Monday, July 14, 2014

Saltsprings Dress

This pattern was all the rage last summer. Well, at least all the rage in terms of bloggers I follow. In the fall the pattern went on sale, it's an indie pattern so I don't mind paying more than 99 cents for them, but less than $16 is nice too. Unfortunately the reason it was on sale was due to the fact that it's a summer dress and it was fall. I ended up buying a nice viole fabric to make the dress when I was staying with my family in Portland Maine for a conference in October. Then it all sat on a shelf until now.


The pattern was so well written. It was super easy to follow, had great graphics, and needed minimal modifications. I guess that's why I don't mind spending more than a dollar ona good pattern. The sizing was confusing, as always. My measurements ranged from a size 10 to a 0. Huh? Anyone dare to guess which measurement was a 10 and which was a 0? On second thought don't guess. I ended up cutting out a four and it fit perfectly.

The zipper was a breeze to add in, thanks to my invisible zipper foot. The only bummer is its kind of hard to put on because the zipper gets stuck on the part of the dress where the elastic is.

Next time I make this dress, which I will, since I love it, I'll add a little extra seam allowance and do French seams. Do you use French seams? You really should. It's when you seam a seam once with the right sides showing, then again on the inside to hide the raw edges. It makes everything look so much neater, and results in less frayed fabric and random strings hanging out of your garments. It takes longer to do, but the end product is worth it.
Back to the dress, oh yeah I love it. I might sew a maxi version next, maybe. Probably as soon as I do maxi dresses won't be popular anymore.

Hope you're enjoying the summer weather!

Lauren

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Romp? On Second Thought, Let's Not

A few weeks ago I saw a pattern for a romper made by someone I follow on Instagram. I've never had a romper, I've never even tried one on before. But I just had to have that pattern and sew one for myself. It just so happened that Simplicity patterns were on sale that week so I picked up a copy of Simplicity 1355, I also found a great summery print from Denise Schmidt (in case you haven't noticed she's pretty much the only designer I buy fabric from at Joann's), and the necessary notions (bias tape and thread).  Then all of it sat on my desk for 3 weeks. Mostly because I hate cutting out patterns, but also because I wasn't sure if I actually wanted to sew a romper. How does one go pee while wearing a romper? That was my main concern, as well as, what if my legs look stumpy?

I figured my hesitation was due to the romper-ness, but I still really liked the fabric and wanted something summery. Not to waste a perfectly good 99 cent pattern, I modified it and cut out the skirt pieces (much shorter than the maxi length of the pattern due to yardage restraints) and the romper top. It resulted in some major fudging, but I think the end product is okay considering.

The pattern said to use the seam allowance as the casing for the elastic, but I used bias tape instead. If I made this pattern again I would shorten the top length by an inch or two so it sits more on the smallest part of my waist, not the widest. That's a bit unflattering if I do say so myself. 

The upside is it has pockets! I stinkin love dresses with pockets. I didn't have enough fabric to cut the pockets out of the same fabric so I just used yellow fabric I had. I actually really like the pop of color.  My one downfall is that I am not good at matching the obvious pattern of the fabric. The front of the top is made of two pieces and they do not match, which bothers me because I know my grandmother would comment on it if she saw it in a store. Luckily I don't think anyone will notice but me. 


The non-romper took me about four hours, but will take less next time since I'll know what I'm doing. It's actually very comfortable to wear, and quite cool in the summer heat. 

Stay tuned for more sewing! I've taken a(n unintentional) blog break, but have been sewing a lot. 

Lauren 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Outdoor Table

We had been searching for an outdoor table for our deck that didn't cost a fortune, weigh a ton, and/or come with hideous chairs. Alas, no such table exists. So we made one ourselves. Charlie did the majority of it. I drew the picture, picked out the wood that wasn't warped, and did the sanding/staining.


I knew I wanted hairpin legs so I ordered a set of four on sale from hairpinlegs.com. Charlie wanted cedar wood so it wouldn't rot and would last longer. Those were our individual requirements and I think it turned out pretty well. We both commented during the process; "This looks better than I thought it would."
Charlie assembled the top, then we worked together to add the "trim" to the outside of the table. That part was my idea. I think it makes it look more finished, and will hopefully keep us from getting splinters in our wrists when we eat at the table. Charlie held the boards in place while I did most of the nailing, which turned out less than stellar in some places. As with all of our home projects, if you come over please be sure to admire from afar and not inspect too closely. Since the table has spaces between the boards for drainage we kept joking that all of the mistakes were for "drainage purposes." My other favorite line when doing DIY projects is "That'll buff out." One huge mistake we made was thinking that it would be easy/fast to get the dust from sanding off of the table by spraying it with the air compressor. Don't do that! It left pit marks on the spots where I did it. Big oops. (The marks did not 100% buff out.)

