Archive | February, 2011

Clean the whole house day

28 Feb

Monday is my “clean the whole house day,” Or at least, most of the house. I find that it is easiest for me to pick a day and just clean everything top to bottom, and then each day during the week focus on one part to keep it neat and tidy. So while I may have a lot to do today, it should only take me a couple hours since I keep up on it all week. This means I don’t have to use a ton of elbow grease to clean up the stove, or use hard core chemicals to scrub the toilet. Nope, it’s easy peasy. Each bathroom should really only take about 15 minutes, the kitchen, maybe a little longer, and sweeping and moping should really be quick. My favorite tools for today? I’ll break it down:

-Lysol toilet gel
-Scrubbing bubbles for the shower
-Mrs. Meyers all purpose cleaner in basil for counter-tops and sinks
-Lysol disinfecting spray

-Baking soda for scrubbing the stove top
-Mrs. Meyers all purpose cleaner in Basil for counters, sink and appliances
-Gain dish liquid for dishes and cleaning the ceiling fan and any greasy areas

-Dutch Rubber Broom (this is an amazing tool I use for everything…)
-Sea sponge mop for wood floors
-Murphy’s oil soap for all the hardwood floors
-Pinesol with febreeze in lavendar for laminated floors (some day I’ll have tile…)
-the trusty Dyson Animal for rugs (it’s almost 4 years old, and still wonderful. It really does get up the pet hair- and that’s a problem in my house with three dogs and two cats!)

Other supplies:
-An Apron!! (of course!)
 -RAGS- I have a bag in each bathroom and in the kitchen for cleaning rags. These are cut up old t-shirts, flannel sheets and other cotton. I do not use paper towels for cleaning, it’s a waste. Bad for your budget, bad for the environment, and they leave linties!
-microfiber cloths, these are AWESOME for dusting
-small fluffy duster (for getting into tight spots)
-Scrubby brushes with handle, to scrub the tub!
-lysol antimicrobial toilet brushes. I really like these, they even have an extended scrub part that gets under the rim.

So that’s today.

Here’s a link for info on the dutch rubber broom


Sometimes an apron wants to be sexy

28 Feb

In my years of sewing, it has been my experience that you cannot make a thing out of fabric that doesn’t want to become what you are trying to make it. These are the projects that never turn out right, or don’t get finished. You have to listen to what the fabric wants to become, what trimmings it wants to wear and what shape or style it wants to be. The geisha fabric has been in my stash almost a year, I can’t remember what I bought it for, though I want to say apron POCKETS. Whatever it was, wasn’t meant to be… I wanted it to become an apron, it wanted to be lingerie, and this is our compromise. 

 There is a lot going on with the lace and the bold print, so I didn’t want to overwhelm it with pockets… but I really wanted pockets, so I matched them up on the print to blend…. The Asian print definitely inspired the chopstick pocket (part of the larger pocket) which I think is really sort of cute. 

Close up on pocket with chopstick compartment
The lace is more from gramma’s stash, and so is the grosgrain ribbon (which I used on day two’s apron). At first I was only going to put it on the bottom, but then some fell across the top and I liked the idea of using it on the top as well. It definitely puts it more in the realm of lingerie with the lacy top panel, very sexy. For the ties I just sewed the ribbon across the pleated lace, leaving the top of the lace peaking out a bit. I feel it made it a little more casual than wrapping it up all neat. 
Lace, lace, lace….
And that’s really it. Once it was done it really screamed “lingerie” to me. It has that sort of feminine vintage appeal that I love so much. This is not an apron I’ll be able to wear every day, but at least it is washable. I think it would look super cute with jeans and a plain top. I’ll let it take center stage in it’s frilly goodness. 


Wearing my apron to Costa Rica….

27 Feb

Okay, maybe not, but it reminds me of Costa Rica. Today’s apron used left over fabrics from a quilt I made for my in-laws who are moving to Costa Rica– eventually. I used batik died fabrics and quilted Costa Rican motifs on it, it was supposed to be something warm to get them through the cold NY winter while reminding them of tropical climates and sunshine.

