Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sewing while rock climbing

Sewing while rock climbing
Originally uploaded by bethvanduzer

Yup. Why would anyone want to do extreme sewing you ask? Wait, you didn't ask? Well, let's just pretend you did. To win a sewing machine!

U-handbag is having a contest. Simply take a photo of extreme sewing (my favorite so far is the ocean one), post it to her flicker pool, follow the rest of the rules on her blog and voila! you have entered the contest.

Grand prize is a new sewing machine.

Happy Extreme Sewing to All!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Perfect T-Shirt (Pamela's Patterns)

The Perfect T-Shirt (Pamela's Patterns)
Originally uploaded by bethvanduzer

Achoo - oops. All the dust that has accumulated on this blog since my last post makes my nose tickle. Anyway...I finally used a serger that I bought this summer to make The Perfect T-Shirt from Pamela's Patterns. I bought the DVD to help me figure out how to sew the shirt. It was a fabulous investment.

I love this pattern. I love this DVD. It really helped explain things that I, having never sewn with knits or a serger before, needed to know.

This neckline is the standard jewel neckline. I'm going for the scoop and v-neck in the next two shirts. I can't wait to start on my next shirt!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Nectar of the Gods Purse

Nectar of the Gods Purse
Originally uploaded by bethvanduzer

Nectar of the Gods = Coffee

Well, to me it does. The only mom I know that does not drink copious amounts of coffee to get her through her day is my sister. She prefers tea or hot chocolate.

I love my Gracie handbag but really needed it to be slightly different to hold my handy, dandy, brandy spanking new hardcover calendar. Calendar to be used by me to keep track which child is in which school and when, who has to be at the Y for classes and when, when my husband isn't traveling - so I can at least pretend to cook him dinner, and when I can fit in sewing for me. :)

I made the center panel of the outer fabric taller so it was the same height as the two outside panels. I made the inside pockets wider and a tad taller as well (I think). I used the only zipper in my stash that was the same length as the bag.

What I would do next time...add a pocket on the outside and add the interior key fob holder that I forgot to sew in.

Oh - and many thanks to my model who agreed to this photo shoot on the condition that her ring be prominent in the picture.

Coffee Cup fabric by Timeless Treasures
"Coffee Talk" by Hoffman California International
(not shown in this photo) Lining fabric: "Big Ticking" by michael miller

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fun Wedding!

Okay - I don't know these people in the video. Found it on another blog.


If my husband & I are required to pay for a traditional wedding for our daughters I will require they do this at their wedding - only if I am paying for it, of course.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Vacation Memories

Just got back from vacation. We visited a few bears.

Took the kids to see their 1st drive-in movie.

And - saw a rainbow.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Gracie and H.A.

H.A. = Halter Apron

I made my halter apron from the pattern I received from Tenth Muse Studios. Sorry for the poor photo quality - it is raining yet once again here in New England. Some nice thunderstorms today. There was no lighting to be had aside from the house lights and they just didn't cut it. My daughters and husband all liked this apron. I was a little leery about sewing the whole thing together and then turning it inside out but it worked well. I think next time I'll add an inch or so to the waist piece. I have a long torso and really wanted the tie to be down just a bit more but that is the only complaint I have about this pattern. If you want one you can go here to buy it.

This is Gracie.

She's the Gracie Handbag by Lazy Girl Designs. It was easy to put together - although I think their directions leave you with a tad of a sloppy inside. I'm sure if my thread colors matched my fabric it would not be so noticeable to me. I did not have one shade of green to match the striped fabric. Bummer. I haven't embellished it at all. I'll let the girls have at the buttons tomorrow to see if they can find the 'perfect' button to put on the flap.

See that inside fabric. That was a free yard I won from Sew Mama Sew. I finally used it. And, there is enough to make the lining of another purse. Yippee!

The only con about this pattern is that it wants you to purchase a Bag-E-Bottom. I had no idea what it was when I read the back of the pattern in the store and the employee that checked me out did not ask if I needed it. I finally figured it out once I watched the video available on the Lazy Girl Designs website - a Bag-E-Bottom it is a hard acrylic bottom for the bag. Newsflash - I'm not one to follow directions. So - I improvised and covered some Pellon Peltex with fabric and slid it into the holder and now I have a semi-hard bottom on my bag. I think if I really wanted to I could put another piece of Pellon Peltex in to make the bottom more solid. I'll test it tomorrow as is to see if another layer is really necessary.

I don't think I'll ever call her Gracie though. I've always called my purses Percival (pronounced Purse-i-val) after Percival on Little House on the Prairie. He married Nellie Olsen - for those that don't know.

