Howdy strangers! I haven’t felt like writing too much these days (or, at least, what I have felt like writing has been of the melancholy nature, and I’m trying not to bore you all by being a one-note wonder!)
Things at the house are sloooooooow, but progress is being made. It’s hard to walk into every room of where you live and see a To Do List that is about 50 items long. You sort of have to super glue blinders on your eyeballs to go about your business.
I have met some of our neighbors, and everyone I’ve met has been incredibly nice. They’ve all had good things to say about the neighborhood too, which is a bonus. It’s definitely quiet, suburb-like living right smack next to the city. We’ve been enjoying it so far.
As for documenting the house’s transformation, I have been relying mostly on bad iPhone photos. There was just so much to do before we even moved in that I didn’t always have the forethought to grab my camera. I hope, as we start finishing rooms, I will be able to do some detailed before/after posts.
For now, I give you some of the story of before. Here are some images of what we signed on the dotted line for, and how filthy it was! (Most of these rooms are already much improved with heavy cleaning and paint.)
The dog fur left behind by the previous owner, who apparently didn’t attempt to sweep as he moved out (this was JUST from the bedroom!)
Our pre-move To Do List (sexy, sexy check marks, crossed off with help from many amazing friends and family members!):
Guess where the piece of art was on the wall in the living room? This is a good example of the grime on every surface. (and I don’t miss that wall color!)
The other weird thing we encountered was grease. Everywhere. There is nothing more gross than reaching to open a cupboard door and ending up with sticky grime on your hands, blech.
All told, I believe we logged 22 hours of heavy scrubbing in the kitchen alone. They must have done a lot of frying, as the grease had congealed into a glue-like substance that coated the cabinets, drawers, walls, oven and windows. Even the fridge had a solid coating.
I am learning how to clean rust off off of fixtures (our lights and shower rod in the bathroom)
I did learn one lesson- don’t buy unfinished furniture when you buy a house that is, itself, unfinished. I snagged these two gorgeous wood bookcases off CL that needed to be finished before we could unpack our books and DVDs.
I was the overachiever who decided to stain AND paint them two different colors, which took over 2 weeks to do. Here are some bad photos of before/after (and you can see what our living room looks like now.)
So, that’s my mini-update for now. I’m still struggling with paint colors for the hallway and my craft room, but honestly, those are about the last two rooms that need paint at this point. Then it’s on to painting miles of trim, and then all of the ceilings. I hope to become more regular with pictures and posts as we keep trucking through these improvements. Cheers!
Monster Pants = Success! They fit! Apparently the 4th time was the charm :)
More Monster Pants! This time for Miss V. I believe this is the 5th incarnation of these pants, they’d better fit! What better project to work on while recovering from abdominal surgery? It’s sort of nice to be a knitting bump on a log for a while, but I’m ready to be back up and at-em. Should be back to the grind tomorrow :)
Red Sox Varsity Sweater and “Green Monster Butt” longies for my sister in law’s baby shower. I’m not much of a knitter, and this is my first time making a sweater or completed longies. There are lots of mistakes, and I think the two are different sizes, but overall I’m proud of how they came out.
I wish things weren’t so hard right now, and that I could have gone. There is nothing on the planet that makes you feel worse than letting down someone you love, especially when times are supposed to be happy. I hope the love that was knit into these fibers shows that I do care, very much, even though I’m not able to be present right now.
Patterns (free through Ravelry)
DIY Cloth Pad Tutorial
I have had several requests from friends to share how I sew reusable cloth menstrual pads, so I figured a tutorial was in order! This tutorial is meant for folks who don’t have access to a serger, and want to sew pads that are turned-and-topstitched.
What you’ll need:
- PUL- a waterproof fabric that can be purchased online or at a fabric store.
- Cotton Velour- I like to use recycled track suits, just be sure the polyester content is 30% or LESS (so 70% or more is cotton.)
- Absorbent Fabric- this can be a thin recycled towel, or other cotton/bamboo fabric. I’m using heavy bamboo fleece in this tutorial. You’ll have to use your own discretion with how many layers to use, based on how thick your fabric is, and how heavy your flow is.
- Decorative Fabric- can be cotton, poly, fleece- whatever! Just remember that the thicker the fabric you use, the bulkier the pad will be.
- Polyester thread, a thin ballpoint needle (size 9 or 11), and snaps (plastic if you have a set of pliers or a snap press, or metal if you need to hand-sew them.)
- A Pattern- many free ones can be found online. I used this great pattern from Jan Andrea, that I altered to make the wings fatter (I find it easier to sew, since my layers never match up perfectly.) Be sure to adjust your print settings so it prints at 100%.
Ready, set, sew! First, gather your materials. (I swear, whenever I want to do a tutorial, it’s a dark, gray day. I hate artificial light photos, but it is what it is, le sigh.)
When you print your pattern, you’ll want to do it twice. Cut one copy for the whole pad pattern, this will be used with your cotton velour, PUL, and decorative fabric. The other will be for the soaker (cut around the dotted lines), that you’ll use for your absorbent fabric. This greatly reduces bulk when you turn and topstitch.
Cut out all of your fabric pieces.
First, we’ll be attaching the absorbent soaker piece to the cotton velour top. Center the absorbent fabric in the cotton velour, with fuzzy sides down. Attach the pieces together by zig-zagging down the center of the absorbent pad, then straight stitch all the way around the outside, close to the edge.
Trim any excess absorbent fabric so it’s cropped close to the outside seam.
Next, we’ll sandwich and pin all of the fabric together to assemble the pad. I definitely recommend pinning with this step. You’re working with 4+ layers, and it can be tough to get them all to stay put.
The sandwich should go- PUL on bottom, sticky side UP, decorative fabric next, good side face UP, then cotton velour, fuzzy side DOWN.
Pin the layers together. I usually can get away with just 3 pins down the center line, and two in the wings, but when I first started I used a lot more. Your pin holes will be steamed shut when you wash/dry these on hot to seal your sewing holes.
Top stitch all of the layers together. On the curved ends, I trace a path about 1/8” away from the absorbent fabric. Leave about 1.5” un-sewn so the pad can be turned right-side-out. Try not to catch the absorbent fabric in this seam, it will help reduce the bulk of your pad. I thin the wings in this step (see wing seams below.)
Trim the excess fabric so you have about 1/4” around your seam. Flip the pad right side out. I find a chopstick helpful to poke out the wings and square those corners.
Fold the edges of your turning hole in towards each other, and pin closed. Topstitch around the whole pad about 1/8” from the edge, sewing your turning hole as you go. I try to trace the seams that are already there on the rounded edges.
I like to sew a seam to hold the wings down and stop the layers from separating in the wash (can be seen in the above photo to the left of the seam from the absorbent pad.)
The final step is to add your snaps. I like to put two “female” snaps on mine, because sometimes I find the second setting to be helpful. Wash and dry your new creation on hot to seal your sewing/pin holes, and voila- your very own reusable pad!
Progress on my version of the Smoochie Monsterpants for Miss Vinka! Still not thrilled with my short rows, and the gusset is a mess (kitchener stitch is not my friend!), but since this is the fourth time I’ve attempted these, I’m calling it good!
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 :)
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 :) )
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.