Posted in knitting, Sewing

2019 Christmas Gift Roundup

During the month of January for the past few years, I’ve found myself newly unemployed after coming off of working on a Christmas show. Having missed most of the Christmas celebrations with my family due to work, I usually feel a mix of what I’ll call post seasonal Christmas spirit along with a vivid sense of the stress that came with having to gather gifts for everyone in our family. So I’m that crazy person who works on Christmas gifts starting in January and I’m always grateful to my past self come December. Here is a roundup of what I made everyone in our family for Christmas 2019.

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I tried to be as low waste as possible when it came to wrapping our gifts due to the fear of impending doom caused by Climate Change and also laziness. I bought these Furoshiki wraps while we were in Japan to wrap the gifts for our female family members and I wish I had bought them for all of our gifts because they’re so pretty and easy to use! All of the other wrapping supplies I used were leftover or recycled from previous gifts.

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More attempts at being greener with our gift giving. We gave my aunts and uncles reusable bamboo utensil sets along with these Stowe bags.

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Every year my extended family on my mom’s side does a Secret Santa exchange with a theme. We decided 2019 would be the year of the hat and the online name generator I used drew my own father’s name for me. We like to make it funny when we can and when I came across this print on Spoonflower I knew it was perfect because my dad is known for making an expression that my sister affectionately refers to as “Trout Mouth.” He also blessedly passed this facial expression down to all three of his children.

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I love this backpack I self-drafted for our niece using this corgi drawn by my sister. You can check out her Etsy shop here.

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This year was also my first time participating in an online gift exchange. Jessica of Shop La Mercerie organized it through Instagram and I sent my partner a skein of Early Grey Fiber Co. yarn along with a project bag I made.

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And the final Christmas gift I made wasn’t completed until today. But that’s OK because it’s for my husband and I live with him so I could just hand it to him when I was done. It’s a mash-up of the Negroni shirt by Colette patterns and the Fairfield Button-up by Thread Theory Designs.

 

 

Posted in Sewing, DIY Tutorials, knitting

My Rift Tee Plus Knitting Project Bag Tutorial with Free Pattern!

I’ve never understood the point of short sleeved sweaters. Weren’t sweaters supposed to keep you warm? But then I came across Jacqueline Cieslak’s Rift Tee pattern and my life changed. I saw the sneak peaks on Instagram and I knew I had to make it. I had just made her Ursa Sweater and really enjoyed it. It had given me a little bit of difficulty at first because I didn’t understand the half brioche stitch but overall it was such an addicting project I couldn’t put it down. In comparison, the Rift Tee went much smoother for me and was a really easy project to complete fairly quickly. It contained a decent amount of stockinette stitching that kept me occupied on my commute to work for a few days, which is always nice. And knitting in the round is especially good for commute knitting. This sweater also doesn’t take much yarn which my wallet always appreciates. I bought two skeins of Amano Awa yarn in 1108- Cochineal and still had enough left over afterwards to make my nephew a hat. Whoo!

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Here I have it styled over a Metamorphic Dress by Sew Liberated to show it off. I actually entered this into Mockingbird Fiber Co’s Sweater Knit Along and won! It was a pretty general knit along, with entrants able to make any sweater of their choice in any yarn just as long as it was a finished object. I received my prize in the mail and it is the most gorgeous yarn!

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I also recently made a new project bag using this canvas fabric from Fabrics Wholesale Direct and the best part about it is that it’s waterproof! So I know whatever project I store in here will be safe.

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I carried it around for the first time paired with my Rift Tee and Ogden Cami Dress. It was the perfect outfit to roam around the NJ Sheep and Fiber Festival in during a warm, late summer’s day. Just a side note though, I thought I’d save myself the trouble of carrying my purse by throwing my wallet in my project bag and the shawl I had in there got snagged on it when I went to pay for some of the yarn I bought. I was so frustrated with myself but thankfully was able to fix the snag. Never again will I put my wallet in my project bag though. Anyways, I now understand the point of short sleeved sweaters!

