Thursday, April 29, 2010

Look ma, I made it all by myself!!!

Here is what I came up with for Kay's first Mother's Day as a grandma. Truth be told, she owns a store-bought "brag book" a friend gave to her after Wee One's birth, but come on, this has so much more personality!

I'll show you how I made it, but feel free to make it your own.
-two pieces fabric cut 9"x 12"
-two pieces fabric cut 8"x 11"
-two page protectors
-Scotch tape
-pen or pencil
-sewing machine

*The version I made has room for six 4"x 6" photos. If you want to add more photos, you can add another "page" which will require two more 8"x 11" pieces of fabric and one more page protector.

**This is a good project for some leftover pieces of fabric; they can all be different prints or colors.

STEP ONE: Cut and press fabric flat. Cut two rectangles 7"x 5" throug BOTH layers of one page protector and a third from the other page protector, giving you a total of six rectangles.

STEP TWO: Place two rectangles on the right side of each of the 8"x 11" fabric pieces, one centered above center and one centered below center. Be sure to leave space at center without any plastic as you want this to be the fold or "binding" area of your book. Tape the pieces along one short end to help them stay in place; you will leave this end open to insert your photo.
STEP THREE: Sew around the three sides of each page protector rectangle without tape, allowing for a 1/4" seam. This ensures your photo will fit inside and will let more of the fabric peek through as a border. Remove the tape and trim any excess page protector to 1/4" or so.

STEP FOUR: Place the two 8"x 11" fabric sheets right sides together and pin in place. Try to line up the center of each piece where the binding will fall to ensure no plastic page protector will be caught in the binding. Sew a 1/2" seam around three sides, leaving the fourth (the one that will be the bottom) open for turning. Trim corners and turn. Fold the raw edges of the bottom edge inwards and sew as close to edge as possible. Set aside.

STEP FIVE: Place your 9"x 12" inner lining piece right side up. Take the last two 7"x 5" page protector pieces and center them on the fabric. This fabric piece is larger and you will want the extra space to occur around the outer edges and want the same distance around the center "binding" as the 8"x 11" pieces you just sewed, so when your book is closed the sheet protector pieces are all in the same general place and the center is free of any plastic, ensuring it will close flat. Tape the sheet protector pieces in place and sew a seam 1/4" along the other three sides for each sheet protector piece. Remove the tape and trim the plastic.

STEP SIX: Place the 9"x 12" outer fabric piece and 9"x 12" inner lining piece with right sides together. Pin and sew 1/2" from edge along three sides, leaving the bottom open for turning. Trim corners and turn. Fold bottom raw edges inwards about 1/2", then sew 1/4" from edge and continue this top stitching along the other three sides as well.

STEP SEVEN: Center your smaller "page" into your "cover"; I did not make sure all my photo openings went the same way so they don't; you may want to do this. Once centered together, sew the "page" onto the "cover" down the center across the width along it's "spine."

STEP EIGHT: Slip some photos in and give to someone you love!
Happy Mother's Day Crafting to ALL (and to all a good night....)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What I've Been Doing Besides Knitting...

1. Cooking and baking for a surprise picnic in the park on Friday! I made vegan potato salad, fried tofu, fried chicken for Nature Boy (yuck!!!) and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for desert, packed it up in our picnic basket, grabbed Wee and Nature Boy and headed outdoors. I have to say it was a lot of work so I don't know when I will go all-out with it again like that. Maybe some peanut butter sandwiches next time...

2. Gardening. Weeding, watering, transplanting. Blisters, poison ivy, back pain. I love every minute of it though!

3. Daily walks with the Wee.

4. Reading. This is a library book and I love it and hate it. Does anyone else have this relationship with Martha? I love the idea of it and reading it. I hate the front photo (gag me!! Who looks like that when they are sewing? Whose space looks like that as they are sewing?). I hate some of the wording (like anytime she uses the word "must"). I love the detail but hate the fussiness. I'm not sure I will make anything from it but it's fun to look at when I am in the middle of a nursing session. Wonder what you'd say about that, Martha?

I also scored this one from Half Price Books for $3! I've wanted it for years so this is particularly satisfying to me. It's on my bedside table in case I get into bed and don't fall asleep in 3 seconds flat...which is now never...

