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the good.

i bit the bullet and bought myself some “for-real” fabric scissors.  that’s right, i bought a gingher and oh am i a happy girl.

isn’t she lovely?  isn’t she wonderfuuul?  i hear they cut like a dream!  i can’t wait to use them!!

the bad.

my beloved tomatoes.  the tomatoes that i have been swooning over.  the ones that i have gently high-fived and encouraged to grow.  well…they grew…i harvested…and they were…underwhelming.  realllly underwhelming.  they managed to be dry.  how does that happen?  the tomato…a fruit that is essentially filled with a lot of juice and seeds and normally bursts when you bite into them.  mine turned out dry and mealy.  yuck.  i was so disappointed.  note to self – next year…buy quality heirloom tomato seeds and don’t overcrowd the pot.  i’m crossing my fingers for a juicier harvest.

the ugly.

the tomato plant that produced said dry sad fruit.  i think i gave up watering it and loving on it after tasting a dozen or so dry tomatoes.  go away ugly plant…come back again next year…but juicy.  thanks.

and lastly, this is neither good or bad or ugly, but rather awesome.  trader joe’s maple leaf cookies.  these seasonal items are DELICIOUS.  bummed that they’re only on the shelves once a year.  time to stock up!!

happy christmas!

a couple of months ago i found this green cardigan in the clearance section at target.  i think it was only $5 or something like that!  fist pump for good deals!  i also don’t think i would’ve paid more for it. 🙂

so the color is fun but in general it’s a bit plain.  i’ve been wanting to upcycle it some way for quite some time.  i’ve been going back and forth of how to do it…and finally decided to go with the ruffle.  i mean, who doesn’t love a little ruffle?!  plus i had a lot of this silk-looking material i got from a scrap store.  i have no idea what material it really is, but it looks a little shimmery like dupioni silk.  niiice.  so i drew a couple versions out and went with the strips of vertical columns.  i originally was going to do three ruffle columns next to each other, but eventually went with overlapping columns because it just looked a little more cohesive and vintage that way.  ok, so onto the sweater!  (the pics aren’t the greatest…i usually go on my sewing kicks at night and this is as good as it gets with my camera phone and lit up lamps!)

i went with three 1-1/4 in strips on each side of the cardigan…so cut six strips all together.

ruffle the entire length of each side of the strips.  i did mine 3/8 in from the border.  if you don’t know how to ruffle, set the stitch length to the longest, tension to the highest, and ruffle away!  also i’m not sure if it’s just my sewing machine or just me sewing weird, but the speed also affects the ruffle.  if i press the pedal down to the metal, i end up with smaller ruffles…sew slower, more spaced out ruffles.  i recommend experimenting with scrap material before committing to your nicely measured out strips.

pin a ruffled strip along one side of your cardigan.  sew down the stitch line closest to the cardigan opening.  leave the other stitch line loose.

pin another ruffled strip overlapping the strip you just sewed down.  like i said, i liked how overlapping strips looked rather than them side by side, but change it to your preference.  i overlapped them enough that when i sewed down the stitch line of my second strip, it would sew down the loose side of the first strip.  make sense?   i also trimmed the length of this second strip a couple inches shorter than the first one.

just repeat with your third strip.  i again made this one a couple inches shorter than the second strip.  it should be a gradual step with each column, the longest strip closest to the cardigan opening.  before i moved to the other side, i had to clean up a bit and sew down the stitch lines of the strips that didn’t catch under the overlapping next strip.  in theory it works beautifully, in reality, my pinning and not-so-accurate measurements left some sides of the strips flapping in the wind.  remember to also sew down the extra couple of inches that are longer than the next strip.  i then sewed across the ends of each column to make it more secure.  in general, all sides of each strip should be attached somewhat to the sweater.  you want the actual ruffled edges to be loose, but it should still be secure.  i hope that makes sense.  i feel like i’ve used the words “strip”, “ruffle”, and “sew” in each sentence so far.  meh..

now repeat all that on the other side. 🙂  remember to fray check your sides if your ruffled material needs it.  this silk-like material looks great when you use it, but when washed, it frays like it’s nobody’s business.  after this…you’re done!!  voila!

i love that the ruffles add a feminine touch to the cardigan and you can dress it up or down!  there probably is a more efficient and elegant way to embellish the sweater this way with ruffles, but it worked. 🙂

happy upcycling!!

