Threads of the Pattern

I wanted to use some kind of nerdy “Space: The Final Frontier” for this post, which actually would have been TOTALLY APPROPRIATE, but as usual, Ayshia and I are in the same brain, so you get ‘The Sound of Music” instead of ‘Star Trek’.

Let me start by saying, I really hate to clean. Most of the time, my mind pretends that everything is clean, always, everywhere.  My friends love this about me. Fortunately, my husband is far more willing to show me the reality of the situation.

We’ve had this ongoing discussion about whether or not my crafting space was organized or that crazy thing called clean. We bought our house, and intended to finish the basement and give me all the space down there that was not being taken up by washers and furnaces and spiders, and other basement type stuff.

Ayshia threatened to disown me, if I recall correctly, but she got over it.

“Temporarily”, I am in the third bedroom, which is the smallest, and was formerly a nursery for the previous owners. I share it with the guest bed. Teddy Bear thinks it’s hers, and we’ve never told her otherwise because she diffuses sternness with cuddles.

I also have to house my computer desk, a single (wha?) bookshelf, and all my crafting supplies. It finally got to me. I had to admit that no, I did not have a handle on my ‘organized chaos’; it was in fact, a complete and utter disaster.

So, I broke down and did that thing that most women fear to do: I asked my mother-in-law for help. I will immediately follow this by saying that I lucked out in the MiL department, and this wasn’t really a hardship at all. Especially since she literally wrote the book on organizing your crap. I don’t think that’s what she called it.

 

After much discussion, and a trip to a costume museum (I mentioned I lucked out, right?), I came home with a game plan. A whole flaming week later, It was finally complete.

So, the boring stuff. I pulled everything that wasn’t a container out of the room, and organized it as I went. I had purchased some cheap-o laundry baskets at the dollar store, and used those as temporary storage for the sorting process. I culled some stuff for goodwill/Ayshia/trash. This still took up the entire hallway, part of my husband’s office, and our bedroom. Dear husband even donated his own laundry basket to the cause, which I think he regretted about five minutes later.

I then cleaned and rearranged all my empty containers, and tried to figure out a better way of doing things. I wanted more floor space. I didn’t want to feel so crowded, and I wanted to feel like I was getting the most out of the space that I had.

Then I took some sticky notes and wrote on them what I thought would go in each drawer and put them ON THE DRAWER. This was a novel concept for me. I’m usually more of a “Oh, I know where it is!” kind of gal. Then I have to look through five drawers before realizing I have no idea what was going through my mind when I originally put it away.

Putting things back, I culled even more. I stopped at the thrift store and found some old candle holders to put colored pencils and markers and such in. I spent all of $10 on this reorganization, including the laundry baskets.

In the end, I got pretty much everything back into the room. Even my husband was impressed! Eventually, I’ll have pretty labels on all the drawers. I’ve been toying with the idea of chalkboard paint on cardstock or scrapbooking paper.

Things I learned:

 

  1. I do not HAVE to have all the things within arm’s reach all the time.
  2. My thought processes change with time. Label things, woman!
  3. Everything takes longer than I think it’s going to.
  4. I really don’t have to keep everything ‘just in case’.

Oh, hi. I’m Rosie. 😀

You only turn one once!

For my niece’s First birthday, my sister decided to have a ladybug themed party. (And by my sister decided, I mean she wanted to do an Adventure Time theme, but we couldn’t find any decorations, so Rose and I helpfully nudged her into the choice of ladybugs.) So, I wandered through the internet, trying to find any inspiration for ladybug decorations or themes. I didn’t find any decorations that shook my creative tree, but I did decide while looking at cute black and red patterned tablecloths that I wanted to make her a dress. Now, anyone that follows me on Pinterest will know that I have been eyeing up pillowcase dresses for Bug for –ever-. Like, since she was born. After the Kosode Incident, I wasn’t sure I wanted to brave the sewing machine again but I reeeeeeeally wanted my baby girlie to have a pretty ladybug dress for her birthday.

A few creative searches on Pinterest and a few more knocks to my sewing prowess later, and I decided to make this dress, for my Bug, with many thanks to Ashley at Lil Blue Boo.

