May 30, 2011

the Grab & Go Diaper clutch in action

When I gave the diaper clutch away last Monday, there were a few questions asked in the comments. I thought I would take a minute to answer them here in case you're trying to decide if this kind of bag would is right for you and your needs.

I personally think the Grab & Go clutch is awesome, and that's the reason why I've decided to make them to sell in my shop. I've never been a big fan of the diaper bag, or really any of the bulky gear that seems to be a requirement for the baby scene. I usually keep our regular diaper bag in the car, and until I had the diaper clutch, I would just stuff a diaper, wipes, and other necessities in my giant, overflowing mom purse. Naturally, my bag weighed a million pounds, and it was always a hassle to find anything in the depths. Somehow, though, in my mind, it was better than carrying a diaper bag. Don't ask! Then, I made my first diaper clutch.

And here it is, as I carry it today. Complete with juice spot, pen marks, and all the contents:




And below is all that stuff all spread out (seriously- it was all in there!):




The bag as I carry it every day holds the following: (clockwise from the clutch itself on upper left) The coordinated wipe-clean laminated cotton changing pad, a travel size bottle of hand sanitizer, two disposable diapers, a laminated cotton bib, a toddler fork and spoon, a package of wipes, and a travel package of tissues. Everything I need for an outing with my toddler!

And by the way, the bag is 100% washable and dryable. I'm just lazy, that's why there's juice and pen on mine! Maybe now that I've shown you how dirty it is, I'll go ahead and throw it in the wash.

There were a couple of questions regarding cloth diapers, and if they would fit in the clutch. Since we also use cloth, I can tell you authoritatively that yes, depending on the size of the diapers, you could get one or two in there. Although when we're out and about we tend to use disposables these days, we try to keep Lincoln in cloth when we're at home, and we have a hybrid system. Most often he's in a size large gDiapers shell with inserts from FuzziBunz inside, so that's what I stuffed the bag with when I took the photos below.




Above is what I would stuff in there for a quick trip. A couple of extra inserts, the wipes, the changing pad, and the sanitizer and tissues. Below is bulkier- with a whole extra stuffed diaper, an extra insert, the changing pad, wipes, sanitizer, and tissue.




And yes, even with all that stuff in there, it still closes securely:




I'm telling you, this tiny bag is a workhorse!

I also love that I can slide the wristlet strap over the handle of the stroller or put it on my wrist and still have free hands to carry Lincoln or whatever else I might need. And I've also discovered that the bag itself makes a nice little pillow for Lincoln while I'm changing him on those hard changing tables that you often find in public places. Since there's usually still a diaper and the bib in there, there's a little bit of extra cushion for his sweet little head.

And after sewing this pattern many times, I've also picked up some tips and tricks that I would like to share. If you're interested in making this bag yourself, I hope they might help. Stay tuned later this week for my pointers for sewing the Grab & Go Diaper Clutch by Sew Fun.

May 28, 2011

good morning!

Kate of see kate sew is hosting a giveaway on her blog today! Enter to win a $30 shop credit to the twilltape shop on Etsy! Go visit Kate and check it out.

And if you're here for the first time from Kate's, welcome! Have a look around. I hope to see you back for more crafty goodness and lots of fabric love.

We'll be hard at work tilling and prepping for sod today, so have some fun for me! But don't forget to visit Kate's to enter to win $30 worth of twilltape originals for your very own. You could spend it on tea towels:



Or tee shirts:



Or anything else you like! Thanks so much for visiting, and good luck!

May 27, 2011

ABC crewelwork kit



I've never done crewelwork before, but I couldn't pass up the retro styling of this adorable kit (now sold out) put together by the lovely and talented Alicia Paulson and her hubby Andy. I think it will look quite charming hanging up in the powder room of my shop, don't you think?

