Thursday, June 30, 2011

Are you getting ready for the 4th of July?

Well, this is as far as I got with my decorating this year.  I was most grateful to Liz for posting the tutorial to get me motivated to make one for myself.

I had to go with fabric pinwheels instead of yo-yos.  That's how much I dislike making yo-yos.  Maybe if I practiced a bit more I'd get good at them.  For now, I hate making them.

Besides, I thought the pinwheels were appropriately festive.  Do you recognize the use of my Sherbet Pips charm pack?  It was kind of a stretch to use them in a red-white-and blue/grey color scheme, but I was hoping my neighbors would forgive me my creative license (who else would care what color my wreath is?!).

The best part about this project is how versatile it's going to be.  For now it is decorated for the 4th of July, but when that fun holiday comes and goes, just watch my wreath transform itself into a colorful summer wreath.  Are you getting excited?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Library Skirt.

Friends, how can I ever compete with Liz's greatest creation of all?!  Anything I showcase from here on out, in the next couple of weeks, will pale in comparison to her sweet baby Henry!

All the same, I stumbled upon the skirt competition taking place over at Crafterhours, when they were in the midst of voting.  Suddenly I saw this beauty, and a tutorial to boot.  I was like a hooked-fish.  Nothing else in my life was going to happen until I had recreated one of our very own!  To make it even more awesome, this was originally a scrap busting type project, which Susan of Living with Punks came up with.  It just so happened that I had exactly 1/2 yard of white linen remaining in my stash from Korea, which meant I got to get started right away!

Don't you love when something takes you by creative storm like that?!  This skirt was hot off the presses when Ruby came home from the pool this afternoon, and she wanted to go instantly into our "library" for the photo shoot, which she mostly directed.  She has since informed me that she will be wearing this skirt every time she has "library day" at school this fall.  Awesome!

Without further ado, here is Ruby loving her moment in the spotlight with all her heart:

(I don't know about you, but I have a huge crush on my "E" pillow.  Found it on clearance at Home Goods for $9.  What the?!  I could not walk away from it)

Oh boy!  That was a good time.  The tutorial was clear and straight forward.  The skirt construction itself is super simple, but this is a time consuming project with the creation of each individual little book.  And I don't know if it's just me, or if it has something to do with the nature of the project (going through the scraps, looking for the perfect selvage edge, etc.), but my sewing room looks like a tornado has just ripped through it.  On the agenda tomorrow, now that the library skirt is out of my system, is to restore order to the sewing garage.  I have at least one more little show-and-tell before this week is over too.  I have pinned one other skirt from the Crafterhours competition, let's see if I have it in me...

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Greatest Creation

I've created a lot of things over the past 9 months, but nothing compares to my greatest creation...


Born June 23rd

Brought home from the hospital in a Made on Maple whale onesie and matching Quick Change Trousers

and photographed every day of his life (so far) with felt letters and numbers and some other Made on Maple props.

I'm in baby heaven.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sewing at the hospital...

TOTALLY KIDDING!  You'd really think I was crazy if I took my sewing machine to the hospital.  I do have some limits.

You are reading this Thursday morning because I scheduled it Wednesday night.  There were no rooms at the hospital for me on yesterday, so instead of letting my anxiety (and the heat wave we are having) get the best of me Tuesday night, I decided to sew.

Before the last post Annee did about the Leisurely Dress, we talked over the phone about how silly were both were to fear elastic thread.  (I call my phone calls to Annee MoM Board Meetings, and my husband, the Italian, he calls them Bored Meetings.  Clearly he doesn't understand how exciting the prospects of things like elastic thread are!!)

She reassured me I would be just as pleasantly surprised when I ventured into the world of elastic thread as she was, so last night I pulled out a yard of Anna Maria Horner's Chocolate Lollipop that has been sitting in my stash begging to be used.  I ironed it up and got to work.  Friends, it was a success!

I had the whole dress done in a little under 2 hours, and I finished it up Wednesday morning once I measured the straps on Grace.  I opted to not do ties, and I wanted a criss cross back so i don't have to worry about straps falling down.

Love this little number.  I'm sure I'll be shirring in future.  It might even be my comeback project.

Okay, I'm really signing off now for a couple of days/weeks/months (I hope not months).  Until I get my life together with a new baby, I'll be out of the sewing room.  I'll be sure to post my babe with the creations I made for him, but there won't be new stuff from Made On Maple West Coast for a bit.

Tootles, again!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

At your leisure.

