Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We Have a(n apartment) Home! plus Out on a Limb No. 4

We moved in to our apartment on Saturday. Finally, after nearly a full month, we have a home of our own!  Of course there are boxes everywhere and we won't have internet service set up until next week, but we are so happy to have our own space.  So, until I get back to regular posts and unpack all my creative stuff (can't wait!) here's Out on a Limb #4.

Since my "brand name" is Cat on a Limb you can only link up projects or creations where you went "out on a limb" in some way. Either a technique you've never tried before, or a tried and true technique applied to a new object, or something 100% new to you. I'd love to see how you all stretch your creativity (please keep it family friendly).

**Please grab the button and put it anywhere on your blog (your post, sidebar or party page).** I would like to get more participation and be able to help promote fellow bloggers!

Out on a Limb Tuesdays with Cat on a Limb

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Out on a Limb No. 3

Here it is, another Tuesday nearly gone already.  But I do have Out on a Limb ready for you.  The party will remain open through Saturday night so be sure to link up!

By the way, does anyone have any ideas to promote link parties that isn't just going through other bloggers' link parties and asking people to link up?  (I'm not sure about the etiquette on that type of thing)

Since my "brand name" is Cat on a Limb you can only link up projects or creations where you went "out on a limb" in some way.  Either a technique you've never tried before, or a tried and true technique applied to a new object, or something 100% new to you.  I'd love to see how you all stretch your creativity (please keep it family friendly).

**Please grab the button and put it anywhere on your blog (your post, sidebar or party page).**  I would like to get more participation and be able to help promote fellow bloggers!

Out on a Limb Tuesdays with Cat on a Limb

Monday, April 18, 2011

Toddler Maxi Dress and Shrug - Part 4 of 4 - Sewing the Shrug

Here we are, the fourth and final installment of the toddler Maxi Dress and shrug tutorial.  I feel really lame about it taking so long, but under the circumstances it's better late than never, right?

Oh by the way... we found an apartment!  We will move in this Saturday, April 23rd.  Finally, our own place!  It is not 100% ideal and I will have to face one of my fears because it has a gas stove.  Yikes!  Plus it has lots of large floor to ceiling windows which are not tempered glass.  They make me very nervous with two small, rowdy children, but we have a plan and I'll do a post about that when the time comes.  I'm so excited to decorate!  I also found some furniture at Salvation Army which I plan on refinishing, but the pieces will definitely be in use until I get around to actually doing it. 

Okay, on to the tutorial.  I like to try to streamline the sewing process and change bobbins and settings as few times as possible so during this tutorial some pieces may have seams sewn but not used until later. It will make sense in the end!

Cut out all the pieces you will need for the shrug.  I used knit fabric to make it snug and comfortable.  I did not include a pattern piece for the ruffle but just cut strips of fabric 1.5" wide.  Cut more than you think you will need.  Sew the ends together so you have one long piece. Set aside.



With right sides together place shrug front pieces on top of the back piece, matching shoulder and side seams. Stitch in place.


Change the bobbin to elastic thread. Sew straight across the bottom hem of the sleeves. Leave long threads at the beginning and end, then knot them together so they don't pull out.


Sew .5" away from one edge along the whole length of the ruffle strip. Set aside.


Change back to regular bobbin thread. Switch to a long length gathering stitch and stitch around the shoulder seam on the sleeve leaving long thread tails to gather. Leave about 1" unsewn at the beginning and end to have room for the seam and gathering.


Switch back to a regular stitch length. Fold the sleeve in half with right sides together, matching the under arm seam and stitch. Be sure to keep the thread tails you will use for gathering the sleeve out of the way of this seam.


With right sides together pin the sleeve into the shrug armhole. Match the underarm seam to the side seam and find the middle of the top of the sleeve and pin it to the shoulder seam. Work from one end to the middle, then the other end to the middle. Gather fabric and even it out around the armhole. Stitch in place.


This is what you should have so far. Almost done!


Starting at the back of the neck pin the ruffle onto the body of the shrug, right sides together, with the .5" side lined up to the outer edge. When you get around to the back of the neck again, overlap about .5" and cut off any excess. Stitch in place.


At the back of the neck you can either leave the edges of the ruffle loose, or you can tack them together with a simple straight stitch. (Sorry I don't have a picture for this step)

Clip the curved parts of the bolero only on the flat layer of the seam allowance (not the gathered layer).


Turn the ruffle to the outside and top stitch about .25" from the folded edge all the way around.


And now you're done! Be sure to admire your handiwork, pat yourself on the back and take some pictures.



I will be linking this up to the parties on my "Blog Link Parties" page including The Creative Itch

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fears -- Unreasonable? Perhaps. But They're Mine.

With things changing so drastically in my life lately and the added motivation of a fun linky party [and with my craft supplies locked away until we move into our own place] I decided to do a personal / confessional post today. 

