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December 1

A Mill-End Sale

A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of stopping in at Lorna’s Laces Mill-End Yarn Sale.

Yarn Sale

My friend/coworker/knitting buddy Maria is apart of Chicago Knitters Group.  She invited me to come along to the sale but I already had a hair appointment scheduled for the same time and sadly declined the invite.  It was rsvp only and you had to be escorted into the space, so I knew I would never make it in time.

On a whim I decided I was going to drive over to the sale to see if Maria was still there shopping around, after my hair appointment since I got done earlier than I expected.

Yarn Sale

I knew it was close to my hair salon – but I was kicking myself pretty hard when I discovered it was in the same building, just one floor up!

Sheepishly, I entered the studio space looking for Maria.  She wasn’t around but I was warmly welcomed to come and look around, shop, and take photos.  I need yarn like a hole in the head – but who can say no to an impromptu yarn sale?!

Yarn Sale


Yarn Dye

Some undyed yarn stock:

Stock Fibers Yarn Bins

Dying vats/bins:

Yarn Dying Vats

Studio Space, looking back at the front door:

Lorna's Laces Studio

Freshly dyed yarns:

Freshly Dyed Yarn

Isn’t that a pretty mix?!

Yarn Sale

Yarn Sale

I don’t normally purchase yarns with multiple colors in them, I prefer semi-solid or solid dyes.  But I couldn’t help myself.

Coincidentally, I remembered I actually needed to shop for some worsted weight yarn.  I maaay have utterly shrunk my Channel Cardigan to the point its unwearable.  Stupid me thought I used a superwash yarn that was safe to go in the washing machine.  I was wearing it every evening and then I went and felted it in the wash.  So I went and bought this as a replacement yarn:


The colors are a bit rubbish here in the photo – but suffice it to say its a mix of dark grey, some reds, purples, and hints of green – in a pretty way.

It’s a bit out of my comfort zone, but I thought I’d give it a try.  Its kinda silly, but I’m now on the hunt for a car-coat style cardigan pattern to pair with this yarn.  Just something huge, comfy, and warm I can wear in layers around my house when it’s cold during the winter.  What’s even more silly is that I kinda just feel like making another Channel Cardigan…

I also purchased this yarn to make into a pair of socks.  It was just so pretty I had to have it.


This one is pretty true to color – its a blend of dark, smokey purple, lilac and greys.  You can tell I had a hankering for purple that day.

Thanks again Maria for inviting me to this sale!  :D

November 23

Remembering Quincy

This is such a hard blog post to write… Felix and I had to put our bunny Quincy down this past Friday.

Quincy Hugging

I think many of you follow me on instagram and have heard this sad news already, but I wanted to share it officially with everyone.

Back in July, I picked Quincy up from our bun sitter’s house on Sunday afternoon.  It was clear something was wrong; Quincy couldn’t sit up without assistance and it looked like he had a stroke or something.  At that point we thought it was the end.

Luckily, it wasn’t.  We were able to get some extra meds for Quincy’s E. Cuniculi which flared up and started taking him to get acupuncture treatments to relieve his arthritis.

Quincy Acupuncture

Acupuncture was the best thing to happen to Quincy.  It helped relive so much discomfort he was having, due to his old age of 12 (at a minimum – he’s adopted so we don’t know officially).

These last five months with him has been ‘bonus’ time.


Quincy started having more bad days than good days.  During the last 2 weeks, Quincy wasn’t able to really sit up on his own or even hop around by himself.

We sadly knew it was time to make the decision.

Phineas and Quincy

I just hate that I had to make the decision to let him go.  As Quincy’s caretaker, I know that it’s my job to make this decision, as it was a quality of life issue.  But I really hate that I had to make the decision, ya know?!  I feel like it’s not mine to make, in the grand scheme of things.

Quincy’s appetite and mind were never lessened by his physical ailments.  He was always happy to have his meals and treats in the evening.  This is also what made it so hard… Besides his arthritis failing him, he was alright.

