YearofHandmade

An eclectic mix of handmade gifts, sewing inspiration, reviews, books, needlework, crafts, homeschooling, baking, and recipes

My Prairie Girl Top is Finished! March 31, 2010

I love love love my Favorite Things “Prairie Girl” top (really more of a tunic length) made up in Anna Maria Horner “Little Folks Baby Bouquet Sweet” cotton voile!!!  The pattern pieces (obviously larger) and instructions were exactly the same as the “Little Prairie Girl” top (pattern review here).  You would have thought that I would have whipped it out with no problems, considering how easily I made the first.   Sadly, no, I ended up doing quite a bit of seam ripping on this one.  I got a bit full of myself and didn’t pay attention ~ arggh!

In all fairness though, this is the first time I have worked with cotton “voile” and had some difficulties working with it.  I had seen this voile referred to as “butter soft”, ha ha, no joking, it was slippery like butter in my hands.  Cutting it out was a breeze, but manipulating the buttery fabric to make the gathers was a tad tricky.  Distinguishing the right side of the fabric from the wrong side of the fabric was difficult at times, and I actually sewed the ties to the wrong side of the “skirt” (this top could also be made into a dress) and had to rip and start over.  You really MUST pay close attention when working with this fabric.

When finishing the seams on this top, I so wish I had had a serger!  Because voile is such a sheer light weight fabric, I ordered the Coats & Clark Dual Duty XP “Fine” thread (here) in white, and it worked superbly!   Fabulous thread, but I had problems with the tension on my Viking sewing machine when trying to finish my seams with a zigzag stitch.  After some fooling with it (and lots of seam ripping) I was able to get it just right.  It really is time to get it into the shop for a tune up!  I managed to get a clean enough zigzag on all of the seams, with the exception of the sides of the “skirt”, and after ripping them out a couple of times because the tension was too tight, decided to just use my pinking sheers and see what happened after washing.  I’ve washed it twice since, and there has been no signs of unraveling on any of my pinking cuts (I typically cut the excess fabric after zigzagging with pinking sheers).  Next time I will skip the zigzag stitch and just pinking sheer the edges.

As for the sizing, the instructions for the top suggest making the size according to hip size over pants.  Because of the adjustable ties on the back, I went with the size for the bust measurement (I have small hips) and the fit is fantastic.  I was debating between two sizes, ended up going with the smaller one, and am quite pleased with my choice (sorry Molly, no top for you this time!)

Even with all the difficulties I encountered working with this voile, I am so happy that I used it!  When you wear it, it does feel buttery soft next to the skin, is so feminine, and has such a nice drape!  I think the quilting cottons are a bit stiff and don’t flatter the figure the way this voile does.  I will definitely be ordering some more of these “Little Folks” voiles to make up a few more of these tunics!

Happy sewing,

Colette

 

Smitten March 29, 2010

Filed under: March 2010,Quilting,Sewing — The Threaded Nest @ 9:14 am
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conor quilt closeup, originally uploaded by Peg at Ivy Arts.

I am completely smitten with this quilt and these Laurie Wisbrun’s “Wellie” fabrics! The fabrics are Donkeys in Wellie Rain Boots and Wellie Rain Boots and are available in Laurie’s Etsy shop “Scarlet Fig” here.

You really NEED to stop by her blog and see her upcoming line “Tufted Tweets” for Robert Kaufman here.  I am going to start hoarding money to buy a yard of each print/color…hopefully it will be available in May!

I have joined several “Virtual Quilting Bees” and admit I MUST have these Scarlet Fig fabrics to use for them! Basically a Virtual Bee is where a group (usually 12) get together and make a block (or more depending on the Bee) to send to the person whose month it is. Some Bees you supply and mail the fabrics to the other members and in others you use your own stash. If you would like to learn more about Virtual Bees or you’d like to join one (or several!) yourself…check out the Quilting Bee Blocks flickr group here. Bees looking for members to join or members looking to join a Bee leave posts to which you then can respond.

PS- Mostly Marvelous Ms. Rabbit it sewn and stuffed and just needs to be embroidered and put together…will finish and post pics soon!

