Couch pillows, part 2

S on SnowdoniaBefore I get to the couch pillows, I feel like I should take a moment and say something sad about my mom (and the Architect’s mom). Our parents live in Alabama, a part of the South that is getting the crazy snowstorm, and our mothers can’t get home tonight. The Architect’s mom is stuck spending the night at her office. My mom spent four hours to go less than five miles trying to come home, and is ending up spending the night at the Botanical Gardens. It’s pretty scary how something as little as 1″ of snow can completely dismantle everything down there, and the fact that people are practically refugees over something so small. But the streets were not salted or sanded because the South isn’t used to preparing for something like this.

http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2014/01/what_you_need_to_know_about_me.html

So keep our mothers and everyone else down there in your thoughts tonight. One of my dad’s coworker’s has spent the last four hours trying to get to pick up his kids from school. It’s nuts.

Okay, so back to our regularly scheduled programming.

I finished the second set of pillows, which were formerly these ugly brown ones that came with the couches.

CAM00049

So, when we went and bought the purple shirt that I used to make the other couch pillow, we also bought this cool teal and purple silk shirt that i wanted to use for the two brown pillows. But I decided not to just cover them, but to cover only the brown side, leaving the side that matches the couch so that they would still look like they came with the couch and like we bought the coolest couch ever.

CAM00075So the first thing I did was to separate the front of the shirt from the back, so I could use each side for a pillow. I also took the pillows apart. This was easy. First I found the side of the pillow that was top-stitched (all pillows have a top-stitched side, that’s how they get the stuffing in.)

CAM00073I unpicked that seam, then I pulled out the filling, which turned out to be green!

CAM00074Then, I flipped the pillows inside out and went over the seams with some pink chalk so I wouldn’t loose track of where the seams go.

CAM00076After that, I took out the rest of the seams around the pillows. It was pretty easy since the upholstery thread was pretty thick and the stitches were pretty long. I did it by hand.

CAM00077After that, I pinned the new shirt pieces to the front of the brown fabric. I used the brown fabric as a backing on the silk. Since the silk is such a thin fabric, the pillow would have come out lumpy feeling if I hadn’t backed it with the thicker brown fabric.

CAM00080I cut the excess off, and then I pinned the brown/silk combo to the other side, right sides facing. I also made sure that the decorative piping was on the right side of my seams (in this case since it was inside-out, the piping went inside of my seams). I stitched all the way around the three sides that weren’t top-stitched before. I did it by hand because I don’t have a big industrial machine and I couldn’t fit the piping under my machine’s foot. If you did this with a pillow that didn’t have piping, this would be quick and easy on a machine. As it was, I just stitched while we watched The Lord of the Rings. I didn’t get a picture of this part because it wasn’t easy to photograph. Then I flipped the pillow right side out again, put the stuffing back in, and pinned it like so:

CAM00081The pillow didn’t have piping on this fourth side, so I made sure when I pinned it that the beige side folded higher than the silk to give the appearance of piping. Then, I sewed this side with my sewing machine. I had to get the Architect’s help to smush the filling a bit while I sewed.

sewing machineThen, I hand stitched the last two corners, and voila! The view from our couch area is much less brown!

after verticalAnd here’s the view that includes our art:

after overallAnd then, the Artist and I just happened to find another pillow in our house that just pulled the color scheme together, don’t you think?

tostitosHah. Anyway, that’s it for the couch pillows. I wish I could send them and the throw blankets to my mom at the Botanical Gardens, but alas, she is hundreds of miles from me.

(P.S. There won’t be a refashion Friday this week because I will be getting a root canal instead. Apparently it’s a bad luck kinda week around here.)

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Refashion Friday: Green Space Dress

S on SnowdoniaThis week’s Refashion Friday is a little late because I had a date with my husband. We went to see a showing of The Fountainhead. He felt like he should see it because people are always mentioning it when he says he’s an architect. We’ve never seen it because we don’t like Ayn Rand.  I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like her, but this movie was AWFUL. Almost every line was some kind of ideological diatribe. Gross.

Anyway, I wore my newest refashion, which started out as this weird green space dress:

IMG_20140107_223143Yikes. It looks like I’m going to live on a space colony or turn into a superhero or something. So I had other plans for it.

