Monday, April 26, 2010

Lovely Sewing Project And Pure Irony

Sewing - one of the crafts I badly want to learn. When I was a child, my mum let me try out stuff on her sewing machine and I actually made little cushions and bedcovers for my dollhouse. Unfortunately, my skills never went beyond dollhouse cushions. I think, my problem is the fact that I like to do things, but I hate to learn how to do them. I'd love to sew, but I hate to learn it step-by-step. Years after my dollhouse cushions' projects I decided it is time to start a new attempt. Also, I felt sorry for my sewing machine, which was covered in a decent layer of dusk. Yes, I actually own a sewing machine! My grandma gave it to me some years ago. She felt, she doesn't need it anymore and the machine was way too good to be thrown away. So, here I am: aspiring seamstress with no experience, but with a proper "Pfaff" sewing machine. 

For my first "bigger" project I came across a pattern of a reversible bag. The shape of the bag reminded me of one of my favorite handbags, which got pretty worn out during the years. Moreover, the pattern and instruction seemed to be doable by a beginner like me. At times I stayed at my parents' house. Perfect. In contrast to my place, my parents' house has a big kitchen with a really big kitchen table, big sunny windows, proper scissors and my mum keeps vintage fabric. 

I arranged everything I need on our big kitchen table and got busy. While cutting the fabrics, I realized the nice shape of the fabric scraps. They seemed to be perfect for little pockets. Personally, I love pockets in my handbags. I'm a rather messy person and littler pockets help me to stay organized. Also, I did not want the bag to be reversible so I chose a rather unspectacular fabric for the inside. The pockets had to be a bit more spectacular though. I wanted the edge of the pockets to be elastic. So I consulted the manual of the sewing machine and actually found a short instruction how to sew in an elastic band. To my great surprise, it was really simple and worked! I attached two small pockets outside the bag and one pocket inside. To finish the bag, I followed the instruction and it worked out great. My bag actually does look like a bag! Okay, there are some tiny things, which a proper seamstress would detect immediately, but hey, I made a bag!!

Encouraged by this first success, I decided to make another one, but bigger. I enlarged the pattern and altered the length of the straps. Last friday I bought some really nice fabric and snap fasteners. On saturday I eagerly started to cut the fabric and began to prepare the pockets. I didn't come really far. After half of the pockets something happened to my sewing machine and it refused to work. Whatever happened, I couldn't fix it on my own. I send my sewing machine to be repaired by a professional. It shouldn't take too long. On thursday I'll be off to London for a couple of days. I hope, it'll be fixed by the time I'm back. Until then i'll be grieving. It's pure irony that the machine breaks at the time I'm motivated to sew.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Easter Post II

To finish my personal Easter roundup, I'd like to say a few words about the gift I made for my sister. In fact, the gift actually has a story.

It started on New Year's Eve 2009. We are not into New Year's Eve parties at all and decided to stay at home. From a I borrowed all ten seasons of Friends on DVD. We started with the first season on New Year's Eve and kept watching (last night we watched the last episode of season eight). In one episode in season seven, Monica bakes christmas candy. For baking she wears a pink apron. Apparently, Birgit fell in love with the pink apron. The scene was included into the intro of season seven so whenever Birgit saw the intro she started moaning about the pretty apron. I took a screen shot of the apron as it is shown in into of season seven:

I did some online research to find out whether someone else already noticed this apron and maybe knows where to get it. Of course, I wasn't successful. It came to my mind that it could not be too hard to sew an apron myself. I looked online for a suitable pattern and got lucky on Etsy. Jona Giammalva offered the almost perfect pattern. I gave it a try. I did everything I could to get Birgit out of the apartment for a weekend to have enough time and space to make the apron. I got some pink vintage fabric from my mum, but with now proper table to cut the fabric and a horrible pair of scissors this turned out to be rather challenging. Making the bias tape turned out to be an even greater challenge. Did I mention that I have no real experience in sewing and tried to do this on my own? The bias tape was meant to be rather slim and the fabric proofed to be pretty stiff. I'm also not too great in ironing. I think my little Ikea ironing board is only meant to be used to iron sleeves. I don't have any larger ironing board. So I set on my cold floor with the tiny board and the stiff fabric and tried to produce a halfway acceptable bias tape. After about three or four hours I gave up. I called my mom, stuffed all the pieces of the apron in a big bag and announced to come over as soon as possible to have her help me. The slim bias tape really freaked me out. Actually I did not even want a slim bias tape. Remember, I said "almost" perfect pattern?
When I came home and showed the pieces and pattern to my mom I decided that the bias tape has to become wider. Actually, I just wanted my mom to give me a little help and show me how to do it. Plans were changed though. We got a phone call and suddenly we expected nine more persons for our Easter brunch. I kinda panicked because I wanted everyone to have one of my knitted egg cozies and so far I had only finished four of them. So my mom took over the sewing of the apron while I sat there to knit some more egg cozies (in the end I only had seven of them).
In the end, Birgit's gift is handmade. Not really by me though. I am a little upset about that, but I'm determined to try it again some other time. Nevertheless, I believe she really likes her new apron. She can actually wear both sides. Ok, it does not really look like Monica's apron, but it is pretty close:

