Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Gift Giving and Receiving

So my little friend Carla has just gone overboard. A big surprise was waiting for me when I got home tonight. It was a little box that sounded like broken glass. Uh-Oh!

But this is what I found.
A box full of buttons! I'd mentioned to Carla that I had a hard time finding buttons and that I remember as a kid digging my hands through barrels of them when shopping for fabric with my mom. The girls thought they were just the coolest thing (just like I remember) and had a great time helping me sort them. Omari went for the glittery, girly ones and Naiobi seemed to prefer the ones still on the cards. These were some of my favorites.

This little number I made for Carla. She got it in the mail today and loved it! I was a little bit worried about the orange, b/c although I love it, I know it's not for everyone. Well turns out, the vibe I got a the store when picking out the fabric was right on. I saw the orange polka dots and thought it would be just perfect for her.
She's a slender girl and I'm sure it looks just adorable on her. (Not that fat chicks can't look adorable too.) And that is not meant as an offense to anyone as I consider myself a little fatty too. Cheers!

Oh! I should mention that I followed this Bari J.'s tutorial almost to the T when making this little apron. Mine is 2 inches shorter in width. My favorite part is the ruffle.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

ooo, look what I got!

So my new buddy Carla sent me a present. Just because she was feeling generous!
If you who don't read Carla's blog, you MUST! She brings me sunshine.

Carla sent me the Notetaker pattern from Pink Chalk Studios and I got it yesterday in the mail, consulted with her about where to get Timtex and went to Joann's during lunch today. She even took all the work out of finding the hard to get Timtex by emailing me a direct link to an ebay seller. I bought it. These are the fabrics I got to make the smaller of the Notetakers. You can make it using 3 fat quarters but the Joann's in Alhambra has a shabby fat quarter supply. The one in Santa Monica has a MUCH better selection.

Anyway, I stuck to just 3 colors and nothing too scandalous b/c I'm making it for my mom. I wouldn't say my mom is conservative but she would definitely make some kind of comment about it looking like chilaquiles if I went overboard with the colors or patterns. I think this is a little bit of me and a little bit of her. I tried to follow the tutorial from Vintage Threads on mixing patterns. I am HORRIBLE at doing this. I will spend hours at Joann's if I have to mix prints b/c I can't ever decide what goes together. The 2nd step in mixing patterns is getting a plaid. But as I said, this Joann's just sucks for Fat Quarters and I wasn't about to buy 3/8 yard of fabric for a small piece that I needed.

I LOVE the buttons. I only need one and I didn't really want to buy them b/c they were $7. For buttons! But then I remembered I had a 40% off coupon. Much more doable. Besides, it's a mother's day gift. Which means, I have to make it this weekend. My mom is getting here on 5/5/08, we will be going to her hometown of San Luis, Rio Colorado, Mexico on Thursday and driving back on Mother's Day Sunday. Sucks, huh? But Omari needs to be back in school that following Monday for the CAT6 testing. Otherwise, I have no qualms about her missing school.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

New Dresses

Omari and I wore new dresses to a birthday party this weekend. I made a matching dress for Naiobi but she wanted to wear hand me downs instead. Omari's dress is from one of those pre-shirred fabrics they have at Joann's. I added yellow fleece binding that I've had in my stash for a couple of years. She freaked about the bright yellow at first but everyone at the party liked it and then she was fine.

My dress is from Simplicity 3622. I really, really like the dress. It's really comfortable and, for the most part, flattering. It really looks cuter in person than in the picture. I think. I just realized today that the bodice front is not supposed to overlap. Whoops. Just a slight oversight but it still works. It was fairly easy to put together. I was surprised at how the bodice underlay was held up, with ribbon. The sleeves were supposed to be sewn together at the side seams and THEN apply the casing for the elastic. For some reason I thought this was going to make my life difficult so I did it flat instead.
I sewed the casing up until the 5/8" seam allowance. On one sleeve I threaded the elastic first, then sewed the seam shut. On the other, I sewed the seam then threaded the elastic. The first way worked better. The sleeves were a bit tight. I have big arms.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A little bit of nothing

I had BIG BIG sewing plans for last night. I was going to have an all night sewing fest with my sister. She's here for a homeschoolers conference out in Agoura Hills. Well, I did nothing. We went to dinner at Paco's Tacos (a Fabulous Mexican place if you don't mind clogging your arteries once in a while- oh, and they have handmade tortillas too), got home at 8 and put our kids down. With us. I let my girls sleep in my bed because Kevin was going to work all night and because her kids are something special at bedtime. And as an extra special treat I laid down with them. Needless to say, I fell asleep. I got up a half hour later and peeked in to the other room to find my sis still struggling with her boy.

