Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 - How'd I Do?

I wrote down these sewing goals for myself at the beginning of 2009, but never published them as I started this blog later in January.  Here they are...

1.  Less yardage in than yardage out. Ideally, sew two pieces from stash for every one purchased.

Well, I wrote that before I knew I was going to NYC.  Purchasing nearly 50 yards of fabric there made it pretty hard to accomplish this goal!  But, after checking my totals, I was surprised that the in/out numbers weren't farther from each other.  I should note that I do a lot of rounding with my tracking, so these can't be considered much more than estimates.  For 2009 - Fabric In:  90 yards; Fabric out:  84 yards.

2.  Make a great white shirt.

I didn't do this.  I bought fabric in NYC and used a pattern candidate for a different shirt, but never got around to actually making the white one.  I do have a white button-down shirt in my closet, but it isn't a great fit.  I'm not sure I would wear it a lot even if it were, so this doesn't seem like a real pressing need to me.  But, I think I'll still forward this on to 2010's goals.

3.  Make a TNT pencil skirt pattern.

I didn't do this, either.  I don't think I really need a TNT pencil skirt pattern right now, so I think I'll just let this one go.

4.  Number of completed projects/garments: 50+

I didn't do a very good job of recording this after mid-October or so of this year, so I consider this to be a ballpark-type figure, too.  The number I do have recorded is 75.  That doesn't include small bags or baskets, but it does include a lot of other easy things like T-shirts and underwear.  I guess that averages to just under 1.5 things per week.  Not too bad.

5.  Write 20 new pattern reviews.

I wrote 21 reviews on  This surprised me.  Before I checked the site, I was pretty sure I had not done that many.  I reuse the same patterns a lot, so it was my goal to try some new ones.  Maybe I need to up the number for next year if it felt like I was still always using the same ones.

6.  Try Ottobre or BWOF magazine patterns.

Technically, I accomplished this goal, but just barely.  I made my daughter a hat from a Burda magazine.  I picked up the April 2009 issue while in NY, so my only choices are from that issue.  I do have plans to make a skirt from that issue, but haven't yet.  I would like to try Ottobre, also.  I love the clothes other people are making for their kids from Ottobre.  I guess I'll roll this one over into 2010, also.

7.  Participate in at least one contest.

I think the fair counts for this one.  It would be fun to participate in an online contest or sew-along.  I haven't done that before.

8.  Master the sleeve placket.

I did this (here, here, and here) and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  I'm glad I have this technique in my bag of tricks now.

9.  Start a blog?

Yup.  Check.  So glad I did.  I enjoy blogging and just as I suspected, I think it has helped me be better at my craft.  I have been astonished at how many people do actually read my blog and I've got to admit - I love it!  I love getting your comments and feedback.  Thanks so much for stopping by and for helping me make 2009 the best sewing year yet!

Bring on 2010!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Little Wallets

I've mentioned before about the gift card fundraising program that my daughter's school uses.  I like to participate in this program, but I don't like the gift cards to make my wallet fat and cluttered.  I came across this tutorial for a credit card wallet and thought it might be the solution to my problem.

I made two, one for me and one as a gift for my mom since she also participates in this type of program.

The top one (brown/green - with the cracked snap!) is for me and the bottom (blue) for her.

The inside has two pockets that can easily fit six cards in each.

I thought the tutorial was pretty good, but I did change a couple of things.  I was uncertain about the seam allowances used, so I modified the size based on what size I wanted it finished and then added 1/4" seam allowances.  So, I cut the outer fabric and lining 4.5" x 7.5" and each of the pockets 2.875" x 4.5".  The pockets have a 0.5" hem at the top and 0.25" hem at the bottom.

Also, the bottom of the lower pocket is just caught in the seam rather than turned under and stitched down above the seam allowance as the instructions say.

