I <3 YouTube

No, really.  Not only is it a great way to find music–let’s say I hear a song, if I can figure out the title, I can find a video and then video of other songs by same band.  WIN!  Not only can I see humorous clips of comedians I love.  Not only are there a million cute and/or funny kitty videos…

But when I can’t figure out how to do something in my crafting, YouTube always comes to my rescue.  Let’s go back in time to when I was working on that shirred shirt.  I had a rough start of getting the shirring to work.  So I went to YouTube. This video, plus a little more troubleshooting, and I was on my way.

Today, I ran my head into a wall over a knitting technique. I was to increase the stitches, and the text in the book wasn’t making sense at all. Popped over to YouTube, typed “k1fb” (which wasn’t the abbreviation in the book, I found that after a little Googling), and came up with this–a video that practically saved my life.  Sadly, embedding is disabled for this video.  It’s probably fine, though, because I feel like the only knitter in the world who didn’t know how to do that.  Of course, I’m obviously not, or this video wouldn’t exist.

Lastly, the other night The Hippy and I were baking a new bread.  Neither of us had ever seen or had Fougasse, but the recipe sounded good (garlic and cheese, how can one go wrong?).  Looked at a couple pictures of baked Fougasse loaves; I told the Hippy it looked like they cut the dough; he told me it looked like they joined pieces together.  YouTube to the rescue!

In short, if you’re even the slightest bit creative, YouTube is an amazing resource for learning new techniques. Huge props to everyone who has ever posted a tutorial on YouTube! I love you all! And, also, to the people who post kitty videos (it’s worth dealing with the darkness at the beginning).


January 25, 2010. Tags: , , , . crafting life. 1 comment.

Stuff I didn’t make…


I was pointed to a website today that features quilts that were judged to be the worst quilts in existence.  And it’s hilarious.  Take this, for example:

Titled: Keltic Sunrise

Here’s the text from the website:

Made of polyester double-knit, satin, brocade, corduroy, lace curtains, burlap, old diapers and four different kinds of fake fur, this masterpiece made most of the judges woozy.

Tied together visually with hand crocheted orange and yellow yarn as binding and with humongous 4-ply quilt stitches (and plenty of knots) throughout, this quilt is a tactile nightmare.

Yes, you read that right.  Fur.  I love it.

I slept with this amazing velvet quilt growing up that I hear was made from old theatre curtains.  The craftsmanship on that quilt was actually pretty good (though what would I know?  I made a quilt that probably could have won awards on this site), but I think the fact that it was once curtains would make many quilters cringe.  However, for me it was perfect, because the weight of the quilt (and it was hefty) translated into warmth for my little body.

I don’t quilt, but I do like to visit that world once in awhile.

December 7, 2009. Tags: , , , . crafting life, handmade. 2 comments.

Dipping my foot into Steampunk

And when I say, “Dipping my foot,” I, of course, mean jumping in at full speed a la the Polar Bear Plunge.  I know I mentioned a skirt in my last post, but I’m not ready for the world to see the skirt yet.  I do, however, have one of my steampunk shirts to share with y’all (yes, “one,” as in, I couldn’t decide on just one look, so I’m making at least two).

I started with much of my inspiration from this video from Threadbanger (at least, the lady-clothes section at the end).  If you haven’t heard of Threadbanger, and you’re of a crafty nature, then you’d better get with it.  So many great tutorials to drool over.  Not one to intentionally make my rear end look any bigger than it already is, I’ve decided to forgo the bustle, and stick with the shirt and hat from the video.  The hat will come later.  I make no promises as to the date, because I don’t have much time these days.

After a trip to Value Village, I had my shirt ready to mod.  I watched this video on shirring, and consulted a few blogs, and I was on my way.  The end result was thus:

I am a terrible model and a pain in the ass to work with...

Not too shabby… The majority will be covered with a corset that I will be making with Larue‘s help over the next two days.  The torso of the shirt isn’t terribly important, and neither is the fact that it’s a little sheer.  Let’s look at the details, shall we?

Three layers of shirring on the collar (can it be called a collar that low? Let’s go with head hole), as I was getting awfully close to the next button, and two layers of shirring on the sleeve.  My cutting was a whole lot of guessing and a little bit slap-dash, no measuring whatsoever.  But I’m pleased with the results.  The only thing I can’t tell if I’m pleased with is the collar…  It’s a little Playboy Bunny for me…

See what I mean?  I feel like I should be getting Heff a cigar….