Quincy Weigh-In

During Quincy’s hard times, I always got closer to him, as he solely relied upon my assistance to sit up, help with eating, and cleaning him up after any accidents.  Phineas didn’t seem quite as attentive as he usually was – so I imagine he knew.

Precariously-Perched Quincy

Quincy was laid to rest in my front yard on Friday morning.  Friday was a sad, sad day.  I spent pretty much all weekend sitting around, dazing off watching movies and doing a bit of knitting.

Quincy and Phineas

My focus is now taking care of Phineas now that his buddy is gone.  They were inseparable.  I don’t think he knew what was going on Friday, but he seems to be slowly aware that Quincy isn’t coming back and is a bit more lethargic than he usually is.  Its just so sad…


Quincy was a great addition to our household and gave us so much joy.  He will be sorely missed.  If you made it to the end, here’s the best, silly video of Quincy for your enjoyment.

Felix wrote a wonderful tribute to Quincy over the weekend and has some great photos and a few videos too if you want to see some more.

So sorry to have to convey this sad news.  A heartfelt *thank you* to all of you who sent me kind thoughts over the weekend (via Instagram) – they were much appreciated.

November 3

Effortless Linen Dress

One of the last projects that I was able to make for my Paris trip is this easy, breezy linen dress.


I bought this navy & white linen at Fancy Tiger Crafts this past spring when I happened to be in Denver for a work conference.  I’ve longed for a rustic, looking linen dress and I bought it with that idea in my head.

Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday (1953) starring Gregory Peck

Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday (1953) starring Gregory Peck

I wanted my dress to feel like something Audrey Hepburn would wear in Roman Holiday – simple, chic, and perfect to wear while having an adventure.

Rodin Museum

The bodice, sleeves, and skirt of my dress all come from different patterns and I created the waistband piece and fit it accordingly.  I call this pattern hacking – but Ms. TaniaSews so cheekily reminded me that its your “design” not a hack job.

The bodice is from a 1960’s dress, skirt is from a 1950’s dress, and the sleeves – I can’t remember.  They’re my to-go-to sleeve that I always leave out as it’s perfect for my armscye; I believe I modified it from a 1940’s blouse pattern though.

The Rodin museum garden turned out to be a great place for sneaking a few photos of my dress.


I probably could have stood to hem my dress a bit shorter… I know I have a propensity to made my hems longer rather than shorter, but I think it’s the effect of my height.  Sometimes when I’m looking in the mirror, the angle is off and it appears that I have more length than I do, resulting in slightly longer hems.  #ShortPeopleProblems

Linen Dress

The skirt is in between a full circle and a half-circle skirt, perfect for swishing along the boulevards of Paris and Bruges.

Linen Dress

I love center, lapped zipper insertions.  I nearly do them on all of the dresses I’m able to because I love them so much.  I stitch the one side down and then pick-stitch the remaining side by hand.

Linen Dress

Now the hem looks fine in these pics – what the hay??  I’m guessing it’s my photographer’s height that is throwing off my own hem angle.  Ahh well…

Linen Dress

As you can see, the linen takes on a different color depending on the lighting conditions.  Sometimes it’s very navy blue and other times it’s more rustic looking.


Rodin Museum

It was perfect to wear on my travels and it has a spot in my regular wardrobe now for work.  It’s a breezy summer dress and now it’s turned into a great transition piece for fall paired with a cardi and brogues.  All in all, it’s a simple dress, but I love it so much.

October 27

Eiffel Tower Dresses

It’s no secret that Meg, Michelle, and I are friends and we meet up for knit nights at a local cafe.  So of course we’re always pondering and dreaming about fabric, patterns and the like.  It was very natural of us to say “Wouldn’t it be amazing to go fabric shopping in Pairs?!” as we drank our evening tea, knitting needles in hand.

I casually mentioned it to Felix that night and he giggled – and said what any good husband says at these moments.  Something along the lines of “Sure, whatever you want.  I can come too, right???”

We met again the following week or two and the conversation started to shift from dreaming about Paris to thinking about how we could pull it off and actually all go together, for real.

