January 10, 2012

The Mid-Winter Stretch

Filed under: Uncategorized — laupre @ 2:09 am

Ah, winter. Long chilly days without nearly enough sunshine. For me and most crafting it’s also a quiet kind of hybernation. Now don’t get me wrong, my needles and thread have not been neglected. No, lately I’ve just find myself doing more practical projects that don’t really merit sharing in detail. I’ve made some basic longsleeve tshirts for layering, sewn numerous coat buttons back on and secured loose linings (Apparently I’m quite hard on my coats), made some scarves, and spent plenty of time mending and darning (don’t laugh… I get plenty of teasing for my darning already!) I turned one long slip into two shorter slips (and wondered if people still wear slips at all since a good slip seems so hard to find. Sewists, women in general, tell me: Do you prefer your clothing to be lined, or do you rely on a silky additional layer?), and I finally got around to stitching up a new purse (it’s a bit plain looking, but quite practical.)

I’ve also started another attempt at the 365 challenge.  I’ll be attempting to take a photo every day and photoblog it before midnight for 365 days, ending 12/12/2012. (just realized now that it’s a leap year, making it the 366 challenge!)

I’m posting those pictures at so feel free to take a look at random things I see from day to day if you’re so inclined.

But I’m keeping my head up.  Before I know it it will be sunny and time to make spring stuff!

June 10, 2011

Gathered Lace Skirt

Filed under: Uncategorized — laupre @ 9:52 am

Gathering by hand, to me, is one of those tedious tasks that I usually can’t stand.  Today though, I’m taking the time and gathering this lace onto the lining fabric of this skirt I’m working on.  The underskirt is a basic circle skirt.

I don’t know if this is a “real” technique or not, (I know there are easier ways, but I like doing it this way when I’m feeling like a perfectionist)  I use two needles and two lengths of thread to gather and secure the fabric.  First I pin off the sections evenly distributing the length of the gathered material in relation to the base.  Then little section by little section I use one needle to gather, pull the thread tight, and secure with a couple knots at the end of the section.  I use the second needle and thread to whipstitch over the top, securing the gathered stitches to the base.

Now when I go to add the waistband I won’t have to worry about the gathering ending up uneven or bunched in areas.  With a different fabric I might not mind, but I think with this lace the unevenness would probably disappoint me later. The rest of the skirt should come together really quickly, so I can enjoy spending a little more time on this one detail.

May 16, 2011

Last Week for The B&W Quilt

Filed under: Uncategorized — laupre @ 1:23 pm

My sewing table is covered in squares! I finished hand quilting the last square for my black and white quilt last night at craft night, so today I begin the process of putting the last half of the quilt together.  Spurred on by the encouragement of the lovely ladies and gentlemen at the spot, I’m motivated to get this done this week. This has been by far the longest time I’ve ever spent on a single project.  By this time next week I can finally avoid all those eyerolls and “Finish it already!”s, and just snuggle up under this baby.

fresh needle? check!

plenty of thread? check!

hot iron, hot coffee and a nice big playlist of music? Check!

This WILL be the last week I work on this! (What’s that? my copy of L.A. Noire I’ve had been waiting for since last September is finally being released? available tonight at midnight? Quilt first, play later!)

March 21, 2011

Me-Made-March week 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — laupre @ 1:01 pm


March 15th

I loved this outfit.  You can see I’m wearing my cropped sweatshirt/hoodie/shrug thing again.  The pale yellow with the white and black was just the contrast I needed to add a little punch to my day! I’ve worn the yellow and white top once or twice before, but I never put it with black before.

Me made: yellow and white faux wrap dress, white layered ruffles knit skirt, leggings, cropped swearshirt.

March 16th

The purple top here is a repeat from March 1st, but I wore the top with a different skirt, added a black lacy cami underneath and my cashmere shrug on top.  Also, I pulled out this wool coat I reconstructed (but actually haven’t finished) last fall.  It has sat in the back of the closet all winter since it’s just not warm enough for cold weather.  I had to resize the sleeves, I added the black wool to the shoulders and black, and I’m in the process of swapping out all the plastic buttons for self fabric covered buttons.  Since the purple in the coat nearly perfectly matched the purple in the top I thought it was a fun combination.