I envisioned black and red polka dots with a bright red top, maybe a little red tulle peeking out of the bottom. However, my local Hobby Lobby had a completely different vision in mind, presenting me with pink and white or black and white polka dots. If I wanted something ladybug themed, I could chose between a Kelly green background with red ladybugs or something baby pink with red cartoon lady bugs.  I ultimately chose the Kelly green, because I thought my niece had way too much pink in her wardrobe as it is.

I also bought a pretty red ribbon, thinking I could use it around the edge, or maybe in place of the straps. I’m kind of a fly by the seat of my capris kind of sewer…I just knew I liked the ribbon.

Now…I’m afraid of sewing. I think we all understand that by now. So you know I am not exaggerating in the least when I say that these directions were so frickin’ easy! They were simple to understand, even for a scardy cat like me. I measured the baby twice, plugged in her measurements in the super simple drawing and bam! I was off like lightning!

The only thing I ignored was the measurements for a pattern repeat…because I reasoned with myself that it was going on a one year old, who would be eating a piece of cake the size of her head that day…and no one would be looking at her booty. Plus…all those little wily ladybugs were going in 42 different directions, and trying to make that match made my head hurt.

All my pieces were cut quickly, and I even ironed it! (Don’t have a heart attack; I really do know how to use an iron.) All that was left was to thread the sewing machine and jump in there!

Did you read the Sewing Machine Wars? Do you remember the tip on avoiding thread barf? I sure do, which is why I had to take a picture of my properly threaded sewing machine, before I began.

This proves that even the most resistant sewer –can- learn from her mistakes!

I’m almost sad to report that it went together so nicely, I was afraid to even pause to hit skip on Pandora! I worked for 3 hours in sheer disbelief at my good fortune!

The loose gather for the skirt worked (mostly) and the top folded very nicely over it. Let me say, also, that this was a genius way to add a banded top! I wasn’t really sure what I was doing as my aunt and I read the directions and folded away, but man, it’s a beautiful thing when it’s done!

Then…it was time for the straps. I toyed with the idea of using the ribbon, but in the end I decided I wanted them to match the dress. I didn’t have bias tape (OK…I don’t even really know what bias tape is…) but I followed the directions as best as I could, with my Aunt cheering me on, telling me that turning those babies right-side out would be a piece of cake!

If cake is made with a healthy amount of cursing, a gigantic, Throw-The-Straps-Across-The-Room size fit, then yes, it was just like a piece of cake. Nevertheless, with help, I prevailed and the straps were turned the right way, ironed and sewn into place.

By the time I got to the ribbon, I was tired, sweaty and pretty disgusted with my Fabulous Ideas. So..rather than sew it on, I cheated. I used fabric glue and not a little bit of prayer that it would hold up.

It was ironed again after this picture, I swear.

On the day of Bug’s birthday party, we slipped her chubby butt into it (I measured a little –too- well, not giving her any growing room, of course) and she was the best looking one year old on the planet.

See? You can’t even see the seam!

Things I learned:

  1. Sew the damn ribbon on. Fabric glue is messy and tiresome.
  2. I need a better way to gather fabric for pleats. The method described in the tutorial was rockin’ but my Rosemary’s Baby sewing machine didn’t care for it at all.
  3. Ponder buttons or a zipper for down the back next time. While the dress was utterly fabulous, it might not fit her next month.

Mistakes and fears aside, I had a ton of fun with this project, and seeing my beautiful niece in a dress that I made was 100% worth it.

Have you tackled a project you were more than a little afraid of? How did it turn out?

At the new year, Rose and I decided my whole clan needed fantastic garb to go along with the Japanese persona I have chosen for the SCA.  Rose chose this pattern for us to follow for a start, and it was on! Life being what it is (hectic and crazy), the clothing wouldn’t be finished in time for the closest event, so I took a deep breath, promised myself the sewing machine wouldn’t eat me, and offered to help. She had already done the hard part, I assured myself, in making the hakama (pants) for my son.

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Aren’t they adorable???

We cut out the pieces for his two kosode (like a kimono, only from the Heian Period) , and I was totally psyched! All rectangles! How hard could it be? Piece of cake! She helped me pin the first one together to show me how it was done and I thought, ‘Omg! What was I worried about? Sooo easy!’

And then….she left.

