Cloth Diaper Bonanza! Seren’s Shower Present
After sewing like a mad woman to get her stash finished, I managed to get all but 5 diapers finished for Seren’s shower last night (the last few are cut out and pinned, but I just didn’t have quite enough time.) I’ve said it before, but her friendship means the world to me, and I was really excited to be able to take this on for her.
I focused on sewing her SM/NB convertible fitteds (her hubs loved these when his daughter was a baby), SM/NB covers and One Size covers. As she jokes, she’s not fluent in “diaper” yet, so she doesn’t have any idea what will system work for her. I’m guessing she’ll favor prefolds and covers, but you never know. So I kept her covers flexible- making most of them Flip-style, with the option to snap in soakers if she ends up liking AI2s better.
Enough chat- on to the pictures! Not shown are a variety of snap-in soakers, made in contour, half contour, and snake style out of heavy bamboo fleece. I used them to line the bottom of the basket.
The basket was part of the gift- and is meant to be used as a nursing basket for her once the babe arrives.
One Size Covers (Sprout Snap, Arfy T&T OS, Arfy Mock Flip and Mock Grovia):
NB and SM/NB Covers (DD Free NB, DDU SM, and Arfy SM Fitted enlarged a bit):
SM/NB Fitted Diapers- all topped with recycled t-shirts (mostly Arfy SM fold-in with added snaps for NB setting or Arfy SM with internal gussets and sewn-in soakers):
And lastly, gotta support the family farm!
I hope to do a future post about the patterns, materials, etc. if people would find that helpful.
After two visits from the Etsy fairy on Monday, I scrambled to get some more goodies listed yesterday. My shop is looking slightly less comically empty, with 8 whole listings, woohoo!
My major problem with Etsy has always been that I make jewelry at a lightning pace, but the time and effort it takes to photograph, edit, and list them takes longer than it did to actually make the items I’m selling.
I’m trying to become more disciplined in taking less shots, and doing a whole slew of photos in one sitting, so I can edit and list as the week goes on. The result is photos that I am a little less happy with, but at least I’m able to be more productive. In Maine, daylight hours are limited for about 8 months out of the year, so I’m stuck doing my photos only on the weekend if I want to use natural light. This has always posed a challenge in keeping my shop running.
I still need to work out my preferred background fabric. The burlap I purchased is too dark to work with most of my pieces, and the white canvas isn’t reading as well as I’d like it to. It’s all a work in progress, and part of the fun!
Two more new listings in my Etsy shop today! I’m enamored of the dark, swirling gray of the Calla Lilly earrings against the lustrous peacock pearls. Can you tell I’m a pearl girl?
New listings up in my Etsy shop, with many more to come! Today’s selection of earrings feature freshwater pearls, cloisonne beads, and filigree metal links. All proceeds are going towards the down payment we’re frantically trying to scrape together in the next 6 months- every little bit helps :)
A Renter’s Memory Lane
Shawn and I have been renters for nine years now, and eight of those years have been together. Over these years we’ve experienced a veritable rainbow of landlords. And by rainbow I, of course, mean a widely-varying spectrum of (mostly) awfulness.
My first landlord was an 80+ year old woman who made it a habit to arrive without notice and angrily ring our air-raid-worthy doorbell at all hours of the day. My roommate and I would spontaneously flinch when we thought we heard the phantom start of the bell. We lived on the third floor, and there was one unannounced visit where she frantically climbed the stairs, burst through our door, and almost died on our futon. She kept the heat so low that we would put a popsicle on the temperature control box to try to do the whole building a solid.
Here is the futon she almost died on (I am clearly feeling no pain in this photo). This apartment featured the full array of college furniture- a metal futon from CL, a folding circle chair dubbed “the drunk chair” (because there was no way to pass out in it that was not comfortable) and the Pillow Corner- 4 giant pillows I sewed to take the place of a second couch:
Then came the next apartment, with a sketchy landlord who was a little too friendly with my female roommate. We broke that lease and left early due to the giant hole in our floor, that allowed the downstairs neighbor’s constant weed smoke to billow directly up into my room. The girls that took over our lease had the same problem with the creepy landlord.