Knitting at the Eiffel Tower

In all of our scheming, we found that we all wanted to make a wardrobe staple: the shirt dress.  Michelle had settled on the McCalls 6696 dress pattern and I remembered I had that one in my pinterest pattern faves.  So we just all decided to use the same pattern.

McCalls 6696

This is probably my favorite photo from our shoot.  At the time M&M didn’t realize I wasn’t jumping with them, as they were too busy smiling for the camera.  I am making my classic Liz-grumpy-face, as I am rubbish at jumping anywhere above 3 inches off the ground.

McCalls 6696

I picked my fabric, a stretch cotton sateen, solely because I liked it and it matches the exact same hue of my hair.  I’m pretty certain Meg’s is from her stash as she’s been Konmari-ing her place and Michelle’s is from an Estate sale score.

McCalls 6696

Michelle made her dress first, and warned of how large the collar was, along with the bodice.  So even before I made my muslin I took off 1/2 inch from the bottom of the collar’s edge and shortened the bodice by an inch or so.

McCalls 6696

After making my muslin I reduced the gathers at the center back of the bodice – let’s just say significantly (at least 1″ – most likely more).  It was just way too poofy for my thick cotton sateen – so I converted the gathers to one box pleat.

McCalls 6696 Detail

I also have to admit, this was my very first collar stand.  I’ve always shied away from patterns and blouses calling for a collar stand.  I’m not sure why I was nervous about it, but I just followed the instructions and it came out perfectly.

I didn’t even think about pattern placement when I was doing the bodice – but the white section that is on my right… ahem… bodice is less than ideal.  Perhaps you didn’t notice it before, but I’m sorry, that’s probably all you’re going to notice now that I’ve pointed it out.

McCalls 6696

Friendly dogs in the park; I love that frenchie in the back getting his ear scratch on.

One of the things I did not like about this pattern is that it’s impossible to make changes without ripping out the entire bodice.  The waistband goes all the way around, so you have to unpick the front button band, unpick the waistband, then adjust the side seams and possibly the waistband length.

McCalls 6696


If I make this again, I’m going to have to modify the waistband piece so that I have side seams in it.  My weight fluctuates too much to not have a place to make adjustment dresses.  The only way this works is that the cotton sateen has some stretch in it so it expands and contracts as I ate my daily-Parisian macaron.

Felix & me.

Felix and me


It’s been a while since Felix has been shared on here – but doesn’t he look nice in his new clothes?!  But then again, I’m pretty biased.  Oftentimes, Felix or I am taking pictures of something or one another, but we never seem to get ‘couples’ shots, so it was nice to have our picture taken together.

This is my favorite one with Meg & Josh:

Meg and Josh


And Michelle & Mike:

Mike and Michelle

As I’m getting back in the swing of blogging, I’ll have some more to share with you soon about Paris and what I’ve been up to these past few months.

Felix & me


July 14

A Floral Faux Leather Robson Trench

Oh boy, where do I start???  Back in… I dunno May let’s say, I saw the most fabulous fabric on Emma One Sock, this beautiful faux leather.  It looked like art, like beautiful painting.  I ordered a swatch in an attempt to see what I could make with this fabric, as I haaad to have it.  After discovering it was waterproof, I figured why not a Robson Tench coat?!  Well then it sold out.

I waited at least a month and a half for EOS to get more in stock.  I was a good seamstress and took that time to make up a muslin to ensure I didn’t over-purchase the faux leather (which I did somehow anyways.)  And as soon as it was back in stock I snagged that sucker up as fast as I could.  But don’t worry, I didn’t buy it all as it’s still in stock if anyone else gets inspired.

Floral Faux Leather Robson

I worked my muslin in a cotton twill that I had originally bought to use as my Robson fabric, but I fell out of love for it.  With those fabrics I fall out of love with I’ll either donate, swap, or use them for muslins.  I ran out of the blue twill at on the side panels so I substituted in regular cotton muslin.

