Sunday, June 24, 2012

Random Little Improvements

   Hello there! How was your weekend? I spent the weekend doing some very much needed cleaning up around here. I do love the feeling of a clean house...for the entire two seconds it lasts that is. So. a while ago, I painted my cabinets. (see the post on it here.) I've been looking for baskets to set on the top of the cabinets for ages, but could never find ones that were the right size. I finally found what I needed at Home the form of mettle buckets. I think I actually like them better than having baskets.

      They hold all the extra things that don't fit into my itsy bitsy sized pantry. There are key tags tied on with ribbon, labeling each bucket. I think it works just nicely.

      I also happened to find this super cute little wooden step stool at a garage sale the other day for $5. For now it functioning as a plant stand on my deck.

      I imagine it will get used as a few different things before I decide on just the perfect job for it. I just love wooden ladders of any kind.

      Hmmm, apparently I also happen to love red lanterns since three of them managed to make it into both these spots. Eh well, at least I'm consistent with what I like. So, there's the extent of productivity this weekend...unless of course you'd care to see all the dust rags that are completely black and waiting to washed. I think little fairies come and sprinkle dust around my house while I'm sleeping.
      Have a lovely week!

Psalms 29:2   Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. 
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What's for dinner?

     It's super rare for me to post about cooking on here. Cooking is necessary to eat, and I like to eat. My hubby loves to eat Asian food, I love to eat Mexican food, so we compromise and eat a lot of Italian food. Here is one of my favorite Mexican meals to make. Spicy chicken rice.

     It's cooked in the slow cooker...which makes it ten time tastier. I like my slow cooker, it makes better food than me, and it's only one pot to wash. I don't have a dish washer, 'nough said on that topic. So, here is how you can make this deliciousness. Throw in a few chicken breasts. I usually do four, and as you can see, still frozen works just fine.

     Cut up two different colors of bell pepper, and an onion.

      Throw that in the pot, and then cover it with a packet of taco seasoning...or two packets if you like. I pretty much like my food to sing and dance with flavor, so I go with two.

      Lastly, cover the whole bit with a jar of salsa. I rinse out the jar with about a half cup of water and add that too.

     Cover, and cook on high for about 5 hours. Serve over rice with cheese.

     It's also great on a tortilla wrap. Another version, is to do chicken, seasoning, a can of corn, a can of black beans, and a jar of salsa. Soooo yummy! Enjoy!

1 Timothy 6:8   And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 
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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Asymmetrical Summer Top

      I realize this style probably will only appeal to a few, but I really like stuff that has a bit of uniqueness about it. (That's half the fun of sewing your own stuff right?!) I had some scrap left over from making these skirts, so I used it to try out an idea I've had in my head for a while. I cut out a half tank top, half circle top and it looked like this laying flat.

      You want to sew the dotted red line on the RIGHT side of the shirt first. Then you flip it wrong side out, and sew up the other side, just as you would any other shirt. It really is super simple. Here are few other similar versions I found around.

Shopbop $76.50

Forever 21 $15.80

Robert Rodriguez Colorblock One-Sleeve Blouse
Neimen Marcus $171.00
      Anyway, its a fun variation of a plain tank top. I liked it so much, I'll probably do more to put in my shop.

       What do you think, is unique your thing or do you like to stick to basic styles?

Isaiah 40:28   Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?there is no searching of his understanding.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tie Up Your Sleeves

      I buy fabric based on three things, how it feels, how it drapes, and the color. Most of the time, I don't know what I'm going to use it for when I buy it. Occasionally though, a fabric will just jump out at me, and I'll know exactly what it wants to be. The print and colors on this fabric reminded me of an Arizona sunset, and I just knew it needed to be a flowy, relaxed top of some sort. I went a little different, and used crochet trim to accent it, rather than just more of the same fabric. It just felt like it needed crochet on it.

      I used the general concept as what I showed you in this post to cut out the shirt. Because this fabric is not stretchy, I made sure to add an extra inch to the width.

     I also cut a short slit in the tops of the sleeves. If I were to do it again though, I would make the slits slightly more to the front of the sleeve.

     I hemmed the slits first, before doing anything to the sleeve edge. Don't mind the bunching, this was pre-ironing.

     Next, I serged  on the crochet trim, making sure to leave "tails" to be able it tie it. I just went very carefully with the serger, and made sure to not cut the trim.

     At this point, it wants to flip up, like this.

      Top stitching takes care of that just nicely.

     It adds just a nice little something different to a common style.

      Hmmm, and now that I've blogged about it, maybe I'll even go iron the thing. I think I need to hire someone to come do all my ironing for me...and cleaning my floors. My 10 month old has decided her full time job is to eat absolutely every crumb, bug, or piece of trash that she can possible find...which unfortunately, she seems to be rather good at finding. So, back to the topic... what about you? Do you always have a plan in mind when you go buy fabric?

