{ ever so slightly } considering

Remember how I used to have an etsy shop?  You don't?  I don't blame you.  It was eons ago.

Never you mind.  I've decided I need to shoo away the dust bunnies and open the windows, wipe off the cobwebs and create a fantastic mess in my studio.  I am cautiously optimistic about being able to stock a few items over there.  

On Thursday, I spent a few hours listing, planning, scheming, and organizing.  Then I rolled up my sleeves and cut out some tablerunners.  Gosh, it felt good. The need to MAKE remains strong. I'm going with it. I started with some cream burlap table runners trimmed with cotton eyelet. I found a yards of this stuff on some vintage curtains last year and have been saving it for something like this. 

Hope you're having a good weekend, friends.  It's beautiful here and feels like autumn is approaching. That feels good, too!


{ easing back in } sewing again

First of all, thank you all for the kind words of congratulations and well wishes after my last post. This girl is feeling pretty relieved that the cat is out of the bag. I am still quite freaked out about the logistics involved with three in carseats, but everything will work out. Right?

At any rate, thank you. :)

Also, I promise not to turn this into a pregnancy blog. My goal over the next several months is to create and do and make and enjoy. I couldn't be happier that spring has sprung right as I'm coming out of my funk; it feels like one giant celebration every time the sun pops out. Happy! Sunshine! Birds! Flowers! Sandals!  It's all good.

So.  After one of the longest breaks I have ever taken from my trusty old machine, I tackled my chair last weekend with a new slipcover. The little girls were out of town last weekend, so I had no pressure of schedules and commitments (and no longer felt tethered to the sofa!), and a full two days to get productive.  It felt really good to make something again. 

the original slipcover

We bought this chair a few years ago.  One of the things I liked about it was that it came with a slipcover.  A zipper-free, all-right-angles, easy-to-duplicate slipcover.  I had grand plans of making seasonal covers -- a smoky velvet for winter, a crisp white linen for spring and summer, and maybe something special for the holidays, if I wanted to get really crazy.

machine topstitch

Well, four years later, I finally got off my duff and made one.  After seeing how the original linen slipcover wore, I decided that wasn't probably the best choice for this busy chair again, so I went with unbleached canvas. 

sewing again - slipcover

Since the old one was torn and unusable, I was able to use it as a pattern.  I cut off each peice and pinned it back on to the chair as a reference for how it went together. This proved to be very important, as so many of the pieces were so similar. Then I took one piece off at a time and cut a matching piece (plus seam allowance) from the canvas.


I spent some time figuring out the order in which I needed to assemble this thing, but once that became obvious, the rest went quickly.  I am kicking myself that it didn't get tackled years ago.  And now that I do have the pattern pieces cut, there is no reason that my original plans of chair 'clothes' can't happen. Should my chair have her own closet? :)

sewing again - slipcover

The one thing I hadn't planned on is how all the crinkles and imperfections show when you aren't using a print like the original slipcover.  Maybe it's just because I made it and I see all the tiny misalignments, but going with a solid really draws attention to the lines rather than the whole... but I'm going with 'hey, it's a slipcover, it isn't going to be perfect anyway,' and leave it at that.

front view

Also, it is not yet hemmed at the bottom.  I got that far and mama needed a rest.  After nearly two months of inactivity, I'd gotten more accomplished than I expected, and took a break.  Maybe I'll finish that this afternoon during naps.

What about you?  Do you have a slipcover project you've been putting off?  What's keeping you from starting?

Thanks again for stopping by and saying hello last week.  I've missed this space.  xoxo

ps:  it's finished!  Hooray!


{ sewing } teacher apron gift

As soon as I said 'this year I'm not going to commit to making any gifts', Fidget reminded me that I always make aprons for her teachers.  Always.  And the thing is, the teachers at her school know this.  Miss Jane might already be expecting one.  I don't know.  (She might be dreading it.)

At any rate, Christmas Teacher Apron 2010, is done and ready to wrap. I added a bit of tif's dottie angel styling to the pocket and used some vintage crochet trim on the bottom.  The pocket itself is made from a piece of an old eyelet bedskirt.  It is one of my favorite items in my stash.  So many, many uses.

