Shoddy Seamstress Adventures: Hemming

I’ve had the same heavy velvet curtains in my bedroom since we moved in (so like 9 years). And this WHOLE time, they’ve been too long. At first, I let them pool at the floor. This was sloppy looking and collected all the dust. Then a few years ago (2018-ish) I decided I was going to hem them, but my sewing machine couldn’t manage that fabric. So I just safety pinned them to the length I wanted them. And time passed.

Ta-da!! I got a new bedside rugs too!!

I got a machine that could handle the curtains for Christmas of 2019, but still I waited. Yesterday I had to take them down to be washed. Once they were dry, I took the 30 minutes to hem all 4 panels. Finally!! They are finished and hung back up.

Good bye, I’ve never liked you.

While the curtains were washing, I took down the awful slat blinds that were up when we bought the house. I’ve always hated them. They are heavy and ugly and essentially non-functional for blocking the sun. There was also a half inch of dust INSIDE the header- GROSSSSSS. I’m replacing them with cellular blinds later this week. We have them in 3 other rooms and love them.

The closet falling in and needing to be revamped has really pushed me to change things around in our bedroom. A refresh was needed! New rugs, a new comforter (for fall/winter), getting rid of a bunch of stuff from the closet (and I’m not done even if everything has been put back), new blinds, hemming the curtains. I might even make some modifications to the tiny en suite bathroom (namely a new wall cabinet and a new rug).

This morning, my town hosted its annual running festival. The course runs right by my house. So I got to enjoy watching from my back deck. The view is obscured by trees and bushes, and I’m also about 150-200 feet away. The picture above is zoomed in a lot. It’s an overcast morning, we had rain over night so it’s humid but still temperate. I’m out enjoying the birds singing about 2 hours past the usual window. A good way to pass a lazy Sunday morning!

Making Progress

Until We Win: Fight

I’m making good progress on my shawl. Section 4 is moving right along! I think this is section 4 of 6? I still have to choose the lace for the 6th section. I’ve got time!

Not a close-up

I’ve gotten smart and started writing the pattern as I work it instead of transcribing my notes so they make sense (hence the HUGE backlog of patterns that need little things to get published). I don’t want to be sitting on it (almost finished) for months, like the other half dozen or so patterns mocking me.

Terri, of AT Haynes House Yarns, is a genius with color! I’m using the colorways: Fight and Until We Win on the Posh MCN Fingering base (80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon, 435y). I’m striping the colors in rows of 2, and its blending perfectly!! These colors were totally made for each other. I can’t wait to see it all blocked out, and fall is just around the corner so I can wear it!!

Year of Projects: Week 45/46

Today’s post brought to you with no formatting.

Project monogamy really makes for some boring blogging. Oh look, it’s the same project I’ve been showing you, now 1/2” longer.

No new YOP official updates. Plugging away on my hobbit door and Until We Win: Fight projects.


I also wanted to share my logo stickers! I got them last week and never showed them off!!

Have you seen my corporate logo?

And today, being The 4th of July, I didn’t want to go to the store to get hot dog buns. So I made my own. Rave reviews all around.

Hot dog buns for giant Costco hot dogs.

Too Much Excitement

Can you detect the sarcasm?!?!?!

Sweet, sweet homeownership

Its been an exciting, interesting, and expensive month here at Miscellaneous Design Studio homebase. Back in June, our washer broke. It was old, and we had repaired it a couple times already. So we replaced the washer and dryer both. While the dryer worked, my spouse had literally replaced everything “under the hood” over the years and just wanted to be done with it. When we finally get around to making the laundry room “pretty” we are going to stack the units. In the meantime (until we get the dryer outlet relocated), they will remain unstacked.

BUT yesterday…. Oh yesterday. I’ll tell it as a story.
I was at the dining room table, with my daughter. We were watching a drawing video on YouTube, and making our own renditions of the featured drawing (a watermelon). All of a sudden, we heard a RUSH and a CRASH come from upstairs. My spouse and son were out getting haircuts, we currently have no pets, so the concern about injury was nil. I go upstairs and see:

Yup. Its exactly what you think.

