Sunday, April 29, 2012

KCWC, etc.

Well, I really didn't do well with Kids Clothes Week Challenge with Elsie Marley (although I did spend an inordinate amount of time looking at the flickr group, does that count??).  I made one raglan tee (Figgy's Tee for Two) and waited for more fabric to come from  This was a great shirt to sew, and I am proud of myself for making it.  The solid fabric is a pretty stretchy knit - polyester and rayon from Joann.  Unfortunately, it is a bit snug on Emma - although she loves it. So, when I try again it'll have to be a 10.  It was hard for me to wrap my brain around sewing this - as you leave the edges raw.  You actually sew right sides together vs. wrong sides, which is just hard for me to do.  This tutorial is fabulous - I couldn't have done it without studying it over and over: or her photos starting here:

Tee for Two size 8

The organic cottons I ordered will work great, but I ordered some knits for me and I'm not sure they'll work out.  They are rather thin looking.  I'm a little worried about with sewing them.

I had hemming to do and another pattern to try, but this was a big week for me with several things looming....  a  demonstration lesson for Reading Recovery, appointments for the kids most days, and piano playing at church today.  I hope next week is easier and I can try some more things.

I am completely obsessed with looking for photos in my flickr feed of folks taking the NOW:YOU workshop.   Such interesting compositions and text.  How we see ourselves... who we think we are.

I've been playing around with taking self-portraits.  I NEVER see myself in photos.  #1 - no one takes pictures of me, #2 - I'm taking the pictures, and #3 - we never print pictures!!  Here are a couple favorites.  Playing around with picmonkey helped!


part of me

After feeling less than productive this weekend (lots of soccer and baseball), I sewed together this baby quilt - inspired by Namoo ( .  It's been on a mental to-do list for some time.  Love the greys and yellows.  Hope to bind it tomorrow.  

yellow and grey

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spring Tops

I started to make several things this week to enter Rae's Spring Top Sewalong.  I found some great brown jersey knit at the thrift store, but it turns out it wasn't enough for a top for me from any pattern I had!  So, I ran to Joann's while the clearance items were still 50% off and bought some knit.  It's striped and I love stripes, but I had passed it over earlier because it's sheer-ish and not as "stable" as the knit I had used for the Renfrew.

Holy double hockey sticks (I think my mom reads this blog) was it horrible to work with!!  Lesson learned on working with more "stable" knits.  The fabric curled all over the place and stuck to itself (and everything else) like a suction cup.  I spent more time arranging the fabric for cutting and then pinning seams together than sewing.  I decided on a pattern from Tanya Whelan's book Love What You Sew.  There are several other patterns I'd like to try with better fabric.  The neckline gave me some fits and I ended up ripping out stitches and using some Lite SteamASteam2 (double sided fusing) to help secure the neckline and stitch it down.  It's just a quick and easy dolman sleeve type shirt (easy with better fabric).

Spring Top #2 - Everyday Knit Tunic

I finished just before we needed to head out, so I grabbed Phil for some quick shots and then decided to enter the Renfrew, too.  (Even though it is too small, like, really too small...)  So, I did get two shirts done and entered and that's been on my to do list for years (kinda like the 10-15 pounds....).

Spring Top #1 - 1st Renfrew

The lovely orange band is on my wrist from our Earth Day activity today - protesting the possibility of cutting down Stadium Woods for an athletic facililty on Virginia Tech's campus.  A cause my kids can get behind.

Tomorrow KCSC begins!  (I am already behind!)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My first Renfrew and planning for Kids Clothes Sewing Week!

I have been reading blogs for so long and keeping mental lists of projects I want to try.  Although I think my heart is in quilting, I can't help being inspired by how I started sewing - with clothing.  So, over the last while or so I've started to think about sewing clothes for me and my kids.  I've always wanted to join in on Rae's Spring Top Week and Elsie's Kids Clothes Week Challenge (KCWC).

I first spotted the Renfrew by Tasia of Sewaholic a month back or so in the Sewing Women's Clothing flickr pool.  (LOVE going there!)  Shipping from Canada was more expensive than I expected, so after emailing Tasia, and finding US stockists, I found the pattern at a Fashionable Stitch. (Shipping was $2 and I got the pattern sent immediately!)

I was hoping to get one sewn for Rae's Spring Top Week.  This weekend I got some pattern tracing, cutting, and sewing done, and although it looks darling and came together well (I learned a few things... I always do), it's too small.  Yes, measuring is important - as is keeping your sewing supplies organized so you can find your tools - er, measuring tape.


I am really proud of it (even though I can't wear it in public)!  I've been wanting to sew with knits for about 2 years, now and I finally did it!  The fabric was from - sale bin stuff for about $2/yard.  It's pretty stable, and not too stretchy.

Elsie Marley has been hosting a Fall and Spring Kids Clothes Week Challenge.  To sew every day for an hour for your kids - to work on the mental list of ideas you have - to get something done!  I've always loved watching what pops up during these weeks and now that I have some patterns and small successes back into the world of sewing clothes, I'm excited to participate this year.


I've got several Oliver + S patterns, Figgy's Tee for Two, and I think I have enough knit to make my 11 yo a small Renfrew.  By the way, I just figured out yesterday that Figgy made a Tee for Two for older kids - size 8-14!!  I just bought one on etsy as my kids are 9 and 11.  My pattern is the younger 12 month - size 6/7.  I'm really excited about the Tee for Two because I'm not so afraid of knits and t-shirt construction anymore and these should be really easy to whip up now that some of the learning curve is gone.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Back from Spring Break

We are back from our fourth trip to Anastasia State Park, Florida.  This year, for the first time, we had cousins and friends to join us!  What a great time - so much easier than other years. 
With a little food prepped before going, even cooking was better.

I wish I could do justice to the awesomeness of this park.  It used to be folks could drive onto the beach and park along the four miles or so.  Now carloads pay a fee and beachgoers walk out.  At the time of year that we go the campground is generally full, but the beach never is.  The beach is very wide, the sand bar goes out really far and there is no crazy drop off.  There are miles of beach for biking, shell-hunting, running or walking.  It is really amazing.  The photo below shows what some of the camp sites are like - live oaks with spanish moss - light filtering through palmettos.  Most sites seem very private because of all the flora. 

As an aside there is so much to do in St. Augustine!  There are several forts, museums, the Alligator Farm, St. Augustine Lighthouse, great seafood, and a polish deli (Black Knight Deli - you ellude me no longer!) that is to die for!  So, if the weather isn't good for heading to the beach - or you are sunburned.... you can easily find other things to do.


The kids had more physical activity by 9 am than they do most days around here.  Swimming, surfing, skateboarding, and running....

we also watched a LOT of this



I'm hoping this break - without technology of any kind can help reset me.  Seems I spend a lot of time reading blogs.  I should have given them up for Lent... but I couldn't!  So, one week without any of was really great.  I spent a lot of time looking at my kids, at their friends and cousins, thinking about children and our relationships with them.  Wondering how I can encourage them to be the best they can be - how can I help them learn when they fail? 

I also read The Lovely Bones and The Book Thief.  The Lovely Bones... jury's still out.  The Book Theif??  RUN to your library and get it - it's officially a teen book, but don't let that stop you.  An incredible story that I found so moving and lovely in it's language.  More reviews here.

After eight days of camping I am usually quite ready to go home.  This year I wasn't feeling that way although I wanted a buffer between unpacking and school starting again.  We always do our own sunrise service for Easter - watching the sun come up and reading about the most wonderful gift right on the beach.  It's lovely - and I hope a special memory for our kids.