I have also been finagled into making crocheted hair clips for Fidgie's friends.  That girl.  She can be awfully convincing, especially when she is talking about giving handmade... Fortunately those little crochet flowers whip up quickly whilst snuggling in front of a movie under a giant patchwork afghan. ;)

Happy weekending, friends!
miss chris

ps: and also... if you haven't yet seen this delightful little movie featuring tif, her mossy shed, and the chickens, treat yourself to 3 minutes of happy.  You'll be glad you did.  xoxo

pps: there is also still time to sign up for the W O R D giveaway -- midnight tonight (12/17)!

{ sunday morning } happy

On Friday morning I had a rather last minute appointment to have my upper wisdom teeth removed.  Two mornings later, I am feeling remarkably well.  Even better than before, really, as the left one had been giving me increased pain over the last two weeks and now, like magic, I have none. 

crochet!!!  and I'm not fouling it up!

The littles went to my in-laws for the weekend so that mommy could rest without too much guilt.  And I have.  It's been wonderful to sit in front of the tube and watch chick flicks and get that much closer to completing my dottie angel patchwork afghan.  It's going to be wonderful.

mini garland for a mini friend

I also took some time to finish up some hand sewing on a mini garland for a mini friend who is celebrating a birthday later this afternoon.  I can't wait to take photos of it in the proper space... am hoping it will be as darling as I have planned.  Am also hoping her mom doesn't mind that I took it into my own hands to add my touch on her daughter's new vintage inspired bedroom! 

the only pillow I made for erin's challenge

Last week was erin's pillow challenge.  I had grand plans of making 4, had 2 laid out, and made one.  Oh well! This one was big, at 24" x 24", and I added a zipper and extra touches like thrifted eyelet trim and tag, so that counts, right?  The back is solid pink, which makes me happy. (Heidi, the pink is for you.  Now there is a touch more pink in my house.)  The grey tag is a tiny scrap stowaway from my Seattle weekend

the only pillow I made for erin's challenge

Maybe it counts that I recently made two polka dotted zippered pillows for this same couch not too long ago?  That would put me at 3, which is totally not slackerish!  Right?   Right.  Ok.  I feel better.  And that's not just the painkillers talking!

holidays creeping in

I was loving the light and warmth in my living room this morning, which was the whole reason I got out my camera.  I jumped up and took a photo.  I didn't straighten any pillows or move the dogtoys or overturned laundry-basket-come-side-table out of the way.  This is just the way it was and it felt cozy. 

(I am so glad that I set about putting up a few house decs last weekend, too, as this weekend I was out of commission and I will be out of town for the next two.  All that is left are the trees -- one big and one little -- and that seems doable at this point.)

Many wishes to you for a special sunny and warm Sunday afternoon. 
miss chris

{ sewing } mini boden challenge: appliqued skirt

Next up on on my Mini Boden list:


The apple pocket jeans skirt.

Except I didn't use a denim skirt, or make beltloops, or make giant apple pockets.  I did, however, make a simple tube + casing skirt from a fine wale corduroy and added appliqued flower pockets.


I found the cute t-shirt top at Target yesterday on clearance, so I bought two and cut up one for appliques.  Don't look too close at the appliques.  My topstitching leaves something to be desired.  As do my rounded pocket corners.


Whatever!   The pockets are fun! 


So much fun that I have very few decent photos.  But that is what you get when you ask a girl nicknamed Fidget to stand on a bed for photos.   And she doesn't sit still long enough for anyone to look that closely anyway.



Oh well.  I'm still going to call this one a winner!

about 1/3 sale fabric ($4?)
clearance shirt, $4.70
total outfit: 8.70

(added to the flickr mini boden challenge pool... check it out!)


{ thrifted + modified } the closet part 2

Thank you, ever so much, for your sweet words of encouragement on my last post.  I am so much more comfortable behind the camera, but your comments gave me the confidence to push onward and show you another one of my projects from The Pile.

Staging photos like these makes me want to laugh my head off.  However, they are necessary if I'm going to show you the proper before and after.  Draping stuff from a hanger just wouldn't do it.  We also have very few blank walls in the house.  This is in the master bathroom.  I am standing next to the toilet looking down, very seriously.  Excuse me, I have more giggling to do...

Okay.  Let's do this.


My sister gave me this dark gray stretch t-shirt jersey dress back in 1998 when she worked at Old Navy AND got a hefty discount AND it had gone to clearance.  Seriously, I think she paid about $1.50.  I wore it to work with a cardigan all the time.  I wore it to school functions.  I wore it to at least one funeral. 

And then I stopped wearing it because, somewhere along the way, the length started to bother me.  And it felt a bit too drab.  And, let's be honest, I was bored.