Buying the kit reminded me that I never did show you my first ever adventure in quilting, which was also made from a pattern by Alicia. The Ollalieberry Ice Cream Quilt pattern is a downloadable pattern and it's a great quilt for beginners. I made a crib size for the adorable Ellie Jay, who is pictured with it below in a blurry iPhone photo. I forgot to take a picture of the whole quilt once it was finished, and it lives in PA now, so I guess I kind of missed my window. This will have to do:







The top is composed of 3.5" squares of a variety of fabrics that I had in my stash. Mostly pinks, whites, and yellows, with a few reds and browns and random squares thrown in for fun. The back and a few of the squares are cut from material that I salvaged from Ellie's parents former duvet cover. When they were getting ready to move cross-country I volunteered to drop the unwanted duvet off at Goodwill, but secretly stashed it with the intention of making a baby quilt from it for their little bun that had already been in the oven for a few months.

Making this quilt was so easy and fun; I couldn't believe that I'd avoiding quilting for so long. I've been stashing pre-cut squares ever since, and I'll eventually make another one from this same pattern. I also really want to try some log-cabin squares, so I've been hanging onto strips in a special scrap bucket too.

I really can't wait for my crewelwork kit to arrive! Alicia recommends sitting on a nice comfy porch swing while sipping peach lemonade and stitching in the sun, but we don't have one (or the 8-track player she suggests). Hopefully I'll at least have my grass to relax on by then. And we have vinyl. That better be close enough.

May 26, 2011

brick by brick

My arms have finally recovered enough that I can type, so I wanted to share what David and I did last weekend. Poor hubby had four days off, and I put him straight to work!

Since I've moved in here to the home that David occupied for many years before I came along, one of the things that I've whined about questioned the beauty of the most is our supremely low-maintenance back yard, which was fully barked over by bachelor David a few years ago in an effort to avoid lawn mowing and other garden-related chores. While I can understand the appeal of a low maintenance landscape, I also find the barren bark a little depressing and unwelcoming. Especially since the addition of a toddler to our family, I'm sure I've made my hopes and dreams to have a grassy lawn someday annoyingly clear.

Here's the region that causes the most whining to ensue:




As you can see, it's VERY low-maintenance. There used to be a giant evergreen shrub growing outside of the windows there, but it was creating a very cave-like atmosphere in my sewing room, so one night last week David surprised me with a giant saw and chopped it down. Still need to clear that stump somehow. Dynamite, maybe?

So anyway, David agreed that it would be really nice to have a safe place for Lincoln to play besides the un-fenced front yard that is too close for comfort to a busy street. We broke ground last weekend with a modest goal of adding about 500 square feet of lawn to augment the bark, pebble, patio, and vegetable garden action that is happening back there. To keep the bark that will stay there relatively contained, we started by building a retaining wall along the sloped side yard. It was wicked hard work, but I think it was worth it! Here's the progress so far.




The plan is to supplement the crappy clay soil with some compost and get it all tilled up this weekend and ready for sod. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks there will be a nice patch of lawn for me to park my butt on and get some sun while Lincoln runs around like a nut and does his boy stuff. Long term, we're thinking of turning that raised bed at the far right side into a smaller sandbox, and may add a second level of terracing to the back. Definitely will add some flowers outside of the window once we figure out how to get that stump out of the way.

Mostly though: GRASS!! I'm so excited. Thanks hubby, for sacrificing a four day weekend's worth of video game playing to do manual labor. You're the best.

May 23, 2011

it's giveaway day!

**Updated 5/26**
Comments are closed. Thank you so much for all the entries and visits! The winner of the Rhapsody Day diaper clutch is Crystal, who says:
That is such a cute pouch! I have a 5 week old granddaughter and her Mama would love something like this. I'd choose the Rhapsody print. Thanks so much for giving one away!
**

Happy Monday SewMamaSew! readers! Welcome to twilltape and thanks for stopping by!

For those of you who haven't visited before, allow me to introduce myself: I'm Tiffany, and twilltape is my little corner of the sewing world where I make pretty and functional home decor items, personal accessories, and clothing. I love beautiful fabric and creating in many different mediums and love to share what I learn and design here on my blog and in my shop twilltape on Etsy.

