Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bring On 2012!

Friends, remember that time I talked about goals and resolutions and all those other things that come along with starting a new year?  It's that time again to reveal my goals and resolutions....


1. Stop (or at least reduce) my street confrontations.  Hard to imagine, I know, but I have the temper of a very mean spirited donkey.  If I see a drunken jerkface on the street and he is jaywalking in front of the car but not nearly fast enough, I let him know.  Even if I am sitting at a stoplight.  No filter at all, I'm telling you.  Apparently Mama Grand thinks she is going to get a call from Rob that I've been stabbed, so in an effort to extend my life, I've decided to bite my tongue a little more often.  And try not to get stabbed.  I think that's a good resolution.

2. Stop biting my nails.  This has only been my resolution for ten years, so we'll bring it back for good measure.


1. Play a French song on the guitar.  I've been taking French classes for about three months now, and received the Pimsleur French audiobook for Christmas.  I've had a guitar since seventh grade and have not learned a song on it yet.  This is the year, I swear.  I would really love to learn how to play this song before 2012 ends:

Catchy, isn't it??

2. Use every sewing pattern in my stash.  I have such a large collection and I think it's time to explore those patterns that have been getting dusty for a long time now.

And finally....

3.  Wear something me-made/altered/refashioned every day.  I'm giving myself five vacation days that will give me a chance to do laundry/whatnot and wear things that might be getting neglected in the closet.   So, for 361 days I will wear something that my hands have touched.  Will there be documentation? Of course, but only at the end of each week.  You and I would both get sick of my posting photos every day, I think.  Oh yes, and those fabulous new undergarments that are currently on my sewing table TOTALLY COUNT.  Winning.  (There will be no pictures of said undergarments on my actual body because Mama Grand would have a heart attack ... and we love Mama Grand.)

So, Friends, those are my goals and resolutions for this upcoming year!  What about you?  Do you have any resolutions or goals in mind?  

Have a fabulous day all, and stay warm wherever you are!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: Free For All or the "I'm Not Wearing A Coat Today Dress"

Friends, first of all, HAPPY CHRISTMAS to all who celebrate! May you get everything you wished for and surround yourself with people you love.  And alcohol.  I'm currently drinking my Woodchuck cider and blogging under some serious blankets.

We are celebrating this holiday with the Grand family, and it is surprisingly warm outside.  For the first time in a long time, I was able to venture outside without a coat on Christmas.  It was quite refreshing!  (The above blankets are necessary because my parents have a very chilly house.  There are many Steelers blankets floating around.)

I wanted to make a dress for this festive occasion.  Sometimes I feel like important (or highlight of the week) events are a good reason for making a new outfit.  Oh, I'm going to a party?  Must make myself a new top to wear.  I do this all the time, and the holidays are no different.  For this particular holiday, I made Simplicity 2549 in a FABULOUS fabric that has been lounging in my stash this whole year.  I've been itching to use it and this challenge gave me the perfect opportunity.

It's a very lightweight cotton, so it's perfect for sunny Christmas days or spring/summertime outings. 

I did not line the dress, but it does have a neckline facing that came out quite nicely.  I definitely prefer the A-line skirt to the version that I made here.

Close up of the fabric.  Isn't it totally fab???  I wish I could remember who I got it from so I could ask that person where I could get more.  All the outline details are in gold and the whole dress just shines when the light hits it.  It definitely turned out better than I could have hoped!

A close up of the sleeve.  I just love my puffy sleeves.

Happy Holidays, my fantastic friends!  I hope you are having amazing weather wherever you are,  and safe travels if you are away from home!!

Wishing you the happiest and bestest day EVER, Meg and Rob

Thursday, December 15, 2011

These Are a Few Of My Favorite Things...

Friends, in an effort to keep ahead of the madness that is the Christmas shopping season, I started buying gifts back in September (which is completely unlike me).  My goal this year was to support small businesses as much as possible and so the bulk of my gifts came from Etsy. 

