Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

While in California over Christmas break this year we had new pictures taken of the kids. Where else would Utah dwellers be able to have outside pictures taken of their kids in the dead of winter? Well, I guess we could do photos here but I wasn’t going for the snowy look. I wanted a little bit of greenery and no coats for these pictures.
I asked my super talented brother to take them of course. Unlike myself who knows very very little about photography, my brother Mike is actually a professional. He recently listed this picture in his new etsy shop.
flames car
Here are some behind the scenes at the photoshoot:
Nobody can resist a good tire swing.  My kids love, LOVE Mike’s tire swing. Apparently, my kids are deprived because our trees would only hold a stuffed animal.
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(In this above photo you can see one of the flashes being set up….but even equipment can get sick and today Mike’s equipment got sick. )
I wanted to take the pictures in front of Mike’s citrus trees, but the light wasn’t good enough, and since the equipment was sick, we went straight to the front yard—hence the tire swing.
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Even my 39-yr old hubby couldn’t resist the allure of the tire swing.
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My sister Carolyn is the best. And of course she wanted to come to the photo shoot because she’s uber cool.
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I tell my sisters all the time how jealous I am of their gorgeous eye color. Carolyn has one blue eye and a partial blue/partial brown eye. Isn’t she lucky?
photo session with mike (8) copy2
See what I mean? My other sister has sapphire blue eyes but I don’t have a picture of her to post here. Me? I just gots me the plain ol’ brown eyes like most other Mexicans. No fair.
But I digress.
Despite the broken equipment, things moved forward with some adjustments.
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Notice in the above photo Paul is wearing his Lakers t-shirt? I think he took all of his t-shirts to California because there he is in good company amidst all the other Laker fans.
Here are a few of the results:
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I sent my favorites off to Costco printing and $11 later, my fireplace area was updated. Yahoo!
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I love my kids. I love Mike. I love Carolyn. I love California. Life is great.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Skirts for Girls

 DSC_1126 A little over a year ago I decided my girls were old enough to start wearing zippered skirts and not just elastic waist ones. I searched and searched for an a-line skirt pattern and found none. Then I came across Burda 9653 and quickly purchased it. I have since made it at least 5-6 times—out of denim, linen, and most recently corduroy. Will I ever make my girls the jacket though? Complete with a lapel and fully lined? Doubtful.
I like the cut of Burda patterns for women so I assumed the same for little girls. Well, like most children’s patterns, the sizing was very large. I made both my girls (ages 6 and 9) the size 6 skirt and just lengthen it quite a few inches. I also had to cinch in the waist a little bit as it is cut really straight. (You can see how straight it is cut in this below photo.) I realize little girls don’t have hips yet, but still, it needed to be tapered just a little bit at the top so as not to slide down their little hips. I didn’t make that mistake again with the turquoise corduroy ones below.
I also noticed the yolk piece is cut a good 1-2 inches short. You can see wear I have to piece it in the photo below. This was the first time I made the skirt in November 2009 and I was pretty angry, but figured the girls wouldn’t be tucking in their shirts so it was ok to have the yolk pieced.  I have since cut a new yolk piece extra long to avoid this problem again.
denim skirt
Here are the turquoise corduroy versions. For my 9-yr old’s I embroidered a very colorful floral design that came with my machine. Of course I tweeked it and added a little more of those spiral green ‘swirlies.’
turquoise coruroy skirts (7)
And for my 6 yr-old’s I did a tone-on-tone floral embroidery. This design also came with my machine, although I tweaked this design as well. Of course you can’t hoop corduroy as it will ‘scar’ the fabric but just hoop your stabilizer, spray it will temporary adhesive (I like 505), and place your corduroy fabric where you want it. I used some (machine) cross stitch designs at the hem and a dots design to hide the seam where I lengthened it. Long story. Usually I would just cut it longer, but like I said, long story.
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Here is a picture I took of the zippered yolk area, after they wore the skirts to church. Hence the wrinkles. I did a basic centered zipper—my least favorite way to install a zipper. I usually do a lapped zipper or an invisible zipper.
Voila! That’s it. For 1 and 1/2" yards of corduroy (found at Joann’s shockingly!) and $10 the girls have some adorable new rags for church.  I can make the skirt in about 45-60 minutes, but how you choose to embellish it is where all your time goes—think ric rac, decorative stitches, ribbons, embroidery, etc.  Just too much fun.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Christmas Gifts 2010

I did my bestest to give mostly handmade gifts to friends and family this year. Obviously I couldn’t do this post earlier because  the masses would then know what they are receiving.  There is something about a handmade gift because I know that receiving such a gift means I was thought about. I hope all my friends and family know how much love went in to all my gifts this year.
I embroidered lots of aprons for friends and fam:
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I made pillows for nieces and nephews:
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And I embroidered t-shirts and bibs as well for my nieces and nephews:
christmas gifts 2010
I hope everybody liked their stuff! And of course I made my girls their dresses. Luckily I started back in October….just seeing these pics make me tired, although they do bring a smile to my face.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Sewing Room