5. Sewing. Oh my where to start? The tragedy first.

Here lies the Flapper Camisole. So I sewed the shell together and then added binding from the top of one bust around the back and to the top point of the other bust. Before adding more binding around the front V section, I thought, hmm, maybe I should stop and try this one on? I did and it was skin tight. Completely unwearable. It hangs on the chair, mocking me as we speak. So Twinkle Sews went right on back to the library. I made the size 12 shirt, which normally would fit me and be a bit larger too. The next size up would be a 16. To me that would be crazy big (or at least I would hope so). I might try and sew the fabric strips onto another shirt, either one I just wing free handed or cheat and find a pre-made top at the thrift store. On top of the other 500 million billion things I aim to do and make...

I DID go up to the master bedroom of the estate, find a shirt in my closet that I never wear and transformed it into something wearable. This chick here was my inspiration; apparently she finds dresses at thrift shops and changes them into cuteness (shirts, skirts, dresses and coats, to name a few). Here is before:

The problem areas: weird "Hi I'm so corporate" tie along neckline that is not fun when trying to nurse a baby in public and sleeves that are much too tight. In fact, the button on one was missing as I must have popped it off while flexing my python arms. I mean, my arms are not the smallest but they are not so massively built that a sleeve shouldn't fit...

Here is AFTER:

So flex-able! I cut off the neck-tie deal and then cut off most of the sleeve, sewing close to the raw edge.

I think I might wear it now. I think I might try this sort of thing again with some other things I'm not wearing as it was more successful than the whole pattern thing...

Last, I also whipped up this little makeup bag. I lined the inside with clear vinyl layered over the lining fabric. My current makeup bag is really yucky inside, it's lined with a nylon you would think could be wiped clean but the spots are there to stay. I recently bought some awesomely vegan AND cheap (the two never meet this way) makeup by eyes.lips.face or e.l.f. At my local fricking drug store! I can't tell you the last time I bought makeup at the drug store...circa pre-vegan way way back...

Since I haven't shown what the new print from Strawberry Luna looked like post-framing (frame made by Nature Boy), here it is. The cuteness of it all kills me. I'm sure it won't be long before Wee One wants to paint his room black and hang up posters of bands and such so I'm glad I have this one pic. So when cute is no longer good, I can still go there.

I suppose I should now try and talk about knitting. Since this blog is named Knitsburgh and all. Well, there is not much to say here. I swatched for the Every Way Wrap but did so in stockinette instead of moss, so I swatched a second time. I'm not on gauge but close enough, especially for a wrap. I figure the most important dimension will be the length, not width, so I can make row adjustments easily enough as I go. At least with knitting, I feel like I know what I am doing. I have confidence. I can take comfort here and lick my sewing-project wounds.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

With sadness....

This a a hard one. I hate to admit it but I have lost some faith in someone.

Big Ben.

This photo was taken exactly one week before his famous "motorcycle crash" on the city streets. I happened to be in a bar following a friend's wedding reception for the "afterparty." Someone I know announced he was in the bar. I had my camera from the wedding.

He was playing a golf video game along the wall by the fireplace. He was with two rather large male "friends." The entire bar was filled with people looking at him but no one was going up to him.

I marched right up and asked if I could have a picture taken with him. He politely agreed. I held my friend's beer (Nature Boy was stuck at the bar getting ours), Ben wrapped his arm around me and said friend snapped the pic. I thanked him, ran away and into the adjoining bar where our friends were. I showed off my picture and everyone ran over to where he was. I was told he soon got angry at some of them and told them they ruined it for everyone and he wouldn't take any more pics...but I had mine.

Now it makes me sad. I was proud to have a picture of me with Big Ben. My parents have a copy in their home too. Nature Boy won't let me use any pics of him so I put it up here and no one ever even noticed it was Big Ben! You all probably thought it was Nature Boy.

So it comes to this. I don't want to have this picture up here any more. Instead of thinking what a nice person he was, I'm reminded of all of the bad decisions he makes in clubs, bars and hotels. As we all wait in Pittsburgh to see what the punishment will be, what the team will do if he's suspended, if any more accusations will surface, I just can't look at this anymore. So it is now being retired as my blogger pic. I hope to one day be able to look at it and see good things again; it's up to you Ben.

Lulu's Lair

Sunday evening the search for the quadruplets was called off. I found an old yellow shirt with yellow buttons on it that happened to live in my "clothes to be refashioned/upcycled" pile. I cut them off and sewed three onto Violet.