*Note - nobody told me to endorse them, but I had a good experience, so I thought you might like to know*

I really wanted to shop local, so I sorted my filters to show Chicago sellers.  I am not showing the actual items I bought for Christmas presents (because people might get ideas about what they are getting and then it just gets weird), but here are some of my new faves from these shops:

(Love the Midwest is Best t-shirt.  MIDWEST REPRESENT)
Shirt found here

Their stationery is SUPER pretty.  If I had to pick one for myself, this would be it.

stationery set found here

She has some FABULOUS things in her shop.  Love love love this infinity scarf:

dark green infinity scarf found here

Here are some favorites from shops outside of Chicago:

I love her pieces.  The glazes are even more gorgeous in person!

ceramic leaf spoon rest

My new favorite store of all time is the Carbon Crusader:

you can buy them here...but don't buy them all because I want some, too.

Friends, have you bought any gifts off of Etsy for the holidays?  Let me know which shops are your favorites!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: Patternless or "I look like a Waffle House sign"

Friends, I think I may have taken the easier road on this challenge. First, I pinned a piece of waffle knit fabric onto Emma until it made the shape I wanted.  I cut a hole for the neckline, pinned on a back piece, and trimmed and altered until I had two pieces that were similar and had hems the same length.

You'll see that it's yellow waffle knit, which means my brain automatically goes to smothered and covered...

Picture from this article where a guy was living on the roof of the Waffle House.  I guess he was really serious about those hashbrowns!

I worked on, dreaming of the tasty goodness which cannot be found in Chicago, and before I knew it, I had a t-shirt.

You'd think with my first attempt at draping (if it can even be called that), I would've tried for something a little more ... exciting.  In an effort to bust more of my stash, I cut up an already scrapped yellow t-shirt and used pieces around the neck, armholes, and hem.

It is completely unsurprising that this is one comfy shirt, but I was shocked when I realized that it took me about an hour (from beginning draping to finishing the armholes) to complete this project.  I imagine it would've taken me at least half that time for measuring and pinning if I had used a pattern.  This shirt makes me feel as though my time was well spent.  I can't lie - it was pretty invigorating to be working without a pattern and have no idea if the outcome would be wearable.

Close-up of the waffle knit and sleeve and neckline trimmings.  I don't know why it never occurred to me to use scrapped t-shirts as bias tape for other projects, but I am definitely going to incorporate this new knowledge into other projects down the road!

Since I didn't think this project was going to turn out very well, I didn't mind that the fabric had a red stain on the upper shoulder blade.  Oh well ... it gives the shirt character.  Maybe I should turn it into a pseudo-tattoo that is a heart with "Mom" written over it.  Or not.  Whatevs.

Now that the first patternless project has turned out so well, I might be persuaded into pushing myself a little farther next time.  I really enjoyed the adventure of seeing what was coming next and how it was going to turn out - it got the creative juices flowing!! ( ... and possibly made me hungry.  For waffles.  And hashbrowns.  And really awful coffee at 3am.)

Friends, have you ever gone patternless?  Share your links in the comments - I'd love to see what you've been up to!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: Purple or "Purple Plaidtastic Party Shirt"

Friends, I apologize for the delay in posting this, but I had some UBER FABULOUS GUESTS in town this past weekend:

Chicago winter = serious business.

Yes, my parents came to visit and see the city in all of its holiday glory.  Unfortunately, this "glory" included extremely low temperatures while we were wandering the Christmas market at Daley Plaza (the gluhwein did not warm me up nearly enough).  We ate cheeseburgers at the Billy Goat and saw an AMAZING show at the Building Stage (my face hurt from laughing), watched the Muppets at the movies and ate lots of food.  Overall, a completely lovely time and I am already planning their next visit back.

Once they had left, I got cracking on my purple project.  I had some leftover fabric from the dress I made for Becky's wedding.  Since I only had a yard to work with, I had to be extremely careful which pattern I chose.  After much perusing through my collection, I decided on Simplicity 2364, version F (with the flowy sleeve thingy).  I thought it might be nice to have a one-shoulder top in my closet in case I want to be extra fabulous for something.

The pattern called for elastic, which I scrapped after the initial fitting.  This shirt fits like a glove and I don't see it falling down EVER.  While this isn't as stretchtastic as jersey, the fabric does have some give, which allows me to pull it on and off without any other fastenings.  I am a big fan of shirts that don't need extra bits added.

Forgive the weird fabric rolls in the back - the fabric kept getting caught on my jeans.  I think this is a top which needs a black skirt/pant companion. 