Came out to the living room and my BIL was switching channels between UFC, Baseball and Basketball. Got a goodnight call from my man and went to bed. Mostly because I was bored. I thought of going out to the car and getting the book I'm reading, but I didn't. I couldn't believe that I was doing NOTHING! On a Friday night when I usually stay up late, I was going to bed sooner than I do on a weeknight. AND, Elena had invited the LH (that's Lincoln Heights) girls over to her house for non-poker night. (Her man was going out for poker night).

So right now I'm going to sit down and scoop out the armpits on these preshirred dresses. I was afraid of cutting into the shirring and then having to deal with the elastic coming out, so instead I'm going to serge it. I need to get them finished quick for a party we're going to this afternoon. In hot Long Beach.
My sister and I are on the same brain wave a lot. Yesterday, when I asked her what she wanted for lunch she said, "Ceviche." Which is exactly what I was thinking. So I went out and got what I needed, fish and lemons and cola. You've gotta have ceviche with cola or beer. I like cola better than beer so that's what I got. It was the best ceviche I've ever made. And you've also gotta have it with a little bit of hot sauce if you don't make it with chiles.

We grew up eating this and every other seafood you can think of. But get this, we grew up making this with GROUND BEEF as well as with fish. It was made exactly the same but with beef back when there were no concerns about it being contaminated and getting sick from it. At least none that I can remember. I don't eat beef anymore but I did make it once with ground turkey and it was pretty damn good. We used to eat it with Saltines. The memory makes me salivate. Okay, so here's how you make ceviche:

2lbs tilapia for about 4 people for 2 days
10 lemons
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1.5 tomatoes
1/2 onion
salt to taste (lots)
pepper to taste
serrano or jalapeno chiles if you want

Now, chop up the tilapia into little pieces and put in a bowl. I chop then use my fingers to smoosh. I don't like chunky ceviche. Juice all the lemons and add it to the fish. The fish will start "cooking" while you chop the cilantro, tomatoes and onion. Add those to the bowl and get your big container of salt and sprinkle freely. Mix, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. The fish will change color. It will turn white and not look transparent anymore. Taste, add more salt if you like and spread on top of tostadas. Add some Tapatio sauce, pour some cola or beer and enjoy with someone! There's nothing like sharing a meal with someone who will enjoy it as much as you do. (That is not my husband when it comes to ceviche, therefore, I don't enjoy it that often).

Now, unless you have a stomach of steel as I do, I don't recommend you have this meal for breakfast, right after you've had coffee. Have a good one!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Birthday Aprons

Man it was a busy, busy week ending in a busy weekend. I am tired. Here's what I worked on this past week. I made this apron set for Goretti who turned 35. Go girl! You look FABULOUS! She wanted cookies sheets, so along with those and a Martha Stewart Cookie book, I made these to go along. She has a soon to be 6yo and a soon to be 1yo. It will be so much fun for them all to put on their matching aprons next time they make cookies. Cute, huh?

Here's what the apron will look like on. The skirt is way too much I think.

And here's Goretti getting a little help from her daughter Isabella. I liked that she put on all the 35 candles instead of just the numbers as I will be putting on my cake.

Little Sofia had her 2nd birthday party on the same day as Goretti. She had a Mickey Mouse theme. I didn't find any girly Mickey fabric so I went with Minnie. I still owe her a crayon roll.

I just couldn't get a good picture of her cutie pie face. You can see her a little here. Her parents rented a little train that took Sofia and her guests around and around and around the block. She had a blast on it. But it made me sleepy b/c it was so slow.

And Look! Her mom, Elena, got me an early birthday present! A Cooling Rack which I've always wanted! This one's really cool b/c it stack ups and takes up only the space of 1. This was very considerate of Ele b/c I live in a very small apartment. Thanks Girl!!! She said she saw this on my list of things I wanted to get at the end of my blog. I thought I had gotten rid of that, but I guess I didn't and I got a gift out of it.