The black thread was the result, honest to god, of not wanting to rethread my serger.   In my defense, it wouldn’t have just been one rethreading since I’ll need the black again to finish my skirt.  I like the black and think it might look intentional, though I probably shouldn’t have used it on the “head hole.”  It was a complete afterthought.  I had originally hemmed it, and my serger blade doesn’t care for thick layers, so there are a few sections that are not very well serged.  I also would recommend any serging or hemming pre-shirring.  Live and learn.

But, really, it’s a costume.  If people are going to snark on my bad serging, then they are petty losers who can’t find it in them to be nice about anything.  And they know who they are.  I’m in this to have fun, spend time with my awesome sauce friends, and have something new to sew.  I’m not in it to be perfect, so perfection can bite me.

ETA: After I took it off, I noticed that serging the “head hole” cut some of the top row of shirring.  Looks like I’ll be fixing that later, so they whole first row doesn’t come undone.

November 18, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , . crafting life. 3 comments.

Apparently I make costumes

My dear friend Larue commented on facebook the other day, as I was working on a skirt (which I’ll feature very soon, promise), that when I first joined forces with the Wench Posse I said I’d wear the Mary Queen of Scots she’d planned for Project Tudor (didn’t end up happening, which is totally cool, because I have my awesome Elizabethan) but past that I don’t know how much costuming I’d really do.

Ah, good times.

Fast forward to Mid-September when I saw this pattern at work:


I practically found myself in a puddle on the floor.  Holy stinking monkey that Bo Peep costume is ADORABLE!

Then a couple weeks later, Rocketdog was asking Rocketpuppy what she should be for halloween.  Since Rocketpuppy doesn’t really talk, I piped up that there were cute costumes at work.  “To buy or to make?” was the reply. “Well, there is this adorable Bo Peep pattern that I love,” I said.  “Rocketpuppy just got this stuffed sheep, and I actually though Bo Peep would be a good costume,” she said.  So it was decided.

Another couple of weeks past, and Rocketpuppy would need the costume by week’s end (a full week before Halloween, for another event).  I texted Rocketdog to see what she wanted to do about the fabric.  “I was thinking light pink or blue.  I trust your judgment,” was the reply I got.  I had been thinking light blue, so light blue it was.

I had about a day and a half to work.  The costume came together really quickly, with the only difficulty being the sleeves.  As I mentioned on facebook:

Dear babies of the world: You are constantly disregarding the needs of others; however, your freakishly small baby-sized arms and pain-in-the-ass-to-sew sleeves are the last straw. It’s an adult-sized world; I highly suggest you start conforming.

Despite that, I had a blast making this costume, so now I get to show it off, even if it’s almost a week after Halloween.



I’ll give you all a minute to recover.  I know she’s stinking cute and that the costume is awesome sauce.  Deep breaths.


Check out those bloomers!

Hard to believe, but there’s about ten yards of trim on that baby.  Thankfully I had a coupon!  Trim is always, ALWAYS, the most expensive part of any sewing project.  Fabric goes on sale all the time.  Trim never goes on sale.  BUT, it’s the trim that takes the design from just another dress to an awesome little Bo Peep costume.

I honestly think Bo Peep was more fun than anything I’ve ever sewn.  I don’t know if anything can live up to it.

November 5, 2009. Tags: , , . crafting life, handmade, pictures. 4 comments.

When the Wench Posse’s Demands Are Met….

…Creativity beyond your imagination will occur.

I used to go to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival quite often as a kid.  I preferred it to the Minnesota State Fair (blaspheme!!!!) for many years, though I can’t figure out why.  I seem to remember being given the choice between the two for at least one year (probably around the time my dad was laid off), and I chose the Ren Fest.  I would go around in awe at the sights, the sounds… the clothes.

I would walk past the shops with the clothes hanging out and think, “There’s no way I’ll ever be able to afford one of those dresses.”  I assumed the only way one could get one of those dresses was to buy them at those shops.  Boy was I wrong…

Let’s fast forward to a few months ago, when I started chit-chatting more with Larue about her Six Wives Project.  It wasn’t long before I was sucked into her Wench Posse and embraced by a truly amazing group of people who make it hard to be bummed out.  Ever.  Overwhelmed, yes, but not bummed out.  I have mentioned bits and pieces of my work on the Six Wives project, namely the bloomers, and to thank me for my help, Larue bestowed upon me the most glorious of flocked fabrics and the wisdom I needed to make myself one of “those dresses.”

After many hours of sewing, swearing, crying, making myself sick, and finally SUCCESSFULLY sewing…..


I felt pretty, oh so pretty.  But I was not the only pretty one there.  The prettiness abounded as our party kicked some major royal ass.  Behold:

Henry VIII, six wives, a daughter, and the 9-day queen.

