Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fall Mantle

I really like most things about our tiny rental house but one feature I really wish it had is a mantle. I love seeing people's mantles all decked out for the holidays but I have to use the closest thing I have which is our china cabinet that sits in our living room.

While decorating for fall this year, I tossed out some old cheesy stuff that just isn't my style anymore. Think fake vines and leaves and a plush turkey. I used this mantle I pinned as my inspiration...

And here's my "mantle"...

I bought the owl at Marshall's for $5. The candle stick and glass jar were $6 and $3 at Marshall's. Some tiny pine cones from Walmart, mini pumpkins from Vons, a new wreath and the look was complete. I bought a plastic pumpkin at a yard sale for $.50 and glittered it myself.

I used to have a HUGE wedding picture hanging above the china cabinet. I decided to switch it out to give me space for more seasonal decorating.

The only thing purchased for my wreath was the burlap ribbon. The felt, feathers, and owl are from my craft stash. The wreath used to be covered in knotted strips of fabric and I just cut them all off so I could reuse it.

I wanted to do a bunting across the front of the china cabinet like in the inspiration picture. My plan was to use clothespins to display the girls' fall art work but the old artwork I had was either lost or torn by Matea and they haven't brought home anything new this year.

What fall projects have you pinned?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pinterest Dress

If you're on Pinterest, you've probably seen this dress making the pinning rounds. I thought it was adorable so after a string of super hot days here, I decided to finally make it. I know, it's crazy, some people actually make the things they pin on Pinterest. Truth be told, I've already made a bunch of stuff I've pinned so bonus points for me.

Here's my version...

I screwed up on my first go round. I didn't actually read the tutorial which would have been helpful. So instead of keeping the entire band of elastic on the outside of the dress, I sewed it into the seam which just turned out terrible. Lots of folding and bulk and just bad, bad, bad.

I used an old tank top from Old Navy and some jersey I got from Joann's at 40% off. I think the jersey ended up being a little too heavy. I like the idea of a knit on the bottom but what I bought is definitely heavier than tshirt weight and I think it's just a little too bulky once gathered.

My two big tips are to make sure the tank top fits fairly snuggly. Probably more fitted than you normally are comfortable with. And second, make sure the elastic band is the same size as your empire waist point. Too tight will be uncomfortable and ride up. I initially made mine too loose (along with a too-loose tank top) and that was a disaster too. It ended up looking like the dress was kind of hanging on my body instead of my body wearing it if that makes any sense. Overall, not bad for an $8 project.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pattern Review: Simplicity 2205 by Sweet Pea Totes

I hardly ever buy patterns. Partly because I'm cheap and there are so many great free tutorials online and partly because I'm super incompetent when it comes to patterns. But we had a new Joanns open in a neighboring town a few months ago and I picked up this pattern during one of their big pattern sales.
And here's my finished product.

Notice any difference between mine and the picture on the pattern? Yeah, one is upside down. And it's not mine. I think getting the final product photographed in the correct orientation is kind of key, don't you.

The pattern itself was fairly easy to follow but it does require very precise placement of certain pieces and transferring a lot of markings to your cut pieces. These are not my strong suits (I don't really think I have a sewing strength, to be honest). I think the pattern is probably a little too complex for a very beginner seamstress but would be fine for an intermediate seamstress. Honestly, the biggest issue for me was the picture on the pattern package. I kept thinking my clutch wasn't coming together correctly. I even ripped out the interior pocket at the last minute because I realized it would be upside down based on the orientation in the picture. And when it came to the final step of folding and top stitching closed, I just couldn't make it fold up, look like the picture, and be functional. Once I went to Sweet Pea's site and realized the picture was upside down, I was irritated with Simplicity but relieved that I wasn't completely incompetent.

I think the clutch is absolutely adorable and I love the pleated ruffle. I picked up some really cute floral trim at Joann's to use in place of the ruffle and I think lace or crochet trim would be really pretty too. I really like the final product but not for myself. I tend to carry a lot of junk, even when I'm traveling light and I think I need something with a boxed bottom. It took me about an hour and a half to complete the clutch including cutting fabric and stumbling over the upside down picture issue.