Fortunately, it was originally kind of expensive, so it was fully lined, which gave me all kinds of freedom and extra fabric. And this ended up being a no waste refashion. But also kind of complicated, since this wasn’t really just a matter of changing the fit.

First thing I did was to take out most of the seams:

piecesAs you can see, I took the lining out, separated the bodice from the skirt, removed those awful straps, took out the zipper, and took some of the piping out of the bodice. I did that because I am going to turn the bodice kind of sideways and the piping from the middle stripe didn’t go all the way around the back, so if I left it, it would have just ended in a weird spot on the front.

The next thing I did was to sew the bodice back together and hem the edges that I’d had to undo to remove the lining. Then, I pinned along the bodice to change its shape since I decided to make it the waist section instead of the bust.

bodice2I sewed along that line. Then I fudged around a bit until I made it fit nice.

Now, I didn’t have the bodice. I decided to make the lining bodice into the new bodice so that I didn’t have to make a whole new one. So I sewed that to the new waist section.

bodice and waistAs you can see, I changed the circle and half circle into a kind of chain. As you can also see, my edges don’t line up since I’m rotating the decorations.

After that point, I forgot to take pictures. Once I got that attached, I attached the skirt. I took the original skirt and attached it to the bodice starting from the circle part, and left it open under the yellow half circle.

Then I took the lining skirt and folded it until I liked how it laid and sewed it on and attached it to the rest of the skirt. Finally, I cut down the side and then put the zipper back in and attached the straps. And then when I was done, it looked a little funny because of the seam down the front that used to be on the side. So I decided to wear the dress with a jacket, and then it looked awesome and kind of twenties-ish.

photo (4)I wore it out on my date to The Fountainhead showing at an art museum. Here’s me drinking some beer in front of an Andy Warhol, which is slightly more influential than our wonderful art that I’m always posing in front of. (Did I ever tell you guys about that piece? The Architect and I commissioned it from Kyle Fisher, an artist whose work the Architect has admired since he first laid eyes on it. We simply adore it. It looked a bit better in our old apartment where it was on a big giant brick wall. But I think it also looks awesome here, where it fits so well on that wall between our bedroom and bathroom that it looks like it was made for it.)

IMG_20140124_183636

 

And that completes this week’s group of Terrible to Wearable! This isn’t one of my favorite ever, but it’s now something that I will wear sometimes, whereas before it just made me laugh at it. So I think this refashion went to infinity and beyond!

Green Dress

 

 

 

 

On Work/Life Balance, as well as tasty cocktails

K on treeI’m sure the part of this post about work/life balance will be nothing that no one has said before, but the biggest issue in my life the last few weeks has been my work/life balance, which is really a shame.

At the end of the year, two of my co-workers quit. Both of them had job responsibilities that I am ultimately responsible for, and which I am the only other person in the company who knows how to do them. And both of them worked in another location that’s a 3 and a half hour drive from where I live. So for the last two weeks, I have been traveling out to the country where that location is to fill in for their work. In order to be able to complete the bare necessities of their responsibilities, I was still working over 12 hours daily, and not even touching many of the projects I have been working on. Which is obviously stressful. Luckily they have convinced one of them to come back, but now I have to work extra to catch up on my responsibilities. I am traveling this week for a training session, and again next week to help a coworker gain new skills. Which means that I’m traveling four work weeks in a row, which is unusual for me.

Last weekend the Artist and I had to take a trip back to the city he used to live in for a wedding shower party. At least that was fun, but it was a 7 hour drive round trip that we did Saturday and Sunday.

The point is, that I feel much like I haven’t seen S since she moved in with me, which is of course sad because I miss. She is also sad because she feels like I’m not around enough. This is really a shame, because on the one hand I feel like I’m not getting enough done at work, and on the other, I feel like I’m not spending enough time with my family. I know that that is a pretty regular feeling for most people, but it’s really what has been weighing on me lately. I have not been working on any of my projects because I’ve been traveling so much, so there’s really very little for me to share with you.

The one bright spot these last few weeks has been an event that we discovered in town. It’s called Iron Bartender, and every week this bar brings in two bartenders each week who compete in three rounds of cocktail making. The audience gets to try the cocktails, and you can purchase them if you so desire. It’s fun to watch, and it’s like research to determine where the best places in town are to go for cocktails. It has really given me something to do on a weeknight to relax a little.

