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Pumpkins One, Two, and Three (and Me)

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Entries in sewing (27)


I actually sewed something.

It's been forever since I've sewn anything!  And this barely qualifies as a sewing project, but I did fire up my machine so I'm counting it. 

I always try to make the boys Christmas shirts.  This year I went with a stockings theme.  I found some wool sweaters I'd felted that were perfect for appliques.  To personalize the shirts, I went with old school puffy paint.  Fun fun.  Except when Max went to try on his shirt and it was too small.  Because I'd put his applique on the size 6 shirt and Leo's on the size 8.  This made me fairly distraught as it was probably my last year of talking the oldest into a crafty shirt.  I was so disheartened I didn't even take project photos.  But here is one of Will wearing his captures his reaction when he realized he got frosting on it.  He really did love his special shirt.  So I'm happy again...I should have a few more years of cutesy-wear for him, right? 

I have more sewing projects and ideas in the works...did I mention I'm redoing my craft space?  It's about 50% done.  Hope to show it off next week.  I'm off to paint.  Happy Friday.



I'm back! (but not back, back).

So, well, it seems that turning 40 brings quite a bit of celebrating along with it.  I am not complaining--not at all.  I'm extremely grateful for the many things I've experienced these past couple of weeks. 

But that said, as I try to get back into my routine, I'm finding things to be a bit of a moving target around here.  More than usual, that is.  So if the blog has fallen through the cracks, at least it's in the company of many other things dear to my heart, such as a tidy home, meals from scratch, and manageable laundry piles (that last one is killing me).  Because right after I got back from here with my dearest...    

I darted off to here with a fun group to celebrate another's 40th...

More pictures and stories of those memorable trips soon, promise.  But today, it was my knitting guru's 40th birthday.  Happy birthday Jenn!!!  We celebrated over lunch with another knitting buddy (Hi Lynn!).  And we plied each other with yarn and other knitterly goodies. 

I made some simple stitch markers.  They are nothing fancy and just from art supplies we had on hand.  I need to find smaller beads for the next batch (they are a wee addictive to make).  These markers do not fit larger sized needles...

I also whipped up a project bag with her logo.  I was out of ribbon to use for the cinch ties so used cording from my stash.  Does cording come in fun colors I wonder?

I also tucked in some Madelinetosh Vintage in Trodden.  I've not knit with Vintage yet but it feels amazing in the skein...  

Her sweet husband is whisking her away for the weekend to New York city to celebrate.  She promises to report back on visiting Purl Soho and Tender Buttons.  I completely forgot to ask whether she's hitting M & J Trimming.  Can't wait to hear all about it.  Have fun Jenn!  



Project bags.

Heavy emotions were with me all day yesterday.  But I ended on a high note by visiting with good friends at knit night.  I also squeezed in some sewing--always a good distraction.

The big news in our knitting group is that one of us (the knitting guru of the group and the very friend who inspired my knitting craze in the first place) started offering knitting lessons this year.  And she and her business partner are doing great!  So great that they asked if I might stitch up some branded project bags to offer their students.  I couldn't say yes fast enough--it seems these days the only way to get me into the sewing room is to commission me to make something.

The name of their business is knitlove Bethesda--if you are in the area and looking for knitterly goodness, you should check them out.  For the bags, I started by taking their adorable logo and making appliques.   

I then made a simple pouch-style bag as a sample and dropped it off last night, completely forgetting to take a picture.  So I reworked another sample, altering it just a bit.  This is the small size; I used one fat quarter for the outer fabric and some heavy twill I had in my stash for the lining.  It is the perfect size for accessories--thinking socks, cowls, hats, etc.  I also boxed the corners this time for some extra room (the first sample was flat) and I added two drawstrings instead of one.  With the boxed corners, it stands up when filled.

The double drawstring allows you to tie it onto something if needed.  This summer, when I took my knitting to the beach or pool, I often wished I had a way to attach my project bag to my chair to keep it off the ground.

Did I mention the pockets?  I love pockets...

And here's a shot of the interior with a cowl in progress and one caked skein--still lots of room...


