Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Button Down Flannel

I finished this button down flannel just in time for one of our (hopefully) last cold days. I'm insanely proud of this thing. Plaid matching is hard! Mine isn't perfect but its pretty good for a first try. This top is cozy and warm and was perfect for our outing to the Amon Carter on Sunday. Flannel Button down

The wind was crazy and we were laughing because it was so cold. I told Frank he has to suffer for my craft too. Look at my bangs, they are airborne!

Flannel Button down

The flannel is from Joann, I snapped it up right away when I saw it. I think oranges, and especially red-orange and coral, are becoming some of my favorite colors to wear. The pattern is McCalls 6649, which I would never have picked from the photo, but I liked the design when I looked at the line drawings. The fit isn't perfect but it is close. I cut a size 12 and only took it in slightly under the arm holes. The darts in the front and back give it a little shape. I made view C without all the hideous patchwork stuff going on. The sleeves are a tad long but not terribly annoying. Flannel Button down

This is one of those tedious projects that I got tired of really fast. I'm so glad I persevered. I think I completed 3 knit projects in the process of this top. It definitely fits into my wardrobe well. I have been wearing button downs more lately and always have a shortage of long sleeve tops. I don't know if I would do this to myself again though. I'm liking quicker projects more and more. I guess it is good to switch back and forth between something more challenging and something quick and satisfying. I really am on a roll this year with completed garments that I actually wear. I hope I didn't just jinx myself.
 Flannel Button down
By the way, the Amon Carter was the perfect place to be on a cold day.  We went for the Art and Appetite exhibit but saw so much more.  There were exhibits of lithographs by June Wayne, relief prints by Posada and my favorite was striking photos from Subways by Kathy Sherman.  The Amon Carter is always free to the public and is much larger than I remembered.  I'm embarrassed to say that we hadn't been in years. We really have been missing out on wonderful things at our museums and have set about to remedy that this year. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Self Drafted Knit Dress

I was off work on Sunday and spent the day with my honey. It was snowy and cold but we bundled up and ventured to the Modern Art Museum to see the David Bates exhibit. I really enjoyed it. Bates is a Texas artist and his work is heavily influenced by the Gulf Coast. I found the show to be very approachable and the work is beautiful and intriguing. We have been trying to take better advantage of these wonderful museums just two miles from our home. There is a Samurai Armor exhibit that we hope to see soon at the Kimbell art museum.

I finally got pictures of my new favorite self-drafted knit dress.  I had seen the Lady Skater dresses, which I think are flattering on every body type. Using the Sew-U home stretch book I altered the bodice to fit my needs and drafted a half circle skirt. I squeezed this out of 1 1/2 yards of knit from Joann. I'm wearing it here with leggings because it was like twenty degrees and snowing here, even though it had been in the eighties the day before!
 Self Drafted knit dress Self Drafted knit dress

I'm so in love with this fabric. The color palette makes me very happy and it is so me. I think it will work year round too.

I'm totally in love with sewing knits. I've been working on a plaid flannel button down and hope to wear it before the cold is gone completely. It has been so tedious though and knit projects are the opposite, almost instant gratification. Plus knits are so easy to wear. You will be seeing more handmade knit garments from me.

Untitled In other news, I ran the Cowtown 10K again this year.  I ran with my co-worker Gail, which was fun.  It was easier this year but my time was slower, so I should have been running faster.  I really do love running and can't wait for another warm up and about four months of prime Texas weather before the heat of Summer forces me back indoors.  I may brave the forty degree weather today, I haven't decided yet.  I have also been doing workouts from Bender Fitness.  She is great!  Hundreds of free workout videos, mostly with no equipment required.   She is motivational and the workouts are challenging but doable.  I find my muscles sore in places that I've never noticed before.  We have gym memberships but I find it so hard to make myself go.  I would much rather run outside and then do a quick workout here.

