Friday, January 1, 2016

2016!

With the start of a new year, I like to take a little bit of time to reflect. It went in spurts, but overall, 2015 was a pretty darn productive year for me:

Collage of Crafty Musings 2015 finished projects


Seeing it all in a collage is always so cool. I feel like I've accomplished a lot! And that's not even all of it-- that's just the stuff I managed to take pictures of! There are a few more 2015 clothing and quilt finishes I hope to share on the blog as well. Soon!

How'd I do on my goals?

2015 Goals:
  • Use more fabric than I buy.
    • Fabric In: 127.070 yards
    • Fabric Used: 120.791
    Close. But not quite. But you know what? I'm not feeling bad about this one. I purchased with mindfulness and purpose on nearly everything-- I just didn't get to sewing it all up. I'm going to turn this around next year for sure.
  • Finish at least 2 UFOs, including my Bargello Reflections quilt.-- I did finish a couple of UFOs: my reversible embroidered quilt from 2008 (still not blogged) and Sunrise Coins. But Bargello Reflections remains in its unfinished state.
  • Finish the recent WIPs pile.-- This includes:
    • A little kit quilt that is basted and ready for quilting;-- DONE! (not blogged yet)✔
    • An Edyta Sitar wallhanging that is basted and ready for quilting;-- DONE! (not blogged yet)✔
    • My Fall 2013 mystery quilt that is ready for basting;-- DONE! (not blogged yet)✔
    • My nine-patch quilt that is also ready and waiting for basting.-- Nope. It's just so dang big. I am feeling intimidated.
    So-- 3 out of 4. I say, yay!
  • Complete the 26 Books in 2015 Challenge.-- I read 51 books this year, across a broad spectrum of genres and subjects, both fiction and non-fiction. So I feel like I was definitely in the spirit of this. In addition, I took this to my book group and we each chose books based on the list. So the list was indeed used. Just not in the conventional way. I'm calling this one a win.
  • Get back on the self-care/fitness train.-- This year I joined a local Fit-4-Mom group and started taking Body Back classes. I have been going twice a week since March and it has been amazing. I feel so lucky to have found an awesome group of women to work-out with twice a week. I have managed to lose 18 pounds over the course of the year. Now if I could just get running again...

Overall-- lots of good things goal-wise.

Here's what I'm feeling for 2016:
  • Fitness!-- Keep going with fitness and work on reaching a goal weight of 150. I'm already signed up for the next session of Body Back as well as for a 10K in the spring to help motivate me to get running again.
  • Use more fabric than I buy.-- All that apparel fabric I bought last year? I want to use it. I have a number of things I know I want to sew, including some activewear pieces, two dresses, and a skirt. Maybe some me-made activewear might help motivate me with my first goal too!
  • Finish my Bargello Reflections Quilt-- Since this one has apparently been such a struggle for me, I'm making it a goal of its own. I'm going to do it. For reals this year.
  • Scrapbook/Blog-- This last year I really dropped the ball not only on blogging, but also on my family scrapbook. And I found myself really sad and frustrated at the end of the year that we didn't have anything to look back on and reminisce about during the holidays. So I've spent much of the last week focused on scrapbooking-- finishing 2014 and getting started on 2015. Going forward, I want to work on maintaining it, as opposed to frantically doing it a year later. My goal is to a.) catch-up by doing one month a week for the month of January; and, going forward, take at least 2-4 hours each month to work on the family scrapbook. As an incentive, I got a new scrapbooking software program, My Memories 7. I'm excited to explore the possibilities with this software! The program I've been using (StoryBook Creator Plus) is many years old, runs very slow, and the company is defunct-- so it is definitely a good time to change. In conjunction with that is I want to be better at taking the time to blog my projects as I finish them. This blog is my crafting journal and I need to get back on track. Definitely a post a week.

Four goals. I'm looking forward to attaining all of them in 2016!

Happy New Year!!!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Cute kitty skirt!

Cute kitty skirt, tucked front view

This was a skirt I have been thinking about for a long time-- ever since I first saw this happy Lizzie House Catnap print nearly two years ago! The print just spoke to me. And I could not get it out of my head. But I didn't pull the trigger on buying the fabric until I saw that Hawthorne Threads had put it on sale, at which point it immediately went into my cart (along with a coordinating Denyse Schmidt print).

