Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fun Sewn Cloth Baskets

Recently, I found a blog that gives the directions of how to make a "Stash Basket". I had seen these before in a magazine or something and had always wanted to make them. The blogger used some pretty nice fabric, it was a much heavier weight fabric than what I wanted to purchase. I also wanted to make these for my daughter and sons toys and clothes, so I wanted to make them in fun colors, cheapish fabric and I wanted to make a few of them. So I took PurlBee's directions as inspiration and did a couple of modifications and made eight for the kids. They cost about $45 for 8. I just love them and showed them off to friends who wanted clearer directions. So I took some pictures and wrote up the directions below. I hope they are clear enough for everyone, let me know if you have any questions!

1 yard of patterned quilting fabric, for outside*
1 1/2 yards of solid color contrasting fabric for inside of basket and bottom (I used an inexpensive polka dot)
3 yards of medium weight fusible interfacing**

*I wanted a really nice patterned fabric and so I spent about $10.00 per yard on this, so I wanted to figure out a way to not use to much of it on the basket while still having a great effect.
**You can get this at any fabric store. It's approximately $3.00 a yard at one store I went to, but if you shop around you can get it for cheaper. It's also sold in different manners. At Pacific Fabric, it's not sold off of a full size bolt, so you'll need to calculate this out correctly for your individual needs. I happen to have had a roll of 12 wide interfacing that I used. The product is called Heat N Sta by Floriani, you can ask the clerk at the fabric store though for the best thing to use.

Directions: (this makes quantity 2)

1. Cut  fabric. With the patterned fabric folded in half cut 2 12x36 inch strips, this will be the outside of the basket. Cut 2 12x36 inch strips of the solid color fabric. Then cut 4 12 inch diameter circles of the solid fabric. I used a bowl that I had to create the circle and traced around it with chalk. It was very easy. You save money by using the solid fabric on the bottom of the basket instead of using the patterned fabric.

2. Iron on the fusible interfacing on to each piece of the basket. Both the solid and the patterned fabric and each side of the circles. (This helps the fabric to be stiff for basket.

3. Sew the disks together with right sides together, leaving an opening for turning the fabric inside out.

4. Sew one each of the 2x36 patterned fabric to the 2x36 solid fabric right sides together, leaving one end open.

5. Turn the disk inside out, pin opening shut and iron. 

6. Turn the strip inside out, being sure to get the corners, and iron, folding the opening in, and pin if necessary.

7. Sew around the outer edge of each sewn ironed piece. 

8. Pin the strip to the basket.

9. Sew the strip to the basket, I tried to stay along the line that I had used to sew the two strips together so that there was not an extra sew line.

10. Pin the vertical seam together and sew. 

11. Since on mine there was an overlap I sewed about one inch down on the overlapped section to keep it from flapping when the edge was folded over.

12. Fold edge over and fill with toys.

I hope you find these directions helpful. It's the first time I have written directions for sewing so I would not mind any kind critiquing. It was harder than I had anticipated and I'm pretty tired this evening so hopefully everything is coherent.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Gnomes? Seriously?

Okay so just as I am completing my second dress, and about to start on all of my holiday presents I discover the cutest fabric and craft in one. 

Gnomes for the holidays! I just love these and they remind me so much of the Gnome decorations that my mom puts out every year from the 70's. This project is on a panel of fabric. What does that mean? Well  when you buy the fabric you don't buy a yard of it you buy a panel and it usually has all of the directions and it has the pattern with cut out lines right on it. When I was at the fair earlier this year a woman was making Santa Clauses that were from a panel like this, and I have been looking for just such a project since then. (I really think if you are going to be demonstrating the craft that it should still be available, but it's not.)

So I emailed the blog/store and asked if I could mail order the panel. I don't think I have mentioned their blog yet. It's super cute. It's called Bolt Neighborhood and the store is located in Portland. It's only a few hours away (4 with my bathroom stops) but I just can't take that kind of drive right now. (Again not mentioned, but I have been getting super car sick when Jason or anyone else drives, so I would need to drive the whole way.) Anyway, they have some of the most beautiful fabric at this store, they are also the ones that turned me on to the Oliver + S patterns that I blogged about previously. It's so fun when you find a blog you love and it links you to a bunch of other blogs you love too. This Gnome fabric was made by a woman named Monica who also has a blog, and her blog is called Happy Zombie. Check out these trick or treat bags she made.