That was followed by a couple of great experiences. We had a nice setup in a three bedroom apartment shared by a rotating cast of four roommates. It had a pirate bar (complete with a sunset ocean scene painted on the wall), so we had many a pirate party:
It also had foosball and air hockey in the attic:
Our rent was dirt cheap and the apartment floors were a bit wonky, but we had ample space, we all got along well, and our landlords (who I never had to deal with) were pretty great.
Shawn and I ventured forth from there to our own little garden-level apartment in a nice complex. It was essentially one big room, a small bathroom and our bedroom, but it worked for us. We were quite happy in that space, and the manager was fantastic. Here it was during pre-Christmas craft-splotion (still mad I sold that table!):
Since those two fluke nice experiences, things haven’t been quite as great.
Next were the psychotic landlords on Park Ave that were solely responsible for giving me a bonafide case of Landlord PTSD (which should absolutely be entered into the DSM as a legitimate mental condition.)
Despite how rough the move-out process was (I got lawyers involved, it was no joke) we loved that apartment. It had super tall ceilings, tons of sunlight, and our own private porch that overlooked Deering Oaks Park. It was super tiny and had ugly wallpaper borders in every room, but we really happy in that space. It’s where we got engaged, adopted our cats, and where we all got dressed for our wedding.
After that came Gray Street. When we were in landlord hell, desperately trying to escape Park Ave., our psycho landlords went so far as to give us a negative reference. We thought we wouldn’t be able to find anyone who would rent to us. So when we saw the Gray St. apartment, all we saw was tons of space and the opportunity to get out of Park Ave.
What we didn’t see was the total lack of cupboards in the kitchen and the o-v-e-r-w-h-e-l-m-i-n-g filthiness of that space.
Here’s the dead bat and garbage that was under our stove when we moved in.
And the lead paint literally crumbling off the walls in chunks.
It took us months and months of cleaning and painting before we felt comfortable living there. After lots of time, love, and heavy elbow grease, we made it a pretty happy home.
No sooner did we fix the place up, than our landlords sold the building. We were able to stay for one more year (while our new landlord renovated and moved in upstairs) before we were told we couldn’t renew our lease, he was renting it to his best friend.
So that brings us up to the present. We had grand plans to stay in our current apartment for years, hoping to save up a traditional down payment for a condo or house. But yet again, we’ve had a run-in with our current landlord that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was a minor misunderstanding, but given our long and winding history of less than stellar landlords, we’re done with it.
We have decided to pull a whirlwind move, and attempt to buy our own place when our lease is up. It gives us about 6 months to scrape together what we can for a down payment, and find someplace we can put down roots and make our own. I have no idea how it’ll work out, but am really hoping somehow the timing and money will just come together for us.
In an effort to add what we can to our down payment pool, I’m going to be reopening my Etsy shop. So expect to see a flood of jewelry blowing up my blog in the coming months, just in time for your holiday shopping. Anything and everything will help, right? So it’s worth a shot!
Happy Samhain! My dude and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary in style as our favorite fantasy characters from when we were younger. Our costumes are entirely homemade. He went as Raistlin Majere from the Dragonlance series, and I was Polgara the Sorceress from The Belgariad novels. Nerds FTW!
Finally done! And with an entire day to spare…so of course, now I can’t decide if I should attempt to fix the straps tonight so I like them more in the front. I love how they look in the back, but I’m wondering if using black ribbon that’s thinner than the straps I have now in place of the teal will make it look less weird.
As much as I don’t want a racerback, I think crisscrossing the straps might pull the bust to the center more (right now, they are smooshed flat and out to the sides because of how I placed the extra triangles of fabric in the side panels.) I’d get rid of the straps all together if the top bust line wasn’t so clearly designed for straps. Le sigh.
And the biggest consideration of all- if I mess with it tonight, there’s always the possibility that I’ll ruin the corset that I spent a lot of time on, the day before Halloween. Conundrum!
Final corset- sneak preview! I’ll be posting better pictures after I finish my whole outfit (please forgive the petticoat-as-skirt, lol).
