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.