Yes, the ENTIRE 12′ expanse of my closet is DOWN. I go back downstairs and finish my drawing. Once we finish drawing, I go upstairs and start taking everything out of the closet. CRIPES. WHAT A MESS.

When we are taking out the old hardware, we make a FUN discovery. NONE OF THE SCREWS WERE ACTUALLY ANCHORED *INTO* THE STUDS. They used drywall anchors, and short 1″ screws to affix everything into the walls. I’m surprised it took so long for the whole thing to fall down. It was that shoddily done.

Now… Everything is ripped out. We fixed all the drywall, we are going to paint and rebuild an appropriately supported closet.

This excitement has been a real impediment to doing ACTUAL fun things, as this is our current project here at the house.

Wait. How is TOMORROW July?

Oh June, a month that simultaneously took an eternity and flew by. I’ve been working on some larger scale projects, and not blogging. So there’s that. After school let out 2 weeks ago, we’ve been doing swim lessons at the local college, had a handful of playdates, and just let it be hot. This afternoon, we met one of my daughter’s friends at the public pool. An hour and a half after we arrived, someone pooed in the pool and they closed the pool for the rest of the day. “Awesome”. At least no one got sunburned today.

Our first Zinnia from last week. We have a dozen more this week.

My hobbit door throw and my Until We Win: Fight shawl have been my main projects. I’m doing some weird stuff with the hobbit door throw, and I think it’ll work out. My shawl is making me nervous that I have grossly misjudged my shaping and that it will be a failure. BUT: there is no failure, only an opportunity to shape it unconventionally!

The door of the house at Bag End.

Year of Projects: Week 43/44

I blinked, and its two weeks later.

The school year wrapped up last week. I’m happy to have a break and have time to do additional fun things with the kids. I say this, on the first day of the first week of summer break. The kids have swim lessons every day at the local college for the next two weeks- this will be our first time using that program.

Let’s get to creative stuff, shall we?

Zinnia Blanket: This was a gift for my daughter’s teacher as a baby gift; she is expecting a baby girl early fall. The center pic above is the most accurate in color. I finished it THE NIGHT BEFORE SCHOOL ENDED. It took me working over 3 days to finish weaving in all the ends. It was all crocheted and whip stitched together by Sunday. I was rather ambitious using 4 colors for most squares (and 6 colors for 2)- weaving in the ends took significantly longer than anticipated. I was in such a rush to get it packed up for school Thursday morning, that I didn’t even measure the finished piece. I think its about 38-40″ square.

Usually I pop my finished project into the wash to make sure all the connections are good and to get any random detritus off (usually a leaf bit from working outside, or my hair). Welllllll- that couldn’t happen.
Our washing machine irreparably broke on Monday night. Spouse pulled it all apart and decided that a) it is an old machine he has repaired at least once before b) the piece that’s broken is THE piece that makes it “go” c) it will be simpler and faster to just order a new washer- that we have been talking about getting since we moved in. So we ordered a new fancy washer/dryer set that got delivered this past Saturday. The dryer was the same age and it has been repaired even more than the washer! Best of all: they work.

After contemplating for awhile on how I wanted this shawl to look, I dove in last week (after finishing up the Zinnia). My first attempt wasn’t quite right. The two colorways, Until We Win and Fight, did not look best when separated. So I ripped back the first two sections and started again alternating the skeins 2×2 rows. The result is perfection. The first section (which I will use again later in the shawl) was perfect for easy knitting. The current lace section requires me to count (for pattern clarity) at the end of each row and accurately relay the changing amount between markers on the increase sections. The knitting itself is pretty easy to read and memorize the lace for this section.
The intent is for the lace sections to become progressively more open as the shawl progresses. I’m also writing the pattern into the formatting as I go; usually I transcribe my notes. This time I’m writing as I go- no wasting my time going between. I think this will help with my turn around.

