Friday, September 28, 2012

Life As I Know It

 

Ok, I totally stole this post title from Libby but I don’t have any projects to share and I still wanted to catch up :)

I finished my crochet hat for Mike but it’s not as easy to get a pic of him as I would like so stay tuned. I started a hat for my friend’s son that I’ll be sharing soon too. I sent her a smaller version when she first had her son and she asked for the next size up. I made up the pattern and didn’t write it down so I’m trying to recreate and possibly improve on the design.

My garden is winding to a close. My orange mums are finally starting to bloom so expect some upcoming pictures, which will also be my last garden blooms post for the season. My veggie garden is winding down too. We had to do some emergency pesto making at the beginning of the week since the temps have dropped so much at night. The basil was on the verge of dying so we made a huge batch of pesto and froze it in ice cube trays so we can enjoy it through the fall and winter.

Mike and I are busy planning a trip to Portland in October. We are going to a wedding for an old friend of Mike’s that was the best man in our wedding. It will be the first time I’ve flown on a plane since our honeymoon, seven years ago. I’m excited about the trip but unsure of what to expect with all the new airline rules.

I’m getting an iPhone 5! We finally broke down and joined the smart phone crowd after resisting paying for a data plan for so long. With the changes Verizon made to their data pricing, it’s a much more reasonable rate for us to upgrade. I’m really excited to be getting the latest gadget for once. We aren’t usually early adopters when it comes to technology so it’s fun to be able to have the newest model. I preordered it so it won’t be here until October 5th and I’m (im)patiently waiting. Mike opted to get a Galaxy Nexus instead so he has been teasing me that his phone came first but I think it will be worth the wait.

We haven’t been biking outside in a couple of weeks and I would love to go on a bike ride and get some pictures of the changing leaves so hopefully we will get around to it this weekend. Hope you have a great one!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Taking in a Wide Shirt Sleeve


Refashions
This refashion was so quick and simple I wasn’t sure if I wanted to post it. I finally decided to share because I want to show you how a super simple fix can make such a big impact. I didn’t wear this shirt and two quick seams later it is back in my closet and out of the refashion pile. You don’t have to be an expert seamstress to make a big changes in your wardrobe.

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I can’t remember where I got this shirt. It was either from the thrift store or a garage sale. It’s originally from The Express. I love the cut of the dress shirts there. They are usually fitted in the waist and I have a hard time finding dress shirts that fit me well in that area. Most of them are cut much wider so any time I find an Express dress shirt I snap it up.
When I first went to wear this shirt and realized that it had crazy wide sleeves. My shoulders are a bit broader than I would like so anything that calls attention to them makes me uncomfortable. I loved the fitted waist but I couldn’t get over the sleeves so this shirt went into the refashion pile. I wasn’t even sure I could fix the sleeves since I didn’t have any experience with sleeve seams. Still, I decided to give it a try since this shirt wasn’t making it into my closet with these sleeves.

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I started out by laying a shirt with normal sleeves on top. See what a big difference that is? I tried the new seam more than once before I got it right. Since I was stitching such a small seam I used a basting stitch to experiment. I set my stitch length to the longest setting and I didn’t back stitch at the beginning or end of the seam. This allowed me to pull the seam out easily if I didn’t like where it was placed. My first attempt was to sew a seam to match up with the shirt I laid on top. This took the armpit in way too much.

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What finally worked was a diagonal line. I stitched from where I wanted the seam to end to the armpit. This took in the sleeve and still left the armpit seam intact. I ironed the seam flat (plus the rest of the shirt) and I was done.

