Thursday, October 29, 2015

Last sewing class

Last night was my last sewing class.

Sadly, only two students showed up out the original four I started with.

Our goal this last session was to sew a tote bag. I was hopeful that the bags would be completed in the two hours given, but just in case, I had typed out the steps to make the bag.

One student had some thread tension issues and I could not figure them out. I just kept rethreading her machine until I found what was wrong. Above the tension dial, a tiny little wire was out of place. After we fixed that glitch, she was good to go.

The other student kept saying about her tote bag, "She ain't pretty, but that's OK." When the bag was all sewn, I think I saw some tears from this student. During our first session, I had asked everyone to share why they wanted to learn how to sew. She had said that she wished her Grandma had taught her how to sew before she died. Now, this student made a tote bag all by herself! That was such a great moment. The student then put all her sewing accessories in her new tote bag as she was packing up to leave.
I hope she continues to practice this new skill.

I may offer a second sewing class if there is enough interest in one.
Three two hour classes hardly seems like enough. I should've made the sewing class five weeks long. Every class I felt like I was giving the students way too much information to retain.
I'm glad that I took this opportunity to teach this class, however small it ended up being and I hope that more people will continue to educate themselves on self sufficiency.


I finished the sweater for my almost one year old niece.
It's a bit bigger than I expected, but my sister-in-law reassured me that my niece will grow into it.
Oh crazy Aunt Colleen and her handmade clothes.
You're welcome. <3

Monday, October 26, 2015

90th birthday card

Last week was my husband's grandpa's 90th birthday, so of course there was a party!!
On the day of the party, we had lots of hors'dourves and delicious cake.

In preparing for the party, I made little signs for all of food. And as I printed them out and cut them out, I realized that everything-- except for the cakes-- had some type of cheese in it.

I still needed to make a birthday card for Grandpa. Does a ninety year old want a card that says "90"? They know how old they are, so why be redundant? I'd done this design before, but it just seemed perfect for him.

It's true.
[handmade cards are best. <3]

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Lots and lots of fringe

It was Saturday and my husband and I were going to a Halloween party.

Earlier in the week I asked, "Do you want to dress up??!"
"Oh, ok... I just thought it would be fun..."

Friday night, he says, "I think we should dress up."

"REALLY?? I was at the thrift store all day.  I could've gotten something to work with..."

We came up with the idea that my husband could be a cowboy and I could be a Native American. Great for him because he could wear a plaid shirt, jeans, hat and bandana. Me? I needed to sew my outfit...

Good thing I didn't work Saturday.

And good thing I have a bunch of random fabric to work with.

I found a couple yards of a tan cotton fabric and draped it on my dress form. I had gone on pinterest to get some ideas. I'd need lots and lots of fringe. And then more fringe.

I cut a V-neck and short sleeves. I made fringe around the neckline out of the main dress fabric. After I had sown up the sides, I decided to cut a v-shaped hem line.

The sleeves turned into fringe. (I just cut the sleeves up.)
I fringed up the hem, too and added a brown trim.

The dress fit, but I wanted the waist cinched a little, so I made a belt out of a contrasting fabric and made button holes to lace it together.
I added the little brooch at the neck to dress it up.

I had brown boots with faux fur trim to wear and put braids in my hair.
Too bad I didn't have any feathers I can use to put at the ends of my braids. 

Here is my cowboy and I.
Not many people dressed up for the party, but that was ok.
We dressed up. We're fun. <3


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Nessa's sweater & other good stuff

I have abandoned the baby sweater I started two weeks ago. I think I will tear it out and restart at a later date.
I found a cute (and easy) baby sweater to crochet in the meantime via called "Nessa's Sweater." This pattern is the same for all sizes- preemie to twelve month- only changes being the yarn weight and hook size.

The yarn on the bottom is called "Peruvian Print." It's turning out pretty funky and random. I wonder if someone goofed and the company decided to name it something cool sounding to sell the yarn. (Side note: I did not buy this yarn because of its cool name, it was given to me. I have a lot of "interesting" yarn that people didn't want.)

No, this is not some roundabout way of saying that I'm expecting. This sweater is going to be for my niece, Nora, who will be one next month.
The sweater pattern does have sleeves. I think the sweater looks cute without the sleeves, but because Winter is coming, I will add sleeves.