I finished 2 tiny baby hats out of a cotton blend yarn. I only took a picture of one of them today because the other happens to be misplaced. I moved around my workspace and not everything has been put in permanent homes yet. The turquoise cabled thing is going to be a top for my daughter. It started out as a top for me, but the cotton yarn was TEDIOUS with the cables. I never made it long enough to fit my torso, and all these years later I don’t believe it would actually fit around me. It is destined to be a top for my daughter. I’m going to add straps and a peplum style ruffle at the bottom. It is going to fit her for a couple years; once the peplum gets short, I can add a longer fabric ruffle.

I also made a couple water bottle holders. The small one is for my daughter, she has a small/short water bottle. The large one is mine, it holds my giant 40 oz water bottle. Interesting note: the bottom of both holders are identical in size. The only significant difference is the height of the piece, mine is twice the height. She wanted a crossbody strap, I just wanted a small handle. Nice cotton scrap stash-busting project!

This will be a Hobbit Door blanket/throw. I don’t usually make commission projects, but this one seemed like a fun challenge. There are no hard and fast deadlines, and I have creative control.
The final project is not destined for pattern release, this is just a project idea that intrigued me. I didn’t like the already published options out there, so I’m making my own. The bricks around the door are going to be constructed in mosaic, I think. I might need more yarn. The yarn is Encore Chunky, a 75% wool, 25% acrylic blend in green (deeper than this picture), tan, and two browns that might be too similar. The hook is a K. I also have a lavender-ish grey from the Lion Brand Hue+Me collection (80% Wool, 20 % Acrylic) as mortar around the door and bricks.

I finally just picked a person off Etsy to make my logo tags. The turn around was super FAST and the shipping was also reasonable. From order to delivery, it was less than a week. I seriously love them. They make my work look so professional. Or at least I feel the tags elevate the finished project. I’m thinking of getting some smaller fabric ones for my sewing projects.

I will leave you with a picture of me once I got back from training/lifting this morning. The most appropriate shirt, ever, for life.

Shoddy Seamstress Adventures: Pen Holder Bookmarks

Behold! Some pen holder bookmarks on a composition book!

The end of the school year is quickly approaching for my kids. That means TEAHER GIFT TIME. Their teachers have been AMAZING. Between full virtual, and simultaneous hybrid (virtual and in-person), and all the madness that goes along with it, the teachers have been beyond PHENOMENAL. I want to thank them. And I’m not NOT giving gift cards, but I wanted to do something a bit different. Usually I forget all about specials teachers- not this time!

While perusing Pinterest the other week looking for little things to sew (and sell??), I stumbled upon these Journaling Bookmarks. This week I’ve been inspired to try my hand at sewing them. I didn’t love the aesthetics of the 1″ elastic on my first one, although my spouse claimed it for one of the testing log books for work. I knew I was onto something when my spouse claimed something I made, he tends to like practical things.

Prototype 2.0 on my Personal Planner

I made a second one with some 1/2″ elastic, but I don’t love this elastic either. I absolutely love having a pen ATTACHED TO MY PLANNER and I can easily bookmark where I want to open to. I’m still trying to figure out how I’ve lived without one of these penholder bookmarks.

Today I tested out using 2 pieces of 1/4″ elastic: WINNER. Its a bit more effort to get my placement correct. These are about as difficult to construct as a basic rectangular mask. However, flipping them right side out is a BEAST. I used a wooden “stuffing tool”, which looks like a chopstick, to help turn it right side out. My topstitching isn’t perfect. I need to remind myself that I’m NOT a machine. Nor am I a professional seamstress or even a particularly good sewist.

Today’s efforts.

I took advantage of having the machine already out to make some singe pocket versions. The single 1/2″ elastic is PERFECT for these! They were really annoying to turn right side out! I don’t love making these.

Other notes: I used a cutting mat and a rotary cutter to do most of the holders. It was fast and efficient. Usually I use my giant fabric shears to cut all the fabric, but the rotary cutter made for neater cuts and straighter edges. I will continue to improve my rotary cutter skills (and invest in a larger cutting mat.

I think these would be a little big for A5 sized books, but for a composition book, planner, or a regular letter (A4) sized notebook they work great! To make it work for the smaller A5 notebooks, shortening the elastic would be easy!

How I’m gifting:

For the school’s Reading Specialist!