I plan to make a larger size next and incorporate feedback from the owners for the final design of the knitlove Bethesda bags--I'll be sure to show them when they're done.  And since I'll be sewing, I've offered to dive into my fabric stash to make a batch of project bags for my knitting group. 

I also have other crafty endeavors in mind that I hope to tackle soon.  But first things first.  I need to clean out the basement (from the flood after the string of natural disasters), organize Disney pictures, get some work done for my part-time job, and put together an invite for a BIG party we've decided to throw (so excited!!).  Busy, busy.  Happy Monday.



For a good cause.

Over the weekend, my friend Caryn and I donated some handmade items for a silent auction that our close friends organize each year to benefit cystic fibrosis research. 

Caryn is the crocheter in our craft group.  She made the most adorable basket stuffed with "learn to crochet" goodies.  I think she's trying to up the number of crocheters in the world. 

I was a lucky recipient of one of these baskets when Will was born.  I use it as a catchall on his dresser and I could easily use fifty more around the house.  (And to Caryn who gets email updates of my blog posts:  here, let me pick up that hint for you...)

For my donation, I made a "mommy and me" apron set.  I used the Pretty Ditty Apron pattern, modifying it slightly to add a full lining.  I bought enough of the fabric to make myself an apron as well...because how many cute, handmade aprons I have made for gifts or donations?  Eight.  And how many cute, handmade aprons have I made for myself?  Zilch.

My pictures are, predictably, taken late at night in our deteriorating closet mirror--like last year--and are--like last year--not so great.  But here you go anyways... 

Here's the mommy's helper apron...modeled without groaning for the princely sum of a cookie before dinner.

And another shot of the adult apron, worn by someone whose identity I have sworn to protect...


Here's a shot of the lining...notwithstanding the opinions of the above two models, who doesn't like a little color zip by way of some fun, green zebra? 

I even remembered to sew in a woven label into each apron.  I always forget to do that.  And I have a gazillion of them because I once had the notion that I would sell things for fun at various markets.  I now have roughly a gazillion minus two.



My new favorite tote.

I, for one, cannot have too many totes.  Especially during the summer.  Endless uses:  pool bag, wet pool bag, library bag, knitting bag, sewing bag, so on and so on.  And oh, let's not forget to mention a rush-to-the-urgent-care bag.  The kind that swallows up favorite board books, a change of clothes, diaper needs, snacks, and medical records and yet still has room for a panicky momma's things.  The kind that gets you out the door fast but not looking nearly as bewildered and harried as you actually are because little man lost his footing on a two-feet-high plastic Little Tykes slide and somehow managed to hurt his arm even though he regularly negotiates seven-feet-high slides and runs with the big boys incident-free. 

More on that in a bit.  This is about the tote.

I cannot count how many reusable grocery bags I have sitting at-the-ready in the pantry.  They are like bunnies.  They multiply.  But they are neither particularly cute nor comfy.  Instead, I have long envisioned a certain tote shape.  The It Tote, if you will.  Something with a vintage-y vibe, not too big, not too small, and most importantly...something worthy of diving into my stash.  You know how it is.

I started searching freebie tutorials for "my vision" and had no luck.  I nearly gave up and decided I'd just draft it up--I know how to sew up a basic tote and what I had in mind was pretty basic with one specific detail.  But then I stumbled upon Ali Foster's patterns.  Her reversible tote design was just about perfect.  And so I bought it and stitched this up.

And in case you were wondering, the specific detail I sought was the continuous double circle handle straps.  A simple thing, yes, but you'd be surprised how few tote designs have it.  And I love it.

I also picked up a couple of other patterns.  Ali is running a great deal in her Etsy shop--3 patterns for under $10.  AND she gives you permission to sell creations from her patterns.  I still have hopes of reopening my Etsy shop or doing a farmer's market sale and would love to stock it with some fun purses and clutches.  As a side note, I have no affiliation to her shop.  I just love her designs and am a happy customer. 

For the fabrics, I repurposed some lovely nubby, linen-look cream colored fabric that was left over from a recent drapery project.  And for the reversible interior, I used a pretty print I've hoarded for quite some time--I wanted something summery but in black to match the dressform screenprint I added. 

