Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pack Saddle Lake Adventure

On Memorial Day Troy and I and another couple decided to hike to Pack Saddle Lake. The lake is located near Driggs, Idaho and the hike affords amazing views of the Tetons. We were all under the impression that the hike was a mere 2.5 miles in. So we excitedly piled into your friends car listening to Africa by Toto and followed the instructions that trusty google gave us. So we excitedly embarked on the hike and after about two miles of hiking through forest the trail all of the sudden dumped out onto a road and we were quite confused and continued to be confused for about another two hours but made great friends with a a family out four wheeling. But we did eventually find the lake and it was beautiful!

The Views

Fun at the Lake

Troy decided to try the diving board

It was pretty cold

It was quite a fun day even though the hike was quite a bit longer than expected.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rejuvenating Old Ingredients: Mending Tutorial

Mending really sounds like a thing of the past. Like something your grandmother did while swinging on the porch or something. But this ancient art can be really useful when you are poor and have a male around. It just seems like boys and men get more holes in there pants. Mending is also a perfect way to rejuvenate an old ingredient.

Mending Tutorial

What you Will Need
  • The garment you want to mend
  • A piece of fabric that will go behind the hole. I used Singer's iron on patches that my Mom gave me years and years ago.
  • Thread that matches the fabric very well. My thread does not match as well as it could as I was guessing without the shorts at Johanns. 
  •  Sewing Machine with a bobin
  • Iron and Ironing Board
Applying the Patch
The shorts I was mending actually had two holes on large one and one wear spot at the other pocket. I will show pictures of both.

The first step is to create a patch that is the size of the hole you are mending. For the first larger hole I just used the patch as is from the Singer packet, though in hindsight I would have trimmed it as well. For the second hole I cut out a small oval piece making sure to round the corners as this helps edges stay down.

Applying the patch is really simple. I followed the instructions for the Singer patches. It said to first heat the area where you are going to apply the patch. You are applying the patch on the inside of your garment so turn your garment inside out.

Then carefully place the patch over the hole with the sticky side (shinny side) down.

Then place the iron on the patch and hold it there for the time prescribed on your patch instructions usually 5-10 seconds.

Securing the Hole with Stitching

For the stitching part you with turn the garment right side out. The most important factor in creating a nice looking mend is to stitch with the grain line. This means staying parallel to the woven threads of the fabric. Start stitching on the edge of the hole with a normal stitch length (2.5) with your pressure foot parallel to the grain line. Sew to the end of the hole then back stitch right next to the line of stitching you just created, continue sewing backwards and forwards with close lines of stitching until the entire hole is sewn over.

And you are done!!!
It is really quite fast only took me about an half an hour.

Please comment if you have any questions or if you found this useful! And follow if you are interested in other sewing tutorials. A curtain tutorial is in the works!

Monday, May 27, 2013

This Weeks Bubble Up

Lately I have been a little down, as my job search has not gone as planned. But I am still trying to see the "Bubble Ups" of unemployment. A "Bubble Up" comes from a game that one of my best friends from High School had us play. When we were sitting around talking at a coffee house or in someones basement she would excitedly proclaim "Bubble up, Bubble Down time" and we would each share the best and worst parts of our week. I look back on those moments now with fondness as this game would really cheer me up. This is just what this friend is good at, brightening peoples days :) She is still a good friend even though high school was a long time ago.

This Week's Bubble Ups
Good Healthy Food
Adventures with My Favorite Boys
 Exploring the Old Teton Dam Site

Hiking Crest Creek Trail

Playing With My Horse, Hershey

These were some pretty great bubble ups in my book and this week is looking like it will have some pretty great ones as well. Heading out on another hike today and looking forward to finishing up some more sewing projects. So stay tuned!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Rejuvenating Old Ingredients: Post One, The Vest with the Fur

This is the first post of what will be an ongoing series, I promise (I already have a draft for the second post). The series is going to be called Rejuvenating Old Ingredients (playing off of the name of the blog). So what do I mean by Rejuvenating Old Ingredients?

Rejuvenating Old Ingredients means recycling, reusing, and repairing old used materials and in particular fabric and clothing. This is something of a trend right now with the green movement. But I am not simply talking about "going green". I am talking about something bigger. I am talking about trying to make a habit of making the things we have last longer and taking something that has been used and making it new again. In a word, thrifty. Now, (full disclosure) I am new to this concept. But the satisfaction and excitement I gained after my first rejuvenation was contagious and I hope this series will give you ideas about how to rejuvenate items in your closet or local thrift store.