I have been wearing sweaters everyday. It's that time of year, but I'm always cold. Always.
Last week, here in western PA, we had close to six inches of snow. Now? We have partly sunny skies with highs in the 60s. My sinuses did not appreciate such a change and I was feeling miserable yesterday. This morning, I woke up with the ability to breathe out my nose and am feeling refreshed. (I did take allergy medicine, so I'm blaming my sudden sickness on said allergies.)

When I woke up Sunday morning to a yard full of bright, white snow, I wanted to hibernate.
I still want to hibernate.
I'm ready to hunker down in front of the fireplace, get my crocheting, and have my cat Alfie cuddle up next to me.

Chicken update: Our three new hens are starting to lay eggs. We now have white, brown and blue eggs. It's fun when we get double yolks, too.

My second sewing class is tonight. I will be explaining how to read a paper pattern and how to construct various seams and hems.
Good stuff, right?
What good stuff are you working on? <3

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A good skill to have

Last night, I taught a sewing class.

I had pitched the idea to the Higher Education Council in town and the whole month leading up to it, only one person had signed up. Part of me was relieved because I felt so busy and thought that teaching a class may stress me out. It didn't look like my class was going to run, but then another person signed up. With two people, the class would go on. The day before my class, I got an e-mail and I would have four students! I started to get excited.

A few hours before my class, the nerves were setting in. Am I ready for this? (I had typed up some handouts and had all the equipment, so logistically I was, but mentally?) My husband told me as I confessed my nervousness, "These people want to learn. They signed up for the class because this is something they want to do. You know what you're doing. You'll do fine."

[He is a keeper, for sure.]

I asked all the students to introduce themselves and share why they wanted to learn how to sew. Each had what I like to call a goal and over the next two classes, I hope that I am able to help them get closer to that goal.

My goal? I would like to make all of my clothes.

Yes, that is a large task, (well, unless I just made three things and wore them all the time...) but it is something to work towards.

I love sewing. I have a few hobbies, so I don't sew as often as I'd like, but it is a good skill to have. I am constantly mending and patching my husband's work jeans. We are able to save money by fixing things instead of going out and getting a new pair of jeans every time a new hole wears through.

Many people have the mindset to just throw out what can be fixed or throw out what is no longer trendy, but may still have some usefulness left. I absolutely support donating unwanted clothes instead of throwing them out. Most of my clothes are bought second hand and that's not because I work at a thrift store. It's economically important. The clothes still have use and cost significantly less. I don't have credit card debt, but I don't look shabby either.

By the end of the three week class, each participant will know how to navigate their personal sewing machine and have sewn a tote bag. It's a small step, but it's closer to his or her goal.

 My example of the tote bag.

Strive to leave a smaller footprint.
Learn a skill. Make something with your hands.
Handmade is powerful. <3

Saturday, October 10, 2015

starting to cool down

Things are starting to cool down around here. Our tomatoes and zucchini plants are done for the season and peppers are about to quit, too. My husband picked all the rest of our peppers and he froze them.


My husband also harvested all of our onions and dry beans. We started our onions from seed for the first time this year and no one thought those little guys would size up. They did really well, I am happy to report, so we'll have lots of onion for cooking this Winter. Hooray!

Another news item: I knit my first ever hat! It is a beginner's pattern from Purl Bee. All you do is knit a rectangle, sew the sides together and gather the top. Sadly, I started this hat months ago and I finally finished it. I do want to get better at knitting, but I don't know if I have the patience for it. Crocheting is so much faster. I really like the look and feel of knit though; oh- dilemma! There is a Lion Brand pattern for a sweater that I would love to try to make. The front and back are granny squares and the rest is knit. Maybe someday...?

My husband tried on this hat and he said it's a lot warmer than the crocheted hats I've made him...

Earlier this week, I started crocheting a baby sweater that has a cable pattern, but it has proved to be more complicated than I originally thought.  I also have spotted some mistakes. I have more of a Tim Gunn attitude to "Make it work," but I think I may want to tear it out and start over. What would you do?

Is anyone working on Christmas presents yet?
(That's right, I said it. Christmas will be here before we know it!)
Bundle up and get crafty. <3