holiday crafting

I was waiting until the last presents were opened to post this :D And by the way, if you’re visiting because of the grown-up cardigan, thanks so much for dropping by! I don’t think I’ve ever had that many views in a day before. Thanks so much for checking out the pattern!

So, holiday crafting! This bonsai is a custom order. I’ve never made anything like this so it was all an experiment. I never really do preparatory sketches (or check gauge, or make swatches) but I actually drew a picture of how I wanted the branches to twist this way and that. It didn’t turn out looking like the picture at all after I inserted the sculpting wires, they seem to have a mind of their own? But I’m glad it worked out looking like a bonsai anyway :D

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And we even had a bonsai pot hidden away in our closet, waiting for years to be used for this of course! It was from a bonsai that didn’t live :( apparently few people can keep a bonsai alive for long — hence the need for a bonsai that never dies!

And I added a tiny gnome because I thought the bonsai looked a bit lonely. Here’s a close up of the gnome. It was crocheted with embroidery floss with a 2.3mm hook (2.3 is kind of an odd size for a crochet hook don’t you think? But that’s what it says on the hook… anyway, I digress).

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He’s kind of like a candy corn, except with eyes and a beard. Maybe I can even make a candy corn gnome in the fall… I like the gnome so much that I put him in the shop :D With a new and improved extra fuzzy beard. He is a pin :)

wee gnome

And then Mike requested a tiny yeti pin for his co-worker who is rather fond of yetis. So I thought I could use the same method as the tiny yeti, except with the thinnest yarn I have and the trusty 2.3mm hook…

Behold the tiniest yeti!

tiniest yeti

Doesn’t he look like he’s ready to give the most sincere hug? :D He’s in the shop as well. Both the gnome and the yeti are about an inch tall. My hand is in the pictures for scale.

And I made these for Mike — they’re soot spirit hand warmers :D

soot warmers

I decided to make hand warmers for Mike because his hands get really cold in the winter, to the point where he has difficulties typing when he first gets into work in the morning. So I thought these would work great if he pops them in the microwave for 30 seconds before he heads out to subway to work in the morning and before he heads home from the office at night. There are many tutorials on the web showing how to make them (with rice inside). But because I have black flannel on hand I thought it would make really great soot spirits! They appear in My Neighbour Totoro and Spirited Away. Here’s a lovely video montage of them in action if you haven’t seen the movies already :D

Also made these for my friend’s shop, cat earrings and necklace!

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I bought them from a local Etsy seller, Yum Yum Objects. The shop owner is super friendly, and the package was wrapped in book pages and pattern tissue, with extra cat beads! The cat beads are a beautiful translucent grey that have an iridescent quality to it in the light. And so of course I have to immediately make myself a necklace (and a pair of earrings) when the beads came in the mail! :D I’ve been wearing it for the past few days. So excited.

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I also knitted and crocheted an assortment of scarfs/neckwarmers, a shawl, a hat, a few brooches and a loop stitch bathmat for various family members, but didn’t take pictures of them. Aaaand there’s one more gift that I haven’t yet mentioned because it will come with a pattern! So stay tuned! :D

Have a wonderful week everyone!

 

going away outfit

So, when we were planning our wedding 7 years ago I learned of this term, “going away outfit”. It’s supposed to be the outfit that the bride changes into when the couple leaves the reception to go on their honeymoon (at least that’s what I heard).

I never had any dress change during my wedding, let alone a going away outfit. But summer trips are also great opportunities to make new clothes! Last year I made a new shirt for our trip to Chicago.

And so this year I thought I’d make a new shirt too. Brings new meaning to the idea of a “going away outfit”. The new shirt is made from a thrifted shirt from Black Market. There was this whole lot of them and they looked brand new. Overstock that’s been sitting in some basement for years, I guess? They all featured exaggerated pointy collar. I think it’s a lovely shirt, the pointy collar is quirky, my friend bought the same shirt and she looks super fabulous in it. It just… didn’t look like something I would wear. But I LOVE the print.

