Posts Tagged ‘Sewing’

A Costume Party

Last night Hubby and I attended a Settlers of Catan costume party and tournament.  (We’re geeks, I know, but proud of it!)  We really enjoy the game, and I like to dress up, so it was a perfect evening!  I have always wanted to own a medieval gown (and an elven cloak, but that’s a story for another day) and this was the perfect excuse to make one.

Hubby decided to be the “robber” from the game.  The robber is a grey playing piece  in the new version of the game and black in the old, so we compromised and put him in a grey tunic with a black cape.  I was lucky enough to find this fabric on sale for $1 a yard, so even with the cost of the pattern, this was one frugal costume! (and I think it turned out pretty well)

I decided I wanted to go as a settler of Catan, and so was in need of a medieval dress.  I found a really soft cotton/linen blend in the sale bin at the fabric store which turned out to be perfect.  I love this dress!  It was so comfortable to wear, although people did keep stepping on the train at the back.  I wonder how medieval women did it?  I know they didn’t wash their clothes very often, and you would think the bottom of that train would get pretty dirty pretty quickly.  For a night though, it was fun!

One of my favourite details is the laced-up back.  I am actually considering creating some of my other dresses this way.  It’s so much more fun than a zipper! 🙂   If you want to know more about how I made the costumes, you can check out this post

It was really fun to see some of the other costumes at the party.  There were some strong-looking knights, a few trees, many robbers (with so many thieves in the room it’s a wonder the trophy wasn’t stolen!) and even a sheaf of wheat!  The prize for the cutest costume definitely went to the newborn dressed up as a sheep.

It’s fun to be someone else for an evening.  If you could dress up as anyone, or own clothing from any time period, who, or what, would it be?

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It’s done, it’s done, it’s done!  Time to do the dance of joy!

In all honesty, it’s not completely finished, there are a few kinks and things to work out, but it’s my very first website and I am overall quite proud of it! 🙂  Please come and take a look!

Along the way, a few hard decisions had to be made.  Like, what was I going to do with Laundry on the Line?  This has been my beloved blog of several years now, where did it fit in this new space?   I contemplated moving everything over to the new site and combining it all under one name.  And I still might do that.  But for now, I have decided to keep this blog as it is.  (I’m just not yet ready to give up my laundry line!) 🙂  So….the new blog is my new home for art and creative endeavours.  It will be a place where I can get in depth into sewing and creativity, a place for pattern testing and discussions on fabrics and sewing techniques.  It will also be a place where I flex my creative muscles and try new things, like the Art Every Day challenge I am starting tomorrow.

So what does that mean for Laundry on the Line?  It means that this space now has room to be what I have always wanted it to be.  A place to live simply in a complicated world.  A place to garden and cook and appreciate the world around us.  A place to stop and ponder and smell the flowers.  A place for laughter, and friendships, and everyday life.  A place for inspiration too, just of a different sort. 

I hope you will continue to join me here!  And for those of you who love sewing and creating as much as I do, I hope to meet you at the new site too!

Happy Halloween!

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Yesterday, I was outside enjoying the sunshine while I harvested more lettuce, herbs, celery and beans from the garden.

I even took some time to do a photo shoot with a  new sweater friend on such a beautiful sunny day:

This morning I woke up to this:

By lunchtime it looked like this:

Winter is here.  Perhaps this was why I had dreams I was sewing hats and mittens and scarves last night??

No complaints though.  We’ve had a beautiful fall.  And there is something special about the first snowfall – even when it sweeps in like a lion!

Has winter arrived where you live?

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The new shop is here!!

It has been months of work, but it’s finally here.    Introducing, my new shop………

Find me on Etsy!

Find me on Facebook!

I even have a new website/blog coming soon!

I’m still adding and creating items every day, so the shop selection will continue to grow over the next few weeks.

I am really excited about many of the changes I have made to the shop, but am the most happy about finally being able to show you what has kept me from the blog the last few months (you didn’t think I was sitting around twiddling my thumbs, did you?)  I still have a few things to do on the new website, but hope to introduce you to that sometime next week.  Lots of things happening here at Laundry on the Line!

What’s new and exciting with you?

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In this moment I have herbs that need harvesting, a project in half-completion in the sewing room, a book half-read whose story dances around my head even when I have decided I MUST leave it and get back to doing something more productive.  My to-do list extends well beyond what time and space will ever allow, as my creative mind dreams up 20 new projects to start before I have even finished the first on the list.

And yet, I can’t help seeking out new inspiration, dreaming new dreams, solving new problems.

Truth be told, I don’t think I’d want to live any other way.

Here are just a few things that have grabbed my attention lately:

Sew, Mama, Sew is posting daily holiday inspiration.  I want to make a neighbourhood of these and isn’t this one of the coolest scrap-busters ever?