Yesterday, the Wee One and I ventured out of doors for a lovely sunny walk and mailed out Violet with a few other things to the newest Wee on Nature Boy's side of the family.

Violet on the periwinkle bed with gnome overlooking...

After our walk, we came home, ate some lunch and Wee decided to take a nap. During this time, the weekly Cleaning of the Estate commenced. As I moved our bed to vacuum under it (I wouldn't normally bother but Lulu loves to line the entire floor underneath with blue-gray fur) I found them. They were being held hostage under the bed! Oh the crimes here, again they are terrible. Lulu is the top suspect and is being questioned but she is unfortunately not talking...

Maybe I will need some yellow buttons one day again as I now have lots. They are now all safely living in the button jar.

Friday, April 16, 2010



Quadruplet yellow buttons only two months old. Last seen together on a small card in Knitsburgh and belonging to Ms. Violet Top-Down Baby Sweater. If found, please contact the Knitsburgh Police Department immediately.

The above ran in the Knitsburgh Times today. All the usual areas have been searched; the button jar, the sewing supplies, the "junk drawers" of which there are three in various locales. To show what a loss this truly is, even the knitting bag (gasp!) was emptied. All in vain. Contents below with yellow buttons completely gone. The Knitsburgh Detectives are completely stumped.

The knitting bag was thrown into the laundry chute for cleaning, at least.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Things occupying my head and time of late....
-Trying to reduce our food budget by using lots of coupons and stockpiling sale items and visiting Farmer's Markets.
-Letterboxing! Where crafting meets hiking meets sleuthing.
-Violet; of course we are stuck on some sleeves right now....

-The garden. Veggie and flower seedlings are sprouting, peas and green beans are in the ground already, beds have been cleared of leaves from the fall.

-Sewing continues to be explored. Weekend Sewing now lives here. Twinkle Sews came on leave from the library. I have to say Twinkle Sews does not make me happy when you have to print out the printable pattern and find you have to print out 18 pages just for one shirt; you really don't want to know how many pieces of paper a dress pattern takes. Such a waste. We are in the preliminary stages of the Flapper Blouse. Of course, no silkworms are being harmed for this product, I'm using fabric with no animal content.

-Thrift store follies; I visited one last week and scored some vintage Singer tracing paper for 49 cents, a copper-colored aluminum food mold in a shamrock shape, a pair of shorts for $2 and a summer shirt for $2.
-Walking outside, strolling the neighborhood, visiting parks with the Wee, he loves it so.

What are you up to?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Holidays Schmolidays!

Ok so how come every time a holiday of any sort comes by, things get complicated? Back when I was a wee lass in school, I would get so anxious and excited about holiday events that I would vomit and be sent to the nurse's office to wait for Kay to pick me up. Every time, the teacher would send a student down with a Valentine mailbox, Christmas (yes, they actually only called it Christmas back then) exchange gift or Easter basket with treats. I missed the punch and snacks, the not having to sit in your assigned seat, the games and songs. I think it lasted two or three years at the most and eventually I could stomach the anxiety and even enjoy some of the fun.

As an adult, I don't vomit but I wonder if somehow, if the anxiety is still there, is it causing chaos to ensue? Karma to come and kick my butt?

If you look at some of my previous blogs around various holidays there is bound to be some drama mentioned.

This Easter or Eostre was no exception; Kay was in the hospital. She came home today after seven days and I feel I can now breathe a bit easier. It's odd but instead of getting wrapped up in crafting, sewing and knitting to take my mind off things, I often find myself doing NOTHING. It's frustrating to me on so many levels. I sit and think about all I want to do, all I should be doing. Does anyone else have this problem?

The only good part is the house is clean! It seems cleaning, organizing (somewhat...) and going on long walks in the sun are the only things I can do when I get all sorts of upset. Oh, lest you believe I am being utterly silly and have a totally organized estate, let me clarify on the organization. I will decide I can no longer handle, for instance, the Wee One's closet and clothing bins being organized the way they are. I will dismantle whatever system is currently in place and halfway begin one anew. Finishing any organization is another story; it doesn't happen when I am in this sort of mental place.

I am hopeful. Hopeful that Kay will get healthier each and every day. Hopeful my zest for the craft will return soon. Hopeful this beautiful weather will stick around at least for one more glorious day. Hopeful the next holiday will be so much better.