Rhapsody Day Diaper Clutch
For giveaway day, I'll be sending one lucky commenter a stylish and useful Grab & Go Diaper Clutch, made by me from a pattern by Sew Fun. I'm a licensed boutique seller of this pattern, and I love it! I have a son who's nearly two, and we take this little bag with us everywhere. No more lugging around the giant diaper bag, and no more stuffing diapers in my purse!

Fresh Poppies Diaper Clutch
The coordinated and easy to wipe clean laminated cotton changing pad folds up and fits perfectly inside, along with a couple of diapers, a package of wipes, and more! The wrist strap is great for carrying the bag or tossing it over the stroller handle. This is my new go-to baby shower gift!

If you would like to enter, just comment below and tell me which bag you would like to win. You can choose from Rhapsody Day or Fresh Poppies, the two shown above. There are more photos of each clutch available by clicking on their names, if you would like to see other views.

I'll be drawing a winner randomly on Thursday, May 26th, and I'll happily ship internationally via USPS First Class mail, so all entries are welcome!

May 22, 2011

giveaway day!




Monday is giveaway day at Sew,Mama,Sew! I'll be participating and giving away a handmade item from the twilltape shop.

Check back on Monday to see what I'm giving away and enter to win! Also head over to Sew,Mama,Sew! and see the list of other participating websites. There will be hundreds of things you can enter to win!

May 20, 2011

Vote for the top top!

We're down to the final four! And no, my top was not the winner of my day, but I don't mind. The top that won was the one I actually voted for myself! It's so cute with that bird print tablecloth at the bodice! Looks like something I would make and happily wear, so I had to vote for it.

And the adorable orange top won on Monday too! In fact, all four of the finalists are amazing. There's so much talent out there, I just love it!

Anyway, last chance! Go vote for the top of the tops, and next week we'll find out the winners of the people's choice and the judges awards. Fun!

May 19, 2011

pretty functional: ironing board cover

I got a bee in my bonnet yesterday and decided that I couldn't live one more day with my old disgustingly yellowed and stained ironing board cover. I made myself a cute new cover in less than an hour, and I thought maybe I would share how I did it in case you would like to do the same. Easy peasy and makes such a big difference! The iron and ironing board are two things in the house that I use EVERY SINGLE day, so it only makes sense that they should work well and be pretty to look at, right?

So first, take off your old cover and stretch it all the way out as flat as you can. Lay it out right on top of the fabric that you want to use for your new cover. I had about a two yard cut of an old Amy Butler print, and by placing my cover on the bias, it was pretty much a perfect fit. You could also just turn your board upside down on the fabric and use that as a template.

As you can see, I cut about an inch larger than my old cover, and not perfectly. My old cover had a wide serged stitch that was used as the channel for the cord, but I planned to make more of a hem, so I gave myself a little more to work with.




I cleaned up and finished my raw edges with a quick trip through the serger. An overcast stitch on your regular machine, or a zig-zag at the edge would work too. Or just fold the edge over an extra time and press to conceal the raw edge. 

Then I folded my serged edge about 5/8" to the raw side and pressed.Cutting my fabric on the bias came in handy here, as it helps make those round edges easier to manipulate. 




This will be the new channel for my cord, which I salvaged from the old cover. If you're starting from scratch, it's just a polyester string. I imagine that narrow twill tape would work too, or ribbon. It does need to be really long. Measure the perimeter of your board and then add a foot or two to make sure you have enough.

I stitched the channel right through my serging line, easing in the excess at the rounded edges. It doesn't have to be beautiful. Just make sure you leave enough room for a safety pin to fit through the channel, and leave about an inch unstitched.



Tie your cording on to a safety pin and thread it through the channel. Have a seat, this takes a while!



You're ready to put your new cover on! Stretch it out over your ironing board and smooth out the wrinkles. If your board isn't padded, you can add a layer of cushion underneath the cover first. Mine had a layer of padding already, but it was kind of smashed so I just added a second right on top. I used Insul-bright, and I didn't secure it or anything, just cut it to fit and smoothed it down.

