Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Resolutions!

Friends, it's that time of year again when I think about how I want to grow in the upcoming year.  2013 is going to be the year of "Make Do or Do Without."  My sewing stash is obscene.  Truly, it's out of control.

 I have more trims, scraps, buttons, and patterns than could ever be used ... unless I focused all of my energy into not buying any for the upcoming year.  And you know what?  Just to drive that point home and to finally get on the path to eliminating my debt once and for all, I'm making some big changes.

Here are my resolutions for 2013:

1.  I may not buy any fabric until my stash has been effectively used up.  There are some exceptions to this rule, though.  I can buy (only as needed and if no substitutions are available): fusible interfacing, white cotton for underlining sheer fabric/bed sheet projects, and lining fabrics.

2.  No new patterns.  None.

3.  Notions can be bought if I have nothing in the stash that can be used as a substitute (thinking specifically of separating zippers).

4. No more piles.  Everything must be able to fit into a space in my new apartment on March 1, 2013.  (This might be the scariest of them all)

5.  Throw away something every day.  I have so much junk lying around, especially old papers and magazines, and it's time to get organized - especially if I am moving in two months.

6.  Finally, I am going on a Spending Fast.  I desperately want to be out of debt in 2014, and to make that dream a reality, 2013 is going to be a year of living minimally.

I can already tell that 2013 is going to be difficult, but if I really want to be out debt and organized by my 30th birthday, then I need to be serious about my future ... which starts now :)

Friends, are you making any resolutions for 2013?  Any that are particularly scary to you?  Let me know in the comments - we can definitely support each other through the year!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Final Round of Gifts!

Friends!  After many weeks of getting up at 5am and going to bed past midnight, I am pleased to say that ALL gifts made it to their destinations on time.  I would like to say that I will start earlier next year when I begin making presents, but I don't like to lie!

Without further ado, the final round of gifts...

For my oldest sister, I made her a tote bag out of my parent's old couch material.  She recognized the fabric immediately!  I wonder why ... 

I used Simplicity 4535 for the pattern and it was incredibly easy.  I was sad to send this off to her because I fell in love with it almost immediately, especially because the pocket matches the background pattern.  I think I have enough left in my stash to squeeze out one for myself as well.  Merry Christmas to me!

For Rob's sister, I knit her a small red cowl with some leftover Cascade Magnum.  The hat is the Station Hat pattern, and though it only took six times to turn this yarn into this hat, I think it turned out well.  By the sixth time, I was determined.  Seriously - it was like a deathmatch between me and this yarn.  NEVER AGAIN, WOOL EASE.

I made Rob's brother-in-law the Regular Guy Beanie with some green Wool Ease I had in my stash, and it turned out so well that I made one for Rob immediately out of brown Wool Ease.  I have a ton of Wool Ease left over from this monster so long ago (2010!)

The crowning glory of knitting projects this Christmas was the Eleventh Hour Blanket, made with US36 40" circular needles and an attached icord edge (US17 DPNs).  I was so warm making this with the doubled strands of Cascade Magnum, and you can see by the size that it is just completely snuggly.  I love that I learned a new skill (attached icord is FAB) and I especially love that Rob's Mom was so excited about it.  

Seed stitch, I love you so much.

For Rob's niece, I made her a very Parisian doll, complete with capelet and beret.  She was so well loved the first day that I had to reattach her leg that night!

I reused this pattern, which is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.  Here's is Jojo's father, proudly showing off the doll and her newly reattached limb.

For the final present, something sneaky for Rob...

He finally got a Negroni!  I worked on it in the mornings and whenever he was out of the house, so I really couldn't say how long it took altogether.  I do wonder, however, if putting it together in such short bursts affected my vision because WOW are those pockets completely crooked!

I am excited that my top-stitching isn't completely awful on the collar, and I love that the fabric was an old bed sheet of ours.  I've always loved men with red beards in green shirts, so Rob needed to have a green shirt in his closet and I needed to be the one to put it there.

The arms are long enough!! WINNING!  That's a pretty big victory for someone who didn't try it on her model until it was time to put buttons and buttonholes on.  I did make him close his eyes though, so he had no idea of the color or style.  He's been wearing it nearly non-stop, which makes me pretty damn happy.

Friends, it's been an incredible month.  I've learned new skills (attached icord, quilting, sewing a sleeve placket) and managed to make some close family and friends very happy.  Hooray for holidays!