Colossians 4:6   Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Easiest Maxi Dress Ever

     I do a lot of sewing on a weekly basis, keeping up with my Etsy shop, and selling locally. When you don't sew with patterns, you have to do a lot of thinking, and a lot of math. Sometimes, I just need to give my brain a break, and do a "mindless" project, just for fun. This maxi dress, was my "just for fun" project this last weekend. It took no more than thirty minutes to do. I've worn it twice since making it, it's that comfortable.
     This dress is just a super long tank top, with two slits up the sides. You can trace a tank you have, or just draft one real quick for the top. I just use my french curve ruler, and make my cut outs based on that. I lay out the fabric, folded in half, and then in half again. The stretch is going width wise.

      I like to cut my front neck 3 inches lower than the back.

     While it is folded, I also mark with chalk where I want the slits to start.

     Slits allow you to a straight dress, and still have plenty of walking ease. I don't have a picture, but you should also curve in the top sides just a bit. This helps it have some shape, just as your body does. Sew the shoulder seams and side seams. Hem all the openings, and that's it!

      It's been raining buckets, so the jacket and boots were much needed to slog through the swamp in my yard to get to church. Happy Monday!

Ephesians 4:32   And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

High Low Maxi Skirt Tutorial

      I'm not quite sure what all to call this skirt, I started out with a tulip skirt in mind...but I wandered from the original intent... so, this skirt is sort of a tulip, wrap, maxi hybrid skirt with a high/low hem line. How's that for confusing?! No worries though, this skirt is super, ridiculously simple to make! So, simple in fact that it takes TWO seams...that's it! See? No excuses, you can so do this! I used a polyester knit that had spandex in it. It is so fabulously comfy to wear, but so stinking annoying to sew it's not even funny. It slips and slides and all sorts of things, and generally makes you want to throw things...but it's worth it when it's done, promise.

      You will need about a yard and a half of 60 inch wide fabric, the stretchier the better. You will also need  enough 2 inch wide elastic to fit your waist. Fold the fabric just as it comes off the bolt, with the stretch going width wise. These are the measurements you need.
"A" - how short you want the front
"B" - how long you want the skirt
Width - your hip measurement plus ten inches, divided by 2
     Cut the fabric in a large rectangle. Cut the whole thing as long as your "B" measurement.

      Now, measure down the raw edge to your "A" measurement. So, for mine, I measured down 20 inches and marked it with a chalk.

      On the bottom edge, I started at the fold and measured ever hip width divided by four.

      Now, between those two marks, you want to cut a sort of stretched out "s" shape. The main thing is to make sure on the raw edge you start out cutting strait for about 3 inches before curving down. That way it it has a nice slope when you open it up, and won't make funny heart shape the front. Unless you're into heart shape hemlines, in which case, by all means enjoy.

      Open up the skirt, right sides out, and fold a third of it over like so. Why yes, my work table does happen to be my kitchen some people cook in their kitchens. I prefer to sew in mine, and eat cereal for every meal I can get away with doing so.

       Fold the other section over like so. The long section should be centered on the back hemline, and the curves on either side should be even.

      The top should measure hip divided by 2 minus 2 inches.

     I pop a few pins along the top to keep the overlaps in place. Leave about a four inch tail on the front unpinned.

      Now then, you just need a waist band measuring, hip divided by 2 minus 3 inches long by 5 inches wide.

      Now we just have to sew it together. I start with that little four inch flap we left unpinned. I gather it up and tack it down to make a bit of a drape affect down the front. (OK, so technically that makes this a THREE seam skirt, but I don't consider that a seam!...and if you are really good, you could include it in the next step. I'm not that good, I'm pretty clumsy actually, so I prefer to tack it in place before proceeding further.)

      Sew the waist band together so it is a long tube. Fold it over, right sides out, like so.

      Slip the band over the skirt. I put my waist band seam in the center back, and then continue pinning it onto the skirt. Make sure in the front, you have all four raw edges pined nice and tidy like.

      Sew the band onto the skirt. Make sure to leave about three inches open for the elastic.

      Thread the elastic through, and sew the elastic ends together.

      Sew the opening shut.

      I go ahead and run my serger back over that little spot just to make the inside look pretty, but that's not mandatory.  I also like to slide the extra fabric to the back waist band as much as possible, so that the front has a nice flat look. You could hem if you like, but it this sort of fabric looks just fine without it.

     So there now, that was easy! The worst part about all that is the cutting out, in my opinion. I did four of these this afternoon, all different sizes, and as long as you follow the formula, it will work just perfect.

     Speaking of working just perfect, my computer is in fact, doing just the opposite these days. It has decided it would be fun to just randomly turn off at frequent sorry if posts get a little sluggish in coming while I try to coerce this horrid thing into behaving! Hope your week is chugging along just as delightful as could be!

Psalms 9:10   And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. 
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