A crafty Review--2012

I know that MANY people do end of the year/new year posts, and I think I will partake. At first, I was hesitant to do an end-of-the-year review because it seemed rather narcissistic, but I thought it would be good to look at what I did over the past year. This year seemed to fly by, and when I look at the previous posts, I am stunned to remember that some of these things were only made months ago--it seems much longer!

January 2012--my highlight was the first thing I handmade for my nephew--triforce mittens!
February 2012--my highlight was trying fabric paint and stencils for the first time to make some custom pillows for my boyfriend's brother. Since using this technique, I have customized a onesie and at least 2 shirts.
March 2012--my highlight was making some cookies for my two friends who were getting engaged. I've really dabbled a lot into cookie making a decorating this year, which is a time-consuming but pretty awesome process. This is also the time when the vast majority of my friends are getting engaged and married. I'm so happy for them all.
April 2012--my highlight was finishing the first pattern I drafted from scratch, and then actually purchasing fabric to sew it up! I called the pattern "Harmony" after a friend who shares a crafty interest. I hope to revisit the pattern this year and make a few tweaks to it.
In May and June 2012 I took a break as teaching was really getting to me. At this point, I am now tenured, but I still question if this is the right career for me. There are some days when I KNOW this is my career, that this is what I'm meant to do. At the same time, there are some days I want to pack it all up and just start over.

July 2012--My highlight was not about teaching, or sewing, or knitting--it was painting! Although I had finished this wall art in May, I did not get around to posting it until July. I found an image a few years back (source unknown) and decided to re-create it. It still hangs above our bed, and I really love it.
August 2012--In August, I posted a long list of goals for the upcoming school year, and I will reflect on those once we pass midterm examinations. Tying in with the school theme, I crocheted little plush guys I call Scire plushes. I give them out to students after each test, and they are in high demand. It's a different reward, and I am going through stash yarn like crazy! Win win!
September 2012--my highlight was once again not anything related to my blog title (as miamihoney pointed out =P ), but woodworking. I made a custom jewelry organizer. I still use it, and I am much better about putting things back on it. Before, when my jewelry was organized but hidden, I could afford to be sloppy. Now that it's on display, I have to make sure it is neat!
October 2012--my highlight was more cookies! I will never be a professional baker, but as much work as they were, I was super proud of these cookies. They took HOURS to decorate properly, but they almost looked professional!
A second highlight was participating in a quilting bee for a coworker who was battling cancer. I designed a quilt block for her. It was nice to get to meet other teachers in the building and work on a lovely gesture of support.

November 2012--my highlight was a quick and successful project that had no setbacks. I used a pattern and lengthened it to make an easy dress. It is a bright addition to my wardrobe, and I'd wear it once a week if I could.
December 2012--my highlight was another dress, but this was not quick, moderately successful, and had quite a few setbacks. I still need to take out and re-do the zipper, I need to re-cut the armscyres, and I need to lengthen it. However, many of my friends were extremely impressed that I made the dress. I guess most people I know (besides family) really don't know that I craft. :-)
Are you doing a re-cap post on your blog? If so, please link it so I can see!

Have a terrific New Year! Be safe!


Lots of Handmade Gifts--part 1

Sorry I have not been posting lately--I bit off more than I could chew with the holidays this year. Both family and crafting, but I'll save the family bit for my resolution post.

However, I can safely say there will be NO handmade gifts in 2013. No mittens or clothes for the nephew, no hats or shirts for Ryan, no presents for parents, siblings, or friends. I am keeping it simple. I really need to simplify my life.

Since I DID make a lot of handmade items around the holiday season, I thought I would show you what I've been up to.

First up: a stuffed squirrel for my stepmother's birthday. I typically get her a card and a large bag of M&Ms for her birthday, but I was up late browsing the internet and stumbled upon matsutake's blog where she had a free pattern of a plush squirrel! My stepmother loves squirrels, and this is only more fun because my father HATES all rodents, squirrels included.

The construction was not difficult, but I did have to be rather precise because it was TINY sewing. I assumed (I think correctly) that seam allowances were 1/4". I only wish his ears were less pointed and more rounded, but that's okay. I sewed on a little felt nose and felt eyes, and added some whiskers for a personal touch.

If you have someone that likes woodland creatures, I would highly recommend this pattern. Matsutake requests (and rightly so) that the pattern not be made for profit.

Would you sew a plush squirrel for anyone?


