Friday, October 28, 2011

A very rough week

It has been a rough week. I hurt my ankle a week ago, and I am starting to get along OK with it.

Sunday morning I got a phone call that my brother had died. My little brother from the pictures of me holding him as a baby and feeding him his bottle had died. He was 24, and I still can't make sense of this. 

In 1987 I wished on my birthday for a little brother or sister and blew out the candles on the cake. Five months later the little boy that was destined to be my brother was born in the interior of Brazil. My aunt and uncle were missionaries there in or near San Luis I believe. They got a call he needed a family, and somewhere along the line my parents got the call that he needed a home. Several months later I got to meet him for the first time at the airport. They put him in my arms and he took one look at me and cried his little eyes out. 

We were seven years apart in age, but he meant the world to me. He was the kind of kid that was would do anything for anyone. It was obvious by the number of people at his memorial service. My parents and I were amazed at the number of people that wanted to come shake our hands and tell us what a difference he had made, or share a story of how he had touched their lives. He was a Journeyman with a company in Dallas, and the entire company came out in their work clothes and showed their support. 

We buried him yesterday next to my grandfather. I know I will see him again and that he is watching over me, but I just wish this had never happened. The support of friends and family has meant more to me than I can ever express this week as I wobble between OK and devastated and completely lost.

About two weeks ago my brother called me out of the blue to talk football. It was a short and sweet conversation that I am sure ended in "I love you"s. All of our conversations did, and we both meant it. That phone call has given me so much peace during this time. 

If you have siblings, call them and tell them you love them. Do it right now and mean it with your whole heart. I wish I could, and someday you will be so grateful for that knowledge that you loved each other.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Holy Cankles Batman and how that relates to The Colette Sewing Handbook

Remember my fall at the park from the other night? It was a severe sprain and not a break. I got a giant boot to wear, but I still can't put any weight on it anyway. I have basically been lying down with my feet up in the air either conscious or unconscious in a Vicodin haze.

It looks a lot like this from my point of view.

See that right foot? No it is not an optical illusion, my right ankle measures 7.5 inches larger in circumference than the right. So long for now jeggings.

Also, being as that is my right ankle, it is my sewing and driving foot. Le sigh, If it weren't for the Vicodin I would be totally stressed about that.

Also, because I can't bear any weight on my foot just now I have been scooting around the house on my butt on my assistant's dog bed, which she thinks is a hilarious magic carpet game in which she is meant to chase me, lick me and make me laugh so hard I stop she can get on the bed with me and we can ride together.

I know I am not being punished though, because last night I asked Mr. Thinks He Can if he had a rolling chair at his office I could use, after a long trip of Magic Carpet Ride to the bathroom and back. He said no, but there was one someone had left by the dumpster. GET IT!!!! What a blessing. I now have abandoned the dog bed and have been rolling around the house in my dirty, old, used office chair which my assistant sniffs a little too much for me to be comfortable with.

So, during a moment of self pity, before the office chair/dumpster miracle, I bought the The Colette Sewing Handbook off I know Sarai wants us to use Amazon, but I get a sweet educator discount and had a gift certificate to use at BN.

I have enjoyed her blog posts on the five pattern she is including in the book.

Taffy and Meringue - A cute shirt and scalloped skirt

And three dresses!

Pastille - a simple shift

Truffle - a sleeveless dress with a pretty peplum-ruffle.

Licorice - a pretty dress with sleeves, but I am scared if I try this one it will look Becky Home Ecky. I may need to extend the sleeves to full length to feel comfortable with it. Still cute though!

It is set to ship November 16, which gets it to me just in time for my week off for Thanksgiving! Another awesome thing to look forward to!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fabric winner is....

Well, on I got number 3... So Heather!

I have to admit I'm excited because Heather was one of my first followers and I've been ripping off her ideas ever since!

Excuse the short post, but I'm on my iPhone blogging because I fell at the park and now my ankle looks like it is growing and orange on the inside. I'll update on that soon, but I didnt want to miss the giveaway. Also the reason I don't have a picture too...

Email me your address Heather and I'll send off the fabric. I can't wait to see what you do with it!

Stacie at staciethinksshecan . Com

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stocking Tutorial

I'm so excited to be a part of the Crafty Christmas Club. This is a blog I heard about from Tilly, and I just posted a stocking tutorial. If you guys see anything weird on it, please let me know!

I have a baby shower coming up this week, and since I have so much Christmas Spirit I have to let it out or explode, I thought I would make the family some stockings!

As you can see I machine embroidered mine, but you could use a billion different kinds of embellishments on them. I'd love to see what you do, so please share.

