Friday, July 25, 2008

Making It Up: McCall's 5591

Well, it took me three months (or more) to finish this skirt. I'm not sure I love the end result but there are reasons for that:

1. I fell in love with a chambray skirt in the JCREW catalog and tried to replicate. Well, we all know that knock-offs still feel like knock-offs -- even when perfectly executed.

2. Whenever I think things like, "...sometimes a pattern makes things more simple..." I am setting myself up for disaster.

3. Patterns hate me. I've said it before, and I'll say it, again. My body must be an absolute anomaly of science because patterns always have to be altered, drastically to make them fit. In the case of this pattern I literally just started chopping new pieces of fabric and sewing them on willy-nilly to make a waistband that wasn't 4 inches short of reaching around my middle.

If you have a normal body, you might want to try this pattern. It is McCall's M5591. It was challenging, but not impossible. Mostly just fidgety. I had to do a lot of tucking, pleating, ironing. Oh, and there's a zipper. But, I didn't think the zipper was nearly as hard as the waistband itself. I did stray from the pattern for the waistband. The pockets were a cinch (I'd heard pockets can be a bear). I didn't mess with the belt loops and sash, but that's just not my style. It only takes about 2 yards of fabric and a zipper... so possible to make it from stash fabric.

PS -- When I showed it to my husband he said, "It's (insert awkward hesitation) modest."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

This One is GOOD

I love bread. I mean, I really love it. Today I made both banana bread and a new white bread recipe that is great. The white bread recipe was from the SAF yeast Web site and a bit different than the usual white bread recipe that I follow. You should try it!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Magic Poncho Becomes Magic Swim Cover Up

Lightening does not strike twice. Specifically the creativity bolt. Last month's assignment in the Finny and Donk Sew Along brought me a prize (a yummy Amy Butler pattern for a cami/tunic/dress thingy). This month's assignment was meant to be from the child gifts chapter of Hoverson's book. I loved the magic poncho. But we live in an arid climate and I couldn't really see us ever using a poncho. Soooo, I reworked it to be a swim cover up and made it out of a beach towel.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Strawberry Bread, Always in Season

Partly because I'm tired of banana bread and partly because I'm trying to eat less of them (seeing as how they are shipped from sooooo far away) I opted for Strawberry Bread this week. I like it, it's moist, and the boys gobbled it up. That being said, it doesn't last as long as banana bread and I prefer the texture of my stand-by banana bread recipe. But here's one to try if you have a bunch of strawberries on hand in the coming weeks (they are coming into season I suppose).

Strawberry Bread as published in Always in Season by the Junior League of Salt Lake City, Utah

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries (the smaller the slice the less mushy the bread will be)

Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Add the eggs, oil, and strawberries; mix just until moistened.

Spoon into 2 greased and floured (I actually didn't flour mine and they came out fine) loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool in the pans for several minutes; remove to wire racks until cool completely.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Save the Quilts

I was at my grandmother and grandfather's cabin a mere 4 minutes when I picked up my camera and started taking pictures of stuff. Stuff that was discarded from their primary home, their vacation home, and anyone else's home in the family that had cast offs they didn't want to use anymore. Assembled in this jumbled way the cabin has always had a decor that we've teased and laughed about. But this trip I realized there were some true family treasures up there. Because I'd read about someone's obsession with vintage sheets recently I pulled back the blankets on every bed and took a peek. Sure enough vin-tage! But threadbare, as well. What caught my attention were the quilts I found.
Anyway, here are the pictures.... and a vase to boot.
There were four precious ones that I couldn't stop thinking about. Partly because the conditions of the cabin are far from archival and partly because I knew my great-grandmother had pieced or quilted them. Now that I myself have pieced and quilted a few quilts I know the time that went into the planning, piecing, quilting, binding, etc. I felt very strongly the quilts must be saved.

Presumably each quilt/blanket belongs to members of our family (none of them to me or my mother). I didn't know if they knew there were up there and the way they were being used. So of course I campaigned to my grandmother to save them. In long discussions -- most of which I think we misunderstood each other -- I think I succeeded in convincing her that the quilts needed to be restored and saved in another way than at the cabin. One is actually covered and then -- it kills me to say this -- tied together to make a newer blanket. When I brought this up to my grandma, wanting to know the full story, she told me it was her wedding quilt that was inside! O.M.G.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Inspired, Naturally

A few more pictures to remember and provide inspirate for future projects. These are from the cabin, too. But these are the scene I went gaga over in nature. Well, except for that fantastic mid-century chair and table. Oh and the tablecloth that is hiding a cable reel (as table). I love the fabric in the tablecloth. I have a close-up of that vase. But you'll have to wait until tomorrow.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Some Vintage Inspiration

My grandparents have a cabin in the woods of Island Park, Idaho. It's remote by my standards and is dreamy. I had a sewing deadline to fulfill while I was on family vacation, so I was able to sit on the front porch of the cabin and sew. Simply great! As I looked around the cabin -- which has been their's for about 40 years -- I found many little vintage items that inspired me for future projects. (I'll be posting these little treasures all week, so check back.)

1. The quaint canisters that have been in this cabin for as long as I can remember. I heart birds.

2. The plates we use when we're there. According to my grandmother, she purchased them with S&H green tickets or something.

3. Milk Glass. All over the place and perfect. Oh yummy. I'll post a few pictures over the next couple of days. Even the light fixtures up there feature it. It's wonderful, and precious.

5. The doll. This doll is so cute. Just flip it over to find a new girl under the skirts. I love it. I especially love the green plaid. It's great and I suspect it was used for something really cool before it became the scraps used for the doll's dress. Bottom's up!

PS -- I also learned while I was on vacation that I had been picked as a winner in the Finny and Donk's Sew Along. I was so flattered. So, go check out my winning skirt! (My prize arrived today -- an Amy Butler pattern for a tunic/dress/cami!!!)