The Ugly Christmas Sweater--Finished

A while back I mentioned that an acquaintance had asked me to make an ugly Christmas sweater, and I had laid out some of my ideas.

I am SO SMART for buying a pre-made sweater than starting from scratch. I finished last Monday. If I were knitting the actual sweater body, I would have given up might be finished the front side by now.

I am sad to see it go. I grew attached to the ugly reindeer in the center, and although the pom-poms are not fashionable at all, they go with the ugly reindeer so well. I hope the sweater is well received!

Success! It's ugly!

Any weird projects you've made recently?


A little Thanksgiving Sewing

Here was my table for Thanksgiving. We had 8 over, and we only had 4 real chairs, so I had to supplement with 4 folding chairs. I had two sets of colored cloth napkins, so I had an "every other" theme going on at the table.

I only had four napkin holders, and those were ones I had made (see the center). Using the same tutorial, I quickly fashioned four more. I had a fat quarter of fall brown fabric, free stash brown yarn, and donated buttons.

They helped pull together my fall theme nicely. My Thanksgiving was a huge success, and now I have the confidence to start hosting some dinner parties! Yay!


Simplicity 2497--Wedding Wear

I finally decided what to do with my green fabric--make a dress for my friend's wedding!

I like the end result, but there are still a lot of issues with this dress. If I were to make it again (which I might, or at least do the other view), I need to take these into account.
  1. First off, this dress has a RIDICULOUS amount of positive ease in the chest. I cut a SIX for the bodice but a 12 for the skirt portion. 
    1. That being said, if you go really small for a bodice to take the ease into account, think about the armholes. They will also be rather small and pinch/rub against you arms and armpits all night
    2. Also look at the waist length. Make sure the waistband actually sits at your narrowest part and not 2" too high
  2. The fabric layout really didn't make a lot of sense. Usually I look at the picture and go, "duh!". This time, I had to sit down on three separate occasions to figure it out.
  3. As much as I liked the pockets on the pattern (one of the reasons I bought it), I am glad I omitted them.
  4. DO NOT CUT VIEW A LENGTH unless you are planning to wear it as a tunic! It is super short...I was worried I'd be the "slut" at the wedding (turns out I was rather modestly dressed)
  5. I need to buy an invisible zipper foot, or I need to stop buying invisible zippers. It never ends well
  6. I am very glad I lined this dress. It looked pretty on the outside
  7. While shiny fabric looks good on a bolt (Even if it is high-quality fabric), it looks cheap on a dress. If I had used the reversed matte side, I would have been much happier.
  8. Read the directions for the neck ruffle. No, since you are doing a rolled hem for the whole thing, you do not need to cut on the bias. Save some fabric. It's also okay to shorten it buy a foot to save fabric.
  9. Don't be lazy, INTERFACE
There are a few things I need to fix -if- I want to wear this again
  • Interface the waist
  • Lengthen dress as much as possible
  • Fix front of neck ruffle
I think I'd do view B next time...it's a more casual look. I don't like maxi dresses or mullet dresses, so the length of D is completely off limits.

Overall, the pattern isn't bad. I really should start making muslins. Here's the dress on Gert...

Those sides don't even come CLOSE to matching...at least the zipper installation looks OK from afar...
And an actual shot of me wearing the dress!
I do NOT look happy...oops!
I did a wee bit of crafting for Thanksgiving, so I'll post that soon.


Tunes Tuesday--The Most Wonderful TIme of the Year

The Holiday season is begun!

Andy Williams--The Most Wonderful Time of the Year


Easy Dress--Lengthen M6009!

I mentioned that I salvaged some fabric from my sister's attempt at sewing and made a dress from it.

The pattern is McCalls 6009, which has three different view of tops. I chose View C, but decided to lengthen it to make it a dress. However, I like it so much, I plan to make a top if/when I get my sewing mojo back.

Here's the finished dress. I like clothes to have a defined waist, and since all I did was lengthen the shirt, I feel like it needs a belt. I cut a size 6 and did no adjustments. The pattern was super easy to sew up; my biggest flaw was the neckband. At the front center, it is not as neatly joined as I would have liked. Thankfully, the gathers around the neckline distract you from it. :)

I have one more dress to post, and I will hopefully get to that sometime this week. At that point, I will almost be caught up with past projects I have neglected to post!


Ugly Christmas Sweater

I have been commissioned to make an ugly Christmas sweater for a party/contest of a friend.

Originally I was going to do everything from scratch, and then realized I was crazy had too many other things to do.