I've always been afraid of certain things.  Sure, them seem rather ridiculous and silly when I tell people about them, and maybe they are, but I do have reasons!  Ok, maybe not good enough reasons to totally justify the fear... but maybe they will help you not laugh at me quite so much. :)

- The dark.  Yes, to this day I am still afraid of the dark.  [Ha, what a way to start out the list!]  Why am I afraid of the dark?  Because of all the things that could be in the dark either indoors or outdoors i.e. wild/rabid/poisonous/otherwise dangerous animals (Okay, it doesn't have to be dark for those to be around, but the dark makes the fear of those things even more poignant.  I've heard too many stories about people getting bitten by poisonous insects or snakes, mauled or killed by bears, mountain lions entering populated cities, etc.), ghosts or evil spirits (Yes I believe in those, but I'm guessing this fear comes mostly from years of watching "real" ghost TV shows with my siblings when I was a kid and listening to everyone I know tell their stories of the supernatural, plus it doesn't help that I have an overactive imagination too), robbers/murderers/otherwise dangerous people (I blame the media, horror movies -- which I don't actually watch but the trailers are enough, and the few people who choose to do evil things which leads people to be suspicious of each other.)  Funny side note - when I was younger I used to want to sleep with the brightest nightlight available and as many as possible, but now I have trouble sleeping at night unless it is very, very dark. 

- Natural Gas.  More specifically, natural gas in homes.  It seriously gives me major stress to turn on a gas stove.  Standing there with the lighter going "click, click, click" while an extremely combustible gas pours into the room?  Yeah.  And those knobs on the front of the stove perfectly available to my kids who love to turn knobs?  I'd like to kick the genius who thought that one up.  (Speaking of that, my sister-in-law actually has one with knobs on the side of the cooking surface, much better idea)  Newer furnaces, water heaters and stoves have mechanisms that shut off the supply of gas when the pilot light goes out, which is great, but if you're living with older appliances no pilot light = leaking gas = not good.  Then earthquakes (being in California) can cause a whole lot of other problems with gas lines.  Then comes all the stories I've heard about explosions.  [One about a man who was working on something, needed a very specific part which he didn't have, left to go to the store to get it, noticed the smell of gas and told the utility workers who were digging in the street.  Gas leaked out of the pipe, through the ground, filled the crawl space under his house until it got to the level of the pilot light in the water heater.  BOOM.  The man came home to find he had no more house, although he was blessed with his life.  True story, my mom knows him.  Another one about a gas leak in a woman's home.  The utility personnel came and were outside with her.  The phone rang so she went inside to answer it, one worker followed her to try to get her out.  BOOM.  They both died.  I heard this one from the best friend of the utility worker.]  Not worth it in my opinion.  When I design and build my own house (some day!) it will be all electric, solar and wind powered. 

- Deep Water. Meaning any deeper than up to my neck when standing.  Okay, I don't have a real excuse for this one.  Other than the obvious fear of drowning.  Whenever I look at a satellite picture of an ocean (especially if I can see how the water gets deeper, or the bottom drops off) I get creeped out and have to look away.  I get scared being in boats over deep water.  Random.

Those are the main ones I've had ever since I can remember.  Then, having children has added a whole slew of other fears, of course all based around keeping my kids safe.  I mean, I do have a lot to be concerned about when my kids think it's funny to run into the middle of a street with me running after them yelling at them to stop.  Sigh.  Being a mom is hard!  But that's a post for another day... 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Toddler Maxi Dress and Shrug - Part 3 of 4 - Drafting the Shrug Pattern

I apologize to everyone who was waiting specifically for this part of the tutorial!  Life has been quite crazy and unsettling living in hotels, finding jobs and now looking for a home [I wish we could afford a house with a yard for the kids, but for now it will have to be an apartment].  I had my husband take the car to work today (instead of having me drop him off) so the kids and I are intentionally "stuck" at the hotel so I can give myself some time to write and complete the tutorial.  Finally!


I "cheated" on the shrug and didn't go straight from measurements to draft the pattern.  Instead, I took a dress of my daughter's that fit snuggly on top.  The shrug needs to be snug so it doesn't fall off easily.  I also used a knit fabric so it would be comfortable.

Once you have a garment that fits correctly to copy, lay it out on a piece of paper and mark the edges of the shoulder seam, side seam, and the center of the back neck.  You can very the length of the shrug depending on your desired style.  I made mine end at approximately mid-way down the back (or maybe a little above).  I also extended the shoulder seam a little bit towards the neck so it would fit closer than the dress does.   


Square a line down from the center neck and over to the side seam.


Draw straight lines for the side and shoulder seams. They will be at slight angles as shown below. You can extend the lines out so it's a little faster when adding seam allowance.


Draw the curves for the neckline and armhole. For the neckline you want it to be nearly straight across at the middle and curve up toward the shoulder. For the armhole you want most of the curve to be towards the bottom of the armhole. The closer you are to having the intersections of the lines 90 degree angles the smoother your connections will be when sewing. (Which is what you want)


Add seam allowance (I usually use 1/2 inch), fold line marker and labels. You will need one of these when cut on the fold. It is the back of the bolero.


Get a piece of tracing paper and place it on top. Trace the shoulder and side seams only.


