Friday, July 29, 2011

PR Episode 1: The Terrible Pants Parade

First off, let me just say, I've missed you Tim Gunn. (and thank you for having me in your classy office.) Also, I don't know if this will be a weekly feature here during this season. I'm not trying to replace Dana's amazing Rundown posts and I really hope she does them again. Last season, I looked forward to them as much as I did watching the show. But I found myself typing so much in my comments there that they could have been their own posts. So now they are. The interwebs are the perfect place to talk about my dorky fandom and unfounded judgmentalism so that my real-life friends don't have to hear it. And of course, I want to hear your judgmental bitchiness as well. These people are reality tv show contestants, so they don't have souls, right? (Just kidding, I'm nice in real life, I promise.)

So... WHY DID EVERYONE CHOOSE TO MAKE HIDEOUS PANTS IN THE FIRST CHALLENGE?? Really? It's the first challenge. Sure, you want to show who you are and what you can do and blah blah blah. BUT, you also don't want to be the first one auf'd and you really don't know how you operate under the pressure of these challenges yet. So just make a cute little dress. That's it. Make it stylish, add an element of surprise, but don't make something that has to be perfectly constructed and fit really well to look good on the runway. Also, you haven't seen your model yet and may not have perfect measurements. NO PANTS. 

Rafael: A well-deserved auf. This was almost painful to look at. He made this poor girl look like she was  "rocking one" like Anthony. And the bib is bad. I know they were kind of trendy in craft world for a while, but I always hated that trend. Goodbye Rafael, goodbye Rafael's odd facial hair.

Julie: She really disappointed me. Although her Southwest stuff is not really my style, I still thought it was cool and she had some good ideas. But then she made these horrible pants. All that outerwear experience and you can't construct a waistband right? Kors' comments on the zipper were hilarious. Maybe if I wore as much bronzer as he does I could be that funny.

Anya: Guess what folks? The parade marches on. This was the first example of crazytown judging last night. Why did they gush all over this? I guess that top is cute in a way, but the pants are nuts. I can see in the pictures now even more than on TV how bad they look. Were they just impressed because they thought she couldn't sew at all? Not top three material. I do love her style from the casting stuff though, and the fact that she did teach herself to sew just for this. And apparently, she has a recently-uncovered sex tape thing going on, soooo... that makes for good tv I guess?

Josh: Besides the fact that this is all horribly ill-fitting, who is the girl that wears this outfit? The girl whose torso is shooting hoops with the boys while her legs are having cocktails on the yacht? So funny that he said he wished someone had told him sooner that it looked bad. Maybe he should have been on Gretchen's season. I also love it that he seems to be becoming friends with Joshua. I really hope that continues because the super-mormon being besties with the super-gay guy makes for good tv. I'm not above enjoying a bit of that on this show.

Speaking of Gretchen... This season's Gretchen is... I don't remember her name. But did you catch her tantrum in the end about not being in the top three? She's stylish, you like her clothes, then she becomes the most unlikable person ever all of the sudden. I bet she's from Portland too. Seems like someone from Portland. 

Bert: Love Bert. Love his story, love his simple aesthetic, love that he said he was 102 years old. This dress was super cute and the clear winner. Well done oldie. I wonder if she minded having his skivvies on her boob?

Becky: Definitely has some style and I like that she's on the older side of the contestants too. This dress is cute, but I can't get over that thing on the shoulder. It looks like ET is grabbing this girl. 

 Anthony: I like Anthony. I like that he's Southern and color blind and one-ballin-it. And I really like the print mixing stuff he does. But he put a merkin on this girl's skirt. Really? Not one of those judges are going to point that out? And if that wasn't enough, he gave her one on the ass crack too, for good measure. BAD. Second judges' lapse of the night.

There were other outfits, but all were too boring to mention. I think there are some smart designers and good personalities this season, it will be interesting to see where this one goes.

Alright, discuss amongst yourselves.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Oliver & S Sew Along- The Details & Schedule

Here's the idea:
We are sewing through the amazing and adorable book, Little Things to Sew by Liesl Gibson. But I'm no slave-driver, so let's do this casually, mmkay? We are going to do one project a  month. 