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The inner part of the sleeve isn’t super defined but when my arms are down you don’t notice. The most important thing is that I actually want to wear this shirt now. I will probably be layering it with cardigans and sweaters and I won’t have to worry about puffy sleeves anymore.
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Monday, September 24, 2012

Wide Leg to Bootcut Pajama Pants

wide leg to bootcut pajama pants, refashion
I do not have a lot of luck buying clothes online. More often than not they end up being too big or just not fitting like I want them too. I still am tempted by super cheap bargains but I’m trying to restrain myself unless I know how a brand will fit me. Enter these pajama pants. I got them for a steal but I hated the way they fit. The leg was too wide and the fit was just off so I felt frumpy wearing them. They ended up in the refashion pile but I wasn’t sure what to do with them. I did consider making them into a scarf but the colors weren't “fall” enough for me.
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The other day I was in a sewing frenzy and these pants made their way to the top of the pile. I considered making them into legging but decided I wasn’t sure how the polka dots would look. I even googled pictures of polka dot leggings to see if I was inspired. Ultimately I decided to leave them a little looser. I have a pair of pants I wear to the gym that has a nice bootcut leg so that’s what I used for my template.
wide leg to bootcut pajama pants, refashion
Do you see how low the crotch was on these pants? I think that contributed to the frumpiness. I decided to take them in on the inside seam since the waist band matched up pretty closely. I drew a line down the side to my black pants to mark my new seam. Then I pinned the legs of the pj pants together to keep the fabric from moving while I was sewing.
wide leg to bootcut pajama pants, refashion
I sewed a new seam down my line. I had to make a new crotch seam and it took me a few times to get it right. I used a straight stitch and increased the length a little bit to let it stretch more. I also could have used my stretch stich but figured the seam wouldn’t stretch much since they weren’t going to be tight on my legs.
When I was finished I tried the pants on. They were still a little loose so I move the seam over to tighten them up. Once I liked the fit I chopped the extra fabric off.
wide leg to bootcut pajama pants, refashion
Now I have a pair of comfy pajama pants that I actually want to wear! It may not seem like a huge difference but I took a pair of pants that I hated and turned them into something I love. I will now be wearing these pj pants all fall and winter.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dress Refashion


dress refashion

I bought this dress at the thrift store. I loved the polka dot pattern and even though it was a little bit large, it had ties that I could cinch in the back. After I got it home and tried it on again I decided I hated the weird sleeves. They weren’t defined enough plus the skirt was too full and long. I tried it on multiple times, each time thinking I could make it work but it still ended up in the refashion pile.

IMG_1941

It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do with this dress. It finally hit me one day. I have a dress that I love, it fits me really well and I always get tons of compliments when I wear it. (A secret for all my bloggy friends- I got the dress at a garage sale.) I decided to use this dress as a template for my polka dot dress. I turned the polka dot dress inside out and laid my template dress on top. Then I traced down the sides with my disappearing ink pen.

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After I got my line set I turned the dress right side out and lopped off the ties. I hate those things. They get in the way when I’m wearing a cardigan and by the time I finished this dress I would have no use for them anymore.

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I turned the dress inside out again and I smoothed the fabric out flat. I used a couple of pins to keep the sides together so they wouldn’t move when I started sewing.

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Since I was making the dress more form fitting and it was knit I used a stretch stitch to sew my new seams. It’s #5 on my sewing machine. I recently discovered this stitch and I love it for sewing knits.

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I sewed down the line I drew on both sides. When I was done I tried the dress on to make sure it fit the way I wanted.  I had to play with the sleeve seam a little to get it right.

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After I had all the seams the way I wanted them I chopped off the extra fabric.

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And volia! Another successful refashion! I even like the longer length now so I didn’t have to hem it.

dress refashion

I will probably be wearing it to work with a cardi since it’s getting cool out. I can easily add tights to stay warm in this cooler fall weather.

dress refashion

I may be linking up to one of these fabulous parties.

Monday, September 17, 2012

What I’ve Been Working On

 

Mike and I had a productive weekend together. We ran lots of errands, did a deep cleaning on my car, cooked food for the week, went to the gym and worked on some projects.

I have been sewing up a storm lately. I have a couple refashions I will be sharing soon. I need to take some pictures of the finished product and that requires me to look somewhat presentable for the camera :) I changed out my summer refashion pile for my fall refashion pile. I found some clothes I had totally forgotten about so I’m excited to start working on them. I’m trying to fully embrace fall and work on projects I will be wearing in the upcoming weeks.

