…my true love gave to me: a shirt with a duck who’s daffy!

I am so!  Freaking!  Excited!  about this one.  This was a labour of love which, despite all odds, was finished around 10:00 on December 23…with a day and change left to go.  No early-Christmas-morning stitching for this honey badger!

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I have a tendency to stitch up railway logos onto the pockets of shirts for my dad.  (Last year’s offering, for example.)  After scooping up an out-of-print book of Looney Tunes cross-stitch designs online, I thought I’d try something different.

“Daffy Drops the Ball” is done in three pieces, which makes it three times as annoying to stitch all centred-and-straight and whatnot.

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I love the colour of the shirt, and how the black pops on it!  I am less fond of the fact that unlike simply stitching on the pocket (which I take off and then reattach), working on the shirt itself meant I couldn’t access it from the left, which is a real problem for this southpaw.  To stitch Daffy and the bowling ball, I actually worked holding the shirt upside-down, and somehow it’s all reasonably lined up.

Close-up of the design:

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I can’t wait for him to unwrap it!

Merry Christmas, everybody! 😀

Far out, man!

August 15, 2016

When I was a Young Person™, I went through a massive hippie phase, but in the whitest, most uptight way possible.  No illicit drugs or free love for this honey badger; my hippiedom was confined to doodling peace signs and rikki-tikki flowers on my notebooks, wailing along with Big Brother and the Holding Company, and bemoaning the fact that I never got to Woodstock despite having parents who were barely old enough to attend (an older, more self-aware Witty Child knows this was probably for the best, since I like hygiene and dislike crowds, but still…all those musical acts…).  Oh, and tie-dyeing like it was going out of style (it was).  I eventually stopped doing it when I ran out of places to wear it and people to give it to, but still always liked the look of it.

When I found out from my friend a few months ago that he had tried it as a child, with limited success due to some faulty technique on his mother’s part, I decided it was time to break out the rubber bands again.  We turned his apartment into a sweatshop – literally: it was boiling hot out-of-doors, and because we were situated on the linoleum floor of the hallway in order to minimize damage from drips and to allow access to both the kitchen and bathroom faucets, neither of us benefited from any breeze the open windows might have provided – and got our hippie on.

We had to soak the shirts in soda ash in batches due to space constraints, but found that each 20-minute soak was approximately just enough time to get the current shirt finished and wrapped in plastic, and rinse off our gloved hands before starting all over again.

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Not exactly awe-inspiring, are they?  In order to shower, he had to gingerly remove them and try not to drip dye out of the ends while they did their overnight soak.

But when he unfurled them and rinsed them out the next morning, well:

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Has anyone ever tried this with children?  I’m appalled that they market some of these kits as a fun birthday party or day camp activity, considering the mess that two grown adults with fully developed motor skills made.  I can’t imagine that being relaxing!

This has slaked my craving for a while, but I’d like to get my hands on a softer, cotton-poly blend shirt rather than the $4 Fruit of the Loom special from the men’s department at Wal-Mart – now that we’ve got our technique down, spending a little extra on raw textiles wouldn’t break my heart.

Thanks for looking…and peace out! 🙂

…my true love gave to me: a shirt with an “N” and a “B”.

Hello, all, and happy Christmas-is-over.  Sorry if that sounds Grinchlike, but there’s something to be said for not panicking that I have to sew-and-bake-and-buy-and-wrap.  But now that (most) of the handmade gifts have been opened, it’s time for me to catch up and post the rest of them.

I’ve stitched railway-themed shirts for my dad in the past, but it’s been a few years and I thought it was time he had a new one to add to his collection.  I didn’t want to do just plain denim again, and when I saw coloured denim/canvas/something sturdy shirts at Mark’s, I knew I had found my blank slate.  I opted for a mossy green one and added the Burlington Northern logo to the pocket – you know, before it became part of BNSF.

This isn’t the best picture, but gives the best representation of the colour:

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And a close-up of the pocket:

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<whispering>I think the liked it!</whispering>  He unwrapped it Christmas morning, and wore it to a family gathering on Boxing Day without bothering to iron it or anything.

I hope everyone had a crafty, happy holiday! 🙂

Waaayyyy back in March, I finished sewing a pair of emerald-green pajamas for my mom in time for St. Patrick’s Day.  Even further back, in January, I had bought the necessary green cuddle satin along with enough purple to make another pair – and promptly dragged my heels until there were ruts in every room of the house

The pattern I used was McCall’s M4244, as always, and I don’t even want to look at the envelope right now.  I can more or less construct a pair of pajamas from that pattern without the instructions, at this point.

There’s no denying, however, that the purple set is delightfully regal-looking, and make the perfect nightwear as we transition from steamy summer nights into the crisp air of almost-autumn.

