Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Grow Write Guild Prompt #3: Ch-Ch-Changes

I can't believe I'm two weeks behind in my Grow Write Guild prompts! Aye Carumba! Well, yeah I can actually. Things have been nutty around here. But that is okay. I'll survive.

So in case you haven't heard, for Grow Write Guild Prompt #3, we are to write about are garden RIGHT NOW. So, I'm going to unplug myself from the wall and take you outside so that we can discuss.






Alright. Here I am sitting on my side porch steps on this beautiful sunny day. I'm going to try my best to do this one without photos since last time my post was all photos. I should also say that two weeks ago, my garden definitely did not look like this. We have been having a proper spring for the first time in ages, and so things have been growing. Also, I bought plants and I started planting my goods this past weekend. So oh well, deal with it. :P

To my left is what I affectionately call my "flower" garden. It is a small space, about 7 feet by 2 feet. In it, I have two yarrow plants that I originally planted at my parents, but have since transferred over to here. They are lush and green and starting to spread more than last year. I also have the green Chicks and Hens that Lourdes let me swipe from her mom's garden last year. It has produced a number of offspring, of which, a few have been plucked and planted elsewhere in this garden. I have three reddish-brown Chicks and Hens, which I bought a few weeks ago, as well as A new super clustered bright green one, and a clustered red tipped one, which I picked up this past weekend with Trevor from our favourite greenhouse. I also have a newly acquired Stonecrop that seems to be making itself right at home.

Now comes the interesting bits. While at Canadian Tire last year, I saw that they had some "Ontario Natives" plants hanging around. I picked out the best two plants, but that's not saying much. They were pretty sad looking. I bought a Mayapple because I had read that it is an edible wild plant (I have been really interested in foraging recently and have been able to identify a number of plants out on hikes!). I was pretty sure it died last year, but low and behold this weird thing had popped up in the soil about a week ago. It is now standing tall with six lovely leaves. I can't wait until it flowers! I hope it bears fruit! Also sitting rather handsomely in this garden are some fuzzy purple flowers. This too was one of those Canadian Tire destined to die plants. I really did think I killed this one too. Don't ask me what it is. I have no idea. Until today, all that was there was five dainty flowers, perched upon their stems. Today, one leaf has decided to make an appearance. Whatever this thing is, it is welcome back next year.

Above this garden is my kitchen porch planter box. Nothing is standing out of here except for sticks to denote what will soon (hopefully) be asparagus and green onions. I hope both the asparagus and the green onions take over this planter box in the most unruly ways.

To my right is another garden, about a foot and a half by about 11 feet. In order of closeness to me: a peony plant is sprouting up (I swear it was 6 inches shorter this morning!); three garlics, a foot high; two sticks denoting future onions; an unruly rose bush that has yet to produce a rose for me (not that I care for the flower much); four more garlics; something I did not plant, maybe Hostas?; a fresh little golden raspberry stalk; a garden gnome; a single pretty yellow tulip; loads of red raspberry leaves springing up from the ground and loads more on the plant stalk I left in over the winter.

To my "two o'clock" is the garden that we dug up last year. The place where the tomatoes took over. It is barren. I haven't gotten around to planting here yet! But I will!

In front of this, three black mismatched containers are barren also, but they hold more onions-to-be.

Shall I walk to the front garden window box? I shall!



What do we have here? Oh hello, peppermint! How are you chocolate mint? Howdy banana mint! What's shakin' spearmint? Sup chives?

And under that, not even in a garden, just loitering from the previous owner in my "lawn" (mud patch), four beautiful red tulips and a spattering of daffodils.

Sigh.............tis spring.........   :)

And now....I must go clean some stuff up, get crackin' on my school stuff, and try to squeeze in my current house project.

Enjoy the beautiful weather!

{And enjoy this lovely tune.}

Friday, 26 April 2013

Hungry Like the Wolf.

So, things are going to be updated rather slowly here for a while. I've got a full-time job, a part-time job, and I'm putting on a musical at a different school (plus possibly organizing a tote bag sewing workshop at my current school, while trying to sew a quilt in a short time frame). I'm not complaining, don't get me wrong, but I've got priorities, and right now, posting is pretty low on that list (feeding myself is pretty high). Having said that, I do have a few projects completed that I can post when I do have a spare moment here and there, so you can't get rid of me that easy!

Here is a little refashioning project from about a month ago. I pulled this beauty out of my "Drama teacher suitcase of costumes". I bought this beaut for a bad-clothing themed bowling night. Needless to say, I succeeded in having bad clothing:
So, now you are probably like, "WTF, Carlee? What are you possibly going to do with that.....besides set it on fire?" You'll see!