Close up of the sleeve and my villain face:


While I don't imagine this shirt making a regular appearance in my day to day life right now (it's not really a cold weather shirt), I am definitely going to whip this out for any parties that come up.  I feel very hip in it... almost Jersey Shore-ish, but that could be the hairstyle thing I was attempting.  (Just a note - I've never seen Jersey Shore, but I know what a Snooki is.  It's like a Wookie, only shorter.  Bah dum chee.)

Friends, do you like purple?  Is it one of your signature colors?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: Around the House or "The Rainbow Brite Dress"

Friends, if you had Rainbow Brite sheets hanging around your house, wouldn't you make a dress as well?

For the pattern I used McCalls 5113 for the top and Vogue 8701 for the skirt.  Now, since these sheets had seen a lot of love from me when I was growing up, they definitely needed to be flat-lined with some super soft cotton.  I added piping around the sweetheart neckline and an orange fabric sash to bring out more of the rainbow.

While I really like the idea of this dress, there is going to need to be some tweaking before it gets worn this summer.  The waist seems to be a bit lower than I would like, so it may need to be adjusted, especially in the back.  Other than that, I would love to wear this on our summer vacation this year.  Can't you see me riding around on a carousel in this number?

This dress has been done for about three days, but Rob and I have been busting our butts to get the place before Mama and Papa Grand come this weekend.  I am so super stoked because I bought my amazing parents the BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER. I have to give it to them this weekend so they have time to finalize their travel arrangements.  I gave them dates and location already so they could get the airfare together, but they do not know the "why." 

Seriously love me some Rainbow Brite.  This will be worn often once it is fixed.  I think one of the best things about sewing and creating your own clothes is that almost every piece is a complete original.  If I ever see someone running around with shoulderpads as a hat, or doodles on their bodice, or a Rainbow Brite dress, I might pass out from shock.

Friends, I hope you are having a fantastic night where you are, and stay warm if you can!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

30DoC: Recycled Items

Friends, I love pillows.  I sleep with two stuffed in a pillowcase - that's how much I love pillows.  They are also fabulous for using scraps that are too small/damaged/ugly for any other project.  I had a fabulous piece of red striped upholstery material and I used the whole thing for a single pillow:

That pillow is stuffed to the brim, and has several projects in it, including the sweater skirt (it began disintegrating...but it makes great stuffing).

Pillow action shot.  This is what I look like after French class on Wednesday nights.  

I am heading back to my super comfy, pillow laden bed.  Have a fabulous night, all!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

30DoC: Something I've Never Done Before

Friends, I was completely unable to craft for today's challenge, which seems like something I've never done before.  I blame the state of my sewing room:

I promise those boxes are not all sewing supplies (is that a good thing or a bad thing?).  We had to clean out our storage unit before tomorrow, so everything is everywhere.  It's pretty overwhelming.

 Look!  I found my buttons.  They are under the winter coats right there.  Underneath all of that is a bed.  Un - freaking - real.

I cannot even see Rob right now because the boxes in our living room are stacked five high.  It's intense.  It wouldn't be so bad if all the blankets/sheets/clothing that was in storage didn't need to be washed because of the public storage smell. 

So, Friends, please forgive me for not crafting today.  I'm sure my crafty spirit is buried under one of these piles somewhere...

In the meantime, have a fabulous, uncluttered night!

Monday, November 28, 2011

30DoC: Pinterest Finds

Friends, it is hardly a secret that I love Pinterest with a fiery passion.  For this challenge, I selected a pin in my Sewing Inspiration board: See Kate Sew's tutorial on using horizontal pleats to spice up a skirt.

This purple polka dot skirt was sitting in my refashion pile without any love, so I decided to conduct my experiment on it...

Close up of the horizontal pleat.  I love the little decorative touch it adds to the skirt - I may even add another before I wear it again this summer! I'll have to remember this before I hem another skirt - this was definitely easier :)


Friends, have you ever used horizontal pleats on a skirt or shirt?  Do you think you'll add this touch to any pieces in your wardrobe?  Let me know - I'd love to know what you're brainstorming!

PS If you haven't seen Becky's post from today, she made a really fabulous sculpture!