I was picking up the magnetic snap for the blue wallet on the day that I found out Fabricland was closing.  I bought every magnetic snap they had in that size.  I have enough fabric to keep me sewing for a long time.  What I don't always have are buttons, zippers, snaps, thread, etc.  So, I might be stocking up on those in the next few months.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Simple Gifts

These little zippered bags are gifts for friends.

This one is for a young teen.  It's made from decorator fabric that someone gave me recently.  I sandwiched a layer of felt between the outside and lining to add a little body.

This one is for a woman who loves purple.  Her Christmas decorations are purple, her garage door is purple.  Loves, loves, loves purple.  The fabric is leftover from a bridesmaid dress I made for my sister-in-law.

The fabric is actually quite lightweight, so I quilted it with a lighter purple thread.  I'm a little rusty with the stippling, but I find it's an all-or-nothing sort of thing.  I have a hard time ripping some out and re-doing parts to make it look good, so I just keep going.  It is what it is.

I have some other gift items to post about yet.  A couple of days ago I went back to sewing for me.  I got a little work done on my jeans.  Unfortunately, I think they are too tight now.  That might have something to do with all the goodies the generous parishoners have been dropping off in the last week.  I guess I'll need to back off from the sweets in the New Year (but probably not before then!).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Simplicity 5638 - Christmas dress

I like to make a Christmas-y dress for my daughters. In an attempt to be reasonable about how much time and money I have to spend, I decided not to make my younger daughter a new dress this year as the Christmas dress I made for my older daughter three years ago fits her now and looks quite nice. (I am well aware that I probably seem to be begging for comments full of bitterness and resentment from younger sister types that suffered through years of hand-me-downs).  So, this saga involves my older daugher only...

The Fabric

I didn’t have enough time to order something online and wait for it to be shipped to me, so I was at the mercy of my local Fabricland. A few weeks ago I saw some taffetas that would have been nice for a Christmas dress, but I was thinking that it would be wise to make something not too dressy and not too holiday-ish so that it could be worn longer into the winter. When I got around to shopping for the fabric, not only were the taffetas were gone but I had a really hard time finding anything at all that I liked for a little girl. It was bleak. I was about to leave the store with nuthin’ when I decided to cruise through the Home Dec department. I found this striped fabric on the clearance table and pondered it for a bit.

Certainly not love at first sight, but maybe it could work. I didn’t want the whole dress to be striped, so I headed back to the other side of the store to look for something to coordinate with it. Satin was really my only choice. I guess this was going to be a dressy dress after all.

The Pattern

It has been a really long time since I bought a pattern, fabric, and all the notions for a single project in one trip. That’s what I wanted to do with this dress. Then I’d just go home and sew it up without needing to stop to change this part of the pattern or draft that piece, or stop for a trip to the store to pick up whatever. Alas, that was not to be. I looked online at patterns so that I could just pick up what I wanted when I got to the store and spend most of the trip looking at fabric. I chose New Look 6771. When I asked for it at the counter, I was told it was discontinued. Great.

I guessed at yardage amounts for the fabrics I picked out and headed home to see what patterns I could use.

I found Simplicity 5638, an older, out-of-print pattern someone recently gave to me. I liked the sweetheart neckline, and the full skirt. I didn’t like the lack of long sleeves or bow option. Since I liked New Look 6771, I thought it would be simplest just to try copying it.

I used the sleeve and sash pattern pieces from Vogue 7958.

The Alterations

For the bodice, I started with a size 4 and added 1/8" to the pattern at CF.  The bottom of the bodice curved downward - I don't know for sure, but I think this is to accomodate a rounded toddler tummy.  Since my daughter has no such tummy and I wanted the bow at the front, I straightened out the bottom edge.  I also added 1.25" in length.  The back bodice piece was already cut out in size 3, so I just used that, adding 1/4" at the side seams.  I also added the same length as the front.

The sleeves from the Vogue pattern were also a size 4, with 2" of length added.

