Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More shoes!

Yep, I'm on my way to obsessed. I stayed up late again last night to finish pair #2. I like these better in some ways than the first pair. Of course, there's the issue of "first try" mistakes on the first pair, and I did improve on that with this pair - mainly I just took things slowly with the sewing and made sure of keeping to a uniform seam allowance. My 1/4" presser foot was a big help. I also used jeanstitch thread this time, and I like the way it looks on the lighter leather. Very neat! This leather is thinner, so it was a little easier to sew. I'll see how well it holds up.

I'm going to be swapping more editing for patterns from Make Them Yourself, and I want to try out that leather shoe pattern. It's lined from what I can tell, so it might be better for the pair I want to make from DH's old jeans. (Nope, still haven't even started on my lunch sack from those.) I thought those would be fun. And of course I'll use jeanstitch thread on them!

I am also getting some recycled leather from Wisconsin - I put DSIL to work as a personal thrift shopper for me. I just called last night with the request, and this morning she called back to report. Woohoo! Three jackets and a purse to recycle - I can't wait! DB tells me that there is a LOT of leather there. I'll post pictures eventually.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

New reasons to clean....

So I realized this weekend while vacuuming near the windows that the windowsills were full of cobwebs and desperately needed to be cleaned. But I hate cleaning and have to force myself to do it. And one good way is to find a fun gadget. I have had a Swiffer Duster in the past, but it apparently got lost during our move. And I never replaced it. (I'm awfully cheap at times.) One of my biggest pet peeves with it was constantly having to buy new refills for it (yes, I know that disposable is the point of the gadget), so when I swapped some editing for some patterns at, I jumped on the pattern for the washable duster pads!

Tada! I now have clean windowsills. :) And when the refills that came in the box are gone, I won't have to buy any more! I bought a three-pack of microfiber towels for $6 in the auto section at Meijer, and I can get 6 refills out of it, so $1 per refill! And I'll be able to wash and reuse these indefinitely. Yep, think I'll get my money's worth out of them! And Thing 1 will be able to help dust, since I won't be concerned about wasting the refill pads. Very cool! I have friends and family who will be seeing some of these at Christmas, I think.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Now I have to start this by saying that I am not a clothes horse or a shoes horse (is that the appropriate term?). Most of my wardrobe is chosen for comfort, or for hiding the stains when I inevitably get smeared with manure at work. However, I am now addicted to shoes, I think. Here's why:

Thing 2 has been wearing soft leather shoes for the last few months, at least when he wears shoes. We've used the cheap Robeez knockoffs that are sold at Target (an example - not the exact pair he's had), and they've been great. But he only had the 6-12 month size, and now of course he's outgrown them. (This would not be so much of a problem, but now that he's in the toddler room at daycare, he needs to wear shoes when they go outside.) So...I looked at Target two weekends in a row, and each time, they only had 1 pair of boy shoes in his size, and the one they had was really pathetic. I've wanted to sew him some shoes for awhile now, and I already the pattern and some leather, so necessity kicked my butt into gear.

Tada! My very first pair of leather shoes - in fact, this was my very first time working with leather at all! I thought that the pattern was quite easy to follow, and I appreciated the extra tips on working with leather, as well as extra options for modifying the pattern. I did not use any embellishment on this pair, as I wanted to make it very basic to test the pattern. (Also, I desperately needed shoes that fit!) The 12-18 month size is a little big on him, but not so big that it interferes with his walking. Yippee!
I got so many compliments on these shoes! DH was impressed - and that isn't always a given. He's usually pretty honest about what he thinks, so this was a real compliment. And Thing 2's daycare teachers commented on his "stylish new shoes" as soon as we walked into the room the next morning - without any idea that I'd made them. Another daycare teacher strongly hinted the next day that she'd love some for herself for Christmas. :)
I'd say these are a big success! I already have another pair cut out, and I intend to make plenty more. I want to try appliques on some subsequent ones. We'll see how it goes...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Baby gifts...

My brother has had several friends or family members (wife's family) give birth lately, so he has needed baby gifts. Being the decisive guy that he is, when he saw my first incarnation of the Wearable Baby Blanket by SewBaby, he immediately said, "I need two!" Recently, he told me that another baby was due and asked for another blanket. Here is the result:

When I saw this fabric (at Wal-Mart - on clearance, no less!), I thought it was so cute that I bought enough for two baby blankets. And since this pattern is so easy, I just whipped up both at once. So now his gift is packaged and waiting for a trip to the post office, and the other one is going into my gift stash. Hey, there are lots of pregnant women at church, as I've mentioned before!

I like the basic pattern, but I've been using a cheater's wrapped fleece binding for the edging, instead of any of their edging ideas. (I like the idea of binding the edge with lycra binding, but fleece has been much more economical for me!)

Monday, September 3, 2007

Getting back into sewing....

So I'm still having a hard time motivating myself to sew when I'm not working, though I have plenty that I want to sew. I just don't feel like I have the energy! However, a very good friend was hospitalized Saturday, and things weren't looking too good. So I decided that she needed some humor in her hospital room, and a funny pillowcase would do the trick! I cut this out from my stash Saturday night and sewed it up Sunday morning.

I found this fabric at Hancocks awhile ago, on the $1.95/yd clearance table. I just eyeballed it through several visits, not sure what I could do with it, and then finally decided to buy it, thinking it would make a great scrub shirt for a colleague. Unfortunately, there was just over a yard left on the bolt, which is NOT enough. But I bought the rest anyway, thinking that I'd come up with something eventually. Well, here's something! I cut the main piece 27x45 inches (since the print is unidirectional, it worked well for this) and the end piece 9x45 inches. The contrast trim, a black broadcloth, is 2x45 inches. It only took a half hour to sew up, and that was with interruptions from the DVD I was watching. :) I have also made these with end pieces that differed from the main print, but I didn't have anything to coordinate to this print. I think that the contrast trim is enough.

And maybe I've been inspired enough, as I bought flannel last night for a pair of PJ pants for my friend, and the fabric is already prewashed and just waiting for me to cut out the pieces!