I guess the pattern is in the Fall issue of Quilts and More,  I have never bought a sewing magazine before but I am probably going to have to get it. I'm not going to make these bags this year but probably next year!

Oh and just in case you're keeping track of my goals. The dress is not done. It's almost done, but instead of making the dress this morning I chose to blog, and I am going to take a shower. I have a date with my husband today and think I'm going to break with my laziness (I was going to say tradition) and blow dry my hair. Yikes!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

1/2 of Goal Complete

Alright, alright, the goal of completing two dresses, in a week, may have been to high. I did however complete one dress! YEAH!!! Yesterday I went to my sister's house and tried the dress on my niece before it was complete. The dress was a perfect length, but the width was still a little to wide. So I ripped out the zipper and adjusted the dress and resewed the zipper. It was the first time I had had to do that, considering it was only the second time that I had put in a zipper with the zipper foot that shouldn't be to much of a surprise. Then I completed the bottom flounce attachment. Earlier in the week I had almost completed the dress, but because my serger had a hiccup I wasn't able to. Which is good ultimately since I had not tried it on my niece yet. 

About the dress: First of all I used the pattern McCall's M4767. Sophie had picked it out and I told her she could choose any of the dresses that had straps. I was not about to make a strapless gown for an 8 year old. She also bought and picked out the fabric. She was really great about it. She had $10 and I knew the fabric was going to cost more than that, because of how much yardage we needed. But I told her that I would cover the difference as long as she found a fabric in the $6.99 range. The first fabric she found almost matched the dress on the McCall's envelope, she was having trouble distinguishing between the pattern of the dress and the pattern of the fabric, but we walked around some more and she finally found this blue Hawaiian print. With her blue eyes and light coloring this was a very good choice, plus it was $6.99. I needed just under 2 yards so I had to pay about $4.00 plus the cost of the zipper. Not to bad. The total cost of the dress was under $20.00 with the pattern. 

While we were shopping for the fabric, I talked to the clerks at Pacific Fabrics, who are so helpful, about the sizing issue of the dress Sophie was wearing. The length okay (to short by my standards) but the width at the top was so big. The clerk said something really helpful to me, she said, oh McCall's patterns are always to short and to wide. What helpful information! So when I got home, before I cut out the fabric I did a search online to see if anyone else had made the dress and what they had felt about it. I found a blog, which now I cannot find, and asked the person what they thought of the length, and she said she used a different width then then length when cutting out the pattern. So that's what I did. I cut out size 7 for width and size 10 for length. 

The dress was still a little wide, easily adjusted but the length was perfect, right at the knees. My niece may wear shorter dresses but I'm not making them that way.  (That is if I know how.)

So I've added pictures, I'll add more once I can get a picture of Sophie in the dress, but you'll have to be satisfied with the dress on a hanger for now. 

Next week's goal. Dress 2!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Oliver + S

I'm having a bit of serger issue at the moment but will hopefully get it resolved by tomorrow. One dress, yes, one, is almost done. I know my goal was two but when you only sew between 6:30 and 8:00 in the morning and in the evening if your pregnant body allows you to, you can only do so much. I did get to use my new zipper foot for the first time, and wow, that thing really works. I had no idea it would make putting in the zipper so easy. The next dress also has a zipper so I'm looking forward to using it on that one too. Practice makes perfect!

Anyway in my search for some more and interesting blogs, I came across a company in NY called Oliver + S. It's a lovely company that makes patterns for children's clothes. The best children's clothes I have seen. If you have been searching for patterns at your local fabric store (not the little boutique) but the large department store you have likely been disappointed by the pattern choices that are available. The selection of types of clothes is just not that great, you have your sundresses, or your fancy dresses, but not a lot of play clothes. I wouldn't characterize all of Oliver + S as play clothes, there are some very nice formal outfits.

Oliver + S also has a very lovely blog. If you read their September 9th, blog entry they discuss each of their new patterns and the difficulty level of each. Recently they discussed S's room. (Now I haven't dwelved so deep into their blog or company that I know the history behind their company but I'm guessing Oliver and S are their kids.) In the entry about her room they show these stash baskets that I have been wanting to make and now have directions because they linked to the purl bee's blog.