This is supposed to be my sewing bag--to group ongoing projects or pattern ideas that need things for progression.  The idea is I'll just grab it when I'm headed out thrifting or to a fabric store in search of the right trim, fabric, or other notion.

A post will follow about the screenprint.  I finally tried out using my Cricut to cut out the stencil.  I haven't mentioned that Santa brought me a Cricut Expression, have I?  Well, that's because it seems a little excessive for this scrapper-who-once-was, but I hear Santa scored an amazing Black Friday sale on it, so Yay Santa. 

I have not used my Cricut to its fullest potential but I've finally decided it was time.  I'll post about the two software programs I used to design the dressform and even include the file in case anyone else is interested.

Back to Will.  He spent the weekend in a soft cast and was none too happy about it.  Hopefully it will come off today and he can go back to terrifying me on the big-boy side of the playground...he is not allowed near any innocent looking, plastic, baby slides!

Happy Monday.


Linking up here...

The Girl Creative


The DIY Show Off



11th hour skirt.

Okay, not exactly the 11th hour, but we're off to the pool and I don't want to miss the deadline to enter a skirt in Crafterhours Skirt Week--be sure to head over there to check out all of the amazing skirts.

In true Sandra fashion, I put this together on the last day of the challenge.  It is a simple straight skirt with a reverse applique free-style design.  I used two of Charlie's cast off knit shirts for the fabric.  Easy peasy.

Er, that shot really makes the applique look sad.  And I don't think it is.  Maybe a close up will help...


I think I'll wear it quite a bit as a swim suit cover up as the waist band just rolls down.  I love working with fast and forgiving.

Happy Friday!




A thank you gift.

Today is Max's last day of first grade.  And I simply cannot believe it.  When he returns to elementary school next year, he will take his younger brother, Leo, with him.  Leo is a rising kindergartner!  Cannot believe that either.

I had the pleasure of volunteering fairly regularly in Max's classroom.  So I got to know the other children...what a great bunch.  Yesterday was my last day with them and I tried to take some pictures to document the space and faces that captured so much of Max's time.  I will try to get that post up over the weekend.

Here is a non-identifying shot of his teacher (I don't know how she'd feel about having her face blasted across my blog!).  She is wonderful.

She and her husband are headed for a nice vacation after school lets out.  And as I thought about a good thank you gift for her, I decided on a simple bag.

It is the downloadable Monterey Market Bag pattern from Grand Revival Designs.  Max tells me her favorite color is blue so I dug into my stash and found some coordinating prints that I adore.

The bag is a very simple design--no pockets or zippers to fuss with (though you could easily add those in if you like).  The only modification I made is to lengthen the strap to make the bag a cross-body style.  I think it's perfect to take on trips, folded up and tucked into your suitcase or purse and ready to pull out when you're shopping and come across a must-buy souvenir. 

I hope she likes it.  But most of all, when she pulls it out every now and then, I hope she thinks of her first first-grade classroom at our school (she was a new teacher this year).  And a little dark-haired boy and his mommy who think the absolute world of her.

Thanks for everything Ms. P!  Have a happy summer. 



linking up here:


The Girl Creative


Easy top to skirt refashion.

A few weeks ago, I ordered this top from Tulle.  It was during one of their Tullesday events, so I think the top cost $2.99 or something.  I am not kidding when I say that 50% of my wardrobe comes from Tullesday sales.  Impeccably crafted lined coats that normally sell for $80...but on sale for $5.99?  Yes, please!  I especially love their little cropped jackets--I pop one of those over whatever wreck of an outfit I'm wearing and poof!, I can trick most anyone into thinking I am pulled together. 

I had a feeling this top would be a bit clownish on me and I was right.  But I've wanted a modish, circle-neck tunic pattern for a bit, so I figured at the very least, I could draft a sewing pattern off of it.  And I actually like the print of the knit.  Just not as a top. 

