Monday, 23 May 2011

Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker ...

Well, only one of those applies. But being a candlestickmaker sounds pretty awesome.
I don't bake. Why? Because I'm lazy, mostly. I don't like the mess it creates and I don't think I'd be very good at it. And, to be fair, I really don't need to be eating any more baked goods. However, once upon a time I had in my possession the perfect pecan and walnut pie recipe. Unfortunately, since then I have moved twice and the recipe is long gone. So my promise to make the boyfriend wonder a pecan pie for his birthday was looking a little foolish.

But the internet is created for problems like this - time will tell if this recipe is even close to the one I used to have.

I'm not sure if this looks delicious or gross. Really, I'm torn.

Some of you may be wondering why I bothered going to the effort of making a homemade pie for his birthday after the shambles that was my own birthday. Guilt, my friends. Never mind an eye for an eye, a crappy birthday for a crappy birthday. It is up to me to prove how awesome I can make this one day to make him feel worse about messing up mine. Conniving? Yes. Evil? Most certainly. But then that's me all over :)

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It's two toddlers in homemade capes!

Apologies for the long silence. Things have been obscenely busy here. I seem to be fighting against the unending tide of mess in this house as I'm still trying to find homes for all the stuff that was displaced by the recent decorating and room switching fun. Also, there have been a slew of little household mysteries recently. Like where exactly did all the forks go and just what is that weird smell by the back door? If I ever solve them I'll let you know.

Despite all this I did manage to start two new projects on my sewing machine and finish one of them. I promised my sons I would make them capes so that was a priority. I picked up some red satin pretty cheaply and improvised a cape pattern. I was originally going to do something that was gathered at the neck with ribbon ties, in a style reminiscent of classic Superman. But, after thinking about how likely it was that my sons would strangle each other with said ties, I opted for an oversized neck opening fastened with a large button.

These capes are by no means perfect. I ran them up quickly, with very little precision, because Ben and Jake are at that age where they seem to have a stubborn destructive streak. So I didn't want to pour hours into making perfect little capes that would just be destroyed within minutes. Also, I've discovered that I hate working with satin. Too slippery. So when they are old enough to appreciate it properly, I will make them lovely cotton capes, with yellow lining and their own superhero motif on them. But that's a few years away yet.

It was difficult to get shots of these capes, to be honest, as the boys seem to have an aversion to standing still for too long. They are also wearing Thor helmets that the boyfriend wonder bought for them, making him the coolest dad around.

And just so you know, they look a lot less scruffy these days. Still scruffy, of course, because that seems to be their default setting, but they've had smart new haircuts and look a little neater now.

Hopefully I'll be back during the week with some photos of the skirt I'm working on. Fingers crossed for that.

Friday, 6 May 2011

All sorts of cute!

So I was definitely a busy bee last night - I made my needle roll with my new fabric. I was impatient to use it and it didn't take very long at all. The most time consuming part was measuring and cutting all the fabric.

Rolled up

Open - and full of needles :)

I used this pattern and it was super easy to follow. I'm pretty pleased with the outcome. My stitches are pretty straight and it doesn't look obviously mis-shapen. I used medium weight fusible fleece instead of batting in between the outer and inner layers, and it give it a bit more bulk, but I like that. I'm going to use some more of this fabric to make a little patchwork basket to keep all my spools of thread in, but next I'll probably be working on resizing a men's t-shirt to fit me and making another cushion cover (my twins got hold of permanent marker and drew on everything - tv screen, cuhions, rug, themselves.)

Our little kittens are now five weeks old and are causing furry mayhem everywhere - in a good way. They're so much fun to watch, but strangely, I'm not at all attached to them. Though the one with the biggest smudge on her face is starting to grow on me. The boyfriend wonder said we could keep one, so I think she'll probably be the one we keep. So here's some pictures before I go.

This one's a keeper :)

Sorry they're blurry - they wouldn't stop moving about :)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

New Stash and Design Thinking

Sorry for the long absence - it's been deadlines a-go-go here. But now that all that stuff is done and dusted, I can get back into my various projects without feeling guilty. The cross stitching continues, with the Justice League on hold for a while (because I made a gigantic cock up and can't quite face unpicking all those stitches just yet) and the Avengers is almost done. Several other projects are lined up, the first of which will probably involve this awesome material I received today.

I got this bundle of FQs with a gift voucher for Seamstar given to me for my birthday by my lovely sisters-in-law, Jay and Vicki. It was difficult not to spend a fortune in one mad spending spree! The fabrics are beautiful. Though I think I may have found the elusive fabric that'll make the perfect matching dress for my shoes - if I ever decide to buy it, you'll be the first to know. Maybe next month.

I'm going to use these to make my needle roll and a few other little bits if there is any left. Here's a few of my favourites from the bundle.

I especially love the clock print - it is also available in yellow and blue, and I'm thinking it would make a lovely shirt or summer dress. So many plans!

And speaking of other plans - a few months back I brainstormed some dress designs based on some of the women of the DC universe. Super dorky, I know. But I thought, what if you're going to a convention, and you don't want to go in full-on cosplay, but a superhero T and jeans seems too lazy? That's how I came up with a few dresses that channel the essence of certain characters without being obviously 'comic book'. I hope. Now, I'm no good with a pencil and I coloured this sketch using a computer program I'm not familiar with, so it's pretty basic, but you get the idea.

The Harleen Dress
 I'll explain what you're seeing. The dress above is based on the villian Harley Quinn, whose civilian name is Dr. Harleen Quinzel (hence the name of the dress). She looks like this.

So, I tried to incorporate as much of her character as possible and that included the iconic colour scheme and diamond patterning. I adapted the jester's collar into something more simple and wearable, and peaking out the bottom of the skirt will be an inch or so of black and red harlequin patterned lining. I wanted the whole thing to have a kind of girlish niavete, which is something Harley often conveys, so that is why I ended up with a dress that's quite demure and has the faintest hint of a school uniform about it. I think the end result is subtle enough that it's comic influences aren't overpowering.

This dress will eventually get made, when I have the time and have had enough practice. But in the meantime it's another project on my ever growing to-do list :)