Here’s a picture of me drinking one of the winning cocktails from last time. It was a pear vodka cocktail that had cardamom bitters, Grand Marnier, champagne, and fresh ginger garnished with a pear and a sprig of fresh rosemary.

Salud!

Iron bartender

 

Oh, and that lady in the background is the talented bartender who created the drink. Yum! It was delicious and almost like a lighter version of the Eenie Beanie Peartini.

Refashion Friday: Flannel Edition

S on SnowdoniaI’m feeling very slightly less sick today, so I decided to go ahead with a refashion, but I did a nice simple one that I could do while watching tv and relaxing. So I decided to do this flannel nightshirt I got for Christmas. It came in a set of pajamas my mother got for me, but she accidentally bought a medium for me instead of an extra-small like she got for K. So it didn’t fit at all. I gave the pants to the Architect, who likes to wear flannel pajama pants, but I kept the top.

IMG_20140107_222943As you can see, it doesn’t fit. But, lucky for it, flannel tops are in style just at the moment.

First I laid it down on the floor with a shirt that fits nicely sitting on top of it, and pinned the sides.

layered shirtsThe way the sleeves lay on the two shirts was quite different, so I kind of had to fudge it after I’d pinned the sleeves by turning the flowery shirt.

CAM00063

Then, I just sewed along the pins and cut off the excess. I don’t have a serger, so I fudged it by zig-zagging back and forth a couple of times.

CAM00064

And then I hemmed the sleeves and the bottom, and for funsies, I moved the pocket downward. And voila! Now I can look cute and flannely and hipstery.

Before and After

Plus BONUS flannel Artist:

CAM00033

 

 

Couch pillows, part 1

S on SnowdoniaI’m splitting this couch pillow project into two posts because I have a mad cold right now, and I just want to sleep instead of sewing throw pillows. You will have to forgive me.

Anyway, something has been bothering me about our living room, which is that it is much too brown/ beige. “But everything in your house is so colorful; how can this be!?” I know that’s what you’re thinking right now. I’m psychic.

But, our couches are brown, the carpet that came with the apartment is beige, the walls our beige, our throw pillows are all beige, the coffee table is wood, the shades that came with the apartment are brown…you get the picture. Here, allow me to demonstrate with two before pictures. You can see that if you are actually sitting on the couch, you don’t get any color. There is color in the room behind the couch, as you can see in this picture:

Couch wall before

But here is the view if you are actually sitting on the couch, which is actually something we do sometimes, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have a whole room decorated around the view of the couch.

short couch beforeSee? Brown, brown, brown, brown, and more brown.

We’ve hated our throw pillows since we got our couches. They came with the couches, and are just the most boring. That striped pillow is actually a sham that used to live in my bedroom, but came out to the living room just to get some kind of color in there. Our couches actually originally also came with four more throw pillows (because apparently there are supposed to be so many pillows on a couch that you can’t actually sit there?). Those four pillows were even uglier because they had GIRAFFE PRINT on them. Like, the splotches on the skin of a giraffe. Apparently we want our upholstery to look like we went on safari and killed endangered species to get it. So those went to the thrift store.

But, back to the pillow project. We’re starting out with that striped one. The color just wasn’t vibrant enough to combat that much brown, so away goes the sham, and hello comes this size 22 blouse acquired at the local thrift store.

tee shirt beforeThe pillow was 22″ across, so we had to shop in the larger sizes for something that would go with the pillow. This shirt was a clear winner because we liked the ruffles and the color goes with the little purple frame on the wall behind the couch. This pillow will now live on the couch under the wall, so we wanted it to look pretty with the art. Now, all I had to do was make the shirt into a pillow.

First step, close the neckline at the first place I could get 20″ across. It would have been better if this was underneath the armpits, but the shirt was too short for that, so our pillow will have arms. (just kidding. My sicky brain is now picturing a project that is actually a pillow with arms that will hug you while you are watching tv, until you watch a scary movie because the pillow hates scary movies, and then it brandishes a fork at you that it stole off the plate of food that you forgot you were eating because the movie was too scary.)

closing the neckline

Pin and sew!

