redos, but I eventually got them on with only a few puckers.  One thing that killed me was sewing the facing to the bodice at the underarm.  I could not for the life of me sew it without puckering.  It drove me nuts and eventually I gave up and figured my niece won't care.  :)  Overall I really enjoyed making the clothes and learning some new techniques.  I hope my niece will like them as much as I do! 

Another Christmas gift I got was The Sewing Book

It contains a wealth of information in one beautifully done book.  It has already proven to be quite handy having so many technique how-to's in one place.  I would definitely recommend this book!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dress Code

I work at a company that embraces a casual dress code.  In fact if you wear something beyond jeans and a tshirt people get suspicious that you're interviewing at another company!  Occasionally, I can be seen in a skirt or dress during the warmer months, but my usual uniform is jeans, tshirt and a fleece (it's always freezing in here!).  While I love being able to wear jeans everyday it has really caused me to be lazy.  I've gotten used to running out the door with wet hair back in a headband and no makeup.

What happened?!?!  I used to wear cute skirts, sweet jewelry and have my makeup done.  So this year I'm going to work on getting my style groove back!  I've been reading blogs for inspiration, watching tutorials on hair and makeup styles, and practicing my new skills on the weekends. 

I'm hoping to sew up some fabulous skirts and tops to wear, but for time being I'm going to stick to my uniform and spruce it up with some sparklies, an actual hairstyle and makeup.  I'm going to have to let go of a few ZZZ's (which are precious to me), but it will be worth it in terms of increased self esteem and a more professional appearance. 

Speaking of sparklies, I got these earrings for Christmas from JBM Designs.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sewing a Swing Dress!

I'm a beginner to sewing.  I got my Janome machine for Christmas 2009 and have made a few things.  Most recently I made some doll clothes for my niece.  That was a bit of an adventure because they're so small!  I'm now ready to try something a bit more ambitious, as in a dress...for me not a doll.  :)

I adore Casey's blog and she's doing a Swing Dress sew-along.  A sew-along is where a leader takes the participants through making the pattern.  Sew-Alongs are very popular and I've been deciding which one to latch onto and Casey's was it!

Here's the pattern I'll be making.  I'm excited and quite nervous! 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hugging a Porcupine?

Now that's an interesting mental image...ouch!
They sure are cute though!  Porcupine Bio