First, I ripped where the side seams met the peplum, including the side seam on the peplum. Then I turned it inside out, tried it on, and pinned where it needed to be taken in (especially at the waist), grading out to the hips.
Once I pinned it, I sewed the peplum back together, sewed it into the side seam as I sewed the side seams back together, and I removed the excess.

I took the hem up a lot, and well. THAT'S IT.

...................Hold the phone. WHAT?

Yup. That's all I did to this beast.

So, you wore that hideous thing outside?


Oh good gawd!

Oh wait, I forgot to tell you. It was for an 80's themed stag and doe:
Heck YES.
Oh, and don't forget your boombox purse!!!!
 I know. Ridiculous. So there you have it. A little piece of the eighties, just for you.

See you (hopefully) soon!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Mad Men Dress Challenge 2: The Betty

Well, here it is. After months of work, and learning new things, and a few screw ups, here is my Mad Men Dress Challenge 2 dress: The Betty.
So, it's not an exact replica, I know, but it is as close as I can get it. So, here's the rundown.

I am so immensely proud of all the pattern changes I did with this dress. Considering I really have only just started sewing a few months ago, I've impressed myself. I have changed the shaping of the front dart, added a bust dart to get rid of front neck gape, altered the way the back pieces came together, and added shoulder darts, to get rid of the back neck gape.

The Niagara River and a giant cliff right behind me. I live on the edge to bring you the best photo shoots. You're welcome.
THEN, I made the two back bodice pieces into one piece, accounting for the lack of zipper, seam allowances, etc.; I separated the one front bodice piece into two pieces, adding a button placket to both sides. I then drafted my own button placket stabilizers, and drafted my own collar (!). It's nowhere near perfect, but I'm pretty stoked.

I also changed the skirt pattern so that instead of two small pleats on the front, the skirt was box pleated, showing the green stripes at the front, just like the original Betty dress.

This is the best I can de-wrinkle this material to show you my box pleats. I know, you are not impressed. I am. Deal with it!
 I learned how to use my buttonhole maker (This was frustrating because it was just a tiny step that I kept skipping over.), I made some bias binding without one of those bias-maker doohickeys, and closed the armholes with said bias tape.

I am laughing at.....

...this beast.
I took my time, and ended up with some killer top stitching on my button placket. Like, killer.

I feel pretty good about my pattern matching on the skirt portion. I matched it up on the sides pretty well, and also, where the seams were on the front middle, and back middle, I made sure that the pattern followed exactly so that you can hardly tell there is a seam at all. Hooray!

In order to get into the dress, I knew I would need a side zipper in addition to the buttons, just because of the way the dress is drafted. Well, I wanted to put in a lapped zipper, and I nearly cut off the fabric I needed to do so. So I did a sort of hack job of fixing it, not helped at all by the weird-o stretching ways of the fabric (see below), but it doesn't look horrible. I was rushing to be finished (I was excited) and next time I will try to remember to think things through more.

Here I am trying to show you my zipper, but I didn't tell Trevor that is what I want to show, so you get this awkward photo. :)
Also, on one of the armholes, I didn't think the bias binding through as well as I should have. So instead of a pretty finished look, one of the armholes is just haphazardly stitched together. Again, I need to slow down, especially near the end.

That's right, you have the pleasure of seeing my stupid faces. :)

I think the hem might be a little off, but it is hardly noticeable, no biggie there.

The collar, although in "the good", isn't perfect. It sticks up a wee bit in the back, and I had to tack the front bits down so that they stayed where they are supposed to. I think it is because on my muslin, there was more seam allowance to keep the collar in place, whereas here, I miraculously managed to create only a tiny seam allowance. Which, worked out not in my favour, go figure. But that can be easily fixed next time. Plus the front where it meets in the "centre" isn't quite perfect, but hey! Get off my back, wouldja!?

See, I am unimpressed with you for not getting off my back. GEEZE.
This fabric. I don't mean that the fabric itself is ugly. What I mean is I should have waited before choosing my fabric. Or at least I should have researched it. But I grabbed it because it was almost the exact colours I was looking for. Oh well, live and learn.