So the vest with the fur? I know fur it is is a hot topic right now and has always been a topic of debate. I personally am not for killing animals just so we can wear them, though I do find some of the vintage fur coats to be beautiful (and the animal is already dead right? so vintage makes it better right?). I would never buy a real fur coat. But I simply love fur, the classic nature of it, the unmatchably rich texture, the glamor. So that leaves me with fake fur and even fake fur is said to be bad for the environment. So I went with fake thrift fur I think that is about the cleanest fur you can find.

So when I first spotted this pure white piece of fur it was not a vest at all but a jacket. I walked around the thrift store with the fur in hand but was unsure. When I tried it on it was a lot of fur so I kept walking with it and then the thought came to me I could take the sleeves of and make it into a vest, and I was sold. This is the beauty of rejuvenating ingredients you can fall in love with the fabric or certain elements of a piece but if there is some other element off; you can fix it you can create a masterpiece.

The Rejuvenation
(I apologize for the lack and quality of the pictures was not thinking about a tutorial when working on this project)

Step One: Take off the Sleeves
This coat was lined so the first step was to rip out the sleeve seam in the lining. Once this was complete I was able to reach the fur sleeve seam once this was ripped out the sleeve was removed from the body of the jacket. Then repeat this for the other sleeve.

Now that the sleeves are off you have a raw edge and an unattached lining. To fix this problem I worked with the already pressed under lining and the edge of the fur. The fur did not have as much of a raw edge due to the nature of the fur so it did not have to be folded under. I then slip stitched the lining to the fur (here is a good video tutorial for the slip stitch) the folded part will be the lining. If this is your first time with a slip stitch I would do the stitch on a piece of sample fabric like she uses in the video instead of the sleeve as it is a little harder to understand what you need to do on a arm hole.

Step Two: The Collar
The first thing I needed to decide was if I wanted to keep the collar or not. I decided to take it off I just did not like the way it laided.

Taking off the collar was a little more complicated because of the facing. I ended up just cutting the facing part of the collar away from the facing. The facing is the folded over part where the closure portion of the vest is placed. You have to be very careful cutting the collar away from the facing and cut right along the seam. For the rest of the collar I seam ripped first the lining from the fur and then the fur part of the collar from the main part of the rest. You could cut off these portions as well if you are braver than me. Cutting always makes me nervous because it cannot be undone but if you hate seam ripping and have steady hands go for it. Then slip stitch the lining to the fur again using the same technique as the sleeves and you are DONE! And have your Vest with the Fur!! If you have any more questions please comment and if you found this or any other posts useful please feel free to follow me here or Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest!

Finished Product

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Smoothie Addict

One of my goals for this summer has been to eat healthy along with running regularly. One of my favorite aids towards this goal is making my own smoothies; for both run recovery and for meals. I have tried a variety of combinations that have all been delicious.

They all start with the same basic four ingredients: Vanilla Yogurt ~a cup (I use Yoplait or Tilimack) , Milk a splash or two (1%), almonds a hand full (for protein and healthy oils), and honey a good squeeze or three (add some sweetness). I do not do measured amounts just what looks and feels right depending on if I am making it for one or two. The smoothie pictured here is my favorite remixed.

My Favorite
The Basic Four
Ripe Bananas 
Frozen Peaches

My Favorite Remixed
My Favorite
Fresh Mango

Berry Fun
Basic Four

Tropical Blue
Basic Four

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Oooh! Pearls!"

The inspiration for this outfit is you guessed it pearls! Pearls have always seemed so beautiful and classic to me. I still remember standing in my Mothers room as she put on her pearls and explained to me that they are her birthstone and very favorite stone.

Now on a lighter note the story of the title "Oooh! Pearls!". The phrase is an inside joke between my husband and I. My husband was cleaning out a destroyed and molding home in Khemah, Texas after hurricane Ike. There was a gay man** assisting in the clean up as well, who kinda had a thing for my husband. He told Troy (my husband) that "He looked like Tom Hanks son!" (I guess I am a lucky girl ;). Troy was emptying a dresser and pulled out a vintage string of pearls and the gay man exclaimed  "Oooh! Pearls!" And now whenever my husband sees pearls he exclaims the same phrase.

The pearls in this outfit all have a special meaning to me as they are connected to people I love. The necklace was created by my talented sister from some of my grandmothers old pearls. The earnings are real pearls that my thoughtful mother-in-law gave me. The pearl strings in my hair came from my grandmothers sewing notions. I wore the braclet at my wedding and the ring was also my classy grandmothers.

Blouse: Vintage
Skirt: Romy
Shoes: Repurposed by me
Nail Polish: OPI
Photos by: My loving husband, Troy

**Disclaimer my husband and I have the greatest respect for the Gay community and the sharing of this story is not intended to poke fun at the gay community.