 

The tutorial can be found here and the free pattern can be downloaded below:

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Posted in DIY Tutorials

Paperbag Waist Skirt Tutorial

A couple weeks ago, I got together with my best sewing friends for a day of fabric shopping, lunch and ice cream. We also went to the farmer’s market and I tried a lame attempt at #posingwithproduce since the squash I bought matched my skirt. To make one of these skirts for yourself, you can find the tutorial I wrote for Fabric Wholesale Direct here.

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Posted in Party Time!

Cake and Crafting Party!

Every year, I exchange Christmas gifts with my college friends, Hannah and Erin. Since we finally have a suitable apartment to invite guests to now, I decided to host this year. I had a Christmas paper flower wreath kit from Paper Source in my stash that I hadn’t gotten around to yet and then while browsing their website one day, I found more kits on sale for a really great price. I believe they were less than $10 each which is really good considering they were originally over $20 each.

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I loaded up on snacks for the party at Trader Joe’s but forgot to get something for dessert. So I ran to my local Foodtown and couldn’t resist buying this cute cake with white frosting and sprinkles when I saw it in the dessert section. Thus, the name of the party was born! I made this chalkboard using an old frame I bought at a flea market for our wedding and now I use it to write something on every time we have guests over.

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We had a really great time snacking on food and crafting while listening to 90’s pop music.

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Below is my finished wreath! I think it came out really cute but I had so many pieces of the green pine leftover. I may use them to decorate wrapped gifts next year. Since I work crazy hours during the holidays, we got together in January once I was finished. Even though Christmas was long over, I still hung this up in the apartment for a little while because who doesn’t want peace, joy and cheer all year round? It’s sitting in my closet now and will probably need some maintenance when I pull it out again for the holidays later on this year. The sticky tabs that the kit comes with don’t hold up that well and all the instructions said to do to add the ribbon to the back was to use scotch tape so that’s falling off too.

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For our second Cake and Crafting party this past Spring, I had found some really cheap paper flower kits for sale on Lia Griffith’s website. They were each around $2 and I was so happy to come across them because if I invite friends over, I don’t want to have to charge them 😂.

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I think they look amazing and it was so nice to just have to punch out the pieces for both of these kits. When I made a paper flower bouquet for my wedding, I hand traced and hand cut all of the pieces because I don’t have a Cricut and it just took forever!

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I’m so glad I have other friends who love sewing and crafting as much as I do because it’s so much fun to get together over activities we all enjoy.

Posted in Sewing

Restyling Exchange 2019

Last year I took part in the Restyling Exchange challenge hosted by @amynicolestudio and @pilar_bear and I had so much fun doing it. But this year I was extra excited when they announced the option of choosing our own partners. I obviously chose my friend, Erin, of Poetic Memory Sewing, who I’ve known since college.

I actually sent her something I made during our freshman year in college during one of my sewing classes but only wore once for the fashion show that served as our final exam and then never again. I chose the style because I knew those intricate pleats would get me an A if I executed them well even if the design didn’t exactly fit my style. I believe the pattern was from Vogue but I don’t remember the pattern number since it was so darn long ago.

I just love how she incorporated the pleats and was able to keep them completely intact. I also love that she used the sleeves to add godets to the side seams. This top is so comfortable and something I will get so much more wear out of now.

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She even saved the main portion of the blouse for me because she thought it might still be wearable. There were some holes where she trimmed the pleating off but this was easily remedied with some patches that I covered up with lace trim. She felt bad about the holes she cut into the blouse but I think it was a happy accident because I probably wouldn’t have added the trim otherwise. I was also glad to finally find the perfect project to use these black antique buttons I got at a flea market on. They’re so much prettier than the plain red buttons I originally used. So this is my bonus refashion!