I bought the sweater at Goodwill, and I knit the trim. It's red/green eyelash yarn with regular red yarn mixed in. I stitched that to the pre-existing neckline and wrist cuffs.

I have yet to decide if I want to sew puffballs down as "snowflakes" on the sleeves, or trace white ones out of felt. And then I will have a reindeer on the front. I'm thinking this guy.

A nice, lighthearted project that is minimal effort. Just what I need. :)



So, we lost power for 3 days after Hurricane Sandy.
  • I never got to celebrate Halloween, so I did not get to wear my costume a second time around. Hence, I have no pictures. I figure I'll wear it again next year, so if I'm still blogging then, I'll post.
  • I did not finish my wristwarmers during the power outage, but I did make good progress. Then, I got to the point where I should be getting ready to cast off, but the pattern isn't matching up? I'll dedicate a post to it soon.
  • I did finish my dress for the wedding, but I have a lot to say about the pattern, the dress, and invisible zippers, so I'll save that for later.
  • I did manage to finish a quick sewing project with the fabric shown below. My sister had used the fabric for her senior year project, but there was quite  bit leftover. So I got a dress out of it. Pictures to come.
  • In teaching news, I had a parent call about a detention. Apparently, I am not allowed to have students clean, nor can they sit and do nothing. I gave administration my side of the story, and it seems to end there (I was honestly worried I'd get fired). My question (and the administrators currently have no answer), is what CAN we then have a student do during detention? I absolutely -refuse- to let them do homework or makeup assignments, but if they are to be punished, what are my options?
  • And in other teaching news, the medical leave position I've been for is almost over, but I will be (almost seamlessly) filling in for a maternity leave position. SO that was a huge weight off my chest.
I think I'm done sewing for a while. As I mentioned before, I have some yarn projects I'd like to work on. Someone asked me to knit them an ugly Christmas sweater for a party. I agreed, but now I wonder if I will have the time. Luckily, I know my way around fabric dye, yarn, and a sewing machine, so I think I can fake the sweater with minimal work.

What are your projects as the winter quickly approaches?


Tunes Tuesday--Voxtrot


Voxtrot--The Start of Something


Quilting Bee

One of my coworkers is out on sick leave. Her friends decided to make a quilt for her to take to chemotherapy. Although I have never met this librarian (this is my new school), I thought this was a great idea and such a heartfelt thing to do, so I signed up.

They asked for finished quilt blocks to be 7", so I made mine 7 1/4". This caused a wee problem. The woman in charge realized (quite wisely) that a 1/4" seam allowance may be intimidating to non-sewists and infrequent sewists. So all the other blocks had a 1/2" allowance. Oh well! I just made sure to work on mine and mine alone.

The first day took two hours and we only got one side down. We were supposed to have the second quilting bee today, but since school is cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy, it will be postponed.

For my block, I decided to piece the word "HOPE". I had no purple or pink, so I dyed muslin with food dye and vinegar. At a first glance, it looks fine, but I realized that I pieced the "E" a half inch too low. I could have ripped out the seams, but it was 10:30 at night. My boyfriend says the spacing actually looks better, but I have a feeling he was just being nice. Also, if I were to sew this again, there are some places I could have pieced together more logically to minimize seams.

I plan on working on these wristwarmers today, and finishing the last of the Biology Keystone information. Maybe I'll do some sewing too. It all depends in if/when we lose power, I guess.

Be safe today if you're on the east coast!


Halloween 2012

I've been working on a dress for fun, a dress for a wedding I'm going to, my Halloween costume, and a quilt block. More details on each to follow, but last night we went to a Halloween party so I was able to do my makeup test.

There is a "living anime doll" named Anastasiya Shpagina, and she has a tutorial on You tube to do her anime eyes. While it's far from perfect, I think I did okay. I need to find matte white eyeshadow between now and Wednesday. Hopefully we have school on Wednesday, otherwise I won't get to wear my costume again!

anime eyes
 Are you dressing up for Halloween?


Tunes Tuesday--Fun

This song is such a pick-me up.

Fun--Carry on



I really need to admit that
  • my apartment is not big enough for a baking spree
  • my kitchen is not big enough for a baking spree
  • my apartment can't handle the temperature increase of a baking spree
  • I do not have the proper tools for a baking spree

And yet...
iced-halloween cookies

iced-halloween cookies

This took me, from start to finish, over 4 hours. I need to STOP thinking about icing cookies (unless they are really simple) until I have the time, the space, and the equipment to do it.