Next step, pin down the sides, and sew. This picture makes it look like the pins aren’t straight but I promise those are two straight lines 20″ apart.

pinning the sidesI decided not to cut off the excess on this project because I am sick and lazy, and also because the ruffles will hide a multitude of sins. So when I put the pillow in my new pillowcase, I just folded all the excess so it would lay flat, and then hand stitched the bottom. That didn’t photograph well at all, so you just have to trust me.

And now there’s slightly more color in our living room!

AfterStay tuned next time for the exciting conclusion! That brown pillow in the foreground of this picture will be brown no longer!)

Refashion Friday: 90s Blue Silk Jacket

S on SnowdoniaHey everybody! I’m sure you’ve heard or guessed that I’m unemployed since we moved to our new place a month and a half ago. Ah, well. That’s life. The Architect is already employed as an architect, so I consider that a win for team EggHaus!

Do you like that new term I coined? It’s an architectural reference to the Bauhaus style, and one of the Architect’s favorite craftsmen, Farmhaus Modern.

Anyway, unemployment leaves me bored at the EggHaus quite often. So I have decided to do something about my unemployment boredom and start doing a refashion every week, to be posted on Fridays.

This week’s refashion started out as a hopelessly out of date blue silk jacket.

90s blue jacketOh, my! People used to wear these things to work in offices! It’s got these weird buckles on the shoulders, it’s WAY too long for a proper blazer of the twenty first century, those flaps on the pockets are just awful, and the fit is terrible. Which made it the perfect candidate for a refashion. I simply had to refashion it to prove to myself I could fix something that needed this much work. Plus, it’s 100% silk, which makes it luxury.

I spent ALL DAY on this, you guys. It needed a lot of work. First, I removed the sleeves and took in the sides. Then I looked at it and researched vest styles and thought about it. I shortened it (A LOT. Over a foot), closed up the open armholes, and adjusted the fit. Finally, I took off those odd shoulder buckles that didn’t like to stay closed (if you look closely in the before picture, you can see that the one on the right is unbuckled and the one on the left is buckled. I couldn’t even get them to stay closed to take a before picture.)

And voila!

blue silk vestOne of my most improved refashions to date, if I do say so myself!

Blue silk before and after

Knitting is fun! I get to do lots of it on vacation!

K on treeI had a great time for my Christmas break. I went to the Artist’s parents’ home to spend the holiday, which was very relaxing since they are all extremely cool people. We had Christmas, hung out, drank beer and generally enjoyed ourselves.  It is great to spend time relaxing and unwinding occasionally.

This was my 3rd Christmas at the Artist’s parents, and the third time I got to participate in a very fun tradition. Each year, we get to open one present on Christmas Eve. Wanna see the picture of all our gifts this year? I promise it’s worth it.

Matching jammies

Yes, that’s right. Every year we all get matching jammies. And of course, we all wear them and get comfy.

So I had a good Christmas. And having all that time off gave me a good opportunity to get some knitting done, which I hadn’t done recently. So, let me show you what I’ve made lately. First up, my very first crochet project, which was an afghan for the Artist’s parents for Christmas. I had been working on it since January, but only finally got done with it.

Blankette

It was a design I made up, but I must admit to having been inspired by a knitting blog I used to read, but I don’t remember which because Google Reader disappeared, and I was in grad school and decided not to get another reader at the time because I was too busy. Anyway, it’s just 6 granny squares. The big one has 3 colors, and then I just used 2 each for the smaller squares. I like that it’s asymmetrical.

cherries in chocolate

Over Christmas, I finished this shawl. I used an older yarn I had on hand for the red, but ran out before the end, which is why it’s a little asymmetrical, but in a much worse way than the blanket. I’m not too happy with it, but that’s alright because the colors are pretty. The pattern is Light in Shadows. The brown yarn is Malabrigo Sock in Chocolate Amargo, and the red is Dragonfly Fibers Sock in Lipstick.

cowl

 

When I finished that, I had some yarn leftover, so I whipped up this cowl for the Artist while I was at it. And lucky I got it done, because it has been FREEZING out lately.

headband

 

One of the gifts I got for Christmas was a knitting kit called the “Knit Wit Kit.” It included some bamboo needles, a gorgeous yarn bowl, a ball of yarn and a pattern for a cabled headband. I decided to make the headband for the Artist’s sister, who I thought would like it. So I whipped that up too.

Like I said, lots of time for knitting. 🙂