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May 26, 2006

aprons and me(mes)

Here's the meme we're all doing for the What's Cookin' apron/recipe swap. It was harder than you might think, since I only came up with maybe 3 of these!

1. first apron (that you can remember)
An eyelet apron from Germany, part of a traditional outfit my mom's friend brought back when I was maybe 5. I loved that outfit, and I still have the apron! Somewhere...update: still can't remember where it is, but I found one old polaroid in my photo album that shows me wearing it. At the duckpond, apparently.

my first apron

2. last (most recent) apron
If it has to be finished, then it's my "White Christmas" apron that I did for the holiday theme Tie One On. Otherwise, it's my still unfinished entry for the Tie One On white/yellow theme from April -- I threw my back out the last week of April and couldn't finish it, and since I blew getting it into the TOO gallery, well, I just haven't finished it.

3. dream/favorite apron
Last year I had some of this fabric laminated on the front to make a waterproof apron; originally I was going to use it to make an apron from this pattern, but now I want to use the pattern Rebecca used here. All that bias tape though...yikes!

4. dream sewing machine
I'm happy with my current sewing machine and serger -- if I was better with the serger I might want a fancier one. And someday I wouldn't mind a full-on embroidering machine. At the moment my mad money dream is to get one of these Hello Kitty sewing machines to give Emily when she's bigger! Green or blue...who can choose?

5. what do you put in your pockets? or what strange thing have you ever found in them?
I don't have pockets in any of my clothes except some of my coats and jackets. I rarely use them, but every year when I get them in the fall I find something odd in at least one pocket. Little toys I can't remember getting, usually.

6. condiment(s) you can't live without
I've lived in the NYC area long enough to say mustard. Soy sauce, also.

7. do you wear more showy aprons or dutiful ones?
Definitely the duty aprons.

8. favorite cooking gadget
Could not live without my bread machine and rice cooker.

9. cooking gagdet that promised the world but didn't deliver
The indoor grill we bought -- it just was too much trouble and mess.

10. a recipe that you know by heart and any stories behind it
I don't cook with recipes that often, but one thing that needs a recipe which I do have memorised is baked macaroni and cheese -- it's the actual recipe from the Automat company. Evan wanted me to try it to see if it was like he remembered and it turned out to be the best macaroni we'd ever had.

May 20, 2006

this week's craftiness

stencilled cat face shirt

Finally, I got the chance to try my hand at a freezer paper stencil; I'd been wanting to do it for a while since I definitely don't have time to mess with even the simplest screenprinting. This morning I made this swing shirt for Emily, and it came out really swell, we thought! The design is a little cat face from the credit sequence of Totoro. (See it bigger here!) It was pretty easy too -- I pencilled the design on the freezer paper (on the dull side), cut out the stencil with an x-acto, laid the pieces out on the shirt (shiny side down) and ironed them on. Then dabbed on some black fabric paint, peeled up the stencil pieces (the only really scary step), let the paint dry and heat-set it. I'm sure there's loads of tutorials but I basically followed the system I saw here (where I first saw this idea), especially Amy's brilliant step of adding freezer paper behind the stencil as well. I didn't let it dry overnight though -- I used the blow-dryer on it and heat set it so I could put everything back away as fast as possible. We're all excited to make more stencils!

Also this week, a new washcloth bib, made from an Astroboy washcloth someone gave us years ago (I'm thinking it was our friend Devon but I'm not sure). I think Emily loves it way more than we do!

astro-bib!

May 15, 2006

All Purpose and Kitchen Tested!!

minilogo.jpg

I'm excited to finally unveil a project my galpal Mary and I have been working on for literally months -- What's Cookin', an apron & recipe swap. The idea is to swap handmade aprons and some of your favorite recipes with like-minded crafty types. I think it'll be lots of fun, so if the idea sounds at all interesting, come on over and read all about it. And maybe I'll see you in the sign-up list!