A few weeks back, when we returned from the beach I had a mini sewing crisis.  I suddenly didn't know what I should sew anymore.  I texted Liz in a wee bit of a panic, that I thought my sewing days were behind me!  She calmly sent me an email in reply with a few super helpful hints.  Liz suggested that I start, where I almost always start, sewing something for my two favorite ladies.

Liz sent me a linke to a FREE pdf file for a dress called the Leisurely Dress that was recently showcased on Sew Mama Sew.

I read through the whole pattern and thought it would get filed away and bookmarked because it required the ever elusive technique of sewing with elastic thread in my bobbin.  I know it's all the rage, and seemingly so totally simple, yet it's a technique I have stayed away from, thinking it wasn't for me.  In short, I was afraid of the elastic thread.  Can you imagine I had Liz mail me elastic thread to Korea several years ago because I thought I was on the verge of shirring something with it.  I backed out, and so the elastic thread has sat in the thread box for over two years!

Friends, DO NOT BE AFRAID OF ELASTIC THREAD.  Here is what I did.  I took a 12 inch piece of a fabric scrap.  I hand wound a bobbin with elastic thread (I thought this was the hardest step, but seriously, just wind up a bobbin, by hand with the elastic thread.  That's all there is to it.).  Then, I simply sewed a straight line across my 12 inch piece of fabric.  Like magic, the fabric started getting a bit gathered and stretchy.  When I finished, I walked over to my ironing board, where I blasted it with some hot steam, and the whole thing shrunk up, just as the instructions said it would.

With that simple success, I was convinced that I have every skill required to make some Leisurely Dresses.

And so I did:

I made them out of the Anna Maria Horner Innocent Crush fabric that was collecting dust on my shelf.  At one point I thought I was saving it for a quilt, but then after some careful introspection I realized I didn't actually want to do that.

So I turned it all into dresses!  And I'm so very glad that I did.

The pattern comes with two variation of how to finish the top.  In the dress above you can see that I made a 3/8" wide casing, which is used to slipped a single piece of elastic through which measured their chest measurement, minus an inch.  This is Jane's favorite variation.

The second variation is to simply do four rows of the elastic thread along the top, just like you do at the waist.  Ruby doesn't mind it this way.  Jane had a real problem with that ruffly top under her arm pits.  She's a bit more fastidious in her preferences.  But you know, all kids have different things that bug them.  I loved these dresses, but that doesn't matter at all, if they aren't comfortable.  I was glad to have the two different variations to test out, and get it just right for Jane and her arm pits.

Once I overcame my fear of the elastic thread, these became the easiest dresses I've ever made.  I think I made the second one in less than two hours!  Who can resist a summer project that is so speedy?!  The Leisurely Dress, I highly recommend it as a quick summer sewing project.  The instructions were clear and well written, I didn't have any frustration with the pattern.  Have fun!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Trying to come back.

Yo.  If only I had half as much zing, whether "nesting" or not, as Liz has at 39 weeks pregnant, this blog might be truly out of control.  But alas, every good relationship is made out of a "ying" and a "yang".  My las post was on May 30th?!!  What the heck?

Remember the beach quilt?  It was so lovely to sleep on at the beach.  You have no idea how much happiness it brought to me while I was laying upon the sand.  The beach was lovely.  I didn't sew for over two weeks.  It's being really hard to get my zip back.  Maybe it's because we also wrapped up our school year, and I now share my long and lazy summer days with a house full of four kids and a husband?!  But I've promised Liz to keep things hopping over here while she's busy laboring, and nursing, and sleeping, and not-sleeping, etc.  I must give her some reading material in the wee hours of the night when she's up with her wee little one!  So, a promise is a promise, and I'll be here, posting at a slow and steady summer pace.

I have just returned within the last 24 hours, from a speedy trip up to Virginia to visit my sister.  It was dreamy.  She has been living in Virginia for the past two years and she's become very familiar with an awesome variety of vintagy, cottagey, barn-type furniture stores.  She goes all the time.  She's always scoring amazing pieces of furniture at enviable prices.  See HERE, HERE and HERE (I got to sleep in the guest bedroom with that armoire.  It's just as charming, if not more so, in person)!  Jaloux?  I know I am.    It was time that I went with her on one of her weekend jaunts.

I drove up late Thursday night.  Though I think I arrived past the Fitzgeralds bedtime, they were gracious enough to wait up for me.  Though I am certain they could have fallen asleep, we proceeded to chat into the wee hours of the morning.  I felt awful for keeping them up so late, but it was too fun to want to go to sleep either. Friday morning they had real life things to do, I only had vacation life things to do, like sleeping in, and then heading out to The Old Lucketts Store.

