August 2009

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All of the pink/purple was done this week, other colors were done previously. I did all of the stamping/embellishing last night, heat fixed by Rich. These baby clothes are going out all over the continent (literally) to his friends. There are a few more but I’ll save those for another post.

baby onesie tie dye with butterfly and matching socks

butterflies stamped on tie dye baby onesie and matching socks in pink and purple

detail of stamped butterflies on pink and purple tie dye baby onesie

twinkie rompers:
pink and purple tie dyed baby rompers with matching socks

baby gown:
pink and purple tie dye baby gown with matching socks

and my favorite seaglass colors:
green and blue baby boy onesie with little frogs

with frog detail:
stamped and colored frogs on blue/green tie dye baby boy onesie

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dye, dry,
spin, ply,
knit, block,
click, clock!

handspun and knit swatch dyed with kool-aid, blocking

Just a bit of superwash merino/tencel fiber that I dyed with black cherry Kool-Aid and then spun, knit up into a swatch and blocked last night. Pretty but not really what I want. That’s what swatches are for!

And a pumpkin-shaped grape for your amusement.
pumpkin shaped grape

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Due to the popularity of this project I have uploaded pictures of how I recovered my chair (with hopefully helpful notes) to Flickr here. There is also a link to a group where you can upload pictures of your own finished project! This was really not hard, I used less than a yard of home dec fabric and it didn’t take very long either. Instant gratification, I hope you’ll try it too. I am really enjoying this personal touch to my sewing space!

recovering back rest of office chair


plain gray office chair office chair recovered in AH Sofia black and white floral fabric

We’ve had this plain gray office chair for a while and I decided I wanted to dress it up a bit. I had bought a yard of this Alexander Henry floral called Sofia a few months ago, I didn’t know what I was going to use it for and suddenly it clicked—the chair! I haven’t done this before but it was surprisingly easy. Taking the chair apart and putting it back together was the only hard part because it required figuring out how to use the socket wrench. I’m pretty pleased with the results.


The girl requested that I make some origami animals yesterday so of course I was happy to oblige. I have quite a collection of books and beautiful papers from Japan but oddly enough I generally turn to the solid colors. One side of traditional origami is colored and the other side is left white. Many feature incredible traditional floral and graphic designs. The paper is smooth and crisp and fairly thin. Most craft stores in the States carry origami paper now but when I was a kid I hoarded the beautiful packages I received from my family in Japan.

None of these models are particularly traditional. The rabbit and the cat belong to what is sometimes referred to as modern creative. They are more realistic than traditional models but also more difficult.

origami rabbit and cat

I found the instructions online for the three Totoro figures. Totoro are forest spirits from the agelessly appealing animated film My Neighbor Totoro by Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki. The English version is a favorite in our house.

origami totoro

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Meet Nutkin

knitted and crocheted acorn amigurumi

This is Nutkin, about 1.5 inches long. Made with handspindled silk dyed by Annie and handspindled Corriedale I dyed with Kool-aid. Knitted knut and crocheted cap. Alliteration, I crack myself up. Puns! Am I driving you nutty yet?

I didn’t have a pattern, just winged it. I think I’ll have to make some more. Just too cute.

I was inspired by this much larger crocheted acorn bag by Roman Sock.

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The kids are at Nana and Granddad’s house so it was just the two of us on the way home from church yesterday trying to decide what we wanted to have for lunch. We considered grabbing take-out and going to the beach or going out to a restaurant on the water but . . . given the lovely weather and the noon rush we decided against.

Instead we stopped at our local grocery store and had them steam some lobsters for us while we meandered around and picked up some fixings, asparagus, potato salad, deli rolls. A few minutes later we were sitting down to a feast! Two lobster dinners for about $20 including the fixings—a great bargain, fast, a nice quiet lunch in our own sunny, breezy kitchen—definitely a good choice.

lobster dinner

Nasturtiums planted by the boy, too red to be real.
red nasturtiums

Our own peapod clinging valiantly to a brave corn stalk.
young pea pod

Running for joy across the steps of the old meetinghouse.