So it sat in The Pile for a very long time.

Until I got it out last week, chopped off several inches, and hemmed it.  It was instantly better.

But it still needed something.

that something extra

So I took a lesson from Tif and cut a straight enough strip from a vintage lace tablecloth and attached it to the inside of the neckline.  It was exactly what I needed.

after! (shorted + embellished)  with boots, of course.

Here I am -- with The Boots and one my favorite cheapo XXI cardigans -- wearing it for about the third time in two weeks already. Hurrah! 

(My grandmother wanted me to have that picture when she passed away.  I have it hanging in my bedroom and I love that it pops up on the blog when I'm posting about clothes and stuff.  She was the ultimate accessorizer and girlie-girl.  She would appreciate this, too.)

There is more in The Pile.  I think I'm going to have to have a better attitude about it from now on.  This is actually fun. 

What's in yours?

miss chris

{ thrifted + modified } The Pile and The Boots

So, part of my Need to Clean and Purge includes attacking the pile of mending and alterations that has been collecting in my studio.  It's not going anywhere if I don't address it, right?

And it's largely stuff for me, which is fun. 

Thrifted_refashion-017Case in point, this pretty little vintage skirt. (The sweater is vintage + thrifted, too.  However, the sleeve cuffs were too tight.  I just snapped them off and now I can push the sleeves up.  Much better.)

I bought the skirt years ago for $8 and loved it, but rarely ever wore it because of the length.  It is A-line and cut on the bias, which are both universally flattering, even if you think oversized plaid isn't. But I totally had this Librarian thing going on.

I just insulted librarians.

I meant the matronly shhh-ing types.


I just insulted them again.

I hope you know what I mean.

It just wasn't working for me.


So, scissors, thread and about 25 minutes later....

I cut off about 6", hemmed it by hand -- such a nice touch on garments, don't you think? -- and used some of the extra fabric to make a detachable flower.  I would never dare to wear this length without tights or leggings, but it's an acrylic woolish blend that needs leg wear anyway.


And now I love it.

And yes, those are The Boots I picked up in Seattle at a flea market.  Where Jade was holding them up for me across the store and I could swear there was a gentle glow and a choir of angels.  I had been looking for vintage Frye Campus Boots for two years. 


And there they were.  I quickly discarded the stack of olive green Texas-Ware I had been admiring and ran across the store in that underwater kind of haze you have in dream sequences. 


She was saying 'size 6, right??!!'  Yes, yes, yes!

And as I got there I saw that, yes, they were exactly what I had been searching for. 

I'm not going to lie.  It's ridiculous to get this excited about boots.  And I'm pretty sure there is a Peter Cetera song that would aptly describe my joy at that moment.  It was kismet, me and my found boots.  All worn in and aged.  Scuffed and softened and teeming with character. 


I took them home and after a trip to the cobbler for new soles and a cleanup they are thrilled to be back in action.  (If that is what you call the grocery store, library and dance class. )

And all we lived happily ever after.

Next up: Dottie'd up funeral wear.  Happy weekending!

miss chris

{ sewing } boden challenge dress 2

Without further ado, let's talk about my second dress challenge.  It was based on this one from mini boden:


Warm, heavy fabric, jaunty zippers, bold color, simple cut. 

Okay, I get that.

mini boden challenge, dress 2

Simplicity 2484 seemed like a good fit.

mini boden challenge, dress 2

It is perfect for ukelele practice.

mini boden challenge, dress 2

Or world discovery.

mini boden challenge, dress 2

It even has places to put your stuff.

mini boden challenge, dress 2

Aside from wrapping my head around the zipper placement  (which wasn't nearly as tricky as I thought it would be), this little dress is pretty simple.  I have a a strong track record of attaching my seam binding to the wrong side of arm holes and this one is no exception.  I went ahead and left it there for contrast.  It works.  I might actually even like it better that way.

Pattern, bought on sale for .99
Fabric, bought on sale for $7
Zipper, thrifted, .25
Time: about 1.5 hrs

Boden dress: $54 (w/tax + shipping)
The PPF Challenge dress: $8.24

And mama does the happy dance.   Woohoo!

(I also kind of want one in my size.)