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Birdy Apron Tutorial

I have been busy sewing away on Mother's Day gifts, as some of you may have seen on instagram. And thought I would show you how I made them. This is the first project that I have worked on since my sewing classes and it is amazing to actually use the skills I learned there. I hope to be able to impart some of that knowledge to you in this post and in tutorials to come. Below is a picture of the finished product.

The first thing I want to say is this is my first sewing tutorial so this may not be perfect but I am very open to suggestions and if you you have any question about any step PLEASE leave a comment below and I PROMISE I will get back to you. This tutorial will be broken up into two sections, first how I created the pattern for the apron, then cutting out, and finally the actual sewing of the apron. This tutorial will be directed for beginners, so I will try to be as detailed as possible.

Pattern Making
Pattern making is a delicate art. Every detail in a pattern is important and must be considered. Luckily, a pattern for an apron is pretty basic so it is a great place for those new to pattern making to start. Once mastered, the skill of pattern making can be a wonderful thing as you can see a cute dress in a store and create a pattern for it.

What you need
  • Tissue paper (I bought a pack of 1000 plane white sheets from Walmart, it is a little thin. So if you can find a roll of thicker tissue paper from a craft store that would be preferable)
  • A nice drafting pencil (as it is important to get good clean straight and curved lines)
  • Paper scissors
  • Removable tape
  • Tracing Compass
  • Ruler

Pattern Piece One: The main body of the apron
For this pattern piece I cheated a little and traced the below apron that had been given to me. I folded the existing apron exactly in half and centered the fold on the edge of the tissue paper to ensure a straight line and then carefully traced around the rest of the apron. You then need to mark the side of tissue paper that is on the fold with the words "Place on fold" it may seem obvious now but will not seem as intuitive when cutting out the pattern on the desired fabric. 

Made by Sheri Schloss

What you have created now is only a "sloper" (a pattern piece without a seam allowance). So next you add a seam/hem allowance around all sides except the side marked place on the fold. You can choose whatever seam allowances you want. I put 5/8ths" seam allowance on the bottom of the piece and at the neck seam, an inch hem allowance on the diagonal side, and 1/2" hem allowance on the curved pieces. The difference between a hem allowance and a seam is a hem is simply finishing the raw edge with some short of heming technique and a seam is sewing two pieces of fabric together. If you are confused by what goes where hopefully the below picture helps.

The compass and a clear ruler are great for marking seam allowances. The ruler is great for getting clean straight lines and you can simply set the opening of the compass to the desired seam allowance and trace around curves. To finish the piece you can write cut one as the piece will be placed on the fold.

Pattern Piece Two: Apron Ties
This piece is a lot simpler. All you need to do is create a rectangle that is the desired length and width you could even get fancy and make one end with a point. I just kept to a simple 29 1/2" by 3" 1/2 rectangle without hem allowance and 30 1/2 by 4 1/4 with hem allowance, giving a 1 inch hem allowance around the entire tie as seen above. You can also write cut two on this piece as you will need two ties.

Pattern Piece Three: Pocket
The pocket is another simple pattern piece that you create with a ruler. For my pocket I created a 7" by 7 1/2" (finished dimensions) rectangle with rounded corners at the bottom. These dimensions include a half an inch hem allowance around the entire pocket and a folded 1" flap at the top, giving a finished pocket of 6 1/2" by 6".

Pattern Piece Four: Contrasting Band
This was the most difficult pattern piece to create as it has a fullness ratio. The fullness ratio is what creates the pretty folds on the bottom. The piece that I created is an 1:1 1/2 unequal fullness ratio. To create this piece I started with a rectangle that is as long as the full length of the apron by 5" width. And then I drew and cut the sides of  8 triangles without cutting through the point and then figured out how much to spread each triangle by dividing the (length of the full apron times 1 1/2) by sixteen (8 triangles each with two sides) and then placed the cut piece on a fresh large piece of tissue paper and spread the triangles by the calculated amount and taped them in place. I then connected the spread triangles using a curved ruler and finally traced the entire piece on to a new piece of tissue paper to avoid dealing with a ton of triangles. The below picture is the triangles spread and taped to the larger sheet of tissue paper. Please ask if you have questions about this part, it is hard to explain!

Cutting Out
The layout for how I cut out the pieces can be seen in the tutorial for the pattern. I used two different fabrics for this project a basic green cotton for the main portion of  the apron and the ties and then a flannel with a birdy pattern. The flannel was used for the pocket and the contrasting band.