There are a ton of things I’m not thrilled with about it, but I think I’m going to cut myself some slack that it’s not perfect. It’s the first piece of clothing I’ve ever sewn, and it’s for Halloween, so I think it’ll do the trick.
I still need to sew in a hook and eye at the top and bottom of the busk to close the little splays (I should have gone with the 13” instead of the 12” for sure.) The straps are just weird- mostly because I ran out of bias tape to go around the curved edges, and had to hide them behind the front of the corset. They were supposed to overlap in the front and tie with a ribbon into grommets. But I digress!
I learned a lot, thanks in major part to Lucy’s (bishonenrancher) amazing videos. If you’re endeavoring to make your own corset, she’ll teach you everything you need to know (clearly and concisely, which is so appreciated :) )
On Becoming an “Auntie”
So, my best lady finally let me spill the beans- she’s pregnant and due on Valentine’s Day!
Fair warning, I’m going to venture into some emotional territory today, so feel free to skip this post if you’re usually here for the crafty stuff :)
She has been nothing short of incredible as a friend, a shoulder to cry on, and a sounding board for all of my crazy for almost 10 years, but especially through the past 5 months. The day she told me she was pregnant too was the first time I felt really excited about being pregnant myself. We were going to go through this amazing experience together, and I couldn’t wait. Our kids would have been 5 weeks apart.
I know when I found out about the partial molar pregnancy, and all of the awful that was going to come with it, she was as devastated as I was. I have to say, in the kindest, gentlest way possible, that the juxtaposition of our situations has been one of the harder aspects of my journey. And I’m sure I have cast a pall over what should be a purely joyous time in her life.
We’ve been able to be incredibly honest with each other about how neither of us wants to hurt the other one, and there have been more than a couple teary moments (of which I’m sure there are plenty more to come.) I can’t stress enough how sensitive and thoughtful she’s been, and I hope I can continue to be her biggest cheerleader as she gets closer to starting the crazy journey of motherhood.
Having a miscarriage makes you feel like a bad person sometimes. You see people who are pregnant everywhere, and an involuntary mental “grr” ensues. I have been hiding every preggo-related status posted by my zillion friends who are currently expecting. I’m fully aware it’s not rational or kind, but I do believe it’s normal. It’s a very polarizing gamut of emotions, to be so overjoyed for someone, and at the same time incredibly sad.
I adore this last photo, but it also gives me a massive lump in my throat. It’s a reminder that, at this point, we’d be posting dual belly photos with each other, totally psyched about the future. But in the battle of the dueling bellies, I lose. I know it’ll work out, and it is truthfully starting to get easier. I really hope, when the time is right, I’ll be posting belly photos too, and I know when I do she’ll be right there cheering me on.
And, on a happy side note, I am wearing a pair of Seren’s size 10 pants in this photo (at her wedding, I was a 14). So I’ll take that as a small win ;)
I fixed the busk, but it looks like I’m still going to have to let out the bust per my coworker’s suggestion (cutting a V in the gold side panels and inserting small triangles of fabric), Le sigh.
I think I’m vetoing the contrast stitching in favor of it blending in more. Looks like I’ve got a date with the seam ripper!
The Corset Saga- Part Two aka. The Mockup
As you might recall, I had a minor failure with attempt number one of re-creating my wedding corset. After consulting with one of my coworkers, who just so happens to be an insanely talented fashion designer who made it to the final round of being considered for Project Runway, I decided that I would re-trace my wedding corset with a lot more accuracy, before trying to get all fancy and alter my failed pattern.
I used push pins to help trace the panels this time (pushed through the fabrics along the seam line through my butcher block paper below, both holding it stationary and marking key points) and really stretched them out well. After creating my new pattern, I carefully ironed and traced my new pieces onto cotton duck to make the mockup.
And drumroll please…
Yahoo! Not gonna lie, Shawn laced me up and I did a boogie around the house. It’s sooo much better than the first go. The girls have support, I have a much more pronounced waist, and it’s pretty darn close to the original.
All I have left to do now is even out the bottom and top edges, and fit the straps so everything lines up, and then it’s on to the real deal! Only 2 more weeks until Halloween, and I have a ton of sewing ahead of me. Hopefully I can get it all done!
