Friday, April 30, 2010

Three-Tiered Girls Skirts

three tiered skirt 002b I wrote this post last year about how to make summer skirts for a girl (or for you). Well, here is my updated post with a bit more direction.
These measurements will make a skirt approximately size 6-8 for a 23” waist. Finished length will be 18”. To make a different size, see my original post.
You will need 3/4” yard of fabric.
  • Top layer: Cut fabric strip 8”x34”
  • Middle Layer: Cut fabric strip 7”x51” (obviously you’ll have to piece this to get 51” since fabric is only 44”wide)
  • Bottom layer: Cut fabric strip 7” x 77-86” Pieced like the middle layer. I like to keep this layer anywhere from 77”-86” because it’s easier to cut off excess after you’ve gathered it.
If you have the Bernina Ruffler Foot, set the foot to “6” with a stitch length of 2.2. This should gather your 51” middle layer to nearly exactly match your top layer which is 34”.  Attach the middle layer to the top layer, right sides together, duh. Repeat to gather the bottom layer, then attach to the middle layer, cutting off any excess of the bottom layer. Serge or zig zag over all raw edges of your now gathered layer seams. Sew side shut. Make a 1” inch casing at the top and feed elastic through. Hem 1” for the bottom.
Total time to make this skirt? 45 minutes (using ruffler)
No ruffle foot? Gather by hand and start swearing because it will take a couple of hours at least. Gag me with a wooden spoon, because I hate making gathers with long basting stitches. At the very least, gather by sewing a zig zag stitch over a piece of heavy thread or dental floss, then pull the floss to gather. Still a pain though.

Friday, April 23, 2010

This Meal is Dedicated to my Grandparents

I’ve mentioned before that my Grandpa was an avocado rancher.  A few years back he grew a tree for my parents—straight from an avocado pit. He planted it in their front yard (at the time I thought this was tacky) and then eventually he grafted it. The tree finally gave fruit—just a month after he died. My mom brought me some. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted better avocados. If butter grew on trees, this is what it would taste like.

Hallie and I had a great lunch today of avocado salad (heavy on the avocado, light on the lettuce):

avocado salad


avocado grapefruit cinnamon toast 009


Topped off with pink grapefruit:

grapefruit half

And washed down with cinnamon toast.

avocado grapefruit cinnamon toast 016

I mentioned in the title this post was dedicated to my Grandparents. Why to my Grandma as well? Because I inherited her Bosch mixer that allowed me to make 5 loaves of cinnamon bread at one time. The Monstrous Mormon Mixer has always been the butt of my jokes. After all, who needs to make so much bread at once except mothers of 8? Well, my bloggy friends, I stand corrected. Even Mormon Mothers of Just 3 could use this mixer. My freezer is full of homemade cinnamon bread. At a moments notice I can grab a loaf of cinnamon bread and be in yeasty-bread heaven.

bosch mixer

So here’s to my Grandpa’s avocados and my  Grandma’s fabulous mixer. They sure made my tummy happy today.

Keeping Calm

keep calm
These posters were apparently famous during WW2 in England. I say apparently because I wasn’t alive then, despite what my children think. This poster is from Paa Puu Prints on etsy. Any who….I started selling this pillow a while back. I probably sold 10 or so.  It takes about 35 minutes to embroider, which is a long time for my impatient self. I thought it was rather plain though. And it sure needed that cute crown!
keep calm 2
So I drew out a crown, chose a better font (Opus Chords is the name) with serifs, and here is my new design. For some reason Opus Chords looks like this when I type in a word processing program: The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. I read music but that’s just plain jibberish! Glad I didn’t end up needing a letter “b” or “x” I guess! (Stop rambling Cynthia!)
keep calm designs 002 copy

This one takes about 40 minutes to embroider. Gag. That’s risky because 40 minutes is a long time for everything to go perfect in embroidery world. (I invariably snap a thread or lose tension and have to play doctor to fix it.) But I love it. The pillow and embroidery design are available in my shop now. The real question you all want to know is, “Cynthia, will you be having one of these pillows in your own home?” Err…..I dunno. I take a strong stance against any home decor which could make me feel guilty.  You’ll never see vinyl lettering in my house that reads “Happiness makes a Home” or whatever because inevitably I’ll see that stupid vinyl art (or pillow in this case) while I’m yelling at my kids. Then I’d feel hypocritical. But I do love this design….maybe I’ll make an exception?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fix the Floors….Then Leave Town

