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Category Archives: Finny and Donk’s Sewing Adventure

It’s Been How Long?!

So the baby is more than a month old already, which comes as a bit of a shock because it means that I’ve been sitting here, losing track of time, for a whole month.

A whole month!

That is hard to believe. And easy to believe, seeing as how one day sort of bleeds seamlessly into the next. It wouldn’t be that big of a deal if it weren’t DECEMBER. Even with the scaled-back Christmas plans, I’m starting to get a little anxious about the tick-tock of the clock. It’s like in the Charlie Brown “Great Pumpkin” movie, when Sally gets so upset about missing the whole thing? That’s the feeling that’s welling up right about now. On the other hand, I’m comforted by the knowledge that the rest of this household has very low expectations, and the only one getting a little crazy in the head over the whole thing is me. That, I can manage.

Because I’m actually the only one here that has these beautiful visions of sipping hot chocolate and watching Christmas movies every night, admiring the already-wrapped gifts sitting under the tree on, say, the 15th, basking in the sweet holiday spirit. I don’t know where these ideas come from, and since when did it need to go on for ten days? I’ll settle for three! Now that’s a goal I might be able to meet!

I feel better already. We need to have these chats more often.

Fortunately, I did get a jump on things a couple of months ago, so there are only a few last minute projects that I’m hoping to be able to crank out. (See? I said “hoping to”. Lowered expectations, my friends.)


When I made the first neck-wrap back at the beginning of the year, I was already thinking about my mother-in-law. It just seems like the perfect gift for her. The aqua and grey one was for another gift [Oh yes – I took this picture weeks ago], but it’s so pretty that I want to duplicate it for this package; the colors would really suit Kev’s mom.

Well, the young rooster is crowing upstairs, so break time is over. Would you believe there are other gifts ready to share? Hallelujah! Now if only I could get a half-decent shot of them. . . .

It’s always something, right?

FaDSA Oct/Nov: Nothing Shocking

First of all, THANK YOU for all of the sweet messages you left after Bridget’s debut. You sure know how to make a (sorta) new mama smile. Forgive me for not replying, won’t you? Up until the past few days, every time I try to reply to a comment or post a comment on someone else’s blog, my mind turns to mush. I mean to come back to it, but. . . .

So, yes, I thought that this was the Nov/Dec project rather than Oct/Nov. The very fact that I was finishing something “early” should have been enough to give me pause, which should have led me to double-check the guidelines, but neither thing occurred, which is the not shocking part of this post.

The shocking part, if you could call it that, was that I finished anything at all. I mean, I had a semi-coherent idea and was able to translate it into a completed (and by completed, I’m only referring to the one, and not the other 9 that I cut on Saturday) project. Hooray! Of course, in the interest of full disclosure, the idea itself was inspired by a luminaria that I saw in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine from last December. Basically, you cut out half of a tree shape with an X-acto knife [oh yes: I even busted out the X-acto for this one, despite my cutting impairment], fold it over, and punch holes in it. In this case, the holes allow little bits of the green fabric, which is backing the card, to show. Then, I machine-stitched around the outline of the tree, and zig-zagged a trunk. Voila! Tree Card.

Special thanks to Ms. Finny for opening up the project to broad interpretation. Was I the only one who read the instructions in the book and went, “Really? This is it?”

You don’t have to answer that.

So, in closing, this project is complete, and I’m totally overly satisfied with myself for having wrapped it up, despite the fact that I was off by a month. Hooray!

Here at Baby Central, I’m beginning to suspect that Bridget is moving from fussy into colic; I’ve been in denial up til now. She’s sleeping on my lap at the moment, a moment I’ve been waiting for all morning. The good people at Starbucks are making a pretty penny off of me this week, since the Little Miss likes to ride in the car, and I like to have a destination when I set out. And said destination needs a drive-thru, and it’s been cold, so that means a tasty beverage for Mama. Oy. As for the boy, the poor boy, he goes from angel to devil about fifty times a day. I was thinking about it yesterday, and realized how hard it must be for him. Here is this little baby, who gets all kinds of positive attention when she screams, yet he gets punished. What’s up with that? So I understand where it might be confusing for him, but that doesn’t make dealing with him any less irritating when he’s having a yelling fit. Despite these little hiccups, though, we’re having a pretty good run so far over here, so I’m counting my blessings: Baby Girl will, at least, sleep on my lap a little bit, even when she’s at her most fussy, and that she will give me a couple hours at a time of good solid sleep at night. And that my boy is such a good helper, and funny, and sweet-natured…most of the time. Really, those two things alone are plenty enough to be thankful for, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. However, I must stop there for now. For my next trick, I’m going to see if I can throw in a load of laundry with said baby draped across one arm. Huzzah!

Edited to say: I totally thought that I’d published this yesterday (Tuesday), but it turns out that I couldn’t even manage to do that correctly. Blast it!!