Robson Muslin

The fit was fine – a bit shapeless but the tie belt is what creates the shape, imo.  In reading lots of reviews of the Robson Trench pattern, most said to move up the pockets (which I did) so I made sure to mark them on my muslin, although I still think I could have moved them up a tiny bit more.

Floral Faux Leather Robson

I had originally cut an 8 at the shoulder, 10 at the bust, and maybe a 12 at the hip line.  I ended up taking in the princess seams at the front arm area as it was a bit too loose there.  I also ended up reducing the hip area back from the 12 to 10 as it was flaring out just a bit too much for me.

This is still one area I’m not 100% sure on – the lower half in the back.  I know I need room to sit, but I wanted it to be a bit sleeker in the back – it’s a fine balancing act: ease vs. fit.

Floral Faux Leather Robson

Don’t get me wrong, I love the faux floral leather – but I think a whole entire coat out of it would have been a bit much, ya know?!  So I purchased some coordinating black faux leather from EOS to use as contrasting pieces to break up the floral print a bit.

Floral Faux Leather Robson

I found some black vintage buttons from Soutache – my go to place for buttons in Chicago.


She has a wonderful collection of quality buttons along with some vintage finds – so I always make it a point to stop in there first to see what I can find before going to my local Joann’s for buttons.  I really scored big there as she happened to have the same vintage button in both the larger and smaller sizes – perfect for the coat front vs. the smaller arm band buttons.

Floral Faux Leather Robson

Totally lightened up the photo so you could see the button (above).

I want local places like hers to stay in business so if I know I’ll be up on the North side of the city, I take whatever project that warrants buttons over there.  I always rationalize the slightly higher price with better quality & my thought of ‘If I’m spending all this time to make something wonderful I might as well finish it off with killer buttons.’  But I will add – I always shop my stash first.  Okay… I’m done with my button rant.  heh

Lets talk fabric & construction, shall we?!

When I got all my yardage in the mail I was such a happy little camper.  I was draping it on myself, when I was starting to notice just how drapey it really was.

Floral Faux Leather Robson

It drapes as well as any fine linen rayon blend but it was thinner in density, not your usual faux leather.  I suspected this was going to be an issue with the trench so I decided to underline the entire coat.  I paired it with all manner of fabrics, but in the end I decided to interface the entire thing in this medium weight weft, iron-on interfacing.  Don’t ask me why I had enough interfacing for a whole trench coat in charcoal grey – but I did.  So I cut out the whole trench for the second time in the interfacing.

I wish I could say interfacing it was easy – but it was not.  Too much steam and the faux finish got a ‘leather ripple’ look and too little steam meant it didn’t fuse properly – so it was tricky and I had to re-fuse a few sections.

After this, I decided I also needed to fully line my trench.  I cut out the trench for a third time in bemberg rayon in black (yay for stash busting!) and pretty much cut out the same pieces as the outer, except I had to do some clever piecing for the back neck facing & the front facing sections.

Floral Faux Leather Robson_Insides

The most time consuming part of my Robson was really the cutting and fusing of all of these pieces.  Putting it all together was really a breeze.  I found that even if I only had 20-30 minutes of sewing time an evening, I still felt like I had accomplished a great deal since there are all manner of small pieces to put together (belt, epaulettes, storm flaps, etc.)

New tools of the trade for faux leather:

Faux Leather Tools

My face powder & a lighter.  Let me explain…

I used a walking foot throughout my assembly for the faux leather along with a size ’70 microtex’ sewing needle.  The leather portions like to grip on metal surfaces so you can’t simply stitch the faux leather up like you do for normal fabrics.  This means that your normal sewing feet are out.

I didn’t have a teflon sewing foot – but that would work also.  I found that even when I was doing top stitching my walking foot wasn’t cutting it.  One sneaky trick folks like to do is put a dab of vaseline on the seam and it creates a nice slick layer in which to stitch.  Not having any vaseline in the house nor did I want to try that out (ick) – I came up with the next best thing – my face powder.

I’m not sure what it is about my face powder, but it almost feels like it has some silicone in it or something.  It’s very smooth to the touch so I thought, why not try it on my trench.  I tested it in a small spot and it was genius!  It stitched up perfectly without any residue left behind.

