March 2019 Recap

Ahem Ahem!

Since finishing my tax paperwork early (yay!) I’ve spent a lot of March working on various prototypes.

For one, after searching for an 8-point star pattern in vain, I tried making one myself. Getting the proportions how I wanted while retaining the symmetry turned out to be more challenging than I thought.

8-Point Star5

While this particular project is still ongoing, I also started on a storage bag one. I’ve got one potentially usable detail down and am still working on the rest. In contrast to previous years when I was still doing battle with paperwork at this time, it’s been lovely to be able to sew!

Inspired by Nikki’s tutorial at Tikkido, I made two bookmarks as gifts: a unicorn and a lobster. The images I found with an online search. The unicorn’s tail is made from cotton yarn and floss, the lobster’s antennae from wool yarn.

DIY Bookmark Unicorn

DIY Bookmark Lobster in Book

I don’t own a laminating machine, so I used a couple of layers of clear packing tape.

March started with an odd stop in the progress of spring. February had seemed to bring us an early spring with fine weather, but then we got several dumps of snow in succession. The last big one came on March 10th, and seems indeed to have been the last one.

Hopefully Last Snowfall

Husband and I took a short spring break trip to southern Ohio to see friends. I loved how much further along spring was there!

Spring Flowers in S Ohio

Unfortunately, I also got sick during the trip and have spent ten days (and counting) nursing a very stubborn cold.

Sick in Munchkin Terms

I hope that’ll be it for the rest of the year. At least it gave me the chance to read.

How was your March?

August 2018 Recap

Newsletters

With August, the work year returns to normal for those of us with connections to schools and the academia. As usual, there was a flurry of activity.

Printing More Thank You Cards

To top it off, Husband and I did some home improvement projects, so my sewing time was extremely limited. I did manage to sew some headbands for myself and as gifts.

First Try Headbands

I used Cat’s tutorial as a starting point, and made a few alterations. Luckily I had large enough Marimekko unikko (poppy) fabric pieces to kill two birds with one stone: reduce my remnants pile and make gifts. Two of them are scarf-style which I figured out myself, only to discover patterns online. Ohwell. 🙂

In addition, the newest World of Warcraft expansion, Battle for Azeroth, was released. I took my druid out first.

WoW BfA Heart of Azeroth Aug 2018

Juggling everything on my schedue AND adding new gaming content, even if I couldn’t play as much as I would’ve wanted to, meant I barely had time or the brain power to read. (Apparently I tend to put all of my media consumption, regardless of the shape the media comes in, into the same time slot. Hm. I’ll have to consider changing the tendency.)

Provenance by Ann Leckie turned out the most enjoyable: family, inheritance, culture and politics with a little action sprinkled in. I’m so looking forward to September; things should calm down and I hope to get more time to read again.

Did you read or watch anything worth recommending?

Colorful, Geometric Quilt Patterns

Arts & Crafts, Design & Designers

Oh, wow, I love the colorful, geometric quilt patterns by Elizabeth Hartman.

Elizabeth Hartman Fancy Forest and Delightful Desert Collage

Elizabeth Hartman / Oh, Fransson; collage by Eppu Jensen.

I first found them while browsing for various fox crafts, and didn’t have time to immerse myself in her other patterns until now. There are so many great ones I can’t choose a favorite, or even a few favorites. For example, there are these unicorns with colorful manes…

Elizabeth Hartman Lisa the Unicorn

Elizabeth Hartman / Oh, Fransson.

…and (erudite) hedgehogs:

Elizabeth Hartman Hazel Hedgehog II

Elizabeth Hartman / Oh, Fransson.

In addition, the patterns include swans, feathers, sloths, butterflies, owls, whales and llamas, to mention a few. And the colors in the sample quilts are gorgeous…! Even though I said it already, I’m gonna say it again: so hard to choose! 🙂

Did you find a favorite?

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

June 2018 Recap

After Hours, Newsletters

This month, I tested a bucket bag pattern to make two canvas pouches. They have a round bottom, which allows them to stand upright when empty.