30DoC: Vintage Inspiration

Friends, I apologize - I am totally late posting this, but I blame the post Thanksgiving traffic on the way home from Rob's parents.  I often had to repeat to myself the "Groundhog Day" mantra: Don't drive angry.

Ok, once I settled down and got moving, I finished up the dress I had started before we left.  This was my sister's graduation dress from high school, I think ... but it was passed onto me to refashion.

I loved the sweetheart neckline immediately, and I felt this could be a very sweet sundress a la vintage Sears ads.  And by vintage I mean 1980s...because that totally counts right?  Does that make me vintage?  Oy - don't answer that.

I cut 18" off the bottom, removed the sleeves, took in the sides and made a fabric belt to hold it all together.

I love how it came out, and I'm really excited about wearing it this summer!  Until then, it's getting packed away with all the rest of the summer items under my bed.  Winter has arrived, y'all, and it's going to get real ugly outside soon.


I hope you all had safe travels home from the holiday, and have a fantastic night!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

30DoC: For the Kitchen

I made pie.  Kind of.

Susie, Rob's mom, is a great cook so I try and learn a little bit about cooking when we visit.

Susie put me on pie crust decorating duty.  She gave me a cookie cutter and I went nuts.

Susie and I got into a fight and tried to hug each other. 

The pies came out reasonably well.  Look at my lovely crusts!  They were SUPER tasty.  


I had a fabulous time decorating and then eating these wondrous pies.  Do you decorate your crusts if you make pie?

Susie's recipe for pie crust:

1 1/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of butter
1/4 cup cold water

The butter and water need to be cold. Cut butter into salt/flour/sugar mixture.  Mix water in - works great with food processor.  You should end up with a ball of dough.  Refrigerate for one hour.  Roll out to desired thickness and lay over pie plate. 


Friday, November 25, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge and 30DoC: Something for Yourself and Epic Plaid Pattern Re-Do

Friends, back in September I had a meltdown over these pants

This time, the McCall 3935 pants are epic for a completely different reason: the polyester knit plaid.

There were no insane cutting and crying issues.  The plaid matched up immediately and I didn't have to fight it at all.  These two pairs of pants could not be any more different!

In fact, a huge difference between these two pairs is that this pair did not need ANY fastenings.  Apparently polyester knit is great for sliding on and off.  These are like fabulous retro lounge pants that will never need ironing.  They are perfect for after Thanksgiving meals. I feel nearly invincible.

The only thing I am sad about is that these pants are covered in flour and need to befriend a washing machine before I can wear them again.  Other than that, it's been absolutely delightful running around in them!

Friends, have you ever made a pair of polyester pants?  Show me some links so we can have a polyester love party!  

Have a fantastic night all!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

30DoC: Make Something for Someone Else

Happy Thanksgiving All!  I am feeling quite stuffed and happy and am now perusing Etsy for Black Friday deals.  I keep finding things for me, so it looks like I am going to be giving myself a great Christmas. 

Friends, despite my hesitation to work with Burda patterns, I must say that I love the Charlie Grocery Bag pattern.  My friend, Mina, asked for me to make her one for her birthday and picked out her fabric from my stash.  Though her birthday has passed, I finally finished it for this challenge.


I hope you all got to have plenty of pie today, and if you didn't, don't fret - I had plenty for you :)

Have a great night all!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

30DoC: Look Out Your Window

Friends, when I look out my window, everything sparkles:

 I definitely wanted to make a shirt that reflected this awesome quality of my living space.  I used New Look 6648 and some FABULOUS fabric that had been lingering in my stash for way too long, and bada bing bada boom:

Once I found out this fireplace worked, I parked myself in front of it.  I am currently roasting like a pale puffy marshmallow and loving every minute of it.

This is probably my favorite version of this pattern that I have done.  I did not expect to enjoy the look of the sparkles so much, and I definitely didn't expect it not to itch.  Not itching = fabulous.

Seriously, I ask you: what's Thanksgiving without a little vampirism?

Speaking of Thanksgiving, we have been cooking all day in preparation for tomorrow's feast.  Friends who are celebrating:  Have a fantastic day with your families and friends, and Happy Thanksgiving!

To all of my other friends who do not celebrate, have a fantastic day anyway :)