I am super excited to have found Oliver + S. Their patterns are a little expensive but I figure I will get one, make a few outfits in varying fabric for Miss Tesla and then eventually get another, rather then get a few right now. I was originally thinking I would get the Sunday Brunch Jacket and A-Line Skirt.

I would make something for the holidays, but I decided that because of the amount of projects that I have on my plate right now, that doing that would be just irresponsible. Instead I'll buy Tesla a very cute bouncy dress, that she can jump in and make noise with and I will make her something more practical later. But what to pick... Below is a couple of my favorites. 

Okay that's it for now, check out the Oliver + S website and if you sew anything from them, let me know, I would love to see what you chose!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Recently, I went to the fabric store and bought a bunch of fabric for projects. They include a lot of fleece hats, we just love them, some holiday presents for the family, and fabric for burp cloths and bibs for our new addition. I already have started on the hats despite the fact that I have yet to have finished my two current projects. So I have decided to go ahead and set up a goal for this week to finish two dresses that I bought the fabric for over a month ago. 

The first dress is for my niece, it's McCalls M4767. The main picture on the envelope is the one of the dress. I hopefully will be able to make it a little longer than that one. I cut out the size 9 size for the length and size 7 for the width. 

The second dress and jacket is for my Tesla. The pattern is Simplicity 2680.  The fabric is very funky looking and I'm hoping it'll look cute. I have only cut out the pattern and fabric so far so I still have quite a bit to do with this one. 

I'll post pictures at the end of the week to update with the finished pieces. (That's such a definitive sentence, I didn't want to say I hoped I would have them done, because that just screams failure.)

Monday, September 27, 2010


This past summer I have managed to not write a single blog post. I'd feel guilty about it, but the time that I haven't spent writing has been spent napping. What can I tell you, I'm pregnant. 25 weeks pregnant, and this pregnancy is knocking me down for the count, or perhaps it's my gorgeous toddler. 
Toddlers run around a lot. A lot, lot. Much more than I would like to at this stage in my pregnancy or in any part of my pregnancy but it's okay, she still naps, and while she's napping, so am I. Which means that I don't have time to get to my computer. See I have a desktop, so it's not as if I can use my computer, while she's playing or distracted, which is almost never, I need to use it while she's asleep or with Papa. Speaking of which right now she's taking a bath with Papa, so nice and occupied. The fact that my computer is also in my sewing room, also helps to make it not safe for little hands, because no matter how much you clean up everything there is always something dangerous within reach.

What have we been doing you ask? Well my mom's group has gotten pretty busy and Tesla is making good friends. The above picture is of Tesla and her friend Petra at the library during story time. She loves playing with Petra and Petra's mommy. Petra's mommy wears pretty jewelry and Tesla likes to wear it too. 

We've also been playing in the yard. Above is a pic of Tesla in her rain gear. She loves to walk around and play in puddles and this helps to mitigate damages. Recently on a trip to Molbak's she sat in a puddle and had the most fun. She was not wearing this at the time and we really wish she had been. 

Well folks that's all my time for now, Tesla's done in her bath and I need to go play with her!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Some Days are just too beautiful!

Man oh man. Yesterday was just a perfect day. First of all it started with an imperfect week, and by that I mean busy. Play dates, class, errands. I'm just not one of those people that enjoy doing stuff constantly and to me a perfect day involves a happy kiddo, and T is happy when we are home. We get plenty of time to play, we get to take two naps, and we get to hang out. I mean how great is that. To top it off there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

Tesla and I played outside for quite some time. Thanks to my sister we now have three new toys she can play with, they include a Little Tikes doll house, a kitchen and a vanity. I know the vanity is supposed to go inside but it's fine under the deck.

I have set up a couple of chairs our there so if she ever decides to play without me I could theoretically sit and read a magazine and have a martini... Just kidding. Lemonade of course.

Tesla loves to make the rounds. She goes from the back play area to the side of the garage, then all around the driveway, over to the grassy null and then up the hill to walk around and gaze down at the house and then back down the other side into the back play area. Seriously she could do this 20 times and not get bored.

