Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Upcycle Madness

I have been a bit enamored of the upcycle dress trend of late, especially those from Lilblueboo.  When my hubby came back from New York City last week with I ♥ NY shirts for everyone, I knew what I wanted to do with them:  turn them into dresses!  Lilblueboo's creator, Ashley, has patterns one can purchase from her Etsy shop but, sadly, they only go up to size 6!  My oldest daughter is a size 9, so I set about making my own version of her dress, without a pattern.

Here was my inspiration:

This is a Lilblueboo dress I find cute.

And here is what I made:

And I am never going to sew something without a pattern ever again.  LOL!  This was hard.  I used a bit of an Ottobre pattern to fashion the sleeves but otherwise I built this dress on my 7 year old daughter's body and she was not happy with my pinning!  I also did not trust my serging abilities to make the tiers serged on the outside, as LLB does, so I serged them on the inside as well.   I used rib knit for the red and turquoise and I am happy with that choice as I like the weight of it and the feel of it.  My daughter says it is a very cute and comfy dress and that is all that matters.

Now back to sewing with Ottobre!   More later...........

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Major craft project necessitates longest blog post to date!

I  have not attempted a major room overhaul in about 8 years.  Sure, I do bits and pieces of decorating every year but to take a room and dramatically transform it is not something I do a lot.

So, this project has me a bit anxious!  I am taking the man cave slash den of our home and transforming it into a little girl's room.  Everything had to leave the room. The walls had to be stripped bare of pictures, the curtain removed, and the furniture moved out.  The walls had to be painted, new curtains sewn, bedding purchased, decorations crafted, purchases stealthed from all over the internet in order to keep within budget.  And the transformation, almost complete, is dramatic!

I won't post the before pictures as they are embarrassing.  You just have to imagine a room cluttered with music magazines, instruments, bicycle gear, books, and random clutter.  Walls dinged up from guitar cases.  Children's art taped to the walls.  The carpet hidden underneath teak furniture and dark persian rugs.  The exact opposite, in every way, of what a little girl's room should look like.

It all started with this quilt.  I went a little gaga over it.  The bed, a queen, will be the centerpiece of the room.  A queen seems like a big bed for a three year old but we wanted to keep the flexibility of still having a space for visiting relatives to sleep.  So, the bedding has to be spectacular, what with the bed taking up so much space.  The room is only 10 X 12 but the amazing quilt, Betsy's Dolls, from Pottery Barn Kids, is perfect!  Isn't it adorable!  The quilt has so many colors no one will get bored and the dolls are not so cute that she won't love it for years to come.

So, after ordering custom shams and pillows from Etsy, and finding the perfect white with lavender ribbon sheets from PBK, I moved on to the walls.  What color?  I knew I wanted to do a happy yellow but it took a few visits to Sherwin Willams to sort it out.   I have to say, they are very helpful and have great customer service.  And their online tools are great.   We ended up settling on Optimistic Yellow, at 50% strength, so it is half as dark as this color swatch. 

I chose the Duration paint because it is low VOC  (low stink means fewer toxins to breathe) and it only needs one coat.  True to it's word, it is the best paint I have ever used.  It went on easily and is not nearly as stinky as regular paint. 

Next up, my friend and neighbor sent me a link to a wonderful decorating site.  Oh curses!  So many great ideas I had to use some.  Lucy and Company do amazing work!  I cannot afford it nor do I even live near them but, thanks to Etsy,  Ebay, and Michael's craft store, I can make some of them work on my own.   Aren't these room pics delish?

Did I mention we have my daughter's name in wooden letters already?  I love this desk and shelving unit setup and will be searching far and wide to find something cheap we can transform to get this look. 


I found a seller on Etsy to make me tulips and daisies like these! I will paint and mount them on my own as a sort of mock headboard, just like these.  