So work week just started. Whenever there's a Friday Adoption day I'm always busy on Monday which I love. Things are pretty settled here any other time. I took work home b/c I don't like feeling rushed the Monday after the Friday Adoption Day and so I just had to finish up a few loose ends. All my work is done now. Well, all of that work.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Late nights

Well, I didn't get to finishing my spring cleaning last night and I didn't get to it today either. Yesterday, I balanced my checkbook and then got on the computer and did some window shopping. I am sleep deprived. I've been going to bed at midnight all week. During my spring cleaning on Tuesday, I came across this. I know I'm not ever going to use it. Do you want it? Let me know.

Tonight I was busy with this.

The results will follow on Sunday or so. Mostly I just did a lot of cutting. Now it's after 11pm and I have to get the dishes out of the sink and pack lunches for tomorrow.

Oh, and clean up.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Onesie Dress tutorial on Cut Out and Keep

Cut out and Keep Onesie Dress tutorial
Before you get confused, this is not My tutorial.

This is how I started making the onesie dresses. It's a very good tute. I always forget to instruct people on things like matching up centers and sides. I don't use the elastic anymore b/c I'm that good! LOL No, I just figured out how to do it without. But it's really, really easy with the elastic. When I first made them I was like, OH! How smart!

I started spring cleaning my sewing area which is in my kitchen. I was up til midnight last night. Kev's gone for the week so it gives me the motivation to get moving. For some reason, when he's there, I can't do things like that. Or sew really. I don't know why. He's presence stunts me. I don't know why. I bought a thread box and organized my thread that had been previously tumbling around in a drawer. Ah. Relief. I also organized most of my patterns. Tonight I will be organizing the rest of the patterns and hopefully get some sewing done. I confess that I could have gotten much more done last night had I not turned on the computer at 10:30pm. I know once it's on, it's all over.

I will be going through my huge bag of scraps that I'm saving to one day make a quilt. I think I just need to throw it out. I have been pattern shopping lately and considering getting an Ottobre subscription but, Please! I don't even have time to make the stuff I plan to make, much less the stuff I dream of making. In the meantime, patterns are gathering dust there waiting for someone, me, to turn them into 3D. I just ordered the Emmeline apron and I'm excited to make it. I also ordered a couple of Jalie patterns that I liked b/c I could see them on myself as well as my girls. I love that they go from size 2-22. Now THAT is worth spending money on.

I also want to get: his Backpack Tote pattern, and this Notetaker pattern. Buying independent patterns is expensive. And if they're just going to sit in a drawer, then, should I really be buying them? I think I just need to get through the patterns I have first. But they call to me! Just like the fabric calls to me when I go to Joann's for just one little thing and come out having spent $40. It's so hard to walk out without any fabric! Speaking of which, I'm going there for lunch b/c I may just have to make some aprons for someone's birthday coming up.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Another onesie dress and VISITORS!

I didn't get to post this weekend b/c my internet was down on Saturday and I was busy on Sunday.

Last Tuesday, I quite suddenly found myself with an abundance of family near me! My brother in law came in as did my sister and her family. My BIL lives in NY. He's a musician and he was hear for a tour? Show? I don't know the details. Kevin brought him home Tuesday night. Omari was so disappointed that she wasn't going to get to see him. When they got home, at some ridiculous hour, they woke the girls up. The girls were so excited. The next day, Wednesday, I had them both home by 12 so they could spend some time with him.

My sister and her family were here for a last minute funeral. My other BIL's (her husband's) nephew died in a car accident. Well, they call as I am driving back to work on Wednesday after dropping of the girls with DH and BIL. They want to meet for dinner. Of course!

We went to one of all our favorite restaurants, Yashima at the Olympic Collection on the Westside. Yummy! They drove back home to the Bay area right after dinner. We didn't tell the kids that we were seeing each other and they just shouted with glee when they saw each other. It was so cute.

And here's Margie, my sister, Lyn, Aaron and Kevin. Lyn is Aaron's mom, and Margie is Lyn's mom. She's suffering from Alzheimer's and during dinner she asked Lyn who were the 2 ladies sitting at the end of the table (Me and my sister).