So I removed the collar, cut the sleeves short, took in the sides a bit, and hemmed the neck and sleeve edges. Better, isn’t it?

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I’m even able to preserve the pocket! And I love its length. Here’s a closer look at the lovely print.

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But next time I’ve really got to measure. I cut away too much fabric around the sleeves and it almost didn’t fit, had to reduce the seam allowance to 1/4″ (>_<) I’ve really got to measure from now on…

These shirts were 5 bucks each! Maybe I should get a couple more with different prints…

SO! Where are we going, you ask? Quebec! Haven’t been there since my family took a bus tour there when I was a kid. Can’t wait to see it again with new eyes. Will be posting pictures when we’re back, of course!

Wishing you a fabulous week with fun and inspiring adventures, wherever you are :)

 

trip to the capital city

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Two weeks ago we went to Ottawa for my cousin’s wedding. It was a rather short trip but we got to visit the Rideau Canal before heading home. The fall colours were lovely. And I found an owl! :D

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The wedding was held at this castle-like hotel. It was one of the most glamorous weddings I’ve ever been invited to, and so very happy to see my cousin marrying her true love! :D

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So throughout the summer I worked on adding a sash to this dress so it looks a bit more formal for the occasion…

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… and I clipped this fabric flower I made on the back. I also bought this vintage porcelain rose earring and necklace set from a very friendly shop owner on Etsy. I thought it matched my dress well :) 

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The hotel was right next door to Parliament Hill. A levitating photo is in order.

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Hope everyone’s having a good weekend! 

 

what to do with a too-wide collar

I have a t-shirt that has gone through a couple of refashions, and to refashion it again I had to cut more off the collar, resulting in a neckline that was way too wide (it was a shirt that was big on me to start with). It was practically falling off my shoulders and I couldn’t wear it :(

It was still a perfectly good shirt so I was determined to make it wearable. 

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And after some experimentation, it transformed into a tank top :D totally wearable!

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I should also mention that I gave it a bit of galaxy treatment before the refashion. (There are many galaxy shirt tutorials in the blogosphere, but if you’re interested in what I did, it was sort of a combination of this and this.)

I thought I’d share the refashion process here, in case you, too, have a shirt with a too-wide collar, or if you have a t-shirt that is asking to be transformed into a tank top :D

In the latter case, you can start by cutting around the collar of a t-shirt to make a wider neckline. On my shirt I have about 1.5 inches left between the neckline and the shoulder seam. You can cut the cuffs off the sleeves as well.

And now the t-shirt is ready for transformation! :D

1. First, I put on the t-shirt. I then flip one sleeve up and inside out, so that the edge of the sleeve meets the top of my shoulder. Fold the sleeve inside out all the way around, including under the arm. I had to kept pulling and adjusting here and there to make sure that the front of the shirt is not sagging. Repeat with the other sleeve. 

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2. Pin the sleeve to the shirt in the front and underarm, as follows… (the shirt is still on me at this point… my phone camera just did a weird thing with the white balance which made my skin look all washed out)

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3. Very carefully (to avoid being pricked by the pins) take off the shirt, and pin the sleeves on the back.

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4. And now very carefully put the shirt back on again. Take the outer edge of the now folded sleeve and fold it in half, up to the shoulder and all the way around. 

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5. Then tuck any excess material under, like so…

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6. Pin the newly formed shoulder strap through all the layers. Repeat steps 4–6 with the other sleeve.

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7. Very carefully take off the shirt, and re-pin around the armholes to secure the folds made in step 4. 

 

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Here you can adjust the folds to make them more neat, then pin them down. Try to place the pins so that they look symmetrical on the shirt. I placed the pins in the underarms, top of shoulders, mid-front, and mid-back.