Mike finally caught on to the fact that I am obsessed with taking in pants and asked me to take in two of his pants in the leg. Sorry no before and afters, I wasn’t going to push my luck. He had a pair of khakis that were a little too wide in the legs and a pair of jeans that had a little too much flare at the bottom. I used his best fitting pair of jeans as a template and stitched some new seams. It was super quick and Mike has two new pairs of great fitting pants.

I’m also working on a crochet hat for Mike. I made the hat part really quickly but I haven’t found much time lately to add the finishing touches to it yet. I have been consulting him along the way so it will be exactly what he wanted (and he’ll want to wear it!).

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Mike is working on his own project. I’m really excited about this one. He’s working on refinishing a desk we got from my dads. It used to be my sisters when we were growing up and it was a bit beat up. I’m already amazed at the transformation and it’s not even done yet. I can’t wait to share the finished product.

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Fall Wreath


fall wreath

I did it! I finally made my first wreath. It’s been on my to do list forever but I never got around to making one. I had high hopes to make a yarn wreath at one point but after I learned how long it took to wrap my wreath in yarn I ran out of steam to embellish it. I always admire other blogger’s awesome wreaths and right now there are tons of fall wreaths popping up. I decided to hope on the bandwagon and dig out my never used wreath form.

I routed around in my craft stash and pulled out everything that screamed fall to me. I didn’t want to spend any additional money so I figured out a design based on what I had.

fall wreath supplies 1

I started out with a wreath form I bought at the thrift store. The leafs, flowers and pics came from various garage sales. I deconstructed the flowers and leaves from some flower arrangements a while ago to make it easier to store them. I ended up adding more flowers after the design started coming together.

fall wreath 2

I had two different sizes of leaves. I played around with the arrangement for a while before I decided to glue all the large leaves down first and then overlap with the smaller ones.

fall wreath 3

After I glued the first layer I added the second layer of smaller leaves. This project was highly glue intensive!

fall wreath 4

Next I started gluing down the flowers and pics. I cut off any extra stems from the back to help everything stick better. I enlisted Mike for his design opinion and I added a second cluster of flowers on the opposite side.

fall wreath-001

Hanging the wreath on the door was a much harder feat. I knew we had a wreath hanger in the basement with all of our Christmas stuff. In order to get to the Christmas boxes I had to do some maneuvering in our basement storage area. It wasn’t exactly an easy job but I felt pretty triumphant when I found it.

Now that I’m in the fall spirit I think we need to go buy some pumpkins to decorate the rest of the porch.

fall wreath 6

fall wreath 5

I may be linking up to one of these fabulous parties.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Crochet Bear Baby Blanket


Crochet Baby Bear Blanket

I mentioned in my newborn crochet owl hat post that I went to a baby shower for my friend. She is a fan of handmade goods and I love to make crochet baby items so I decided to make her a mini baby bear blanket too. Both items were a big hit with the other guests. There were a lot of crocheters and knitters in the group so we all bonded over our love of needle crafts.

I have been wanting to make this blanket pattern for awhile now. I just never found the right time until now. I even bought yarn for this project awhile ago but never got the chance to use it. This has to be one of my new favorite yarns. It’s called from Baby’s First from Lion Brand. It’s an acrylic cotton blend and it’s super soft. I love that it is super bulky weight too. I love how quickly projects work up when I’m using super bulky weight yarn.

I originally found this pattern from Lion Brand via Ravelry. There are at least three different versions of this pattern on this site using different yarns. I picked this pattern since it used half double crochet and I needed this to work up quickly. I had to heavily modify the pattern using this yarn so I want to share the pattern that I had to use to make it work. Plus I didn’t like that it was a bunny so I changed up the ears to make it a bear. I ran out of the Baby’s First yarn so I finished the edges with lilly sugar and cream cotton.
I hope this pattern makes sense. I mostly followed the original except I used less rows for the head and blanket. I didn’t make the best notes for the decrease in the blanket so the number of rows isn’t exact.