Me made:

skirt, purple tunic, cashmere shrug, reconned purple wool coat

March 17th

My new pants! I finally got these put together and sewed the snaps for the waistband in so I could wear them.  I made these without a pattern, just by drafting, copying a pair of rtw jeans, and fitting and pinning and trial and error! I’m super happy with how the fly came together, and I added some nice pockets to the knees just for a little something different.

Me made:

grey stripe slacks, green and grey knit longsleeve, knit vest

March 19th

I am so proud of this sweatshirt.  It took me 3 days of sewing in just about every spare moment I had, but it came out almost exactly as I pictured it in my head, so I am quite pleased. It’s entirely me, except for a little help for a starting point for the princess seams courtesy of a simplicity pattern. It’s made of a soft and cozy white sweatshirt fleece which makes it warm enough to wear out as a light jacket.  I’m wearing it with a purchased longsleeve tshirt (a shame, since I know I could have made my own) and me made white ruffled skirt (same one I wore on the 15th)

Me Made:

sweatshirt, skirt


black top, tights

March 20th

Pajama day! I wore my pajamas all day around the house, but I’ll be honest, I threw on purchased jeans and a hoodie with my me made ribbed tank that evening to go out to crafty night down the street.

Me made:

red ribbed racerback tank, flannel pajama bottoms

March 21st

Same outfit at March 10th, except with a different skirt.  This skirt is an awesome stretch wool fabric I bought at a PDX Sewing circle swap and sale. It’s a dark plaid with shades of purple and grey that seem to go really well with my green sweater.

Me made:

sweater recon, layered six panel wool skirt, leggings

Three weeks down and so far I feel pretty good about my Me made wardrobe! My goals for this week is to finish my blue knit dress that I’ve been talking about (I’ve started and fit the top portion, I just need to assemble, cut and make the skirt part, and insert a side zip).It’s also time to dig a little deeper into the closet and see if I have anything a little older or something I’ve forgotten to wear. I know I have a few pieces that haven’t gotten a chance to be featured in my me-made-march parade, so hopefully I can get them worn next week.  My one other goal is to whip up a couple more basic longsleeve tees so that I won’t feel tempted to resort to my store bought ones.  It’s a simple project, and I know I can knock one out in an hour, I just need to make myself do it. And finally, either today, or at least early this week I need to finish my tutorial on how I’m quilting and putting together the black and white quilt I’ve been working on at crafty meetups for over a year!

February 25, 2010

Feeling like Spring

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — laupre @ 11:57 am

I finally took my camera out with me yesterday. I’ve been meaning to snap some pictures of the lovely blooming trees in my neighborhood. These bright trees are easily my favorite part of spring and I look forward to it every year. I’m thinking it might be time to take a walk through the Japanese garden again soon!  I hope you’ll enjoy these photos from my day, and I hope you’re taking the time to enjoy the scenery where you are.

January 27, 2010

Working on My Black and White Quilt

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — laupre @ 11:56 am

I took a moment this morning to snap a couple of photos of my black and white quilt. The sun is actually shining today and the quilt was just begging for my attention!

The quilt is officially half way done now.  It measures 70″ by 45″, once it’s done it will be a 70″x90″. There are 54 hand quilted squares there! (and that means 54 more to do, oooh).

I am still really liking the quilt as you go method for joining the squares .  With this technique you never have to have more than one block’s width rolled up under the arm of your sewing machine.  (the blocks are hand quilted, but pieced together by machine). I also love that it is pieced together so that it is patchwork on the front and back, too.  To be honest, I am feeling a bit intimidated with the amount of work left to do.  Each of these blocks takes me 45 minutes to an hour to quilt (I’m slow, but getting better!).  I even toyed with the idea of machine quilting some of the squares just to keep motivated and get some of it done quickly, but a friend told me, “Don’t do it! you’ll never forgive yourself”.  I laughed, but I thought about it and she was right.  I just know I’ll be proud of it when I’m done and know that I put so much effort into it, and didn’t compromise my plan.

