September 30, 2014

Colette Myrtle

This is my hack of the Colette Myrtle dress. It is a lovely, easy pattern but the fabric I got for it just did not have enough drape and the cowl neckline was not flattering. Instead I gathered the neckline, hacked off a chunk of it and added two small ruffles. I wore the heck out of this dress all summer. It was really lightweight and breathed well.

I have been wanting to take pictures of this dress but haven’t gotten around to it, but then last week my friend posted pictures from her beautiful August wedding and there was this cute one of C and I playing giant jenga. Bingo, dress in the wild. So here you go, not the best picture of the dress ever, but you get the idea, and I get one more un-blogged sewing project off my list.

September 28, 2014

Craft room update

I have been really lucky, the last three houses we have lived in there has been a spare room that I can use for my craft room. Its wonderful to not have to use the dining room table for projects (although I do still use it for cutting out patterns) and then clean up before dinner. I can close the door and leave a project in the middle. But these spare rooms have always had to serve dual purposes, as storage, or a guest room, And to compound the fact that the space is not entirely mine, I have always had to work with hand-me down storage. But just a few weeks ago we made it work so that I could get a new shelf from Ikea. I love it! It has made a world of difference in the craft room and inspired me to make some other changes as well. Let me take you on a before and after tour.

My parents gave us a twin futon so that the room can do double duty as a guest room. Before, it was in the way when not in use and hard to get to when it was unfolded. Now it can be out and set up all the time. I can use it as a place to read, or do a bit of hand work (the light is great) and we are ready for guests any time. 
My two, ill-fitting hand-me-down shelves.

Brand new, everything fits Kallax!
I rearranged in order to make the guest bed have a permanent home. The new Kallax is slightly less storage than I had before, but I'm ok with that since it means things are tidier and easier to find. In the process of putting things away on the new shelf I threw out a bunch of things and also moved some stuff to basement. I figured that if I hadn't used it since we moved into our last house I could get rid of it. 
After, doesn't look that much different.
So my actual sewing space hasn't changed that much, but the rest of the room is so much better. The table is my grandma's old sewing machine, unfortunately it needs to be rewired so it is currently not functional, but it make a great perch for my trusty Viking Emerald.  
Let me show you a few more cool things about the new space. 
This teddy bear has a hat that says 1988. My uncle gave it to me this spring and told me he bought it for me when I was a baby but then he liked it so he kept it and started a teddy bear collection. He had to get rid of the collection and figured I should have this bear, you know 26 years late. I've also got a few softies I made, my doll from when I was a kid, and the chicken was brought back by some friends who went to Hawaii for their honeymoon. Pictures of my sister, and Camp Namanu. I've got my grandma's old school bell and my giant scissors. It is so nice to have some room to display things. 

The shelves are jam packed. For now I've got the bins I had before. But I would like to get some pretty ones that all match. If you have any recommendations on where to look or specific models, leave them in the comments. I also want to get some nice labels for the bins and the shelves. 

Close up of the guest bed. Doesn't it look nice and cozy? This is a scrap log cabin I made a few years ago. It is super warm, I put two layers of batting, and here it is doubled over. Probably too warm for the fall, but it looks nice and was on the top of the stack of quilts in the closet so it ended up on the bed. I'd like to get a little stool that can be used as a night stand as well. And really long term I'd like to get some kind of day bed frame and get the mattress off the floor. I actually hemmed the curtains, we've been here almost a year and I finally did it. 

This space still needs a little work, but it is a vast improvement over the space before. Thanks for letting me show you around. Let me know what you think!

September 21, 2014


I made a bench! We have a really great little covered back porch, and ever since we moved in I've been thinking it would be nice to have a bench for sitting out on our porch with coffee in the morning or a cocktail in the afternoon.

On the side of the house is a big pile of old 2x4s and other wood. I used these, we own a chop saw, a drill and I borrowed a skill saw from the SE Portland Tool Library, so this project ended up only costing me about $15 for the cost of screws.
Giant pile of old wood on the side of our house
I started with a plan from Ana White. But because I was working with the wood I had I ended up making quite a few changes and my bench ended up being a lot “chunkier” than the original.

I was able to cut the back pieces at an angle using a skill saw. I tried to rip 2x4s in half but since I don't have sawhorses it didn't really work. All other cuts where made with the chop saw.

My work space in the back yard
Sides dry-fitted together
I started this on a Sunday afternoon and got it nearly finished by that evening, but the battery in my drill died so I had to wait for the battery to re-charge. I manged to do most of it myself but I did press my husband into service to hold some boards while I screwed them together. If I had had a set of clamps I could have done it without him. 

Original back design dry-fitted 
Since I couldn't do the fancy x back of the original inspiration I figured I would do slats instead (see above) I went back to the hardware store for longer screws (the rest of the bench is built with 3' screws) but when I got home and started to drill my pilot holes (always drill pilot holes!) my drill bit was not long enough to go all the way through the top 2x4. So the design changed again. 

It took me a few more days after work to complete, but we've been enjoying this bench for a good part of the summer. It is still living in the back yard, but it will start raining soon and I'll move it to the porch. At some point I'll sand and stain it but for now it is nice and rustic. I need to make some pillows too, but that is a project for another day.  

Arm rest and seat supports in place
Seat slats added
I'm pretty proud of it!