I'm off to bed - I've had a very busy day of finishing some rompers for an all girl band before their photo shoot this evening. Whew!  It was nice to hear some fabulous music and say "I'm a seamstress for the band" a la Tiny Dancer, and I hope to do it again sometime.  Until then, I'm going to be sleeping and working on my New Year's resolutions...

more to come on those tomorrow :)

Have a marvelous night all!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Grand Reveal

Friends!!  I have missed you so very much!  It feels like it has been forever since we've chatted, but I am excited to say that my radio silence is coming to an end.  This past weekend, we celebrated Christmas with the Grand family and I am finally able to show you the gifts I made!

For Mama Grand, a poinsettia brooch using the tutorial from Lil Fish Studios.  It's seriously adorable, and I used some metallic thread and a button from my stash for the decoration.

For my four nieces, I broke out the American Girl patterns in my stash and went to town with some scrap fleece...

Oh yes, those are totally Pittsburgh Steelers robes.  

For my niece, S, whose Mom also went to BGSU and who was wearing a BGSU sweatshirt the last time I saw her, I made her AG a hoodie out of an old homecoming t-shirt for her upcoming birthday.  I decided to make a blue skirt out of scrap fabric to complete the ensemble.

I might be making more of these out of old t-shirts very soon because this turned out so well.  I was a complete skeptic, but it's sporty and fabulous all at the same time.

I especially love that the front and back designs of my tee fit on the hoodie perfectly.  I already have other t-shirts in mind for the other nieces' birthdays.

To pair with their robes (or hoodie as college students do), each of the nieces also got a pajama set.  I used some strawberry flannel from the stash, as well as some plaid flannel scraps that had been passed onto me from Mama Grand.  

S gets the blue plaid since she isn't a huge fan of pink, but the other nieces will love the sparkles, berries, and color (respectively).  I used buttons from the stash, but did not make buttonholes as the directions suggested.  Instead, I used up some snaps from the stash to make these a little bit easier for the little fingers.

Epic plaid matching on a very tiny scale.

For my sister, Kitty, I knit her a Marian cowl using Malabrigo Rasta.  It's a lovely teal color that she wears often, so I'm excited for her to open it when she gets to the Grand house for Christmas.

And finally, Mama Grand's major gift, the gift that kept me from you for so long...

Confession: I did not put together this quilt top.  My Grandmother on Mama Grand's side had put the majority of it together and didn't finish it before moving into the nursing home.  I finished the top with 10 hexagons and gained a whole new appreciation for quilters in the process!  I also had to do quite a few repairs after washing the quilt top on the delicate cycle.  Wowee - I don't know how old this fabric is, but it might be best to avoid the washer in the future.  

My awesome friend, Juliet, was my mentor during all of this.  She gave me tutorials and tips, scanned pages from books, and I truly could not have done this without her.  She advised me to tie the quilt with embroidery thread since that was easiest, and also advised me to get a snuggly back since that is what Mama Grand would be sitting against.  I chose a lovely green flannel and tied with yellow embroidery thread since Mama Grand loves yellow.  I have to give MAJOR CREDIT to Rob, who sat on the floor with me for hours while I tied the quilt together.  We put on My Big Fat Greek Wedding and got to work.  He was a major help on these throws and I could not have finished these without his assistance.

I bound the edges with strips of an old bed sheet from the scrap bag, and I really love how the greens look together and paired with the colors of the hexagons.  So much color makes me happy :)

Thankfully, Mama Grand loved it, too...

Dad loved his throw as well.  There may have been a little bit of emotion all around when I found out that the yellow hankie in the middle was my Grandma Grand's favorite.  The throw prompted some great moments of story telling and sharing, and I was so glad that I finally committed to making this idea concrete.

Of course, there were a few non handmade gifts...

like a too small Steelers wrestling mask...

... a gorgeous bowl and a Steelers poncho.  We had bought these things while on the cruise this summer and I was so excited to finally pass them to my parents!

We capped off the gift giving weekend with White Christmas and snuggling, as is appropriate when you have a queen sized quilt with flannel backing :)

Thank you again to the lovely Juliet for being a HUGE help to me the last few weeks, also to Rob for helping  to bring these projects to completion, and thank you to all of you for your patience and understanding while I quietly worked on all of these gifts.  More to come very soon!

Friends, tell me what you've been doing!  I am working on catching up to my Reader, and I am eager to see what you are doing for the holidays :)

Sending you all my hugs,

Monday, December 10, 2012

Guest Blogging Over At Rhinestones and Telephones!


I've missed you all terribly.  I've been sewing my face off from morning til night, but I am not able to post anything on here because I would love for my family to be surprised...

but in case you want to see one of my father's Christmas presents (because he doesn't check out the sewing blogosphere), check out my guest post over at Rhinestones and Telephones on how to make an antique handkerchief throw :)

I finished it yesterday morning and almost cried with joy.  For a project that I've been thinking about for nine years, I am pretty damn pleased.