I also found a lavender gingham bedskirt from PBK on Ebay and a twin bed sheet set to match.   The bedskirt will fit the queen-sized bed, but the sheet set I will use to make a valence and to cover a bulletin board that I got at Michael's.  If I have fabric leftover, I plan to make a long bed roll pillow like in the picture above.  Such fun!  And I love the old desk transformed with paint.  My friend will help me to find a desk that will suit our needs and then I can paint it to match.  Being as little one is only three, we are in no hurry.  It could even be a small table instead.  I love the covered stool, in the pic of the desk, as well as the bulletin board with the hand painted frame.  Finally, an old table transformed with paint into a bedside table!  What a fun and funky idea.

So many great ideas just from one website!

The first stage of this room transformation will be done this weekend and I will post pics then.  What fun!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I have been busy

Holy cow, has it really been two weeks since I blogged! I was out of town for the week of mother's day, visiting my lovely mother in Oregon.   Upon my return, I have been decluttering and organizing my home like a crazy woman in order to give my soon to be three year old her own big girl room.  So exciting!  But busy. I have also been planting our new food garden.  We have three planter beds now with peas, beans, potatoes, pumpkin, walla walla sweet onions, beets, two lettuces, and two different kinds of carrots.  What a ton of work to turn a section of lawn into planter beds.  Kudos to my hubby for doing the brawny, manly work and leaving the fun jobs (the actual gardening) to me.  To this, we will add our berries and fruit trees. Don't have any new pictures but here are some old ones.

These are berries are from our last year's crop:  Blueberries, raspberries, marionberries, and strawberries.

Here are some pears. I don't know what they are as the trees, which came with the house, have grafts of four different pears on each.

Here is the bedding I chose for my soon to be three year olds new room.  Isn't it pretty?  I love it. It is called Betsy's Dolls and it is from Pottery Barn Kids. I got a great price because, luckily for me, I fell in love with it just as it was leaving the stores and was on clearance!  Had to order it from a store back east but who cares at the price I got!

Her room will be painted a pale butter yellow but I am lost as to what to do for the valence or curtains for her one window?  It has a blind so it only has to be decorative.  If you have any fabric suggestions to go with this quilt of many colors, please send them my way!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I hate rib knit as binding

I officially have a hate-hate relationship with the rib knit I bought to do bindings.  I will not name the company I bought it from but it does not have release in it to stretch back to where it should be.  I worked on this Ottobre nightgown in several ways before giving up on the rib knit bound neckline.  Because I had to cut it off, it made the neckline of the dress too wide.  I solved the problem by using the same lycra as on the sleeves for a wide, v-neck.  It is not perfect but it looks ok.  (especially from a distance)

I also decided not to use the rib knit on the cuffs and just did a simple rolled hem for the cuffs and skirt hem.

I think it turned out ok.  It will function nicely as a nightgown for an almost three year old.  It is, at least, a nightgown not covered in fire retardants and not made from polyester.  That, in itself, is a good thing.  And, someday, I will try this pattern again with a different brand of rib knit.

Pattern is from Ottobre 6/2009, # 36

Simple pants, big mistakes

Ack, I made a mistake cutting out these cute little pants from Ottobre 3/2006.  They are pattern #23.   First of all, I could not follow the directions at all.  I read them several times through but they were just impossible for me to figure out.  Perhaps Ottobre was not so good at English translations back then?  Anyway, I figured they could not possibly be that hard to put together so I decided to wing it.  When I started to sew them together at the seam between the legs, one end was longer than the other! I had already worked hard to get beautiful ruffles and a lovely rolled hem, so I had to wing it again to fix the problem.

To solve the problem, I had to cut that seam shorter on one side but then the whole waist was too short for my child.  At this point, I was enjoying listening to the Wicked soundtrack so much, I decided to just keep going.  I added an extension to the waist to make a basically flat waist yoke.  (I think that is what it is called)  I added the elastic and Voila!  Problem solved.

Took one and a half rounds of the entire Wicked CD to sew these, btw.   Defy Gravity!

Fabric is from Robyn Pandolph's Flirt collection and I bought it from Flame Cranium on Etsy.   
Look for her link to the right side of my blog.

Next up, a twirly dress to go with these pants, same fabric collection.  
 It will be long enough to hide that terrible waist band.