Henry VIII, six wives, a daughter, and the 9-day queen.

Amazing costumes, amazing people, and an amazing time.  I feel quite blessed to be where I am in my life right now.  To top it all off, we went back for more the following day.  The Chick lent me her Scottish garb, and a few of us went off for a more relaxed day of adventure.


All costumes handmade and totally awesome.  Got myself a ring just like this.  I can die happy now.  But, you know, I of course plan on living so I can do it all again next year… Only on a bigger scale…..

October 5, 2009. Tags: , , , , , . crafting life, handmade. 3 comments.

A finished project? DK?

And it’s for ME!  Granted, I’m still making Renaissance underwear (this time slightly more historically accurate), but I managed to squeeze in a little something for myself.

Okay, I’ll be honest.  I started this project more than a year ago.  I “finished” it once before, but my body dysmorphia resulted in a very large and ill-fitting dress.  I took it in today.  Finally.  Although, I took it in so well that it only fits on models with movable shoulders.  Which means we get to suffer through a picture of me instead of a picture of my dressform.


Perhaps the only one suffering is me.  Not only do I detest the way I look (body dysmorphia, among other things), but I’m incredibly awkward in general.  The awkwardness doubles in front of a camera.  Especially on self timer.  I had to take a dozen pictures before I could find one I’m happy with.

I first saw a dress like this in a fancy pants store in Toronto.  A store in which I could never afford anything on the racks.  I’m pretty sure a good chunk, if not all, of the clothing was vintage.  Once I got home, I found a pattern for the exact same dress.  A short while later, I found the perfect fabric for it.  Sew sew sew… Fat.

Now that it’s altered, I rather enjoy the dress.  The sleeves might be a little too huge and may be coming in, but other than that, I dig it.  So glad I got it to fit right at the end of summer.  And when I have no where to wear it.  But I have it, and that’s all that matters.

August 24, 2009. Tags: , , , , . crafting life, handmade, pictures. 2 comments.

A year in the making

Okay… ten months.  Eleven months to get it in place…  Whatever.  Don’t judge.

I finally finished the couch I picked up off the side of the road last August, but started working on it around labor day.  I finished it sometime last month, but we just now got it out of the basement and into its home in the living room.

Mind the clutter...

Mind the clutter...

Ahhh….  Claw feet, nailhead trim, rich colors…  I’m actually surprised that I love this fabric as much as I do.  I sort of eyed it at work for awhile.  Was excited to see it go to clearance, picked up a remnant.  Figured I would make a bag out of it, or something.  But then I saw this couch, which was a slightly smaller version of what my parents have in their living room, and I knew they were a match.  Let’s revisit the before, shall we?

Defying Gravity!

Defying Gravity!

Not really, the couch was laying on its back when this was taken…  The couch was filled with straw.  Straw, cotton, bird seed, bobby pins, coins, and springs.  It was disgusting.  Now it’s filled with springs.  And foam and batting.  Nothing else.  Inside the couch, we also found what we can only assume is a scrap of fabric they had on the couch before the rosebud monstrosity.  Kind of a burgundy velvet.  So we stapled that and a scrap of the roses onto the back before covering it.  I don’t plan on getting rid of this couch any time soon.  Or really recovering it again in the future.  But in case either of those happens, we’ll have a little reminder of what came before.  We also signed it somewhere.  Because The Hippy and I are weird.

I’ve got about 20 more pictures of the couch being reupholstered.  There certainly isn’t room here, so if you’re so inclined, do check out the photobucket.

August 10, 2009. Tags: , , . crafting life, pictures. 2 comments.

A kitchen full of undergarments

Got your attention?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been in charge of sewing up bloomers for the Wench Posse to wear under their garb for renaissance festivals.  The Chick (the woman behind the link lurking behind “Posse”) was glorious enough to cut them out (hate cutting, prefer sewing).  I assembled 8 completely, 2 almost entirely, and two halfway.  The “two halfway” are mine, and therefore was in no hurry.  I tell ya, it’s almost effortless to sew 12 bloomers when you only need to cut 2 of them.

Various bloomers for the "wee beasties"

Various bloomers for the "wee beasties"

Cupcakes, turtles, a monkeys.  The turtles were cursed.  Yes, the picture was taken in my kitchen…. It’s the only room in my house with light, let alone natural light.

Monkeys again and Georgie

Monkeys again and Georgie

Georgie is going all Mardi Gras for the Day of Wrong at Bristol this year, hence the beads.

Georgie and Princess A

Georgie and Princess A

Georgie’s second bloomers are peppers that say Hot Stuff.  Because she is.  Princess A has the cutest, cutest bloomer fabric EVER.  See?

