Phase Two: Bridal Gifts Sweatshop

I worked my butt off today! Ok, well I mostly worked, sitting on my butt, making gifts for my friend’s Bridal Shower. I did a post earlier today, when I finished the doily and now here is the conclusion!

I wanted to make vintage looking cloth napkins for her, so I used an embroidery stitch on my machine. First I hemmed the whole thing up and went back to add the details. I made three different colors.

Also, I made her placemats.

wpid-20140715_172038.jpgi am freaking tired.

wpid-20140715_171547.jpgcome closer…

I decided to give her gifts a test run to see what they would look  like all together. I added some accessories because it looked kind of sad and silly just sitting on the table all not set and what not. So the dishes and plant are obviously mine, but here you are:

wpid-20140715_171827.jpgI have too much time on my hands…or not enough!

I think it looks great! I’m debating making her a tea towel because frankly, I am pooped. But I made 8 placemats and 9 napkins. So, dinner party at her house? Maybe after a nap.

The Ridiculous Apron

Now that things are back to normal, ish, I can get back to being crafty! Whoo hoo!!

2 Mondays ago was the day I had to pick up my friend from the airport. Her flight didn’t arrive until the ungodly hour of 1pm. Which is an eternity if you are impatient like me. The house was clean, the laundry, dishes, everything done. Spotless. And here is me, nervous as heck, pacing back and forth with nothing to do. I decided to investigate my scraps pile in my sewing room, originally thinking of making something simple, like napkins or something. Anything. I needed to keep my hands busy.

When I went digging, I discovered a forgotten scrap of the most hideous, ridiculous fabric ever. If there is one thing I have a soft spot for, it’s ugly colors combined in insane and nonsensical ways. I feel like I need to adopt them. I have made more hideous pillows out of horrible ombre yarns that I can shake a stick at. And this stuff spoke to me. I bought it and made a skirt out of it. A skirt so ridiculous, that I, yes I, cannot even figure out what to wear it with. Man, it’s ugly. Awesomely ugly. One day, fair skirt. One day, I will rock you.

Right after I finished the skirt originally; I want to say this was in January of this year, the skirt was so insane I didn’t even post a picture of it; my dirty-hippie-NSA-watch-list friend whom I recently helped move came over, saw it and about died. Like, he was really jealous. At first he thought it was an apron, but when he found out it was a skirt, he was still jealous. I had forgotten I had a decent chunk of the fabric left.

Back to that Monday, waiting for the plane, I quickly text my good hippie friend that I had enough to make an apron. There was an explosion of YES PLEASE AND THANK YOU, MA’AM. Perfect! I selected loud yellow thread, got to pressing and got going.

wpid-20140623_123124.jpgmon Dieu

In between the beginning and the end of this apron, wedding happened. Finally, the week after, July 4th, to be exact, I actually had enough time and enthusiasm to do something besides being extremely lazy and grazing through the leftovers. I decided to crochet the ties for the apron. Off to find some ugly yarn! Whoo hoo! Ugly yarn stash!

wpid-20140704_135006.jpgthis matched the thread the best…wait for it…

I crochet a length wide and long enough to service as ties and decided they needed to be dressed up a bit. So I decided with the ol’ reverse single crochet! Works like a champ when you just need a little something to neaten off some ends.

This is how:

wpid-20140704_165833.jpgdeliciously ugly yarn…

You work backwards, left to right.


Right side facing, insert hook into next stitch.


Yarn over,


draw through.


Yarn over, draw through the two loops and into the next stitch!

wpid-20140704_170038.jpgIt’s kind of weird, until you get the hang of it, but it works great for a simple, small border.

So I whipped that hideous thing out and then sewed it all together:

wpid-20140705_170447.jpgC’est la fin des haricots!

Needless to say, he was tickled pink and very happy with it!

moderate cursing?