It was so neat to have something unexpected and unplanned to do, people to see during the week. We don't have any family here so it was a nice treat for us all.

And last week I finished another onesie dress and sock set.

This one's for my new niece Marley who was born on 4/9/08 when I had people in my city. Um, yeah. The flowers are upside down. I wasn't paying attention and didn't catch it until I was finished. Maybe my SIL won't notice.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Do I need to scale back?

It can be difficult to admit, but if you’re not averaging at least an hour a month pursuing a hobby, it’s time to let it go. The space you’re sacrificing in your home is too valuable to store things you don’t use. If you don’t have storage issues, it’s still worthwhile to get rid of your unused hobby stuff. Every time you walk past it I bet you think, “I wish I had more time to do X.” You don’t need that stress and guilt. If it were really important to you, you would pursue it.

I came across this on Unclutterer today. Earlier this year I had thought about giving up scrapbooking. I do it 3-4 times a year. The leisure time I used to spend on it is now taken up with sewing. My scrapbooking stuff takes up half of my halway closet. The other half is my husband's. All in all, it's not a lot of space, but it could be utilized to store fabric or my machines instead of having fabric in a box in my kitchen and machines in my closet.

I admit that it would be extremeley difficult to let go of it b/c when I do do it, I enjoy it. Especially b/c I typically do it with friends. As a matter of fact, a scrapbook date is on calendar for this Saturday. I still haven't finished Naiobi's baby book. Maybe I should stop once that's done. But Naiobi is 3 1/2. When will it be done? And, pictures from the 2nd year are so much better and more fun. Hm.

My other hobby is crochet. That doesn't take up too much space either as I don't collect yarn or anything. I have one of those underbed storage boxes with leftover yarn from other projects. But I am certainly turning a blind eye to my SILs baby blanket which I don't think I'm even halfway through. The baby is due in 2 weeks. And instead I started a onesie dress last night. So much quicker! Maybe I should have just sewn a blanket.

But I thought, that I would work on it one my downtime. HA! When's that? Even when I'm watching tv I'm doing dishes or packing lunches or making half ass attempts at working out. Downtime.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Good Grief!!

I am writing this a few days after these shirts were made. Which I'm happy about b/c if I'd written it while I made them or soon after there would have been a lot of cursing. So technically, they weren't difficult to make. but the fabric for the blue one was not cooperating and kept doing shit like this:

and this:

which sent me into a furious rage and I nearly busted my needle out of the machine b/c the fabric kept getting stuck into the bottom of the machine and then I couldn't pull it out and so I decided to just yank and yank until it did come out having no regard for what it would do the machine or myself if the needle broke off and hit me in the face. So, I had to put this aside and work on the green one. The green went together much more smoothly as it was a beefier knit and now I had some experience under my belt.

I made the stencils my cutting them out with an exacto knife onto a clear plastic sleeve. I cut it apart so that I had 2 and used 1 for each design. The lizard is my favorite and it's a free download from Ottobre Design Magazine. The motorcycle I got from an internet search and enlarged it.

I didn't make the arm and neck bindings as instructed b/c I just couldn't get them to look nice. So I made them more the traditional t-shirt way.

I really did end up loving both of the shirts and was glad I got the experience out of my system. I'd been wanting to make the lizard print for a while. Now, I made a size 2t but that baby Noah is so fat I don't think they're going to fit.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Onesie dress: Watermelon & Strawberries

I made this for a co-worker who's adopting a baby girl. Her baby welcoming shower is today. The baby is 3 months old and this onesie is a size large. I think the onesie dresses look cutest when the baby is standing and starting to walk around. I'm quite happy with how it came out. I did the applique by applying some fusible interfacing to the wrong side and then cutting out the pieces. Then I put Heat N Bond on the back to keep the pieces from shifting. I followed my machine's directions for doing applique, which is basically just zig zag and using the satin foot. I didn't see why I couldn't just use the zig zag foot. Anyway, the neckline was a happy mistake. I wanted to use a twin needle at the hem. But for some reason, I didn't set the machine on straight stitch and used something else and this cute little scallop appeared! I was having trouble trying to figure out how else to embelish the dress. Should I bind the sleeves? The neck? I figured the scallop stitch would work on the neckline too and I like it. I used one of my new labels made especially for when I'm embellishing a store bought shirt.