Friday, July 3, 2009

New Projects

What I am going to be working on first - before I attempt my Prairie Dresses.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Patterns, Patterns, Patterns

It's like Christmas in my house! I ordered a bunch of patterns and they all came last week or this week. I ordered some patterns from Fabric Hound, Sew Mama Sew, and Pamela's Patterns.

I made one Favorite Things - Little Prairie Girl top for Lola - except for the sleeves. I'm still afraid of them. I'll finish them - today? A great pattern. Easy to follow instructions. Shirt came together so quickly. Except for my fear of sleeves...

I ordered fabric for the Prairie Girl Dresses I'm going to make me. I have fabric for the Smarty Pants for me. Just need to try the pattern out on not so nice fabric first. I have fabric for the Artisan Pants from Indygo Junction too.

I had never heard of Pamela's Patterns before I read Sew Much Fabric, Sew Little Time. She was my partner for an apron swap. I read her blog now and then and let me tell you - the woman is amazing! She made 28 shirts with The Perfect T-Shirt pattern from Pamela's Patterns. With that many shirts made the pattern has to be good! I'll be trying it soon.

AND - I actually received a free pattern from 10th Muse Studios. I subscribe to Craft Gossip. Every day in my e-mail there is an e-mail from them with crafting links. One day, there was a link to a fabulous Halter Apron Pattern and it just happened the pattern was being given away. (Not anymore - now y'all will have to buy it). I'm so excited! I have some fabric for that too that I'll try to whip up - perhaps tonight? My thought - I'm not a great cook. Really, I stick to basic recipes. So - if I make something that might not taste great one night for dinner I figure my husband won't mind as much - as long as I look good.

Whoops - I actually see the SUN outside my window. Must try to get my vitamin D for the day before the rains return! Happy sewing! Beth

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tofu the Whale

Today we ventured up to New Hampshire (okay - we live about 10 - 15 minutes from the MA/NH border) to visit Tofu the Whale. I'm a fan of the Seacoast Science Center on Facebook. We are members and donated money to help bring Tofu the Whale to the Science Center. The new exhibit just opened up and my four-year-old insisted we visit Tofu. She's been talking about it for days. So, today, we went.

Tofu's Fluke- she was named tofu for her almost all-white fluke

On-line there is a slide show that tells about Tofu and her short life and her eventual journey to the Seacoast Science Center.

Watching informational movies about Tofu and whales.
The back of this bench is a life-size model of Tofu's flipper

Inside the science center is her skeleton, a bunch of new interactive exhibits about Tofu as well as the touch tank, tanks with fish, lobsters, seahorses, and other exhibits about the area.

The touch tank.

Lucy holding a sea urchin in the touch tank.

The kids and I love visiting here. We can spend a day on the rocky beaches (not good for swimming) searching the tide pools for crabs, mussels, hermit crabs, periwinkles, and whelks. We have seen loons and ducks. We are told seals hang out here but haven't actually seen them yet.

Lola posing in a boat inside the Seacoast Science Center.

Today, the girls collected rocks. My husband also helped collect garbage that was in the ocean as well as the rocks. I usually keep a plastic grocery bag in the car to collect refuse when we visit beaches but didn't have one today. Seacoast Science Center is located within Odiorne Point State Park. Thankfully the park had garbage cans (as well as bathrooms) so our refuse collection found a home in the proper receptacle.

Lucy posing as the tide comes in.

We found a net amongst the rocks. It was the perfect thing to hold Lola's rock collection.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Birthday Twirl Skirt

I did finish the skirt before the party. I used a tutorial found HERE. My daughter found a pink gymnastics leotard (that she is wearing backwards) and decided she did not want to wear the shirt - just the skirt and the leotard. So - the sleeves will be a project for another rainy day. Let's see - we're supposed to have another one tomorrow. Sigh - then maybe off to the Museum of Science.

Apron Giveaway over at...

There is a lovely apron giveaway going on at Tomato Soup Cake. Hop on over and enter!

Birthday Outfit

My youngest daughter has a December birthday. December 30th to be exact. Not a great day to have a party. No one is around. We decided we would celebrate her half birthday instead. Better weather (rain instead of snow).

I was making her a new outfit and asked what she wanted. She said a shirt and a skirt - at 9.30 pm she told me this. So- here it is. 2 am. I'm not done yet. I need to be done by noon. The shirt just needs its sleeves. And the skirt needs to be sewn together and I need to make the casing for the elastic. So - almost. Almost.