FaDSA Aug/Sept: Last Tri

Here is the last bag in the Tri series. For now, at least, because I do have ideas for more already cooking up in my head. Whether or not they make it to the production phase, well, that remains to be seen. This one, as I mentioned earlier (I think) is part of a baby gift for a former co-worker who is due at the end of this month. I’m a big fan of diaper bags, and other accessories that the mom has to lug around, being tailored a little more toward an adult, hence the black twill. The apples sweeten it up without making it too babyish. Add in a diaper/wipes pack and some burp cloths, and voila! You have a nice little set, there.

Please also note that the Farmer’s Market apple print is one of my very favorite new fabrics, and I had to cut a pretty big chunk of it off to get the print going the right way on the wipes pack. This was after I sacrificed a goodly piece to the construction of the bag. See, I’m reforming my hoardish tendencies! I’m all about personal growth, Friends.

Try Tri Again

Hello there!

Well, where did that week go? I would really like to know.

As you can see, I did go ahead and bust out another of the Tri-Pocket Totes. This one was a little back-to-school pick-me-up for my sister-in-law the teacher. (Give me a second, and maybe I can think of another hyphenated phrase to stick into that sentence….) I tucked in a couple of folders and some Tylenol, figuring that both would come in handy sooner or later.

For the record, this one came together even more quickly than the first, although I gave it about the same amount of rest time. In fact, I’ve even completed a third, but I’ll save that one for when the rest of its contents have been completed. Eventually, I’m going to use it for a little diaper bag for a former co-worker of mine, who’s expecting a baby come autumn. Oddly enough, I decided to use an apple print for that one and not for the teacher bags. Go figure.

Today is my official productive day of the week. Now that I think about it, I do know where the week has gone.

Monday: OK, I don’t really remember what I did on Monday. I’m sure it was very important, something to do with an afternoon spent reading.

Tuesday: Worked all morning, unable to move the rest of the afternoon.

Wednesday: Dr appointment (which are becoming ever more frequent now), followed by grocery shopping.

Clearly, I cannot handle more than one or two “events” in any given day. Today I tried to cram in as much activity as I could during the early part of the day so that I could at least enjoy the time I’m bound to spend in a stupor. It’s a good plan! The filling for tonight’s calzone is already cooling, so I have a good hour or so til I need to do anything else. Of course, if I take my shoes off during that time, it may well be the kiss of death for said calzone….

They Pull Me Back In

After last month’s debacle, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be participating in anymore challenges for a while. Of course, last month’s debacle could have been stalled until a later date, had I only read the challenge correctly in the first place. I promise you this: I read Finny’s charge at least twice, and only picked up on the “dealer’s choice” portion, completely and totally missing the “children’s project” spec. Oh. And you were too kind to even point it out, Ms. Finn, which I appreciate so much, considering how completely disgusted I was with the boxes and how one more thing may just have pushed me ’round the bend.

Anyway, fast forward to the August/September challenge. I wasn’t particularly jazzed about this bag when I got the book, but the timing was perfect: my sister’s birthday is this weekend, and she’s an elementary school teacher. Who could make better use of a tri-pocket tote than a teacher, I ask you? I tucked in an aluminum water bottle and a moleskine notebook, which I figure would be a welcome addition to any tote. Happy Birthday, Aunt Joshie!

As for making the bag itself, it really was as simple as the book’s title promises. I added a lining to give it a little heft, but that’s more of a personal hangup than a necessity. All things considered, this one’s a keeper!

FaDSA July: Bloated Fabric Box

I don’t know. This year’s adventure selection and I are not getting on very well. And I was pretty excited at the outset when I flipped through it, and really liked the first attempted project. Then came the apron, which I knew would look hideous on me in my current condition (and, let’s face it, most likely under normal circumstances), and then the wrap skirt, which…well, pretty much the same as the apron. (As for the pintucked table runner, that one I thought I’d try. Unfortunately, my creativity completely dried up, and I was too cheap to buy new fabric when I had all this surrounding me. See? Still not blaming the book, which cannot be all things to all people all of the time.)

This month, though, oho! A choose-your-own month? Surely I could get back into the swing of things! After scanning the project choices, I remembered that I had really been looking forward to trying out the fabric boxes. It also fit in nicely with the whole Christmas in July thing that’s been swimming around in my head, and I felt pretty confident that I could finish it up early, which was key since I’ve been such a sucky participant this year.

It’s done, yes, but I don’t love it half as much as I did the ones in the picture.

