Sunday, May 29, 2011

If you want to sew vinyl...

Last night, I finally finished the sewing for my daughter's teacher. Hey, she only asked me to do it about two months ago. No problem, right? (avert face in shame...)

In my defense, this was quite a fiddly project. She wanted clear folders with three pockets. She had an example made of vinyl that only had two pockets and didn't quite do the job. She was quite insistent on the vinyl (which sticks to itself and to the sewing machine). She also wanted the pockets rimmed with a variety of fabrics (which cannot be pinned as part of the sewing process). Did I mention she doesn't sew? She didn't know what a project this would become (neither did I!).

Luckily for me, I had a fabulous experience buying the vinyl. At the local big box craft store, I bought a meter of the clear vinyl used for table cover. The girl who cut it for me was not the typical big box store employee (truth be told, she looked a little scary). She was a gold mine! It turns out she regularly sews vinyl. She had two different ways to thwart the sticking problem:

sew through tissue paper
spray silicone spray

She prefers silicone spray, though it does coat everything in the immediate vicinity (I opted for tissue paper). She also advised on a long stitch-length (I used 4.5 instead of the machine-setting of 2), because the stitches easily rip through the vinyl, especially when the holes are close together. Are you curious to know why she was such an experienced vinyl seamstress? Because she makes Gothic fantasy wear (this made my day!). Apparently, there is a major market in Perth and Melbourne. So, there you go.

For the fabric, I cheated and used bias tape bought from a small local fabric store. Again, lucky me found 10 different patterns there, so I was able to make the 20 pockets with the variety requested. Without a deadline, the project sat nagging me, untouched, for over a month before I finally buckled down and committed the time to finish. Last night was it! The school requires parents to commit to 6 hours of school help per semester. These pockets took an average of 1.5 hours each, and there are 20 of them. I think I'm done for the year.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chocolate cake

The cake I baked on Monday was not for us. It was requested for an event at school, a fact that was universally denounced in this household as being completely unfair and unreasonable.
So, today, I baked another cake.
A chocolate cake.

This has been deemed most agreeable by the masses.

Monday, May 23, 2011


In the justified busyness of life, I had nearly forgotten how much I enjoy...

...baking a cake.

...preparing for art, knowing how much my girls will enjoy it and how well it will ease them into the afternoon after a long day at school. (inspiration: Artful Parent)

...a vase of fresh flowers.

Most days,
I don't bake, because we try to limit sweets in the house and subvert our voracious sweet teeth.
We don't maintain regular art time like we used to, because there is always something else.
I don't buy fresh flowers, because they are relatively expensive.

But today, I am remembering how very much I enjoy these things and how maybe I need to knock those justifications out the window every once in a while.

Wishing you a happy Monday!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Flurry of activity

In the wake of the KCWC, my sewing room looks like this:

I wish I had been half as prolific as that mess would indicate. I was really on my game for the first 3 days. When I went to purchase buttons for the finished cardigan, I nabbed some fabulous fabric with kids scooting on it and whipped up some elastic-waist pants for my friend's scooter-obsessed son. 3 days sewing = 3 days of productivity!

Then, I became more aware of the obligatory sewing I wasn't doing. Once again, I took on a massive sewing request from my daughter's teacher. So, although it didn't fit the sewing challenge, I spent a few hours sewing on that...and lost the joy.

It was at that point when I decided uploading my yarn stash to ravelry was a brilliant and necessary plan. Four days later, I'm done! Whew! So yes, very busy. As for the usefulness of said busyness...ahem.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

KCWC: Days 1 and 2

Did you decide to participate in the Kids' Clothes Week Challenge? Monday (yesterday) was the first day. Although my to-do lists and want-to-do lists are already miles long, I thought the challenge is a perfect opportunity to make time for at least one sewing project for each of my girls. Thank goodness prep work and knitting count! Otherwise, I'd be a challenge drop-out already (that's exactly counter to the point).

On day one, I selected a pattern, Citronille's Suzanne, and copied it for each of my girls (of course, now that I'm looking at the whole site, I'm thinking Albertine would be a better choice for the cooler weather we are now having). I washed, dried and ironed the fabrics (wonder if I have enough for the different pattern...). End of sewing work.

Later in the evening, I did manage to knit one sleeve on my daughter's cardigan that I've been working on for over a month, so that felt great!

Today is day two, and my attention stayed with the cardigan. So close! I finished the sleeve, finished one side...and another! Sewed on buttons and VOILA! A finished garment! I am so happy and proud!

(will post picture when my young model decides to cooperate...)

What's in your work basket?

Friday, May 6, 2011

A spot of sewing, anyone?

You might have noticed a new button on my sidebar. I spied via Artful Parent that the annual elsie marley kids clothes challenge is on next week. I'm taking this as the excuse I needed to get going on the backlog of wanna-sew items for my girls. The challenge itself is very do-able in that all you commit to doing is one hour per day of sewing for children (pattern/fabric cutting and related prep counts). This might be enough for an experienced person to make a number of items or a real beginner to tackle one or two small projects.

Anyone care to join me? Head over to elsiemarley to sign up! Her recent posts have featured some beautiful children's clothing designers, and you might get inspired by a new pattern or two (or even eight isn't crazy...ahem). Also, check out Artful Parent if you don't already visit. Jean maintains a fantastic site and shares loads of great ideas for fostering children's creativity.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Middle Earth

Can you picture part of the opening sequence to "The Fellowship of the Ring" when Frodo is reading in a meadow and hears Gandalf's singing as he drives his cart nearby? Can you conjure the richness of the light, the colors, the natural splendor of that grassy spot? It's not all cinematography. Middle Earth really is that beautiful.

(and these were taken with a point-and-shoot, zero photo editing)(wow)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Thank you, Air New Zealand

We're back! Despite lots of autumnal rain (sigh), it was a great trip from beginning to end. Yes, even the very beginning of the trip was fantastic, because the flight started with this, the only inflight safety video I could not tune out and looked forward to watching again...

My husband is not American and isn't familiar with Richard Simmons. He just didn't get it. I, on the other hand, laughed until my eyes watered, helped by the fact that the senior flight attendant (a kind man in his 50s) was dancing along in the galley.

Thanks to Air New Zealand for some great flights and for putting this on YouTube so I could share the joy!