If you don't like the project I've picked for the month, that's fine. Make something you'd rather make from the book. I have picked these based on what I think I will use more. For instance, I'm not putting the tutu on the schedule because there 189 different ways to make a tutu, and besides that, my daughter is only 3 months old and I'm not bothering to make her one until she can stand up and shake her booty in it. Also, I love the bento box, but it wouldn't get much use around here because I don't have any school age kids. But if you would rather make that then the backpack, go for it. And I know a lot of people have already made the bucket hat we are starting with, so feel free to replace that project. Or just make more hats! Point is, we are all building skills through this book and looking at each other's fantastic creations. 

And of course, if you can only join in one or two months, that's fine too. I'm including a smaller project for December, but please take a break there for other Christmas crafting if you need too. The key here is fun, not stress!

Here's the schedule: 

August- Reversible Bucket Hat

September- Penguin Backpack

October- Bias Trimmed Apron

November- Puppet Theater (for Christmas gifts!)

December- Cozy Winter Hood (or take a break)

January- Bear Carrier

February- Play Town 

March- Explorer Vest or Red Riding Hood

April to June Finale- Travel Quilt

Here's the rundown:
At the beginning of the month, I will post my fabric choices for the project, as well as some other options and materials you will need to gather. A week after that, I will post pictures of my version being made. This book has great diagrams, but we have all been pretty spoiled by picture tutorials on the crafty webs, so sometimes it's nice to see the trickier steps in 3D. I'll also share any tips I've learned that might be useful as you make yours- or ask you for your help, I definitely don't know it all! After each month, I'll link everything back to this page so it's all easy to find. 

At the end of the month, I'll have one of those link parties and we can all show off what we made together. I'm not going to start a flickr group or anything because there already is an Oliver & S Patterns group. But if you do add your pictures to that group, it might be fun to link back to our sew-along in your descriptions so that other fans of the patterns can join in. The more the merrier. 

Like I said, we'll have link parties. I've grown to appreciate these things as long as people actually mingle! Don't just post your project and go away. Visit other people's posts too and leave them some love. Get to know people who like sewing the same types of things you do. What good is a party if you don't meet people?

Also, Let me know in a comment at any point if you are joining in. I'll add everyone's blog or flickr stream to a list of links on my sidebar. And grab that button up there (that I spent way too long figuring out the code for) so that more people can join as the sewing goes along. 

Once in a while I'll do a round up post here of some of your projects as well. So if you don't have a blog or anything, email your pics to so I can show them off for you. 

Lastly, please please don't be shy in the comments on these posts. Tell us what fabric you are going to use. Tell us what you learned as you made it or how you did it differently. We want to gain from everyone's knowledge and inspiration, not just mine!

Ok, I think that's it...

Thanks so much for sewing with me, I'm very excited to get started!

*******This just in! You can get 20% off the book directly from the Oliver & S site with a coupon code. Go here for details, and order your book.********

(This exact same post is up there on that new Sew-Along page so you always know where to find it. Start leaving your blog links below so I can start the list and we can all meet you!)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

First Finished Quilt!

(Let me just say that I wanted to put about 18 more exclamation points on that title, but decided to show a little restraint. No one likes gratuitous punctuation.)

WOW it feels good to finish a quilt.

But weirdly, I also felt a tad bit sad as I came to those last few stitches on the binding. It was like the end of our working relationship. At least she (are quilts female like ships?) is sticking around.

But mostly it just feels good. And now, way too many pictures from a day that involved way too many degrees fahrenheit...

 But all that sun sure is nice on the texture. Oh the texture!

Here you can see the full quilting design. Basically an echoing X. I wanted to do something to contrast all the parallel and perpendicular-ness of the pattern.

I did some unplanned piecing on the back for fun. Because you know, that's what all the hip quilters do now :)

He's a fan. We've been reading together under it in the very early mornings. There are about ten minutes of semi-quilty temps there before the stifling heat settles in for the day. That's our buddy Zaire helping us show it off.

Some deets:
The pattern is "Fenced In" from Elizabeth Hartman's book. 
The solids are Bella and the gray print on the back and binding is Robert Kaufman's Metro Living.
I made this for the modern quilting class I took at Sewn, taught by the lovely Heather Jones
I did the binding all by machine, which she has a very clear tutorial for here.
The batting is Kyoto bamboo blend.