We used three coats of polyurethane and lightly sanded between each coat. After everything was dry we attached the legs and- ta-da a table for the deck! Well....not really. We attached the legs and it was so wobbly. A few paint stir sticks for shims later under  where the legs attach to the table and we were in business. We can now eat dinner outside, and feed the bugs our blood while we feed ourselves. Today was my last day of work and we had a delicious diner on the deck to celebrate.



I am very impressed with our Charlie's skills. I am also happy to report that all three weekend projects we did resulted in 0 fights. This has got to be some kind of a record.

Lauren

Monday, June 16, 2014

Weekend Projects

We got so much done this weekend I can't even believe it was only two days long. I think the fact that the sun is setting really late helps us to be more productive.

On Saturday my dad and step-mom came to visit and built us new steps from the garage to the back patio. Charlie had ripped the old steps out about two months ago because they were rotten. When he tore them out there were carpenter ants everywhere and signs of mice. Yuck. Since neither of us knew how to build steps it looked like this for the past two months and we just jumped out the door.

Luckily my dad is a fantastic carpenter who can make plans to build something from a picture and measurements I sent him. He and Charlie were able to build the steps in no time. We also filled in the spots where the ants/mice/squirrels were getting in with cement and a lot of spray foam.


The pipes for the propane go right past the door, and the old steps went up higher to cover them. Due to that the pipes kind of stick out, and the foundation and clapboard were not painted. On Sunday I painted the rest of the wall to match.

 Then got a few new plants in a planter hide the rest of it. Total sacrifice on my part....buying more plants, what a drag. Nawt! Not sure about the other two empty pots. Might get some more plants, or not.

My dad said that the project was an early 3 year anniversary present because pressure treated wood is the traditional gift for a 3rd anniversary right? Well, no, leather is but I like pressure treated steps a lot better than I'd like leather steps. (Who made that stuff up anyways? I'm not into it until about the 35th year in which case please give me pearls, rubies, and sapphires galore.) Anyhow, we love the steps. Blaze totally tripped on them the first time out the door because he is used to jumping down. We will be staining/painting them this summer at the same time that we do the deck.




I have been pining for a clothesline for over a year now and finally got one this weekend. I had really wanted one that had a pulley and could be hoisted into the trees. After everyone I told my idea rolled their eyes at me I decided to scale it back a bit and just go for a traditional clothesline bolted to two trees. It turned out pretty well I think. I love the smell of clothes, sheets, and towels dried on a clothesline.


There is one more project we (mostly Charlie) worked on this weekend, but it's not totally done yet. More on that soon.

Lauren


Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer Bucket List


With only 3 days left of school I felt it was imperative to get my Summer Bucket List out to the world. Here goes: 
  1. Pick strawberries.
  2. Hike to the top of the logging road 4 times.
  3. Swim, swim, swim.
  4. Wear sunscreen everyday and not get sunburned once.
  5. Go to concerts. 
  6. Hike a 4,000 footer and not cry.
  7. Host a Summer party.
  8. Finally figure out what poison ivy looks like and not touch it.
  9. Eat fresh veggies from the garden.
  10. Hold a baby. (I'm looking at you Liz!)
  11. Go to a yard sale. 
  12. Write my Mum one snail mail letter a week.
  13. Float the Saco with Sammy and Keith.
  14. Sew a pair of shorts.
  15. Have fresh flowers in the house.
  16. Eat dinner on the deck.
  17. Read five books. 
  18. Make popsicles. 
  19. Go to concerts.
  20. Learn to use the grill. 
  21. String lights over the deck for summer ambiance. 
  22. Tackle the list of home projects we have on the fridge.
  23. Spend a few days "tech free."
  24. Make fruity drinks.
  25. Play frisbee golf. 
  26. See "The Fault In Our Stars".
  27. Make friendship bracelets.
  28. Have fires in the fire pit.
  29. Go to five NH State Parks.
  30.  Visit farmer's market.

Happy Friday the 13th! 

Lauren 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bridal Shower Apron

This weekend my cousin Liz had her bridal shower. It was very nice. I loved seeing everyone. Liz is seven months older than me and we spent a lot of time together as kids so I've known a lot of her friends for a long time and think of them as my friends too. Obviously for a shower gift I gave her an apron. It's my go to bridal shower present. 


I didn't use a pattern so it ended up taking a lot longer than it probably should have because I made silly mistakes. The ruffle at the bottom is a detail I really like.

I like the way it turned out and kind of wanted to keep it.

Next is the bachelorette party which I am super excited for.

Lauren

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