Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pumpkin Contest

     Life has changed a bit this year. Second grade is a new adventure that requires time that I would have spent sewing.  Amidst the chaos in my life last year, I was transplanted to a new school.  I have to say that we often learn important lessons when we are forced to stretch and grow.  As lucky as I was to be a part of that fantastic school last year, I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to return to my family colleagues and to watch my students grow up.   I am no longer teaching the tiny ones, but am happy to be back home. 
     One of my favorite activities has always been our pumpkin contest.  The kids love it because the teachers all design a pumkin and enter it anonymously.  The students spend a great deal of time trying to match teachers to pumpkins and then vote for their favorite.  I was in the top three this year. 

Maybe I went a little commercial to get votes, but my nieces and nephews are going to enjoy their gift pumpkins at our post-Halloween party today. Yes, I said gifts.  This is not the same pumpkin.  I made one for the contest and then another because they don't all live in the same house.
My students loved that fact that their teacher, who doesn't know anything about video games, made this for them. It was great fun. I used a plastic pumpkin from Michael's, so it would last another year or two.  A gloss, acrylic paint covered the pumpkin beautifully.  Finally, I molded the beak and eyes from a package of Crayola Model Magic.  It was easy to roll the flat pieces out between two sheets of wax paper.
     Well, I'm not sewing, but at least I had a chance to create something.  Once I get the hang of being a second-grade teacher, I might find some time to make something from cloth.
Hope your Halloween was an enjoyable one.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

When do you blog?

As I prepare for work each morning, my mind is overflowing with fresh ideas.  I feel optimistic about publishing my thoughts and pictures in a post that evening as I walk out the door to face the day.  The confidence in my blog return and the time of my return home each evening becomes bit less sure as the day progresses.  Finally, I drag myself away from my classroom realizing that I have ceased to accomplish anything worthwhile in the last hour because I can no longer focus.  I drive home with an empty stomach and a strong desire to wear pajamas. 
What happened to all of those great thoughts from the morning.  I can't remember exactly what I wanted to say and what I remember sounds a bit weak now.  Maybe I should wait until tomorrow when I feel fresh again.  I'll just look at her blog to see what she is up to.  Wow, I love that.  It gives me an idea.  I could do something similar and change it to work with this great piece in my stash.  I can't wait to get started.  I'll just look at a few more blogs to inspire me.

So many of us experience this desire to create and communicate with the blogging world.  I wonder how the people I follow and admire balance it all.  So many of you get so much accomplished.  Do you blog at night after a full day?  Or do you get up early to ensure quiet time to write before you inspiration fades?  I would love to hear about it! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

American Sewing Expo in Novi

I feel very fortunate to live in the area that hosts a huge event like the American Sewing Expo.  It was an incredible experience!  I met some of the people who inspire and educate me through blogs, online classes, and TV shows. 
I could listen to Gretchen Hirsch for hours.  She is well informed and looks at sewing in a refreshing way.  She is open and creative without the rigidity that some of us older sewers experience in our methods.  I attended two of the seminars she hosted: Intro to Retro Dressmaking and How to Write as Successful Blog.  My simpler blog design is a direct result of the latter.  She suggested that readers enjoy personal connections--hence the picture of my sweet companion, Darby.  He lays on the pins by my feet while I sew.
Angela Wolf is just as inspirational.  I am so excited to see a new generation of sewist carrying this passion for creating and machines that make amazing clothes.  I bought her T-shirt pattern and used a piece of fabric that wouldn't work with the pattern purchased for it.  She is brilliant in her armhole construction.  I usually find that my shirt ride up whenever I pull the map down in my classroom, but today it didn't happen.  Please excuse the picture.  My photography skill still leave a lot to be desired.
The spots had to be carefully placed, but I was happy with the end result.  The neckline is one of my favorites.

I love the ruching on the side and sleeve.  I am not laying down in the top photo--just too lazy to go back and rotate the picture.
I don't have any pictures of Susan Khalje, but her Couture Hand Sewing seminar was great.  It was two hours long with interactive demonstrations.  I was pleased to remember using many of the techniques in the past, however, seeing the garments she had made took the stitches to a new level for me. 
I stayed for Friday and Saturday evening after the seminars and the venders were finished to see the two fashion shows.  Each served a different purpose.  The talent was unbelievable in bothl
If you have never attended an event like the "Sewing Expo," treat yourself.  I hope to go every year.  I spent two full days and didn't begin to experience all that was offered.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pleasant Surprises

I once walked back to my classroom from making copies and found a box full of fabrics.  What fun! It had all sorts of fabrics including a vintage cotton I felt was perfect for an apron.  It took me almost a year to find the pattern I wanted to use, but I knew when I saw it that Butterick 6567 was perfect.
The bias tape is part of the pattern.  I couldn't find the color I need in pre-made bias. I had the perfect color in my stash bringing the cost of this beautiful apron to $1.99 for the cost of the pattern.

For the longest time, I didn't know where the box of fabric came from.  Recently, I mentioned the apron and fabric to my art teacher, friend Laura.  Thunk! (That is me hitting myself in the head.)  Of course the fabric fairy was the lady who receives all of the best donations.  She was cleaning out the overflow.  Thanks Laura for one of the most pleasant surprises ever!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Gertie's Book is Coming Soon!