The fabric amounts depend on your pattern, but a half yard of lining and outer fabric should suffice. I used about an eight inch tall piece for my cuff and 6 inches of ribbon.

Now on to the tutorial. I took this class from a most excellent seamstress and teacher of all things sewing, Jenny. I have to give her credit for teaching me, but she was kind enough to give me permission to use her method for making a fully lined stocking.

First, draw out a stocking and a matching cuff.

Here is my pattern that Jenny created. She told me she googled stockings, and used a template off one she liked. The cuff is just a rectangle twice as wide and twice as tall as the cuff you would like, plus a little extra for seam allowances. 

Second, cut out two stockings out of your outer fabric, and two stockings out of your lining fabric. I just used muslin to line it as well as for my cuff.  

Now place the two lining pieces right sides together and on top of that place the two outer pieces right sides together. Sew around all four pieces, leaving the top of the stocking open, with about a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Turn the stocking right side out, and place it to the side.

Get out your cuff piece.

Turn your cuff with right sides together, and sew along the short side. Be sure to press that seam open.

Now turn your cuff right sides out, but folded in half to make a circle with wrong sides together. At this point, you should be looking at your cuff as you would expect it to look on your stocking. Press.

Now, place a 6 inch piece of ribbon inside the stocking, aligning it with the seam on the heel side of your stocking with the end of the ribbon aligned with the top as seen above. I like to baste mine in place.

Now, take the cuff and slide it into the stocking touching the lining material and matching the raw edges of the cuff with the raw edges of the top of the stocking.

The view you should see is the cuff and stocking lined up. The print direction of the cuff should face the correct way in alignment with the outside material.

Now sew around the top edges of the stocking sewing the stocking outer pieces, lining, ribbon and cuff together being careful to catch all pieces. I reverse stitch at the start and end of this step.

Pull your cuff out, it should look something like this.

Simply fold your cuff over and pull your ribbon hanger out and press!

I can do a few of these in an hour when I attack them assembly line style. I hope they are a hit at my baby shower, and I hope you make a couple as well. 

This pattern could be sturdier by using fusible fleece attached to the lining pieces. 

Spotted Cardi and a giveaway!

I made McCall's 6408, and I love my new cardigan.

Now the material is a charcoal gray with white spots. It is a really soft and thin knit. It was originally supposed to be a dress, but it turned out pretty sheer, so I made this tie waist cardigan.

The spots are a bit busy, but this is the shot off the McCall's web site.

This style is all over the stores lately. I think the fabric was a bit thin, but it turned out nice and super comfy over all. The only change I made was I shortened and took in the sleeves a bit. They were pretty big. I also made a size smaller than the envelopes recommended based on tips others had given on Pattern Review.

The pattern is a 10, 20, 30 Minute to Sew pattern by Nancy Zieman. I had seen that before, but didn't know what that meant. Nancy breaks the pattern into tasks and tells you how long each one will take. For example she estimated about 10 minutes to sew the shoulder seams. She was pretty close to right too. That's really nice when you are sewing in chunks, or time crunched.

Now, for the giveaway!

See this? This is the tie of my belt. My fabric came this way from Here is the great part...I e-mailed them that it had a hole in it and some discoloring that I couldn't work around. Obviously I have no patience and made this anyway.... Well,'s awesome customer service team e-mailed me back and said they had put an extra two yards in the mail for me. I few days later I had two more yards of this spotted material.

Since I already finished my cardi, and you really can't tell there is a hole at all, I thought I would pass on the extra two yards to you guys.

The sticker on this fabric describes it as "Stretch Jersey Knit Burnout Polka Dot." It is 65% Rayon and 33% polyester. Here is a link to the actual listing on I haven't quality checked this particular cut as it is still in the envelope.

If you'd like the fabric, leave me a comment. I will draw a winner on Thursday. Good luck!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My one year sewing anniversary

It was about this time last year that I signed up for Sewing Boot Camp at the very sorely missed Sew Crafty in Houston. I whizzed through the three weekends in which I made a pair of pajama pants, a clutch and a tote bag. I took all three items with me everywhere to show off because I was so darn proud of myself.

Excuse the wrinkles here. I have caught a virus that has knocked me out and am home today instead of at work. Because of my chills last night, I wore this huge and comfy pair of pants to bed last night. These are the pajama pants I made at boot camp. I have worn the heck out of them and still have the pattern in case I want to make more.

The way the class was set up, we picked out fabrics the store had available, what inspired me to go with lime green is beyond me, but I won't ever be hit by a car wearing these!