Supplies:
Super bulky weight yarn
Tapestry needle
K hook

Abbreviations:
Ch= chain
Sc= single crochet
Hdc= half double crochet
St= stitch

Instructions:
Head
Head is made in continuous rounds with joining. Use the stitch maker to keep track of your starting stich. When starting a new round, remove the stitch marker, make your stitch and replace the stitch marker in the new stitch.
Row 1: Ch 2, Work 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook.
Row 2: 2 sc in each sc around. (12sc)
Row 3: (2sc in each sc around) (24 sc)
Row 4: (sc in next stitch, 2 sc in next stitch) ( 26 sc)
Row 5-11: (sc in each stitch around) (26 sc)
Do not fasten off

Blanket
Work in rows. Turn at beginning of each row
Row 1: Ch 2, turn, 2 hdc next 9 sts; leave rem sts unworked (18 hdc)
Row 2: Ch 2, turn, 3 hdc in first st, hdc in each st across to last st, 3 hdc in last st  (22 hdc)
Row 3-9: Rep Row 2 (50 hdc)
Row 10: Ch 12, turn, hdc in 3rd ch from hook, hdc in each ch and st across (60 hdc)
Row 11: Rep Row 10 (70 hdc)
Row 12: : Ch 2, turn, hdc in each st across (70 hdc)
Row 13: Ch 2, turn, hdc in next 60 sts; leave rem sts unworked (60 hdc)
Row 14: Ch 2, turn, hdc3tog, hdc in next sts, hdc3tog last three stitches
Row 15 +: repeat row 14 until there are only  3 stitches left.
Sc around blanket putting 3 sc in each corner. I put 6 sc in the point at the bottom of the blanket.

Ears
Ch 2. 6 sc in 2nd from hook. Join.
2 sc in first four stitches. 1 sc in next.
Leave a long tail for sewing.

Embroider face onto head. Sew on ears. Stuff head and sew shut. Tie hands in a knot.

You may use any of the patterns I create for personal use. If you would like to make an item to sell with my patterns you must link back to the pattern on my blog. You can not sell my patterns as your own.

I may be linking up to one of these fabulous parties.

Friday, September 7, 2012

What’s Blooming in My Garden: Early September


Did I say I can’t believe it’s September already? My garden is winding down now. Almost everything has bloomed at least once except for my late blooming mums and my autumn joy that is just starting to bloom. I had been neglecting cleanup in my flower bed so I spent the other day deadheading, pulling a few weeds and cutting back dead leaves. My flower garden is still going strong despite the drought we’ve been having this year.

Mike and I walk our two dogs pretty regularly and I always like to admire other people’s garden on our walk. I love to see what flowers other people are growing to get new ideas for my own garden or just to admire flowers I know wouldn’t work in my part shade bed. The beds in the area aren’t looking too hot right now and I am proud of the fact that mine has been blooming all season and it should continue up until frost. I’ve worked really hard to achieve this look. The one season that is lacking is winter interest but I can live with that :)

I got this beryl mum a few years ago. I planted it in the garden fully expecting it would not come back. It has come back and become enormous. I had two of them and I dug the other one out, split it into three pieces and gave it away. It also has self seeded so I have two other mini mums growing next to this one. I love how the blooms look orange when they first open up then they are yellow with orange stripes. As they mature they look more yellow. It’s such a pretty addition to the late summer garden. It’s a pretty early bloomer too despite the fact that I trimmed it down once in the spring.

beryl crysanthemum

My two clumps of black eyed susan are still blooming like crazy. They are one of the longest blooming flowers in the garden. I spent a lot of time the other day deadheading these guys. They will self seed and crop up everywhere. They also spread without seeding so I need to work hard to keep them in check. They would be perfect for a huge bed that needs to be filled but since I need them to stay in a more confined space it takes a little more work to do that. I will probably give away a clump or two in the spring if I have any takers.

black eyed susan

The black eyed susans are right next to my autumn joy. I love the stages this flower goes through. The buds start out green then they slowly change to pink and deepen to maroon. The dried heads look lovely too and I usually don’t cut them back until spring.

black eyed susan, autumn joy sedum

The bees are in love with the autumn joy too. For the number that were covering the blooms they were surprisingly hard to photograph.