The cutting out of the main portion of the apron, just involves centering the "place on fold" side on the fold. As the piece is centered on the fold you do not have to worry about grainline. But for the ties you do have to worry about grainline. Grainline is important as fabric is created with two different threads (warp and weft) and it is important the pattern piece is aligned with one of these threads so the fabric will lay correctly.To ensure that a pattern piece is cut out "on grain" you simply measure from a grian line on the pattern or a straight line on the pattern to the edge of the fabric and ensure the entire pattern piece is equal distance from the line to the edge of the fabric. If you are measuring to the salvage edge you are measuring lengthwise grain line which is the most commonly used grainline. The pocket was also cut out on length wise grain. The contrasting band was more difficult as it is curved, I wanted the pattern to be correct, and I had limited fabric. I centered the middle of the piece with length wise grain and hoped for the best and it turned out great this is not the best way to do it but when fabric is limited it is often the only option.

Gingher Scissors are some of the best cutting sears out there and make cutting out so much easier!

What you need
  • 1 yard of the main portion of the apron fabric (Green for this project)*
  • 3/4 yard for contrasting fabric (Bird patterned fabric)*
  • 1/2 yard of Rick Rack
  • Scraps for applique birds
  • Thread to match each fabric, the Rick Rack, and appliques
  • Bobbins
  • Heat N Bond 
  • Iron
  • Sewing Machine
  • Seam Gage
  • Pins
* The fabric yardage is liberal but I feel it is better to have too much than not enough.

Step One: Pockets
  • Fold edge of pocket 1/2" with wrong sides together, measuring with a seam gage and then pressing.

  • Stitch at 1/2" around the entire pocket

  • Fold the top of the pocket down one inch and stitch an inch from the top.
  • Figure out where you want the pocket to be placed on the main apron piece and pin the pocket to the apron and then edge stitch around the three sides except for the top.

Step Two: Seams (Neck and contrasting band)

  • Pin right sides of the curved neck piece together and stitch across at 5/8ths
  • Press the seam open and saem finish the raw edges, I used a zig zag stich 

  • While pinning the band to the apron there are a few things you want to check. First lining up the middle of the band to the middle of the apron, making it so there is not to much fabric on one side or the other. Then pin the two ends of the fabric making sure that the pieces line up both length and width wise.

  • Stitch a 5/8ths seam across the entire apron
  • Press the seam allowance up towards the apron portion and finish the raw edge, I used a zig zag stitch again, except the two seam allowances were together.

Step Three: Embellishments (Rick Rack and Applique Birds)

  • Pin the Rick Rack to the seam of the band ensuring that it is centered on the seam and that the seam allowance stays up toward the apron. Pinning my pins diagonally helped me center the rick rack better.
  • Stitch the rick rack using matching thread by stitching down the center of the rick rack ensuring that the seam allowance is up towards the apron

  • For the applique birds I used Heat N Bond that I bought at Walmart for a few dollars. This was the first time I had used it and it is pretty neat stuff. The package has pretty great instructions but I will explain what I did. First iron one side of the Heat N Bond to your fabric and then you trace and cut out your design. Then when you are ready to attach it to your project you peel away the paper and press it to your project. Sorry I do not have more pictures for this part!

Step Four: Heming and Ties
This last step is the most tedious part for me, but knowing that it is my last step to a beautifully finished project gets me through it and a good movie always helps too ;)

Single Fold Hem: For the neck hole, the arm hole portion, top of the neck hole, and the bottom of the band.
  • Finish the raw edge with a zig zag stitch or other seam finish
  • Put in a basting stitch at 1/4" on particularly curvy places like around the neck hole (Both top and inside) and the bottom of the band due to the fullness ratio.
  • Measure and fold the finished raw edge 1/2" pulling the basting stitch as necessary to get the fabric to lie flat, and press. Tip: Using a pin pull at the basting stitch every inch or so.
  • Stitch at 1/2''

Double Fold Hem: For the straight edge of the apron and three edges of the ties
This is the hem I prefer as it encloses the raw edge giving a nice finished look, but it does not work well with curves.

  • Fold over the raw edge 1/2" and then press and then fold over another 1/2" enclosing the raw edge and press again.
  • Stitch at 1/2" after ties have been inserted (See below instructions)

  • Once the ties have been hemmed using the above instructions insert the raw edge of the tie into the double fold seam allowance with WRONG sides together (This will mean the majority of the tie is laying next to the apron) then stitch at 1/2". Then fold the tie back so that RIGHT sides are together and edgestitch.

Finally: Press
Pressing is the secret to any good looking piece. So make sure to press the project while you are sewing and to finish off your Apron!!

Thank you for reading and I hope it was instructive and useful! If you have any questions at all feel free to comment and I will get back to you!!