After a very long hiatus that can be blamed on house hunting, moving into and decorating said house, and being generally anxious and excited that we are expecting our firstborn, we have a new post!
This room is my favourite in the house, mostly because there will shortly be a baby in it. But also because it is adorable, and we are proud of our rookie decorating skills. We decided before we knew the gender of the baby that we wanted to do a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs theme, because it’s actually pretty gender neutral for a princess story. If the baby ended up being a girl, we could always play up the princess/castle theme, and if it was a boy, we’d go for a more woodsy look. Plus, I have a ton of Dopey ornaments and collectables from when I was a kid.
Can you tell what we’re having based on the room?
Mr. C made the felt apples above the changing table. A tutorial is available at Purl Bee: http://www.purlbee.com/apple-coasters/
And I made the bunting above the crib:
The bunting tutorial doesn’t exist, but I mean, come on. They are fabric triangles sewn onto a ribbon.
We also made the wreath on the door full of apples and diamonds (because diamonds aren’t just for girls- the dwarfs seemed to love them). The “I’m Grumpy” throw on the bed is made from one of those cut and tie blanket sets from Joann Fabrics, but unfortunately it looks like the item is no longer available! I’m glad we snatched it up when we did.
Now all we have to do is wait for Baby Arts&Crafts to arrive!
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Holiday or Festivus, I’m sure many presents were exchanged, much sugar was consumed, and tackiness abounded. At least, that’s how it is in my world! I got out my ugly Christmas dress from last year and sewed sewed sewed! I made this new dress:
A definite improvement on my first dress, but I still think I look like a tree skirt.
I also made some felt house hoops inspired by the artistic genius of Checkout Girl (pictures to come!) and a nerdy hoop for my Star Trek-loving lady friend:
My brother got the pink bunny pajamas from A Christmas Story. You know, the one where the kid shoots his eye out?
"You only need to wear them when Aunt Clara comes to visit!"
And for Mr. C, I did something a little different! Instead of sewing, I painted. I ordered a set of blank Russian nesting dolls, or “matryoshkas,” from this site and painted them like Serenity and her crew from Firefly! He was stunned. At first, he thought I bought them already painted like that, but when I told him otherwise, his jaw dropped.
My favourite is little Jayne.
However, Mr. C had to one-up me by hand sewing me a bouquet of Mario flowers. Most guys just buy them from the florist. And most bouquets don’t have piranha plants!
The work that went into these is unreal. I think Mr. C will have to post a tutorial, because he made the patterns all on his own! I just love them. They are in a place of pride above our Wii.
Here’s hoping everyone had a magical holiday (even though it probably wasn’t as awesome as ours).
So one of the reasons for the lack of posts this month (aside from general laziness) is NANOWRIMO! Or “National Novel Writing Month.” It’s like a month-long holiday for crazy people who don’t like having free time and sanity. The idea is you will write 50,000 words in one month (or 1667 words a day). For most people, a nifty little tool called a word processor tallies up the word count as you type. For me, it means making the approximation that there are 350-500 words per typed page, and going from there.
Yes, I type on a typewriter and it is the greatest thing ever. The keys go RAP RAP RAP RAP RAP when I punch them (and you have to punch the keys, for god’s sake!), and I don’t have to worry about the computer crashing before I have time to back up my novel. Maybe I should worry about a house fire, but if that did happen, I would have plenty of other problems aside from a torched manuscript.
To celebrate this overcaffeinated occasion, I made (what else?) a circle skirt. Embellished with a giant red typewriter and a piece of paper with the words “It was a dark and stormy night.” They are not only the words that Snoopy uses to start most of his stories, they are also the first words of A Wrinkle in Time and a book I have never read called Paul Clifford. I don’t have much attachment to that last book, but I love Snoopy and Madeleine L’Engle, so the words were perfect for my new skirt!
For a template? Honestly? Just look up a Peanuts comic with Snoopy in and and enlarge the typewriter. I’m not doing the work for you. I have writing to do (only 5886 words to go…approximately).
Another Dollarama canvas has been transformed! Like the canvas from my earlier Mona Lisa makeover, this one had a black and white, paint-by-numbers-esque line drawing of Van Gogh’s famous “Sunflowers” painting. I toyed with the idea of doing another steampunk painting, maybe with clockwork flowers, but I was finally inspired by the beautiful felt artwork over at Checkout Girl’s blog. If you have not seen it, you are missing out!
I completely covered the canvas with fabric, so the black and white sketch didn’t really help me as far as layout goes. I just cut a bunch of felt into sunflowerish shapes and layered them together in a pleasing way. The buttons were a last-minute addition, because I felt (ha) that something was missing. I think they help pull the whole colour scheme together.
When I hung this on my wall, I couldn’t help but think that a little bit of the 1970s had worked its way into my living room. Something about the orange, gold and brown hearkens back to the days of this and this. In a completely pleasing way, of course. I am now considering painting my dining room orange. According to the crazy psychologist people, orange is a good colour for digestion…is that why A&W does so well?
