Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Craziness

I kind of disappeared off the face of the earth this past month or two. I apologize. This was one of the craziest Christmas seasons I have had yet, and I used to think I was overloaded back when I was in college! Ha!

Between multiple choir rehearsals for three different groups, six choir concerts/choir caroling trips, many sewing projects that needed to be done now, and just trying to keep up with life in general, I haven't had any time to post. But now the concerts are over, the sewing projects are for the most part completed, and I actually have the time to breathe, sit down, and write a post for my long-neglected blog.

I hope that you all have been able to enjoy this Christmas season even in the midst of all the crazy. It's so easy to forget why Christmas really exists when we are running around like chickens without heads (which, by the way, I think I have truly experienced). No matter how busy our lives get, no matter what we are dealing with, Jesus still came into the world to save sinners. Merry Christmas!

Yesterday was my church's Christmas program. We had a lot of kids participate this year, as usual, but also a lot of adults. There were several different groups who performed everything from spirituals to beautiful choral works. Music has always been such a big part of my life, and I love seeing others enjoy it, too!

Since this is a sewing blog, I will show you the dress I made and wore to the program:

I have wanted a red dress for a long time, and I love this style! I have some other fabrics I might try out with this pattern

One of my other sewing projects was putting fur on the bottom of a Santa Suit. Yes, I am now Santa's seamstress. 

The day after Thanksgiving, I decorated for Christmas. I am one of those nothing-Christmas-until-after-Thanksgiving people, but then it's all Christmas! I love our tree!

I also put up lights outside. Our house is the prettiest on the block! Mostly because it's is almost the only house with lights on the block.

I have been making some new Pet Pal animals that I hope to share with you soon, and I have plans for more sewing over Christmas break. I'll (hopefully) be posting more often now, so stay tuned!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Remake And A Roadtrip

Sometimes, I remake something, and then a few years later remake it again. I remember one dress that I changed at least three times, maybe even four or five, before I was content with it. A few weeks ago, I did a second remake of a dress that my sister had bought me for my birthday several years ago. It was a custom made dance dress. The skirt looked like something straight out of a fairy tale: full, long, dark purple sheer strewn with rhinestones. The top was made of dark purple velvet decorated with lots more rhinestones, but it was not something I would ever feel comfortable wearing. You know how dance dresses can be...

So I started shopping around for something to make a new top with. My mom happened to find a long purple velvet dress that matched well with the skirt (she often has more success finding the things I need than I do!). I don't have a picture of the original top, but here is a picture of the one I made:

And here is a very old and not very great quality picture of the whole dress:

See what I mean about the skirt?? Anyway, just over a week ago, a group of young people from my church took our annual trip up to the St. Louis symphony. We like to dress up for the symphony and I decided I wanted to wear this dress. But I also decided that I wanted to remake the top. This time, I went shopping for black velvet and found this top:

There was plenty of velvet there for what I needed and I got this pretty clasp too:

I cut the top apart at the seams and trimmed it down to the right shape and size.

Then I sewed the two pieces together. At this point I apparently stopped taking pictures, so I drew in lines on the picture below where I cut the neck in the back and trimmed the bottom so that it would fit the skirt. 

I also made sleeves from a black stretchy netting-like material. I don't have a picture of just me, but here is a picture of my sister and I in the symphony hall, which, as you can see, is amazingly gorgeous (and so is my sister)!

I think that is the last remake my dress will get. I am pretty happy with it!

Here is our whole group, all 34 of us. Yes, 34. And we didn't loose anyone! 

Before heading into St. Louis for dinner and the concert, we went hiking. If you're going to do a road trip, you might as well make the most of it. It was such a beautiful day for hiking!

In the past, supper has been rather rushed and we barely make it to the symphony hall in time, but this year I was determined to avoid that, so I scheduled plenty of time to eat and relax. We even had time after supper to walk around St. Louis a little. Here is an amazing church we saw:

Another successful St. Louis trip completed. We were gone for 20 hours. Maybe next year we'll make it 24... Although 20 was quite enough for me. It took a while to recover! But it was totally worth it. It always is!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Fleece and Fur and Faces

Right now, fleece is my favorite material to work with. It makes such cute stuff!! My little Pet Palz have been selling well at The Corner Shoppe, and the owner gave me suggestions for some new products. Naturally, I jumped on it and started making them right away! So, here is the Pet Pal Purse:

I love them! Currently I only have made bear, deer, and raccoons, but I have had some requests for elephants, so I am going to have to try those next.

Recently, a friend gave me a whole bunch of felt, and it was the perfect thing to line the purses! It's so fun when the inside is colorful.

I wanted to list the purses on eBay as well, and a dear little friend agreed to model them for me. She was perfect! (Thanks to her mom for helping out with this!)

I'm going to have to keep brainstorming, thinking of what other items I could make in my Pet Palz line. Any ideas?!

Saturday, October 1, 2016


Most people collect something or other. I have a collection of little glass teapots. I have lots of penguin things and lots of purple things. You could also say that I collect CD's and sheet music. But my favorite collection of all is my painted wine bottles. It all started when I found one in a thrift store and thought it was about the coolest thing ever. Since then I have found several at various thrift stores, and received a few as gifts from my brother, who keeps an eye out whenever he is shopping for Christmas or birthday gifts. My collection has now grown to nine, and I don't see it stopping any time soon!