The shirt is pink while the skirt is the cupcake fabric along with stripes. Hopefully the half-birthday girl will like them.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Myrinda (FabricHound) Birthday Coupon!

It's Myrinda's birthday but the gift is for us! Use code "mybirthday" for 20% off today only!

I can't wait to order stuff later on!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Beach Therapy

I love where I live. I grew up in New Jersey and going 'down the shore' was always an ordeal. There was always traffic. Expensive parking on peoples lawns (yup, they will let you park there all day - if you pay them). Etc.

Living on the North Shore of Massachusetts has given me a new appreciation for the beach. We are 20 - 30 minutes from countless beaches. I love them all. They all offer different habitats for my kids to explore. And, after breathing in the salt air, frolicking in the barely tolerable water, and digging in the sand food tastes better and kids sleep better.

Today we found a moon snail.


And, as we were leaving, we passed this woman who was playing her violin on the beach.

Hope y'all are enjoying some fabulous weather and perhaps some beach therapy yourselves...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Q & A - Sewing Machine Meme

Sew Mama Sew is having a sewing machine month! They asked people to answer some questions on their blog sooo - here I go.

What brand and model do you have? BabyLock Quest

How long have you had it? One Year this month.

How much does that machine cost (approximately)? $1,000

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)? Clothes, quilts, aprons, reusable bags, crayon rolls, etc.

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get? - I sew in spurts. I'll sew a lot for a few months (Autumn / Winter) and less in summer since my sewing room is the attic. Wear and tear - quite a bit. When I sew I sew for a few hours at a time.

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name? I LOVE my machine. I went into the shop where I purchased this convinced I was going to get a different brand. After trying this one out there was no turning back. It is fabulous. She doew not currently have a name but now I think I should ask my children to name her.

What features does your machine have that work well for you?

Lots of lightbulbs to illuminate my sewing. I had Lasik done a few years ago and really appreciate extra lighting at night.

A stop / start button that I can use if I disconnect my foot pedal. I have actually used this feature when using the faux embroidery letters on this machine. It's fun.

The auto-lock button. The machine will automatically sew three locking stitches and then stop automatically. LOVE IT.

An independent bobbin winder on top.

It came with a bunch of feet. I have used most of them.

It came with an extension table.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine? It did not have a 1/4 inch foot so I had to buy a different ankle and a different foot and have to unscrew the one ankle to switch out to the 1/4 inch foot and it's ankle. AND the machine does not tell you when you are low on bobbin thread. So- you'll be sewing a quilt or a piece of clothing and eventually will figure out you are out of bobbin thread.

Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it! UMMMMM - my husband gave me a certain amount of money from our tax refund and said I could spend it on anything I wanted. I got this.

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why? Absolutely. It is a great machine to use. Easy to use. Easy to trouble shoot. Easy to thread. Easy to oil the bobbin area. LOVE IT. The independent button winder is amazing. See list of features I love above.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine? Do you like how it runs? Take it for a test drive. Bring something that you would sew at home into the shop to try out and see if it has the features you need. If you use a 1/4 inch foot a lot and a machine doesn't come with one that would not be the machine you would want to purchase.

Do you have a dream machine? No. I'm really happy with this one.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fabric & Pattern Testing

I've been testing a pattern (see below post) for Wondermommy. Actually - it's an amazingly versatile pattern. But, all my little one wanted me to make from it was a skirt.

It had to be pink with flowers on it according to my daughter.

I only had one fabric that remotely fit that description. It was pink with small white flowers and blue birds scattered on it. A very cute fabric. So, I made the skirt and showed her the final result. Her response was less than spectacular. She told me she hated it. She told me to take the birds off of the skirt. She didn't want birds.

OKAY...Her older sister was so much more gracious and asked if she could wear it instead. That she liked the fabric. Kids!

We went to a fabric store and this is the fabric she picked out.

You can't really tell in the photo but there are purple dots - of pollen (?) on the flowers. I'm hoping the reaction to a skirt made out of this fabric is a tad more enthusiastic.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I'm A Pattern Tester!

Wondermommy picked me to be a pattern tester for her skants pattern! (Oh - wait - skants - well, you all know what a skort is. A skirt and short combo. Well, skants are a pants and skirt combo.)

She first posted about skants a few months ago and I was immediately smitten. My daughters love to wear skorts and frequently wear pants with a skort on top to get the skants look. The issue, of course, is a bulky bottom! I know my girls will love to wear these and I'm so excited that I get to test the pattern.