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They aren’t nearly as bulky and lumpy as they appear in the photo: when I presented the finished product to her, she couldn’t be bothered with actually getting changed and instead pulled them on over her tank top and cargo shorts.  I choose to interpret that eagerness as a compliment.

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A close-up of the buttons I used, along with a better idea of the fabric’s real colour.

I’d like to think my pajama-sewing days are behind me for a while, but I’d best not speak too soon.  One of my friends saw these and thought a pair of satiny pajama pants “would be all right”.  Maybe for Christmas…

Thanks for looking!

…and conveniently leprechaun-sized, too!

A few years back, I made the grievous error of (gasp) sewing my mother a pair of pajamas.  Several years before that, she had received as a gift a pair made of this material that was satiny on the outside so as not to cling to the sheets when turning in bed, but cottony-soft on the inside, and she continued to obsess over them long after they had worn beyond use.  Naturally, when I found cuddle satin  – satiny yet snuggly! – at my local Fabricland, I had to replicate them for her.

This was a mistake, as it led to the construction of several more pairs of both the full-length and short-everything variety.  I’m almost surprised I can’t sew McCall’s M4244 from memory.  And so a few months ago, when she started in with, “I could almost use another pair of those satin pajamas…”, I did what I do best, which is to say, I pretended I was immersed in a book and didn’t hear her.  But then Fabricland had a 50% off sale at New Year’s, and my conscience got the better of me, and I took her shopping for fabric.  Six metres for the price of three (in two fabulous colours) was too good a deal to pass up.

But ah, there was a caveat.  She didn’t want a shorts set, but also didn’t want the sleeves, legs, or top to be as long as in the full version.  So, a capri?  “Well, maybe a bit longer than that…”  This was not the kind of thing that the “lengthen or shorten along this line” could handle – I was going to have to eliminate vast-ish swaths of fabric.  Aargh!  After holding the pattern pieces up to her, we more or less agreed on proper lengths for everything.  It was a tight fit on the fabric, too; had they been too short, her only option would have been to shrink.  In the end, though, we seem to have found the perfect balance.

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She won’t be tripping over the hems or setting her sleeves alight if by some odd chance she finds herself cooking over an open flame.  Sounds like an excuse for indoor s’mores to me!

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Aren’t those buttons something else?  I think the opportunity to use green glittery buttons was my primary motivation to make yet another pair of these things.  And this is actually a far more accurate representation of the colour.

There are still three metres of royal purple satin patiently waiting their turn, but that’s a project for another day.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Hello, dear readers and crafters, and let me be the first (probably) to wish you a very Happy Grammar Day!

Having a fairly relaxed dress code, I wanted to do something wearable to mark the big day this year.  I saw a t-shirt eerily similar (ahem) to the one below on a website, and knew it was perfect.  They had a little blurb asking customers to contact them regarding international shipping rates, so I sent a very polite message doing just that…and never heard back.  (Still haven’t.)  Either they’re extremely skittish about shipping to Canada (“But the dollar is so low!  How will she afford it?  How will she afford it?”), or they’re now completely defunct.  In either case, when it became readily apparent I wasn’t going to be finding a parcel in my mailbox in time for March 4, I took matters into my own hands.  I’m crafty like that.

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Yes!  Something to combine my love of The Simpsons (as it used to be, anyway) with my inherent grammar geekiness!  The shirt is just a standard men’s crewneck from Old Navy, and I used Tulip soft fabric paint for the logo.  I would love to learn how to screen print to get cleaner lines, but overall, I’m pretty happy with how this turned out.

Fun fact: although the purely fictitious National Grammar Rodeo from the episode “Bart on the Road” was to be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Toronto, the original artist apparently decided this needed more of a Calgary vibe.

And because I know you’re all dying to know: yes, Andy Williams was on heavy constant rotation while I painted this. 🙂

Pink cake and orange cat

February 15, 2015

Hello there!

My mom had her birthday at the end of January, but due to work scheduling, I wound up having to make her cake the weekend before.  I saw the basic idea in an old issue of Woman’s World, which is a magazine that I would generally never, ever buy – except that this issue had featured adorable Hello Kitty cupcakes on the front cover, and I had been unable to resist it.  They also had a layer-cake version of the cupcakes inside, but their recipe used something like four egg whites in the batter and another two in the icing, with no mention of what to do with the yolks, so I quickly dispensed with that idea and instead used my trusty vanilla cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World as well as the fluffy buttercream icing from the same.  I also thought I might leave the kawaii characters off the cake, and maybe give it a more mature vibe.  Because nothing says “mature” like pink cake, right?

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I, of course, did not think to get a picture of it while it was intact and free from candle holes.

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Holy ombre, Batman!  I used varying ratios of gel food colours to get the different shades, and they worked like a charm.