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My favorite, the hydrangea, is still producing some blue blooms. I love seeing these random blooms pop up despite the fact that the hydrangea seems to be done producing new blooms. It has really grown this season too. It’s a monster plant. My neighbor put a few in her front garden and they look like dwarfs compared to my enormous one.

hydrangea

This are what most of the blooms look like right now. This is another great plant for changing bloom colors. The blooms change from blue to a dark pink. It seems like a more fitting color for the end of summer/early fall.
hydrangea

This has been a tough year for me for my annuals. I planted portaluca in the back baskets and they were mediocre bloomers. I put impatiens in up front this year thinking they would be perfect for part shade. It took until late July/Early August for them to start looking good. I have grown them in the past and had great success but the hot weather this summer had me struggling to keep up with the watering so I suppose that’s why they took so long to grow and really start blooming. They look great right now but it would have been nice to have it happen earlier in the summer.

impatiens


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Newborn Crochet Owl Hat Pattern


newborn crochet owl hat pattern

I can’t believe the last time I posted about crochet was in May! I have really been in garden mode and my crocheting had fallen by the wayside. I am getting excited to be picking up again. I had the perfect reason to complete some new crochet projects last week. One of my friends is expecting a baby boy in November and I went to her baby shower last weekend.

My favorite boy hat to make is definitely an owl hat. You can see the other two I made here and and here. Both of them were for a one year old so I had to make up a smaller version of the pattern. I used double crochet this time so it would work up a little quicker since I was a bit of a procrastinator making this gift. Hopefully there aren’t any mistakes in the pattern since I am reading my chicken scratch notes on how I created it :)

I still have another baby project to post about and I’m working on a special hat for Mike so expect to see lots more crochet projects in the future!

Supplies:
Worsted weight yarn in teal, yellow, blue, cream and black. (I used lily sugar and cream cotton)
H hook
Tapestry needle

Abbreviations:
Ch= chain
Ss= slip stitch
Dc= double crochet
Hdc= half double crochet
Sc= single crochet

Instructions:
Hat
In teal
Row 1: Ch 4. 9 dc in 3rd from hook. Join with ss to top of first dc. (9 dc)
Row 2: Ch 3. Ch does not count as dc. 2 dc in each around. Join with ss. (18 dc)
Row 3: Ch 3. (1 dc in first stitch, 2 in next) Join with ss. (27 dc)
Row 4: Ch 3 (1 dc in first two stiches, 2 in next) Join with ss. (36 dc)
Row 5-9: 1 dc in each stitch. Join with ss. (36 dc)
Fasten off. Weave in ends.

Earflaps
Count 5 stitches from center of the back of the hat and join.
Row 1: Ch 2. Hdc in next 7 stitches
Row 2: Ch 2, turn. Hdc in next 7 sitches
Row 3: Ch 2, turn. Hdc first two stitches together. Hdc in next 3 stiches. Hdc last two stiches together.
Row 4: Ch 2, turn. Hdc in each stitch across
Row 5: Ch 2, turn. Hdc first two stiches together. Hdc in next. Hdc last two stitches together.
Row 6: Ch 2, turn. Hdc in each stitch across.
Repeat on other side.
Once earflaps are done, join in back and sc around entire hat

Eyes
In cream
Ch 3. 8 hdc in 2nd from hook. Join with ss.
Ch 2. 2 hdc in each stitch around. Join with ss.
Fasten off and leave a long tail for sewing. Repeat for other eye.
In blue
Ch 3. 8 hdc in 2nd from hook. Join with ss.
Fasten off and leave a long tail for sewing. Repeat for other eye.
In black
Ch 2. 6 sc in first chain. Join with ss.
Fasten off and leave a long tail for sewing. Repeat for other eye.
Sew the black piece to the blue and then the blue to the cream using the picture as a guide. Stitch the finished eyes to the hat.