Frank and I did the Whole 30 challenge in February.  It was a challenge for sure!  We both lost some weight and I mostly kicked my sugar habit.  I loved that it focused our choices, made us cook a lot, and had us eating tons of veggies.  I definitely recommend it for a kick start to a healthier diet! I found some great recipes on Pinterest for the challenge.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ahhh Fall, I miss you!

Another Fall project that slipped through the cracks here, this top has been a well worn favorite. I made it before my birthday cause here I am wearing it at the Japanese gardens.
Japanese Gardens a birthday tradition

Then I found these pics on my camera. Fall Lookback Fall Lookback

Isn't she a cute top?! These pictures make me long for nicer weather and days like this. Untitled

I squeezed this bad girl out of maybe a yard and a half of Home Spun fabric from Joann that I bought on clearance. I matched the plaid at the side seams and cut the pocket on the bias and the yoke on the crossgrain. I also left out the wedge shaped pieced that were intended for the bottom of the side seams and seemed unnecessary to me. The pattern is Burda 7198. I shortened the sleeves due to fabric limitations and I added fish eye darts in the back for a more fitted look. I recently realized that I think I need a sway back adjustment. I always take some off the center back bodice at the waist in a fitted garment, and looser pieces like this tend to be baggy in the back. I had an issue with the fabric pulling at the button placket.  My mom helped me fix it at Christmas, and I'm not sure what she did besides adding interfacing.  The placket is sewing on top of the bodice and then you cut down the center with very small seam allowances.  This fabric was too ravel-y for that and I'm not sure the remedy.  I need to figure it out because I would love to make this again!

Karlie's baby doll blanket

I shared a little bit of this project but I don't think it got it's due here. My niece Karlie told me that she wanted me to make a blanket for her baby dolls for Christmas. I shared a little of my progress during the ice storm in December. It came together just in time for Christmas, and besides the skirt I made her, was my only truly handmade Christmas gift last year. I hand dyed tiny bits of yarn and it worked out just right. This whole blanket only took two balls of sock yarn and lots of patience.
The pattern is free and the link is on my Ravelry project page.

Untitled Untitled Blankie in action with new doll Alejandra.

 I just had to get her a new doll to go with the blanket. I got her the Alejandra doll from the My Generation Doll collection at Target. They are like a budget friendly American Girl Doll and are all really cute. I love that they come in different ethnicity's and there are tons of cute accessories and clothes that I can give her for future gifts.  I also made the little pillow from scraps of fabric that I have used for her in the past. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

It's a Plus Blouse

This was one of those sewing projects that, while not easy, came together seamlessly. No pun intended. I tissue fit the pattern and was really pleased with the fit of this blouse. I had to take in just a bit at the sides from about the middle of the midriff section up. It turned out really cute and a perfect combo of retro and modern. The Pattern is out of print Simplicity 2601 that I scored on Etsy. The fabric is organic cotton voile that my mom bought for me at City Craft in Dallas for my Birthday last Fall. I want to buy all the fabric from that line!

I squeezed the pattern out of a yard and a half of fabric. I think Cotton Voile might be my very favorite fabric to work with. It is soft as butter and lovely to wear. I heart this blouse! What a nice way to start off my sewing for the year. My new blouse/Simplicity 2601 My new blouse/Simplicity 2601 My new blouse/Simplicity 2601

Frank took these picture for me at the Modern Art Museum last weekend. It was quite windy but I think he did a good job. I'm standing in front of the Richard Serra Sculpture in front of the museum. It is an echo chamber on the inside and everyone is drawn to interact with it. So much fun!

I have to mention my shoes because I'm obsessed with them.  Frank got them for me for my birthday and they are by Kork Ease.  They have to be the most comfortable heels I have ever worn, and super cute too.  I love them to pieces.  