Happy sewing,
Colette

 

Some Little Rabbit March 28, 2010

Some little “Mostly Marvelous Ms. Rabbit” kit (available here) showed up at my house yesterday, just in time to get sewn up today for R.’s Easter basket!  Lucky for me she is spending the day with one of her little friends so I don’t even have to hide away to make this little rabbit.  How sweet is Annie from Bird and Little Bird, she even made me some felt carrots for Ms. Rabbit’s pocket?  Hoping to finish Semi-Fantastic Mr. Fox today as well…

If you missed my first post about these adorable kits, please check it out here!

Happy sewing,

Colette

 

Saturday Morning Waffles March 27, 2010

Filed under: March 2010,Recipes — The Threaded Nest @ 10:20 am
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My Mom is all about the Belgium Waffle!  Whenever we go visit “Amma”, she takes us to the Original Pancake House (if you are anywhere in Southern California you have to go ~ Web site here) and orders their tasty waffles every time!  Now R. is convinced that anything you get “out” has to be better “in” homemade by Mom and Dad, and so the (really rather desperate) search to find (as to not crush her idealized dreams of us just yet) the perfect waffle began.

I tried many recipes from the Web and finally found one that we all love in my trusty old (the first cook book I ever owned!) Better Homes and Garden New Cook Book (here).  These waffles are everything a waffle should be ~ light and airy, slightly crispy on the outside, delicious, and best of all…EASY to make!

Many a Saturday morning you will find us in the Villa Villekulla Cafe (what R. has named our kitchen) cookin’ up some of these waffles!

RECIPE:

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 T. baking powder

1/4 t. salt

2 egg yolks

1 3/4 c. milk (we always use whole milk)

1/2 c. cooking oil

2 egg whites

In a mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.  In another bowl beat egg yolks slightly.  Beat in milk and oil.  Add egg yolk mixture to flour mixture all at once.  Stir just till combined but still slightly lumpy.

In a small bowl (I use my stand mixer) beat egg whites till stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).  Gently fold beated egg whites into flour and egg yolk mixture, leaving a few fluffs of egg white.  Do not overmix.

Pour 1 to 1 1/4 cups of batter onto grids of a preheated, lightly greased waffle baker.  Close lid quickly; do not open during baking.  bake according to manufacturer’s directions.  When done, use a fork to lift waffle off grid.  Repeat with remaining batter.  Makes 3 or 4 waffles.

Enjoy!

Happy cookin’,

Colette

 

This Moment! March 26, 2010

Filed under: March 2010,This Moment! — The Threaded Nest @ 10:31 am

 

Change of Scenery March 25, 2010

Filed under: Homeschooling,March 2010 — The Threaded Nest @ 7:44 am

Blogging has become one of my favorite creative outlets (I passionately love writing!) so when I saw a “call for writers” on one of my favorite homeschooling blogs, I jumped at the chance to send over a couple of my favorite pieces in hope of becoming “published” somewhere other than my own blog.  I am delighted to share that I am one of the new contributing writers over at the Lessons Pathways Blog!  Please visit the blog here to read my latest post “Change of Scenery: Schooling at the Library” AND you can even read about my “superpower” (ha ha, really…I have one!) on their Our People page here.

Happy schooling,

Colette

 

Pinwheel Quilt Blocks! March 24, 2010

Filed under: Gifts,March 2010,Quilting,Sewing — The Threaded Nest @ 11:37 am
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pinwheel quilt, originally uploaded by oldredbarnco

Isn’t this pinwheel quilt top from Old Red Barn Co. (blog here) beautiful ???

I am so excited to share with you my latest quilting project! I was perusing my favorite quilting blogs this cold and snowy (yes, there was actually snow on the ground this morning ARGHHHH!) spring morning when I came across this post at One Shabby Chick (here) asking for 8.5″ pinwheel quilt blocks (super easy tutorial here) to be sent to her so that she can gather them up and send them over to Kathy at Magnolia Designs (“Quilts for Babes” project original story here ~ oh how I teared up when I read this post!).  Kathy will then turn these blocks into lovely little quilts for the babies in ICU over at the local (in Canada!) hospital where her son was born this past July.

Amber from One Shabby Chic is even offering a chance to be entered into an incredible giveaway ~ an assortment of Munki fabrics (I would LOOOVVVEE to add those to my fabric stash!) and a gorgeous (custom made for the winner!) patchwork pillow ~ for those who send her a quilt block(s) or an entire mini quilt (if you are totally inspired!) for this project. To join you just need to leave a comment on Amber’s post over at One Shabby Chic and she will email you with the details ~ but hurry up…the blocks need to get to her by May 1st!