I quickly spotted this sweet little chest, and was rather smitten:

But friends, it was my first stop on a weekend shopping trip, I had to show restraint, not to mention it wasn't going to fit in my Camry.  But I'm still wondering if I shouldn't have left it behind!  You know, the doors didn't always shut right, and the drawers wouldn't slide out smoothly.  But it's so sweet, isn't it?!

Next stop was My Wits End in Leesburg, VA.  Where my heart skipped a beat for this sweet little table. It's the exact shade of red that I dream of at night!  

Though this would have fit in the Camry, I'm just not an impulse buyer.  I need time to stew and hem, and mentally arrange and rearrange.  It's hard to do on a speedy weekend getaway.  Were I twenty minutes from Leesburg, I have a sneaking suspicious that I'd be driving back there on Monday morning to see if it was still there...

Dear Everyone in Leesburg,

You really don't want to buy this table.  It's too boring for you.  


Later that night, after going out to dinner with my brother and his family, in addition to the Fitzgeralds, Rachel and I pulled up the handy yarn wreath tutorial by: Liz, and started making yarn balls.  Here's the proof:

Crafting on a Friday night with one's sister.  Does life get any better?!

I may or may not have had to call and interrupt Liz's hot Friday night date to ask a super important Yarn Wreath question.  I will give full details in just a few days...

On Saturday we headed to Chartreuse and Co's once a month barn sale.  It was so visually charming, I was happy just taking pictures.  

And then finally, the piece I simply couldn't leave without.  It's strange what finally makes you decide to purchase something at one of these places.  In the end, I LOVE the curved design on the front of this dresser.  The drawers worked.  It has all of it's hardware intact (though a bit loose).  And finally, it was the fact that it wasn't painted.  Oh boy do I love a little summer painting project!!  The endless possibility is what got me all excited to call this one mine!

But guess what?!  It did NOT fit in the Camry (though we tried mightily!!!).  It is now sitting in the back of Rachel's small SUV until we devise a grand scheme to meet somewhere halfway Between VA and NC where we'll put it in the trunk of my VAN, and I'll finally be reunited with my little barn treasure.

One last stop on Saturday at an Asian antique importer, had me dreaming of my days in Korea again, and being so happy that I purchased my yellow butterfly chest in Asia, before needing to pay an American importer for one in America!  When Rachel has saved up the required $2450 or so to buy this amazing piece, I have no doubt that she will :)

I only hope she's wearing something yellow on that very special day! 

And that wraps it up.  A weekend getaway.  I promise I have also sewn a thing or two in the past couple of days, so I hope to be back here again real soon. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Odds and Ends

This will be a quick post dear readers!  And it will probably be the last post from me for a while.  Annee has some super cute things to show you next week, and she'll be in charge for a bit.  I'll be having a baby really soon.

But I did finish some little projects that should be recorded.  

I took this fabric 

and made another Crazy Daisy Apron.

This is a fun apron and a good pattern, but there are lots of steps to it.  I would not call this a beginner project, and having apron sewing experience would be a helpful things to have if you are going to sew this.  I was supposed to teach my cute model how to make it, but instead I sewed most of it so she could go home with a finished apron.  Something tells me cute Katherine wasn't too sad about that arrangements.

I also finally personalized George's green retro duffel bag.  He LOVES his bag, and carries it around the house all the time.  He tends to shove clothes in this bag which isn't my favorite because I end up folding and refolding clothes to put away, but I love that he loves his bag.

Anyway, I wanted to put his name on the bag, but the straps were too close together, so I used my friend's machine and just embroidered a big G on some of the green denim I used to make the bag, and then turned the G into a pocket.  George was so pleased with the results.  And I was too!  Thank you, Diana, for your help!

Lastly, I decided I needed the words "DAYS" and "WEEKS" to add to my baby picture "MONTHS" that I made a while ago.  I'm thinking I might even take my letters with me to the hospital to take pictures of my baby when he arrives.  Probably I should pack my hospital bag first, and then include these little gems.

Sew, farewell for a little while.  I'm sure I'll poke my head in here and there with some pictures of my baby wearing and using some of my creations, but as for new creations I'm going to be out of commission for a bit. I'll be back though.  I promise.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Yarn Wreath Tutorial

I have the most wonderful neighbors.  I don't what I'd do without them.  Not only are they the nicest people ever, but we have kids the same age.  It's perfect.  Since my neighbor and I are both due within a couple of days of each other with our 3rd babies (her 3rd boy), I decided she needed an "It's a Boy" wreath.  And since I was going to make another wreath, I decided you all need to know how to make one.  It's so easy.  It requires very little machine sewing (or no machine sewing depending on how you style your wreath).  And, I think it adds such charm to your front door.  Really you could make a yarn wreath for any occasion or just for the fun of having something on your door.

