Monday, June 30, 2014

max and mac.

so. i've been quiet here lately. it's not that i haven't been sewing, because i have. it's not because i haven't been mentally blogging left and right, because i have.

it's more that i haven't hit that legendary ideal triangle where time, desire, idea, and project have all intersected. ummm. i guess that's a square, actually.

so, while i'm here, and i've got the ole keyboard dusted off, let's talk about a few things happening in das googiehaus.

this is kind of a biggie. our almost-11-year-old dog max had to be put down a few weeks ago. it was a combination of reasons that led to the surprisingly painful decision.


from l to r: oblivious cheesing for photo, you’re killing my dog, YOU’RE KILLING MY DOG, sad but i’ll smile, thinks max is just sleeping somewhere else not “going to sleep”. jeremy was all “WHY ARE YOU MAKING THEM POSE FOR A PHOTO???” but, well, because?

i say "surprising" because it really caught me off guard. max was an awesome dog in many ways--incredible with the kids, very protective of the home, the kind of dog we could leave home while we went to the beach all day and she'd be waiting happily when we got home--no 'accidents', nothing chewed or destroyed.

when i tell you she was good with kids—i trained that dog to not touch ANYONE’S food. i have a huge pet peeve with dogs that grab food from a small child’s hands. like, HUGE pet peeve. like, it makes me skull crushing furious.
one day someone left a half finished waffle on the floor in the kitchen. i walked in just as max picked it up and headed out to snack. she stopped, baaaccccked slowly up, gently set the waffle back down on the floor, and slunk away. nothing to see here, i was most definitely NOT taking this waffle.

but...max had issues, too. she was very animal aggressive--if it was furry, she wanted to kill it. cat, dog, squirrel, mailman. you get the drift. and over the years there's been a few incidents, a few vet bills paid by us...pretty stressful.
a month ago guinevere opened the front door to take out the garbage just as the mailman came. no warning, no growl, no bark—max pushed past her and chased the mailman off the porch and bit his hand. badly.
fortunately for us he was completely awesome about it. what could have been absolutely terrible was only mildly terrible. what could have cost us thousands only cost us a 6-pack and some chocolate pretzels (is there a standard “sorry my dog tried to eat you” gift?)

max was getting old, and needed another surgery, and was losing her hearing and sight—but not her formidable strength. so a week later when i got up in the middle of the night and she barked at me because she didn’t recognize me…well, that was literally another nail in her coffin.

whether purposefully or not, she was becoming a danger to our family.

i thought i was sick of it. i thought i was counting down the days for max, so i could say goodbye to a pretty big stressor in our lives. i know—it sounds heartless and terrible, but when you have a dog that’s kind of a ticking timebomb and you live on a street with a great big field that half the neighborhood brings their dogs to so there’s constantly random dogs running up to your fence, etc….well, yeah.
my dog isn’t my “baby”, i’m not it’s “mommy”. i have 5 human children who call me mommy, this is a pet, and it’s lifespan is shorter than yours, so it dies and you get a new one. right? right.
i’m so tough. and logical. and tough.

except, i’m not. when it came time...well, let's just say i didn't handle it so well.

not. at. all.

we made an appointment, and cancelled it. we debated for 3 more weeks, and then picked a day. we took max to the SPCA, and i thought i was holding it together. then they started asking me things like how long have you had max? how old is max? please sign this paper that says we’re killing your dog thankyouverymuch.

then we brought her in, and the lady took her and asked if we wanted the leash and collar back, and…. that was it.

jeremy and i went outside to the bench, where i cried like a baby and he tried not to throw up.

we were basically a family of hawt crying messes, and i'll own up to being the worst. i spent 2 solid days saying things like "look at the sun shining on the hill. max would have loved to lay up there on her hillllll..bfflghtlshhhh....whahhhhhh".

you get the drift.

so instead of waiting a month or so before adding to our family like we initially planned, we made the executive decision to add promptly.


find the puppy.

we found macallister (mac) through a rescue, he came from a kill shelter down south.

we knew we wanted to do a rescue dog this time, and because supposedly *I* “picked” sonny, jeremy said this was his pick. //eyeroll// hehehe

we filled out a few applications online. i’ll be honest—some of these are kind of nuts. i perfectly understand the desire of these people to make sure the dogs are going to good, safe, loving homes. but one of them actually asked “Do you have a plan in place to ensure proper care of your pet in case you are injured or are in some way unable to properly care for your pet?”