ZOMG! Adorable ("cheerful") dragons and cute little kid pirates.

ZOMG! Adorable ("cheerful") dragons and cute little kid pirates.

I would like to take this moment to apologize for the craptacular pictures.  I knew I wanted pictures of the bloomers.  But I lost my camera.  I scoured and scoured and scoured, but could not find.  Then finally, yesterday morning, just before I was heading to work with a bag full of unphotographed bloomers to be delivered later, I noticed my camera sitting at the bottom of my soft-sided cooler.  And then I very clearly remembered myself saying, “This is a stupid place to put my camera.  It’s going to fall in, and I’m not going to be able to find it.”  And yet I left it there.  That’s how I roll.  So I had five minutes to get photographic evidence of my bloomer work.  Otherwise I probably would have put them on my dress form.  I promise my bloomers, once finished, will be photographed on the dress form.

Princess A and Larue

Princess A and Larue

Like half of Princess A’s bloomers, Larue is pirated out this year.  You’ve got the Jolly Roger, the Calico Jack flag, as well as various and sundry pirate paraphernalia and phrases.

Larue and The Chick

Larue and The Chick

Larue’s other pirates are what is known in the fabric world as “tossed,” and because of this, I kept freaking out that the pirates were upside-down.  Then I’d remind myself that I didn’t do the cutting (thanks Chick!!), so even if the pieces were upside-down, it wasn’t my fault.  Because I have a history of not paying attention and cutting… oh… a lovely tropical scene with palm trees and huts….. upside-down.  The pirates are, however, just haphazard, and the pieces were cut perfectly.  The Chick was so excited about her “winter bloomers” that she immediately put them on to show them off.

In her extreme gratitude for making all these bloomers, Larue immediately put me back to work at the sewing machine assembling a farthingale and some bum rolls.  Again.  It’s amazing how much more I love sewing when someone else does the cutting.  Can I hire someone to cut who works for.. I don’t know.. falafels?

July 30, 2009. Tags: , , , . crafting life. 1 comment.

Long time no see

There’s been an absense in posting, I know.  I just haven’t had much of a chance to craft these days, but I hope to remedy that soon.  I did, however, get a chance to whip up some valances (which are, incidentally, pronounced val-ances not vuh-lances or vay-lances) for our kitchen.  I didn’t think The Hippy would like them at all, but he spoke positively when he returned home.


I’m actually not a huge fan of valances, and really wanted to put real curtains on this window.  I debated back and forth, then while I was discussing these valances with an awesome regular to my store I realized this window needed a valance.  You see, the kitchen is literally the only room in our house that gets a decent amount of natural light.  The Hippy has this aversion to allowing anyone to see into our windows.  I knew if I wanted to experience natural light, I HAD to have valances.  If I had full curtains, he would have them closed all the time.  The decision was made for me.


This window was getting a valance no matter what.  It’s right above the sink, so curtains were out.

I made the valances thusly:

Fabric was 54″ wide.  I measured the window and divided that in three.  I doubled the 1/3 measurement and added 8″ for no other reason than 8″ seemed like more than enough for my top ruffle and seam.  Then I ironed the selvedges in so I had nice smooth edges.  Right sides together, I sewed the tube the long way–selvedges on the ends.  Turned right side out; ironed the seams.  I marked the two short edges 3.5″ and 5″ from the top so I could leave a gap, then sewed the edges closed around the gaps.  Then at the 3.5″ mark, I sewed all the way across the valance so it wouldn’t sag on the rod.  The end.  It’s easy.  Go make some valances.

But really, curtains are even easier.  And they look better.  So make those instead.

I now have sheers to make.  We’ll see how that goes.

July 7, 2009. Tags: , . crafting life, handmade. 2 comments.

Aw Man…

I finished the hat I posted about last month. It’s ridiculously cute, and based on this pattern.  It certainly doesn’t look like hers, but she has had much more practice at it.  I made it for my niece’s first birthday.

Monkey action shot

Monkey action shot

Neglected to stiffen the ears.  I kept telling myself the stiffener was at my parent’s house, but I think it was actually in my basement all along.  Maybe if the ears had been stiffened, people would have recognized what it was supposed to be.  Or maybe not.  Who knows.

What I do know is that it didn’t fit.  Which is lame.  I don’t know what the happy medium is between hand felting and machine felting, but I certainly missed it.  I do plan on knitting another one, because it was insanely easy, but I’m going to have to be very careful with the felting.

Thanks, Rory

Thanks, Rory

At least someone got to wear it.

June 17, 2009. Tags: , , , , . crafting life. 3 comments.

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