Monday, May 31, 2010

Weekend Sweater Link

Check out this fabulous post from Farmama! Starting with the actual sheep, through fleecing, spinning and knitting - and ending up with the most amazing folk-art crocheted pockets, because as she notes, every Mama needs pockets (oh, yes. See this post here:)

Thank you Farmama (and Country Girl Couture) for inspiring with your blogs!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday in the Garden

Sweet P helped me pick some perennials that struggle up in the overgrown treeline around our house - someone back in the day must have put them in or they self seeded, they surprised me when I was mowing the lawn - flowers!? there?? Some summer when I have time to weed and mulch maybe I can put in some more blooms. The little table is on our porch for dinners, inherited from Mr. Sycamore's cousin now that her children are grown. Originally from their grandparents' house, which would be my kids' great-Memaw and Papaw, both now passed. It is a sturdy little table, the perfect size.

My first attempt gardening here, and we have had success with the lettuce! Arugula came up too, but the little space next to the house didn't seem to please the basil or peppers, perhaps too shady. Pumpkins that J planted came up, we'll have to see since I think they like sun too. I love looking out the kitchen window to check on the progress, or to see if we have enough for salad.

My love hate relationship with this little magnolia tree is back over to love. Because these flowers are so amazing, even if the tree is in a silly place it may yet get a reprieve ... and it is probably way to big to move anyway. Go ahead magnolia, you are very convincing in your sultry southern way. A bit like the Virginia Piedmont, I guess - someplace I never would have expected to end up, full of things to discover and enjoy like slow food, organic lavender, old roses, new friends who share their knowledge of farming, spinning, knitting. Happy weekend!
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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cloth Covered Floating Ring

Actually, I'm about to take the cloth off for the summer so we can use this outside in the water ... I based this on a similar toy at a friend's house, when I saw beach rings for $1 last summer I stuck one in the cart and used some stash fabric to make it less plastic-y for inside play.
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Monday, May 24, 2010

Felted Beads for Mother's Day

Made by J at school - I went in last month and did a felting project with six 2-3 year olds, which involved mostly making roving soup at an outside picnic table - fun! We rolled and rolled and rolled our roving until all the roving was gone, Ms. K put the beads out to dry and then a few days later helped the children string them on twine for us Moms. This is my first made present from my children, so it is unbelievably special. If only taking a few weeks to get a photo of it up is any indication.
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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Poppa and Me Shirts

These were an Xmas gift cut out a year ago and finished this past Xmas, happily the shirt still fits J. They wore them together for the first time today to visit the zoo and they were a big hit, not only with these boys, but Mr. Sycamore got several compliments and one request for where such shirts could be bought. Next time, I'll have to stock him with some Etsy store biz cards .. but first I'd have to stock the store. Just a cotton print from Joann's and modified with white fronts. I'll have to look up the patterns, it was that long ago. I'm not completely happy with Mr. S' collar, it stands out in the back, as if it is too big - the shirt is roomy, but the collar seems generously sized on top of that. Not perfect, but acceptable.. J's shirt was much more successful, and I have enough of the blue print left for an apron for Ms. P. I have to say, usually I'm not about the matchy matchy, but for such a special request from both boys I had to give in.

and what a handsome pair of men in my life. Lucky lucky lucky.
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Friday, May 21, 2010

Thrifty Goodness

Killing time in a thrift store, but what treasure! A new sewing box - my mom always had a workbox in the family room for handsewing while we watched tv ... this old picnic basket should do the trick (and is a little hard to open, though I know that will be seen as a challenge for the small people) Now that they are a little bigger they seem to understand a bit better about scissors and the whole "mommy's things" concept. A set of seven linen napkins, and nice black buttons were a steal for 25 cents! The biggest treasure I haven't photographed yet - a reproduction Winslow Homer for a nice boy painting in the kids' bedroom to balance that girly Renoir.
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010


From this

To this. Is there any combination more genius than strawberries and rhubarb?
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bird Bag

I don't have a great fix-it Friday story - have not finished painting the side of the house where we fixed the leaky pipe. So I'm dipping back a bit to post about this bird bag which J asked for then quickly abandoned, so I scooped it back up for a project bag. I had seen the same type of bird design on Etsy several places, so when I decided the bag front - made from an old pair of cargo pants - was too plain, I knew just what I wanted on it. I used the light t-shirt type transfer paper but instead of printing something on it to iron on, I just cut it out like I wanted. It seems to have held up pretty well (but doesn't get washed as much as an actual t-shirt would). Hopefully J has forgotten it was his and won't ask for it back.
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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Something Completely Different - Airplane Mobile

(With all apologies to the Pythons) This was a birthday present for J back in March, which I never really got to photograph properly until now. It was based on these book mobiles on Etsy, I bought a couple of french and german language books at the used book store and just played around (late at night) with airplane forms and lots of glue until I got several that I liked. The hardest thing was stringing them on fishing line and hanging them from an embroidery hoop - I ended up hanging the hoop on our dining room light and just left them there for him to discover the next morning with the birthday banner. Very very carefully together we transported them upstairs to the kids' room and hung the mobile. I think J would have preferred to be able to play with them rather than watch them twirl around, but I think they made a good balance for all the play items he did receive. And we blow at them every so often so they will "fly."
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Monday, May 10, 2010

Final Tops I Like

A: Bird Top (fabric from Ikea) And I like the straight front – no gathers in this post if I can help it. Ruffles, I don’t know.

B: Bright Pink with cute flower.Like the neckline and the non-gathered front.

C: I like the bold black and white and the mitered square neckline looks very interesting.

D: Navy, which I am strangely drawn to (and few others seem to be, in the STW flickr pool.)