I somehow stumbled across a new blog today and am in love with some of the cute crafts!   I am definitely inspired to do something creative with all of the buttons I own.

I was also reminded this morning that what I have is enough, I learned to use picnik and created my own banner for my new Etsy shop (more on that in a few days),  and I discovered this fun Halloween treat  and am busy trying to think of a way to make it without the chocolate.  (I’ll let you know if I come up with something!)

Isn’t it wonderful to be a part of a world-wide community of idea-sharers?   What is inspiring you today?

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This weekend I had the opportunity to stretch my sewing muscles, while at the same time doing some very necessary planning for my business.

The past seven weeks I have been involved in the Right Brain Business Plan Course and have loved this unconventional, visual, and creative way of diving into business planning.  (Check out the website if you’d  like to know more.)

After spending weeks in working through the steps of business planning, the final step is to bring everything together in a format that resonates with you.  (and artistic entrepreneurs have done everything from accordion books to mobiles to altered books.)  And just in case you  are wondering….no, this is not the type of plan you take with you to the bank! (although that is covered in the course as well.)

I had completely planned to put everything into a scrapbook-type format, and even bought a blank book to house it all, but at the last minute I changed my mind.

I am a sewer, after all.

So I started planning a book made out of fabric, instead of paper, that would incorporate all the elements in a way true to my business.   I discovered this page for inspiration and then I just let the rest develop out of my own imagination! 

Using felt for a base, I put to use my rusty embroidery and hand-sewing skills, and incorporated recycled fabric pieces, quilt cast-offs, and buttons and ribbon from my stash.

I love that feeling of trying something for the first time, that stretching and growing that happens when your brain has to solve new problems and think about materials in different ways.

All of the business elements are tied in or placed in pockets, so that they can be changed and updated as my business grows.

I think this is the perfect housing for my business plan, as well as a fun new way to experiment with sewing and fabrics.  I can definitely see myself making  fabric books or journals again!

How do you like to challenge yourself?  What new skill are you learning, or wishing you could learn?

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My Favourite Sewing Sites

Don’t you love it when you find a great new website or blog?  I am constantly amazed at the wealth of information and resources available on the internet and blown away by the generosity of those who spend hours putting together tutorials to share with the world.

And when you’ve found something awesome, what better to do than to share it with someone else?

Here are some of my favourites (some new, some old).  If you have favourites that aren’t listed, please share them in the comments!

CAUTION: visiting the following blogs and websites might make you want to run to the nearest sewing machine and sew until you drop!

For inspiration and tutorials

Sew, Mama, Sew blog – the first sewing blog I ever subscribed to and still one of my absolute favourites.  The forum is also a great place to ask questions and chat with other sewers. 

Make it and Love it – I don’t know how Ashley manages to create so many amazing tutorials, but she does, on what seems to be an almost daily basis.  Watch out – time spent reading this blog can make your “to sew” pile increase exponentially.

Sew Much Ado – another amazing amount of tutorials and a linky party every Wednesday by another talented seamstress (remember Ruby Lou?)

Grosgrain – I only recently discovered this one, but I know I will be back again and again.  On the top of my list are some of the dresses listed under “a frock by Friday” (you’ll find it on the sidebar.)  A free dress pattern followed by five days of sew-a-long how-tos – amazing, right? 

For Patterns

Sew Fun!  If you’ve been around awhile, you will already know how much I love these patterns.  Some of them have recently been released in PDF format for easy access.

Pattern Rescue – a really fun site where you can buy, sell, and trade vintage patterns, as well as find missing pieces to older patterns you might own.  On the recycle page you can pick up patterns for free, you just pay for the shipping.

Pattern Review –  there is a lot on this site I haven’t explored, but the best thing it has to offer (as far as I’m concerned) is reviews of hundreds of patterns!  I visit this site A LOT when I am thinking of purchasing a new pattern, and always find the reviews and photos helpful.  (You will find the link to the reviews on the left side, under sewing reviews.)

For Free Patterns

I know that sounds too good to be true, but lots of fabric designers share free patterns on their sites.

Amy Butler – click on “free patterns” to see all that this amazing lady has to offer.  Many of her quilts have been on my “to make” list for a long time.

Anna Maria Horner – I am a regular reader of Anna’s blog for a number of reasons (oh, the eye candy!), but she also has a number of beautiful patterns for her readers. 

Moda Bake Shop – another place I could spend hours just looking.  “Stuffed Stuff” is one of my favourites – oh so cute! 

So now that you know where I spend my online time, where do you spend yours?  Do you have any great sewing sites to share?

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I’ve had this Harry Potter inspired project on the back-burner for the last few months, but with the new (and last!) movie coming out very soon I knew now was the time to tackle it.

And so, may I present, straight from my sewing room Madam Malkin’s: Robes for All Occasions: Gryffindor school robes!