Are you in denial about anything craft-wise?



Hello fall! Hello slow cooker!

Pot roast. Perfect food for this colder weather.



Fall knitting Project

A few weeks ago, I mentioned some knit/crochet tempting projects I'd like to start for fall. I was all set to get started, and I was looking through my small knitting basket to see what needle/hook sizes I actually had to help me decide what project to start.

And then I found this:

I started this (according to Ravelry) I started this June 15, 2011. Looking through my blog, I realize I even posted about them early on. They've been sitting in my pile for over a year.

Even though I don't really have a jacket that matches them, I am determined to finish them before I start a new project. Look how far I got in just a few weeks!

I started to cast on the second one, but I hope I can finish them before next summer!

Have you ever "resurrected" a project that was untouched for a long time?


New sewing ideas

Since my last project didn't work so well, I thought I'd immediately get back to work. I did buy fabric for M6467, but I clearly won't be using it for that purpose.

Here are my ideas of what to do with this fabric.
  • Remake New Look 6490. Since I'll have enough fabric, this time I will be able to cut it on the bias, and it will hopefully fit!

  • Make Simplicity 2337. I bought this at the same time I bough M6467. I really like the DRAWN view A--the wrap dress look but with the gathered short sleeves. I really like ALL of the dresses, but this is the one I'd probably make with the fabric I have.
  • The the gorgeous but daunting Butterick 5599. I bought this about 2 years back, but have been too intimidated to try it.
  • See why View C of Simplicity 2497 requires so much extra fabric than View A or B, and try to see if I can make that. Or possibly shorten it to top/tunic length? 
 What do you think?


Tunes Tuesday--Vampire Weekend

I forgot about these for a while! Sorry!

Vampire Weekend--Giving up the Gun


The verdict? A big stinking wadder.

Well, I tried.

I rand out of fabric, so tried to make my own sleeves. They're meh. They look okay on the dress form, but she has no arms.

I can't tweak the fit any more. I mean, I probably could, but I'm afraid that I was going to mess up the few places that fit.

So, I decided to finish it just in case I couldn't see the big picture. I made the bias tape for the neckline, but for the armholes I cheated and did not use bias tape; I cut cut strips on the grain.

I like the idea of this top, but I think it was too flowy for what I want. I think I would have been happier with more straight princess seams, like M6076. I'll pack up the pattern and donate it to Goodwill, unless anyone else wants to try it.

Of course, now I have to decide what to do with the 2 yards of green charmeuse I specifically bought for this top...



So over the summer, I went to JoAnn during a pattern sale. I saw this pattern, and fell in love with it.

I even went so far as to IMMEDIATELY buy fabric for the pattern (which is something I never do). But I hesitated before cutting into my fabric because I have vision for this top. I really like View D (the yellow one) the best.

I could have bought muslin fabric, but for the amount of yardage I would need, I felt it was somewhat costly. My solution: Buy the largest men's shirt at Goodwill and use the "fabric" to cut my pattern pieces.I figured it could end up a wearable muslin.

I'm so glad that I did. I know it's a pullover top, so the fit is looser, but still. I cut a straight 10. For a size 10, the "matching" bust size is 32.5". The finished garment dimensions?  40"! There is almost EIGHT INCHES of ease built into this sucker!

I want to save this shirt because I really like the plaid print. I don't have enough leftover fabric to make the flounce, but that's okay.

In terms of making the fit work, I think I have two options. I can either put in a tie/band in the back to "smoosh" everything up, or I could take in 1/4-1/2" on some of the side seams (I think the front and back are fine). I think ties would work with the flow of the shirt better, but with the masculine print, I think I'd prefer to work on the seams.

Which do you think would have a better result? Have you ever used Goodwill finds as the raw material to make an entirely new project?



Ah, internet. It gives you the most useful information. We've had our bathroom towels for a while now, and they had started to get "the funk". Washed in hot water with detergent and dried with dryer sheets? No effect. They still had a damp, icky smell to them. The solution?


I'm pretty convinced that vinegar and baking soda can do just about anything. I already use a 50/50 water vinegar spray to do the majority of surface cleaning in our apartment, and now I have yet another reason to love vinegar. All I do is throw in 1 cup with the wash, and the towels are perfect!

What interesting fix have you found from the internet?


200th Post!

I can't believe that I am hitting my 200th post! When I first started this blog, I really didn't think that I'd do anything serious with it. It was just a storage site for pictures.