Actually, the reverse side looks more like the original apron, but I can't really find a photo of it. 

I think now I really rounded up my Easter Holidays. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Oh so later Easter post

Jeez, is it really a whole week since Easter? According to my calendar it is. So it really is time to round up our Easter activities.

For Easter sunday our family invited some friends and relatives. In the end we expected about 13 persons for brunch. With this in mind I started to knit egg cozies. Inspired by fresh spring colors, I knitted seven pompom head egg cozies. They came out really great on white eggs. I couldn't resist to draw little faces on the eggs. Here is the result:

With seven eggs not being enough for 13 persons, Birgit dyed some more eggs by hand:

On saturday before Easter sunday we spent pretty much the entire day with cooking, baking and crafting for the brunch. Luckily our mom has a big kitchen with a looooooong table to work on:

Not Martha had this really great post on chocolate Easter surprise eggs. Birgit gave them a try. Had some troubles the top of the eggs without causing too much damage. After some "eager discussing" among Birgit, our mom and me (since everybody believed to know how to do it best) all eggs were opened, cleaned, sterilized and dyed. With lots of patience the inside of the eggs were coated with dark chocolate. Somehow something went wrong with coating all eggs with white chocolate so only a couple of them got a layer of white chocolate. The eggs on Not Martha were filled with small bits of candy. Ours were not. Cracking these eggs reminded us on fortune cookies. So I sat down and googled a bit and in the end found enough quotes to put in our eggs. Instead of chocolate Easter surprise eggs we had chocolate Easter fortune eggs! Before they could be enjoyed, they had to be put together again. And here the trouble really started. The top of the eggs did not really match the bottom of the eggs anymore. On most of the shells small bits cracked off. I think it was our mom who suggested to prepare a little bit of icing to glue together both parts of the eggs. Still it was quite difficult and Birgit got pretty frustrated. 

When I saw the half-finished results I suggested to make a virtue out of the little mess. None of our guests knew what the eggs are supposed to look like. So I handed Birgit sprinkles to attach to the icing and thus "decorate" the eggs.

In the end they did not look bad at all! Everybody enjoyed them and we had a lot of fun reading the quotes to each other. 

The sprinkles you see on the eggs were meant for my cupcakes in the first place. And there we are: the cupcakes! Ever since I traveled to New York City last year and had those really great cupcakes from around the corner of our hotel I wanted to try to make some myself. An Easter brunch seemed to be to the perfect occasion. I found the blog HowToEatACupcake some time ago and looked forward to try out one of the recipes. I decided to go for the Vanilla Cupcakes with Mint by Amy Sedaris. Except that I did not want any mint. For the frosting I decided to use the Vanilla Buttercream frosting of Karen's cookies cakes & more. I divided the frosting into three batches and added green, pink and blue food coloring. That was fun. I love colorful food. 

I finished them with some sprinkles and it took me all my strength not to sample them immediately. When I finally got to try them on Sunday morning I knew these recipes would go into my personal recipe collection. I mean, THEY ROCK! In fact, they taste as great as they look:

Apparently I cannot upload more photos to this post so I gotta stop here. I'll try to write an additional (late) Easter post since I definitely want to talk about Birgit's Easter gift! 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Etsy Store Opened!

I'm not sure if this blog has any readers (already?), but I'm proud to announce the opening of the SmileMolecules Etsy Store! Currently it is stocked with six pairs of crocheted hair clips.

First Post?!

First (and rather unofficial) post! I'm still struggling with the color scheme of SmileMolecules and I'm pretty busy to prepare for Easter Holidays! Hope to be more blog-productive very soon!

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