I used this tutorial on BurdaSyle and although I found them a bit of a challenge to put them together, I am pretty happy with the results.

I used broadcloth for its affordability, and found the Gryffindor crest on Etsy.

If you are thinking of making some yourself, definitely read through all of the comments on the tutorial, as they were really helpful in drafting and cutting out the pattern.  Next time (oh yes, there will be a next time, I still have at least one more to make!) despite the extra fabric it will take, I think I will line the whole front, and not just 4 inches as the pattern calls for.  This was the first time I have used seam tape and I wasn’t really happy with it. 

I can’t wait to hand these robes over to their owner tomorrow! 

Harry Potter Fun!

Your robes are on and you are ready for a magical adventure.  Here are some magical ideas I’ve collected from around the web.  (Most of these I used to create a magical day at Hogwarts for my students, but the kitchen creations would be appreciated by fans of all ages.)

1.  Find or make yourself an owl and send letters by “owl post” in invisible ink.  (I was lucky enough to find a beautiful snowy owl stuffy at a yard sale, but several years ago I made a pompom owl for my mother as part of  Harry Potter-themed birthday present, that, of course, had to arrive by owl post.)  Or write letters in regular ink, or with calligraphy pens,  on “scrolls” (receipt or adding-machine tape works great for this!)

2.  Spend a day taking classes at Hogwarts! 

  • Herbology: create magical plants of your own with art supplies, or use your imagination and spend some time in the garden planting and caring for “magical” plants. 
  • Potions: think cooking or science experiments (magic mud is a favourite), or write your own
  • Transfiguration: play a game of charades
  • Charms: create your own spells
  • and if you have enough people, don’t forget to play a game of Quidditch (I have played a modified version with as few as seven people)

3.  Cook up some favourite Hogwarts treats by following some fun recipes on Heather Bailey’s site: Chocolate Wands, Butterbeer and mini broomsticks, Cockroach Clusters, and of course you could always make chocolate frogs or pretend any jelly beans are of the “Bertie Botts Every Flavoured” variety.   

Enjoy!   And remember: “Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus”

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I’ve been dreaming again.  Not the kind that you have at night (although I certainly have my fair share of those, too!) but the kind of dreams that make you think about all the exciting and wonderful things you could do.

This is nothing new to me, being somewhat of a “dreamer” by nature.  I would need several lifetimes to act on all the ideas for projects that run through my head on a daily basis.  Many of them come in and out and I never think of them again.

But sometimes I have an idea that seems to stick in my head long enough to start looking less like a dream, and more like a possibility.

After attending several online classes recently, I have been inspired to think about setting up an online sewing class.  I love sewing and I love sharing all that I have learned with others (I’m a teacher, after all!).   And with somewhat serendipitous timing, Crissy Heron, at Indie BizChicks.com, is offering a chance to win a spot in her course on how to teach an online class.   (Her site is full of great information on running a business!  If that’s your thing, be sure to check it out!)

So…I’m putting this idea out there, and we’ll see what happens!

What kind of crazy/awesome/exciting ideas are you pondering today?


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I spent several years in university studying play, imagination, creativity and learning.  I am a strong believer in play-based learning, on encouraging children’s imagination and creativity, and on using dramatic play, the arts, and imaginary worlds, to bring learning alive.   It is not uncommon for the students in my classroom to be archeologists, scientists and marketing experts as they venture into ancient Roman ruins, explore life at the bottom of the ocean, and enter into a boardroom discussion on the design of a new children’s toy, all without leaving the walls of our classroom.  We also like to hop into paintings, bring story characters alive, and experience historical events first hand. 

It is with this spirit, and with great respect for the imaginary worlds of young children, that I embarked on a sewing project for my students as a Christmas gift last year.  If you have been reading awhile, you might remember the puppets I created from my students’ monster drawings.  You can find them here, here and here.    

I really loved bringing the individual details to life, so when I opened up my Etsy shop, these custom mini-monsters were one of the first things I added to the store.

But I really wanted to take this concept and apply it to something a little bigger, something a little more cuddly.  A kind blog-reading friend graciously allowed me to borrow her children for a test run of the concept, and my first create-a-creatures were born.

I made them out of polar fleece for cuddly softness, and tried to be as true to the original drawings as possible.  I love how unique they are, and must admit it was a little sad to have to pack them in a box and send them away, but I am sure these two creatures were happy to meet their young designers! 

These cuddly custom designed creatures are now available to everyone in the shop

I couldn’t resist making a little something for my friend’s youngest daughter, even though she was too little to draw a picture.  This is my second attempt at the Black Apple Doll (my first attempt is here), made from flannel and fleece, with a cotton body.    I made the arms and legs slightly bigger this time and am much happier with the result! 

I hope all three of them enjoy many days of play with their new friends!
It is a happy talent to know how to play.   –Ralph Waldo Emerson

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