I did the quilting all on my basic Brother. I was using my walking foot, which I thought was great. But then when I got about 2/3 of the way thru the close together lines, my machine started making loud punching noises and the stitches suddenly looked like crap. I adjusted and cleaned every little thing I could think of, but nothing helped. Then after leaving it for 4 days, I finally just continued quilting on my normal foot. From then on, things went swimmingly. So I don't know what would happen if I tried a brand new walking foot. It really didn't feel any more difficult to  move thru the machine without it. But if you look at those lines going through the wider spaces, (which I did last) you can tell the fabric pulled a little in the direction I was sewing. I don't think there are any puckers, it's just a little pulled. I still love the look of it, like there are two different textures on the quilt. Anyway, I know most people who do their own quilting are adamant about the walking foot, but is there anyone else who skips it? 

So that's it, my first quilt! I have many more ideas brewing...  Thanks for looking and always encouraging whatever I'm making. The crafty interwebs are the nicest. 

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Friday, July 22, 2011

On the Interwebs (with swaps, bees, and sew-alongs)

I had so much fun looking through the blog Advanced Style. I don't consider myself a very stylish person now, but maybe I'll learn by the time I'm 70-something...
"I don't want to look younger. I want to look great at any age."

 I don't really do much holiday decorating, even Christmas is pretty minimal around here, but I love this idea and really want to do it for Halloween. Heck, maybe I'll just do it for the premiere of The Walking Dead. Zombies!!

wall hangings

My iphone case busted so I bought a new one this week. Nick found this fantastic site full of independent artists' designs. We fought over who would get Steve Zissou, but in the end I got the faceted pattern. I really like the seahorse too though.

I joined a swap. Never done one before. I also joined a quilting bee. I may have gone a little quilting crazy... And it turns out the quilting community on Flickr is, um, flourishing. It's like I've joined a cult or something :)

The swap is called For the Love of Solids, so you know that's right up my alley. Here's my inspiration mosaic. Basically, your partner looks at this and a questionnaire you fill out so they can figure out what you like and what to make you.
For the Love of Solids

The bee is do. Good Stitches. I'm really excited to get started on our august quilt. We are making blocks in the style of this quilt, but with gray backgrounds. I can't wait to get started and to see what we all put together. Interwebs community art project for good.

Snippets Coin Quilt

And in case you missed it, I am starting a Sew-Along through the Oliver & S Small Things to Sew! Find out more here and leave a comment if you think you might like to join in. I'll be back next week with  more details.

Have a happy hot weekend everyone. We are lying low from this suffocating midwest heat, and hopefully doing a lot of sewing.

OH! And my first quilt is all finished. I'm in love. Pictures Monday.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Oliver & S sew-along anyone?

I finally bought this book on an impulse when I stopped by the shop the other day for some fabric. I've been eyeing it for a while, and decided it was a good way to put my 25% discount to use. (Yes, you should be jealous. Heehee)

If you are like me, you have a bad habit of collecting craft books and maybe doing one project out of them, more likely none. I think we are all guilty. But this one is just so good I can't let that happen. I really want to make every single thing in here! 


I didn't realize this until I bought it, but there is a page you can tear out in the back to cut out their signature paper dolls. Then you cut out all the little accessories on the book jacket to dress them up in. How freaking adorable is that?

The kids all had fun with the paper dolls this week. Even the two boys, not pictured because they enjoyed the paper dolls in a bit a different way. Namely, running them around the room bouncing off furniture with the penguin backpack. I did think it was precious that Hendrix specifically asked me to cut out the little sewing machine for him so he could "make sew." He's been watching carefully :)

Anyway, since my recent foray into Oliver & S patterns, (see an Ice Cream Dress I made and pattern review here) I am completely in love and want to make all of them.  

But I need craft book accountability from my interwebs friends. So if I organized a bit of a sew-along through this book, would anyone be interested? I'm thinking I would probably do it over 6 months or so, just one project or two of the simpler ones each month. Low pressure, make as much or as little as you want to, and we will all share our pictures and sewing adventures. If you don't have the book yet, I think you can find it for less than $20 on Amazon, and the high-quality patterns are well worth it. 

Here's a peek at some of my fave projects to entice you:

Adorable right? And all completely necessary. Please leave me a comment if this is something you would like to join in on! .... or even if you just want to see me do it all by lonesome and shout hooray from the sidelines.