oh yes, Christmas decorating/crafting is getting serious here at chez fly....I've broken out the glitter...no telling what's going to succumb to my glitter mad hands next...the cats are hiding, i tell you!
tutorial for the book wreath here at Living with Lindsay
I got Kajsa Wikman's beautiful book Scandinavian Stitches about a week ago and I haven't stopped sewing since. Things are actually getting a little silly around here...there are Tomte everywhere and my family has been joking that I am turning our home into a Scandinavian sweatshop. My oldest has been home from college for Thanksgiving break and I have recruited him and my daughter to help me with the turning of legs and stuffing and so on. I made one for Lee to take back to school to Christmas up his dorm room and I have already given away two others as earl Christmas gifts. We are keeping a couple to decorate our house....
...and one will be sent to Germany for our dear friend's little boy.
I have so enjoyed making these little elves, Kajsa's designs are very simple and graphic and yet still so sweet. Scandinavian Stitches has many beautiful projects, not just Christmas themed. The book is arranged into projects by the season. I like that many of the projects are small so you can try your hand at a lot of different needlework techniques without getting too involved in a very lengthy process. There is a winter quilt that is so up my alley, it will definitely be my first quilt project. love. love. love. this book!
...I'm done with the Advent Calendar that I made with Jill from Homemade by Jill's Sew Along...got a little intense there over the weekend...my husband joked that next I'd be recreating the Sistine Chapel ceiling in felt, ha! I really get hooked when I start working with wool felt. I bought some beautiful German felt a while ago ...it's very thick and soft and the colors are just gorgeous. I only had some small pieces and scraps left, but it was just enough for the little teeny tiny ornaments. I have to admit, I was lazy and put my ornaments together with a combination of hand sewing, embroidery and...gasp...glue! I used natural twine and red grosgrain ribbon for the hanging loops.
This last photo shows the special ornaments that I made for everybody in the family...a favorite thing for each of us...hot cocoa (copied from Katie from So Happy) for Mia, an espresso pot for Mike, a book for Lee and a teapot for me...i was going to make my ornament a wine bottle since I spent both evenings last weekend drinking wine and making ornaments (oh, it's an exciting life here at Chez Cunha), but I figured I didn't want Lily telling people that wine is her mother's favorite thing ;) I also made a lighthouse ornament to represent our hometown...we live in such a beautiful city with a lighthouse right around the corner!
So, the calendar has been put away until December first ...just in time to get ready for the boy to come home from college and celebrate Thanksgiving! woohoo!
whew! I have been working hard on this project! I got all the pockets embroidered with their numbers, sewn onto the backing and the binding and hanging rod pockets attached. I also sewed all the buttons on and got 8 ornaments made. I think I am a bit obsessed ;) Now all I have to do is make 16 more ornaments...but the remaining work will have to be done in secret so my little one doesn't see the them! I want her to be surprised every morning in December :)
I decided that I wanted to take part in Jill from Homemade by Jill's Advent Calendar Sew Along when I first saw it on her blog a couple of weeks ago. I have been just out straight preparing for a market that was held last Saturday...market is done and I now I am free to sew for myself! Yay!!I am starting the sew along two weeks late but hopefully I can catch up! Jill has set up a Flickr group so people can share photos of their progress and as I was checking out what other people are doing I came across photos from Katie of So Happy.
Her tree is AMAZING...
I had to copy...
I had to go out to Joann's and buy wool felt instead of the eco felt...
this is what I have done so far..
I used a light blue quilted cotton for the background, because I had it on hand and will edge the whole thing with red and white polka dot binding when I'm done. I am using a combination of wool felt and some eco felt. The greens are wool, white and red are eco. I totally ripped off Katie from So Happy's tree design and found nice wooden buttons at Joann's. I am a sucker for any kind of anything Scandinavian so I wanted to kind of keep the whole thing simple and natural with the accents of red and white. I haven't made any ornaments yet, but I when I do I will be making a hedgehog and a mouse and maybe some other forest creatures as well as using the templates that Jill shared on her blog.
I'll post more photos as I go along ...got to get back to embroidering those numbers!!!
Since I've given myself a bit of a break from sewing for a while I have my nap times free...free to do something that makes me happy..and cooking makes me very happy....especially when I am not rushed and can just enjoy each step. Tonight's dinner is my barely homemade but really good 3 bean chili...this is what i do:
saute an onion in a little bit of olive oil add one red bell pepper chopped (today I used 3 small red and green peppers from my MIL's garden) add about 10 pickled jalapeno slices, chopped push veggies to the side once they are a bit soft and then add a package of ground turkey, brown it up add: a package of chili seasoning mix, or if I don't have that I add a tablespoon of cumin, tablespoon of chili powder (mild) and salt and pepper one jar of marinara sauce one small can each of 3 different beans water to desired thickness (about 1-2 cups) let it simmer for 40 minutes
I sometimes serve this alone...what more can these people I live with expect from me?... or, if I'm feeling generous and kind I will make a salad and if I am positively relaxed, and possibly a little drunk, I will make cornbread, from the little blue box of course and add in some cheddar cheese and pickled jalapenos.
