Thursday, May 21, 2009

Farmhouse Style Quilt

Since I'm clearly obsessed with sewing this week I am posting a quilt and baby kimono that I've been working on the last month or so for my first nephew, Huey Sidey. The kimono is called Lucy's Kimono and was the first project I completed from Weekend Sewing. It actually was simple! The quilt was inspired from the pattern in Denyse Schmidt's book and the original was called "Hop, Skip, Jump." Though the color palate is a little foreign to me, I've started to think of it as a schoolhouse/farmhouse kind of quilt and am kind of okay with it.

Heather Ross Smocked Sundress Woes

I have a knack for turning easy into difficult and making difficult look easy.
I completed my second project in Heather Ross's book, Weekend Sewing. I was going to do it on Monday but then I read on her blog that she was going to be on Martha this past Tuesday. So I decided to wait to see her in action. It looked so easy! It read so easy! It was not that easy. Though it might have been, had I not bought my precious Babylock sewing machine to replace the workhorse Brother of years past. This Babylock has an issue with bobbins. Bobbins are always jamming! The dress has six lovely rows of smocking at the top. To make the smocked stitching one is supposed to load the upper thread normally and hand wind the bobbin with elastic thread. Sounds easy enough. It wasn't. I sewed up all six of my rows and headed over to the iron and spray bottle for the next step. Spray, watch elastic shrink, and iron... instant smocking effect. On Martha, Heather's dress started a semi-smock right there in the sewing machine. Not mine. Not even a little.
Eventually I realized it was all wrong and beyond repair. I cut the top seven inches off and started fresh on scrap fabric (something I should have been doing anyway, lesson learned). I used new elastic thread, I rewound all the bobbins, I adjusted the tension, adjusted the stitch length. I did everything I could think of. Nothing changed. Finally, I got my abandoned Brother out of the garage, popped in a bobbin and sewed it perfectly. How can this be?! A $1k brand new electronic machine more fickle than something 8 years old without many more bells than a zipper foot?

I've made some other adjustments to the dress, I used an Amy Butler print to make bias straps and thought about doing a trim on the bottom (more jamming from Mr. Babylock so I eventually pulled it off). I did cut an extra couple of inches from the bottom after it looked to long in the photos I took of Mira in it. I'm thinking about adding a pocket. But am trying to finish up a quilt in time for dinner tonight. I'll keep you posted. Photos to come.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Open House Blues & Bright Ideas

The open house dashed my hopes of having a house with a pool before summer. Oh well! It was Lake Avenue and not my preferred street, the driveway proved to be unmanageable and the price still out of reach. A house like that begs for parties, parties beg for parking, homes on Lake have no parking.

So I moved on to newer better ideas. I'm wondering if the Baltimore market has a place for a fabric store like Purl Soho or Spool in Philly? Anyone reading care to weigh in? I know that every time I begin a project I spend lots of money shipping things from my favorite shops around the country, I know that none of the shops around here (Catonsville, Annapolis and Rockville) carry the breadth of the lines that I prefer. So it is something for me to think about. I've been getting excited about it all day and will probably be going wild for it by next Tuesday.

Oh, above is the hippo jacket that I made for Mira around Easter. I spent all day working on it, when I presented it to her she promptly declared, "I don't wanna like it." It took some convincing for her to try it on.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Good News and Bad News: Butterflies and Salted Caramel

Here's the first bit of good news... I have a new favorite ice cream. We were out visiting my siblings-in-law at the hospital following the delivery of their son and decided to stop at the Mt. Washington Whole Foods on the way home. We took Lake from GBMC (bear with me, this is going somewhere...), passed a house that I remember seeing an open house for and a couple other places that made my mouth start watering for real estate again. This, after a day of disappointing HoCo open houses was quite the promising lead for us. As we approach the grocery I see Sylvan Beach and am reminded of the ice cream I used to get from the Mt. Vernon location years ago... we agree to skip dinner and have ice cream after I pick up all the miscellaneous items I would have needed for dinner. As we approach the door we both agree that a return to city life could be just what we need. Mega stores are great and all but I love the small town vibe of this part of the city. 

I ordered the Salted Caramel with peanuts on top and it was the best ice cream I have ever had. I do like the Ben & Jerrys Coffee Heath Bar Crunch (which I call Coffee Toffee Crunch), but it is so rich... the salted caramel is better than the best I've ever had.

Next good news... we finally found an almost city neighborhood that we both love, Lake Roland. We were driving down Hollins Ave (off Lake) following the real estate signs and stumbled up one that I was so thrilled with I swore we could move in that very night... Little did I know it was 1.5 million dollars. Sadly we cannot afford those payments just yet and that would be the bad news.

But the other good news is that there is a house on Lake Avenue in Roland Park that I may like even better. Have to wait till the Brokers open on Wednesday to find out though. Inactive licensee status is a bummer once you get the real estate butterflies.
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