This would be the very first time I attempted to sew anything with my aunt’s very old and crotchety Kenmore, without her watching me, steering me clear of committing any grievous sins against the poor, little used machine. To say I was terrified would be an understatement.

The next morning, I bravely pulled up my big girl panties and made a deal with myself that I would do nothing, -NOTHING- else until the job was finished! I got out my camera, to document the feat of the century, put on my booty shakin’ music (which happens to be a lot of glee songs and 90s music, TYVM) and sat down to work…

…and the needle broke.

This was immediately followed by a lot of cursing and yelling and shaking my fist at the Powers that Be.

20 minutes and 4 sewing needles later, I decided the Powers that Be either hated my guts, or were laughing at me. A lot.

The NEXT morning, after my husband had knight in shining armored over to Walmart and brought me replacement needles (in two different sizes ‘just in case’) I once again sat down, determined to have at last -someone- dressed in new garb by the end of the day. With the Glee cast egging me on (Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ , hahaha) I started up the sewing machine again.

…and then the thread on the bobbin barfed all over the yellow kosode.

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But was I discouraged? Hells no! I am a mother of 4, dammit! I’ve faced tougher problems before my morning caffeine! And hey! At least the needle wasn’t broken!

Thus my seam ripper,became my new, non human, best friend. I used said seam ripper no less than 10 times, before, finally, I called my mommy and asked what I was doing wrong.

Oh yes, I went there. I am 32 years old, and the moment all my options are exhausted, I call my mommy. It’s a good thing I did, too, because the mistake I was making was so newbish, I would have been embarrassed to reveal it…if, you know, that stuff was embarrassing to me.

Folks, fellow newbie sewers…don’t forget to feed your bobbin thread up through the floor of the machine with the needle before you begin!  If you do? Say…10 times or so? It won’t make a pretty sewn line. It will make thread barf.

Lots of thread barf.

After the mistake was fixed, the kosode came together pretty quickly.

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I had a moment of panic when I got to the collar (or eri) because I couldn’t quite figure out how to attach it when it wasn’t as long as the kosode. I couldn’t remember – was it supposed to hang out? was I supposed to sew it down? Maybe I had done it completely wrong?

Finally, after reading and rereading the directions, I pinned it from the center of the back and just um..tucked in the ends. yeah…I choked and did a whatever move. It came out pretty nice, except for the jacked up seam that was totally a user error and had nothing to do with the Rosemary’s Baby of Sewing Machines or the awesome instructions.

The second kosode came together so quickly, even -I- was surprised!

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Useful tip? Don’t rely on the foot of your sewing machine to keep your seams pretty. and try to pay attention to your seam allowance! That’s why there is one, for pretty seams! Mine aren’t so pretty, but hey, it was for a 6 year old. He just thought he was a Jedi, anyway.

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Since the epic sewing machine battle, I have retired it to the confines of it’s sewing table unwilling or unable to get up the nerve to press my luck and make another set of garb. I had a moment in the spring where I really thought I would take it out and make my niece a dress…and then I had a margarita and let the feeling pass quietly into the night. Crafting ADHD being what it is, I know I must conquer the sewing machine…but I’m hoping the terror of using it will fade from my memory first…kind of like childbirth.

Is there a crafting item that you are unwilling to use? Or maybe one that just resists all attempts at being conquered?

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Every year, I try to plan our summer vacation. And every year, I’m thwarted by bad weather, mismatched vacation times and lack of proper crafting supplies. So this year, I decided to pick out the things I’d like to make (most of them with the kids) and hope for the best!

10. Melted Crayon Canvas

This is as close to being a fancy artist as I’ll ever get. I want to hang this in my newly remodeled bathroom when it’s finished!

9. Handmade Sidewalk Chalk

Sure, you can buy sidewalk chalk at the dollar store…but this is Hand. Made. I want to try and use pieces of the cardboard roll my bathroom floor came in to make the biggest piece of sidewalk chalk ever! So full of win!

8. Pillowcase Dress

I foresee my 1 year old niece having a closet full of these by summer’s end!

7.  Floaty Balls of String

Ok…that’s not what they’re called. But it was either that or “Floaty String Goodness”.  I want to make a bunch of these, get a string of white Christmas lights and hang them around my pool deck. This vision was met with various levels of wow, from “Omg!” to “You still haven’t finished my knitted socks.” (Thanks, Uncle Jim.)