The skirt on the Simplicity pattern is intended to be floor-length.  I wasn't looking for floor-length.  When I measured the size 4, I liked the length it would turn out to be with a deep (2.5") hem.

The Zipper

I almost always do an invisible zip. With the right foot and variable needle position, I think it is much easier to get it to look good. I don’t always have much success with a lapped or centered zipper.

So, I put in the invisible zip in this dress and somehow messed up the zipper. I’m still not sure what happened, but it wouldn’t zip up. It wasn’t stuck on anything and there weren’t any stitches through the teeth. But, when I ripped it out it worked okay.

In Threads # 145, there is an article about getting the top of a lapped zipper to look good. I read that and decided to use the same invisible zipper, but use a lapped application. Unconventional, yes, but again – saving time (no second trip to the store) and money.

I’m satisfied with how it turned out. I think I’ll still stick with invisible zips most of the time, but it’s good to have options.

The Purse

The original New Look pattern that I wanted included a purse. I thought that would be fun to do and it turned out that the Simplicity one I used also had a purse.

The pattern suggests using a snap to close it. A magnetic snap would work well, but I thought a regular snap would be too fussy for small fingers. I used Velcro instead.

I think it is a pretty cute little girl purse. The darts at the bottom give it a good shape and the handle is a good length.

Okay, if you're still with me after all that, here's the finished product:

What's Black and White and Red All Over?

This specially requested basket for a friend.

I really love the lining print.  I think you'll be seeing a lot more of that one.

Bah Humbug

Yesterday was just one of those days.  I started the day with a healthy to-do list, but ran stuck on nearly every single task.  No paper for the printer, couldn't find any tape for wrapping gifts, excessively needy kids, etc.  The only thing I managed to get done without hang-up was clean the bathrooms.  Yee-ha.

Then I somehow managed to do this to my beloved Kitchen Aid blender:

Shortly after that, the handle on the microwave broke.

I left to run some errands in hopes of being able to make more progress on my list.  My first stop was Fabricland where I learned that the store was going to be closing March 31, 2010.  Whhhhaaaaaat?!?!?!  I do have a love/hate relationship with Fabricland, but this is really bad news.  It sent me into such a tailspin that I was largely unsuccessful at finishing the rest of my errands.

Now, I know people that are experiencing real and legitimate crises, so I'm trying to keep this in perspective, but it does make me very sad.  I did sign a petition at the store to keep it open and was given the email address of someone at the head office.  I haven't sent an email yet, but I will - probably more than once.  I was in a hurry and didn't ask a lot of questions, but it sounds like there is some uncertainty about the real reason for the closure.

Today is going much better...but still too much on the to-do list...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Is This Wierd?

I like to empty the garbage can from my sewing room.

I'm not entirely sure why this gives me a bit of pleasure.  Some possibilities....

  • The fact that it is full and needs to be emptied means that I've been busy creating.
  • As I dump out the contents, I see the scraps of all my recent projects and usually the quick "review" is nice.
  • I have a bit of guilt about my stash, so I feel good when fabric is used up and moved out of the sewing room closet to somewhere else.  I don't hoard tiny scraps as some super-thrifty and resourceful folks do and seeing the little scraps in the trash helps me feel like I may have made a tiny dent in the stash.

The striped fabric on the top in the picture is a sneak peek at my daughter's new dress (which is finished, but not photographed).

Now there is mostly gift sewing happening, so not much to post about or time to post it, anyway.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Stitching

Thanks for the compliments on the make-up bag.  I did draft the pattern myself, just using the measurements from the original bag and adjusting them for the requested change.  I find that I really kind of like the process of trying to copy something as closely as possible.

Awhile ago I saw someone (on a blog) wrap a tea towel and dish cloth around a wooden spoon and tie it up with a ribbon.  Viola!  A great gift.  I liked this idea and decided to use it this Christmas.  Unfortunately, I can't find the blog where I saw it.  And I've really searched because I can't get mine to look very good tied around the spoon.

