Sunday, January 29, 2012


A friend of mine got married last August, and I finally got around to making a wedding gift.  Yes, I'm only 5 months late...

Anyway, I got the idea from this post.  Everyone can always use new placemats, right?  I liked the idea, having pops of color on a neutral background.

With this in mind, I set off to the fabric store and settled with a grey background, with blue details.

As I may have mentioned once or twice: I don't like following patterns.  I tend to make things up as I go.  I also detest measuring things, and cutting things over and over and over.  There was a lot of that, to make these placemats!   Oh well.

I'm sure it took longer than it should have.  Half of my time was spent working with the sewing machine-- I mostly have the tension issues worked out, but for some reason, my decorative stitches are still having problems.  I finally got the regular zig-zag stitch to work (mostly) well.  I'm stumped.  I've consulted the manual, the internet, I've played with it myself...  hmph!  The sewing machine I used growing up didn't have all these fancy stitches - or if it did, I didn't know - so it's frustrating that I can't use them, and can't figure them out!  I'll get there eventually.

A few problems, and a few things I would do differently next time (I think I might make more for Christmas gifts?):
  • Press the seams differently: I realized my mistake about halfway through, but I pressed the seams both over to the same side for some things.  Next time, I'll do them flat, like a normal person.
  • Either make the stripe of colors centered, or move them up/down more.  I meant to make them off-center, but they don't look off-center enough to be intentional-- so instead, it just kind of looks like it's accidentally off-center.
  • Figure out those darn decorative stitches!

Since I don't like following instructions, I'm not about to provide instructions (also because I don't remember the exact dimensions I used).  So, without further ado:

Blue and grey placemats!


(grr, why won't it rotate?)

At least I managed the zig zag...

So, there they are.  They came out alright, I think.  The grey fabric looks a little rough and industrial in the photos, but I think they look alright in real life.

I'm considering whipping up some quick, matching coasters.  We'll see.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Baby Blanket!

As previously mentioned, I've been working on a baby blanket for a friend.  Finished it last week, and now posting some photos!

I kinda just made it up as I went along-- didn't measure anything, etc etc.  Also got to know my new sewing machine better, when I somehow messed up the thread tension and had to try to get it right again.  Overall, ok for a first shot, but there is DEFINITE room for improvement!  I figure the kid won't mind, though, and the fabric is cute enough that maybe people will just focus on that instead of the mistakes.

One side

Other side
Close up

Close up

Of course, I had to make a card!  And since I had scraps, and the fabric is adorable, I just had to use it....


Like I said, lots of mistakes (which I conveniently did not take photos of).  For example, I never got to the bottom of the tension problem, because I kept getting knots in some places.  I also didn't really think about how big the blanket should be, and used fairly thick (normal) quilting batting, so on a small blanket, it makes it kind of thick and bulky (it's probably...  18" x 30" or so?).  So, it's more like a baby comforter.  But, oh well!  Fun way to kick off my new sewing addiction.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Pizza

After making this dinner for Allen for the 5 billionth time, I figured I could write about it.  I even though of taking photos, but:

1) I'm not actually some fancy schmancy blogger that has exciting photos
2) It's not exactly the most incredibly beautiful food, either.

Nonetheless, here's how pizza night often goes down (if it isn't Papa Murphys..)

Folded Pizza

- 1 refrigerated tube of Pillsbury pizza crust
- 1 pre-portioned pack of Boboli pizza sauce (or any amount of any pizza sauce)
- Mozzarella cheese
- Pepperoni
- Pizza seasoning