For starters? The ones in the book weren’t quite so round and puffy looking. So here’s the lowdown: I did make one modification, which was to use double-sided fusible interfacing instead of single-sided. It was all they had at the store, and please don’t think I’m going to more than one store in search of blasted interfacing. So, I also lined the inside of the box,which I like better looks-wise, but I’m not sure how it affects the shape of the box in the end. Also, please tell me how I’m supposed to cut eight 5 x 5 squares from a 5 x 35 strip of fabric. Anyone? Yeah, I puzzled over that for a while, doubting that I even had a grasp of basic math skills, before deciding that this was a printing error. And a frustrating one, because it meant that the yard of interfacing I’d purchased couldn’t be cut into lengthwise strips, but rather two on the width. Great. Moving right along to the lid: If you squash a lid onto a box which is the exact same size, it’s going to buckle the sides of the box. Which looks terrible. Since I was already totally invested in turning out the coolest fabric box ever, I went ahead and cut another one half an inch smaller and sewed it together. Great idea, except I actually ended up cutting it the exact same size as the first one. Seriously. I should’ve stopped there, but no-I went ahead and just adjusted the seam allowance another quarter inch. Huzzah! And the lid does now fit . . . but the box looks more like a flat mushroom. And so it goes, because I’m done.

Can you tell how bummed I am about this project? I totally had visions of packing up a pretty little glass ornament in each one for gifts this year, but it’s not looking good at this point. Anyone have any interfacing advice? The one I used was Pellon 72 (I’m pretty sure), which was the only stiff fusible I could find. Normally I use the sew in, but that didn’t seem like a good choice for this project.

This book is going back on the shelf until further notice. Judging by the number of successful adventurers out there, it’s probably safe to give the old “it’s not you, it’s me” speech, but I’m too annoyed to believe that today. It’s you, Book! It’s totally you!

So…March Is Over, You Say?

Aw, good riddance. I’m a little bit sad, though, because in the blur that was last month, I neglected to join up with my fellow adventurers and complete my table runner. Y’all know I’ve never missed a challenge, but I guess never is a mighty long time.

I say that, but the whole truth is this: I just wasn’t feeling this project. And I tried—oh, how I tried. At least half a dozen times I perused the stack of suitable fabrics and waited for that little spark of inspiration to strike. But…it never did. Well, whaddya gonna do? It’s a new month and a new project. I’ve even been meaning to make myself another apron, so maybe I can get it together this time around.

On a more positive note, I did FINALLY complete this little number:

Yes, that would be a backyard blanket I pieced back in ’06. Pieced and packed into a plastic container until I could come up with a back for it. Thanks to Mom’s famous bolt o’ fabric, a single-piece back was born and I whipped this puppy together and hand-quilted it with perle cotton while watching TV. Done and done.

Do you know what makes this project my favorite in recent memory? I’ll tell you: When I was laying out the top on the floor, the boy came along and said “What is it? Is it a picnic blanket?” YES! Yes, it is a picnic blanket, Young Genius. “Is it for me?!” Right again! “That is very cool!”

Mind you, we’re talking about a child who could have cared less about his personalized Christmas quilt a few short months ago, but this he finds exciting. Maybe the value of handmade goodness is finally getting to him, or maybe it’s starting to register that 75% of the stuff Mama makes heads straight out the door. Hey, I don’t care which it is-I’m thrilled that he noticed at all!

Day 24: Let the Adventure Begin!

Fellow participants (in Finny and Donk’s Sewing Adventure), you were starting to give me a little bit of a complex. I mean, the deadline isn’t until February 28, yet the scarves have already been making their appearances! And then I decided to give it a go, and now I know the secret: This really is a simple gift to stitch!

Seriously, once you decide on your fabrics and buttons, it’s smooth sailing. I almost added a few extra days to production, because I was a little scared of the buttonhole feature on my new sewing machine. [Oh, have I not mentioned the fine gift Santa, which is to say Mom, brought me this year? It’s so fantastic.] Turns out my fear was totally unfounded, and that step was done in all of ten minutes, which included me laboring over each individual instruction in the manual with a test scrap. Cha-ching! As for the fabric and button choices, I went for sort of a “Megan: Plain and Squat” look for Side A here

and then went all wild and crazy with a…slightly less subdued earth-toned plaid fleece for Side B.

Side A was pre-quilted, by the way. I wasn’t sure whether or not I’d like this in the end; I certainly wasn’t going to kick it off with a couple hours of precision quilting. (Yes, I consider anything with intersecting straight lines “precision quilting”.) I added the topstitching, though, because it seemed to be getting a little too puffy for my tastes. The fabrics lend kind of a tailored look that seemed to call for more restraint than you’d use with, say, fluffy white faux fur.

Verdict? Fun and fast. I might just make another one before I forget how easy this was. Even if you realize a month from now that you didn’t get around to finishing this project, give it a go; there will still be plenty of time!

By the way, I found that this is a great time of year to pick up fleece remnants. When I was at the store a couple of weeks ago, I picked up a couple out of huge box of just fleece for about a buck a piece. Even a quarter yard will make a couple of these scarves or a bunch of tag blankets (which is what I’d originally had in mind, and will get around to eventually). Not that I’m suggesting you stock up or anything; moderation in all things, dontcha know.