The supplies you'll need are:

-Straw wreath (I use a 14 inch one)
-Yarn (any color you want)
-fabric scraps
-fabric paint
-anything else you want to use to embellish your wreath
-thread, needle, scissors, possibly a sewing machine

Okay, let's get started.  The first thing I do is prep my yarn.  This may seem like a waste of time, but it will save you from having your yarn get all tangled on you.  I find the end of the yarn that is in the inside of the skein and pull it out.  I then start to form a ball and just keep pulling my yarn off my skein.  You will go from having a skein of yarn

to a ball of yarn.  

A ball is much easier to work with when wrapping it around the wreath.  I'd say this step takes a 1/2 hour.  I have tried making a wreath without making a yarn ball, and I got into the middle of my yarn skein and it was all tangled and was just a mess.  You can cut this step out if you like, but you've been warned!

Okay, now that you have your yarn ball, tie the end of your yarn to the wreath with a simple knot.

And then start wrapping it around and around and around.  May I suggest watching a good show or listening to a book while you do this.  I believe I watched an episode or two of this fantastic mini series on Netflix to keep me company.  

Oh, and I like to hold my wreath between my knees as I wrap the yarn around and around.  Just my hot tip on the easiest way to do this task. (Sorry the picture is blurry!)

I'm not too careful at making sure my yarn is neat.  

I kind of like the random overlapping of my yarn, but if you want to make it more uniform, go for it.  It's all up to you and your style.

Once you are done covering your wreath, I tie another knot at the end and bury it in yarn to cover up the knot. I only do one layer or one time around my wreath with yarn, so I make it count and do a thorough cover job.  I do have extra yarn left over, but I think one time around it enough.

Next up I made yo-yos for this wreath.  However, my Spring Wreath I used felt flowers, so I used felt and lots of online tutorials for flowers.  This is all up to you and how you want to embellish your wreath.

To make yo-yos I used different size circle templates (I was lucky and found all of these in my pattern bin), cut our fabric circles from scraps, and used Heather Bailey's yo-yo tutorial.  Yo-yos are very simple and easy to make, and can be used for a hundred different purposes (embellishments, hair clips/bands, pillows, blankets, etc.).

For my wreath I made 10 yo-yos in various sizes.  For my color scheme on this wreath I stayed with blue fabrics for a baby boy.

Next up comes the simple bunting.  I wanted my wreath to say "it's a boy" and I thought bunting would be a cute addition and so simple and easy to make.  I pulled out and dusted off my scrapbooking stamps from my teaching career to help spell out my message. 

I took some fabric paint and a large-ish scrap of the fabric I was going to use to make the bunting.  

I did a couple of some letter trying to make them look perfect to my eye.  Then I let the paint dry.  (I think you are supposed to iron fabric paint to make it permanent, but because this will never get washed I just let the paint dry.)

The next morning I laid out my triangle template I created and traced around each letter with a fabric pencil.

Then I laid it wrong side to wrong side with another scrap of the same fabric, and cut out all my triangles.

I took all my letters to my sewing machine, and sewed the sides of my triangles together first.

Before you start sewing all the triangle bases together, pull some extra thread as you would if you were doing a gathering stitch.  You will be using this thread to secure the bunting to the wreath.

Then I sewed along the base of my triangles in one straight line to form my bunting.  Pull extra thread at the end of the bunting.  Again, you'll use this to attach it to the wreath.

I made my bunting during arts and crafts time.  Grace was bugged I was needing her help in the middle of her project. Sorry, little one.

Now using pins I place all my yo-yos and bunting to the wreath and make sure I like the positioning of everything.  (Sorry the bunting didn't make it into the picture.  I thought I got a picture of it, but alas, I did not.  Use your imagination!)

Once I'm happy, I tie my bunting thread around the wreath and knot it several times on the backside of the wreath.  

I then secure the knot with a pin on the backside!  (I really need just plain pins, but I just used what I had because making an extra trip to JoAnn's for pins seemed ridiculous!)  You can cover the pin up with yarn, and if you use plain pins this will be much easier.

Once the bunting was in place, I then secured all my yo yos with pins too.  I made sure the pins weren't visible through the opening of the yo yos.  I tried my best to take a picture of this.

Now you are done!

Take your wreath and go and hang it on up!  

Simple and easy, right??

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