Thanks Wondermommy!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ruffle Top

Ruffle Top
Originally uploaded by bethvanduzer

Sew Mama Sew has yet another great tutorial. This one is for a spring ruffled top.

The tutorial was pretty easy to understand for someone that has never made herself a shirt before. I'm not really a ruffle person but I figured I could try anything once. I must say - I do like the ruffles. I did add a row of lace around the top of the piece because I did not have matching thread and looking at the stitching bothered me so much that I had to do something to hide it!

Oh - and my summer hat matches! Love it!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Upcycled Shirt

I think this used to be my little brother's shirt. That, or I purchased it at one of the local thrift shops. Can't keep everything I have straight any longer.

Since it finally looked like spring (perhaps even summer-like) weather had arrived in New England I wanted to make a new shirt. I really wanted to try to sew one from a pattern last night but discovered I didn't have enough of the fabric I wanted to try. So, next best thing - I cut up this shirt, added some buttons, and some single fold bias tape. Voila - instant new shirt. Not completely flattering but it is completely comfy and that counts for an awful lot.

And a huge thumbs-up for my four-year-old who took these pictures.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Psychadelic Coffee Apron

Psychadelic Coffee Apron
Originally uploaded by bethvanduzer

Hit or miss?

I've been trying to find a fabric to go with my Michael Miller Tea Time (looks more like coffee cups to me) and thought the Robert Kaufman Chef's Choice (the coffee swirl) would look good with it.

Does it?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Paige's Apron

Originally uploaded by bethvanduzer

A dear friend just turned 40. This apron is her gift from me (I'm sure she won't be reading this before tomorrow).

Paige - Happy Birthday!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Flannel Shirt Teddy Bear

I picked up a flannel shirt awhile back at my local Salvation Army thinking it would become - something...Yeah, vague. But I like flannel. And I live in New England. I think flannel is a required fabric in this part of the world.

I recently received an e-mail from one of my homeschool e-mail lists that said they were looking for someone to make bears for a local hospital. After reading about the need I decided that becoming a teddy bear would be a better use of the shirt. I'd love to volunteer to sew these but I needed to know (1) if I could and (2) if my oldest, whom I am homeschooling, would be willing / able to help.

I searched the web for a free pattern but came up empty handed (hey - I know that I might not be good at this so why pay for a pattern I might only use once). But, my trusty library came through with a few books on the subject of sewing teddy bears. I consulted them, drafted a pattern and voila! An 'instant' teddy bear!

I think I need to work on attaching the ears better. I'd like to do it differently next time. And, I haven't bothered embroidering a nose / mouth yet. I might but the fabric nose is 'pointy' and I don't think would embroider nicely. Plus, I kinda like the no mouth look. Oh - and his arms. They are great for hugging but - um - I don't know. They stay up. I think I sewed them on wrong. Hmmmm - must see if the kids mind. If not then I guess it's okay, right? Should I stop pointing out his imperfections now?

On the positive side - he'll be a great prop to use when teaching about Teddy Roosevelt!

For those that celebrate - have a Hoppy Easter! I'm off to help the Easter Bunny hide eggs...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Human Bean or Sleep Mask?

My daughter rock climbs at our local YMCA. She prefers to climb blindfolded. It keeps her from looking down and getting scared. She makes it about two or three steps from the top of the wall while blind-folded. It is pretty cool.

Right now the instructor folds up a t-shirt and ties it over the kids eyes. I thought I would make a sleep / rock climbing mask so she could climb with more comfort. I don't have a pattern so I traced one I found in my husband's travel bags - the free one you are given on an airplane.

Well - it came out looking a tad like a human bean to me. Anyone else get that impression?

So - I had to try it on her. Here is a sleeping girl with chocolate sauce on her cheek in her new sleep / rock climbing mask. I guess it isn't that bad. It fits. Let's hope we remember to take it to rock climbing with us.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Scrabble Fairies!

Originally uploaded by bethvanduzer

I have been playing scrabble since I was a wee lass. My mom recently gave me her spiffy scrabble game that has a board with raised sides - so the tiles don't shift around. It is on a turntable as well. Very fancy!

My mom, older sister, husband and I played when my mom and older sister came to visit at the end of December. We had so much fun playing - we laughed so hard we cried at times. I never remembered Scrabble being that much fun when I was a kid!

One of the things we complained about during our play were the Vowel and Consonant fairies. Either they visited our tile racks - or they didn't. And either way - we complained.

And that was all it took for me to think...hmmm...scrabble fairies...I wonder if I could make some...