E: Oatmeal colored t-shirt redo that looks like I would wear it every day.I used to wear this “color” all the time but it doesn’t really say spring to me, I’ll have to find an actual color if I attempt this one.

F: A disclaimer – this is not my kind of fabric at all! Apparently, it wasn’t Sascha’s either, check out her blog for the hysterical tale of everything that went wrong with the fabric and pattern! But I really love the simplicity of it, and love those sleeves. Since it has been utterly freezing here the last few days – where oh where are the mid-80s of a typical Piedmont spring? – I’m digging the long sleeves and cardigan look right now.

Update on the schoolhouse tunic from mmmcrafts: I now have yardage in black and white gingham washed and ready to iron for cutting into. I rarely – ever? – copy a pattern so exactly but I am absolutely smitten with the whole idea, and for the last several days have been wishing for that top as I got dressed, so I could wear it.

Enough new tops thoughts. I found half a dozen new blogs to follow and some real inspiration in the flickr pool and finalists. Now back to regularly scheduled over-due creating for upcoming birthdays and a rain-check mother’s day project.

A: B:




Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

To all you moms out there - whether your own, adopted, foster, or some other arrangement - what a great day this is.

I wore the ruffle top last night to an actual party at an actual bar (thanks Mr. Sycamore for babysitting!) and really love it in action. Comfortable AND pretty.

And I'm very happy to report that Florence's Ruffles top is in the top five from the voting Friday! Good luck Florence

Saturday, May 8, 2010


So I needed to cover my sewing room chairs to find out how much fabric I had left over so I could make Sweet P her own backpack to match big brother's. She's been carrying it around for a week and we brought their pjs and toothbrushes to the ballpark in them so they could get all ready for bed and fall asleep in the car on the way back. I think the pink bulldog is special and does bear a bit of resemblence to P when she puts her mind to something.

I based this one on the boy backpack, with some modifications - shorter straps that can get longer as she gets bigger, and a simpler pocket on the outside with an extra pocket on the inside back. After sewing buttonholes in the straps I realized I really should have just sewn the straps on with the button - they won't need to be moved for a while and the buttonhole makes the strap weaker. Otherwise, we're all quite happy with the results. And no more squabbling over the lone backpack!
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Friday, May 7, 2010

Last Day to Vote on Spring Top Week 60

Another top I already blogged about made the cut today! Go check out MadebyRae if you haven't already, you can vote until 7pm tonight. This may be my first chance to vote for the top that wins, Florence is currently in the lead with her olive colored Ruffle Top (I'm 0 and 4 so far this week) As you can tell from the posts below, my aesthetic is not exactly that of most voters, apparently. My top also did not make the cut to the top 60, which I was secretly hoping, since after seeing the voting I'm not sure I would like being in the mosaic but having NO VOTES AT ALL. Kind of like being back in high school.

But I'm very happy to have finished a sewing project for myself, which did take 28 days after all, and I probably wouldn't have except for the added incentive to enter. So thanks again Rae for organizing it all.

Out of time at the moment, this weekend will blog my extra tops that I like that didn't make it into the final cut.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

More Tops I Love

A: Ruffled orange linen by zaaberry - you can vote for this today, as it is in the top 60 right now on MadebyRae!
B: Florence ruffles in olive by Flossie Teacakes (told you I'd pick some more ruffles)!
C: Tunic #3 by Elizabeth
D: Tunic by Elizabeth - I guess I like her style!
E: Tunic by Hanni
F: Tunic O by Sylvie.
G: Yellow flower tunic by Jenny (Do I love tunics?!) (and more orange!)
H: Sew liberated school house tunic by mmmcrafts - black and white and really nice! So simple.

A: B:

C: D:

G: H:

Spring Tops!

If you haven't checked out the spring tops at MadebyRae yet (or voted!) go look. There are over 300 tops in all kinds of styles - ok, many many with ruffles - very inspiring for those of us who rarely sew for ourselves. I wore my top last week and just loved it - new clothes! For spring!

Because I can't vote for every top I love, I'm going to do a mini-favorites post right here (also so I can remember which ones I really really wanted to copy, being the most sincere form of flattery, right?) Click on any photo to link to either their flickr post (with details) or blog if they have one.

A: Here is a very cool tunic with awesome patterns/color from Crow-Girl
B: A lovely longer top from Jenny
C: Light blue from Shannon (and can you see my "longer" theme here? Love hip length..)
D: Cute orange flowers top by Rashooray
E: Poetry Top from Claudia. Normally this is really not my style but I love it! Could I pull it off?
F: Another orange top by Noodlehead
C: D:
E: F:

All right, enough oogling for now. Time to get sewing!

I see I choose only one really ruffly top above - will rectify the next time I browse thru the tops to pull my faves!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chair Redo

First, let me say I love love love this table and chair set. It was a total score off Craig's List from a guy moving out of a group apartment where it had been the kitchen table. I keep hoping I'll see the missing two chairs somewhere local - I look in the thrift stores, at the dump... no luck yet. If you see them let me know!

Here was the covering when they came to me - very dingy. When I recovered them I found a pretty cool 70s print underneath that also looked like a redo. In any case, Sweet P already helped me pick out the chair fabric ("PINK")

Awesome mid-century lines, and very well made. I mean, really, how gorgeous are they. The table top is worse for wear with several water rings and deep scratches - so it is a great sewing room table - but it could be sanded and refinished (if I ever got around to it.) Yay wood over pressboard.

I had to pull at least a million heavy duty staples from the hardwood backing, and our shop stapler is very temperamental, so I just used our swingline, worked great. The oldies are the goodies, right?

In the spirit of Maya's fixit Friday.
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