Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Somebody Else's Project: Circle Dress

When Zadie was just a baby I got this awesome circle dress from Sweet Pepita at a craft show. I'm thinking it was Squifire's in Baltimore but I honestly don't remember.

The dress finally fits and it's been getting a lot of use. In fact, Zadie pretty much demands to wear it everyday. It hasn't been hung up on a hanger in the closet because it's always pulled straight from the laundry basket (clean) and over her little head.

One day, shortly after the first time she wore the dress, Zadie was demanding to wear the circle dress and I had no idea what she was talking about. I showed her everything in the closet and pulled out lots of tops and rompers from the drawer, only to remember that this was in the dirty laundry hamper. I pulled it out and she was so excited. If only the stuff I make for her would have the same power...

Anyway, I'm in no way getting any kickbacks from mentioning this awesome shop and seller (although I certainly wouldn't mind, ha ha). I just want to give props where they're due. Thanks for making great stuff!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The big reveal: What I did to that polka dot dress.

Zadie got to wear her new very girly, very ruffly, very hijacked polka dot dress to a bunny rabbit birthday party this weekend. I love the final result although I'm not sure it was worth all the hassle. It does fit much better and is a lot easier to get on and off the poor kid. I just love how serious she is in this photo, taking care not to spill the contents of the bag.

I had to cut the dress from the middle of the neck all the way to the waist. There was no other way to make it look intentional. I like the result and the vintage button detail from my stash stands out and adds a nice touch.

I almost didn't post a picture of the disaster that these closures on the shoulder seams have become but I was not about to give up this fight. I started by adding the roundy piece to the original shoulder seam. It was a thick mess so I ended up just covering the whole seam with this wide yellow grosgrain ribbon. Nothing here has been a happy accident but I do like this touch. The dress is still a bit wide but I can reset the snaps next year and have a little tunic.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Earth Day pledge recap

For Earth Day, you may remember that I pledged not to buy any new fabric until I had finished at least 5 projects. That went really well. I only had to buy some supplies to finish up the projects like bias tape, etc. Oh yeah, and a new sewing machine.

I did finish up 5 projects and it just about killed me. But now that they're done, I'm re-evaluating the other projects that are on the list and I think I'm going to just give up on some that never really got started. I have fabric and patterns and maybe they're just not going together. I think that's part of why they're unfinished projects.

I actually did buy a little bit of fabric toward the end because it was on sale at my local quilt shop and I think it's really important and earthy to support local businesses (or whatever you tell yourself when you buy fabric you don't really know what you're going to do with yet). And I needed some retail therapy to get through the fixing of the polka dot dress.

I have also NOT finished up the wipes that I am supposed to give away to the lucky winner of my Earth Week giveaway. I'm blaming that on the sewing machine debacle. But I will definitely finish them up this week. For now I'm back with the Huskystar 224 because the new machine needed some adjusting (whatever that means). Since I'm not afraid to break this one, I'm ready to stitch up those thick, plush cottons.

I'm only slightly disappointed in myself for not sticking 100% with the pledge but I 100% blame that on the poorly designed pattern that caused me such grief.

Friday, June 18, 2010

New sewing machine . Husqvarna part II

As I mentioned the other day, I got a new sewing machine. I've actually had this lovely Husqvarna Viking Emerald 183 in my house and unpacked for a few weeks now. I've just been a little too afraid of it to dig right in. It's such an upgrade from my Huskystar 224 but it really was time for a change. The Huskystar is more of a beginner's machine. More like a Toyota Echo. The Emerald is like a Camry.

And here it is. This beast brings with it a huge learning curve. I haven't moved past straight sewing yet but I'm working on another pair of those sailor pants that Zadie loves so much. That means buttonholes.

I had a couple of issues with the reverse button. I used that feature on my old machine all the time to reinforce the first and last stitches of a seam. I was treating this one like that one but since it's electronic (it seems), it acts differently. I'm thinking I have the hang of it now.

I'll do a proper review of this machine later after I've spent some time with it. But it's beautiful and I already love it. There it is in its new home right next to the manual.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What the heck I'm I going to do with this?

So remember that polka dot dress I made and posted about a while back? Well it has been the real roadblock (bane of my existence) to my finishing up some unfinished projects. I followed the pattern to a T (very unlike me) and the dress just hangs off my kid and is impossible to get on and off (maybe it would be fine in a knit).

Anyway, I created these tabs to add to the "straps" that got formed when I cut apart my shoulder seams. I thought I'd get all fancypants and do some sort of French seam to hide all the garbage from the reconstruction but because of all the bulk, my machine refuses to do a pleasant topstitch. I decided to cover it up with a zigzag stitch with disastrous results.

I'm angry that I had to do all this. I'm angry that it's not going well. And I refuse to cut these off and start over. I want to cover it up. Help.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Project: NYC Pants

My mom and I have developed a little tradition of taking a mother/daughter trip to New York every couple of years. This past Fall, we took Zadie with us. It went surprisingly well even though I was super stressed about getting food in her and freaking out when she wouldn't nap. I've definitely chilled out a lot since then (I think).

I picked up an XXL men's shirt with this pants pattern in mind and actually got around to making them. I took these photos back when it was cold out. Now it's 80 - 90 degrees every day. We wear these to the park a lot because the cotton is thin and it's easier to go down the slide in pants than shorts.

They are surprisingly easy to make, a great fit over cloth diapers, and just plain awesome. I have two pairs of these that the designer, Kim, has made. We met at a craft show a couple of years ago and kept in touch. She is an amazing person. Everything she makes is from recycled/upcycled clothes and she uses pretty much every piece of those shirts. It's very cool.