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about sewing room. Here are some random shots:
Here I am sitting next to my two Bernina sewing machines. Love ‘em. My Bernina 131 looks like a midget next to my new 830. Yikes! Stacks of fabric are (sort of) organized by color—pink, brown, reds, blues, etc. The baskets are from Target. The furniture is from Four Chairs in Lindon, Utah.
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This is the cubby where I keep some of my birthday banner supplies. I’m so burnt out on these puppies. My etsy shop no tiene nada ahora.
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These are all my purdy little embroidery threads and stabilizers. Ain’t they purdy?
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Sewing books and embroidery packs:
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This is my Bernina 131. I bought it used about 10 years ago. It was “used” in that the previous owner bought it, took it home for a year where it remained un-opened, and then she upgraded to a bigger fancier machine. I remember Paul and I hemmin’ and hawin’ about the price tag of $800. It was so much money, truly a stretch for our tight budget.  But this machine can sew anything—even 7 layers of canvas on ottoman covers’ corners. I did all my heavy velvet sewing on this for the 2006 Parade of Homes and then went on to sew 75 sets of sliding glass door curtains in velvet (again) all without a single problem.  It’s the last of the basic Bernina machine that they made with a full size free arm and in stainless steel. (The basic models now have a shorter free arm so that they are more portable. Whatever.)
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And well, you’ve already seen my post 2 blogs ago about this machine:
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This is my cutting table area. It’s always a wreck and I’m keepin’ it real by posting such a messy picture. That’s my serger on the right. Yes, I do all my serging standing up. On the wall is an el-cheapo cork board covered in fabric. Notice the matching hem on my curtains. Isn’t that special. (*church lady*)
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This is where I hang my college diploma because this is the nearest I’ll get to an office ever. It’s the most expensive piece of paper I own so it must be displayed. I’m still so proud of the fact that I put myself through college 100%. Crappy jobs, dinners of boxed mac and cheese, near poverty for 4 years, and lots of studying gave me my Business Management degree from BYU. So when I hear others talk about not having the money for college I want to scream. Starve, scrimp, borrow the minimum through student loans, and work so hard sometimes you cry. No entitlements. But I digress.
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So that’s it! I hope you liked it. This is a tiny 11x11 room but with all my cubbies and shelves it does the job well. I like it cozy. Back to work now.

Christmas Dresses

I closed my etsy shop a few days before Christmas so that I could make some Christmas dresses for this girls. (My regular website stayed open because those are just electronic designs.) Now when I say Christmas dresses, I don’t mean red taffeta trimmed in green ric rac.
I mean special dresses. Instead of spending my usual 1-2 hours sewing a simple cotton dress I spent 3-4 hours on each dress with all the embroidery, decorative stitching, silk bias binding, etc. I couldn’t love them more.
this is probably the worst pictures I have ever taken (Ilene’s head is cut off!) and they both look all pale and hungry, but there was too much snow outside to take this outside. Hence their awesome patent faux leather boots.
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I used this crazy Danish pattern by Onion. I say crazy because no seam allowances are given, only a rough translation is given in English, and zero illustrations show you what exactly you are doing. In other words, there are no directions. You better not be a beginner with these patterns which is a shame because they are super simple to construct. But I had wanted a wrap (or faux wrap) dress pattern for the girls and this was all I could find. The pattern is super simple, you just gotta know what y0u’re doing. The dress pattern is kind of boxey so I made both dresses the same size—all I did differently was length the bodice and hem 2” on Ilene’s dress.
I left out the leftover denim for this photo so you could just see how much sampling I did of the binding and various stitching before I did the real thing.
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How awesome is the embroidery design on Hallie’s dress? It’s my own combo of designs from this collection by OESD. I am obsessed with variegated threads in this type of open embroidery work. This is probably the best design pack I have ever bought. I use it a lot of denim. Ok, so I’ve only ever bought like 4 packs! I prefer to use my own designs most of the time.
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The hummingbird is stitched out in a combo of variegated and metallic threads. I’d rather have a root canal than use metallic threads too often, but I suffered through it.  Hallie’s dress was sewn/embroidered on my Bernina 450. It was the last time I used it before trading it in. I hope it goes to a good home. *Sniff*
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Ilene’s dress was sewn exclusively on my new Bernina 830. It’s hard to tell here but the design on the skirt is a mass of butterflies in variegated pink thread. Love that new jumbo hoop that came with the 830. Hot diggity dog,  no re-hooping required here.
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The bodice is embroidered with another set of the butterflies. This lousy picture is blurry so you can’t see how cute the stitching is on the silk bias binding, but trust me, it’s cute.  So that’s it for the girls dresses! They loved them, I loved them, success.

Bernina 830

I traded in my Bernina 450 for the screamin’ superstar of all sewing machines—the Bernina 830. I’m almost embarrassed at such extravagance. Almost. Ok, I am a little embarrassed. But let me just say, I would never buy such a machine without having a good reason to—my sewing business. And last year was a great year for Meringue Designs which meant I owed lots of taxes….which meant I could buy this baby at the end of December and thus eliminate that tax liability. Gotta love a write off. I know, I know, if you are like my CPA hubby you are shaking your head and saying, “It’s stupid to spend a $1 to save 30 cents.” Mathematically, that is true. But sewing machines aren’t really about math are they?
So stay tuned as I blog about my adventures with this dynamite sewing machine. I’ve done some embroidery and some sewing and already I am super duper happy. Once I got past the crazy new bobbin issues, I’ve been happy. Thanks to this blog for helping me understand that you just gotta oil this sucker quite often. Bobbin and tension problem solved!
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