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8. Finally, with doubled thread, sew through all layers for two inches or so where the pins are placed. I hid my stitches by sewing along old serged seams where possible. I used black thread to match the shirt so you can’t see my stitches, but I drew a zigzag line to show you what I mean…

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Ta-da! A new shirt! :D

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Perfect for soaking up the last bit of glorious summer before fall arrives :D

May your weekend be filled with awesomeness!

 

out of the flame…

… grows a peony!

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There are lots and lots of tutorials for these fabric flowers and I’ve long been fascinated by them, but I was just a bit intimidated by the fact that it involves using an open flame. Recently I’ve been working on sewing a belt to this dress (you will see the result later in the fall :D) but accidentally cut the fabric too short (this happens ALL the time with my sewing. When will I ever learn to measure properly?) so I needed a large-ish fabric flower to hide the gap between the ends of the belt. So! I finally conjured up the courage to make this.

I followed this peony tutorial on Creature Comforts. I must say, the small flame of a tea light is hotter than I thought. I was holding the fabric several inches above the flame and it still curled up rather quickly. The fabric also caught on fire a few times :S Just a really small flame, which I quickly blew out.

This is the first round of curling before the petals were cut. I took a photo of it because I thought it looked like the cap of a jelly fish :D

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And this is the finished peony! :D

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The petals aren’t cut exactly the way the tutorial instructed, mainly because I forgot how they were cut and didn’t bother to look it up again… but I think it looks alright! I sewed pearly beads in the centre.

This was a lot of fun! I think I will make more of these with other kinds of fabric! The chiffon I used was the same material I used for the dress and it’s really light, so maybe that’s why it caught on fire so easily…? 

As for how it will look on the dress… it will be positioned on the centre back of the waist because of the belt, and the first comment that Mike made was, “wouldn’t it look like a rabbit’s tail?” 

:S

I haven’t tried it on. It is indeed a pretty fluffy flower. We will see…

Hope you’re having a good week! :D

 

new top!

I made this tank top and brought it on our trip to Chicago. It was perfect for the heat wave that hit us (daytime temp of 40°C+!!) during the trip.

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I bought this fabric from a craft show last year. Probably a good material to make dress shirts or blouses, but I don’t have patterns to make those. I just traced a tank top that I had, and after all the seams were sewn I hemmed all the raw edges by rolling them in a couple of times and sewing them in place. After the top was made I thought adding a pocket would make it look more interesting with the diagonal stripes. 

Pretty rudimentary. I didn’t even measure, which resulted in the top being too narrow when it was first made, so I resorted to adding a strip of fabric on each side under the arm. You can kind of see it in this picture…

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… which made the armholes a bit too big, but I don’t mind it too much. Oh yes, and I make a diagonal hemline where the back is longer than the front. It was kind of an experiment. I keep seeing dresses and skirts with that kind of hemline and was wondering if I just have to cut the fabric diagonally to achieve the “high-low” effect. 

And we took the photos while walking through Grant Park :D

Next time I make a tank top I can probably trace this one, except make the armholes smaller. Measuring before cutting would probably be a good idea too :P

Hope everyone’s having a good week!

 

pocketed, lined, with waistband, whoa!

I love to sew. But I don’t really use patterns, and I barely measure.

Most of what I sew are simple square tops and shapeless dresses (actually, they do have shapes, they are rectangles and, if I’m feeling adventurous, trapezoids).

Then one day, I suddenly thought that it would be a good idea to have a gathered skirt. It would be useful for semi-formal events and such. I took a trip to the local thrift store but couldn’t find anything that I liked. Then I went home, and saw this tutorial.

It was the perfect gathered skirt! A skirt I think I can make… 

And here it is! A skirt! With a waist! :D

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It’s the perfect tutorial partly because it doesn’t have a zipper. I don’t know how to install a zipper. I avoid tutorials with zippers. It looks nice and flat and dressy on the front, and has an elastic on the back :D

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I bought this sweet lavender fabric a long time ago and never knew what to do with it. It’s now put to good use!