March 24, 2006

clothing make-overs!

boba jumper

I've always been really into the idea of cutting down old clothes that still had some wear left in them into kid's clothes -- but until now, I didn't have a kid to re-make anything for! Now that I do, I've started experimenting with the idea. I already had cut down some old pajamas into a pair of pants, which worked out great (and also remade a pair of footed leggings into cuffed pants, making them last an extra 3-4 months!). And this week I finished the best project so far, this cute little geek-baby Boba Fett jumper! The pattern came from a Japanese pattern magazine; the fabric came from this ILM staff shirt someone gave Evan a while back. It was very cool, but big and starting to wear around the collar. So I decided it was the perfect subject.

First, I made a test jumper, using a very old and raggedy cotton shirt I'd bought at Pearl River Mart maybe a decade ago. It came out cute, but halfway through I realized the fabric was worse off than I'd thought, so I cheated and used velcro on the tabs. It looks good on her anyway. And once that came out well, I went for the Boba shirt.

I only had two real challenges: first, the back had the ILM logo across it, so I had to piece the jumper's back to avoid it. Second, I haven't sewn a buttonhole in so long, I apparently forgot how. Several test buttonholes later, I decided to cheat! So those are actually fakes, with snaps sewn on underneath. Maybe next time...

Now we have a small stack of favorite-but-worn t-shirts to be made-over for the next few years. Evan can't wait til I get to his Batboy shirt, but it's so huge, I don't think she'll be getting that one til she's 3 or 4. Jumpers ahoy!

November 22, 2005

this apron has a story

Since the Tie One On holiday theme was extended to December 1st (whew!) for November I want to share this apron with you instead. Now, if you know me well enough to know how I dress, you're probably thinking "white eyelet? that doesn't seem like you..." and you'd be right. No, I'd never pick white eyelet for an apron -- too lacy, too frou frou, too white (me and white clothes are a bad thing together...can you say immediate food spill?). But the thing is, I didn't pick it out. I bought this pattern because I'd been wanting this particular design for an apron project I had in mind (and still haven't started!), but the copy I found came complete with someone's pinned and cut fabric! I decided to go ahead and complete the apron on behalf of the original owner, and it was a really cool thing to do. There's no way to know when the fabric was cut out or why it was never sewn together, but I had a lot of fun speculating and thinking about the idea of finishing someone else's project for them. I hope someone would do the same for me!

I did have to make one alteration in the pattern though -- the shoulder straps are meant to cross over the back and button to the waistband, but when I tried on the apron to figure out where the buttons should go I discovered that the straps didn't get anywhere near the waistband! This pattern was definitely not meant for someone who's 5'10". So I converted the straps to a halter and it worked out just fine.

Here's to whoever started this apron -- glad I could finish that up for you!



this apron has a storysimplicity 1756
(photos link to larger images)

October 31, 2005

tie one on - October!

apron-oct-thumb.jpgThe theme for this month was mixed media and my apron is done! Update: Gallery is up!

I worked my way through a ton of plans on this one, unlike the other two. Originally, I wanted to do potato prints of kitcheny icons. But, I couldn't find fabric paint in the colors I wanted, and I couldn't find fabric I thought was suitable for making the actual apron. So I had just about resigned myself to not doing it at all.

But then, on the way back from the symposium at Duke, we stopped to get gas and found this huge thrift store (where I bought a bunch of cookbooks and some baby clothes for Emily) -- and in the linen section was the perfect dishtowel for making an apron! And amazingly. still clean and white (it was from a linen service, and the others were all stained) So I brought it home and did a quick-and-easy dishtowel apron. But then, what to put on it?

The potato prints were out, I had never found the colors I wanted. At first I thought of doing a comic (maybe of someone making a recipe or something) but I realized I'd never have the time to write it, much less draw it. Then I got the idea to do a mini-version of our House of Fun classic series "Life's Great Rewards" (these strips are pages of small panels, each containing iconic things we love. Evan and I have both done them.) but I couldn't settle on which things to draw. As I was trying to make a list in my head, I realized I was mostly thinking of food. And mostly, food that started with a "C"!

So, thus was born this month's apron, "C Is For...". Drawn freehand on a dishtowel apron in marker (panels ruled with a piece of junk mail) and colored in design markers.