and i was all…umm, i don’t even have a will for my CHILDREN.

how about this: we WILL neuter. we will NOT enter him in a dog fighting ring. we WILL get his shots. we WILL feed him and love him, and snuggle him and pet him until he can’t stand it anymore. we will NOT dock his ears or clip his tail. mmmkay?
when we finally stumbled across mac, and talked to cris it all fell into place. she loves her dogs, she wants them to go to good homes, but she’s not insane about it. she talked to our vet, she got a couple references, we went to visit them and introduce the kids and sonny to him, she came and checked out our house when she dropped him off. and we had a new puppy. 


do you know how hard it is to take a good photo of a camouflaged dog?

he's a plott hound mix, which we'd never heard of until we started looking at rescues. that’s what gives him his beautiful brindle coloring. it's been a week since he came home to us, and he's a solid 27 pounds of squishy love with giant paws and soft fur and that puppy head cock that’s all “Huh? I’m listening!”

we debated names for a while…macallister was our middle name if elliot had been a boy, and we both super love the name. but…mac? too close to max? orrrrrr a nice tribute to max, and a way of not cringing every time we accidentally call him max over the next few weeks? yup, dumb like a fox ;)
you’re all “MAAAAAXXxxshCK”. no harm, no foul.

he and sonny have bonded and it's nonstop playing-sleeping-eating in a cycle all day, erry day around here.


now if he could just teach sonny to stop pooping in the house (stupid chihuahua), he'd be perfect.

that and maybe mac could stop peeing on my unfinished quilt. >:( grrrrrrr.

you quilt that i've been working on for months and am not done quilting yet and thus can not WASH until i FINISH, so i'm now quilting this stinky wet KING SIZE quilt that he searches out and pees on at least once a day!??!?!?! i'm not really sure why he either hates or loves this thing so much. clearly it's one or the other, i'm just not sure which…

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Friday, June 13, 2014

30 days of sundresses!

third time’s a charm, right? well in that case i’m honored to be participating for the third year in melly’s 30 Days of Sundresses Series!

Displaying sundressgraphic.jpg

last year and the year before i did quick and easy sundresses for me—which is a rarity! i don’t often sew for myself, but i use melly’s series as a push to do some selfish sewing at least once a year ;) and this year is the same…but different.

a few months ago i had the chance to be on project run and play, and i came away from that experience determined to increase my skill set. rather than go for a quick and easy dress this year i decided to put on my big girl panties and make myself a Real Dress. with a zipper and everything.
i know! crazy!

and then, not only did i make one dress, but i made myself TWO! double crazy!


believe it or not, both of these dresses are made from the same basic pattern—a princess seamed pattern that i drafted for a gown i sewed for our anniversary back in october. i think princess seams are universally flattering—and if you’re a busty gal the best BEST BEST thing you can do for yourself is invest the time into perfecting a princess seamed bodice to fit you like a glove.

when i made the pattern back in october, i used THIS set of instructions as a starting point. you plug in your measurements, and follow the instructions carefully, and at the end you’ll have a basic princess seam bodice. i had to tweak it quite a bit, but it was a start. the entire gown was a leap of faith—which i discuss more in my blog post about it. dressing a not-standard-sized-or-shaped body can be the ultimate in frustration. but i made myself a gown that a) i absolutely loved and b) fit me perfectly and c) gave me the confidence to admit that i CAN sew for myself. if i can make a strapless fully lined and boned evening gown, i can certainly do a sundress, right? a Real Sundress? with a zipper and everything? yup.


for the first dress—which actually started as a potentially wearable muslin—i had to take in my pattern a touch here and there. then i extended the a-line down through the skirt, just going as wide as my fabric allowed. this fabric is upholstery fabric—a remnant snagged from my husband’s upholstery shop. i throw pieces i like for clothing through the washer and dryer as a litmus test as to whether or not they’ll work.


the dress got brown piping, simple straps and two patch pockets and boom—one dress done.
i almost called it day with this one—but i was all hopped up on sweet success and marched on to my original plans.