I Saw the Light…

praise the Lord, I saw the light

  • What is the word for sewing when you have to tear out seams that you messed up?
  • I think it’s “unpick”
  • I’ve unpicked the top of my wedding dress
  • Once
  • Twice
  • I’m an idiot.
  • But now I think it’s back under control
  • Straight is the gate and narrow the way
  • I think the chest baskets are done
  • God help me and the creek don’t rise, I’ll have a wedding dress by June 28th.
  • 21 Days, 2 hours and plus or minus 30 minutes…


The Finale of the Crochet Sweatshop

As I promised on Saturday, the crochet sweatshop is complete! Finally! Now I have 54 days to come up with a lining. Hopefully, I have figured out how to sew decently!

Firstly, I would like to thank:

My dear friend from Florida, who taught me the basics of crochet all those years ago. She’s also my Maid of Honor!

Crochet Today! Magazine, which is where I got the pattern/pattern inspiration. More information on that in a bit.

I would also like to mention, the numerous people who said “it’s too hard” “why don’t you just buy one?” “I could never do that” “why don’t you (enter shortcut of some sort here)”

  • No, it was not too hard. Actually, I breezed through it really. Only minor issues here and there.
  • No, it did not take too long. It took me a little over two months, and I took several weeks off in between. And I did it while watching TV. At one point, I “timed a row” and it was right around the 20 minute mark.
  • No, I will not buy one, this one is hand made and cost (so far) $50
  • No, I am not using a short cut when I am completely able to manage myself
  • Yes, you could do it if you put your mind to it!

So that takes care of that! I had tried it on, but I am not sharing that picture yet! Mostly, because I have simply wrapped myself in it. It’s not fully together, but the grunt work is done. I have not weaved in the ends (only a dozen or so) because I want to sort out the lining before I fully commit the crochet to done. Also, there is a final round on the bottom I have not done because I want to check the length with the lining. So, basically, the dress is just flat fabric now. Nothing sewn up yet.

Without further ado, the crochet sweatshop:

wpid-20140505_075500.jpgbottom rows of the skirt

wpid-20140505_075515.jpgtop of the skirt

wpid-20140505_075607.jpgthe top of the…well, top. boulder holders!

wpid-20140505_075553.jpgmiddle area of the top.

I went with a halter top style for the top. I used a halter top I already owned and liked as a basis for the straps. I just mimicked the cut of the top using decreasing stitches until I got it right. That took about 5 tries to get it right on.

The rest of the dress was from the pattern from Crochet Today! The skirt was fully that pattern, only I made it quite a bit longer, which only required a few repeats. Please keep in mind, I am only 5’1″ so the actual pattern was long on me anyway. The bottom of the top was that same pattern, only shrunken down to the appropriate size, which required a bit of math here and there but all in all, not too difficult.

As I said, I have to come up with a lining, and how the heck I am going to get the thing on (I see zippers in my future…or buttons…oh dear, I’m still pretty new to sewing!) and any other details I might add. I tried the dress on over a cotton skirt and it held up beautifully. I might hand sew the crochet to the lining to give it more of a fitted look, but I am not sure about that. We’ll have to see! I’ve (obviously) never done anything quite like this before, so I am taking my time to get it right and leaving myself “options” in case something goes wrong.

So, I think I covered all my bases! I hope you all enjoyed the sneak peek! Now I am off to contemplate linings while playing in the dirt (got some goodies yesterday, I’ll have another post about all that in a bit, going to play outside first!)

Thank you, everyone for reading! Your kind words and encouragement and your blogs and your goings ons and crafting and making do and in general being awesome people have helped me keep inspired and having fun! Thank you! 😀




The Jeep Apparently Got Jealous of the Bike and the Sewing Machine

Le sigh.

My Jeep, beloved Jeep, 1996 Cherokee Classic with


miles on it started complaining yesterday.

Brief aside: I saw a commercial bragging that “they had more cars with over 100,000 miles on the road than any other car company” and I laughed so hard I had to go outside, gather more oxygen in a bushel basket and then continue to laugh.

Now, I know I am a girl and I am not supposed to know anything about cars. But I can tell you a few things:

  1. I have had enough Jeep maintenance to usually have a pretty solid clue what is going on
  2. Boys, oh those precious boys, don’t know as much as they pretend to.
  3. My Jeep is old, man!