Tie one on OctoberTie one on OctoberTie one on October
(photos link to larger images)

October 02, 2005

more on tea towels

The September Tie One On gallery is up! Some very cute submissions, too. I forgot when I wrote about my apron to mention that I had really wanted to track down a set of Nigella Lawson's cupcake-motif towels for my apron. But, they're UK-only and incredibly expensive for kitchen towels. Close to $30 for kitchen towels? That you're going to get dirty? Even for a set of 4 that's a lot. Still, if I could have bought them around here I might have thought about it...

September 28, 2005

tie one on - September

toosept-thumb.jpg This month's tie one on assignment was to make an apron from a tea towel (or dish towel, kitchen towel, bar towel, etc.) Easy as pie, and after one false start (okay, maybe not as easy as pie) I had this cute pink apron made from a vintage kitchen towel.

Continue reading "tie one on - September" »

September 22, 2005

Instant baby bibs!

Well, practically instant, anyway, and depending on the materials you use, they may even be free!

Continue reading "Instant baby bibs!" »

September 02, 2005

the apron!


Sarah's apron on flickr
Originally uploaded by angry chicken.
So, here's the apron. Obviously, the full-size one is on the left. It's based on a vintage "hostess apron" pattern that I have. Unfortunately, the photo is not so good and Crushy slept on the apron for a few hours before I took the photo, making things worse. (Cats and fabric -- argh!!) The mini apron is for a Gene-sized doll, and fared much better -- no sleepy cat laying all over it, for one thing. The scale of the smaller one makes the fabric much stiffer, and makes me want to redo the pattern in a taffeta or something, I think it looks much better. I also like the bows better on the smaller one -- I did them that way because it was easier but they turned out nicer. It's a nice size and the pockets are great, if a bit deep. So I think I'll definitely rework this pattern in the future. Still, even though I'm not 100% happy with the results here, it was just pretty exciting to participate in something for the first time since that BABY arrived. ^_^

September 01, 2005

a project!

OMG! Like, a project! Very little in the way of projecty stuff has been going on around here since the arrival of the E.M.I.L.Y. cyborg. But, a friend of mine came across the very cool tie one on site and since I love sewing, love aprons (but, oddly, never remember to actually wear them) and have recently actually started two pretty major apron projects it seemed like a perfect thing to try. I've submitted my very badly photographed results and hopefully they'll make it into the August gallery. Sheesh, some people can pull off a gorgeous illustration every week in their spare time, me, I'm excited about a simple apron once a month. Or less.

November 16, 2002

the bright night sky (& Mr. Bunny)

It looks like it'll be too cloudy to see the Leonid meteor shower. Not that you can see much of the night sky here on a good day…light pollution being what it is. (Those of you with clear, dark, skies have no idea how lucky you are. And boy do I miss them.) Trying to find a good location to meteor-watch (before I saw the weather reports) I found Darksky.org, which sounds like a super-villain group, but is actually an educational non-profit working to improve the night sky.

In other news, I've finally finished our little store (I saw "we" because Evan has helped quite a bit, although he can't seem to finish my Mr. Bunny drawing!). My original idea, was, of course, a lot more complicated. But what it's boiled down to is a way for us to make little, limited run things of cute designs we come up with. "Cute" doesn't sell that well, so these are either the kinds of things that we know will only sell a few at most. Or they're things we only want to make available for a limited period of time. And if nothing else, we can make more stuff for ourselves. (That's all I've used Cafepress for over the past two years!) I know I'll be doing some X-mas shopping there myself.

July 04, 2002

schoolkid's smocks

Ugh. Jury duty awaits me Monday. I live in fear of somehow getting put on some 2-month trial. Even after trying to work ahead I still will have to start working again by the middle of the week. Blech. In good news, even in the rotten heat I finished a new project yesterday -- the adult-size-japanese-kindergarten-smock project. I love those smocks and I needed some sort of loose and light long-sleeved cover up for gardening and messy jobs. Unfortunately I had to extrapolate the pattern myself from tiny directions in a Japanese sewing book -- but attempt #2 came out great. It's just cheap muslin with some leftover purple linen for pockets and trim, very comfortable, will protect my arms and clothes perfectly. Not exactly flattering but that's not the point. Now that the pattern is worked out I want to make one up in cute fabric or with silly pockets. And I want my nephew to get bigger so I can make him one -- I have instructions for making one that looks like an Ultraman costume!

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