30 June 2013

Apron Strings

I have an obsession with aprons. I've been really indulging it lately with a number of purchases to bolster my collection (I'll write about that another time) but until recently had never made one. As it turns out, making an apron is pretty easy. Maybe a little too easy. I've already chosen the pattern and fabric for my next one. And the one after that...

I used this post for instructions and inspiration, although I didn't follow them exactly. It was fun learning to make gathers and ruffles, and I ended up with a pretty apron that looks good and is comfortable to wear. I think it might even be my favourite one.

This is the inside view of the apron. The ruffles get sewn to the wrong side of the backing fabric so that when it's facing you, you get to see the right side. I thought that was a great detail in the original design.

23 June 2013

Making a Case of It

My latest sewing project had me learning all kinds of new things: how to make a patchwork, how to change the presser foot on my sewing machine, and how to add a zipper. Nothing special to any seasoned seamstress but pretty exciting for a relative newbie like me :) The patchwork and zipper became part of a pillow for my office. I'm really pleased with how it turned out. Can't wait for my next challenge!

The fabrics I used for the patchwork

Putting the pieces together to figure out placement

Each row of pieces is sewn together to make three strips

Then the strips are sewn together to make the patchwork.

The fabric on the left (a bonus fat quarter generously sent to me with my order by Jennifer at Dragonfly Fabric) is what I used for the back of the pillow.

Photos ©Whimsy Bower

20 June 2013

After the Rain

After a recent rainstorm I grabbed my camera and got some shots of the garden. Hope you enjoy!

Delphinium buds

Delphinium flowers and buds

'William Baffin' Explorer series rose

Poppy centre minus petals
Poppy, looking somewhat battered by the rain

Bittersweet, a native plant (or weed, depending how you look at it). Has pretty red berries in autumn and is a nesting site of butterflies. Has an unpleasant smell, though.

Lady's Mantle is gorgeous after a rain. The water droplets look like gems.

Old-fashioned rose. I don't know the name of the variety but it smells heavenly. This flower is resting on a thistle leaf.

A mystery weed (but pretty).

Water collected in an unopened rose.


Geraniums I planted in a wine crate.

A nascent onion bloom

Another geranium

Daisies, peonies, and a purple mystery flower.

A closer look at the purple mystery flower.

Impatiens under hostas


A peony bloom tucked inside the  cedar hedge.
Photos ©Whimsy Bower

15 June 2013

Bye Bye, Bunting

Since reacquainting myself with a sewing machine I've been mainly working on simple projects--variations on rectangles and straight seams. But as satisfying as making a tea towel or tablecloth is, it's not really much of a challenge. Which is why for my latest sewing adventure I made bunting! Practical--no. Fun--definitely. And nowhere near as simple as a tea towel.

Some of the fabrics I used. I wanted a vintage feel but still bright and colourful.

I got the template and instructions from Get Started Sewing, the book that inspired me to get back into this craft.

One piece cut out.

Ready for sewing

My favourite part was pivoting the needle when I reached the triangle's point. It's the little things.

Snip excess fabric to make a sharper point

After turning triangles inside out, you need to use something like a knitting needle or crochet hook to gently push out the point.

Before ironing...

...and after. If you don't like ironing then sewing is not for you.

Once all the triangles were done I got to make the bias strip they would all be attached to. That was not a fun process--next time I'm buying my bias strips ready-made. Here I've attached the first triangle to the strip.

After a lot of pinning and ironing and sewing and more ironing, the bunting is finally complete!

I made a loop on each side for hanging and fastened it with a button.

That is a lot of bunting.

My bunting ended up quite long. So long I could only hang part of it for this photo.

The best place to hang it without putting nails in the walls ended up being the hedge, which looks like it has a toothy grin.

Here it is with a peony. I'm very tempted to get some waterproof fabric and make bunting to festoon my entire yard. Also, I finally have a reason to use the word "festoon."

I'm really happy with how the bunting turned out, even though there were some frustrating moments (mostly involving the bias strip) and minor problems. If you read the captions, you know it also turned out much longer than anticipated. But I plan on making more bunting (definitely some holiday-themed ones, and maybe some waterproof bunting for the yard) and hopefully I'll avoid making the same mistakes again (and, fingers crossed, won't make any new ones).

Sadly, the bunting is back inside now, folded and put away. Much as I'd love to hang it up permanently, right now is not a good time to add more nail holes to the walls. We've decided to move, a decision that has me half excited and half overwhelmed. Now that I'm finished the two big projects I was working on (the bunting and my blanket) I get to focus on preparing the house and garden to go on the market. Not a fun time, as any of you who have been through it know. But I am looking forward to having a new (hopefully a little bigger) space to decorate and craft for. And I can't wait to take my bunting out of storage and set it up in my new home.