The most recent bottle I found wasn't actually painted. It was more of a paper collage glued onto the bottle. It found a home in my sewing room. (I'm kind of running out of places to put these bottles...)

This collage bottle opened a whole new project idea. I can't paint, but I can cut up paper and glue it onto a bottle! So I got right to distracted from house cleaning, actually...and started pulling paper out of the bags of scrapbooking stuff under the bed. For the record, I did finish cleaning up the kitchen after I had found a generous amount of materials!

After lots of cutting and gluing and more searching for just the right paper scraps, I came up with this:

I love it!! Thanks to my sister for providing many of the little flowers and embellishments! I pulled out my wax stamp from my card-making days and added a seal near the top of the bottle. It just seemed to fit the theme.

This was such a fun project! Now my wine bottle collection is in danger of growing at a rapid rate. I may have to buy a shelf just to house them...

Friday, September 23, 2016

Just Another Edit

Occasionally, I actually get to my own list of alteration and sewing projects - you know, the ones for me and not someone else. And frequently, a new project appears right at these times, so the old ones get pushed further down on the list. Yeah, it's a never-ending list...

I had a dress hanging in my closet that I really didn't want to get rid of, but I hardly ever wore it because I had a lot of things I liked better. It was one of those dresses that looks a lot worse on the hanger than on the person. So I tried it on one Sunday morning and thought: I actually like this dress! If only it was a little shorter...and maybe I could do something with those ties... So I changed into something else and got to work on it the next week.

Here is the original dress:

It's such a fun dress, but it was just the wrong length. It needed to be either a little longer or a little shorter. As I couldn't lengthen it, shortening was the way to go. I also wanted to do something about the ties (the pattern makes them really hard to see so I outlined them in white). I wanted there to be something at the waist, but the tie was a little bulky.

I seam-ripped both tie pieces and took them out of the sides of the dress. They were double-layered, so I took them apart as well.

I hemmed two of the pieces and now had this:
I put them back into the sides of the dress. This was a little less bulky, since they were each now just one layer of fabric, but it still didn't solve the tie problem. What I needed was a metal ring. Fortunately, I had this shirt:

It was not something that I had bought to wear, so it didn't matter what I did with it. I took out the metal ring and looped the ends of the tie around it. I tried it on, pinning the fabric in place, and then sewed around the edge of the ring and cut off the excess fabric.

Much improved.

I took about 6" off the bottom of the skirt and hemmed it up. Now this is what I had:
It doesn't look that much different from the original, but believe me, it was!

 Yeah, I know, the grass is kind of in the way in this picture. But it's cool grass, and I like it.

Here is a close-up of the new waistband:

This dress is the perfect colors for fall, and since we are having a rather warm fall, it is also the perfect style! I am happy to say it will no longer be hanging useless in my closet!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Variations On A Pillow

I posted several weeks ago about how I had been making something that is kind of a cross between a stuffed animal and a pillow:

At first it was just an experiment, something new to try. But then I took them to a little store called the Corner Shoppe, where various vendors sell their creations, and just like that my animals were available to the general public - or at least to as much of the general public that enters that little shop! This was an exciting step for me. It also meant that I needed to buckle down and make more animals. And come up with an official name. A little bit of brain work and designing later, I came up with this:

Ever since then, I have been enjoying creating different animals in large and small sizes.




And squirrels:

Next up: bears! And then who knows? Maybe I should make some elephants. Comment if you have any ideas for me! I would love to know your thoughts!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Place With Space

Last week, I was able to move my little sewing station, which until now had been squeezed between the dining area and living room, into a whole room of its own. Yes, I now have a sewing room!! It is so fun to have so much space! I was also able to position my sewing desk right in front of the window, so no more staring at a blank wall while I sew!

The moving process spanned a few days and created quite a mess! It gets worse before it gets better, right? Well, it certainly did get worse! Here is an 'in process' picture:

I found out I had a lot more fabric than I realized! I still don't know where it all was before. I managed to fill two dressers, a small nightstand, and the shelves in my desk. That's a lot of fabric! Yeah, I really should restrain myself from any more fabric shopping for a while...

Anyway, here is a sort of panoramic 'after' picture:

I now have a clothing rack for projects I am working on, an ironing board always set up and ready (no more wrestling it in and out of the laundry closet), and a large mirror! Hooray!! (Thanks to my mom and sister for lending me the furniture!)

I decided to decorate in blue and green, mainly because I had a quilted pillow sham in those colors that I wanted to cover a bulletin board with.

I don't know what I will pin on it, but it's a pretty nice decoration whether I use it or not!

I found some coordinating fabrics and covered circles of foam board in them to make this wall display:

The mirror has a foam board frame wrapped in strips of fabric. I just love this look!

I also decorated a little jar with some of the coordinating fabric and added pearls and a twine flower for some character.

To complete the room, I knew I needed some kind of valance or curtains. I saw some cute scalloped valences in a quick search on Pinterest. A king-sized pillow case (another thrift store find) provided the material. I love how it turned out!

That really was going to be the extent of my decorating, but I had enough green and blue fabric left over to make a pillow for my chair. So I did.

Now my room is finished, and I have decided that my next big project is figuring out how to use all of the fabric I have collected over the past several years. If you need something made, just let me know! Chances are I have the right material for you!