I feel almost a bit shy about posting on this blog...it's been such a long time since I've had the time to form any words that might make even a little bit of sense. It's been a long year, so far, and perhaps the most difficult one I have lived so far. My father in law passed away a couple of weeks ago, after a very long illness. In the end it was a blessing for him to not suffer any longer..but it is hard, most especially hard for my mother in law and my husband. The months of Jose's illness were so very, very sad and trying and frustrating, for everyone...in so many ways. We are all in need of a little, or a lot of rest around here. So, one of the things to be put on hold for a while is my Little Birds Fly clothing business on Etsy....just for a few months ...just so we can enjoy the fall and holidays with our family...so I can take the time to just sit and observe our 2, almost 3 year old and talk to my teenaged daughter and make plans with my college boy son...and try to just be. happy.
This morning started eeeeaaarly...4 am saw me awake and ready to go downstairs to enjoy a cup of tea in the dark and quiet. I know it's crazy but I will take those calm, quiet moments when I can...even in the ridiculously wee hours of the morning. Gives me a little time to think and to plan out what I'll show you today...
I was at Joann's the other day and I found this flannel while looking for other flannels to make burp cloths for a fair I have lined up this fall...the print was cool and reminded me of expensive Japanese fabric and very unlike most of the stuff I usually find at Joann's, my favorite fabric store to hate...just kidding...well, not ALWAYS but, you know how it is there...enough said...so, moving on to the fabric, check it out:
cute huh? the photo doesn't do it any favors but it's a chocolate brown background with green line drawing print in the background and animals filled in with small graphic printing...LOVE IT...oh, AND it is super soft and thick. The cold weather really came quickly here and I found that I had no winter pajamas for Lily...zero...so I bought the last yard of the flannel and made some pajama pants with a jersey knit waistband and then I had to figure out a top..without spending any more money. H & M has these really soft organic cotton long sleeved onesies...for babies...but the 12-18 month size fits Lily beautifully even though she really wears a 3T...go figure...but, they are CHEAP and I bought a bunch during the summer. So, I cut the snap part off of a green one and appliqued a patch of the flannel on it like this:
To make the top a little longer, and to make it cuter, and to avoid having to hem jersey( ah, the truth comes out), which doesn't always work out too well without a serger, I cut a band from the hem of an old blue Tee of mine and added a strip of the hem of a red Tee too...I sewed the red strip onto the blue strip, right sides both facing up , sewed the short ends together to form a tube and then sewed the tube to the green shirt, right sides together like this:
I just want to say a couple of things about sewing with knits without a serger...
1. I have never had too much of a problem with this method: I sew the seam with a regular straight stitch and then zigzag stitch the edges...I know that this is supposed to be wrong because the stitching line can't stretch,but seriously, it has never NOTworked for me. This is how I put jersey waistbands onto denim and corduroy pants and I've never experienced ripped stitches.
2. I do lighten up the presser foot pressure when I sew with knits and I try to sew quickly at the beginning of the seam...both of these things will help to avoid the fabric being pushed down and jammed by the needle.
3. Use a needle specifically for knits/stretch fabric...just do it, you won't be sorry...if you use a regular needle I can tell you from experience that it is a crap shoot...sometimes it's ok and sometimes not...but a HUGE pain when it is not...so just save yourself the aggravation and use the knit needle.
4. Avoid hemming , if you can ;) if you can't, then learn to love a little lettuce edge ruffle going on at the hem.
5. When you are appliqueing onto a t shirt don't try to make your zig zag stitches too close or you might end up jamming the fabric ...make it a loose zigzag and then if you want it to cover more of the edge of the applique just go around again.
I have a bunch of small pieces of fabric left over from my spring/summer clothes...so I put them to use to make pj's for Lils...love love love...isn't it funny how sometimes the most thrown together projects turn out better than the ones you plan in minute detail?...must be a Zen explanation there somewhere :)
So much fun at the market today... lovely friends..thank you Mimi and Kara and Jamie and Odessa! sweet Salem Farmer's Market people...thank you Gus and Jennifer and Aaron! and a huge thank you to all of my kind and enthusiastic and generous customers...I am so excited for next month! July 16th!
these are some photos of the new felt barrettes...worn by the best model I've ever had the pleasure of working with ;)
just a quick hello..things have been nuts around here...with a bunch of great stuff...and a lot of sad, frustrating and tiring stuff...so, those are the balls I've been juggling up there in the photo...and you'll notice that they are all on the floor (you'll also notice the CUTEST little feet!!!)
hope i'll be a able to post a little more often in the next couple of weeks...in the meantime...I'll just pick those balls up and get back to the juggling act!
p.s. I'll be at the Salem, MA Farmer's Market on June 17th, July 15th, August 19th, September 16th and October 21st!!! Baby and toddler clothes, hats and some cool upcycled items!!