{ sewing } mini challenge: winter coat

Fidget's Wanderings Coat (which is not like anything in the mini boden catalog, but I am still counting for the challenge) is complete!

the wanderings coat

After rediscovering this sweet pattern in my studio, I decided to go in the Princess Coat direction.  I also knew, immediately, that I wanted it in peacock blue wool.  And orchid pink inside...

wanderings coat

perfect for princessing about the grounds.

wanderings coat

I found some yummy faux fur online, hand sewed it into a loop and attached it by hand to the hood so I can machine wash the rest of it when needed.  The pattern showed fur at the cuffs as well, but I thought it was too much for this version.  I like the pink peeking out of the sleeves, anyway.

wanderings coat

As for buttons... There were so many options!  Toggle or regular?  Colored, wooden or metal?  I felt like there were a hundred tiny decisions to make and, really, any of them would have looked fine.  In the end, I went with an antiqued pewter.  (I did start to fear it was looking a little civil-war-esque, and maybe it does, but whatever!)

wanderings coat

The buckle is vintage and shipped from England.  So very appropriate for this coat, don't you think? It showed up black and antique gold, but I added some craft paint so it would match the buttons.  I had no idea how difficult it was to find belt buckles.  Joann's did not carry them and so many of my online sources carried boring stock!  Thank goodness for etsy

I love how the back of this coat is gathered.  It is even pretty from behind.

wanderings coat

Once I was mentally prepared to tackle buttonholes, I discovered that my machine did not, in fact, want to make them either.  Too many layers or something... So I hand finished each buttonhole with a super tight blanket stitch around and around and around.  I had basted the layers together at first and then liked the look so much that I went ahead and made them permanent. 

wanderings coat

This ended up being a nice little exercise, really.  Much less stressful than setting the machine loose on my precious garment and watching in terror, as it happened, through parted fingers. (Although it did add about 4 hours on the project.  Ahem.)

The inside was delicious fun. The pattern calls for secret pockets and embellishments, so I gave her plenty.  This little circle will get her name embroidered this week:

wanderings coat

There are two little pockets -- one with a button, and one open -- on her left panel. The pockets are lined too.

wanderings coat

The right side has a zippered pocket for extra safe keeping.  She has her Found Jewels in there already.

wanderings coat

By golly, she likes it!  She really really likes it!

wanderings coat

As any princess should.


{ re-entry } after the dottie angel workshop

... and just like that I am back.  A weekend with dearies and doilies and jaw-dropping vintage goodness from all over the world is over.

jessies bag
(sweet jessie's pretty suitcase of goodies)


It was perfect.  Peachy perfect, per dottie angel.

Setting_up(setting up for the apron shoot)

Words fall so short.


dottie weekend 136
(the moore mansion, where we worked.  it was a bit Beast's Castle)

We were friends and left sisters.


We pushed ourselves with time and space and supplies and tools.  (I had carried on my sewing machine, now named Miss Kendra.  She was quite useful and threw very few fits.  Pfew.  It would have been terribly embarressing if she had been tempermental that weekend.  She has, it seems, aged gracefully.)

Tif-chat(tif instructs, next to mr doily head)

We stepped out of our comfort zones.

Dottie weekend 008(happy garlands)

Scratch that.

trees2(garlands at volunteer park)

We leapt out of our comfort zones.

Slip-1(crappity crap camera phone photo)

I sashayed about Seattle's Capitol Hill in a custom slip, for crying out loud!

Dottie weekend 116

Heavens to Betsy, it was freeing.

Fairy hole (look!  a fairy hole!  I swear.)

I loved every minute.

chris(photo: beki :: artsy crafty babe)

Thank you, angela, for organizing this fantasy weekend in a fairytale place.  You inspire me to follow my dreams.


Thank you, mary, for being your sweet helpful self.  You have a grand + bright life ahead of you.   Angela is so lucky to have you assist in all things!


Thank you, tif, for bringing dottie angel to life and letting us into her special world.  You are a sparkly gem of a person.  Quirky and witty and sweet.  I wish I could keep you in my pocket.

And to the rest of the dearies... what an incredible treat it was to meet and visit with you all!  To have such instant connections with others!  Those meals 'round the table draped with Angela's lovely cloth-of-cloths were just as special as the making and doing and seeing. 

Finally, for Jade and Beki... my comrades in travel and adventure, there are no words.  You girls so get it.  xo


miss chris dearie(tif's photo of me channeling my inner dottie angel.)

More photos here in the dottie angel workshop group on flickr. They are worth a look as I left my big camera at home and failed to take many pictures with my little one. 

treed path

However, a word of caution.

You will both want to attack something with a doily and visit Seattle, stat.

Happy Weekending, all!


miss chris