Green and White Canvas Pouches Done

The canvas has a really great, understated floral pattern outlined in white. I added a coordinating green and white polka dot accent (a better view here). I just need to finish the documentation and take more pictures, then I can list them in the shop.

I use similar baggies to organize my socks, undies and bras when traveling, and find them very handy. These ended up really cute, even if I say so myself. 🙂 I’m also finishing another, slightly taller pair from teal floral canvas.

Otherwise, I spent most of my sewing time adapting patterns and making clothes for myself. Last year, I made a bunch of tops mostly out of linen…

Top Pattern Fabric Cut

Clothing for Myself Tops 2017

I already picked apart the grey top’s neckline to re-do. 🙂

So, this year, to go with the tops, I adjusted a pajama pants pattern into two (day) shorts variants, one without and the other with a side seam.

Apart from creating a pattern that fits me well, it was great to use some of my leftover fabric with the first few test pairs. Some were highly experimental, others used up bits and pieces that by themselves were too small to make anything. At times I had to be very creative to make a whole pair of shorts!

Then I wanted to add pockets to the shorts without a side seam. That lead to more experiments…

Experimental Pocket Done

I may have gone a little overboard – I now have five new pairs of shorts! Also, I want to make a pattern for a pantskirt (with pockets, naturally) and add pockets to a dress pattern I like. Good grief, I may have unleashed a pocket monster! 😀

Speaking of pantskirts – is that the English word commonly used? The Finnish term I grew up with is the same word for word (housuhame). I did also find the translation ‘coulottes’, but I don’t have a good enough of a grasp of that or pantskirt. Coulottes does ping my medieval or Renaissance-era brain, but that may just be the ex-SCAdian in me talking.

As usual, I took a few days off to enjoy the midsummer, and it was glorious. For one, wild roses in our neighborhood were absolutely loaded with blossoms this year.

White Roses Blooming

The only interference came from the trees:

Washed-out Pollen

A-choo!

On the other hand, blossoming allergies meant I had a great excuse to stay inside and play more WoW. 🙂 I set the game aside last month, but now I wanted to get back to mop up last quests and achievements before the Battle for Azeroth expansion is released in August.

WoW Legion Warlock Weapon Imbued Jun 2018

Both spring and summer were late this year, but we finally have pleasant summer weather. I hope it is enjoyable wherever you are!

Last Weekend to Bid in the Con or Bust 2018 Auction!

Arts & Crafts, Geek out!

Reminder: this is your last weekend to bid in the Con or Bust 2018 auction! Bidding ends this Sunday, April 22, 2018, at 4 p.m. EST.

I made this rainbow heart banner specifically for the auction.

Rainbow Banner on Bookcase

Have a look at the 2018 auction info, visit the Con or Bust website for more information or browse the 2018 auction tags. (More info on my rainbow banner here.)

Con or Bust, Inc., is a U.S.-based, tax-exempt not-for-profit organization that helps people of color/non-white people attend SFF conventions. Con or Bust isn’t a scholarship and isn’t limited to the United States, to particular types of con-goers, or to specific cons; its goal is simply to help fans of color go to SFF cons and be their own awesome selves. It is funded through donations and an online auction held annually.

As I’ve had firsthand experience of being on a miniature budget and having to limit my geeky hobbies accordingly, I decided to add Con or Bust to my list of things worthy of support. This is my third time donating.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Soft Fox Crafts: A Short Roundup

Arts & Crafts, Design & Designers

My Internet feeds seem lately to be serving me with foxes left and right. Inspired by this serendipity, here’s a short roundup of soft fox crafts.

There’s so much personality in this Fancy Fox II quilting pattern by Elizabeth Hartman:

Elizabeth Hartman Fancy Fox II

Elizabeth Hartman / Oh, Fransson.

LOVE the fox with glasses!

