1.28.2011

A Sweet Treat

Remember this post from last February? The one where I linked to a delightful free pattern for bloomers, from the always inspiring Colette Patterns? Well, Sarai and her gang are back with more Valentine's goodness this year. Check it out:

Colette Valentine from anja verdugo on Vimeo.

How completely adorable! I just happen to have one of the featured patterns, Nutmeg, in my collection, perhaps there's something pretty in my future?

Have a great weekend, lovelies! See you next week...

1.27.2011

Retreat

Ryan and I escaped this last weekend for our Babymoon. For those of you not up on the current pre-baby practices, a babymoon is a bit like a honeymoon - the last chance for a couple to get away and enjoy some alone time before their lives change dramatically. Sounds good, right? Well, on the recommendation of friends, we booked ourselves for 2 nights at The Getaway, a quaint one-room cottage perched on a cliff overlooking the beach in Manzanita. It was heaven! We pretty much spent the entire time in our pj's, snuggled on the couch, looking out the picture windows and reading/knitting. But, rather than blathering on and on, why don't I just show you pictures?

Saturday Afternoon:








Sunday:

This pretty bird visited on Sunday morning. Any of my bird enthusiasts know what it is?



We realized later that this was technically Baby Bee's second trip to the beach. This was the first.



Monday Morning:

The view from our window.


1.24.2011

Kitchen Gnomes!!!


Have you seen these? Aren't they just the cutest? Leave it to Hilary to come up with such a sweet design...

Some of my embroidered kitchen towels are starting to look a little - exhausted. And why shouldn't they? I made them almost 10 years ago! You'd be exhausted, too, after almost 10 years of service - 10 years without a dishwasher to share the work. Maybe I can squeeze these in, between all of the baby projects. What do you think?

If you aren't already following Hilary's wonderful blog, you should. She's fantastic. While you're visiting, check out her freebies and her patterns 4 sale. I dare you to not be completely smitten!

Dresses!!!

Hope you all had a great weekend! I wanted to start this week off with a peek at some of the dresses I've been sewing for myself on days off. So far, I've used two patterns: the Schoolhouse Tunic, from Sew Liberated, and Burda 8377.

Wings

My very first, from scratch, maternity project! Mom & Dad gave me the pattern for my birthday, back in November. Almost immediately, I went out and bought the softest, most beautiful fabric I could find and got busy sewing. Though the dress's shape is simple, parts of the construction are a tad tricky. Specifically, I'm referring to the drawstring waist. I spent all kinds of time trying to mark out where to place the drawstring casing, which is on the inside of the dress, but sewn on from the outside. Not a fun exercise. Otherwise, easy peasy!

Oh, and what is this stunning fabric, you ask? Why, it's a cotton lawn by Alexander Henry called Como - I picked mine up at Fabric Depot using my 40% off coupon, 'cause the lawn's are a bit spendy! Oh, and I keep forgetting to photograph the dress with the sweater I like to layer over top, but it's this one. The colors are perfect, and both the dress and cardi are luxuriously soft. I feel beautiful when wearing them.

Little Birds

Leah, a co-worker at Close Knit, confirmed my suspicions that the School House Tunic could make a great maternity dress. She said that she made a few a size or two larger than normal and wore them quite comfortably through her pregnancies and to nurse. Sweet! My first version was made with another Alexander Henry print, called "june song", which I picked up at Bolt.


In addition to going up a couple of sizes in both the bodice and skirt pieces, I left off the pleats and instead gathered the extra skirt fabric at the front of the dress. (Thanks for the suggestion, Mom!)

Adrienne was awesome enough to help take some photos at the end of a long day at work, which goes towards explaining the considerable wrinkles in the dress and the crazy lighting. You might recognize the cardigan as this one, finished in November.

Petite Fleur

My second SHT, maternity style. I wasn't quite sure if I'd have enough room in the skirt of Little Birds, so I went up yet another skirt size for this one. This time, I left in the original pleats and I also dropped the front hem down an inch. Actually, I had intended to do that with the last one, too, but got distracted and didn't follow the cutting line I'd marked for myself. Oops!


The fabric for this one, picked up at FD, is from Free Spirit's "Nest" collection and is called "Berries," but I think the print reminds me more of little flowers. So there. I wore it for a shift at Close Knit, where Jenni very kindly helped me get photos, with this cardi and was very snuggly all day. The hat and scarf have been around for ages, made with yarn gifted to me by Sanna at the start of my knitting career.

Impressions

My most recently finished dress, out of another Alexander Henry print, "dasha," picked up at Bolt. This time, I bought some awesome tracing paper and a wheel to help mark the lines for the drawstring casing, which made the process a bit easier. If I make another, though, I'm just gonna apply the casing to the outside of dress, like I did here, which would also have the added bonus of eliminating the need for buttonholes.

Obligatory side-view. These photos were taken Sunday the 16th, so this is pretty much how I'm looking now.

I wore this outfit last Sunday for a brunch date with my sweetie, cardi info here. We tried a new-ish place over in Sellwood, called Hash, and were pleasantly surprised by how yummy everything was. Sometimes I have trouble trying new brunch places 'cause we already don't get to our tried-and-true favorites as often as I'd like.