A while back I asked my very handy father to please help us re-do the landing for our banister. The previous homeowners had the bottom posts anchored in the hickory wood floors. I decision of theirs I hated from the very first day we moved into this house. So 6 months ago my Dad removed the posts and raised them up to the bottom stair—which is where they should’ve been all along. The problem this created was 2 bare wood spots where the posts had been. This 12 inch nightmare would lead to 560 square feet of nightmare.
We had no idea what stain color had been used on the floor either. Dang. Mental dollar signs are increasing.
So I had someone from Pioneer Hardwood Floors come out and give me a bid. (And another company I wasn’t impressed with.) He said he could try to match the floor but there would always be a slight difference in the new color. Dang. I’m not a perfectionist, I didn’t care too much, so I said, no big deal, the floors need a good buff anyway. Mr. Pioneer Hardwood Flooring guy then asked what I used to clean my floor. I replied, “Orange Glow or Murphy’s Oil.” To which he then said, “Your floors have been ruined with those kinds of waxy products. I can’t do your floors—any polyurethane I apply will bubble up because of the oily floors.” After choking down tears, I said, “Huh? Those products are for floors. How could they ruin my floors.” To make a long story short, lots of internet research, and a letter written to the evil Murphy’s Oil company, I found out oil based products do indeed ruin wood floors. Let me repeat that for all you wood floor owners out there…..
Murphy’s Oil and Orange Glow and any other oil based products ruin wood floors. Shun them. Avoid them for all their evilness.  The only remedy is to strip the wood floors down to the bare wood and start over.
Yup, my mental dollar signs went way, way up.
So what’s a girl to do when her floors need a 3-day refinishing process and you are told your family can’t walk on them?
great room floors
Yup, you leave town for spring break and take a 3 hour drive to Arches National Park. And stay 4 days while your floors are being done.
delicate arch copy
That’s me on the left waving to Paul. Then my kids, then my sis Patty. Try not to freak out as much as did if you do the Delicate Arch hike. Your kids could but probably won’t fall off the cliffs on this hike. I kept thinking they should put a railing. I know, that would ruin the absolute splendor, but my arm pits would’ve been drier and my heart not pounding as much.
double arch copy
This is Double Arch. Majestic. Literally, majestic. I’m truly embarrassed I’ve lived in Utah 18 years (half my life…weird) and had never been to Arches. A crime. I will go again and again now that I know how amazing it all is.
delicate arch paul and cyn

arches cynthia
How sweet is my daughter exploring in the background here at Double Arch? How old do I look with out make-up. I do believe in make up. I do….I do….
great room floors done 005
Then we came home to see our new (albeit smelly) floors all redone. Wait a few more days, eat a lot of meals standing up at the counter, then put your furniture back.
great room floors done 002 copy
The moral of the story is two fold:
1-Don’t ruin your wood floors with Murphy’s Oil or Orange Glow and
2-Don’t wait 18 years of Utah living before going to Arches National Park.

Be My Guest! Be my Guest!

After living in my home for 4 years I finally got around to really decorating the guest room. It had looked like this. But now it looks like this—with just some cream-colored paint, fabric, and a few accesories. I did it all in one day, which drives my friend Liz nuts, (“Did you just whip that up?”)but that’s how I operate. I hate lingering projects so I painted all morning, hit the stores for accesories after lunch, and sewed up the pillows that afternoon/evening.
guest room 017 copy
I am most proud of the awesome orange dust ruffle. I bought a whole bolt of this Amy Butler August Fields fabric on clearance. Love it! I learned the best trick from a designer I used to work with. Instead of making ‘the deck’ for the dust ruffle (which never stays in place) just make the skirt portion and pin in place with twist pins (used to keep slip covers in place, found in home decor notions section at Joanns) or use a staple gun to hold in place. I opted for the staple gun this time. Most box springs are wood and easy to staple into. (Easy to remove as well.) And nobody will ever know!
guest room 002 guest room 003

I like to make my skirt as long as the three sides of the bed, plus 12” for each corner pleat. If you want pleats at the half-way points, make sure you add in extra fabric there as well. I like to add pleats at the half points only if I need to hide my seams where I had to piece the fabric together. This is a busy fabric, you can hardly see my seams, so I opted for just corner pleats. I serge the tops, hem the bottoms, and staple away! Total time for this project? Maybe 1 hour and just 2 1/2 yards of fabric.
I wanted to spruce up the pillows so I used some more of my bed skirt fabric for a pillow and also made a green pillow with my coral design in the center and dupioni silk.
guest room 020 copy
I finished off the room with these greens lamps ($17 each) from Target and green mod frames from Alice Lane. How cute do my cheap-o $7 tables from Ikea look now?
guest room 019 copy
Errrr….ignore the blank frames on the wall. I had those frames stacked in a closet, and thought they would look great, even though I haven’t printed any photos for the end ones yet. :) The chair in the corner was an old freebie spruced up with a white skirt. I made it years ago and still love it. The dresser sure needs a coat of green paint. That’ll be a summer job. So come stay with me dear friends! I make great pancakes for breakfast too.
guest room 013 copy

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hexagon Heaven

I’ve been oh-so-wanting to make some cute hexagons—for pillows, a table runner, whatever. I had no idea what English Paper piecing was, but it sounded old-fashioned, time consuming, and I wanted nothing of it. But then I saw this blog  post and this You Tube video and new I wanted to try it. And don’t forget this adorable flickr group. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE flickr?

I think hexagons have that great retro look but because of the geometric-ness of them they are very modern and up to date looking. I made a hundred or so sitting around watching conference last week. How cute are these? The pink stack on the right is screaming for embellishment on the girls’ jeans. Or skirt. Or smock.DSC_0005 But I did quickly manage to put 8 of ‘em to good use for what else, a pillow. I did hate having to baste them together for the ‘shape’ I was looking for. (My hand basting isn’t so great as you’ll see in the last photo.) After I basted them together, I ironed the heck out of ‘em, removed the basting stitches and paper patterns, and sewed them down for good on my white cotton.


And I do like the final result:

190 copy

Stay tuned for more Hexagon Heaven in my upcoming posts.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

This is why…..

….. I sew (notice the Bernina sewing machine)
…… I cook
….. I have children
….. I love life.


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