Felt fox cup cosies made by Jaana at Hattaralandia:

Jaana Hattaralandia DIY joulu kettumukinsuojukset1

Jaana at Hattaralandia.

Jaana offers no tutorial, but there’s a second photo in her blog post that shows the fox sleeves spread out for additional details (NB. in Finnish only, and you have to scroll quite far to get to the foxes).

Knitted tea pot cosy pattern by Gina Michele:

GinaMichele Fox Tea Cosy Knitting Pattern

Gina Michele.

Looks so comforting, too, besides being full of awesome.

Finally, cute and awesome crochet pattern for fox slipper-socks – complete with a white tail tip!

Ravelry Divine Debris Meredith_Fox_Slippers_945x1000_medium2

Divine Debris / Ravelry.

Crochet pattern by Divine Debris at Ravelry. Is it finally time for me to dig up my crochet hook? (It’s been way too many years…) 🙂

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

My Con or Bust Donation for 2018

Arts & Crafts, Geek out!

Here is my donation for Con or Bust‘s yearly online auction for 2018: a rainbow heart banner.

Rainbow Banner

Each heart measures approx. 3” / 7 cm, and there’s one of each color (purple, red, orange, yellow, green and blue). They have vibrant fronts made from a variety of cottons and cotton blends, and the backsides are made from a linen blend in a neutral greyish beige hue.

Rainbow Banner Back Fabric

All fabrics come from my scraps bin, which reduces waste, as does filling the hearts with clippings (thread and small waste fabric).

Rainbow Banner Hexagon

The hearts form an approx. 53” / 135 cm banner with the help of baker’s twine, with loops at both ends for hanging.

Because of the neutral backing, the banner looks best hung against a wall or other flat surface.

Rainbow Banner on Bookcase

However, as I strung it up for photos, I noticed that the hearts have a tendency to swivel, which would make a nice effect if hung somewhere where air currents can gently sway the banner.

Rainbow Banner on Door Frame

Bidding will start next Monday, April 09, 2018. Before that, you can have a look at the 2018 auction info, visit the Con or Bust website for more information or browse the 2018 auction tags.

Con or Bust, Inc., is a U.S.-based, tax-exempt not-for-profit organization that helps people of color/non-white people attend SFF conventions. Con or Bust isn’t a scholarship and isn’t limited to the United States, to particular types of con-goers, or to specific cons; its goal is simply to help fans of color go to SFF cons and be their own awesome selves. It is funded through donations and an online auction held annually.

As I’ve had firsthand experience of being on a miniature budget and having to limit my geeky hobbies accordingly, I decided to add Con or Bust to my list of things worthy of support. This is my third time donating.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

DIY Padded Book Sleeves for Traveling

Arts & Crafts, Books & Mags, DIY

Nicole Collins at The Yummy Muffin made these book sleeves for traveling:

The Yummy Muffin Nicole Collins Book Sleeves

Nicole Collins at The Yummy Muffin.

Nicole used ¼ inch (6 mm) thick flex foam for padding and lined the sleeves for good measure.

What a great idea – your books are padded but easily accessible. And the size, shape, opening (with or without closure) and materials are infinitely customizable.

Visit Nicole’s how-to for more!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Quick Tip: Bobbin Case Cleanup with a Makeup Brush

Arts & Crafts, Behind the Scenes, DIY

For a quick and dirty (pardon the pun!) bobbin case cleanup, I use a small makeup brush. A narrow-tip brush fits well into the crevices of the bobbin case as well as the sides and the back of the bobbin area. A wide-tip one (like for spreading blush) works really well for dusting the bobbin door.

Sewing Machine Bobbin Case Cleanup

I bought an inexpensive set of brushes specifically for the purpose. (The brushes should be good enough quality to not lose bristles inside the machine, though.)

This quick cleanup isn’t good enough to replace a thorough cleaning, of course, but it seems to tide my machine over quite well. Besides, it’s so fast and easy that I’m more likely to do it often. 🙂

Do you have any favorite tips for sewing machine care? Do share!