Lighter Trick – This trick I learnt in a leather working class I took this past winter.  Basically if you have poly in your thread when you burn it, it shrivels up.  Not wanting to waste all my time pulling threads to the inside of my coat to make knots (plus its hard to do on layers of faux leather), I simply burned the bits down which also made the seam super secure.  Now… I don’t think I need to tell you not to use this on your cottons, linens, silks, etc.  Faux leather & leather only folks as it’s not going to ignite immediately & burn your sewing room down like the other fabrics might.

Floral Faux Leather Robson

Felix and I took these photos over at the University of Chicago campus.  If you’re sneaky you can see I’m wearing my Blue Swirls dress underneath.

Floral Faux Leather Robson

It’s such a lovely campus and I think I’ll be heading over there a lot more this summer to explore as students are thin on the ground during summer break.

Floral Faux Leather Robson

I had to say, I had to wait for a chilly day in order to model this trench coat.  With all of the layers I’ve added as well as being made in a faux leather, this is not the 70 degree-rainy day jacket I’d choose.  It’s more of a 45-50 degree cool day (with or without rain) when I’d choose to wear this out.

Floral Faux Leather Robson

After having made this one, it’s actually got me itching to make a second one in a more light-weight & waterproof fabric for the warmer days.  Perhaps I’ll get around to it next spring…

Floral Faux Leather Robson

This trench is the first item I checked off on my Paris Wardrobe List for this fall.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned it on Instagram, but I’m taking a trip with Felix & a few close friends to Paris in early September.  So of course it means making new, fun clothes and I’m so excited to be traveling again.  Unfortunately, France is having a heat wave and I fear this trench won’t be making the trip with me.  Ahhh well, I’ll have my own fair city to wear this trench in soon enough I’m sure.

Floral Faux Leather Robson

This was a funny moment – I scouted out another photo spot in the midst of taking photos in an already cool spot.  University of Chicago is filled with such cool old buildings (they wouldn’t like me saying it but it reminds me of Hogwarts.)  #Sorrynotsorry

University of Chicago

Most images courtesy of my honey, Felix.  *Thanks*

Floral Faux Leather Robson

Feel free to ask me any faux leather or Robson trench questions in the comments also.  Cheers & happy sewing.

July 9

Blue Swirls Dress

I’m back once again, this time with my first iteration of the McCalls 6713 dress.  Like I said in my earlier post, I’m all about the blues this summer.

Blue Swirls Dress

I kinda posted out of order on this dress as this is the first make of M6713, and is a bit more true to the pattern.

As you can kinda/maybe see, the fit on the bodice is a bit different than in my Painted City version.  In this blue swirls dress, the neckline is the same height.  What’s different is that there is 1/2 inch less fabric in the side seam – which makes it more snug.  I should note that this blue dress is the fit as is dictated by the pattern for my size.

On the Painted City dress I added 1/2 inch to each of the bodice fronts – which means more neckline drape – or a more relaxed fit.  I lengthened the bodice on the Painted City dress by 1/2″ or 3/4″ or so, since I felt like the blue one was a bit high for my true waist.

Painted City Dress

Additionally, the neckline on the blue dress was stitched with clear elastic from shoulder to side seam – I wanted to prevent gaping.  I went a bit overkill on the gape factor and it resulted in a much more fitted & higher neckline than the Painted City version.

Blue Swirls Dress

See no gape.  :)

It’s really small differences between the two dresses, but when I wear them they feel so completely different on.  This blue one is much more structured and modest, whereas my City dress is more relaxed & breezy.

Blue Swirls Dress

Fabric once again comes from Emma One Sock.  I was able to buy this piece as a remnant or roll end – which means discounted prices.  *Woot*  I love that she has clearances & discounts updated on nearly an every day basis.  And no… I am not endorsed by EOS in any way, shape or form.  Although…. I would be happy to swap fabric for creations. *cough cough*

Blue Swirls Dress

Part of the issue with not getting a swatch first in this fabric was that I thought these swirly bits were much, much smaller.  You can imagine, I really had to work hard on my pattern placement of these circle swirls.