Right now I just want it done so I can snuggle up under it.

January 8, 2010

Dave’s Killer Bread on TV, and something I made!

Filed under: Uncategorized — laupre @ 4:21 pm

Drew Carney (from PDX channel 8 local news) was out visiting the “Breadquarters” for Dave’s Killer Bread early this morning. I’m a huge fan of Dave and his bread. It’s the best bread in Portland. Healthy and organic, local to Portland, and unbelievably sinfully delicious! But don’t take my word for it, you might think I’m biased having a handful of friends and family proudly working for the company. Take a look at Dave’s facebook and you can see what everyone else is saying. Honestly, once you’ve had this bread, you’ll never look at bread the same way again.

Anyway, when I heard that the bakery would be on the news this morning I borrowed a television from my mom and set my alarm for 5am. It was fun to see the segments throughout the news showing different parts of the bakery, and a few familiar faces (Hi Zac!), but what got me personally quite excited was right at the end. Dave and Drew were talking and standing by a table covered in the different kinds of killer bread, including one of my favorites, Good Seed:

And right on top was Good Seed, a stuffed version of the lovable logo I made as a gift for Dave from our little group.

Yes, I felt silly taking a photo of a television, but I was really excited!

I had made a set of Good Seed for myself last summer and had them sitting out as an xmas fireplace decoration this last December:

A friend of mine mentioned that Dave would love them. It thought it was a great idea, and something personal I could do to show my appreciation for Dave.  He’s an inspirational person, and the opportunities this company has given to people I care a lot about has changed our lives so much.  I started right away on a second set of good seed to give.

They’re a simple stuffie, made from fleece. I embroidered the faces and ended up doing a lot of hand sewing on these guys.  They were just one of those projects that I totally underestimated how long it would take (and completely forgot how much time I spent on the first set).  Something I thought I could knock out in just a couple of hours ended up taking close to ten hours over the course of a week!  Turning those tiny limbs right side out and getting them smoothly stuffed, and then getting everything stitched together was rough.  Totally worth it, though.  Their sweet smiling faces just brighten the day, I think, I was just so proud to see that Dave liked them enough to include them in their interview this morning.  Thanks!

January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — laupre @ 2:56 am

I’ve been keeping up with ton of great craft blogs lately, and I’ve noticed a quite a few new posts sharing crafty goals for the new year. I love the idea, so I thought I’d share some of my own.
We’ll see how I do!

1. Finish my black and white quilt
I’ve been working on this one for a couple of months now. I’m about a third of the way through it now, and I can’t wait to have it done. I’ve been hand quilting the blocks, which is a first for me!

2. Post new tutorials online
I love sharing project how-to’s as much as I enjoy reading them.  I’ll give myself the goal of ten new tutorials for 2010.

3. Get my supplies better organized.
I’m looking at you, giant basket of buttons! And yes, even the as-of-yet unpacked boxes marked “misc.” tucked away in the attic.

4. Continue with Social Crafting
I have so enjoyed going to local meetups, crafternoons, and craft and cocktails around town this last year, so I’m going to pledge to keep my attendance up and make sure I get to at least one event a month. (I’ll look forward to seeing you all!)

5. Participate in some Craft swaps on Craftster
I’d like to complete 5 swaps this year, so I’ll keep my eye on the swap board for all the newest swaps!

I might just check out swap-bot, too.

6. Fill my closet with more handmade fashion essentials
Ideally, I’d love a wardrobe of all handmade items, but for the year I’m going to aim for a minimum of five of each of these items:

  • Sweatshirts/Hoodies
  • Long sleeve tees
  • Tees and tanks
  • Dresses
  • Fitted jackets / vests
  • Coats/capes / wraps
  • Skirts
  • Undies
  • Accessories (hats, scarves, legwarmers, etc.)