for dress two i focused on turning my previously strapless bodice into one with straps. then i gave it a straight skirt, and did some easy colorblocking—the bulk of the dress is in a navy bottomweight with a touch of spandex, then i cut the front center piece from a lighter turquoise. i think it gives the dress a flattering illusion type look (without being quite so sexy) and i couldn’t love it more.


the back has a semi-exposed zipper in a bright yellow. because, why not?


i feel so comfortable and confident in both of these dresses i almost didn’t totally hate the photoshoot. almost. ok, i still hate having to pose and i feel like i turn into the World’s Most Awkward Woman when the camera turns on me, but rest assured i love my dresses. 

so this year, i don’t have a tutorial or pattern for you. but what i do have is some encouragement: get yourself a well fitting pattern. it’s not that difficult. it may be easier for you—as it was for me—to draft from scratch. but once you have that basic bodice the sky is the limit. these dresses don’t look alike at all, but they started from the same pattern and took me about 2-2.5 hrs each to sew.

stretchy knits have their place, but sometimes a gal just needs a well fitting dress. and it’s not impossible. at the very least it’s worth a couple hours and a couple yards of fabric to experiment!

melly, thanks again for having me! your series gave me the push to create two new garments for myself that may well be my two favorites in my closet! xoxo
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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

the one with no models: toddler underpants free pattern and tutorial

sharing a post i did back in january for house of estrela's Refashion Month! enjoy!


 it’s been my m.o. since i started sewing: just the fun stuff. fancy dresses and princess costumes and bowties. occasionally a bag or a stuffed animal.

i’d gloss over those tutorials and patterns for things like basic t-shirts and stretchy pants and jeans and gasp! underwear! who? why? why spend my time on making something i can buy at walmart when i can spend it making fluffy fluffy skirts???

and then i had a moment of clarity, as i prepared to drop yet another $7 pack of  3 pairs of “princess undies” in my cart. i was annoyed—the two little girls basically share clothes, gigi being a peanut and elliot being our typical thick toddler googie—and with potty training in full swing we were going through panties faster than…than i don’t know what. but just way too fast. and $7 every few weeks starts to add up.

meanwhile, back at the ranch…i had an ever increasing backlog of “upcyclable” items—shirts and dresses piling up in drawers and baskets that i figured i’d be able to reuse for a sewing project eventually.

::record scrattttcccchh:: duh.

i pulled that pack o’ panties outta my cart quick as a wink and set off home to make my own.
shockingly, i learned it wasn’t hard at all. (i can hear you experienced sewists rolling your eyes). once i drafted myself a basic pattern and tweaked it a bit, i had four pairs cut and sewn assembly line style in about an hour.

for freeeeeeeee.
which is my favorite number.

also shockingly—those homemade panties are dang cute. and watching their little bums run around in my handmade underpants was rather satisfying, even if it doesn’t get quite the same amount of attention from others that a handmade dress would. (hopefully. truth be told, i have rather exhibitionist daughters. :/  )
i also learned that sewing is sometimes useful for more than just sparkly dresses. it can actually save my family money, instead of being an expensive hobby. lol. i kid. really i’ve always tried to spend very little on my sewing, so it is a cost saving measure for our family. but this opened my eyes to the fact that taking the time to make some of the, ahem, “boring” stuff can really make a dent in our bottom line.

and i’m finally putting some of those knit t’s i’ve been hoarding to good use! upcycling/recycling either your own castoffs or thrifted/gifted items just makes good sense!
so, who’s ready to make their own panties? well too bad, you’re on your own for that. but if you’d like to make a pair that will fit a child between 2-5 depending on their size than i’ve got a free tutorial + pattern for you!

your only supplies are:

+ a pile of knits. somewhere in there try to have a thicker white cotton. i had a rib knit white tank, and this
was perfect as a liner for the crotch. (i just said crotch. on the internet)

+ elastic. i used both F.O.E. (fold over elastic) and regular 1/2” elastic that i have on a big spool. the F.O.E. does look nice and professional, but i found the regular stuff much easier to work with.

+ scissors, thread, machine, pins. what you don’t need is a serger. it’s nice if you have one, but you can do these perfectly well without one.

+ this pattern + this tutorial, over on my blog!

boom. crazy cute panties in multiples.


with cute little bums.


there you have it! go forth and sew more than just the pretties, and save dollah dollah bills ya’ll, and cover nekkid bottoms! (the world will thank you)


how dare i try and take pictures without letting them be a part? :)
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