Happy, Happy Mother's Day to all my blogland friends!!!
My family really came through for me today...Best. Mother's. Day. Ever.
this is a list of what makes for the perfect day for me:
1. sleeping in till 7...people who aren't parents make think this is early but when you have 2 year olds who rise before the birds, 7 is luxuriously late
2. bacon, eggs, tea and orange juice brought to me on a tray while I lay lounging in bed
3. presents & poems
4. all the kids and hubby hanging with me on the bed, talking and laughing and trying to keep the 2 year old from falling off
5. loooong post breakfast walk...just me and Mike
6. shopping for clothes...all by myself
7.returning home to find lunch on the table and 2 year old happy
8. NAP...oh blessed nap
9. older kids entertaining 2year old all day
10. I LOVE my family...they rock!!!
and now, I hope to add a little something to someone else's day...I forgot to announce the winner of the green dot dress giveaway on Friday...so the winner is.....Elizabeth!!! Congratulations and if you'll email me your address I will send that off to you this week!
today is one of those sparkly sea, blue skies, birds singing, green, green grass kind of days...weather in it's perfect form...Lily and I spent the morning at a beautiful park that is situated right across the street from a little cove...we went back and forth from the playground to the ocean...Lily waded in the water, explored the seaweed covered rocks and was just so happy...and so was I.
this photo is from a whole year ago...and Lily has changed so much...and I have been lucky to be able to be with her most every day....because, man, it goes fast...when I get anxious about how we are going to keep this circus afloat financially, days like today, and reminders like this picture gently tell me that nothing you can buy in this world is worth more to me than being present for the fleeting moments my child's babyhood.
Well, the trunk sale was a big success! So many friends, new and old, came by to support the official launch of my new clothing line. How lucky I am to live in such a great community with such generous and caring people...seriously brings tears to my eyes. Now it's my turn to give...how about this little number? it's a size 2T-3T dress and can be a 4T tunic....Amy Butler Full Moon Dot fabric :)
To enter to win this dress just leave me a comment about what you are grateful for today! I'll have my little giveaway bunny choose a winner out of a hat on...say this Friday, May 7th?
Wow, what a week it has been! I have really gotten into preparing for this trunk sale that I am having this Friday and Saturday. I kind of went overboard...over 60 items sewn...getting up at 5 to sew before everyone else in the house got up...sewing well into the night...not to mention laser focused 2 hour sewing marathons every day during nap time. I should be, or at least I would normally be, a frazzled, screaming nut case by now....but I'm not...I keep waiting for it to happen, and I do have the old familiar knot in my chest feeling every now and again but somehow I talk myself down...and carry on. I am even enjoying the being busy...I LOVE the clothes I have made...feel proud of what I have accomplished and even though the fear that no one will show up flits through my mind occasionally, I seem to have acquired a little patient wisdom somewhere along the line and the thought that follows the fear is always something along the lines of "well, if no one shows up then there are many other ways to sell your clothes...and they will sell " So readers, now that I have updated you all on the state of my mental health...apologies for too much info...I am off to finish some stuff up. Anybody local to the Salem, MA area who would like to come by Friday 7-9pm or Saturday 9am-1pm and take a look at my Spring line...drop me a line and I'll fill you in on the details :) Everyone else, wish me luck and next week I will be back to blogging more regularly...I've got a tutorial to share and a giveaway to...giveaway. Cheers!
this is what my kids see when they visit me in my workroom...Lee took this picture...April vacation for them this week which means that I have a bit more time than usual to sew...niiiice :)
today I am trying...reeeeeaaaallly hard to come up with some baby boy stuff...I get so distracted by all the bright, girly fabric that surrounds me...I can always find inspiration for a new dress...but I'm struggling to find my mojo when it comes to more masculine baby stuff...any suggestions?
So I'm back in the saddle ...sewing to fill my revamped Etsy store and for a little shopping event to be held April 30th (Mom's Night Out) and May 1st (Open House from 9-2) for my local customers. And despite my fears of being overwhelmed, it's not so bad...I think I am finally getting the hang of a couple of things that I should have learned years ago:
1. everything is a lot easier when broken down into small tasks
2. to not think about what I have to do while I am doing something else...compartmentalize...enjoy the cutting out of dresses while I am doing this...enjoy pushing Lily on the swing while I am doing that
3. everything has a way of working out, of coming together in the end...no matter how I feel...so why not choose to be happy, since being anxious doesn't affect the outcome?
And, I LOVE the stuff I'm making...I think I've got a good "look" going...a cohesive "Little Birds Fly" thang going on...I put the www.littlebirdsfly.etsy.com thingie up here...so take a look and let me know what you think...I'll be adding to the store almost every day...a new sundress style early next week that I am particularly proud of...hope you all have a great weekend!!!