Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Apple Cider Apron!

pile o' fabric

So the most recent Tie One On theme was "Apple Cider."


I sat on this one until the last few weeks because I am obsessed with all things apple-related and wanted it to be perfect. You might say I mulled it over for a while... (You see what I did there? Yuk yuk yuk...)

Anyway, I am so pleased with how my apron turned out, I thought you'd love if I shared every painful detail of the process with you. Right?



more stuff ready to go

Great then, here we go!

I started with an unprinted vintage feedsack, a bunch of old shirts, and some vintage bias tape and velvet ribbon. I wanted brown, but all my brown velvet ribbon had major dry rot and crumbled when I took it off the card.

Then I sort of measured my torso and made a paper pattern for the bodice and started cutting.

Laying it out:

playing with the layout

I made two patchwork panels, one for the front and one for the back:

making patchwork

And used the cuffs of two of the shirts for the collar and the cap sleeves:

bow from vintage ribbon stash

The back simply has a bias tape trim:

vintage bias trim on back

And the whole thing is attached in only two places -- a button at each side of the waistline:

button from vintage stash

Thar she blows!


I decided not to put pockets on, instead making a little satchel to go with it, based on some images I found online of vintage apple picking bags. Well, some had galvanized pails on top and fabric bottoms, but anyway...

I started by cutting up a little old (and damaged) canvas laundry bag and some ticking cloth. Then I made up an orchard, borrowing a name from a lumberyard my great-grandfather owned many, many years ago. And then I typed up a guide in Photoshop and hand-painted all the letters on the fabric:

my handy painting guide

Closer, 'cause I can't get enough of dark letters on light backgrounds:

I love fabric paint!

After the fabric paint was heat-set, I sewed everything together and slipped pieces from a heavy gauge wire hanger into the seams at the top and bottom of the white canvas part to create the convex front I saw in those vintage examples. (Did that even make sense? I'm getting tired here, sorry.)

Then I callously stuffed it in a stock pot and dumped very wet coffee grounds all over it to stain the heck out of it.

"aging" the satchel with coffee and grounds

After they sat for a while, I rinsed it and let it dry and attached a leather strap to it (an old, worn belt graciously donated by the husband).

apple picking satchel

The button and overalls clasp were in my slowly expanding vintage button stash:

clasp and button from vintage stash

And it works perfectly! The apples gently tumbled out the bottom with nary a bruise or gash:

emptying out the apples

And now for the apron again. Remember the apron?

This is it layered over one of my favorite dresses (I did not make the dress. I bought it on Etsy a while back.)

photo shoot

And the back:

photo shoot

And my favorites from our little photo shoot:

photo shoot

photo shoot

photo shoot

Many thanks to John for taking the orchard pictures.

And many thanks to anybody who made it to the end of this post. It felt long and rambly to me and I am tired of hearing myself talk. :)

Amy said the gallery probably won't be up until next weekend, so check back in around the 6th to see all the lovely, apple cider-y aprons. I can't wait to see them all!

The gallery is up here!!! They look awesome!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A is for Autumn

japanese maple!

I haven't been around much and I don't have a heck of a lot to show for it. I've been enjoying the last of this:

japanese maple!

Or more specifically, these:

japanese maple!

(Which are all gone now, by the way.)

I've been doing a lot of this:

cowl progress

staffhat progress

I've been watching some flowers still blooming.

still blooming

And some fading away.

done for the year

This long, mild autumn has been such a treat. I was so beaten down by the interminably hot summer but not ready for freezing temps yet, so I have been trying to embrace all the extra sunshine and light jacket weather.


But it has been just cool enough for warm, comforting treats like oatmeal. I prefer the "long cooking" rolled kind (I say that in quotes because really -- it only takes a few minutes) to any other and I am always looking for different things to add in there to make it more interesting.


This bowl ended up with pureed sweet potatoes, ground flax seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Pretty tasty. :)

And there was Thanksgiving. I made a ton of food and everything came out perfectly except this lovely pie.


It looked so promising, but hadn't set inside and the apples were a little too firm for my liking. Ah well.

Most of my projects have been house things and haven't been very photogenic. However, I did just paint the inside of our front door and it looks great! I will try to get pictures tomorrow in the sunlight.

Some winter/Christmas decorations have started to sneak out of storage and place themselves around the house. Okay, I'm doing it.

The boys' dollhouse is almost all painted and ready for their interior decorating.

The basement is still a pit of trash and too much stuff and I would rather set fire to the whole thing than spend another moment organizing things, but I know that is not really an option...

I have a bushel+ of apples waiting to be sauced. Tomorrow perhaps?

I have a million and one other things rushing around my brain and no time for most of them, so I am just taking things one step at a time.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sewing Room 1.2

making curtains

When we moved in here almost a year ago, I went on a mad dash trying to paint and unpack as fast I could. The only good thing about the moving process for me is getting set up in the new home.

I did what I could when I could and took care of the upstairs first. Then I designated a few spaces in the basement for certain things. The little side room off of the laundry area seemed just perfect for a soap room and so it is. The laundry area also has a small chunk of space across from the washer and dryer, so I set up my sewing area there.

fabric shelves

But something didn't feel quite right.