Anyway, these will be gifts for school and Sunday school teachers, babysitters, etc.

Dish cloth pattern: Garter Stitch Lace Facecloth

Dish cloth pattern: Lacy Picot Swirl Cloth

Dish cloth pattern: Lion Brand Lion Cotton Dish Cloth

Dish cloth pattern: Diagonal Knit Dish Cloth

Dish cloth pattern: Lace Zig Zag Dishcloth Pattern

All of the embroidery designs are from except for the "Java" one.  It is from a Savvy Stitches package of embroidery transfers that I purchased from

I thought this one was my favorite until I did these two little chicks.  I really like them.

I just finished fixing three jackets for a friend.  Two needed zippers replaced and one needed a new button loop.  I wasn't excited about doing it (the zippers), but once I started, it wasn't as bad as I had feared.  Now I'm done and moving on to a new dress for my daughter.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Custom-ordered Make-up Bags

Even though this project wasn't for me, I still enjoyed it.  :)  A woman from church brought me a store-bought make-up bag and asked me to make one like it, but deeper.  She also wanted a flat, pencil case-type bag in the same fabric.

The bodies of both bags are interfaced and there is layer of batting in the boxy one.  I used a thicker cord than I usually do for the piping.  I think this helps the bag keep it's shape but the combination of the batting and heavier cord made it hard to get the piping to look good.  I had to stitch around the bag more than a couple times before I was satisfied. 

The bag on the left is the one I was copying.  I put the zipper in the center along the top rather than on the edge.  The pieces bordering the zipper do not have a layer of batting.  The zipper color isn't a great match for the bags.  I probably should have gone with pink, yellow, or off-white to compliment the dots in the fabric.

My daughter noted that the one I made would look much nicer with a zipper like the other one.  A giant pink bauble makes everything look nicer.

Now I think my sewing machine needs a bit of a tune up.  I should have brought it in awhile ago, but I've been babying it along for "just one more project" too many.  A good cleaning and tension adjustment would probably do it a lot of good.  There are some other non-sewing things I should be doing (has anyone told you that Christmas is coming?), so a forced break wouldn't be so bad.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


There was only one basket left at the shop in town, so I made five more and dropped them off this morning.

Next up: a custom ordered make-up bag.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lack of Progress

Since it's been awhile since I've posted anything, I would love to be able to say I have lots to show you, but I don't.  Really all I've been working on are these:

They're someone else's drapes that needed hemming along the sides and bottom of the drapes and the lining.  There were five big, heavy panels and it was a rather long and tedious job.  However, it gives me great pleasure to say that I am now finished with them and right after I post this I'm going to call for them to be picked up and I will be happy to have that corner of my sewing space back.

Since that project is finished, it would be nice if I could get back to my jeans, but there is actually more sewing for other people that has jumped in line.  It's good to make some money from sewing, but wasn't I just saying that I wanted to make something for ME?!  I'm a selfish sewist.  I won't deny it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Making Progress

I worked on my jeans a little more today.  Yesterday I got the fit to a place where I think I can be happy with it.  Then I took apart the "muslin" and decided to sew it for real to practice all the other parts of making jeans: topstitching, rivets, placement and design of back pockets, etc.  Ideally, I'll be able to wear them a bit, re-evaluate the fit, and then make another pair out of another cut of denim that I like better than this one.

Muslin pictures:

I'm happy with the fit in the front.  The rise is a little higher than most of my jeans, but I'm going to leave it as it is with this pair.

I'm not as pleased about the back.  After looking at these pictures, I went back and worked at getting rid of the wrinkles pointing to my high hip.  I will put pockets on the back, but wanted to work on the fit without them in the way. 

I tried pinning out the wrinkles under my seat, but when I did, I couldn't sit.  Well, I could, but it was rather inappropriate.  My bum wasn't covered so well anymore.  So, the wrinkles stay in the name of sit-ability.  When I stand like in the photo below, the wrinkles aren't so noticeable.