One picket out of place.
one picket out of place


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kids opening croquet set

The boy and the girl went up to the county for a sleepover at my parents’ house. While at their grandparents’ house they picked berries, roamed the field road in the ATV, made ice cream with grandmom, helped grandpop mow the lawn and developed a taste for playing croquet! DH and I were at home cleaning, rearranging, painting and having a little fun too.

img_5204 bee balm or monarda

Back home they played outside in the sprinkler while my friend Jan and I did tie dye which is still batching, pictures of that later. But here are some playsilks quickly scrunch dyed in Kool-Aid. The orange and the pinky-red are new and the blue and green are several years old. Both kids play with these a lot so I figured a few new colors would be welcome.

playsilks dyed with Kool-Aid

This morning the girl and I went down to Artist and Craftsman Supply to pick up some PINK procion dye since we discovered yesterday that we are all out of PINK. They are homebased here in Portland ME but have a number of stores in cities across the country, maybe one near you! I did look specifically at the acid dyes thinking I’d bring some home to dye fiber/yarn but I couldn’t decide on a color. Maybe next time after I do a little more research.I also picked up some extra Sculpey in colors we are running out of and a bargain pick of pretty nice paint brushes for the kids in fun colors with gel handles. I haven’t been there in at least a year and now I remember why. I go in there and I just want to buy some of everything!

colorful paint brushes

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apron shaped remnant of Free Spirit's Marabella[

. . . despite the fact that I don’t wear aprons! In fact the only apron in the house is a crayon apron my mother made for me when I was a kid. The girl wears it when she pretends to be Cinderella. This fabric may look familiar, it’s Marabella from Free Spirit, and I made a skirt from it for the girl a while back. She saw me working on this and commented, “It’s okay Mommy, you can have a skirt like me.” Thank you, daughter-chan.

If you hadn’t noticed there’s an internet sewing and SAHM and retro house thing that’s been going around for ages about aprons. I don’t really know what the appeal is but I guess it’s finally gnawed away at me. That and a sewing group I belong to decided to do an apron sew-along, so fine, I’d probably never sew an apron if I didn’t have this particular piece of fabric and the sew-along deadline.

Despite the suggestive shape I did have to cut it to achieve the look I wanted. The long straps did stay exactly as is except for tapering the ends. The straps are long enough to wear tied in front or in a nice bow in the back. I love to tie bows, even if I don’t particularly care to wear them.

bow tied in the back on an apron

I rounded the corners with a plate, inserted a hidden layer of absorbent cotton velour using the always handy fusible web, trimmed the edge with cotton lace and gathered the top. I topstitched everywhere and I even starched the lace! I hate starch—the only reason it’s in the house is because Rich uses it when he irons his shirts. Somehow it seemed the right thing to do in a retro sort of way. Like how I photographed it in the kitchen in front of the vintage woodwork?

I also handquilted around one of the flowers. I’d planned to do a scattering but I’m not sure if I will because it doesn’t show up very well. Maybe better after it gets washed. Of course that would mean I would have to use it. I do cook, or at least I used to, I just have never worn aprons. Maybe around the holidays. It seems like a wintry, holiday sort of fabric don’t you think?

Free Spirit Marabella floral fabric apron with cotton lace and tie in front

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long drawstring skirt made from fringed rayon jacquard scarf

This was originally a very long (72″ x 28″?) rayon jacquard scarf with fringed ends. I believe it came from Nepal. It’s a coral sort of pink color. Not something I would normally pick for myself but for some reason I really like it. I know I was not going to wear it as a scarf so I decided to make it over into a skirt.

The fabric is lusciously soft and drapey and I was terrified to cut into it. I pinned and pressed very carefully to line everything up and then cut out a few inches of the middle to make the skirt the right length for me. I sewed up the side seams, finished the top edge and turned it over to encase 1/2″ elastic and a drawstring cord. Very simple.

The drawstring cord took a bit of time because I had a foolish notion to unravel the few inches I had cut off and twist the long weft threads into a cord. It worked but it wasn’t as neat as I had hoped it would be. With the help of my spindle I plied it and then doubled it again and threaded the ends with some olivewood beads from Israel. Surprisingly the drawstring is stronger than it looks. If it doesn’t last I’ll just find some matching pearl cotton.

wood beaded drawstring cord on jacquard skirt

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