Draw the armhole coming in further than the back piece. From about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch depending on the size of your child.


Next draw the edge of the shrug for the front. You can make it more or less curved as you desire, just make sure the corners on the shoulder and side seam are close to 90 degrees angles.


Add the seam allowance and labels, then you have the front of the bolero.


For the sleeve I went back to my daughter's dress for a guide. I layed it flat in half and marked the top, under arm point, and where I wanted the sleeve to end. I made it rather small because I knew I was going to add 1/2 inch hem and leave a raw edge. You can also measure on your child and estimate how long it would need to be to end where you want it.


Draw the lines to complete the sleeve. A straight line on the top of the sleeve, the very curved line on the armhole (draw it the same as the curve on the finished garment), and the slightly curved line on the bottom hem.


Cut out the sleeve without adding any seam allowance. Draw three (or more for a larger size) straight lines parallel to the top of the sleeve. Mine are about 1/2 inch apart. Don't add any close to the under arm portion of the sleeve.


Tape the sleeve to a piece of paper only on the top edge of the sleeve and cut on the line closest to it. Measure out 1" on the top and 1/2" on the bottom and tape down.


Repeat until you've done the same with every line and it looks like the photo below.


Draw curved lines as shown below, going down a little at the middle of the hemline.


Use another piece of tracing paper placed over the top to trace the new shape of the sleeve, add the seam allowance, labels and fold marker.


And there you have the pattern for the bolero. I didn't make a pattern piece for the ruffle as I just used elastic thread to gather a strip of fabric and wasn't sure how much it would take.

I will post the sewing tutorial next as the 4th and final installment of the tutorial. Woohoo!


I'll be linking up to all the awesome parties on my "Blog Link Parties" tab including whipperberry.com

504 Main

Whoops! YES! and Some Features!

Taking a break from looking at apartments
These weeks go by way TOO FAST! I missed "Out on a Limb" again this week. Not exactly the best habit to get into when one is trying to start up a new linky party!  I do have an excuse though... we only have one laptop  that works right now and my husband is on it most of the time that we're here.  BUT he


so I will probably have some more time on it now.  (Ha ha, maybe, if I can keep the kids occupied in good ways while keeping them cooped up indoors)  So now that we've got a job and know our income, we can look for a place to live.  We spent several days driving around, calling numbers (you would not believe the number of apartments that post ads online, have signs out, with phone numbers, but no one answers when you call, nor do they call you back!)  But we finally saw a couple of them and put in an application for an apartment in a really cool (in some ways) location so we may have a home soon, too!  I so can't wait to have a place to decorate!!

Now on to the features... I decided to feature all the (three) projects that were linked up to the past two parties.

laxsupermom at Sugar & Spice in the Land of Balls and Sticks decided to tackle photo editing to create a great new header for her blog.

she also designed a fabulous wine & liquor hutch including super cute cat cut-out which gives her cat access to a hidden litter box.  What an awesome idea!

Karen at Simple Blue linked up slippers she hand made for her daughter.  Well done!  (I think I need to make myself some slippers now, too... or, at least when I get to touch my sewing machine again... sigh)

PLUS, I was so excited when Karen e-mailed me and asked me hurry up (my words, not hers :) ) with the toddler Maxi dress tutorial because she wanted to make one for her daughter's birthday.  She did an awesome job [before I had the sewing tutorial up] and even added some cute flutter sleeves since she didn't have time to sew the shrug.

It makes me happy to know someone got use out of the tutorial!

Grab a featured button below and thank you ladies for linking up!

Out on a Limb Tuesdays with Cat on a Limb

I have a goal of completing and posting the shrug tutorial today.  Here's hoping the kids will cooperate! :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Out on a Limb No. 2

I'm a bit late with this today since we were running around to different appointments for things to help with applying for jobs.  No bites just yet, but here's hoping it will be soon!

We had two link ups last week which were both great, but I'm hoping to have more this week! Here goes...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig (sort of)

After miles upon miles of this...

and this...

 We are finally back in our home state of California.  It feels great!  Except for the fact that we're all sick... with strep.

It started the day before we were supposed to leave (which ended up delaying us another day) and has continued until now, with Daisy beginning to suffer the most at night with a very painful sore throat.  Thankfully we were able to go to a clinic and get a prescription for each of us yesterday, so we should be done with this very soon.

We moved most of our belongings into a storage locker, stayed in a hotel (I highly recommend Extended Stay hotels) for a few days and now we're starting to settle in to a room at my mother-in-law's house until my husband can secure a job.  It's strange thinking that we're basically homeless for now.  I can't wait until we have our own place, but until then I thank heaven for family!

As soon as I can get my camera unpacked from all the things we jammed into our mini van when we moved, I will post the tutorial for the shrug.  I was able to take all the photos before we moved, but hadn't loaded them onto the computer.  And now my husband is using the computer most of the time looking for a job, so I haven't had much time on it since we've been here.

Stay tuned, but please be patient with me!

P.S.  I'll also start up the linky party again this Tuesday (sorry for skipping a week!) and will post the features from last time. 
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