My Jeep has a name too, it’s name is Low Spark. I name everything because I probably prefer to yell at things by a name rather than as an object. It’s more satisfying to yell, “DON’T WORRY, LOW SPARK, MOMMA GONNA GET YOU SOME GAS, GIRL!” than to just growl at the gas gauge. It’s actually named after this fantastic song:

ANYWAY. So Low Spark was being cranky. I started her up the other day and she was growling and scraping at me. Well, I have had starters go bad precisely twice, so I know what a fun sound that is. But I am a bit puzzled. I SUPPOSEDLY got a new starter about 3 years ago from the World’s Drunkest and Most Sexist Mechanic. I did not go to WDMSM of my own volition, it was out of my hands and let me tell you; a bad time was had by all.

Firstly, it wasn’t the starter going bad. It wasn’t grinding, it was being lazy and starting fine after I sat on it and gave it some gas. I had to have someone drop it off while I was at work and they took it to WDMSM. So I told the WDMSM that it probably wasn’t the starter. He drunkenly (I am pretty freaking confident about the drunk part) told me it was and he had already put it in. Great. Not even three days later, Low Spark is acting a fool again. So I took it to my BELOVED mechanics, who are not SEXIST nor DRUNK and they EXPLAIN FULLY what is wrong, lo and behold, it was the distributor cap. One teensy weensy like $50 later and it was all better. What a jerk. Oh, did I mention WDMSM refused to speak directly at me? Despite the fact that I WAS HOLDING THE CHECKBOOK FOR MY JEEP and I just happened to have a MALE give me a ride. He only talked to the MALE who was not paying. Seriously, I was MAD. But, I digress.

So as I am now in another city, I couldn’t take Low Spark to my Beloved Most Excellent Wonderful Mechanic, but I took her to one of their sister stores. They seem all right, time will tell. They do look me in the eye and take me seriously, so I’ve got that going for me. We’re getting to know each other.

wpid-20140314_080110.jpgthis is how i keep the hatch of the jeep from braining me while i use it. she’s old!

I biked back home, since I hate sitting around at repair shops and would rather be a chatty cathy with you guys. Awaiting their call…

So what else? I finally finished that tunic top redo, which I made much smaller than the original. I think it looks cute! My focus was on straight seams, so I added a few that were not called for in the pattern.

wpid-20140314_082503.jpgworst selfie ever.

wpid-20140314_082907.jpgwait, this might be worse…should I flash an imaginary gang sign or something?? HOW DO YOU TAKE A SELFIE?

Obviously, there are some bits here and there that I can nitpick at all day if I wanted, but overall I am pleased with it.

wpid-20140314_083210.jpgapparently i was drunk taking this photo…BLURRY FRONT!

wpid-20140314_083159.jpgback, must’ve sobered up.

wpid-20140314_083248.jpgmade two rows of stitches for the hem, for practice, not too bad!

wpid-20140314_083320.jpgadded more top stitching to the straps and the band around the top.

wpid-20140314_083121.jpgphotobomb curtsey of the aloe vera plant

So for now I am just hanging out waiting for a call about my Jeep. I might have more misadventures later, but it’s sit around and drink tea and continue in the crochet sweatshop. I am making pretty good progress! I would say I am about a quarter of the way done! Maybe I’ll have a wedding dress by June, otherwise, I am just going to wrap myself in yarn. It’s modern art, people. #yolo #criesatnight #doesnthavemanyfriends

It’s getting weird in here without the Jeep…


Hello Everyone!

It’s been forever! Sorry about that, I have been trying to keep up with you all, but seriously, last week was tough. Long shifts, extra days, drinking excessively, wedding planning, the works!

I recently found a small family-owned grocery store* that is a hair farther away than THE BIG FLOPPY BOX STORE I normally go to. The prices are a hair higher too, but I am trying to “put my money where my mouth is” a little more and the store is absolutely awesome! They have a delightful produce section, a bunch of frozen fruit (more variety and cheaper!), a bakery (eh, I probably make better bread!) an olive bar and a ton of just fun, interesting stuff. It’s actually fun to go there! Which is nice, because I hate shopping. But this place is more…welcoming? Homey? Comfortable? No giant lights and coupons being thrown at me?** I don’t know how to say it. I’ve decided to eat more raw lately, so that means stocking up on nuts, fruits and vegetables and they have a wonderful selection! I did get a salmon filet, as my fiance is out with the boys bowling tonight, so it’s Tuesday Tub, Wine and Fish. Not necessarily in that order.

