Thursday, May 16, 2013

Trying to bathe Ralphie

This is the most exciting thing that happened today:  I tried to bathe the dog because he was scratching himself all night. When I shampooed him he escaped to the straw (his most favorite place ever EVER!) and rolled.  This is the rolling sequence....and you get some nice shots of our veggie garden.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How to: Fabric Storage

I am not the most organized person.  (My husband is laughing right now pointing to my piles of crap everywhere in the house).  Most of my piles are craft or laundry related.  I can't help it.  I've recently inherited a ton of fabric from a friend and am slowly washing and ironing it, dyeing it, etc., and need to  figure out what to actually do with it.

I was laying in bed this morning while trying to eek out 9 more minutes out of my alarm, and I realized I had an entire shelf above my clothes in my closet that didn't have anything up there.  I am short so it's not great to have clothes up there that are inaccessible.  But it would be a great place to store fabric since it is unused space and I don't need fabric all the time.  Or I don't need all the fabric all the time!

First, like any diligent crafter, I scoured the internet and Pinterest until I found a technique I liked.  The Little Green Bean had the best and easiest and most cost effective method for my situation.  And I just happened to have some foam board laying around the house perfect for this project!

There will be no photos of the fabric nightmare that is happening in the craft room.  It is bad.  And I am embarrassed   I have four huge plastic tubs of fabric in the garage that I haven't even gotten to for the washing part--so there is that also.

To prepare, I also watched this video on foam board cutting since I don't want to half ass this project and have janky foam.  My foam ended up being sort of janky anyway...

First I started with cutting my foam board into 10 by 10 rectangles.  I used this Craftsman knife thing, but something sharper would have been nice.

 Here is the space I will be putting the fabric--it's above the hanging section in my closet.  (The hanging section is also known as the section that has not yet made it to the laundry explosion pile or that has not yet fallen onto the floor to be forever lost under my wedding dress and other crap...)

 I laid my fabric out length wise and then folded it in half and then folded it in thirds--I sometimes folded and then folded twice depending on how wide the fabric was.
 Then I secured the fabric into the fabric and pushed it through to the foam on either side to hold it in place on my bolt.
 And here are the pinks and oranges in the closet starting to be organized!

I don't think I realized how much fabric I actually have when I started this project--I'm going to need about 50 more of these closets but I'm not going to worry about that yet.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cardigan Refashion for Summer

I love this old blue and white sweater of mine--but I've worn it to death and have a newer version of it in black and white that has taken more prominence in my closet.  I'm trying to refashion things I'm not wearing, so yesterday it was this bad boy.

 Not bad to start with.  There is nothing really wrong with it but I wanted to take it from a winter cardigan to a summer cardigan.  First I needed to update those buttons!

Remember these guys from this button refasion?  I'm using the same buttons!

 First I seam ripped off those ugly boring buttons.
 I left the threads in the top so I would be able to see where I was putting my button.  I took the threads out right before I sewed each button.  It's great to have a guide like that because you will never eff up!
 Looking cute little button!
 Here it is rebuttoned!
 Next I chopped off a lot of the arm length using a rotary cutter and cutting mat.
 I'm not using that arm piece yet--but wait for a future project!
 Pin the arm hole and sew.
 Boom!  Updated short cardigan, perfect for summer.
 AND I could wear it over that blue dress I button refashioned!

Monday, May 13, 2013

May 2013 Garden Update

Almost a month ago we planted our garden.  On the list of plants were the following:

1.  Kale;
2.  Broccoli;
3.  Pole Beans;
4.  Cucumbers;
5.  Zucchini;
6.  Strawberries;
7.  Red onions;
8.  Brussels Sprouts;
9.  Green Peppers.

We started all of those from plants and started some peas and corn inside the house and then transplanted.  Unfortunately for us, birds LOVE tiny pea and corn plants.  We also tried spinach from seed which normally grows quickly, only to discover birds pilfering the plant beds.

Yesterday we added a few new plants to the garden.
Hello artichoke!

Corn to the right and an early girl tomato to the left.

Grape plant!  Savignon blanc grapes!

Close up of the baby grapes.
 We have our first broccoli coming in too!  Everyone who comes over is amazed that this is how broccoli grows.  It's pretty exciting!
 And our first zucchini!
 Our pole beans are trailing nicely.
We have been able to harvest our kale about once a week.  Those plants have already paid for themselves multiple times over.  Kale is so easy to grow and it's super expensive at the store to get good organic kale that doesn't taste bitter.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

How to make a very easy lavender sash in less than 5 minutes!

I love my Husbando.  But he is a triathlete and his laundry STINKS.  Like sweating for four hours stinky.  Since I am in charge of the laundry, I only use fragrance free detergent and static sheets.  This causes a problems with some of the padded spandex and/or running ensembles that just don't smell clean post washing.  Enter the organic lavender sash.  I throw one in his wash and the same on in the dryer.  The whole laundry load doesn't smell like lavender when you take it out but the manly funk is for sure gone.