And then I joined Ravelry, and started looking at PatternReview. I found blogs like Male Patterned Boldness, The Selfish Seamstress, Tanit-Isis Sews, Oonaballona... I wanted to keep posting.

I know I have fewer than 20 followers, and I don't do reviews for companies; I don't have sponsors, and I can't really afford to do giveaways, but I really like blogging. It makes me feel accomplished to be able to post the things that I created. I like sharing my opinions with like-minded people. I really hope I keep blogging.

Unrelated to the above, here are 5 items that I would like to either knit or crochet this fall. I don't think I'll get through all of them, but these are ones that I -want- in my closet.

1- Bird Bag: Pierrot (Gosyo Co., Ltd)
2- Java Socks: Cailyn Meyer (Knitty 2011)
3- Beauty Silk Cotton Motif Sweater: Pierrot (Gosyo Co., Ltd)
4- Plain and Simple Pullover: Veera Välimäki (Rain Knitwear Designs)
5- Needle Case: Pierrot (Gosyo Co., Ltd)


Why did you start blogging?


Tunes Tuesday--Twisted Sister

Every year I joke about starting off my school year like this teacher.

Twisted Sister--I Wanna Rock


Jewelry organizer

WE had our in-service days this week, and school starts on Tuesday! I'm mentally ready, but I always worry that I'm not technically ready.

I decided to tackle my jewelry situation and get things organized. While there are many different organizer DIYs on the internet and many organizers you can buy, none of them were exactly what I was looking for.

So I made this. It has some flaws (mainly because I had to do all of the sawing by hand), but I am happy with how it turned out. The next woodworking project is to make an end table (with a pull-out drawer at the top) that will go OVER the cat litter box so we don't have to see it (but the kitties have access)

Have a nice holiday!


Update on Scire Plushes

I got everything sorted out. If you are on Ravelry, page information can be found here.

If you don't have Ravelry, then you should get it because it's free, wonderful, and helpful. =) However, I do have the PDF pattern on Google Docs. You can view it here.

If for some reason, neither of those options are working for you, please let me know, and I will gladly email it to you.

If you do make a plush, I would love to see your finished projects!


Little Scire Plushes

Like I've mentioned before, I have a lot of goals/ideas for making this upcoming school year (two weeks!) a better one. As soon as I take pictures of my (hopeful) attendance system next week, I'll post them, but in the meantime, I want to post about my plush friends I've been working on.

I know we are supposed to foster more intrapersonal rather than interpersonal competition for students, but I think that I little competition between students is healthy. I am -hoping- to have wall space (I'll be sharing a room), so I can put out little beaker pictures with their names on them. For every "A" they receive on a chapter test or test-weight assignment, I will add a sticker to their beaker (In previous years, I have done a cut out for every chapter, but A--it's a lot of paper, and B--a lot of kids would just recycle them, or worse, throw them in the trash as they were leaving).

But for the top student, I wanted to do something extra fun. I have LOTS of stash yarn, but they are mostly small random amounts that other people have given me. I know this website is pretty sweet, but a lot of them were more yarn than I had, or time-consuming. So I created these guys.

Scire Plush

They are crazy easy to make; all you need to know how to do is chain and do single crochet. I was feeling adventurous, so I decided to write up the pattern and make it pretty with Paint.NET. I am hoping to figure out how to make the file accessible (since Blogger doesn't really allow it), but I hope to get it on Ravelry on the next day or two. I'll let you know.


Tunes Tuesday--Queen

With school quickly approaching, I'm torn between celebrating the last of my freedom and getting prepared for the next ten months. On a lovely day like today, I opt for the former. =)

Queen--I Want to Break Free


Another Back-To-School Cardigan

This is my last week before I gear up for school to start! We have our in-service days on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week, and then we start with the 9th grades after Labor Day...I'm ready and not ready at the same time. EeK! I have yet to have an official back-to-school nightmare, so I guess I'm doing okay so far.

I started this project back in December, and like most of my knitting ventures, it takes me INCREDIBLY long to finish. While I do appreciate knitting, it does not have the same quickness of result that sewing does. To be fair, you don't have to -make- the fabric when you sew; you just buy it.

I found this pattern on Ravelry called Abalone. For those of you who don't have a Ravelry account, you can download the free PDF here, courtesy of Hedgehog Fibers.

The greatest change I made was to do crochet (hdc) around the edges instead of picking up and knitting. When I do that, I tend to leave ugly holes everywhere. I like how the crochet looks.

Any new creations for fall (or back to school) that you recently finished?