After brunch, Ryan took me to the Portland Art Museum, where we saw a visiting piece by Thomas Moran (stunning), this new exhibit (thought provoking), and the main reason for our visit - some "new" Monet's. The museum currently has not one, but two Waterlilies on display, as well as two other Monet's. I'm not ashamed to say that I stood in front of one of the Waterlilies and cried. (Lest you think it's all just pregnancy hormones, this would not be the first time viewing work by Monet has moved me to tears!)

That's enough of my rambling on and on for now. There are currently 3 more maternity dresses in the works, as well as several finished baby projects to share - and many more on the way, so stay tuned!

Oh, and another big "Thank You" to Adrienne, Jenni & Ryan for helping me get some of these photos!

1.21.2011

38 Years

Today is the 38th Anniversary of the passage of Roe V. Wade. Reproductive Choice is a cause that has long been very close to my heart. I firmly believe that access to basic health care, including the full scope of reproductive care, is a basic right. Furthermore, I sincerely feel that denying these rights/access to care acts as a tool to keep women of all races and socio-economic classes in positions of inequality. In light of my beliefs, this last round of elections and the immediate onslaught of anti-choice legislation being introduced in the Congress, has left me heart broken. The sense of injustice and frustration I feel, when I allow myself to really think about it, chokes me and brings tears to my eyes.

As I get ready to bring my own baby into this world, I am reminded even more of the importance of access to affordable healthcare - which must include safe and affordable access to abortion.

If you would like more information about the current fight for reproductive choice:
  • And here's a very thoughtful essay on today's anniversary.

1.19.2011

Maternity Clothes, Round 1

So, um, sorry about the long silence. I had planned to be back much, much sooner than this. I had intended to wish you all the very best for your holidays. But, then I got so caught up in my intense work schedule that there really was nothing extra in me... Now things are returning to bits of normal and I've got so very much to share with you!

Remember when I took one of Ryan's abandoned shirts last summer and turned it into a cute little sun-top for myself? Well, my first round of maternity sewing also involved the transformation of several of Ryan's shirts. I should say right up front that the inspiration for these came from here. (Thanks, Megan!) These projects were all done in essentially the same way and worked up really fast - a blessing during a period when I was extremely short on time but need to get some sewing done! Also, if you're wondering why I would make elbow-length sleeves for shirts I'm planning to wear through a winter pregnancy, Ryan keeps busting out the right elbow of his work shirts. He's not sure how it happens, but I'm thinking that he's sneaking back to the file room to arm wrestle with the guys... Without further ado, here are my 1st four maternity projects!

Frost:

This shirt has been in my alterations pile for years. It had an unfortunate and stubborn stain on the button band, which turned out to be easy enough to cover using a patch made from a piece of the pocket I removed. After that, I just added elastic under my bust by zig-zagging it directly onto the fabric - no casing to screw with!


There are so many layering options, but one of the coziest is this long jacket I crocheted several years ago. Sorry about the funny color in these two shots, but I took the pictures in the evening, after the light was gone...

Snow:

Like Frost, this was created with the simple addition of elastic under the bust. Also, I removed the pockets, cut off the sleeves at the elbows, turned the hem up to create a casing, and threaded through some elastic. Voila!

I really like this particular top with this vest I knit a while back...

Silver:

I did a little more work on this one. The sateen at the inside of the collar was a bit worse for the wear, so I removed the collar and added some black velveteen piping, picked up at Bolt, around the edge of the collar stand. The shirt seemed to still be missing something, so I also added some elastic velvet trim under the bust for this shot. Since taking the photo, I've bought regular velvet ribbon to just wrap under the bust and tie in a bow, which is even cuter. Love this top with my stretchy (!) black velveteen pants. Now, I just need a party to attend!

Plum:

Last, but not least, the fabulous Plum. I've always loved this shirt. Ryan picked it, and the silver one, out by himself. I was blown away. Who knew? Anyway, once they were too worn for him to continue wearing to the office, I snapped them right up!

I put this little outfit together for a shift at Close Knit. The sweater is a hand-me-down from Alexis, but I knit the hat! (More info here.) Oh, and many thanks to Adrienne for helping me get these last couple of shots!

Finally, I thought I'd show you what I wore to Ryan's office Christmas Party. This was the next day or the day after, so my hair & makeup aren't party-ready, but we were in such a hurry to get out the door that evening that I forgot to stop and take pictures!

The pants are the wide-legged stretchy black velveteen ones you saw above. They've been in my collection for years and years and years. The satin bustier was a gift from Alexis for my 30th birthday. I've got to admit that my now fuller bustline really improves the fit! The shrug is also from my 30th birthday. I knit it especially for the occasion, details here, and it just happened to look great with the bustier!

After Lex found the bustier, she made this lovely necklace to wear with it. She also made a sweet little pair of drop earrings, but I forgot to take a picture of those - oops!

Ok, so that's a little peek at some of what I've been up to during the odd moments when I wasn't working over the holiday season. I have lots more to show you over the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned. I promise not to keep you waiting!

P.S. I almost forgot to mention that I put up a new header, so check it out!