Friday, November 28, 2014

New Boxing Bag

I have an exciting boxing update. I'm sparring 3 nights a week and I'm working toward my first fight! I'm very excited about it and some days I can hardly believe it. 

Since I've started sparring I have a lot more gear to carry around so I had to make myself a new bag. I had been using a bag that Jessica made in her high school sports sewing class. You can admire her teenage work below:

For the new bag, I just used fabric that I had laying around. There are a lot of pockets to hold the small bits like hand wraps, water, and mouth guards.  I made the main body of the bag extra large so I can just chuck everything in it instead of having to tetris shoes and gloves and headgear all the time.


PS. If you want to hear more about boxing, you can follow me here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Updated Studio with Tailor's Bench

Our house has been in the process of being reorganized and remodeled all year. My sewing area was originally in the basement but after all was said and done, it has ended up in my over sized closet. It's a lot less space that I've been accustomed to for the past five years, but I've actually enjoyed being forced to simplify. I downsized to 3 machines and I got rid of two thirds of my fabric which filled an entire car.

The crowning jewel of my new work space is the tailor's bench. My brother Herschel and I designed and built it together. It has storage shelves, a large smooth work area, and a press board on hinges that can easily be lifted out of the way if needed. I decided to build the tailor's bench this way to consolidate space, that way I don't need to have three separate work areas like I used to.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Framing part 2

It's been so stressful these last months and I've cursed more in the that time than in the rest of my entire life put together....but our most recent inspection gauged the house is 50% done so we're getting there!  The dream to move in by Christmas is dead, but we knew it wasn't likely in our rural area to have things move as fast as we'd like.

Catch up on the #hometodiein house building adventure!
Going to Build,
 Footings/ Stained Glass part 1,
Framing Part 1

Rhett and I designed our house in early in 2012.  We had a basic drafting software program to plan it all out, then turned it over to an architect to make it official and up to code.  Our initial floor plans were for a modest home we intended to later sell. Basically a 3 bed starter house as practice-build.  A year later, we were actually starting to get serious about building the thing and what was going to be a starter home changed into our dream/ live in it until we die home.  I am so glad we went this track, because building a house is a nightmare and I am glad I will never do it again, and (hopefully) never have to move again.

So to be here forever, we decided to finish the basement and we redesigned the roof to use previous wasted attic space.  Working with the truss designer and our architect, I added side dormers to make head room for stairs.  This allowed a 19' wide attic room from the front to the back of the home.   Trusses required a crane to set them, luckily it only took one day to plop them all up there.

View from the front of the house.
 The open hole on top of the house looked weird.  One neighbor asked what the airplane hangar was for.
View out the back of the house in the attic.
This attic is by far my favorite space.  Or at least if all my ideas work out, this will be my favorite space...more to come on the plans for up there later.
The attic extended over the back deck, which I was glad because I got more room up there.  Rhett wasn't a fan of that change, as the original roof design had a vaulted roof over the deck and now it's regular height.  I prefer the normal ceiling to help it hopefully feel like an outdoor living space with more protective roof over it.  Mainly I like the idea of being able to hang outdoor curtains to shade the west setting sun or just provide privacy. We'll see how it all pans out.

This is the little pop out where my stained glass window my mom and I made will go.

In the beginning so much happens.  In two weeks we went from a foundation to a house.

One feature I was excited about in my new attic plans was a round window in the center front.  It became a really important design element for my vision of the space up there and a theme that bled its way through other areas of my interior designing in the last 9 months of planning. 
I always had wondered how they frame in a round or radius window, it was interesting. Basically make a sheeting frame and line it with stud chunks between 2 layers.  The window is 3.5' or 42" in diameter.
The roof was originally a hip, which means it slopes away from the front.  Adding my attic space required a front to back gable, which is basically triangles stacked upright.  It changed the architecture of the exterior from what I considered traditional to more Craftsman.  Rhett was more on "Team Hipped Roof", but I was "Team Gable".  I thought for our floor plan, the gable made the front more interesting to add dimension rather than just a sloping black roof. 

This is a wrinkled page of the original exterior with the hipped roof.

 I told the architect my plan for the redesign and he was also on Team Hipped Roof, and asked if I was sure on the huge front to back gable at least 3 times.  It was the only way to add the huge attic the way I wanted, and yes I was sure.  But so far I love the change it gave the whole exterior.  I am not bold enough to design anything super crazy, but I like that what we ended up with is somewhat unique.  A nephew came over and said: "that round window reminds me of the creepy houses in scary movies" I laughed and thought we definitely need to do something creepy for Halloween down the road...actually I already have a plan my kids will love.