finally!!

it’s been a long road filled with love, water, verbal encouragement, and air high-fives…but my tomatoes are finally starting to ripen!!  and i may or may not have used a little miracle-gro…don’t judge…i think of it as a little helping hand.  like the hand you hold when you crossed the street as a kid.  i was afraid for a little bit since the cooler weather has kept the clusters super green for a long time.  i thought i would end up with a pot of stunted tomatoes as we roll into fall.  but i was one of little faith…the red broke through…and i am a happy semi-gardener.  yes they’re small…i have no idea what type of tomato was planted.  but…it’s going to be tasty and great, i can feel it.  it’s harvest time!!  I.CAN’T.WAIT.

excellent!!

do you see what i see?!  tucked away in the jungle of green…yellow flowers!!!  first come the flowers, then comes the fruit!!  grow tomatoes grow!!

sidenote:  this is a video tour of jamie oliver’s garden.  my dream is to have one just like his.  seriously…such amazing veg!!  love love love.

my growing friends

my plants are growing!!!  i’ve got basil on the windowsill and tomatoes on the balcony.  whoop!  what is weird is that i planted the two basil pots…one in a mini-mini pot i had on hand, and one in a bigger one.  i planted the seeds at the exact same time, seeds from the same packet, soil from the same sack, watered it the same time…but look at the difference.

wha?!  the little mini pot is seriously stunted.  i’ve already plucked leaves from the big pot and let it grow again about 3-4 times already…but the small one just stays the same.  looks more like alfalfa sprout tops than it does basil. 😦  did i suffocate it with the pot size?  i have no idea.  but i will continue to water it…you never know…it could have a growth spurt.

as much as i haven’t liked our recent heat waves…that kind of weather is amazing for the tomatoes!!  they used to be only three inches tall…now…they’re flourishing!!!

this pic was taken about a week ago…they’re taller already!!  i love it.  i feel good about this…i feel like it will bear some fruit this summer.  i did notice that everything is pretty cramped.  probably because i dropped 3-4 seeds in each little hole i made…to ensure that if one seed didn’t grow, the other two seeds next to it would have a chance.  but taking a closer look at all the stalks…all the seeds may have sprouted.  it’s a little squished.  oops.  on a sidenote…from a quick glance, it kind of looks like…pot, no?  jenny was suspicious when she first saw it through the window. 🙂

excited to harvest!!!!

awesome.

today i received an email from my dad with this subject line and picture attached (and yes…that’s our marbles taking care of business):

our newly maple tree with marble at the rear

laptop TLC

i recently caved and jumped on the Apple train.  goodbye PC…it’s been fun, but you frustrate me…a lot.  goodbye.  now i can be ultra hipster – go to coffee shops and bust out the slim silver wonder that all the cool kids have.  YES!!  so as i’m a bit anal about big purchases like this…along with reading every page of the included manual…i realized that i can’t bring this piece of awesomeness anywhere b/c i have no laptop sleeve.  so instead of studying as i really should have been doing, i went online to find tutorials for sewing laptop sleeves!!  i came across this one from Sew, Mama, Sew!, printed up the handy PDF and off i went to my sewing happy place. 🙂

just a few comments on this one…  this took a lot longer than i anticipated.  mainly because i used different materials than what it called for…more complicated materials…but it was what i had on hand!!  anyhoo…i still enjoyed the whole process.  i pricked my fingers a couple of times…so my blood is literally in this project.  nice.  and the sizing is a little off…it’s suuupppperr snug.  you have to really shimmy that computer in and the fold-over is too long.  dah!!  but with all the nitpicky things…it’s still functional!!  and i like!

and i like that there is a fun pattern on the inside lining…like a little surprise when you open the fold.

still many more sewing projects in the queue…  we’ll see how many i can tackle over the summer!

also forgot to post the DIY version of annie albers’ washer necklace that i made.  you can make your own too from this tutorial!  the first one was super big…and heavy.  so i sized down and got smaller washers, plus used a darker gray ribbon.  i heart this one.  i have yet to wear the bigger monster size version.

and btw…i DID plant my tomato seeds!!  and they ARE growing!!  growing slow…but still growing!!  they’re about 3 inches tall now.  whoop!  i don’t know how much fruit they will produce through the summer…but to be honest, i’m just excited that they’re growing!!  i feel that it’s a step up from growing basil in my windowsill.  FIST PUMP!