It’s been a tricky start to this year. When my kids started back at school, I ended up heading there with them to sub for the art teacher for a few days. It was easy to get back into the groove of school teaching again – but I was super happy yesterday morning when I woke up and I just dropped them off and came back home to work!
I’m having a hard time finding a good book to read lately. I used to love Phillipa Gregory and picked up her latest book, The King’s Curse, at the library a few weeks ago and I just can’t seem to get into it. Three out of four of us are reading through the Harry Potter series and it’s been fun for my kids to be at the ages where we can all read the same thing and then talk and joke about it around the house. Last night I started The Ex-Pats by Chris Pavone and so far it is intriguing. I have to say it already reminds me of a mash between the old tv show Alias and the current show The Blacklist. The reviews on Goodreads are a fair mix of love and hate.
I’m also reading through Kari Chapin’s book Grow Your Handmade Business and so far it’s been great. I’m also ready Make it Mighty Ugly and I’ve enjoyed many of the exercises in it. What’s been most interesting is this project:
I started this project waaaaay back last fall and honestly I’ve struggled with it since I started it. It’s one of those that I had this picture in my head and it’s not turning out anything like the picture in my head. I’m not afraid to stop a project that I’ve started…to a point. This one had gotten past that point where I could just let it go. So I would pick it up and put it down and finally forced myself to finish it this past weekend. I’m still not happy with how it turned out and it’s been interesting to be reading Kim Werker’s Mighty Ugly book while struggling through it. She spends the first part of the book talking about creative demons and oh buddy, did I have some creative demons screaming at me while working on this project. But to be honest, when you do create art there are times that you make projects that are downright ugly and times that you create things that maybe end up being “ugly” to you merely because they aren’t matching that picture that you had, but they aren’t really ugly. I’m putting this in my shop with confidence that even though I’ve got voices screaming that it isn’t perfect and it’s a silly project etc that there isn’t truth in that and this hoop might actually grace someone’s home and encourage them.
I did finish a project that I do just love. I started this hot air balloon last fall too and finished it up a few days ago. It’s currently hanging in my dining room and makes me smile every time I walk past it. It’s up in the shop and ready to hang in your house to bring you a smile!
My husband and I watched the movie Begin Again with Kiera Knightly and Mark Ruffalo. I have to say we went into the movie not expecting much, but as it went on it’s probably one of the best movie’s we’ve watched in a while. I don’t know if it was just because it was so “counter-cultural” in so many ways that I didn’t expect or if it was the struggle to maintain who you are as a creative and not give into what others want you to be or what you think you should be just so you can make loads of money. It was just overall good.
A few other things I’m enjoying lately…
- I saw this mug on instagram and golly it made me laugh. I totally need to get this and another one for one of my sweetest friends who needs that introverted reboot time too.
- last year I tried to do the whole One Little Word thing with Ali James and honestly I flunked out about March. I didn’t even attempt to do anything like that this year, but I am recently intrigued with the idea purchasing a journaling Bible and spending some time weekly working on some creative expression that way. I’ve recently discovered Shanna Noel and the beauty that she is creating with God’s word in such a new and fresh way. She has an awesome instagram feed if you are interested.
- If I ever thought that the last few years I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone regarding selling at markets, teaching sewing classes etc – this month I was asked to be interviewed by Debbie at Work Your Art. Go check it out!
I few months ago I traded in my old serger for a newer one. I had heard raves about Juki sergers and I finally broke down and bought one and honestly I’m beyond happy that I did. My original serger was Husqvarna Viking and not only was it insanely loud it was a bugger to thread. I know, what serger isn’t? But seriously, it was horrendous. The first time I was shown how to thread the Juki I was dying it was so much simpler. Since then I’ve been branching out and learning about sewing knits. I’m still very ignorant when it comes to the types of knits etc, but the more I sew the more I absolutely love it.
The first project I delved into once I got my serger was the Plantain t-shirt by Deer and Doe. It’s a free pattern by this awesome french pattern company (don’t fret! It’s in English too!) and the knit was one that I had in my stash from way back. I’d been saving it to make a maxi dress or something and still haven’t gotten around to it. I have to say that this t-shirt came together like a dream. I had read a few reviews about the fit and sizing and the sewing angels were over me that day because it fits like a dream.
It’s sort of a scoop neck shirt, but it doesn’t come down too low and it will definitely be a standard t-shirt pattern in my repertoire
My most recent knit garment was the Lane Raglan by Hey June patterns. I came across this fun knit at Hobby Lobby and restrained myself from purchasing it the first time I saw it. The second time I was in the store I realized that I had to get some. It feels divine! They have a couple of different color-ways and I had the hardest time figuring out which one to get, but decided the blue was the safest. I wasn’t sure what kind of shirt this would turn out to be, but in the end I really think it turned out super cute. I love, love, love this pattern so much. I’m a sucker for a great raglan t-shirt and this one comes together like a dream. No sewing machine needed: it’s all done on the serger from beginning to end and it’s super simple. My only struggle was with the fit. While I really feel like the overall fit is great, the arms are super long. I need to go back and cut them off a little, but honestly it’s an easy fix and something I know now. I’ve got a couple more yards of knit I’ve gotten my hands on and I’m hoping to make another one asap!
It’s Thursday again and time to pull from the archives. This post back from 2009 is probably one of my favorite tutorials and finds on the web. I love this pattern and it always turns out super cute. So for all of you looking for a new lunchbag as school ramps up…this is a great one!
I made this lunch bag from Skip to My Lou a while back for my husband and have been wanting to do one for myself since I am taking my lunch somewhere again.
Making this pattern again made me realize how super easy it is and how much fun you could have with it. The first time I used iron-on vinyl for the inside and outside and it was a booger to sew. It has also gotten wet and all the vinyl has unattached and I’m not sure how to salvage it.
That said, I was out of vinyl this time so I had to figure out another solution. I ended up heat’n bonding 2 fabrics together to give it some stiffness and I LOVE how it turned out!
This book, One Yard Wonders, is another book I’ve had on my bookshelf for a while. I made a dress a while back from it and was less than satisfied with the process (you can notice that from the not so nice words in the first line of my post!) But, I’ve been dying for a new purse for months and months and this one was the one I picked to try. It seemed simple enough and I’ve made enough bags lately that I thought if the instructions went a little hairy I had enough know-how to figure it out.
The first error I encountered was with the pattern itself. The words on the pattern are printed upside down, so if you are using a fabric that has a one way up then you would be screwed if you didn’t notice it (thankfully I did…one of those rare occurrences where I didn’t cut something wrong way up!) or you could think to read through all the errata (of which there is a fair amount) prior to starting the pattern.
But to be honest, once I got past that initial issue with the pattern, it came together really quickly and easily. Until I reached the directions for attaching that top band. The book has you attach it by this wacko (and way too time consuming) pressing of 1/4 inch down and then top stitching it to the top. I opted to match up the right sides, stitch it and then top stitch (um…the normal way?) The only reason why I would think that the author suggested doing it their way was the preserve the curve. Oh well, maybe I’m just too lazy when I sew.
Despite my negative words, this is a great pattern and I would totally make another one of these bags. It came together really easily and I absolutely love the way it looks and carries. And in case you are wondering, the fabric is from my stash and I’m pretty sure it’s Alexander Henry. I have a fabric road trip in my near future so I’m in a big race to actually make something from all the yards I bought last year!