We're having good fun together, she took a nice long nap, after the days activities which allowed me to make dinner in solitude. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective

I just found out our cousin Richard in Keane, New Hampshire wrote a new book! It's about Lizzie Borden. Before she was on trail for the hatchet murders of her father and step mother. If your are from New England you'll know the story of their murders already.

Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective by Richard Behrens. 

The description of the book on the Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective blog reads:

Introducing Miss Lizzie Borden of Fall River, Massachusetts, a most excellent girl detective and the most remarkable young woman ever to take on the criminal underworld in late 19th century New England.
Many years before her infamous arrest and trial for the murders of her father and stepmother, Lizzie Borden pursued a career as a private consulting detective and wrestled masterfully with a crooked spiritualist, a corrupt and murderous textile tycoon, a secret society of anarchist assassins, rowdy and deadly sporting boys, a crazed and vengeful mutineer, an industrial saboteur, and a dangerously unhinged math professor—none of whom are ever exactly what they seem to be.
In these five early tales of mystery and adventure, Lizzie Borden is joined by her stubborn and stingy father Andrew; her jealous and weak-chinned sister Emma; her trusted companion Homer Thesinger the Boy Inventor; and the melancholy French scion Andre De Camp. Together, they explore Fall River’s dark side through a landscape that is industrial, Victorian, and distinctly American.
You have met Lizzie Borden before! But never like this!
Includes the following stories:
  • The Forlorn Maggie
  • The Purloined Curio
  • The Exhausted Amanuensis
  • The Traumatized Metallurgist
  • The Melancholy Scion

Looks like a great read! I would highly recommend it, if not just because the author is related to me, and that means quality!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mom's out there. 

Instead of talking about how grateful I am for being a mom, I thought I would just post the above picture. It pretty much just sums it all up.

I love you, honey! I love you, Tesla!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Pretty New Dress

Well I did it! I made a dress for my little girl and I have to tell you, I am ready to make the next one!

The dress patter is by Izzy & Ivy Designs. I have to say you should really follow their link to their blog, because oh my goodness they have cute stuff.

There were definitely some issues with making the dress. Perhaps I shouldn't say issues. There were learning experiences. For instance if you are going to gather, sew in two lines of gathering stitches. Much easier to pull two strings then one. The first one broke right off the bat. The second time was easy. I also forgot to the rick rack on the shoulder straps until the end so they are sewn on top of the dress rather than attached at the seam.

Now taking a picture of her without our receipt carrier (that purple box) now that was difficult!

Here's a close up of the fabric.

I just love the bold print!

Short and sweet entry about it but I'm running out of time today! Thanks honey so much for supporting me through making this dress. I love you!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Update: Who needs a stroller anyway?

Who needs a stroller anyway??? Tesla does! I cannot believe how quickly I caved. You would think that after writing a blog entry I would be emphatical about not needing a stroller right? I would love to say it's not my fault that I was forced into it. It was a life or death situation or that I was delusional, but none of that is true. I am weak. WEAK WEAK WEAK!

Here's what happened. I went to the mall. (Problem right there.) I love to shop. It's true I do. You want me to go shopping for you and spend your money I will. It's fun! Anyway, I went to the mall. We needed new towels and Macy's was having a friends and family sale and a linens sale so we got bath sheets for 13.69 each which was a great deal! We had towels in our master bath when we moved but their not the same ones that we came back too. Plus a girl like me needs a bath sheet. So that took all of 10 minutes, since I knew exactly what I wanted, but I decided to go to through the rest of the Macy's and try and find some Mother's day gifts... I'm not going to say that I did or did not get Mother's day gifts for our mom's because they read this blog, but let me just tell you, I don't think they'll be unhappy!

After shopping I wanted to get a bite to eat, and I tested myself by going to the McDonald's. A test because all the caloric content is listed on the menu so I could totally see what was a bad choice or not. So I ended up getting a chicken salad without dressing and I believe that it was about 310 calories. Not bad for a lunch. I also got Tesla a four peice of chicken nuggets which if you take the breading off, look absolutely disgusting. She ended up not being to hungry so we left.

