Sunday, May 23, 2010

Nap time

The biketopus has been out of commission for the past few days. I spent most of yesterday trying out different nap spots in the house -- the couch, the hammock, the bed, the hammock again... Looks like I'll be doing that for much of today as well.

Hopefully I will feel more perky in time for our bike vacation next weekend. In the meantime, you can find me in the hammock...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

DIY fabric!

I've been spending too much time today idly poking around the internet, but along my travels I made an amazing discovery: a website that lets you design and print your own fabric! How have I not managed to see this before? It's called, and it looks like you basically just upload an image file and they print it out for you. The fabric choices are really great, too -- not just boring quilting weight cotton, but also cotton sateen and cotton lawn. I'm drooling over this now.

I'm ABSOLUTELY going to try this out at some point, but since it's a little spendy I'll have to think about what I want to make first. Perhaps not surprisingly, my first instinct is to make some sort of science inspired design. Imagine, for example, an electrophoresis stripe pattern in a cotton lawn:

I can see that being amazing with this pattern, which I just so happen to have coming my way when my SO's parents come over from Germany this summer.

I'm also totally obsessed with the Brainbow mouse images, although my SO thinks this would be ugly as fabric:

Or what about another amazing neuron print based on something like this, with two different contrasting colors:

Don't you just want to make some fabric right now? Some day, some day!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Birthday crafting

My SO's 30th birthday was a few weeks ago, so there was lots of birthday crafting and cooking going on around here! He's tricky to buy for, and I usually just end up pestering him until he gives me a good gift idea and then get him exactly what he asks for. This year it was a mini video camera. You can check out his blog, where he's already got up some bumpy shots of us on the bikes. He's quite happy with the present (although I kind of regret it since it means I'll probably end up in a lot of videos!), but I wanted to do at least some things for him that involved more skill than just handing over my credit card.

First, I tried my hand at making one of his favorite cakes, an apple marzipan cake that his mom used to make for him on his birthday. When he was living in Germany, his mom would actually mail this cake to him -- that's how efficient the German post is, you can get a spoilable item to the other side of the country in 24 hours, no special services required. Meanwhile, I'm a mere five hours away from my parents, and I'm still waiting on a package that my mother mailed weeks ago. Sigh!

Here's how the cake turned out:

He says this isn't what it looks like when his mom makes it, so it's possible that something went amiss in all of the weight to volume conversions that I had to do on the recipe. Appearances aside, this was a pretty tasty cake! Very sweet, though... one slice later and I was taking a sugar-induced afternoon nap.

The other present that I made for him was actually something that I'd promised as a Christmas present, but was obviously veeeerrrry behind in finishing. I got him a wooden serving tray, and told him I would paint him a design of his choosing on it. He likes eating on the couch with a tray and is always complaining about the trays that we have -- too small, too flimsy, nothing just right! Here's a picture of the tray a month or so ago, halfway through painting:

The image is from The Trip to Panama, a German kid's book from a series that features a tiger and a bear (this edition is in English, though). It's really cute, and I had a fun time painting this. Here's what it looked like in the end, after a bit more painting and many coats of stinky spray varnish:
I love how the bear is sitting on a pillow on the couch. I always accuse my SO of just sitting down without looking to see what's actually on the couch first, so it seems pretty appropriate. At some point I may try to figure out some way of making the surface of the tray more heat proof, but for now it works well.

The only downside to all this crafting is that now I've exhausted my supply of SO gift/craft ideas. I think he needs to get another bike soon so I can help him outfit that!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wedding dress done!

Yay! The summer wedding dress is finally complete. I finished off the last of the hemming tonight... I nearly finished last night, but I was tired and afraid of messing it up in the final step and being really annoyed later. So, I saved it for tonight and it went pretty smoothly, although I did make one tiny little nick in the chiffon when I was trimming it to make the baby hem. I really need to get some duckbill scissors at some point, because I find myself doing baby hems a lot these days. My Pfaff also has a rolled hem foot that probably would have worked well for doing this, but I haven't taken the time to figure out how to use it yet and I didn't want to mess up on this dress.

I'll get my SO to take some nice pictures of me soon, but for now here's a grainy mirror shot on me. The sewing dummy doesn't fill it out very well, so it's not a fair impression! The fit turned out really well despite the fact that I didn't make a muslin, and it has great coverage so I can wear it with my normal bras.

I made a straight size 10 in this pattern, with very few alterations. As you can see I had no problems with the shoulders and the bust, which are normally big problem areas for me fit wise. The gathers over the bust in this pattern make it easy to squeeze a few extra inches of cleavage in there with no fit problems -- It's probably just a little less gathered on me than on someone who's closer to the envelope measurements. The waist turned out true to the size on the envelope, unfortunately for me in this case. The pattern promised a finished waist of 31.5 inches, and since my waist is closer to 32 inches this was a bit tight. To get more room in the waist, I modified the pattern by taking out one set of darts in the back (there are four back darts in the pattern), which gave me about an extra inch in the waist. I made a pintuck along the line where the darts should have been to preserve the lines of the pattern. An easy fix without any redrafting!

Another small modification that I made was to underline the back panel with lining fabric, both to make it easier to make the darts and because the chiffon was so sheer that it would have made for an ugly seam at the back waistline. The pattern calls for lining and underlining the front waist and collar pieces, so I'm not sure why it doesn't suggest you do the same for the back as well. I also cut an extra inch off the hem to make it a just above the knee length. I'm pretty short, though, so if you're tall and making up this pattern you might want to add a couple inches just in case!

Phew! Okay, that's all for now. I've typed enough for tonight. I'll get my SO to take those pics, and I'll let the pictures do the talking for the next post!