Okay, now let's leave my behind behind, shall we? 

Topstitching is a pretty important part of sewing jeans.  I tested out two different types of thread that I have on hand.  I thought I might need to check out a couple more, but I was satisfied with the one.  I first tried Coats jeans thread.  By the fourth pass (right to left, below) I had found the best tension setting and thought this thread could work pretty well.  Then I tried Coats upholstery thread and like the look of that better.  It's about the same weight as the jeans thread, but a little smoother and I like the color (less gold, more brown) better.

My Pfaff handled the topstitching pretty well, but I was concerned about it being able to stitch through seam intersections and doing the topstitching along those seams.  The first test wasn't beautiful, but it did do it.  For the second one, I pounded the seam allowances at the intersection with a hammer.  This worked pretty well.  The seam allowance was much, much flatter.  The denim did look slightly distressed after pounding, but not enough to keep me from using that method.

As you can see from the pocket picture below, I'm having a harder time getting nice stitches close to the edge than the second row of topstitching.

I'm not sure why it looks like the thread is different colors in different places.  Odd.  It didn't look like that before I uploaded it.

The front pockets and back yoke seam are finished and that's as far as I can go until I get some Wonder Tape to use on the fly.  I haven't used it before, but it seems pretty important for the method described in the instructions.  I'd also like to pick up some rivets and start playing with those.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I'm not going to pursue the gift card bag idea.  Again, I'm really grateful for your feedback.  You had lots of good ideas about how to improve them, but for the following reasons, I'm not going ahead:

1.  The question of what to make the bags out of is a big one.  The white felt I used didn't look that great.  I think it looks better in person than in the pictures, but not different enough to go ahead.  If I had some quality wool felt, that would be a major improvement.  It would have a nicer texture and appearance and it also wouldn't be such a stark white.  The appeal of using felt is that the edges don't need to be finished.  No seam finishing, lining, etc, and it is substantial enough to support embellishment.

2.  My thought was to make them and give them to the school to sell.  They are not a big ticket item and I can't reasonably make piles of them, so they wouldn't really bring in that much money.  Not enough to make it worth my time.  There would be more time and money spent on improving them and then all the time in production.  I'd rather just donate some of the other money I've made from sewing and be on my merry sewing way.

3.  The question of what one would do with it after receiving it is significant.  It could be re-gifted or used as an ornament or as a gift bag for some other small item, but none of those things are really necessary and I really think we need fewer unneccesary things, not more.  Christmas involves enough waste as it is, I don't need to increase that.  Interestingly, the felt that I did use was made from recycled plastic bottles.  I thought that was cool.  Too bad it doesn't look nicer.

I'll likely use the three bags I made without shame, but won't be making more.  I like sewing better than crafting.  These were definitely crafting.

But, sometimes it is fun to make something other than clothes.  Like this little ball that I made yesterday with my son:

The free pattern is available here (lower right sidebar).  He picked out the colors and helped me with the pins (taking them off and putting them on the magnetic holder) but enjoyed the stuffing part the most.  That was fascinating for him.  It's good to have a small, soft ball that can be tossed around inside the house.

Next up:  More work on the jeans.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Liturgical Sewing

This past Sunday was the start of a new sermon series at church.  It will run until Christmas, covering different aspects of prayer with the theme of "Come, Lord Jesus."  The Preacher asked me to make a small banner to hang on the front of the pulpit to go along with the theme.

This sort of sewing makes me nervous.  I've said it before and I'll say it again:  I'm not an artist.  I don't have great ideas for interpreting themes or symbols or combining them and I feel pretty inexperienced and uncreative in what media and skills I am able to use.  Church banners are a little like theatrical makeup - it has to be a bit over-the-top up close so that it looks okay from a distance.  Anything too subtle just gets lost.  Size and scale are much different, too.  I don't have much confidence in my ability to judge these things in the design/construction phase.  And then knowing that the thing is just going to hang there week after week for a couple hundred people to stare at.  Yikes.