Start with a scrap piece of fabric.  They don't need to be large.  This is probably a three inch by six inch piece.  It doesn't need to be ironed since it will be thrown into the laundry.

 Fold it in half and sew the two seams on either side of the fold.
 Turn the sash so that the seams are now on the inside.
 Grab your pound of dried lavender you have laying around your kitchen.  Oh--you don't have any?  I recommend Save-On-Crafts.  They are local (to Northern California) and their shipping is super fast.  I purchased 2 lbs of dried lavender about 5 years ago and still have this pound left that I use for soap making.  Every house should have some!!!!!!
 Pour that dried lavender about 3/4 of the way into filling the sash.
 Hellllllllo lavender!
 Fold the raw edges in.
 Sew that top seam.  And voila!  You have a lavender sash perfect for laundry!  You can also stick it in your undies drawer or closet.
 Here's another view.  It's a great thing to make for holiday presents or birthdays to stick in a present bag or stocking stuffer.

How to make a dress without a pattern

I started wanting to make this dress two toned green and it turned into something totally different.  I wouldn't say I love it--which happens with a lot of projects.  I feel like a darker color would have been better for me and absolutely something with a pattern.  Oh, and I need to learn how to do actual finishing of garments because when you see what I did to the neck of this dress you might pass out.  You have been warned!

Another thing that has been clear through this process is that I desperately need a dress form.  I'm having a hard time getting those shots of what the dress should look like on me (lack of full length mirrors without laundry in the background, short child arms, caffeinated shaky hands, and general disdain for how the outfits look on me.)  It looks okay on the floor but you can't see how it drapes...

Anyway--to the tutorial!  (Which I have to finish quickly since it's Mother's Day and we have a whole bunch of gardening/crafting/hiking planned!!!)

How to make a dress without a pattern:

You will need:
1.  Sewing machine;
2.  Matching thread;
3.  Scissors;
4.  Sewing machine,
5.  Equal fabric for lining and outer fabric;  (You will probably need somewhere between 3 and 4 yards of each lining and outer fabric--how do you know for sure?  Pick a dress out of your closet you love and you will need about an extra 10 inches or so to hemming, etc., from the shoulders to the hem--so measure that dress and then add 20 inches to the measurement and buy that length);
6.  Trim (I used some old lace for the neck line);
7.  Pins;
8.  Belt to cinch waist (or you can sew a corresponding sash either to your neckline trim or the inner lining.


1.  Start by selecting your fabrics.  In this case, the dark green is going to be my lining fabric and light green fabric is my outer fabric.  These are soft cottons.  I had to do a lot of ironing.

 2.  I laid my fabrics length-wise on my floor and then doubled up the fabric length-wise.  I slipped the lining fabric inside the same way.  You could also lay them on top of each other.  Don't you love you can do this anywhere!?  Guerrilla sewing!  (I have a cutting table but it is COVERED in stuff from my last crafting classes).
 3.  Have your dog come help you sew.  Hey Ralph!  Lay your dress that you're using for your pattern against the fabric.  And cut around the shape of the dress.  You can always cut more later--I'd urge you to keep it longer than you think.
 Here's what my dress looks like cut.
 And then I open it up.
 4.  Here's the neck hole.  I pinned along where I wanted the shoulders to be and stitched the lining to the dress.  This actual shoulder detail when sewn will appear about 1 to two inches below your actual shoulder and closer to your bust than your back.
 5.  Sew.
 6.  Try the dress on.  It will be a crazy armless caftan thing.  I tried it on with clothes underneath to help me figure out how much armpit I wanted to show.  Pinch and pin on each side where you want your arm hole to end.
 I don't have a dress form--I just pinned directly onto myself.
 7.  From that armpit hole, pin down the sides of the dress and sew!
8.  Try on again and adjust the length to about 2 inches below what you want it to ultimately be.  Try it on with a belt before you make this determination because the gathering at the waist will make it shorter and I don't want to be blamed for you flashing your girly bits at the office!

Oh look!  A wonky thing happening!  I've never seen that before!  (Not!)

 9.  Pin your bottom edge and sew.  You could also add trim here if you're up for it. but don't do it all at once.

10.  Try your dress on again.  Cut your neck hole down to where you want it.  For those of the larger breasted persuasion, I would recommend a higher neckline, especially if this is a work dress.

11.  Finish your neckline and arm holes.  Don't say I didn't warn you--what happened here!  That is my neckline.  I was not drunk when I sewed this I just don't always know what I'm doing.  So I decided to cover the neck with lace.
 12.  I started up at the shoulder line, a bit behind the stitch I made in Step 4.
 I sewed from the left down to the center of the top and back up and around.
 Here is the end of the trim.
 I folded it over and continued sewing.
 And you're done!
 Here is the finished product--yes I need a dress form:

 If I had to do it over again, I would use a darker color with a pattern and maybe try a knit fabric.  Enjoy!