*if you click the link, read their web address. ROTFLMAO.

**I HATE excessive coupons, because if you’re product isn’t at a fair price point and you won’t stand behind it, go away. I get it, if it’s a new product or a sale, but constant coupons make me not want to shop at stores. Besides, they are mostly for crap I don’t want anyway.

More on putting my money where my mouth is, King Arthur Flour sent me a catalog, which is apparently dangerous! I literally want everything! I did splurge a while ago and buy 50# of flour from their website, so I am assuming that is why they were so kind to send me one. I’ve decided, since the mom and pop place does not sell King Arthur, to buy exclusively from their website. This may seem a little silly, but I am trying hard to avoid THE BIG FLOPPY BOX STORE. They seem to have their heart in the right place and they are employee owned.

I did start a new tunic top, I made it quite a bit smaller than the other one because frankly, I am freaking short. And I do not have the, uh, bust to fill it out as written.

wpid-20140302_145038.jpgthe last one had what i fondly refer to as “armpit pockets”*** because the bust was too big. it happens so often i have a name for it.

***when i can freely see where the bottom of the sleeve hole is hanging uselessly away from my body and looks like a giant pocket

wpid-20140302_155403.jpgi am super proud of this pretty straight top stitching.

I am working hard to make straighter stitches. I have found the best way is to line up (ok, this is a DUH for anyone who has sewn, but indulge me!) the fabric with the throat plate lines and watch those lines, not the needle, not the foot, not the fabric, not the dog. Slow and steady, eyes on the throat plate. I also added plants to my sewing area:

wpid-20140302_143450.jpgwith plants! duh! and a festive mug! I love festive mugs about as much as plants.

wpid-20140304_151422.jpgstring of pearls, weird yellow spotted plant and rhipsalis cassutha

The string of pearls has had better days. I put it in a TERRIBLE spot when I first got it and didn’t realize until it was really not doing well that it wasn’t getting enough sun. He’s better, but he’s not the happiest of campers. I’ve got a house full of complainers. The aloe vera APPARENTLY is also dissatisfied with too much sun. She started turning brown, like they do when they are sun burnt. Either that or she’s got too much water, which I SINCERELY doubt, because I haven’t watered her in months. I think it’s because of the change in the angle of the sun during the day. So I just backed her off the bay window a bit. Ugh, bunch of complainers. I’m not sure if the plants will stay there when the tree that is currently bare outside grows leaves, but we’ll see. Frankly, I can’t wait to stick the hardier, less complainer ones out on the three seasons porch. They love it.

Ok, so anyway, what was I originally supposed to yell about? Oh yeah, my badly made suet holder. So I can’t find the metal one (SQUIRRELS!!!! JERKS!!!) so I rigged up one out of crochet and put it closer to the window. The squirrels don’t come that close, well except Bertha, who is actually kind of tame. She’s okay, because she amuses me with her begging and paw waving when I am out feeding the birds. We also have Humphrey and Henry, our resident chipmunks who I haven’t seen yet. They’ll be around.

wpid-20140304_141338.jpgi have way too much sage green yarn.

wpid-20140304_142358.jpgjust wow. get people on the phone. it’s fancy!

I literally made this while standing at the counter mumbling curses at squirrels.


wpid-20140304_142651.jpgpoop. i found poop.

wpid-20140304_142620.jpg2 of our neighborhood murder of crows. they’ve only stopped by the feeder to poke at the suet once or twice.

wpid-20140304_142825.jpgour sad garden. p.s. my seedlings are all complainers too. i had to move them to get them warmer and NOW they’re like oh, i guess i’ll live and stuff. a house full of teenagers or something, i swear.

wpid-20140304_142955.jpgWHAT THE HELL IS THAT???????? WHY IS THE GROUND TURNING GREEN?????