The Corset Saga- Part One
When I got married three years ago on Halloween, this is what I wore:
I love, love, love this outfit. I ordered a custom corset created to my measurements, and my mother lovingly made me a gorgeous and impeccable 1890’s style skirt to go with it.
Needless to say, I haven’t fit into that outfit again until very recently. I did wear the corset for a steampunk production of Midsummer that I was in, and it was abused mightily. I was too large for it to fit correctly, and the material they used on top of the corset wasn’t meant to be tight laced (stupid, stupid fine print- who makes a corset out of a material that rips under pressure?!?! ANYhoo…)
For some reason the other day, it popped into my head that since I’m now back to my wedding dress size, I should try to make my own corset for Halloween. And that I could use my wedding corset to make my own pattern.
Keep in mind that I have never sewn clothing. I have worked on a few costumes here and there, but nothing as involved as a tight fitting garment, let alone a corset.
I did my best to lay each section out flat and mark key points to each of the panels. I figured close would probably be “good enough”. See the areas along the seams of my corset that are much lighter? That’s where the fabric has ripped away from the pressure. Sad face.
For the fabric, I decided to use some brocade that was also (ironically) present at our wedding. We made a bunch of table coverings out of various damasks to dress up the space, and this particular fabric was on the candelabra stands on stage with us for the ceremony. (And this lovely lady with the beautiful tattoos lighting the candles is Shawna- hi Shawna!)
After doing my best to copy the pattern, I began to sew it together. I did remember to number the pattern pieces, but neglected to mark which seams needed to be sewn to each other so I ended up, ahem, sewing the corset pieces together backwards. I did this not once, but twice. Errgh. Have I mentioned before that I am working on my patience?
Finally, after clearly labeling which edges needed to be sewn together, I was able to make progress. (Check out that pattern matching!!) I used two layers of cotton twill for my flat lining and inner lining. I planned to turn and topstich the whole thing, and sandwich the bones in between the linings.
Finally, I got to the point where I could temporarily place the bones, and give it a try. I was sure it was going to magically fit the very first time! This was the result:
Wah wahhhh (sad trumpet noise). As you can see from the comparison, I somehow erased every curve I have. And there is zero support in the bust. Zero. The overall shape is very close. My back lacing panels lined up straight with each other when laced tightly. That will make the alterations needed much easier (I hope), because I think this means the pattern is relatively balanced as-is. I just need to let it out a little in the bust and hips, and hopefully, it’ll function like the original.
I don’t count this as a total loss. I now understand basic corset construction and how the layers have to interact. I know how the pattern pieces affect the final shape of the body. And I now get why making a “corset toile” or mock-up when drafting a new pattern is so important. Luckily, even though the fabric I used is beautiful, it was free! So this is sort of like a toile that could be a wearable finished corset for someone if I decided to finish it.
I went to Joann’s today and stocked up on what I need for my whole Halloween ensemble, including some heavy cotton duck to make the mock-up and refine my pattern. I’m very excited to see if I can make my own corset that actually fits- we shall see!
Click here for Part Two- aka The Mockup
Tonight was a whirlwind project! I hemmed and hawed over what to do about a coworker’s baby shower (which is tomorrow, hell-o procrastination!) I figured I probably already had whatever I needed for fabric, but the reason for the mess was because I couldn’t find any combo that I liked together. It took some creative seaming to come up with the final layout.
Out of the mess was born an “easy baby burrito maker” aka, a swaddle sack. When I explained to Shawn that it’s the “easy way to put the baby in the burrito wrap,” he looked at me like I had three heads.
I made my own pattern from looking at others online, and I think this will work. It might be a tad too big for the new-newborn stage, but it’s on par with the measurements I saw for many of them on Etsy. I think when I make it again (you know, because EVERYONE IS PREGNANT) I’ll shorten the wings so it can fit a smaller newborn.
I hope she likes it! She’s been really supportive- first when we were secretly pregnant at the same time, and later as I went through everything else. I’m not looking forward to the actual shower, I don’t know if I’ll go down for it. I’ll play it by ear and see how I’m feeling. But I did want to be sure to give her something special. :)