  • Preheat oven according to crust directions (I think it's 400F)
  • Grease baking sheet, and unroll crust.  Pillsbury dough is conveniently in an almost-rectangle, so it's fairly easy to squash it out fully.  There's no need to be precise; you just want a general rectangle.  Alternatively, any pizza dough will work, of course.  We've found the Pillsbury is easy, and comes out with a nice texture (thin, doughy, soft) -- although it's entirely a matter of personal preference.
  • Spread pizza sauce evenly over dough.
  • Sprinkle mozzarealla.  With the rectangle arrange horizontally, sprinkle a thin layer on the top half, and a good base layer on the bottom half.  (the top half will get more later, don't worry!)
  • Arrange pepperoni on bottom half.  I do a column of three, all the way accross.
  • Sprinkle another thin layer of mozzarella on pepperoni.  If I remember, I sometimes add some grated parmesan, as well.
  • Fun part!  Grab the top two corners, and fold over.  The middle will likely not fold over all the way, so stretch it over, as well.  You now have a folded pizza!
  • Fold/pinch over edges.  Sometimes I try to make it nice and neat and pretty; sometimes I just squish it together and hope it stays.  As long as the dough is touching, it should bake together well.
  • Sprinkle pizza seasoning (oregano, basil, etc..), and another thin sprinkling of mozzarella (or parmesan) if you wish.
  • Bake ~12 minutes, or until crust is light golden brown.
  • Slice into 3 squares (if you live with Allen!) and enjoy!
Seriously, it's the easiest, quickest dinner ever.  If I didn't use all the pre-packaged stuff, it'd probably be even cheaper, but it's totally worth it for the convenience.  It's also helpful that all these ingredients keep for a fairly long time, so I just make sure I always have everything on hand.  You never know when you need some quick pseudo-pizza!


In other news, I am currently working on a baby blanket.  NO, NOT FOR MY (non-existant) KID.  Allen's best friend is having a kid, so I need to get it done and mailed off before the baby is born!

However, I'm finding I really don't like patterns.  They're boring to read, annoying to use (geez, who wants to measure things a million times and be all nicely organized?), and I feel like I'm not being very creative if I'm just copying something.  So, as always, I'm making it up as I go along.  I made both sides with some super-cute flannel (and a made up "quilt" pattern, which is basically just some sewn-together squares and rectangles), and was about to sew them together when I realized I should put that quilting stuff int he middle.  The kid is going to live in Alaska-- I think he wants to be warm!  So, I need to get that from the store before finishing.  I'm looking forward to taking nice photos of the finished product!  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Break Recap!

Well, I fail miserably at regular updates-- unless, of course, it's regular monthly updates, in which case I'm doing awesome!

Anyway, here's a quick recap of our absolutely wonderful Christmas break!

Probably the highlight of break (heck, highlight of my LIFE) was Kristin visiting!  This is photographic evidence that Kristin still exists.  Good times.

So sleepy!

Xyla loved having Allen and I around so much!  There were countless catnaps on the couch, with her snuggling up with us.  What a sweet girl.

Allen got me a sewing machine for Christmas, and it's AMAZING!  Since moving away from home, I have been grieving my loss of access to a sewing machine.  I started this apron some time last year (2010..), and basically finished the bottom (ruffled) part.  However, I'm also the messiest baker ever, so I really needed to add a top portion!  I quickly stuck something on, added some ribbon, and... all done!  I think I'll actually add something to the top-- it's pretty plain and ugly.  But, at least it's officially "done"!

Next, I made Xyla a little fuzzy blanket.  Our cat has this strange obsession with fuzzy blankets, like fleece.  We recently changed the blankets on our bed, and there's no longer a softy fuzzy fleece for her to curl up on!  She has made her displeasure known by refusing to sleep on the bed at night.  So, I whipped this up for her!  Not very even, and some of the seams on the back are pretty terrible... but considering I didn't measure anything and sort of made it up as I went, I think it'll be fine for the cat!  Next time, I'll suck it up and use bias tape, instead of being stubborn about wanting to do everything on my own.  ;)

In other, happy news, I have a lead-free measuring tape on order!  I accidentally found out that many sewing measuring tapes are made with PVC, which usually use lead as a stabilizer.  I think that's dumb.  And since I have an irrational fear of lead, I couldn't possibly use my olde measuring tape!  But I found one that I think is fine, so in a few days it'll be here.......... I'm so weird.

Anyway, I have a feeling many more sewing-related projects to come!