Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Little Things

There is nothing better than a 3-day weekend full of friends, good food, and a doing the small things that make you happy. For me this weekend, that included baking a bienenstich (a German cake that is my new dessert obsession), playing Mario Kart Wii, and logging some time on my sewing machine.

On the sewing front, I finished a Peony dress. This is actually the second time I've made this pattern (the first Peony is blogged here), but it's such a classic silhouette and a straightforward pattern that I'd be happy sewing 100 Peonies. This time, I changed it up with a fun print and short sleeves.

I'm still having trouble with zippers. I've finally gotten over my confusion about inserting an invisible zip (Colette's invisible zipper tutorial helped) and am now working on inserting one, well, invisibly. You can see below how the blue zipper tape shows down the back of the dress. I think the key is ironing the zipper flat before sewing to put the seam line as close to the edge of the zipper teeth as possible. We'll see how my next invisible zip goes using this trick.

The zipper exemplifies where my current sewing skills are: I feel comfortable with a lot of the techniques of sewing, but I'm still working on the small details of the execution. For example, I'm not fazed by bust darts but need to remember that there is bust awkwardness if you accidentally end them in the wrong place (ask me how I know that one). So yeah, good with the mechanics, need to work on the execution.

It's not that my execution is bad, it's just that getting the details right is one of my goals going forward. In the meantime, I'm creating clothing that I love and am happy wearing. This dress is definitely in both of those categories.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


It's been quieter than usual on this blog for the past few months while I've been finishing up my master's degree, but I'm happy to say that I officially graduated on Sunday!

I enjoyed a low-key celebration with dinner and a special ceremony just for my program. It was nice to mark the occasion, but I'm really looking froward to getting back to normal life.

Hopefully, normal life includes an uptick of crafting and of blogging about it here. I'm really looking forward to the next chapter of my life and sharing it here with you!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013


I'm so excited to show you the super secret project I was working on last week, a rosary:

Husband and I made this rosary for our goddaughter's baptism, him creating the olive wood cross and me doing all of the bead work. We don't usually do joint crafting projects but this rosary was a perfect alignment of our skill sets and the need for a special and religious gift. I can honestly say that this is one of the best things I've ever made.

While I've done quite a few wire projects previously, this one has some special details that make it stand out. First, I used a different wire than normal: stainless steel. Not only will this wire not tarnish, but it's also strong enough to stay in place without needing the more complex wrap for each loop. (With well over 100 loops to make, doing a simpler wrap saved me so much time.) The other detail I love is the Y-connector near the cross, which has the Virgin Mary on one side and Jesus on the other. It was pure luck to find it at the bead shop as it's the perfect connector for a rosary.

This rosary is also the biggest wire project I have done to date. It took several evenings to put together but I found the work quite meditative. Thankfully, I have plenty of beads leftover from my trip to the local bead shop, so I'm looking forward future evenings of meditative wire-work.

My goddaughter is still a little too young to appreciate this gift, but I hope she grows to love her rosary in time. And I'm also hoping that some day she will hang out with her godparents without crying.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Well Hello There

I'm so happy to be back blogging today because it means that I'm feeling human again. There's nothing quite like a cold followed by a flu to make you appreciate normalcy. Thankfully, I'm on the mend and feeling up to doing things other than laying on the couch all day.

I didn't make it out of the house much in the last two weeks, but I did manage a visit to a local bead shop, Planet Bead, to purchase supplies for two new projects. It is a lovely little store in downtown Milwaukee with a great selection of beads and beading materials. While I ended up spending more on beads that I had planned, I'm really happy with what I got and how the first project is coming together.

I can't show off too much of this project yet, but I will say that it is probably my favorite wire and bead project ever. It's beautiful and special and almost finished. I promise full pictures next week!