After talking over with the Preacher about what he had envisioned, I made a trip to Fabricland and was pretty pleased with the choices I had.  I wasn't very optimistic before going.  There is a purple table runner that is also used on the communion table, so I was aiming to match that and came pretty close.

The only thing that is sewn on the whole banner is the outside edges.  Everything else is fused.  The purple ribbon is fused to the white ribbon in 7" sections.  There is a 1" gap in between for the gold trim to slide under.  The gold trim is tacked down on the purple ribbon where it passes over it.  The lettering is just a font from Microsoft Word, increased to the size we needed, printed as an outline and then traced on Heat-n-Bond.  Cutting it out was a little fussy, but they look better than I was expecting them to.

The gold trim is hard to see from the back of church and the white ribbon and satin letters look silver rather than white.  I think it would look better if there was more space between the letters and the white ribbon, but it is what it is.  My own insecurities about the project make it hard for me to be very objective.  I was grateful for a couple of positive comments about it on Sunday.

Since it has been awhile since I've done any garment sewing for myself, I thought I would ease back into it with something nice and easy.  Jeans.  I think I might be foolish.  I have the J Stern Jeans pattern and have been wanting to try sewing jeans for awhile now.  I also have the Jalie jeans pattern, but I'm not so excited about stretch jeans lately.  I have the practice pair put together and have been tweaking the fit issues for the last couple of days.  I'm not sure I'm satisfied yet.  It's going to be a long(er)-term project.  More to come...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

More Wine Sleeves

Thanks so much for the feedback on the gift card bags.  All of your comments were very helpful.  I haven't decided for sure what I'm going to do yet, but I'll keep you posted.

Three more wine sleeves, ready to go:

Now that I've made a few of these and have all the gliches worked out, they come together pretty quickly.

Two of these are going to my MIL who wants to give them as a gift.  The other will go to the shop for sale.

Next up:  Something for ME!  I don't know what yet, but it doesn't matter.  As long as it's for ME!  :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Soliciting Opinions

When I was looking for inspiration for the stockings I made, I saw these little bags and they kind of stuck with me.  With a little modification, I thought they would make good gift card "holders".  My daughter's school sells gift cards as a fundraiser.  Many of you are probably familiar with this sort of program.  If you aren't, I'm sorry, but I can't really explain it since I'm not sure I understand it myself.  Anyway, understanding the program isn't important. 

I was thinking that maybe I could make some of these and give them to the school for them to sell with the gift cards for the Christmas season.  I haven't run this idea by anyone at the school yet, but I thought I would make some samples so that they would know what I was talking about.

I was thinking that they were pretty cute.  Then I asked the Preacher what he thought.  His response went something like this:
"Honestly, I really don't like them.  I don't think they are cute at all.  Rickrack just doesn't seem very modern to me.  It looks like something someone's grandma made that you then pass over at a garage sale."
To which I thought, "Well.  How pastoral of you."  Just kidding.  I just had that thought now while typing.  :)  I was a little surprised, but I was grateful for his honest opinion.  I don't ask his opinion unless I really want it.

So then I looked at the little bags differently.  Maybe the felt and the rickrack together was all just a little too....crafty.  And I went back and looked at Martha's site and thought, "Yeah, mine definitely aren't as cute as hers."    Maybe this isn't a good idea at all.  But, I did like them before he said he didn't.  Now I'm not sure what I think.

I included a gift card in this one to show the scale.  When all the way in the bag, the card is completely covered.

If these were just for my personal use, I wouldn't really be concerned about it, but I don't want to spend any more time or money on something that isn't going to be successful.  And I really don't want to saddle the school with something unhelpful.  So, I'm asking for your honest opinions.  What do you think of these little bags?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Draft Busters

A woman I know asked me to make these for her son who lives alone in a large, old, drafty farmhouse.  It sounds like the heating bills can be a little tough to swallow.  These will sit on the floor in front of the closed door to block any drafts that normally would come under the door.