Yesterday, I told you about a book I am reading.  Well, I will soon have Gretchen Hirsch's new book on my bedside table because it is available for pre-order here at Amazon!

 I didn't hesitate.  I love her Craftsy class.  She is so pleasant to listen to!  I actually met her once at the Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan.  She was very sweet, and her vintage clothing made me want to go straight home to sew.  Check out her blog if you haven't yet.  You'll see these green clogs and much more of her unique taste and ideas.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pyjama Reveal!

Here they are:
Very comfy, and the adjustments I made are perfect.  I shortened the waist by two inches.  I wanted them to fall just below my navel.  I think this was the best choice to break through my slump.  I love them!  I have already begun cutting out a top to go with them.

And this is the current read on my nightstand.  It is definitely a page turner.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Breakthrough! Pyjama Challenge

I know it sounds strange, but I have been going through the strangest block I have ever experienced.  I think it is related to a few different issues.  The first being a huge and difficult change in my job.  In addition I can't remember who it was, but I recently read about a blogger who said that putting her projects in a blog for others to see created a pressure that made it difficult to sew the way she used to.   I find that to be a strange phenomenon.  One of my first posts was a real wadder.   On top of that, I began to notice that I am really unhappy with the weight I've gained.  Add a change in my job that resulted in double the work and increased time.  Sewing began to make me anxious until I couldn't even think about it except to vicariously live through the blogs of others.
     Now that you have provided me with a free therapy session, I am happy to say that Karen at Did You Make That? has helped me to create my first piece of apparel for me since the block began in September -- Pyjamas.  Silly as it sounds, I was in tears when I finished cutting them out.  I caught up with the challenge yesterday and will follow her instructions for today as soon as I am done with this post.
     Appropriately, I was making this new pair of jammies while wearing a pair that I could improve upon.
  What a terrible picture!I had to have Dan take it for me, but he is a very inexperienced photographer having never taken it upon himself to take a picture unless forced to.  The legs are seamed and will soon be attached.  The next pictures are just as bad.

Thank You Karen!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Can't Wait!

     Found my camera in my secret hiding place.  I kept it a secret from myself.  Luckily, my husband saw me put it in a compartment in my car under some cds.  Unfortunately, I didn't mention the missing camera to him until I had spent several hours looking for it.
     I added to my stress yesterday by sneaking in a little me time.  I ran over to Jo Ann's for what I thought would be a quick trip to pick up my niece's birthday present and some "Pyjama" fabric.  Two and a half hours later, I came home with satisfaction and frustration. 
     I am extremely satisfied that I got everything a twelve year old girl needs to begin sewing independently.  I bought her a pair of Gingher dressmaker shears, a marking pen, tracing wheel, pins, a tomato cushion (everyone has to have at least one,) a rubber thimble, and an adorable sewing box that came with a few goodies.  The fushia, leopard print, sewing box matched all of the fushia notions and came with a measuring tape, needle threader, pearl head pins, and threaded needles.
    The frustration came with this great Lisette lawn fabric I bought for Karen's "Pyjama Challenge."    I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures.

 I don't know how I am going to wait until this weekend to get started!  It was hard to find something I could imagine myself loving and being jammie-comfy in.  I had lawn in mind but didn't think I would find it at JoAnn.  The pattern she recommended was no longer in the Simplicity pattern book, so I chose McCalls 6249.

I am planning to make the capris and bought enough for the top.  The ruffle on bottom is a bit young looking for me.  The fabric is fun enough.  I don't think I need the ruffle. The lawn will be perfect for the summer nights at my parent's house on the lake.  I often have trouble sleeping in the heat.  The button selection at JoAnn's has been seriously depleted (like all the other sewing offerings.)  I decided that these simple, flat, green buttons would be good for a wild sleeper like me.  Have you ever rolled over on a shank button? Ow!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring Palette

Haven't decided yet what I am going to do with this inspiration board, but I was excited by Sarai's post on Coletterie.  I am not committing to the challenge -- just playing around with ideas.  I followed the directions on Coletterie and put together this pallette on Polyvore.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Baby Steps

I am working out this slump by taking baby steps.  I began by making all the ladies in the family scarves for Easter.  Unfortunately, I have lost my camera!  With any luck, I will find it when I get back to my classroom.  What is a post without pictures? 
Well, since the urge to walk into the sewing room is coming back, I took another step today and made new beanbags for my class.  We will soon be doing "The Beanie Bag Dance."  A little advice for anyone making beanbags: use brown rice.  I have used beans, but the bags are a bit too hard and lumpy.  White rice will give the fabric a white powder residue.  Brown rice creates a soft bag without the residue.
I am thinking of taking a bigger step by trying my first sew-along.  Karen over at Did You Make That? is hosting the Pyjama Party Sewalong--just my speed.  I have the fabric, the pattern, and the desire again.  I just have to find the camera! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Have You Ever Experienced a Funk?

Thanks to Sarai over at Coletterie, I realized that I am in a funk.  I couldn't figure out why I was so unproductive lately during the rare event I found time to sew.  I have been blaming it on the stress of my new job, but I think this might be something all together different.  A rut!  How do I get out of it?  Inspiration?  Set some goals?  Work through it?  Even my new machine has not helped. 
Have you ever experienced anything like this?  What did you do to get out of it?