Favorite Things Cute Skirts pattern cover
Now it is a Cute Skirt! Literally. The design is from a pattern from Favorite Things called "Cute Skirts." I made the view with contrasting gores. It is a simple design, and it showcases fabrics so happily. This is actually the third skirt I've made from this pattern (the previous ones were pre-blogging). So clearly, it works for me.

Construction was straightforward. My only quibble was with the instructions for the gores.

Cute kitty skirt, inside view

The instructions have you sew the gores from hem through the point all the way to the edge of the gore fabric. As a result, they just look a bit janky. I mean, from the outside, all is well, but they could be much cleaner on the inside. If one stitched from the hem and stopped at the seam allowance at the top (rather than stitching all the way through to the raw edge), I think the gores would not only look prettier inside, but also sit a bit flatter overall. It had been so long since I made this view (I made my first one in 2005) that I just didn't remember. So-- I'm writing this down so I remember for next time!

Cute kitty skirt, hanging

My only tweak to the design was to add a line of stitching through the elastic in the back waistband. I didn't do that once, and was constantly fighting with elastic getting all twisted up in there (I really hate twisty elastic-- it's just not comfy!).

Cute kitty skirt, tucked back view

I sewed up the size 14 based on my measurements, which I think worked out well. But the sizing is also pretty forgiving since you can easily adjust the elastic during construction.

Cute kitty skirt, how I wore it

Here I've styled the skirt with a cozy sweater and boots. Comfy, cozy, with kitties!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

It's not all selfish sewing here...

While I have been doing lots of sewing for me lately, there have been a couple other projects in the queue for others as well. This one was for Little Bear (who had just finished eating a blue sucker when I took these... truly, he's not freezing to death here!):

Varsity Cowl Neck Pullover, front view

It is the Varsity Cowl Neck Pullover from Peekaboo Patterns. I recently saw this made up by Stacy Sews and it looked like something my boy would like (he is into cozy sweaters) and so I picked it up during a recent sale.

Varsity Cowl Neck Pullover, back view

I used a knit from my stash. It is pretty snazzy because it is solid on one side and has the stripes on the other, making it perfect for the contrasting neck and hem bands.

Varsity Cowl Neck Pullover, collar detail

The pattern is very straightforward and the instructions are very clear and easy to follow.

Little Bear is 5 years old and is wearing a 4T-5T in RTW. I sewed up the size 5 for him, and it fits about how a Gymboree 5T fits him (so there is a bit of room to grow for him). So-- the fit seems spot on!

And it is, indeed, very cozy.

Varsity Cowl Neck Pullover, action view

And perfect for my active boy!

Varsity Cowl Neck Pullover, climbing view

I already have plans for another (maybe two...).

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Another Kimono Tee

The first one turned out so well, I immediately went on the lookout for fabric for another Kimono T-Shirt from Maria Denmark.

Kimono Tee 2, front view

I found the perfect fabric at Fabric Mart-- a happy Maggy London ITY print.

Kimono Tee 2, front view 2

Making it the second time was even faster than the first time (and I felt like that was pretty darn quick!). No changes at all.

Kimono Tee 2, back view

I am definitely feeling the love for this design and fully intend to make more at some point. But I've got some other projects lined up, including plans for using these:

pile o' happy activewear knits

Activewear knits! Woo!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The perfect gift

The Noodlehead Gathered Clutch must be my idea of the perfect gift because I just keep making 'em! They are quick, easy, practical and cute, and I never get tired of making them. What's not to love?

Noodlehead Gathered Clutch, front view

These are for the boys' teachers.

Noodlehead Gathered Clutch, inside view of pink-green

Bright pink and bright green are Little Bear's Kindergarten teacher's favorite colors. I dug deep in the stash to find this perfect fabric from Michael Miller with bright green and pink stripes. It was meant to be!

Noodlehead Gathered Clutch, inside view of blue

Big Bear's teacher has a passion for math and science, so this print from Timeless Treasures seemed like a great fit. And I figured one can't go wrong with blue accents.