I purchased 8 “dot” journals and a two packs of the Uniball Signo 207 pens in multiple colors. Each teacher and specials teacher is getting a journal, a pen holder, and 2 different color pens. Each teacher is getting a different pattern holder (all the notebooks are blue)! I’m going to make the kids main teacher a pencil case with a gift card inside. Those will be pretty simple to put together by next Thursday, I even have the zippers ready for the projects!

Year of Project: Week 42


Its a hot summery Sunday, its like 90-some degrees (Fahrenheit). Its super sunny. I ripped out a bunch of grass and non-zinnias from the beds that flank my front walk. I threw some OLD marigold seeds in the bare spots. If they grow, cool. If not, I’ll just thin some of the zinnias to those spots. Next year, I want to plant some Montauk daisies, they are perennials, and are much lower maintenance than most other options (in my opinion). Some people LOVE gardening, I’m not among them. Now that my self-imposed yard work is over, I get to write a blog on a SUNDAY.

Honestly, I started writing a blog the other day, but I was called away and never came back to my draft. So it goes. I hope this is not a foreshadowing of the month ahead.

YOP Updates!

I finished 2 pair of PJ pants that were on my YOP list for my kids. Joke’s on me, I didn’t take a picture of them. One pair Spider-Man, the other pair Galactic Space Unicorn Pegasus. I still have 2 pair of PJ pants to finish sewing on my YOP list, but they are for me.

Zinnia Baby Afghan: I have 35 squares ready to edge in Aqua and then whipstitch together. I had initially planned a layout of 5×7 squares. But now I’m reconsidering 6×6 or 6×7: depending on how much Aqua is remaining after I edge the first 36. AND TIME. This being for my daughter’s current teacher, it needs to be finished and GIFTED by June 17th (the last day of school). I think it is reasonable to say I can finish it this week: the zillion ends will only take an hour or two to weave in. This counts toward stash busting! The blue and aqua were purchased to unify the squares- everything else was stash.

Baby Hat

I started a baby hat yesterday. Its on size 4 needles. I don’t know how sold I am on the pooling. I’ll finish it up and make a second, alternating rounds from each side of the ball. Both iterations will have little bear ears sewn on top. Aiming for newborn size. The yarn was on sale at Joann for $1.99 when I was there the other day. Its a chainette constructed DK weight (I think it knits closer to a sport weight), in a Cotton, Acrylic, Polyester blend. Not a lot of memory in the yarn, my stitches are not uniform in tension. VERY soft.

From the Kitchen

During the week I made some savory oatmeal for breakfast. I made Miso Oatmeal topped with Caramelized Onions, Kale, and Portabella Mushrooms and an Over-medium egg. I had intended to egg to be a bit runnier, to act as a sauce, but that didn’t happen. “Steps”: Cook oatmeal with Miso Broth (instead of water) add a chopped scallion. Caramelize the onions with the kale added 5 minutes into the process. Add the mushrooms toward the end and cook until all the water is released and pan is mostly dry. I am bad at fried eggs, so mine was over medium. The yoke was pretty set already when I flipped it over. I think I sprinkled some chipotle powder on top of my egg. I don’t remember. I did throw a bit of cheese into the oats, but it was unnecessary. I didn’t add any additional salt, the Miso Broth is VERY SALTY already.

It was a bit labor intensive, but I would 10/10 make this again for myself. If I didn’t have Miso Broth, I would have used veggie broth (giving it a different flavor profile).

Until next week!

Year of Projects: Week 41

What day is it even??

Holidays always get me all twisted around with my days. Today is Monday, not the customary Sunday when I (SHOULD) do my Year of Projects Posts (YOP).

Other Stuff First:

I’m mostly better from my mild illness. So much better in fact that my favorite trainer did his annual Memorial Day workout in the park this morning and I went. It was as grueling as it usually is, albeit unseasonably cool- which NONE of us complained about. But we ALL complained about actually exercising and doing crazy push-up variations, so it was just like “normal”. I’m excited that as early as NEXT week he’s going to be offering in-person personal/weight training at a boutique gym pretty close to my house. This morning really cleared my head and I feel much more at peace mentally. I get crabby and cagey when I don’t get enough joyful movement into my life. But I’m REALLY bad at motivating myself at home, and need to go somewhere for accountability. Johnny over at Straight Shot Training is awesome, and I’m thrilled to start training with him after a year long hiatus.