2009-11-10 draft busters 001

They're just a tube of fabric, sewn closed at both ends.  I wouldn't have picked this fabric, but that's what she gave me.  It is some sort of knit fleece, with a fair bit of stretch.  It was smooth on one side, but very fuzzy on the other.  I wouldn't have picked white for something that sits on the floor, either, but it wasn't my call.  I wanted to get rid of the stretch, so I underlined (that seems like a much too sophisticated word for this application, but I guess that is what I did) it with bleached muslin.

2009-11-10 draft busters 005

I haven't made this sort of thing before, so I did a little online research about them.  My biggest question was what to fill it with.  Some were just stuffed with polyfil, others used sand, kitty litter, beans or rice.  I went with rice.  I thought it would be most successful if it had some weight to it, but also could be molded a bit to fit tight against the bottom of the door.  And I didn't want to it be expensive.  I think it was a good choice.  The second layer of fabric helped to keep it looking smooth.

2009-11-10 draft busters 008

One of these is really long - 75".  It's for a set of double pocket doors like the one in the picture above, but bigger.  The other is 39".  I cut long rectangles, 8" wide by the length needed plus 2" for seam allowances.  I sewed one end closed by machine when I sewed the long seam and sewed the other closed by hand after it was filled.

2009-11-10 draft busters 003

These had just been sitting on a chair in my sewing room, but the kids are having too much fun playing with these "snakes."  I put them away because I'm afraid they're going to be all dirty before they get picked up and brought to their new home!

Monday, November 9, 2009

I Forgot to Mention...

Someone (anonymous) asked where I got the embroidery designs for the tea towels.  I meant to include this info with the initial post, but forgot.  The Christmas ornaments are from a purchased piece of clipart.  The Christmas candle is available here as a coloring page.  The other two designs are from  There are a lot of other designs on this site that I would like to do someday.  For all of the designs, I printed off the design and then traced the back side of it with an iron transfer pencil (against the window to be able to see it better).  Then I ironed it on the towels.  I found this worked well because it reversed the design, making it the right direction on the towel and I also could easily see the placement of the design.

The 500th birthday party for John Calvin was a fun evening.  The hat was a hit.  Here it is in action (with "Calvin's" permission):

In my previous post, I mentioned an art show that I went to.  The woman that hosts the show asked me if I wanted to be part of it next year.  She had asked me before this year's show (after she saw my things at the fair!) if I would be interested in doing it next year.  I said I thought I might, but I'm really glad that I made it to the show this year, so I know what it's like.  I'm quite interested, but a bit intimidated, too.  I've never done anything like that before, but thoughts and ideas are already rolling around in my head.

Well, I think that's all the bits and pieces I forgot for now.  Next up...draft busters.  Yup, they're as exciting as they sound.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fur Mitts

On Friday evening the Preacher and I stopped at an art show.  A woman that we know hosts it annually in her pottery studio.  Most of the art was her pottery, but she invites some other area artists to exhibit their work too.  One of the artists this year was a woman that makes things out of reclaimed fur.  The most common things were hats, mitts, and muffs, but there were also other things like slippers and fur-trimmed objects like purses.  The Preacher bought a pair of the mittens.

They are rather unique.  The cuffs and the palms are soft leather and the fur is Alaskan Seal.  The inside is fur, too.  They are really warm.  They are also really big.  They don't stay on my hands (but they're not for me, so that's okay).

Unfortunately, the artist wasn't there when we were, so I didn't get to talk to her.  The construction of the mitten looks pretty simple, but I would have had lots of questions for her about sewing fur.

I don't have much experience with fur, but these are the softest things I have ever felt.  This post is taking me a long time to write because I just keep petting them!  I'm not usually one to question God's good creation, but it almost seems a waste to put something like this on an Alaskan seal.  Who would ever pet it?