These are Zadie's favorite pants. Check out the little detail I added to the hem. Just imagine what I can do with my new sewing machine (did I just write that? ha! more on that later. I'm still too afraid to turn it on).

Monday, June 14, 2010

Project: Alphabet mayhem

I've been wanting to do some editing to this alphabet art in Zadie's room for a while now. It's just that when I'm online looking at stuff, she's usually sleeping so I don't have access to the goods. I printed this out yesterday and now it's handy.

I'm thinking of doing some embroidery and have a little something up my sleeve for the N thanks to a fellow blogger. I also love this Etsy shop. I also need to do something with the squirrel. I think I will get something new for the I and possibly E. This makes me very happy.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Project: Time for some room redecorating

This is our room. I'm thinking it's time for a change. We got the chest of drawers at the Salvation Army and painted the front of the drawers and the top my favorite color and changed the knobs. That's just a cheap mirror I got at Big Lots. I painted the frame of it silver.

My friend Sara gave us this bed and I love it. The problem is that it's a Full and we desperately need a Queen. Actually we desperately need a new mattress. Mr. Lemon slept on a futon in Jersey for a week and was on his feet all day every day while he was gone and his back didn't hurt at all (it usually does). Bookend that week with two very long rides in the car and now that he's back home, it's time to head to the chiropractor again. I think it's the mattress.

This gorgeous piece of work is a hutch by Broyhill from their Brasilia line. I will not tell you what I paid for it as you will freak out. It's worth way more, I've recently learned. The top of the buffet was scuffed so I covered it with silver contact paper stuff from Target. We changed out the knobs but had the foresight to keep the old ones because they were cool (just didn't match the brushed nickel look we prefer). I also painted the shelves the same color as the dresser drawers.

So I really don't want to buy a new bed and I don't think we even have room for a Queen. The room is about 10' X 12' with a small closet. I have some fabric that I was going to cut to hang inside the hutch to hide my clothes. But since I have been downsizing my wardrobe, I was able to make room for some books that I plan to read and I think that looks nice. I like the orange and the light teal/aqua and I love the two colors together. I also love our floors and the wall color. I just need to get rid of those curtains. Yuck.

Give me some suggestions. And no, we won't be selling our hutch. One thing that I have on the bed now that it's so much hotter out is a gorgeous Otomoi embroidered tablecloth that my mom bought for me in Mexico right after Aaron and I got married. I'll have to take a picture. It's an off-white linen with orange animals.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Project: Vintage Patterns

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming. This month has been a bit insane and this week marks the end of it. I decided some time ago that if there is ever too much going on, something's gotta give and that will never be my parenting. In order to be a good parent, sometimes I gotta put down this computer and read a book or magazine after wild toddler finally goes to sleep. Sometimes I have to turn off my brain. Writing this blog turns on my brain. When I write about the stuff I've been doing and want to do, I get so into it sometimes that I can stay up until 3 a.m. sewing and cutting and putting fabrics together. And dude, when Mr. Lemon is out of town, there is no way I can stay up all hours of the night like I'm in art school all over again and still get up and feed wild toddler breakfast at the crack of freaking dawn.

So anyway, if you're still with me, check out these amazing patterns my MIL found while she was packing up all the stuff in her attic to move into a new house (A new house of her very own that she bought! Yay! I remember how it felt to buy this place and I'm just so happy for her).

I have big plans for these. I already wrote about the bubble romper (middle). I think I finally decided to go with the Heather Ross gnome stuff that I got from Spoonflower but it's actually quite thick so I'm not sure. When it's hot enough to wear a romper, maybe thinner is better...

I'm super excited about the jacket on the left. I have one like it from when I was pregnant. It's really cute. I'm actually thinking the new Far, Far Away stuff from Heather Ross might be great since it's a thicker linen blend.

And I'm hoping to find some nice quality knit for this dress. Something a little heavier than a Gap t-shirt but not too poly feeling. Maybe an organic cotton. And I might not ever make any of these. Aren't they just great for inspiration?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Project: Robot Party Good Stuff

No robot party is complete without a popcorn making robot. My brother owns this awesome popcorn machine and was nice enough to haul the thing up to my house so I could robotize it. I basically just added a "skirt" of poster board, arms and a head.

Here is where he lived during the party because he requires an energy source. Unfortunately the power was out for the first hour! But luckily it was restored and my brother helped serve up the robot's tasty snack for the revelers. Sorry for the bad photo. Not every robot is as photogenic as my kid.

To make the head I just put a brick inside the box and set it on top of the machine.

I used hot glue to tack magnets to one end of each slinky and stuck it to the metal top of the popcorn machine. I cut out the "hand" shapes and taped them on.

Luckily Mr. Lemon runs a vegan baking company and he put together this phenomenal cake. It was lemon cake with vanilla icing. The red pipes are Twizzlers and the gumdrops were from Target (and surprisingly vegan).

There was hardly any cake left over and he made plenty. It was so good even my veganophobic family members kept coming back for more and more.

These favor bags were a huge hit with the kids. I found another cool robot font and printed out the names of all the kids coming to the party (and "Lee-rah" "Ry-nan" will get theirs sent to them soon, I promise). The head is just a circle cut in half; curlers from the dollar store for legs; lots of stickers; some pipe cleaners; Dymo labels; black bags from Michael's.

They're like a little army. I posted more pics on my flickr and please post photos to the group I started if you have any robot party images of your own.