I Baked Yesterday

I made a bean and oatmeal pie yesterday. Yes, its good. Yes the ingredient combination is WEIRD. Usually Bean Pies are made with Navy Beans. I had some dried Pinto Beans, so that’s what I used. I had initially intended to make a mock pecan pie with the Pinto Beans, but all the recipes had pecans- an ingredient NOT in my pantry. I swapped the evaporated milk and the white sugar for sweetened condensed milk. I used a little brown sugar (1/4 c) for flavor. My kids loved it. The oatmeal was a bit gratuitous, but the pie does NOT fall apart easily. If I try it again, it’ll be omitted. I blended all the ingredients in the food processer until SMOOTH. Not a pretty pie, or a fancy pie. I’ll fiddle with the recipe again in the future.

Onto Yarn-y Business!

I have used 54/100 balls of stash yarn since January 1st of this calendar year. Go me, I’ve got this goal in the bag.


I finished my weird hat. I accidentally stretched the piece when measuring it. Its a BIT too snug. I’ll try blocking out the sock yarn. It’ll be fine. I had other pictures but they are not very good. Both yarns are stash.

4-corners baby sized

I finished my 4-corners C2C baby sized blanket. I ran out of the olive and tan yarns before I could complete my initial striping sequence. Whoops. Lucky for me, its now a “design” feature. I had no plans on getting more yarn for this scrap-ghan. I still haven’t wove in the ends, don’t have a recipient in mind yet.

Next up the centers for my Zinnia Baby Blanket. Stash and partial balls, except the blue and the aqua. They were purchased a few weeks ago to tie together some kind of scrappy blanket project. Ta-Da. This will go to my daughter’s teacher. She is expecting a baby early next school year. I hope its not too personal of a gift, but I like her and she has made her classroom in an unconventional school year run so smoothly. My daughter lovers her immensely. Currently I have 35 centers, with the intent to make the blanket 5×7 squares, but may amend to 6×6 (and whip up another square), if its too long and narrow. School ends on the 17th, I have 2 weeks to finish it up. Considering I started on Friday, I think I can do it.

No new progress. I hope the v-neck is as low and trashy with the sleeves on it as it is right now. (hahhahahahahha)

And that’s my week. Hopefully next week I can discuss some actual YOP finished projects.

Get Over It.

I had a head cold.

It was AWFUL. Just kidding, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t that bad. At first, I thought it was just allergies, but then I was more tired and irritable than usual. Tuesday I had a slightly sore throat (I had the bedroom window open and the fan blowing ON me, which has given me a sore throat in the past) with itchy ears and eyes, Wednesday I had the runniest nose, Thursday I was super congested, Friday/Today a raspy voice. But I feel 100% back to normal otherwise. By Tuesday, it’ll be like it never happened. No one else in my house seems to be affected. I usually get an allergy induced sinus infection every year about this time- thanks Facebook for keeping track of my gripes!

I had to hit up my farmers’ market this morning: I had goat on hold with my meat guy. So I donned my mask, because I didn’t want to risk spreading my cold germs. Even if the likelihood of my being contagious is zero.

Keeping Busy

I haven’t changed all the sheets or folded and put away all the laundry from the week. It’ll wait for me. I listened to the Warbreaker Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson on Hoopla instead; I could have listened to that and done my chores but that is besides the point. It was a fantasy/sci-fi dramatically acted audiobook. It had a weird high-pitched sound in the recording that got on my nerves at times. But the story was compelling enough to be interesting for 17 hours of storytelling. I finished up my crochet blanket and my weird hat. And started on ANOTHER blanket to finish up all my bits (and give to my daughter’s teacher as a baby gift). I started the ribbing on my sweater. I tried it on as I was switching needle sizes. I think I want 5-8 inches of ribbing (so ambitious!).

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