I love getting R.’s input and help (she is so talented when it comes to selecting and pairing fabrics!) on projects we make to donate! I think is important to instill in our children the importance of giving to those in need, especially in fun and creative ways such as this. Donating money is great…but I think it is even better to donate something that is handmade with love! It is my wish that when R. is grown, she will look back at these projects with fondness in her heart, and carry on the tradition!

Now to find some fabrics for my blocks…

Happy sewing,

Colette

 

Little Prairie Girl Top Finished! March 23, 2010

Filed under: Gifts,March 2010,Pattern Reviews,Sewing — The Threaded Nest @ 4:48 am
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This is the sweetest little top ever and R. loves it!  An early 9th birthday present to wear for her tea party.

The instructions left much to be desired, but I happily figured it out with out having to do any seam ripping.

I especially love the gathered detail on the bodice front.

Simple back with a tie.

Comfortable enough to cuddle with a kitten in.

Need to get a simple tank to wear under it for her birthday…

I would not recommend this Favorite Things “Little Prairie Girl” pattern (information on pattern and fabric here) for a beginner sewer, it presumes the sewer is experienced, but Advanced beginners and up should do just fine.  I definitely prefer the detailed diagrams and clear instructions in the Amy Butler and Sew Liberated patterns.  There is no cutting diagram with this pattern.  It makes me nervous when working with expensive fabric to just ‘sew by the seat of my pants’, ha ha.

Admittedly, I was lazy when it came to securing the inside facing to the shoulder seams and opted to “stitch in the ditch” rather than hand sew it.  This was my first time “stiching in the ditch” and it was surprisingly easy and not at all noticeable unless you look really closely; I will definitely do this when I make mine.

R. was on the edge of the measurements for the 5/6, so I actually made the 7/8, which fits her pretty well and leaves plenty of room for her to grow into it.  Fortunately, the tie in the back helps to make it fit her tiny frame now.

I am dreaming of making her the dress with slip version in one of Anna Maria Horner’s “girly” cotton voiles…if only she still loved to wear dresses!

Happy sewing,

Colette

 

Semi-Fantastic Mr. Fox March 22, 2010

Just finished sewing up the pieces for R.’s Semi-fantastic Mr. Fox! I just need to stuff it, slip stitch the openings closed, and attach the accessories. It was super easy and really fun to sew up.  The BEST part was that there was no tracing and cutting involved! I have decided to give it to her along with the “Fantastic Mr. Fox” book to her for her birthday rather than Easter because there is no way her quilt will be finished in the next two weeks.

I had so much fun sewing Mr. Fox that I asked Annie from Bird and Little Bird (Etsy Shop here) to set up a custom listing for me for a Mostly Marvelous Ms. Rabbit kit with the fabric shown in the center of this trio (here) to replace the fox doll in R.’s Easter basket.  There’s still time to order one for your little ones!

Her kits come with everything cut and ready to be sewn (shown above: I had already sewn most of it together before I thought to take a photo) as well as most of the materials to finish it.  I am figuring it will take about four hours, start to finish, to complete Mr. Fox.  Her instructions are clear and include helpful photos…my only suggestion for new sewers is to remember to clip your corners and around the curves before turning your pieces right side out.

Oh and if you don’t want to make one yourself, Annie sells custom handmade foxes and rabbits too!

Happy sewing,

Colette

 

Tedious Work March 20, 2010

Filed under: Gifts,March 2010,Sewing — The Threaded Nest @ 3:14 am
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I don’t know about you…but my least favorite part of sewing is the cutting of the pattern and the fabric.

But, it cannot be avoided…

So I must come up with a way to make it more fun…

And when it’s finished, I sigh with relief, and DO THE HAPPY DANCE!!!

With this gorgeous weather we are having, I simply cannot allow myself to stay inside and sew.  Can’t promise to finish R.’s Little Prairie Girl top (a present for her 9th birthday!) this weekend, but with the expected cold front moving in next week it will definitely be done soon.

Happy first day of Spring!

Colette

 

 
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