I used my trusty seam ripper to unpick the neckline and then cut across the remaining tunic piece to even it up into a rectangle.  I folded over the raw edge to make a casing for some elastic and I was done.  I think it makes a fun, summery skirt.  I pretty much live in skirts during the hot weather months, so I know I will wear it.  Next up is to reuse the neckline with a more subdued knit for the tunic.  I'm loving gray + yellow right now so am keeping my eyes open for something inspiring.

not sure what happened to my settings on this photo...sorry it's so grainy

cheers, Sandra

p.s.  linking up to DIY day at A Soft Place to Land.

p. p. s.  Tullesday happens the first Tuesday of every month.  Some months there are plenty of scores, some months, nothing.  But it's absolutely my favorite place to stalk for a bargain (assuming you like mixing in Anthropologie/vintage-y pieces.  I happen to really love that look).


Hello yellow.

As I mentioned, the week or so leading up to my brother's surprise 40th birthday was, as I like to call it, full.  Charlie has another name for it--he calls my pre-party crunch mode 'FLAIL EX'.  I have no idea if that's how he would write it but it's a military thing to put 'EX' behind something, standing for exercise.  I am getting the feeling that this is not translating well, but believe me, it's funny when a Marine says it (unless, of course, it's said during FLAIL EX).

So back to the crazy week before the party.  I decided we needed--and I do mean needed--a nice sized table to set up an appetizer station.  I was determined to make people mingle, after all, most would not have their children hugging their legs like a koala pencil-pal.

Hello 5th grade--remember these? Image from Giggle Time Toys.

(We interrupt this post with an important aside:  I have always wanted to dress up for Halloween as a pencil, with our toddler dressed as a koala hugging me.  I have yet to actually do it.  Could someone else, please?) 

Since a new table was not in the budget, I went scrounging in the garage and happily unearthed an old patio table bought in my apartment days.  For the last few years it has served mostly as a surface for DIY projects.  And it had the paint splotches, burn marks, and gouges from the hacksaw to prove it--not pretty.  But after some elbow grease and a couple coats of Rust Oleum Ultra Cover Gloss Sun Yellow, it was more than presentable.

I have no pictures of the staged room to share; isn't that sad?  But here's one with some half empty trays of appetizers (the biggest hit were the gorgonzola stuffed apricots wrapped in bacon--yum).

Once I introduced the yellow (which I picked because I have lots of pretty bowls, service ware, and linens in yellow), I decided that the rest of the room needed a dose of it, too.  So I whipped up some pillows.  And I should probably mention that my 'must have yellow' moment came to me the night before the party.  If you have ever witnessed FLAIL EX, you saw that coming.

The trick to pillows, generally, is to make them the same size as your form, otherwise you get a slouchy pillow.  But the trick, specifically, to churning out five pillows in less than an hour and a half is to be flexible.  The bow tied around the round pillow happened because my free-form circle was anything but round and I went with the ruched pillow because I was too lazy to get up from my sewing table and remeasure the rectangle form.  I of course now pretend that both of these details were by design.  Also, decide whether you want matchy-matchy or coordinated but asymmetrical.  Since I have three boys who think throw pillows are named as such for a reason, I went with the asymmetrical look.

William obviously approved of the yellow. 

Happy Friday!

xoxo, Sandra




Train love.

Another thing that added to our very full weekend was a birthday party for my dear friend's son, Elliot, who turned 3.  He had a train party, which is always a hit with my boys.  I think we did trains for one of Max's school parties and another may be in our future because of William--he is suddenly very into all things Thomas the Tank Engine.  He was in pure heaven at the party.

For the gift, I was tipped off as to which Thomas trains were missing from the birthday boy's collection.  And to make it more fun, I decided to make a coordinating bag.  I ended up slip covering a canvas tote with some Thomas fabric and added a patch to clue everyone in on what's inside. 

I hear it was a hit!

And speaking of hits, the boys loved the train ride at the party.

Though the older boys got a bit nervous riding in the seat by themselves--they held hands during the entire ride...


And William got a bit grumpy when I got up to shoot a few shots, but got over it as soon as I sat down and he heard the whistle...

Thanks for a fun morning Elliot (and family)!

xoxo, Sandra

p.s.  And thanks also to Elliot's folks who made it to the surprise party for my brother later that night at our home.  Kristin has known my brother as long as she's known me (good grief, is it 25 years??!!!) so naturally she and her husband were there.  And whenever we get together, we have fun!  A friend posted this shot of us on facebook so I downloaded and tweaked it vintage style.  I think I used just about every effect Picnik offers...