I guess I just have summer on the brain, and a thing for getting better at patchwork. The belt of the apron is made from the pattern for the “Early Empire Cinch” from “Handmade Beginnings” by Anna Maria Horner. No, I’m not expecting yet, but I like to be prepare. Beside, there are plenty of items in the book that are great even for the not so pregnant woman, plus gifts for all the babies that ARE in my life right now. Anyway. I’ve been eying the “cinch” and thought it was just so cute, and a great way to work on my patchwork skills- it’s done in just short strips to create the front fabric, then you cut out the pattern from the pieced fabric. It’s WICKED cute. Plus, I didn’t have to worry about the fabric working together since I had already used them in a quilt.

The skirt is a fine, 3.5 oz/ yard linen from my favorite fabric store: It’s soft and flowey, and in the “bleached” it is a nice contrast to tropical jewel tones without being so stark as the “optic white.” The skirt is not attached yet, but is gathered into a little band… My hang up is that I want to actually be able to wear the cinch on it’s own with a shirt or dress…. So for the sake of pictures I just pinned it to the back. I think I may try to add hooks on the skirt part and eyes onto the cinch so that I can take it on and off, but it will still be reasonably secure when it is attached.

Close up on the front patchwork and fabrics… Pretty, right?

The ties are long and make a nice big loop in the back, I like that one side is one fabric and the lining is another- both were used in the main patchwork as was the fabric for the binding… 

So that’s day 5! 
Just a reminder, there are a few days left to subscribe and be entered to win an apron… I haven’t revealed it yet because nothing has been inspiring for the give away just yet, so feel free to also leave ideas or your favorite apron style. 🙂

"I used to be a curtain…."

26 Feb

“But now I’m an apron!”

I really, really love up-cycling and re-purposing, and when you sew, it’s great way to find “new” fabrics for waaaaaaay less than your local fabric store. I love picking up vintage bedsheets, table linens and curtains. The curtain I used for this apron actually came with my house. In fact, my house came with quite a few curtains (which I thought was a little odd– since we bought our house and people usually take all their stuff with them). Anyway, this was in the mudroom, and when I took it down to wash… it never went back up. Instead, I put it in my fabric pile.

Over a year later it has emerged….

Isn’t it pretty??? It was really quick and easy to make, I just cut off the top excess fabric, cut that into three strips which I sewed together to make the waistband and ties, gathered the bottom and attached the waistband. If you are in a hurry or just don’t feel like dealing with a waistband, double fold bias tape or a thick ribbon would work great too and it would probably only take you about 15 minutes to make this apron.

I love the detail on the curtain… the cut out embroidering and the crochet bottom is just GORGEOUS. I left the rest of it plain (not even a pocket!) to let the detail shine.

You can find these fantastic vintage curtains for CHEAP, too. I have another set that I picked up at a junk shop for a dollar… for two.

Now, it’s not the most practical apron, but it’s super cute and can act as a useful “hostess apron.” It’s 100% cotton so it can go in the wash on delicate (don’t want to mess up the embroidery!)

If you want a tutorial for exactly how to make it, leave a comment. Cheers!

A patchwork Apron.

25 Feb

Phew! This one took awhile. Just around 2 hours actually, but I am glad I put the time into it. This one utilized more left over fabrics. The patchwork pieces were originally meant for a quilt for my dad and his wife for their wedding. It was my fist big patchwork piece and I very quickly realized two things; first, I didn’t have any idea how to do it and two, my patchwork skills left much to be desired…. So… I put some of these 9 patch squares together with pretty fabrics and picked the ones that came out the best for my dad’s gift… there weren’t many and I couldn’t stand the thought of cutting out MORE tiny little squares and sewing them all together. So I made them a table runner out of ’em which I am still in the process of hand quilting (their wedding was back in September… so it’s a little overdue….)

Aaaaanyway…. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do for todays apron and in the process of looking for my copy of “A is for Apron” when I stumbled upon these somewhat forgotten pieces and “aha!” It struck me that I should use ’em up on an apron. I stitched all but one of the squares together to make a strip, then stitched 15 of the little ones together to make another strip and put them together with a piece of natural canvas weight linen.

I used the remaining block as a patch pocket. I added a strip of the natural linen to the top to make it more rectangular. I used a pretty pale blue linen (that was also in the patchwork) to line it and top stitched all the way around. I added two pleats at the waist to give it a little shape and used more linen for the waistband. And this is how it looks!