Next the guts, roof, and exterior!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Just For You: Vernazza Top

A new book was released this month focused on sewing for women.
Just For You
It's a compilation of bloggers' patterns and projects.  I have a women's top in the book, and....

we get to give away a copy of the book!

just leave a comment on this post and include your email address.
winners in the United States will receive a book in the mail, international winners will receive a code for a free digital version as an ebook


The projects are categorized by months, and my top is under May.
It's the Vernazza Color-Blocked Top.

The inspiration for the name is from a fishing village in Italy, Vernazza.
It's one of five small, amazing coastal village that make up Cinque Terre.
My husband lived in Italy for a few years, and would visit this area.  
We didn't go on a honeymoon really when we got married but saved up for a few years and were able to visit Italy for 2 weeks.  Cinque Terre was one of my favorite spots.
One afternoon we hiked from the second village to this third Vernazza, it was a warm summer afternoon and a flowy blouse would have been perfect for the occasion and weather.
The structure of the blouse with the vertical color-blocking kind of mimicked the construction of all the buildings smashed together in different colors.
We spent 2 nights in Cinque Terre and one of the magical moments of the trip was falling asleep with the windows open and hearing the sound of the ocean and the jazz band playing at the restaurant below.

So after all that romantic inspiration, hopefully your own version on this design will have a mix of structure, color, and a flowy, drapey fabric that is comfortable and memorable.

About a year and a half ago I made a this top after I had Izzie.
I was excited about the color palate, light blue, champagne, and ivory.
It was a simple dolman sleeve top and I color blocked the top and sides.
To cover my bum, I also added a high-low hem.
My original top was made with the wrong side of satin so it was a matte finish, but ended up being really comfortable to wear.

these are the photos I submitted in the beginning:

I wear this blouse often and really love it in the summer when it's hot.
The relaxed fit allows it to stay cool and breezy, and I wear it casually with jeans or throw a skirt on top to dress it up a little.

This was another prototype during the pattern process, using coral, navy and cinnamon.

I've not had the chance, but I always liked the idea of taking this blouse, adding a skirt to make it a dress.  It would look similar to this dress I made for my 10 year high school reunion, but have the color blocking sides. So many ideas!

I designed the top in a woven fabric, and the published blouse uses knit, so the project in the book has an added band at the neckline, but the concept of the color blocking is the same.
So if you prefer the comfort and ease of knit, I'd recommend a thinner, slub or tissue knit for the drape effect on the high-low hem.
You could also use the pattern from the book to try it in a woven, and if so this video may help you hem the neckline so you don't have to have a facing.

This is just the beginning of the blog tour where each blogger that contributed gets to share their project!
Be sure to check out the other projects in the Blog Hop!

It's been exciting to see my concept published in a book, all my work was done last year, so it's cool to see it in real life after all that time!

I wish I had time to sew the projects from the other talented women, but for now back to my crazy life of house building, school, kids, and everything else!  Maybe for 2015 I can pick a few months to sew for me! (or at all)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Fall Clothes for Striker Boy

This year the cool weather came in abruptly, which I couldn't be more pleased about. My boy needed some warmer clothes right away, so I made a bunch of long sleeve shirts and trousers.

I did raglan sleeves on the shirts with ribbed collars and cuffs which makes the whole construction process take about 10 minutes per shirt. It's so quick because you don't have to interface anything or even set in a sleeve. Every seam is pretty much a straight line so I don't even bother to pin anything either. The trousers have nothing special. No pockets. No faux fly. Just plain trousers with an elastic waist.

I used self-drafted patterns. I found the tiger fabric at a thrift store. And the grey thermal and dinosau camo in the clearance bin and our local fabric store for only $1 a yard. Sweet!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Braided Rug

I started this rug about six months ago. It turned out to be one of those projects that got me too angry and frustrated so I chucked it against the wall and it sat slumped in a pile all summer long. A few days ago I was about to make myself another pair of jeans, but then I decided I should finish ALL the half-done projects in my studio, so this rug was the first thing I picked up.

I used a heavy wool which made the braid very fat and consequently difficult to work with. The braid kept rolling inward and the rug was turning in to a bowl shape instead of a flat rug. Frustrating right?

I don't know what changed with this second attempt. Maybe I've learned some different tricks on my sewing machine that I'm unaware of. Maybe I've developed some fighter's mental strength and the decision that I WILL WIN. I don't really know, but I got the whole thing stitched together and looking gorgeous in just two hours. HOORAY!


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