This little blue doo-hickey came with my old cover, so I reused it to wrangle all the extra string once I pulled it tight. It helps keep everything snug and secure, but a knot would be fine too. Just make sure you can untie it, and don't cut the excess string! You'll need all that length if you ever want to remove or replace the cover again.



And look how pretty! So much better than the old one. I was going to post a picture so you could see the before, but whoa. It was too gross. Who would ever think that an ironing board cover could get so nasty? So sorry, but no. You'll have to use your imagination.



Hooray for a pretty new addition to my sewing room! I'm almost ready to show you the whole thing, btw. It's come a long way since this post of yore.

May 18, 2011

have you voted yet?





Today's the day! And wow. My top is up against some stiff competition to be today's favorite! In fact, I don't even think that I like my top the best, but you should probably head over there and see for yourself.

May 16, 2011

redemption!

I'm not usually one to say "I told you so", but today I got to say just that to my darling husband.




That's right! My curtain bedspread darling top made it to the first round of voting in the Spring Top Sewalong! There's a set of tops up for voting each day this week (Monday through Thursday) and the people's choice from each day will move on to a final round of voting next week. My top will be in the ring on Wednesday.



There are a ton of amazing tops this year- over 300 entries! My fave from today's batch is this orange one. Can't wait to see the rest of the finalists and see who wins the awesome prizes!

Thanks again to Rae for inspiring selfish sewing!

May 11, 2011

in the garden

We finally got around to getting some plants in the ground, after completely neglecting the garden most of last year. Now that Lincoln is mobile, it's easier to get out there and try to work while he "helps" out or runs around collecting rocks.

We removed the cool apple-tree pea trellis and David built a new frame for the vines to grow on out of 1x2 and string. It's not as unique and earthy looking, but it will serve the purpose for sure.



That's beans on the left, peas on the right on the trellis. In front we've got beets on the left and rainbow chard on the right. I quick-pickled most of the beets we grew the last time we planted them, and they were delicious! And it's always nice to have chard. Quick and easy greens.

We also planted a huge bed of onions again, and hopefully our crop will be as awesome as it was last year. Or was that two years ago? Already? Couldn't have been. Probably was. Yup. Just checked. April 2009. Gah. How does it happen?



And here's my little helper, running at me shouting "I found a bug!". Thankfully, it was NOT a bug, but a pinecone. Pinecones I can handle. But maybe we should do a little bit better job explaining bugs to him...

Dad? Pretty sure that's your job.

May 9, 2011

the fight takes flight

Cancer sucks. That's not news, and everyone knows someone whose life has been tragically cut short by this disease. So when I was asked to contribute to The American Cancer Society's Hope Gala auction, I was more than happy to say yes.

My contribution to the auction isn't much compared to an amazing trip to Australia, a shopping spree, or some of the other great items, but I hope that it will generate something for this worthy cause.

I chose to make a custom package of twilltape kitchen accessories, including a stand mixer cover, an apron, potholders, and tea towels. The black and white damask pattern is striking and modern, and paired with red I think it's a classic look that I hope will appeal to many tastes.



Hubby was sweet enough to make a sign for me to send along. It's hard to tell what you're looking at when items like this are folded up on a table. I think seeing them in action will make it more appealing.

What do you think? Would you bid on it? It's for a good cause!

May 8, 2011

happy mother's day!

We had a nice quiet brunch today to celebrate Mother's Day. Our moms came over and we served a breakfast casserole, fruit, and mimosas.

I didn't have any flowers for the table, and nothing was blooming in the garden, so I improvised with some aromatics. Fresh mint from the garden path, lavender sprigs, and rosemary make a surprisingly pretty bouquet! Smells great too.