Blue Swirls Dress

Couldn’t have them placed over my booty, boobs, or vagee.  As a result I had to cut very carefully and I felt I wasted a bit more fabric than I normally would have.  But it all worked out quite nicely, no?! :D

Blue Swirls Dress

I can’t act – ever!  This is my *nonchalant* look as I pretend to knock on this awesome door.  It’s a side door to a church in the University of Chicago campus – but I don’t think this one is being used for a church.  Not 15 mins later did a gal come out of the door… Really glad I didn’t knock for real.

As I have loads more items to photograph, it’s been quite nice to venture out and explore our new neighborhood some more.  It’s given us quite the opportunity to walk around and check out the campus or a new-to-us park.  We’ve been so holed up, working on our house and yard that we haven’t really explored our own neighborhood as much as we ought to have been this past year.  But we’re getting there.

Next up: Faux leather Robson Trench!  Can’t wait to share it with you guys.  :D

July 7

Painted City Dress

After I learnt that sewing with knits isn’t all that I built it up to be, I couldn’t wait to make more – all the things!!!  I’m still waaay behind on posting up my Renfrews – but instead I decided to  jump forward and share my my newest knit creation, the Painted City dress.

Psst… you can always find what I’m up to via Instagram.

Big City Knit Dress

This pattern is McCalls 6713, a faux wrap dress for knits; I made mine up in view A.


Painted City Dress

This is actually the second version of this dress & I did a few tweaks.  I made the bodice longer by 1/2″, and also raised up the neckline by about 1″ so I wouldn’t have too much gaping.  Everything else is pretty much the same as the pattern.

Big City Dress

Since knits are ohh soo new to me, I didn’t have any knit fabric in my stash or patterns to use.  I’ve been really avoiding them in the past.  And as it turns out, I’ve been picky about adding new patterns to my stash since I have so many along with a very limited storage area with all of the home renovations we’ve been doing.

Big City Dress

I have a new found love of Emma One Sock and all of the rayon/lyrca knits that she has.  I feel like that’s the only place I’ve been doing any fabric shopping in 2015.  Once I spotted this fabric early this spring, I knew I had to have it.

It’s a print of buildings splashed with color, hence ‘Painted City’ dress.  I feel like it’s not my ‘normal’ but I continue to branch out and have fun with my fabric purchases.

Big City Dress

You’re probably going to see many more photos of me in this location.  This is Nichols Park and is located just a few short blocks away from my house.  One of the things I love about Hyde Park is how many parks & nature areas we have, not to mention being so close to the lake.  I’m now a 10-ish minute walk away from Lake Michigan, it’s wonderful.

Big City Dress

That’s all for today.  Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July weekend.  :)

June 19

Front Yard Renovations

I doubt you remember… but my front (& back) front yard was riddled with day lilies.  Riddled.  I got so sick and tired of them that my mom and I went and removed all of them, at least 5 mega lawn bags were filled with just day lilies from my front yard.


Seeing the fresh ground, ie soil, was so wonderful and refreshing.  I loved it so much.


But slowly I got quite aggravated by seeing just dirt (and weeds… So many weeds.)

I went from being annoyed by day lilies to being annoyed by seeing plain old soil.  Our house looked like no one cared about it.  :(  Doesn’t it look kinda shabby?!  The dirt wasn’t as nice and dark looking but got dry and icky like.

Front Yard _ Before

It was time to take action!

I know absolutely nothing about gardening or plant care.  I generally kill most of my indoor plants – due to under-watering or sometimes over-watering.  In all things plants, I turn to my mom who is most handy with them.

My mom’s basement:

Mom's Basement Plants

My mom is a trained chemist and also has a biology minor & zoology major.  She worked at a soil testing facility for several years, so she knows a thing or two about soil & plants.  heh  Not to mention, she grows all of her own plants from seeds (or clippings) and has a dedicated plant room in the basement of her house.  Oh and she also makes her own potting soil that has over 20 ingredients every spring along with a herbicide that is nontoxic and safe to put on edible plants.  So yeah…. my mom is plant crazy.