Beak
In yellow
Ch 5. Sc in first from hook and each chain across. Turn but do not chain. This will create a natural decrease. Continue until there are 2 stitches left then single crochet around the entire piece. Stitch to hat.

Ears
Cut 3 strings of yellow and 3 of blue approximately 12 inches long. Use a crochet hook to pull through top of the hat and knot. Trim ends to desired length and repeat on the other side.

Braids
Cut 4 stings of yellow and 4 strings of blue approximately 36 inches (or double the desired length of your braids.) Use a crochet hook to pull through the bottom of the earflap. Tie a knot then braid the strands. Knot at the end and trim ends. Repeat for the other side.

newborn crochet owl hat pattern

You may use any of the patterns I create for personal use. If you would like to make an item to sell with my patterns you must link back to the pattern on my blog. You can not sell my patterns as your own.


If you liked this pattern then check out my other crochet patterns and projects.


I may be linking up to one of these fabulous parties.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Veggie Garden Progress: Early September


It’s hard to believe it’s September already! The weather is cooling off a little bit and we are finally starting to get some rain after such a dry summer. This is usually the time of year I start to get a bit burnt out on maintaining the garden. I water less frequently and start to neglect my weeding.
Since I had the day off work I thought this would be a great day to catch up on my neglected gardening tasks. I did a ton of weeding, deadheading and harvesting. I picked a huge bowl full of tomatoes. I only have two big plants and they are producing like crazy. I have tomatoes coming out my ears and I can’t keep up with them.
Look at the size of these plants. The roma is the smaller of the two and it produced at least twice as many as the better boy.
better boy tomato
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roma tomato
I’ve made tomato sauce, salsa, tomato mozzarella basil salad, more salsa and more salsa. We put the tomatoes on pizza, added them to jarred sauce and had them with pesto. I’ve offered them up to friends and family and I still don’t know what to do with the rest of them.
My peppers are also going crazy. I have tons of jalapeno on the plant and I picked at least ten off today. My serrano is also producing a ton. The cubanelle is so heavy I had to double stake it up since it was falling over. The gyspy peppers are all turning red and delicious looking.
gypsy pepper
I am debating the best way to dehydrate the hot peppers without a dehydrator. I read a couple of different ways online. You can bake them in the oven at a really low temperature, lay them out to dry or hang them to dry. I’m not sure how any of these ways are going to turn out so I’m not sure which one to try. My other thought was to try and pickle them. I guess I haven’t decided yet.
My garlic chives are starting to bloom! I love their white pom pom flowers and so do the bees. They are all over the flowers.
garlic chives blooms
My poor pole beans didn’t make it to produce anything. They started dying around a week ago and I pretty sure my vegetable loving pup Abby was the culprit. I may need to rethink my green bean plantings for next year :)
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I had lofty plans to put in a fall crop of lettuce and radishes but I don’t think that’s going to happen now. The one thing I will definitely be planting is garlic. I still have to wait a little longer before I put that in. It’s one of my favorite things to plant. It’s so easy to grow and home grown garlic is amazing! Hopefully my fence will keep my vegetable/garlic loving pup out and she won’t dig any up this winter :)
Do you have an suggestions for a bumper crop of tomatoes and hot peppers? I would love some new ideas!

I may be linking up to these parties:

Tip Junkie handmade projects The Shabby Nest I Heart Nap Time Making Monday Marvelous Linky Party The Fun In Functional @ Practically Functional Blissful and Domestic UndertheTableandDreaming Keeping It Simple making monday marvelous linky party Seven AliveThe Taylor House Sweet Anne Designs - Sweet Sharing Monday

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