The casserole was simple and came out nicely browned, with tender cheesy goodness inside. The recipe was adapted from The Six O'Clock Scramble by Aviva Goldfarb and is basically this:

Brown 1 lb of sausage (we used Jimmy Dean's Maple, and did this part the night before).
Crumble the sausage into the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking dish that has been coated with non-stick spray.
Sprinkle chopped chives and shredded cheese over the top.
Whisk together 9 eggs, 2 cups of milk, 3/4 tsp of dry ground mustard, and 1/2 tsp of salt. Pour it over the top of the rest of the goodies in the dish.
Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, or until the eggs are set.

I bet that this would also be delish with artichoke hearts, feta, and sundried tomatoes. Maybe next weekend!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas out there. Hope you had an enjoyable day!

May 3, 2011

pattern review: Cynthia Rowley 2587 for Simplicity

I did it! I managed to squeeze in one last top for the Spring Top Sewalong, mostly because I've been so desperate to avoid the next project on my to-do list (I'm looking at you, Soraya!)

This pattern is another Simplicity that I snagged during the same sale when I bought the Lisette patterns, but this one is by Cynthia Rowley. It's number 2587, and I made view B, except I made it in the tunic length of view D instead of making a dress. And evidently this is the spring of salmon, as all three of the tops that I have made for the Sewalong now have the same color scheme. My mom always says that I look nice in pink- maybe that's subconsciously directing my fabric choice?

For this top, I dug around in my "sheers" fabric bin and found this cotton bamboo burnout that I've had for close to a decade. I vaguely remember that I cut into it at one point to make a skirt, but that was a colossal mess, and I had plenty left for this top. And instead of cutting bias binding from fabric, I decided to use a 2" silk dupioni ribbon from Midori that I picked up at a sample sale. It's just the right width for the binding and adds a hint of elegance to this otherwise simple and casual style.



I read a few reviews on PatternReview.com before I made this, to see if there was anything I needed to look out for. Many of the reviewers commented on the binding around the bodice and midriff, and mentioned having trouble with all the bulk caused by the interfacing that the pattern calls for. I took note, but decided to make up the pattern as instructed and fully interfaced my binding. I didn't have any trouble, and I think my choice of interfacing is the reason why. I used Pellon's SF101, which is my favorite woven interfacing. It's lightweight and offers just the right amount of support. And when you cut it on the bias, as the pattern indicates, you get the same stretch and give that you do from the binding alone, it justs makes it all a little more stable. Some of the reviews I read mentioned that their binding would not stretch to fit, and that would be the case if you interfaced your binding with a non-woven interfacing, or if you didn't cut on the bias.

I actually really like the way the bodice and midriff are constructed on this top, with the binding and the facing it's nice and fitted and almost corset-like, but it's not restricting at all.



That deep plunging neckline would normally be a problem for me, but I wear a tank underneath everything anyway, so there's no free show here. It might be nice to build in a modesty panel in matching fabric though, and I may try that if I make this pattern up again. I did line the bodice pieces with white muslin, so the sheerness of my fabric wouldn't cause any issues. I'm glad I did! You can see near the bottom hemline how sheer this material is in one layer.

I cut one size smaller than the pattern envelope indicated, using my bust measurement as a guide. There are no finished garment measurements listed for anything other than the bustline, but that's okay since that's the only place that this top is really fitted. The pattern includes three inches of ease, and if I would have cut the size I was "supposed to" it wouldn't have fit nicely at all. As it is, there's some gapping in the bodice, so I can't imagine how it would have looked with two more inches for things to move around in there.



I was pleasantly surprised with my almost-professional job on the zipper. I'm still sometimes intimidated by zippers, especially in garments, but this one went in easily. The pattern calls for an 18" zip, but I only had a 14" so that's what I used, and it was plenty long enough. I didn't have any trouble with the bulk of the binding, and I think if I would have taken a minute to iron it before I took this photo, those weird bulgy spots above could have been tamed. Lincoln, on the other hand, is untamable! He really wanted to push the button on the camera remote, and he's actively trying to grab it out of my hand in this picture.

Alright. No more delaying the inevitable. I'm off to finish those couch covers already! I've got one almost done, two to go.