Let’s celebrate with some Roy Orbison. I like him more than Elvis. I mean, I like Elvis, duh, but man, Roy is pretty awesome. Try not to chair dance. I dare you. I turn this up so loud, it’s stupid.



wpid-20140225_184728.jpga “real” book. does this idiot read her own blog titles?

I got the Dress Maker’s Technique Bible by Lorna Knight! And it is fabulous!

wpid-20140225_184740.jpgis this the king james version? or new international?

I basically got it for free with points from my credit cards, which can be used on! I am a credit-card-aholic, but not in the way some people are. I use my cards as cash (as in I pay the balance in full every month without exception) that way I get free points! I’ll even friend atm to get points! So after a while I get enough points to go on a little shopping spree. I’ve gotten, oh geeze, about $300 plus dollars worth of books this way. Hardcover. I can splurge. Anyway, back to the book!

wpid-20140225_184804.jpgADMIRE THE EASY TO FOLLOW CONTENTS!

wpid-20140225_184812.jpgTHE EXPLANATION OF DIAGRAMS!


I love it already! I’ve paged through it cover to cover and it is SO MUCH more helpful than certain other books that I have been quarreling with. I already have the Crochet Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden, which is also AMAZING. If you crochet, I totally, totally recommend it. If you do something else, see if they have a “bible” version. They are spiral bound and just beyond useful.

wpid-20140225_184859.jpgseriously, i love this book.

wpid-20140225_184923.jpghere’s just a taste, stitch diagrams, written pattern and a key on every page.

I can’t wait to put it to good use! I’ve already seen some fantastic tips that certain other books did not bother to mention and it literally explains every single possible thing. It goes over patterns, fabrics, tools, notions, probably explains how to build a nuclear reactor. I didn’t get to that page yet. Anyway, like I said, I totally recommend both of these books!

Tunic Tantrums

I made a tunic! Whoot!

wpid-20140223_203848.jpgthis is a representation of how annoyed I was by the end of it.

Ok, truth time. I really, really like it. It fits great, it’s adorable, but the pattern and the instructions gave me fits! I did learn a few things, which I am going to share with you guys of course.

wpid-20140223_163313.jpgit did not include a pattern. so i had to cut my own. freestyle!

This set of instructions did not include a pattern, but as it was basically squares and rectangles, I managed all right. I just drew a few lines in the appropriate areas and cut it out. Thankfully, the bust was measured out so I knew, for sure, I was a small. The only sewing tip I ever apparently picked up from my grandmother was MAKE IT TEN SIZES TOO BIG JUST IN CASE. I was able to argue myself out of upping it a size.

wpid-20140223_165425.jpgI need to rename the sewing machine. it’s name is Rachel. No offense to Rachel’s.

The instructions included diagrams, which I found largely unhelpful.

wpid-20140223_170357.jpgyou can tell my skill level by the completely not straight seam.

wpid-20140223_185757.jpg“mom? did the book poop on the rug? is that why you are so mad?”

But I did learn things! Yeah! For one, I learned why there was a paint can opener included in my grandmother’s sewing cabinet.

wpid-20140223_180922.jpgJune Dorothy was way too practical to have put this here for no reason…

wpid-20140223_180844.jpgohhhhhh, that, that just makes too much sense.

wpid-20140223_180907.jpgeasy as pie way to turn things inside right. I knew my instinct to take “anything near the sewing machine” was the best bet.

When I first got the machine, I found a walnut picker thing. I’m sorry, I don’t know exactly what they are called, but I know you use them to pick walnuts out of shells.

wpid-20140223_180939.jpgone of these. ya’ll know it wasn’t there to pick walnuts.

wpid-20140223_180956.jpgBOOM! goes right through the sticker on thread spools.

So that is just fantastic right there. Anyway, more on the Tunic Tantrum…

wpid-20140223_171823.jpgthe back. this is how i really felt.

wpid-20140223_181522.jpgwhy would grandma have a million small weights and a 6″ ruler…oh…oooohhhhhh…

Finally, I stopped taking pictures and got to work. All in all, it took about 5 hours of tantrums, but I finished it! And it looks cute as pie!

wpid-20140223_203848.jpgsorry, angry face. long night.