First off, I realized I needed more space for large outdoor items so I can use my shed for woodworking stuff and not just storage. It just so happens that the outside basement entrance is in the laundry area, so I thought it might make more sense to keep that space available for lawn chairs, bikes, and any other large, warm weather items.

Secondly, I found myself constantly tripping over piles of laundry waiting to be washed as I tried to get to my sewing table and ended up just lugging the machine up to the dining room table.

So last week I started moving the sea of boxes from the center of the basement (the big, open part under the living room area) and made some room. I was lucky enough to have a huge white cabinet that was left behind by the previous owners, so I used that to make a wall between John's art area:

john in studio

And my new sewing nook:

my new sewing room

The painted "wall" along the side of the picture is actually the cardboard back of the cabinet. I used paints that were here when we moved in and stapled a scrap piece of molding to it from the other side for a chair rail. If you look closely at the "wainscoting" you can see a gap from where the warped cardboard back just wouldn't stay together.

The floor is self adhesive 12" tiles that also were here when we moved in (leftovers from the bathroom floor). I laid them directly over the low pile, indoor/outdoor carpet that was laying on the basement floor. They are still sticking and I have my fingers crossed that they continue to do so...

The opposite "wall" is simply my fabric shelves with some old yellow curtains stapled to the backs. The curtains were -- surprise, surprise! -- here when we moved in. ;)


I put some of my favorite things down there, like my candle from Zigwicks, which is one of the most perfectly scented, longest lasting candles I have ever used:


And I made a fabric pin board for little snippets of inspiration or notes or whatever I feel like tacking up.

fabric pin board

The frame is actually a mirror frame from a trash-picked vanity. It appeared across the street from our house in Scranton one evening before trash pick-up and I grabbed it. The table part is cute and small and I used that separately and just tossed the frame on the frame pile, figuring I'd find a use for it at some point. And I did.

Anyway, it was really easy to make. I am thinking it might make a nice tutorial. Probably been done a thousand times, but oh well.

I need to stop talking so much. Here are some more things from around the rest of the space:

old sweaters

Sherrie posted this link about a sweater quilt at some point and as I was yet again stocking my fabric shelves, I noticed how many sweaters I have. Hmmmm.....

This heart shaped wire basket doesn't really fit with the upstairs style, but it looks cute in my little country nightmare space and holds some antique thread quite nicely.

old thread

Have I mentioned lately how much I love stacks of fabric?


And I finally unpacked my button flowers for display. And now I must make more.

button flower bouquet

Some space for displaying some vintage sewing items:

old stuff on shelf

And a tiny cup of thimbles now sits on the table, hoping I'll use them instead of stabbing myself in the fingers all the time.


Old shirts. So many old shirts. Oh the possibilities!

old shirts

And some more goodies. The enamel bucket is actually 3/4 full of silver jingle bells. Apparently I bought them years ago because I remember unpacking them when we moved into the last house and wondering why on earth I had so many jingle bells...

patterns and buttons

That about does it. I hope I didn't talk your ears off. I have been feeling so much better lately and I am positively exploding with ideas and projects. So you may want to brace yourself for the next few posts, which are guaranteed to be full of my manic rambling and exclamation points.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Some Yarny Happy (and a little tea)

"When the weather turns cool-y, my thoughts turn wooly."
Me ~ Just Now

Mmmm Alpaca

Know what that is up there? No, not the terrible fake quote. The ball of yarn. That is perhaps my last hand wound ball of yarn.

A while back, I bought a ball winder when it was on super sale somewhere, but I never got a swift to use it with. Too pricey.

So in the grand tradition of many fiber fanatics before me, I built one.

I built a swift!!!

Mine was easy to make because a super cheap dollhouse I bought on Craigslist a while back came with a turntable which I knew I'd never use. Almost immediately, a swift started sketching itself out in my mind.

Many weeks later, I drew up some plans and made it out of the turntable and a bunch of scrap wood. The arms with the wingnuts on them are adjustable and/or removable, to adapt to any size skein.

It works great, and with the addition of the ball winder, it makes some adorable little yarn cakes:

ball winder!

my first cake wound with my new swift!

and another :)

Yay for successful projects!

And in the vein of yarn and successful projects, I made my first tea cosy! Well, it is more of a teapot cardigan, but it does the same thing.

naked teapot

tea cosy

tea cosy

Those buttons were from the huge jar o' buttons I scored at the Greenbeing five item swap last year.

tea cosy

tea cosy

And the pot even had tea in it during my little picture taking spree. :)

homemade tea in the sun :)

This is one of my favorite blends to make. I use black tea, cardamom pods, a cinnamon stick, whole allspice, whole cloves, pink peppercorns, star anise pods, shredded licorice root and honey. And of course remember that a little bit of all of these things goes a long way, especially in a pot this small.

The extra cool thing is that when you empty the pot, you can still get some use out of the leftovers. I don't know about you, but in the dry winter months I like to put a pot of water on the stove with some spices in it for moisture and happy smells. This tea blend smells great like that and its nice to get extra mileage out of all those spices.

I don't know what else to say, so I guess that's all, huh? I can't wait to share the next post. I carved out a new little niche for myself in the basement for my sewing area and it turned out super cute. :)