Last of 2017

And this is how the last post of the year looks:

Yes, that’s our youngest pup; he woke up sick today. Giving credence to my extreme fatigue the past two days and rip roaring headache in my eyes all day today. John looked at the computer for five minutes and came out crying, “my eyes are hurting so bad”. It’s a strange illness mostly where you have a terrible headache and feel tired, but thankfully no expelling of any body fluids.

Even with my crazy headache (never even thought I might be getting sick; as I tell my kids all the time, “moms don’t have time to be sick“) I made a nice bubbly batch of warm Butter Beer. A recipe I found on Pinterest earlier this month, inspired by the Harry Potter series and somehow got it stuck in my mind we should make for New Years Eve. The boys were sports, but neither of them liked it much “too spicy” (meaning actual spices – not ‘hot’ spicy), but boy did Hubby and I like it. Probably shouldn’t have doubled the recipe. Although, tomorrow is the last blast of 2017 decadence, so why not?!

Butterbeer (recipe link in blue above)

Thankfully, I also made all our NYE dinner a night early (last night) so we have plenty of food leftover to get us through today/tonight and into tomorrow. I’ve been forcing myself to eat pasta salad for my run in the morning. Otherwise, I know it’ll be miserable running on a day old empty stomach, even if my headache is gone.

I had planned a great ‘Year in Review’ type post, but now I’m not feeling quite up to the task. Probably I’ll have to do it in early January. Ha! Oh well.

One final make for the year – the Banksia Blouse by Megan Nielsen

Finally got to it, as I already had the pattern traced and ready to go for a Size Small (which matched my measurements perfectly). I threw caution to the wind on a muslin and cut straight into the shirt fabric. Probably because Megan’s Veronika skirt went together so well. There was not the same great fit magic with the blouse.

As a sidenote, I’m reading a book about couture sewing. It covers the history and some techniques. Very interesting and inspiring. In there it talks about tops (and certain dress styles) being one of the hardest garments to fit because they are the hardest to adjust once the garment is constructed. I completely agree. You almost always have to scrap it and start afresh.

Back to the blouse. It is really cute, simple and reminds me of resort wear, but just a size too large. Usually, I give up and start on a totally different project. Not this time. I got busy tracing off the XS size and sewed it up over the past few days out of some gauze fabric I picked up in one of Christine Hayne’s online destashes. I had plans to make a blouse with a giant bow out of the gauze. That has not happened and I was a bit annoyed at this fabric after trying to make a kimono out of it and the neckline stretched down to my navel.

All that aside, I decided to give it a go on my Banksia 2.0, i.e. one size down. As you can see the fabric is sheer. All the seams that can be are French seamed. for the sleeve seam, I did a felted seam (I think that’s the right term) to encase the raw edges along that seam. Oh! and the really lovely part about this pattern is that Megan has a sewalong on her website, full of little bonus features. Like this faux placket (the cheeky method). In case I just lost you at placket – where the buttons are. It isn’t functional, just looks like it is. The pattern includes directions for how to make it a real functioning placket, but that was way too much to ask from this fabric. Very pleased with this version. Fits just like I’d hoped it would. My 8 year old told me, “WHOA! What?! That looks store bought! And I’m not kiddin’!” (He learned to speak in the South)

The pattern is listed as an intermediate pattern, but definitely doable for a beginner with the faux placket or no placket and collar (like my first version).

Merry Christmas Tree Skirt

I had good intentions of posting this yesterday, for the posterity sake as much as anything, but yesterday was a little less than Merry, come mid morning at our house. In hindsight, we should’ve sent the boys to their room for a rest after presents and likely the lack of cinnamon sugar buns for the kids to snack on and keep their energy up, led to the endless bickering that drove me into a Christmas mommy tantrum. Either way, let’s just say, it was nice to wake up to 90% of the decorations put away already and the public part of the house all dusted and vacuumed.

Now for the tree skirt.

For the past three years, I’ve been planning to make a new tree skirt, but getting the materials and motivation in place before Christmas is over has not materialized. In November, I started my yearly Pinterest cruising of ideas and finally found one I liked quite a bit. It was out of equilateral triangles, about 8″ in length each side. For us, I wanted more of a scrappy look and when Brendon brought home homework with equilaterals, I took the opportunity to enlarge one sheet and make triangles around 4″ in length each side. I spent a week (or probably two) cutting the triangles, using all fabric previously purchased last year or in my stash for over a decade. I had plenty.

My Christmas Elves

Mom managing the machine. Brendon was pretty good at managing the pedal speed; we kept John to the material matching (no pedal work).

Then Thanksgiving break hit and I had the boys work one day randomly matching and sewing the triangles. We made it through the strips that would make up one of six wedges when Brendon asked if they could go on break. I obliged as it was very hard to temper my perfectionist ways (thanks Dad!) with letting them sew, even with the 1/4″ foot. My extreme dislike of the seam ripper was the only thing that kept me in check and no stitches were re-sewn.

It actually took longer thinking about sewing the strips into wedges and the wedges into a complete top than it did to do the sewing. I can really over think a project if I let my self! Nobody to blame there.

The strips, separated into wedge groups.

Top fully assembled. at this point I decided there would only be one line of quilting at the joint of each wedge. I am ambitious on my projects, but seeing it has taken me three years to get to this stage, I was ready to finish this project. I *might* add hand stitch quilting next year, but don’t hedge any bets on it.

Last week, hubby had Friday off and we took a little overnight trip to Chico (an hour is about as far as we can drive with these two creatures and still maintain our sanity). I got busy the night before we left sewing on the binding the night before we left, so I could hand sew it to the back on the drive. Completely forgot on the way down between all my chattering, responding to work texts (before Hubby reprimanded me for working on vacation) and also a stop in to Pumpkin land for chocolate samples and gifts (A MUST stop!! on 99).

And we have a Tree Skirt!! I went for pink binding to tame the red/green a bit and also because it was fabric I had in my stash. I originally wanted to do stripes, but had nothing on hand and wasn’t about to make a purchase at this stage. I guess you could say this tree skirt cost me ZERO dollars in materials since it was all previously purchased. I doubt Hubby would agree with this logic, but let’s roll with it.

But not to worry, I pulled the skirt out once we got tucked into our hotel and the boys were watching a movie. Between that stint, the drive home the next day and a little time on it at home, the tree skirt was finished and before Christmas!! I was pretty proud of myself.

As a side note, we stayed at the Oxford Suites near the Mall, IN-n-OUT & Krispy Kreme doughnuts. The room was clean, the staff friendly and plenty of included meals. There was a really wonderful breakfast buffet (This is really saying something because I have an extreme dislike for buffets), plus a dinner salad and soup bar and two drink coupons for cocktails per person. Definitely recommend.

Nestled under the tree, before its hasty dismantle yesterday and next to Vance’s new smoking chair that Brendon has deemed his in the wake of hubby’s lack of enthusiasm on the chair front.