I would post some close ups on the details, but I really, really did not do that neat of a job. It looks really cute, but if you get up close you can see where I should have hid some stitches there, or sewn a little straighter here. I might go back and fiddle with it, but I AM NOT DETERRED!

wpid-20140224_175035.jpgummm, yeah, I bought two more fabrics for two more tops…

I did forget thread. D’oh!

Trials, Errors and Tantrums of Sewing

Man, sewing is hard. I mean, I didn’t expect to just waltz up to my sewing machine, declare my intentions and have magical garments come flying out, but this is not easy. Well, it probably is, it’s just all so strange to me. I even tried buying it flowers and telling it that it is very pretty and mature for it’s age.

I have no idea what I am doing and I don’t know any seamstresses or anyone with particular experience in garment making. It might be the book I got, it’s a great book. but the instructions just seem to fly out of left field. Like I will be humming along and then I get: Step 10: Sacrifice a Goat to Our Great Leader. What? What are you talking about? I am a beginner! I have no idea. What are these magical dots that are supposed to line up? Why are you telling me to carve three 6’s into my wall? Why didn’t you tell me that this piece needed to be a mirror image of the other, not the same? What stitch do you want me to use? WHAT IS THE POINT OF PICTURES IF THEY DON’T HELP WHATSOEVER?!?*

Ok, deep breath…

It’s me, it’s totally me.

It was like this when I started crochet patterns, too. Some of them, whew, I don’t even to this day know what they were talking about. I just went, OK MAKE THIS A THING and went for it. Usually I worked it out. I just have to keep calm, read and reread the instructions. Plan it all out, go slow. Repeat to myself: Get the experience, learn from what you’re doing. Pay attention. It will start to click eventually. No one starts out a professional.

I could always, ya know, get lessons, but what’s the fun in that????

So that’s how my “easy” skirt is going, in case you wanted to know. Plenty of tantrums. Oh, and I probably am making it entirely too large because I CAN’T STOP MYSELF.

maybe janis can help. i want her wardrobe.

*p.s. the part about the book was entirely a joke and if you took any of that seriously, please go somewhere and look at pictures of cats. the book is just fine, it’s actually really helpful, i am just a mouth breathing idiot. my skills include fogging a mirror and keeping a seat lukewarm.

Wee Little Updates!

Good afternoon, everyone!

wpid-20140129_142203.jpgthis pin cushion is older than I am

A few things since I last posted:

I finally managed to haul myself and my injured knee to the gym for a run. It’s much better than it was and I did a whole MILE. My knee is much better. Annoying still, but much better. Hopefully I can get to at least a couple miles a day next week. Ugh. Take care of your knees!

Also, I got a paying gig to make a cushion for a chair for a friend of mine. She bought the chair for her makeup area and as it is clearly metal and not big on comfort, she would like a cushion.

wpid-2014013195101139.jpgit’s a really awesome very uncomfortable chair!!

So I bought some yarn for her and since she lives, oh, gee, about an hour away we spent at least 20 minutes sending yarn pictures back and forth. She selected this:

wpid-20140131_133847.jpgone of my favorites. good ole hobby lobby generic acrylic yarn. can’t go wrong!

I also bought some fabric for a tunic and a skirt:

wpid-20140131_133824.jpgrespectively. those are so loud i had to turn down my hearing aid. not to be worn at the same time.

Also, my romaine continues to attempt to join the plant hoard:

wpid-20140131_134935.jpgi’m real!

And I bought some beautiful free range pet chicken eggs from a good friend of mine. When your eggs are this beautiful and made by happy chickens, who can resist?



Last, but indeed not least, I made myself a pair of work pants, in black. Forgive my stupid pose. I am not good at taking pictures of my pants. Again, they are a bit big. I swear, the only sewing tip I apparently picked up from my grandma was:

wpid-20140129_153535.jpgMAKE EVERYTHING TOO BIG JUST IN CASE.

That’s it for now, while my fabric washes, I am off to the gym to try another mile. Hopefully two. We shall see! Wish me luck! 😀