I’m very pleased with it but it’s HEAVY. All that linen really gives it heft, but it’s nice and sturdy so it will be a great working apron for all sorts of things and messy jobs. I love the way the linen gives it some movement too, even being so thick.
I also decided to whip up another headscarf out of more linen. I made this one shorter in the back which is probably a bit more practical. Instead of adding ribbons afterwards, I just made the lace edging longer on both edges and use that for ties. Other than that it’s the same construction as the purple one, and I used the same lace.


24 Feb

Blogging is a very competitive sport these days! Can I bribe people into reading what I have to say? Maybe.

Here’s the deal. I will give away an apron… I’ll make it sometime this weekend and reveal it. At the end of my “Apron a Day” challenge I’ll pick someone at random. But the catch is you MUST subscribe to the blog, then leave a comment that you did so. Then you can get additional entries by “liking my facebook page” Leave a comment on the blog that you did, bonus points if you leave a comment telling me what you would like to see me babble about in the coming months.

Sound like a plan?

Let’s see how this goes… and I’ll try not to be sad if I don’t get any responses!

An Apron A Day Keeps the Dust Bunnies At Bay.

24 Feb

In my last post I said how I needed an apron for every day of the week. This got me thinking… why not MAKE an apron every day? So yesterday I busted out some left over fabrics, looked at my great grandmother’s apron (my favorite of the bunch) and decided to make something similar, and this is what I came up with….

The print is left over from a sale at Joann’s- for whatever reason I bought 5 yards, and so far I have made a skirt, camisole, shorts and panties and am now adding an apron. There are only a few small pieces left now, which I think will become potholders. One can ALWAYS use more potholders… The “purple” is linen I purchased from last year for my Easter dress… That really didn’t turn out so well, but this was a left over piece (the dress itself is still waiting to be taken apart….)

The construction was pretty simple, although I did make it a little more complex that gramma’s. Her’s was only one fabric and three pieces plus ties. I also made mine criss cross in back while hers was attached across the upper back and went straight down. Anyway, the front main piece is just a tall trapezoid, the sides are just about rectangles with a little bit of an angle, and the ties are all three inch wide pieces cut long enough to play with. I was a bit lazy and used the serger on all the inside seams, but finished the linen ties nicely (since they will be more obvious…) I think I would like to add pockets, probably in the pretty purple linen… I always need pockets….

Today’s apron was inspired by this one:

And my desire for warm weather so I can hang out the laundry!

That little pocket on the side is specifically designed to hold my phone (the casio “brigade”… thank God and Casio for waterproof and shock resistant phones…) Since I’m supposed to have it nearby all the time… “What use is having a cell phone if you forget to have it with you?” I hear… The pocket(s) on the front of this thing are just so huge I didn’t want to risk loosing my phone in there! But after last years apron getting mangled by me stuffing huge amounts of clothespins in the pockets… this seems justified. Both the front and back pieces are double layers of quilting cotton to make it a bit more sturdy, and the waist tie is some grosgrain ribbon that I found in my gramma’s shed (along with the favorite apron, boxes of fabric and tons of lace… oh, and cast iron cookware. :))

Last but not least in my sewing adventures… I’m working on headscarves/ coverings for sort of every day and church (if I find one I like). Functional and pretty I think these are an essential part of any goodwife’s “trunk.”

Historically, women wore caps and other headcoverings for religious observance and also for practical reasons- to keep there hair clean and keep bugs out! This one is for that purpose, more or less. I can wear my hair down (saving it from the turmoil of being wrapped in a bun) and it keeps my hair clean of dust for the most part while I’m cleaning the house (very helpful when dusting the corners and ceiling fans!) It will also save my hair from the sun when summer time comes around and I’m working out of doors.

Construction on this was SUPER simple. I measured around my head and took off an inch so that I could tie it tight. Then, I measured how long I wanted it to be- this one measures about 15 inches, it does not cover ALL my hair, but a good portion of it. I cut a rectangle to these measurements (about 20 by 15 inches) serged around the edge, added some lace to the long edge and pressed. Then I pleated the short edges and sewed ribbons to pleated ends. It stays put pretty well on it’s own, but it didn’t move at all when I used two hair clips at my temples. Pretty and practical! Oh. And it matches the first apron. 🙂

That’s all for now! More aprons to come, 2 down, 5 to go!
**If you would like full tutorials on these or any upcoming aprons, please let me know and I will do my best to make one up!
Happy sewing!