6. Rag Rug, via Hula Hoop

Remember those pot holder crafts we used to make? The ones that ended up being about 3 inches square and not appropriate for any kind of hot surface? My mom’s pot holder drawer was full of them when I was 9! This is a much, much larger version of that, and I totally can’t wait to see if my kids and I can make it!

5. Homemade Play Dough

Thank you, Erika the SAHM, for giving us this year’s attempt at homemade play Doh. Every summer we end up tossing old, hard Play Doh and making our own version, to various degrees of success. This year, we’re using this one.

4. Handmade Journals

Recently, my sister’s boyfriend had a birthday. I really wanted to make him a handmade gift, but came across this journal, made from a game board too late to do it.  I am so excited to make these, and am already planning one for each person in my family for Christmas.

3. Superhero Cape

My 7 year old son is obsessed with superheroes and Jedi at the moment. I have been eyeing up the instructions for this cape for 4 months now! I really would like to have one made for him this summer (he is requesting Batman) and maybe a Robin cape for my sister’s boyfriend. The only thing holding me back is the fear that he will never take it off again.

2. Hair Chalking!

Both of my girls and I would love to have some brightly colored hair, but unfortunately, age prevents us. (They’re too young, I’m too ‘old’) We bought some sidewalk chalk to experiment with, but I think I’ll end up going to the art store to get art chalk, as it seems to work the best according to the websites I’ve checked out.

1. Beaded Bracelets

I recently found a box I have had since I was 16, containing a bazillion seed beads. This led to an obsession with relearning how to make beaded bracelets. Crafting ADHD has once again reared it’s ugly head, and I have trolled too many websites and books to mention since then. Hopefully, this one will turn out to be The One!

As summer wears on and we discover new things, I’m sure there will be other things to do. My son, for instance, has me saving gallon milk jugs for something spectacular that he isn’t willing to divulge just yet. He’s mentioned piggy banks and jetpacks, though, so I’m sure it will be interesting at the least! What crafts are you most excited about? What’s on your Crafting List for summer? Please post pictures of anything you’ve made or are planning to make this summer!

Sometimes I psych myself out.

I have been writing this blogpost, tentatively entitled “the First, the Kickoff, the Most Rockin’ Thing I’ve Ever Written” for three weeks now, all in my head. I have alternately been hilarious, introspective, mushy, intelligent, and unable to form two coherent sentences in a row. And finally, while in the shower (where I do my best thinking) it came to me, like the voice of God, echoing inbetween my ears: Just Be Me!

Well, gee. Why didn’t I think of that?

So. This is me. Ayshia. I am a mom and a wife and a nerd and a pretty awesome friend. I occasionally cuss like a sailor and drink like a pirate.I sometimes like to stalk through my house pretending to be a ninja whilst humming my very own theme music. I like exclamation points, and feel that there is no such thing as ‘too many’. I like to play video games and make costumes and read -everything-. I love the Steampunk genre,the SCA, and learning new crafts. I am more than a little afraid of my sewing machine, mostly because it’s older than me. When I’m not crafting or writing, I admit to an addiction to Facebook and Pinterest as well as soaking up Vitamin D poolside during the 3 months of warmth my state claims to have. I met my partner in crafts, Rose, on a text based online game honoring Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series nearly 10 years ago. She has since become one of my very closest friends and my go-to gal for all things. Hopefully her voice will join mine on this blog, and you will learn just how awesome she is!

Threads of the Pattern began as a great big “What If” for us about 2 years ago, while planning her wedding. What if we could go into business together? What if we could live out the remainder of our days (May they be plentiful!) doing what we love to do? Which, of course, is spending time together, wallowing in what is fondly considered to be “Crafting ADHD” and creating exciting and gorgous crafts for ourselves and others to enjoy? In time, Threads of the Pattern will hopefully become everything we envision and more. This blog is the first step into Greatness. I plan to take you all on a journey into the behind the scenes of crafting. I can’t guarantee that sometimes I won’t wander over into other topics, as I have an opinion on just about everything, but mostly my hope for this blog will be all things crafty – for the novices, from the novice. Not everything I write about will be for sale, but it will all be interesting and educational! I hope you will enjoy Threads of the Pattern as much as I enjoy writing for it!

 

 

 


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