7. 100 crafted things
Maybe 100 is too many, but I’m aiming high and counting the little projects, too. I guess that should lead me into another goal to keep track of this one:

8. Keep a record of completed projects
Being prolific in my crafty endeavors and having a horrible memory means that I can never remember what I’ve been doing with my precious time. I’ll start a simple list to keep by my desk, and a folder on my computer to record a photo if I’m feeling ambitious.

9. Master a commercial sewing pattern
I don’t know why this is such a hard one for me! I can’t think of many things I’ve made (that I was happy with) from a store bought pattern. Is it impatience? Inability to adjust properly to my measurements? overcoming my need to “make a few changes”. I don’t know, but I’m going to find a pattern I like, sit down with it and follow the directions beginning to end, and make something good.

10. Set more crafty goals throughout the year
having a tangible list, or a written reminder is a great way to motivated. Have you heard of 43 things? It’s a simple website that allows you to list 43 things you want to do. List whatever you want! Short term goals, like “Kiss in the rain ” (completed by 6320 people) or go big and “become a millionaire” (1,675 people want to do this). You can list your goals, check out what other people want to do, comment or make entries about goals, and even give and receive “cheers” to support good goals. You can read all about how people have completed their goals, and share your own tips and advice on the goals you’ve completed. Check out the Zeitgeist list for recent activity, or swing by my list and give me a cheer. Let me know if you start your own list so I can come and cheer for you, too!

June 19, 2009

Farewell, Paul

Filed under: Uncategorized — laupre @ 12:19 am

Last October I captured some photos of this large caterpillar building it’s cocoon on out back porch. I photoblogged the image on my Aminus3 page . I started calling him paul after looking online at photos of moths and guessed he’d be a polyphemus because of his big green body. Since then we’ve waited patiently for our little friend Paul to make an appearance. It was a kind of running joke that he was a great roomate. Never made a mess, was really quiet, that sort of thing. It’d been so long we were starting to wonder if we’d ever see him (and if he did come out if we’d be lucky enough to see him before he flew off.)

Today we spotted him all big and mothy, having emergerd from his cocoon. check him out!



Each of his wings were about 3 inches long, giving him a pretty impressive 6 inch wingspan.


He hung around for a couple of hours and then disappeared, but won’t be forgotten. Farewell, Paul!

June 5, 2009

Let’s Pink!

Filed under: Gadgets, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — laupre @ 3:24 pm

When I saw this little machine in the thrift store I was immediately intrigued.


I thought it was beautiful.  It is all metal, except for the wooden handle, and is pretty small, at a little under 6 inches tall. (on my monitor, the photo is just a little bit smaller than the real thing)  I wasn’t sure what it was at first, but as I played with it I started to get an idea of what it was for.  When you turn the handle, the wavy blade turns as well as the metal disk below the table.  I thought it had to be for pinking fabric!  I brought it home, not really caring if it would work or not because I loved it.


Just look at those neat gears on the back! You can see here that it was made by Singer.  I started looking around online after I got it home and found out that it’s a little hand pinking machine that Singer made during the first half of the 1930’s.  I was even able to download a PDF of the instruction manual.  The manual promised that the blade will “never need sharpening”!  I thought I’d better give it a try.  The little machine clamps down onto the edge of a table for security. I clamped it down, fed some sweet Kokka Japanese linen through it, and it worked like a charm! perfectly!


I wonder if Singer knew when they wrote their manual that it would really still work perfectly 70 years later.  It’s so nice because the machine feeds the fabric through as you turn the handle, all you have to do is guide it to keep it straight.  It is so much easier to use than pinking shears (scissors), because you never have to worry about lining up the zags and zigs every time you reopen the scissors to cut the next part.  You just get one long continuous line of perfect pinking!


I pinked the edges of a couple of rectangles of the linen and paired it with some lime green linen to make a pouch.  I made the pinked edges a part of the design since it was so fabulous.


And look, the machine fits right inside.  Cute, no?


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