Weird-o wrinkles. Like my new pin? We went "antiquing" for the first time!
This fabric, to put it kindly, was a major bee-otch to work with. It is a woven 100% cotton. I prewashed it like normal. BUT, the green bits are woven much more tightly than the ivory bits. Which means that this fabric warped and went crazy on me basically. So no matter how much I pressed this stupid stuff, it always ended up wrinkled. That sucks. I mean, I could have went back to the store and got a new fabric, but once I start, that's it, I'm not stopping. So anything that was cut on the bias ended up twisting really weirdly. My sash, for instance, which I threw together because I didn't know if I would have time to make a belt (I don't), is messed up, bad. It's not really noticeable when I wear it, but, really, it's screwy and not pretty to look at on its own.

Look how wrinkled the skirt looks!
 So there it is! I've learned so many new things from making this dress! Like I've said before, I don't even watch Mad Men (I don't have cable), but, it is hard not to notice the fashion from the show on the world wide web. I have been wearing this dress non-stop, basically. It will be a while before I get to make another dress (June), but I can't wait until I get to do so! I look forward to using all my new skills and I will force myself to take my time more often.

Oh, and before we are done here, would you like to see the most awkward photo shoot modelling pose of the year? Yes you do.

"I'm just casually walking in the woods."

Did you participate in Julia's Mad Men Challenge? Have you learned anything new lately?

{Overall, my feelings on this dress are that...}

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Weekend Project: Pretty Planter

As my husband and dad work on our house this weekend (long story, see bottom), I found myself looking for something to work on. Trevor grabs a dusty basket from the hallway shelves leading to the basement that was there because sometimes I hoard things. (Okay, more than sometimes.)

He grabs it and says, "Why don't you plant some wildflowers in this?"

"You mean like our wedding ones?"

"No, go buy some, then you can take a picture today."

Not one to argue when the hubs tells me to go buy plants, I immediately set to work.

First, I grabbed said wicker basket.

Then I grabbed a plastic bag that I had hanging around.

Then I punched about four small holes into the bottom of the bag for drainage, placed the bag inside of my basket as a liner (so the soil won't fall out), and taped it in place. I know the tape won't last, but as long as it stays long enough for me to get the soil in, I'm good.
I'm committed to the little photoshopped flowers now.......
Then I put some soil in a bowl (all my buckets were in use for home renos), and poured enough water in to make the soil nice and moist.

I put a small layer of soil into the bottom of the basket.

And then sprinkled a small amount of chicken poo fertilizer in there to save myself the trouble in a month when I realize I've forgotten to feed my plants (which will happen).

Then I got my plants ready.

First, this lovely Campanula.
Aaaaand, I give up on the little flowers.
First things, first: I squeezed all around the container holding the plant in order to loosen it:
And the wee flowers are back.
Then, I tilted the plant to the side, and grabbing just where the plant meets the soil, I gently removed the container:
Then, I placed the plant in its proper place in the basket.
Next, this cute little Erica Heather plant:
I then repeated the whole process until the heather was also in the basket.
Good. Next, I filled in all the empty spaces:
...with soil:
And that's it! Now you have a cute little flower planter to sit on your front porch!
Now just go to your sewing stash and grab an excess piece of fabric,
And tie a pretty bow around your new planter!
I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. It is uber cute and it is the only thing that is making our house not look like no one cares about the yard. I swear we do, but the whole lawn needs to be ripped out and quite frankly, we don't have time for that right now.

Which brings me to my next point: Wondering why I've been M.I.A. for over a week?

One: that interview, it went really well-- I got the position! So, I've been prepping for that a bit. I belong to a school now! Hurrah!

Two: As a supply teacher, some weeks you work a little (and get lots of blogging done), other weeks you work a lot (and get only a little blogging done). I worked a full week. Good, but busy.

Three: This:
Where the water was coming in.
 AND this:
Where the house flipper failed to support our second floor between the kitchen and dining room.
OH, and this:
Where the house flipper failed to support the second floor in between the dining room and living room, resulting in huge cracks along the walls in the second floor.
OH, but wait, I'm not done:
Here is my toilet and sink outside on my porch. WHY is it there, you ask?
Because this is what my bathroom looks like. Because the wood is rotted out and moldy.

Because water was coming in through the ceiling here also.
And because even though we were told the house was "insulated to the gills," this is how much insulation was in one wall, making this bathroom our second refrigerator in the winter.
So, I hope you find it in your heart to forgive me? Needless to say, I will never buy a "flipped" house again. And, trust me when I say that I am only showing you the worst bits. There are a million other little things wrong all over. But whatever. Live and learn?

So I will be doing a photo shoot before the 19th (obviously) for my Mad Men dress, it is just a matter of finding a good time. Worst comes to worst, I can post the one photo I took of it in the Mad Men pose, and do the rest after. Either way, I just want this insanity to end! Hope you all have a good weekend, we'll be in touch soon. :)