I searched for scrabble fabric and finally found some on e-bay. I made each of us a scrabble fairy. I am now working on wands - they are made but how the heck am I going to get the fairy to hold it? And - maybe a bag? Or would that just be too much. Maybe this fairy only needs her crown.

The words on the crown? My mom's bingo one night was JANGLERS (for those that don't follow scrabble - a bingo is when you use all 7 of your tiles. In addition to your word score you also earn 50 additional points). Spider Pig - is from The Simpson's Movie and was the name of one of the games we recently played on Facebook - and my sister won the game. So - her fairy's crown is Spider Pig.

I know - more scrabble info than anyone ever wanted to know but hey - the fairies are cute - right??? And scrabble teaches not only spelling but math and strategy. So, if you're staying in this evening and own scrabble, dust off the box and play a game. Print up a picture of the fairies and wave it over the board or tiles when you need a bit of help. Perhaps it will work.

Bingo! Beth

Monday, February 23, 2009

Thrift Pants

A few months ago I was at my local Salvation Army and picked up a pair of size 21 pants. They are corduroy and I thought - I'll try to make a new pair of pants out of them or a skirt. If that fails they will become fabric for dolls. Then, just about two weeks ago, I was in the Garment District in Cambridge, MA.

There is a section where all clothes are $1.50 / lb. In addition to finding a 100% silk Liz Claiborne shirt I found the SAME pants - just a different size. There were a 20. I bought them. I'm going to attempt to make a skirt. I'm just trying to figure out how to resize the waist. Oh - and upstairs was a 50% off sale on all merchandise. I found a Bob Mackie button-up sweater for $4.

I have taken the seam out of the legs of one pair of pants and am wondering - do I just baste up the side and see how it looks? Yeah - maybe that is what I'll do. That way, if I want it fuller I can cut up the second pair of pants and add it. Hope it turns out to something wearable!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Not exactly


When sewing dolls heads - do not
(1) Use a saucer to trace the head
(2) Wait until after you have sewn the head to the body piece to trim the circle freehand
(3) Sew the heads together and think that you can 'clean it up' when attaching the hair

You cannot. (Okay - I cannot).

with hair

The purpose of the finished dolls will be explained at the end of this week...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Booty Bag - Done in time for V-Day

My polka-dot booty bag is done!

Not perfect, but hey - it doesn't have to be.

I adore the faux pearl handles but purchasing them was a trial. I frequent a JoAnn Fabric store just over the border in NH - because it is the closest type of store like that to my home. Every time I go to that store and buy something there is an 'issue'. Not with me - with the store.

All I have to start a conversation with is "Honey, I went to JoAnn's today..." and my husband knows I'm going to tell him about customers that insist items are on sale - "It must not be an advertised sale." or that they used to be able to use their sewing club guild discount AND a coupon. Well, this time was a doozey. The district manager was there so everyone was nervous. Then, the credit card system went down. I was third in line when this happened. Finally, when the cashier got to me I asked her only to ring up to - but not over $30 worth of merchandise since there was no way I was leaving my credit card info with her. She assured me the system was now working because of an icon that appeared on her screen. She was wrong. She then proceeded to subtract my 'non-essential' items off to get my total to under $30. Once at the car I checked my receipt and one of the items that should have been removed wasn't. I had to go back in and ask for the item back. A good 45 minutes of my life wasted yet once again in this particular store. So annoying!

But, now that my rant is over, I must say - I like the purse. I wish I hadn't put blue fabric as the loops for the handles but I'm not going to go back and change it now.

I'm looking forward to taking my pretty red bag out for Valentine's Day and not finding a unicorn in it. Enjoy! Beth

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Booty Bag

I picked up a super short XS skirt at the Salvation Army in Haverhill a few weeks ago. It screamed "make a purse out of me" to me. It cost me all of $2

I need to get handles for it this week to finish it and add a key holder clip inside - aside from that I think it is mostly done! Well, unless I also plan to add a zipper opening / closing on the top. That might require me to buy a zipper too. I thought I was going to do a snap but I have a purse with a snap closing I purchased in December and I'm not liking it. I think the zipper will keep my stuff safer and allow me to stuff my purse with more items that should not be in it (such as a pink unicorn - that is what I found in my purse today).

Skirt with the fabric I chose to line / create the pockets form. Was part of my stash.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Throw the switch!

Has anyone seen the Igor movie? I feel like Igor. I have body parts all over my sewing room.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Quilting - almost

I'm creating a t-shirt quilt (thanks honey for donating those t-shirts!).

T-shirts are cut, ironed, & fused.

Now - what fabric should I use to 'frame' each t-shirt?


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