Noodlehead Gathered Clutch, back view

It has been awhile since I've made any of these and I forgot the topstitching on either side of the zipper-- fortunately, it is not a critical mistake. Phew! But other than that, they went together beautifully. And I finished the gifts off by including a gift card to a favorite restaurant. These ladies definitely deserve a couple of glasses of wine nice meal. :)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Stars!

This time of year is tough for me. With the clouds and the rain that come this time of year, and the short days... it feels dark ALL the time! But, a girl's gotta blog. If I wait until spring to blog about projects, I'm just not going to remember! And so I go with crappy, poorly lit pictures. Which is a shame, because this is such a bright and happy quilt!

Rainy Day Stars, front view

The design is "White Stars" from Julie Herman's book, Skip the Borders. I changed it up just a bit with a 9-block layout instead of 12 in order to keep it a more baby-friendly size. Mine ended up at about 48" square.

I didn't follow the instructions in the book, instead opting to use the "No Waste" method for Flying Geese blocks (as shown here). I had to do a little math to figure it out, but it saved sooooo much time and fabric. And it worked like a charm.

Rainy Day Stars, back view

I knew I wanted purple and grey (I used Kona Shadow) and that I wanted to use this pattern. As I was looking about my local quilt shop, I came across a happy fabric with little animals with umbrellas from David Walker. When I saw that, it inspired me to pull the aqua and pink to coordinate. Then I used that cute animal print on the back. I love how it all came together!

Rainy Day Stars, quilting detail, back

I spent a lot of time quilting this one. I was very influenced by the quilting on the sample in the book, which was quilted by Angela Walters. I chose to use a paisley-type filler to give lots of texture to the solid fabric stars (from the book, Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters). Then I again took inspiration from Walters's Craftsy class, "Dot-to-Dot Quilting" and used that to create some motifs in the surrounding blocks. Throughout I used Aurifil 50/2 thread #2600 (Dove).

Rainy Day Stars, quilting diagram

I wish I was able to get better pictures of the quilting... I was having a tough time getting any decent pictures that day, so I'm thankful even to have gotten these. I've gone ahead and attempted to draw in my quilting design on the photo above so you can get an idea. (Thankfully, the quilting looks MUCH better on the quilt than my feeble Paint Shop Pro drawing skills indicate!)

Rainy Day Stars, label

And the label. Baby's papa commented how glad he was that there were care instructions included on the label. He seemed in a bit of disbelief as to how his 3-week old baby manages to require so much laundry. I had to laugh at that. :P

Rainy Day Stars, side view

Hopefully little Penelope will enjoy snuggling with her new quilt!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Striped Style Arc Ann T-Top

This was another pre-Halloween sewing project to help get me back in the sewing groove (after months of very quilt-focused stitching).

Striped Ann-T, front view

It is another Style Arc Ann T-Top. My first was made back in August 2014-- I kind of considered that short-sleeved version my wearable muslin and I was pretty happy with it. For this version I went with a 3/4-sleeve and used a lovely stripe-y jersey purchased at the beginning of this year from Gorgeous Fabrics. It is really quite cool looking-- the wavy look is actually created by seaming, giving it a fabulous texture.

Striped Ann-T, back view

Again I sewed up the size 12. I shortened the long sleeve pattern piece to create the 3/4-sleeve. I made sure to stabilize the shoulder seams with Stay Tape, and then used a knit stay tape along the neckline edges (this helped make application of the neck band much smoother this time around). Overall, construction was much better the second time around! This fabric does not have nearly the stretch that my first iteration had though and I am finding it does not fit the same way.

It is apparent to me now that I really needed to do an FBA. The front kind of rides up over the girls making for some unfriendly wrinkle action once I start moving about. In addition, I am finding I really just don't love the rouching on the sides. It just puts extra fabric over my tummy, making me feel fluffier than I am-- it has a very maternity vibe to me. The slinkier fabric I used the first time minimized this effect, but the heavier jersey has made me notice it much more. I don't foresee another Ann T-Top in my future.

Striped Ann-T, side view

None of this is stopping me from wearing the top, however! It is in very regular rotation because I love the fabric so much and it is quite soft and comfy.