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I used less fabric than what is used in the tutorial. Instead of 45″ across for each of the front and back pieces, I used 37″ and it’s quite pouffy. I also sewed on a skirt lining that has the same circumference as the waistband.

Pockets! :D

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And as you might have noticed — a new hairdo! For the summer :D

It was fun to make, and not too difficult (except I messed up the part about sewing on the elastic and ended up spending nearly an hour trying to get an elastic into the waistband without a safety pin or anything to guide it). I think I might make another one with the vintage bed sheet I bought last summer :D

Have a sweet rest of the week!

 

summer sewing begins :D

Summer sewing begins with a bandana dress :D

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It actually started as a bandana top last summer, made with two bandanas, each cut in half, then sewed together in the middle-front, middle-back, and side seams, leaving space for armholes and a v-neck.

But it didn’t look right when I tried it on. It was poufing out in all sorts of strange places. I got discouraged and left it in the closet for the entire fall and winter. Then recently I thought maybe if I extend it into a dress it might drape more nicely. So I went back to Honest Ed’s where I found the bandanas, and was able to find two more in the exact same colour and pattern! Almost couldn’t believe it.

I sewed the two bandanas into a tube to make a skirt, then sewed them to the top at waist line.

This is the back of it…

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It clearly needed some waist shaping, so I used the same trick as I did with this top, with buttons and button loops. I really like the blue buttons on the brown/white/orange pattern :D

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(Please excuse the out of focus photos :S)

Can’t wait for the weather to be warm enough to wear it outside :D

 

Happy May! 

 

 

oh glorious summer

The glorious final weeks of summer holiday! Worked on a pile of projects :D 

Was visiting Kathleen’s blog the other day and found tons of cool stuff to make! Including this star-shaped blanket (following a pattern called Beth’s Little Star — I just had to make it!)…  

I called it the rainbow road blanket, because the colours reminded me of the rainbow road level in Mario Kart. It’s for for my young niece (who is very cute and amiable and reminds me a lot of Ponyo as she’s starting to talk and walk) and her soon-to-be-born sibling :D

Also inspired by Kathleen’s blog is this bookworm bookmark! Her yarnbombing with bookworms is ingenious and TOTALLY AWESOME! I would love to do that one day. So far I’ve made one for a book-loving friend :D

I used an orange yarn because I kind of wanted it to look like Slimey from the Muppets. 

This granny shrug has been on my to-crochet list for a long time. I made it with a light fuzzy yarn the colour of Prince Edward Island’s red soil. Not a style I usually wear, and can’t see the granny square (actually, it’s two hexagons stitched together) pattern very well, but it’s really soft! Very comfortable for lounging in at home, I think.

Then I sewed a dress. With fabric I got from my mom’s collection. It’s a very soft kind of fabric with lovely polka dots and I’ve been wanting to make something summery with it for a long time. Was having a very motivating conversation with my friends about sewing dresses, so I thought instead of making the square top that I make a lot of, I’d try to sew a dress!

It’s actually still a square top with faux button panels (which means that the buttons are just sewed on, there are no button holes), for which I got the idea from C&C’s tutorial. The top was cut to a mid-waist length, then I sewed on a skirt made with two trapezoid pieces of fabric. I found enough yellow buttons in my collection that looked like lemon drops :D

And last but not least, shop update for the fall season!

The fall harvest treat magnet set! Here’s a closeup of the pumpkin pie, which I’m rather happy with…

I actually made his cousin first, which has an upper crust, because I didn’t know that pumpkin pies aren’t like apple or strawberry pies, they don’t have upper crusts! (probably because I don’t bake very much, and didn’t grow up in a country where pumpkin pies were popular) Mike reminded me of that and I remade the pie slice.

I also started Christmas-elfing (i.e. making Christmas presents) and made 3 scarves, but of course I can’t show you those yet… ;)

Off to the Bruce Peninsula this long weekend! Will bring back lots of pictures!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!