Now onto what I made for Erin…

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Erin sent me this Liberty of London x J. Crew blouse that she had thrifted. I really wanted to incorporate some one yard off-cuts  I had bought during one of Fab Scrap‘s Instagram flash sales since they were hosting their own refashioning challenge this month.

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These were the three fabrics I had to choose from. It was a difficult choice because I was worried they all might be too much mixed with the Liberty of London fabric. So I played around with it until I finally decided on the polka dot/floral mixed print, which is what drove me to buy this pack to begin with. I just thought it was so pretty!

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Having a dress form this year helped so much. It allowed me to test out my fabric choices before I settled on one and it was especially crucial in draping and fitting my garment.

I asked Erin for her nape to waist measurement and she said it was 16″. However, this seemed extremely long so I just used my dress form as a guide. I tied a ribbon around the blouse at the waist and marked it with safety pins to get my cut line. The straps/neck binding were done out of a Cotton + Steel remnant I had in my stash.

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Then I used the extra fabric from the sleeves and what I cut off the bottom of the blouse and cut it all into 1″ strips to add a ruffle along the part of the skirt where it changes from purple to black. I thought this would help the top and the bottom look a little less disjointed.

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I didn’t need nearly as many ruffles as I thought but since I had already cut all those strips and sewn them together, I thought I’d cut them into three even strips and turn them into a braided rag bowl. You can see how much was leftover in the picture to the right. Can you believe I was actually nervous I wouldn’t have enough for the ruffles in the beginning?!

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And this is the finished look!

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Doesn’t Erin look pretty?

Posted in Home Decor

Brimfield!

One of my father’s favorite pastimes is treasure hunting at flea markets. We went to just enough when I was a kid that he passed this passion down to me but I don’t think it was ever anywhere near as many as he would have liked. He was a constant flea market bargain hunter before he had kids but it had been a very long time since he had been to Brimfield Antique Market in Brimfield, Massachussetts. For the past couple of years I kept bringing up the idea of us going up for a weekend but work and other things kept getting in the way. The tricky thing about this market is that it only happens three times a year. Once in May, once in July and once in September. If you miss any of these dates, then you’re out of luck! So I’m so excited that my husband and I finally got to experience this flea market with my parents. My father’s giddy, child-like excitement was such a treat to watch.

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I was on the hunt for a frame to hang with an embroidery hoop I had been working on. And also any types of interesting fabric I might find. I didn’t find any fabric, but I did find the frame! I even used the phrase, “Is that the best price?” for the first time in my life like all the pros advise you to do and was very proud of myself. It saved me a whopping $5! It was marked $30 but the seller sold it to me for $25. Afterwards, I wondered if I could have even talked her down to $20. I’ll be braver at my next flea market…

I also sort of found fabric but I passed on it because I just didn’t feel right spending $45 on one yard of fabric at a flea market. I’m pretty sure that booth was The Textile Trunk and she has an amazing and vast assortment of vintage French fabrics in her Etsy and Ebay shops that I haven’t been able to stop perusing ever since we got back.

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My father couldn’t help himself and bought this tiny side table towards the end of the day. He said he always used to come back with a table at all the other flea markets he went to when he was younger. So I guess it’s a tradition of sorts he wanted to uphold.

I really wish I had taken more photos during our first day there but there was so much to see and look at, I really didn’t think pictures would ever justify just how much was there. It was also SO crowded that day. It was a Saturday so you would think that’s good for business but we overheard one jewelry vendor complaining to a friend about how business was so bad the day before she had only done $100 in sales. “All these people just come for the food!” she said pointing to the crowd.

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The second day was much quieter and much less crowded so I snapped just a few shots. It was the last day so although the market was supposed to be open until 3 PM, vendors were already starting to pack up when we got there around 10 AM. I heard one vendor say to another, “Yeah. I’m getting out of here this year.” So I felt a little anxious about getting to see everything we wanted to see before everyone packed up and drove off. The pressure! I was also secretly hoping to find The Textile Trunk again because I had talked myself into buying just a yard of her pretty fabric because my husband, my parents and I were all having such a good time that I wanted to splurge on something special to remember it by.