I decided after McDonald's that I would let her walk beside me. Well she ran, and I mean RAN to the Build A Bear store where guess what they had sitting in front? A pink stroller. She pushed that thing around for about 10 minutes. So excited. Finally I asked the clerk, how much it was so I would know come Christmas time. It was $12.50. $12.50. So I thought and thought and thought and thought and thought and thought, and bought it. Then I called Jason and he wasn't happy about it. After a lengthy discussion, pouting and canceling the massage that I had scheduled, he agreed to let me, I mean Tesla have it. Phew. Then promptly said you better blog that your a hypocrite. So I am. Everyone! Listen up! I, Tesla's mom am a hypocrite.

It's not like you didn't know this was going to happen right?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Update: Time Outs

Well just for those that are curious. I am not sure that I can say that time outs are working, but I can tell you they are being had. It's hard to tell if I am actually changing Tesla's behavior or if it's because she's just forgotten to do what she was doing in the first place. I do however always tell her why she's been in time out. Again not sure how much she is really hearing. Last week, she went into timeout for something, I think touching the oven. (Not the front of the oven but the side where she can could potentially hurt herself. However I also don't want her to play with the oven. It's not a toy.) So I put her in time out. She didn't cry one bit. When I came back after 1 minute I picked her up I started to tell her why she went into time out and that mama loves her, when she hit me so hard. I immediately put her right in time out. When I picked her up again, she proceeded to hit me over and over again. I put her back in time out. But then when I picked her up the third time I explained that I loved her and that there was no hitting mama, and she didn't hit me, she was fine. It's pretty hard to do, but I'm hoping like with everything I do with her, she's learning.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A big Fall

I just got the pictures from my sister for Tesla's first birthday. I'm sure there will be more to follow but I thought I would share some with you as a told you about THE FALL!

Tesla fell today and hit her head... Right above her left eye. My poor girl. 

Since she actually had never had such a big fall, a small cut and everything I decided to take her to the doctor. It may have been a little worry wartish, but it swelled up pretty good and I wasn't going to sleep well knowing that she hit her head earlier in the day. 

My doctor was really nice and said she looked fine, and happy and healthy. He also gave me the symptoms to look for in a big fall if it's bad. I'm just so glad she's okay. I love my little girl.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lunch out with my girl

Last week Tesla and I went out for lunch together at the Bravern. I wanted to check out the new mall and the new Sur La Table. It just happened to be near lunch time so I figured we would get lunch there. I didn't actually know about any restaurants though so I didn't know what to expect. The Bravern is a very high end shopping center, with a Hermes, Chimmy Choo's, Sur La Table and Neiman Marcus, la de da! There wasn't anything that I was really interested in shopping for, because I don't shop at those locations and because I'm on this whole "less is more" kick, but I sure do like looking around. I get a lot of inspiration when I window shop, and often see clothes or other items that I can make on my own.

Anyway, we had lunch at the Artisanal Brasserie and Wine Bar. It's a french restaurant that was fabulous. When we walked in, the place was pretty busy. I was a little afraid that since Tesla tends to scream at restaurants that this wasn't such a good idea, but I asked the greeter that we wouldn't mind being sat out of the way. He put us in an empty part of the restaurant which lowered my stress levels quite a bit. He then brought over crayons and  a coloring placemat, the tablecloth also had paper on it so no worries about her going over the placemat at all.

A few minutes after sitting down and getting situated they brought out a Nuby sippy cup. How cool is that? I'm impressed right there. So we had lunch got helped a bunch and all the servers and busboys had fun playing with Tesla. Lunch was super good too, although if you're on a diet I would recommend a plan before going. They have a lot of cheese there and therefore a lot of lunch items that feature cheese. I had the Croque Monsieur. It's not for the faint of heart. But it was super super good.

We then walked around, I wanted to give Tesla some time to get some energy out, so we walked about  outside the stores. She had a lot of fun chattering and looking over the balcony.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New PJ's

The serger is a complete success. I have already made an apron for myself and pajama bottoms for Jason. He always complains that his pj's are not long enough, so he finally has a pair that's not to short! I pre-washed the fabric in hot hot water so hopefully they won't shrink anymore. They were really easy to make and I hope to make quite a few more pairs in the future. I think next for him, I will make a robe for him, that is lightweight for the summer. Right now he just has a winter robe that is fleece and it's just to hot for warm weather.

The fabric is flannel with "Zzzz" in dialogue boxes covering it. It's super cute and he likes them a lot which is the real bonus. I love making things for my hubby!