I present my Level 11 Skirt of Cunning, +3 to charisma!
If you are not a dork, you will probably not get that. And if you are not a dork, you will probably look at this skirt the way many people did earlier- with one eyebrow raised, head tilted, mouth contorted in a confused grimace.
“What is on your skirt?”
The person will either say something like, “Oh yeah,” and continue on their way, or ask what kind of dice have that many sides. When I explain that the dice are from the game of Dungeons & Dragons, several responses might be heard: “Awesome!” “You’re funny.” “Oh.” Or the person might just look at me like I have two heads.
I suppose this was all inevitable when I decided that I should wear my new skirt to work at the library during the day, before heading off to battle a succubus, an ogre and bar thugs at night.
This skirt took a long time. Many movies featuring embroidering heroines were watched, to encourage me on my progress. Despite my slight contempt for the boring six-sided die, I think my dragon-embellished version is my favourite. I do actually have a few dice like this one in my D&D bag, and they have caused some arguments:
“No, the dragon represents a 1. So you do 2 damage.”
“What?! How can a dragon represent the lowest number on the dice? Dragons are awesome!”
You can probably tell by now that my friends and I have very serious, philosophical discussions.
WARNING: The following entry contains profane language.
I am currently two Jane Austen film adaptations into the embroidery on my Dungeons and Dragons skirt. It started with a need for more Alan Rickman (after Harry Potter two weeks ago), so I watched Sense and Sensibility while I beaded the giant d20. I enjoyed pretending to live in Regency England so much that I watched Pride and Prejudice next. The tinkling piano melodies and romantic entanglements of the landed gentry go exceedingly well with needlepoint crafts.
However, I do not think the living rooms of Barton Cottage or Longbourn Estate ever rang out with cries of “Fuck shit fuck me!” or “Fufufufu blerrrrr!” (when I was trying to control my use of profanities, for the cats’ sakes). The embroidery needle is fat and sharp, while the beading needle is impossibly thin and a million times sharper, giving me a wonderous variety of pokes and stabs throughout the day.
I have great respect for women who, in the past, had to complete all of their sewing by hand. It is tedious and time consuming, but I must admit, it is rewarding to look down and see a d20 emerge from what was once an ordinary dodecahedron.
(Mrs. Effin’ A)
They are yappy and French. Kitties, on the other hand, are purry and usually not French. Which is why I decided to sew a poodle skirt without any poodles on it. Instead, I graced the obnoxiously orange circle skirt with felt renderings of our two cats, Alistair and Compton. They are named after Alistair MacLeod (Canadian writer) and Bill Compton (fictitious vampire).
Circle skirts are the best and easiest thing to make. Ever. You can buy a pattern or you can just cut two half circles out of fabric, do a bit of math to figure out an appropriate size for the waist hole, sew it all together, throw an elastic in the waist and DONE! You don’t even need to make the waist band perfect and pretty, as you can throw a belt around it, or layer a sweater over top.
I’ve also decided that it is time for the poodle skirt to make a comeback, minus the poodles. I’ve started with a kitty skirt, but I’m not stopping there. By the end of summer, I plan on having a lobster on blue check and some sort of book-themed Miss Frizzle-esque number. I am only bound by the power of my imagination! I hope that one day, I might have a skirt for every day of the year (which is totally feasible, time-wise. This skirt only took me 3 or 4 hours to complete, even with the applique).
For those who want the kitty template, here it is! And a close up of the kitties themselves. Note the very realistic bug-eyed stare on Compton. And the slight chub of Alistair’s tummy.
I was so nervous about my first time! There was so much to think about- the darts, the pleats, a proper fit. I thought for sure I would do something wrong. But I knew it had to happen sometime. I needed to make my first dress.
Dressmaking is one of the reasons I wanted a sewing machine in the first place. Once and a while I come across a dress in-store or online that I LOVE. And less often than that can I actually afford it. I have very specific tastes, so I don’t like spending my money on something that I just like. I figured if we got ourselves a sewing machine, I could make dresses that were 100% ME.
Unfortunately, making a dress is quite difficult, especially when you are trying to fit it to yourself. I bought a pattern labeled “easy,” thinking it would make a good first dress. Most of the sewing went very well, but when I went to try it on, it was about 4 inches too big in the bust! So I had to do a little on-the-fly alterations, resewing the zipper in the process. In total though, with the resewing and the seam ripping (I sewed the wrong sides together at one point), this dress took me about 6 hours to make. Then it came time for embellishments. I was going to put buttons down the front, but decided to do some embroidery. The buttons on the straps have a royal looking crest on them, so I went for an Old English style initial. That took me two rolls of embroidery thread and about 2 hours.
So my first time wasn’t as perfect as I had hoped, but it certainly wasn’t scary. I think I’m ready to move on to more complicated patterns, once I figure out how to measure myself properly…