I've been on a sewing roll and have finished a knit dress, maxi skirt and cropped cardigan as well.  So many more projects are lined up on my sewing table.  I've also been trying to finish a knit scarf that I started about a year ago but then set aside all Summer.  I am a sloooooow knitter but am trying to work on it little by little.  Hopefully before Winter is over I will get to wear it.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 A Year in Review

I love looking back on what I have made and accomplished in a year. The process gives me a sense of fulfillment. Even if I haven't stuck to my plan or accomplished all of my goals I can see all the wonderful things that have happened. I did quite a bit of sewing in 2013. It was definitely my crafting focus. I mostly sewed for myself and Karlie, with a home decor project and one knit and one crochet completed. I would always like to make more, but here is what I completed and photographed last year.
2013 Makes

I still have a couple of un-photographed pieces that I completed for myself.  I tend to go on sewing binges and make a few things.  I don't have a sewing room, so my machine and everything else get spread out on the dining room table.  Eventually I get tired of looking at it or we are having company so they get put away for a while.  I have so many more sewing projects cut and ready to go, so I have high hopes for this year.  I love sewing for Karlie as the projects are always high on cute factor, and easy with no fitting woes.  I do want to knit more this year.  I have conquered knitting to the extent that I can read patterns and it isn't totally alien to me know.  However I am the slowest knitter ever and can't imagine making a sweater, though I really want to!

You may be wondering why I never share jewelry anymore. That is because I rarely make new designs these days. With working full time my jewelry making is mostly limited to items that sell on Etsy. The rest of my time is devoted to selfish sewing and crafting. I did finish two new pieces just in the nick of time for Christmas, and both of which I am very proud of! The first is a Mother's pendant which was commissioned by a friend.

 The second is a Pendant for my mom that I started a Year and a Half ago! It went smoothly at first and then just came to a point where no matter what I did I couldn't solder on the prongs that I had planned. Finally it dawned on my to just change my plan and make it work. It isn't the best crafstmanship I've ever done, but considering my stale skills and the fact that it was a new design for me I am pleased. I love the little flower with the Peridot center. Karlie's birthstone is a Peridot and her middle name is Rose, so this is sort of a Grandmother's pendant for mom.

This time last year I had declared 2013 The Year of The Home. I made one pillow. I did do better with houseplants and with arranging some of my collections better. I do still want to give our home more love. With a big roof replacement pending and possibly more long overdue renovations, perhaps this year that wish will come true. In 2013 I ran a 10K and kept on running throughout the year, when the weather cooperated. We joined a gym but didn't stick with it, but hope to get back soon. Frank actually liked working out for the first time ever, which was a big change! We took a real vacation and I hope it's not another nine years before the next one. One of my biggest joys in life is traveling and going on adventures with Frank, so I hope that we can enjoy more of that together. We do as many small adventures together as we can, going on local trails and wandering through the woods. I had the best birthday yet last year! It included friends, family and a picnic in the woods with Frank.

For 2014 I plan to continue my selfish crafting. I want to get back in the gym and continue running outside as much as possible. We are going to attempt the Whole30 challenge, cutting out alcohol, sugar, dairy and grains for a month. I am also focusing on being more grateful. Life is never perfect, but I have a lot to be thankful for! Happy New Year Friends! xoxo Ashley

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hello There and Happy Holidays!

I've been absent for a while. We have been busy, doing all the regular pre-holiday stuff. We had a major ice storm a couple of weeks ago! These first two pictures were taken only three days apart. That's how it goes in North Texas. Sunny and seventies one day, ice storm and major gridlock the next day, which lasted for a week.

I live too close to work to not go in. I walked, and Frank was a sweetheart and walked me there and back. When I was home there was lots of snuggling under the down comforter.

And lots of crocheting. Karlie, my four year old niece asked for a new blanket for her baby dolls and of course I obliged. She knows her Aya will make whatever her heart desires!

I hope you are enjoying your own holiday prep and that you get to spend precious time with those you love. My work stresses me out to the max this time of year, and I always over commit and feel stretched too thin. I didn't bake cookies for the Christmas ever, but did make a delicious batch of peppermint bark. I also plan to make Almond brittle. I snuck in a few Christmas crafts and handmade gifts because it just doesn't feel right with out them. Don't stress out too much, and if you do take deep breaths, think of all that you have to be grateful for and eat some chocolate!