While I had no such luck, my mom did find the jadeite bowls she had been eyeing the day before but decided to pass on because of the price. The smaller bowls she actually wanted were gone but it worked out for her because that just meant my dad splurged on a larger set for her! I guess he wanted her to have something special to remember the trip by also. They were marked $95 but the seller sold them to my dad for $75. We all really enjoyed this seller’s merchandise and my husband was eyeing some things as well but he’s on the more practical (i.e. non-hoarder) side of the spectrum so he didn’t buy anything. I did take a photo of the seller’s info though just in case we’re looking to buy something some day.

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^ Just a random photo I took when I had a chance because I was too timid to take pictures most of the weekend since I wasn’t sure of most seller’s picture taking policies. I guess they don’t care though since I’ve been poring over people’s pictures from the market on Instagram in an attempt to relive the weekend and also catch glimpses of interesting things we might have missed.

 

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I didn’t buy anything the second day but my dad treated me and my mom to delicious doughnuts! (I love jelly 🤤)

 

For lunch, we brought subs from the supermarket because we weren’t crazy fans of the pizza we had eaten the day before. It was also so hard to find seating on Saturday with all the crowds. We were much more content on Sunday, sitting on a bench just outside the market with our subs. We loved watching what types of treasure people were walking away from the market with. No idea what that guy is gonna do with that giant metal rooster. But those baskets those ladies were walking away with sure looked cute!

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After lunch, it was time for one last pass through a few tents before we went home. I was sad the weekend went so quickly but so grateful to spend time with my husband and parents. Time to start planning our next flea market trip!

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Also, how good does this frame look with this embroidery hoop inside? One man’s trash is another man’s treasure for sure.

Posted in knitting

Bennet Sister Shawl

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I was looking for a simple, long term knitting project that I could easily unwind with at the end of a long day of work. I discovered Lost and Fawn‘s designs after stumbling upon an Instagram post last year about a sock knit along she was hosting along with Mockingbird Fiber Co. for her Slacktide Socks. I was a little confused by the supplies needed and sent her a DM on Instgram with a question. She answered immediately and we went on to have a nice, healthy sized conversation about sock knitting after that. Hooray for (sort of) human interaction! I still have yet to finish those socks, but I’ve been a big fan of hers and her designs ever since.

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I had been admiring her Bennet Sister Shawl for a few months and Mockingbird Fiber Co. had announced they were taking pre-orders for kits to make it. I love kits because I am so bad (and lazy) when it comes to determining how much yarn is needed for projects on my own. The price tag was a little too steep for me at $85 including shipping, so I held off for a long time. But then I received some vacation pay money from my last job and finally bit the bullet. Knitting can be considered taking a vacation, right? 

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At first, I hit the ground running and was about a third of the way through before I knew it. Then I started to slow down because I didn’t want it to end, working on a few rows a night after work. I’d say this project is about 50/50 garter stitch and stockinette stitch. So a lot of knitting and purling! I did mess up a little towards the end. I’m not sure how. So I had to pull out a few rows and then wasn’t even sure where I was at that point, but the pattern is simple enough that I was able to guesstimate without it ruining the look of the shawl. I think altogether, it took about a month to complete. I also think I’m a shawl knitting addict now. I have my fingers crossed for more vacation money in my future to be spent on making beautiful shawls like this 🤞.

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Since I didn’t finish this until the end of April, I thought I’d just tuck it away to wear when it got cold again the Fall. Unfortunately (or fortunately for the sake of wearing this shawl?), we have had a pretty chilly May but this shawl has been the perfect solution to keeping warm without having to put on too many layers because I refuse! It’s May for goodness sake! But I’m sort of thankful I didn’t have to wait six months to wear this beauty.