elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
For my sister's b-day last Friday I made her a dress. This is another Colette Moneta, the ultra-streamlined version with no pockets, no sleeves, no collar, and no neckband. The neck and armhole edges are simply hemmed. I shortened the skirt (my sister's preference) and scooped the neck into a U. It's cotton jersey in a taupe-y color she loves (for reasons I cannot understand).

ang moneta (1)

ang moneta (8)

I made TWO birthday cakes, because we each needed our own. For her I made the same cake as for F's last b-day: sour cream chocolate cake with white chocolate frosting and strawberries. Yum! I also made her a fancy birthday dinner; she requested Karelian rice pasties with egg butter (everyone in my family now loves these) and I made mustard and feta salmon and almond green beans with cauliflower. And champagne of course. We had another couple over to join us and it was a blast.

For my own birthday on Sunday I wanted ice cream cake, even though it is subzero temperatures here. I wanted something different so we didn't all get too caked out. I used the vanilla custard ice cream recipe I made here, oreo-ish cookies, caramel sauce, and homemade maple glazed pecans. OMG. This was amazing. The egg-custard ice cream was perfect because it doesn't freeze super-hard and that made cutting easier.

I also did this easy craft project. I got a new bookshelf/board game cabinet for a sort-of birthday present for myself. It's an Ikea Borgsjo. The crafty part was "papering" the back panel with fabric. I got this bookshelf print cotton about a year ago at work and it turned out to be perfect for this. I used spray adhesive; messy but effective. I didn't get the lines quite straight, but I am trying to let that go. I love the way it looks!

elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
This weekend we got the tree up and the rest of the decorations; the outside lights are all up and I got some new lights for the fabric garland. Here's the tree this year. Those of you with kids will understand why the bottom half looks like it does.


I would love to make some more ornaments but I think I am out of time. I still have several gifts to make: jammies, some dolls, an apron. I have one last house decoration in progress, a yarn wreath, and I'm determined to finish it, even though wrapping the yarn is so tedious it makes me want to scream.

I am enjoying the sewing break. I'm funneling the creative energy into lots of crafts and house stuff. As much as I love costume sewing I know I would burn out really quickly if I didn't enforce breaks like this. I'll get serious again in January.

I've also been practicing some christmas songs* on the piano. I've been learning Deck the Hall since August, and finally it's sounding okay. Yesterday I decided I would try the Twelve Days of Christmas (a very easy version!). I know my sister is dying to have a corny family singalong. So hopefully I can pull this together by the time she gets here. We will also be singing Home on the Range, even though it's not a christmas song, because it's the only other singalong song I know how to play. And because we are goofy.

*secular only, obvy, since we are godless heathens.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I've been feeling a vague sense of ennui about the sewing room lately. It's feeling a bit overstuffed and cramped, and the organization isn't quite working any more. Mostly I can't put my finger on it, but I want something to change.

This dovetails neatly with my desire to have a better cutting setup. I still cut all my fabric on the floor, because it actually hurts my back less than stooping over a too-low table. But I can't keep doing that forever, so I'm trying to figure out how to squeeze a cutting table into my tiny, cramped sewing room, while also making it feel less crowded.

Step 1 was taking out the bookshelf. (You can see the "before" of my sewing room here and here). I moved it completely out of the room. Its new home is in the adjacent, somewhat small walk-through room we refer to as "the library," where the mirror used to be:


More! )

The last big unknown is the cutting table. I've been gathering ideas; here are a few:

I like this table made of Ikea Lack tables, but 36" is just a tad short.
I found this sewing room idea blog post with lots of cute ideas.
This craft table made of Ikea Expedit cubes could easily be made with a larger top.
This larger cube table has some storage, but enough open area for the big boxes.
I also saw one and lost the link; it used short bookshelves on each end instead of the cube units. Since I'm planning a corner table, I might do shelving on one side only, and legs on the other.
Then there's always just a plain, tall Ikea table, with no built-in storage. Just put everything underneath.

Either way, I definitely need wall shelves so storage can go UP without making a bigger footprint.

less whiny

Feb. 26th, 2013 08:43 am
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
Stays again: I trimmed the boning down 1/2" at the armholes and 1" at the front neckline.  It was way less of a drag than I had anticipated, and doing it reminded me why I sew: for fun!  It's my hobby and I constantly lose sight of that.  I only do a few events a year so it's not just the dress-up part that I enjoy; it's the making.

I spent yesterday sewing some new couch pillows.  My floral embroidered pillow deteriorated long ago, and I've been unwilling to part with the shreds for emotional reasons. The orange dupioni one was in bad shape, too.  It was getting me down, and now the room looks tidier and fresher.  I used this blue stylized floral fabric and one of it's brown coordinates, and I made a third pillow with a piece of vintage table runner I've had for ages.

Also, I am so over feather/down inserts.  I got sick of the feathers always poking through (and I lined with feather-proof cotton, but they still came through the seams).  The poly ones are so springy and nice!  I know polyester is forever, and my inner environmentalist-guilt is taking a hit, but they just work better.

Today I really need to get back to the stays binding.  No more distractions!
elizabeth_mn: (Default)
I used to have a tryptich of old poster art cut out from a calender hanging here, in these same frames; I had it for years, then one day I got so sick of it I just took it down and the wall spent about 3 more years totally bare.

I finally bought some Echino prints at work and put them up.  In fact, I bought them yesterday and they are on my wall today.  Amazing.  The fabric is cotton/linen and there are birds!

It doesn't look as crazy-awesomesauce as I had hoped, but it's cute and definitely an improvement on having nothing.  And my walls are really not quite that barf color in real life.

To mount them, I cut foam core board to size and sewed the fabric pieces over it as I would for a piece of embroidery, then I left the glass out of the frames when I put them in.

elizabeth_mn: (Default)
A chair I made new cushions for.

back view )

The only reason I am bothering to blog this is because it was way more complicated than I expected it to be.

Got the chair for $10 at Goodwill. Good enough condition but the cushions were so ratty and gross (I really should have done a “before” picture!). Before I threw them out, I traced their shape to make new ones. I got this upholstery-weight cotton at Treadle and some 2” thick foam at Jo-Ann. The foam was a nightmare to cut; I tried a serrated bread knife, then a scissor, then I finally broke down and bought a cheapo electric carving knife at Ace Hardware for $12, which worked like a dream. I still had a few rough spots but it was acceptable.

Shoving the foam into the covers was hard, but I am glad I made them fit tightly. They attach to the chair with Velcro self-fabric loops, like the original. I tried to center the designs, but inserting the foam made the fabric stretch slightly and it’s a teeny bit off now. When the bottom cushion is flipped over, the pattern continues from top to bottom, but I like the reverse a bit more.

I put it next to my bookcases where I have been wanting to create a reading nook since we moved in here. Now I just need a little table and a brighter bulb in that lamp.

elizabeth_mn: (needlecraft)
In lieu of actual sewing content, I'm taking you on a tour of my sewing room.

I'm not a super neat freak, but I'm proud of the little organizational skill I do have, and I am in love with my sewing room. 

Come on now, everybody!  I want to see your sewing space!

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