Here is my first tote. It is so simple! I still use this, but not as often as some of my fancier bags I have made now.

Check it first French Seam. I remember my teacher, Ruthie, telling us if we ever want to be on Project Runway we had to know a French Seam or we would be kicked off. Obviously I committed all advice in the class to memory!

After boot camp I proceeded to take enough classes to get me going, but when the doors closed I was forced out on my own for the most part. Through that I have developed my own skills, made new friends and learned a lot.

There have been epic fails.

I have made great gifts for friends and family.

There have been battles that made me want to quit! Don't even ask me if I have worn the beast yet...

I even bought a serger and rock that regularly!

And finally I made a quilt. I know it is a whirlwind look back, but on days when I'm frustrated or down because I am stuck, it helps to remember how far I have come.

It has taken a lot of time, work, people lending a hand and a little more money than I'd like to admit to become proficient with sewing, but it has been a great ride. Thanks readers for all your positive feedback and great ideas! You all mean a lot to me.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I've been keeping a secret....

I have an Craigslist. I have been scouring it for months chasing after embroidery machines. Remember the Christmas in July stocking class I took? It was a gateway drug, and my awesome teacher Jenny was my pusher.

I have been after then, and the good deals are gone before I ever even call...Until a few weeks ago. Now you must know this class I'm taking is killing me, because my whole life should be embroidered by now, right? I digress...check out my Janome Memory Craft 200E embroidery machine. Barely used, about $200 on Craigslist and all mine!

It is computerized and mindless and magic. Well, maybe not magic technically, but I'm watching HP and The Deathly Hallows and picking up some vocabulary.

It has been rainy all day in Houston, so I was trapped in the house. First I worked on a couple of assignments, then a cardigan. Then I cleaned. Then I napped Then I ate a hamburger while I watched the Texans blow it it at the last minute, but it was a good win for the Raider's since they just lost their owner. Then I thought, "What am I doing????" And the machine called to me...

I looked around, and had no idea what to try. I didn't want to just play on scraps, but occasionally I make shipping sack's for my husband's business out of muslin. I had some already cut, so I embroidered his business's initials on a couple. Not super fancy, but a good start.

I know, not anything too impressive, except for the fact it worked! One worrisome thing about Craigslist is will what you buy work.

I also played with a hand towel. I told someone I would try and I did.

Cute right? That is the water soluble stabilizer still on there, to keep the loops from coming through. Notice it is a bit crooked. The only thing I am missing is the grid to frame up the project on the hoop. I looked it up, and I can get one of those fairly easy. I expect to do this to more towels, and maybe add some ruffles.

Also, I don't know if you know this, but I go to quilt club after work on Wednesdays. I am thinking about taking the machine up to work while I am making my tree pants. I am thinking of doing a personalized set of tree pants and stockings for some family members for Christmas. Maybe I will invest in some more thread colors too, now that I know it works! When is the 40% off thread sale?

Quick, what else can I embroider?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I told you I would finish the jacket...

OK, so I haven't yet, but I am still deciding what I want for closures.

Yes, I started this corduroy jacket weeks ago. This is Simplicity 2443 by Cynthia Rowley. I love the fit and design of the jacket.

Now, more interesting, this is where Mr. Thinks He Can stopped and said, "Your hair is a mess. You need to fix it."

"That's better."

Yeah, Mr. Thinks He Can has almost outgrown us, dear readers. At this point he told me my eyes needed to be more neutral... "Instead of Fierce? Can you show me a neutral eye?"

He showed me a rolled eye.

I really like the sleeves. The directions were a bit confusing to me, until I understood them. Then it was like a light bulb went off. I did go ahead and use my shrunken sleeves and they worked just fine. Thank goodness!

At this point Mr. Thinks He Can nearly walked off because I am such an amateur and was laughing at his directions. I still need to hand stitch the back hem up to make sure it doesn't droop.

I also did not change my serger thread to match. What can I say, I'm lazy like that. You can't tell unless you look at the inside. I thought about adding a lining, but it never cools off in Texas. It was 90 degrees when I took the pictures last night.

Overall I do like how it turned out. I hope it cools the heck off, so I can wear it.

On another note I made an infinity scarf. It is basically a big loop. I made mine out of knit and used a serger. I didn't have a pattern, but I googled infinity scarf and a million came up. I roughly followed Anna Maria Horner's tutorial for Figuring the 8.

I used a ponte knit from Joann's. I serged the inside, and hand stitched the last bit to finish it. It was easy and fun, and would make a great gift!

And here is an artistic parting shot for my photographer's sake. I like that one, except maybe will wear a little make up next time... I am a difficult to work with amateur!