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That’s a chocolate-cream cheese filling between layers.  Since the cake itself is just vanilla and not overly sweet, it provided a nice balance and helped keep it moist for the next few days until we could get it all eaten.

She had to wait a couple more days to get the rest of her birthday goodies.  I always try to make a handmade card of some sort:

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And when I first saw this design on Urban Threads, I knew it had to be made into a t-shirt:

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I did him in orange to look like her big ol’ furbaby.  He’s painted on – not embroidered – and I think the blue really makes him pop!

Thanks for looking – have a wonderful weekend!

Qu’est-ce que c’est bleu-blanc-rouge, et très chaud? – Un foulard Habs super!

Shortly before Christmas, I was browsing Craftster and I saw this cool project.  (If I had a dollar for every time I’ve started a conversation with, “Ohmygosh, someone on Craftster just…”, I could retire.)  These Harry Potter scarves were the perfect, inexpensive, last-minute Christmas gift, and my reaction was both swift and dual: “Those are so great!…But I don’t know any Harry Potter fans.”  I think my cousin had read the books, but I have no idea if she’s still into that stuff, and certainly wouldn’t know what her favourite Quiddich team was.  Is one house inherently better than the others?  (My senior accountant later told me no, that one would simply identify with a house whose values/characteristics/etc. reflected one’s own, but I was done my Christmas shopping by then anyway, so it became a moot point.)

I couldn’t get those scarves out of my head, though.  “I bet you could do that with CFL team colours,” I mused, “or any team, really.”  And so it was decided that my dad, who normally eschews those crazy pieces of winter gear designed to keep one warm, needed a scarf in Montreal Canadiens colours.  (Er, couleurs.)

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It’s long enough to be wrapped around and cover nose/mouth/neck/entire head (probably)….

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….but has groovy fringed ends for a jaunty look.

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(As you can see, he took his modelling job very seriously, with his Béliveau jersey and matching socks.)

A rotary cutter made cutting the oodles and oodles of fleece rectangles a fairly quick job.  Sewing them all together and tying off about a million thread ends (whyyyy does he like a team with more than two colours?) was…not as quick, but the end result is absolutely worth it.  This thing is warm, and darned eye-catching, if I say so myself.

His jersey might have a 4 on it, but when I first set about making this, I had nicknamed it the Subban scarf: the original instructions, before taking seam allowances into account, used 76 inches of fleece.  🙂

Summery Tiki Shirt

August 28, 2014

Typical: just in time for the days to be shorter, the temperatures cooler, and with all signs pointing squarely toward autumn, I’ve finished a rather summer-appropriate blouse for myself.

I had bought this fabric oh, ages and ages ago, and had in fact sewn myself a little wiggle dress from it, complete with co-ordinating piping and (mostly) hidden side zip, but when I came across the rest of it in my stash, I decided I needed to do something else with it.  Enter Simplicity 7086, View E.  Nothing demands a tie-front blouse quite like tiki pin-up girls.

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I deliberately left the darts out to make it a little more boxy – since the front tie means it comes up a little shorter than some blouses, I didn’t want it to be too close and prone to creeping up, and find that the more flowy silhouette complements the length nicely.  Also, although you can’t tell from the photo, I made that collar my b…, I mean, my slave.  For a pattern named Simplicity, the collar instructions were (bad word) convoluted.  I looked at them, asked my mother’s advice, and even checked with my dad in case he saw something in them that I was missing.  Nope.  So, I modified it just a wee bit, but you’d never know; it looks just fine on.  (Does anyone else have this problem with collars?  Or am I forever doomed to a life of sewing nothing but collarless pajama-style tops?)

I think  I have enough fabric to maybe fashion a circle skirt of sorts, if I don’t mind cutting panels instead of one big piece…sort of a modern take on the vintage playsuit.  Well, there’s always next summer…

Thanks for looking! 🙂

Wait…that’s not right…

Long time, no blog!  Work, class, two ridiculously convergent time-sensitive deadlines…aargh!  But: I completed my first non-cupcake project in ages and ages, and had to share.  For Mother’s Day, I made Mumsie a pair of hedgehog-printed boxer shorts.

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I hadn’t actually been near my sewing machine since the start of December, but this was a nice, easy project to get back into things.  I spied the fabric earlier this year at Fabricland and bought three metres on a whim with no real project in mind – this fit the bill perfectly!  I think this may be my new favourite pattern: cute and practical, with quick results.  Boxers for all!  (Say, wouldn’t that make Christmas gift-giving easy….)

I’m happy to report, she loved them and they have been in regular rotation since last weekend – hence, the creases in the photo.  And they go so perfectly with the awesome t-shirt I found for her on Mental Floss:

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I’ll try to be more faithful about updates.  But with Father’s Day/anniversaries/birthdays around the corner, there’s got to be something craftacular to do, right?