My mom was only too happy to help to put together a plan for my front yard.  And by “help” I mean she did all of the initial planning work and I just told her what plants I liked or didn’t like.

My mom put together a plan of my front yard – including the plant types as well as the layout.


After debating, we decided to ditch the ‘grass’ in the front yard – thinking it would turn into a space people to let their dog’s ‘relieve’ themselves – I live in the city after all.

My mom knows how little I know of such planty things, so she picked out perennials that don’t require a lot of maintenance, plus they work well in my part-shade front yard.  She put together a perennial shade garden of sorts.

Last fall my mom and I went plant shopping.  We hit up 3 plant nurseries in the burbs and got nearly everything we wanted.  I only know of my favorite flowers/plants so I made sure to add them to the shopping list for the front, given that they would be happy living in part shade: Hydrangea, ornamental Japanese maple tree, & moss.  All the other plants were my mom’s doing: Painted Ferns, lots of Hostas, Astilbe, Bleeding Heart, Evergreen, decorative cabbage, mums and so much more I forgot.

Plant Shopping Plant Shopping

My mom took care of my plants during the week while Bob installed a spigot for watering in the front.  And come the following weekend, we got to work planting & beautifying my the front yard.

Assorted Plants

As I unloaded the truck full of plants & mulch, my mom went around and dug up the plants that needed to be moved.

First thing we did was place all of the plants in roughly the place they were to be planted, to see how it all would look.

Front Yard Layout

After we had things laid out, we just got to planting.


I felt like such a dunce in this.  Planting a plant is like the most basic thing, but I had to be shown how.  And it took me a few plants to get it just right.  In my defense, the base of the plant was not supposed to be flush with the ground, but up a bit.  We were laying a layer of mulch on top of everything, so we needed to account for that extra space – hence keeping the plants a bit higher, above the ground level.

My mom brought over two things to add to the soil as we planted: bone meal & cow manure.

I grossed out at the fact I’d have to touch manure, but really it was all cleaned and not smelly or mushy at all.  It just felt like compacted soil really, so I got over it quickly.  The manure was to put back nutrients in the soil and the bone meal is a fertilizer – ie adds nitrogen to the soil.  The bone meal is mainly for the bulbs (Tulips & Hyacinths) we planted which will come up every spring.


My mom planned on having a *feature* in the front yard – like a large planter or yard decoration of some sort along with a fancy stone pathway.  Not having either of these things purchased, we improvised.  I had a small bird bath in the backyard that wasn’t really being used so that became the feature.  And in all of my gardening (ripping up the day lilies in the front and back) I’d unearthed a lot of old bricks; this became our pathway.


I watch first, mainly to learn & figure out what’s happening… then I help out.

yardTransformBeforeAfter_15 yardTransformBeforeAfter_16


We broke for a late lunch & I was literally pulling my mom away because she didn’t want to stop working. heh  When we came back out, we planted up the remaining plants (filling in gaps and whatnot).


Plant layout

Then it was time for the mulch.

Black Forest Mulch

I’ve never cared for mulch, but boy… when it went down it just made everything look so pretty and professional looking, it really cleaned everything up.


We leveled the birdbath, set up a piece of sculpture (ie old building facade) in the corner, and mom found a piece of granite stone that I’d tossed outside from my basement (long story…) and put that in the garden too since she though we were missing a cool rock.


Front Yard _ Before


Front Yard After



Doesn’t it look so much better?!

After (early this Spring):


After (taken just today):


It just rained so there’s some particles on the mulch.  But we’ve had a really rainy spring/early summer here in Chicago – so you can see how much my plants are loving it & thriving.

Besides the plants filling in, I feel like my japanese maple tree grew by at least 6″ so far.  It looks so much taller than it was in the fall.


Over the winter, I lost 2-3 plants which was sad, but I’ve already filled in the empty space with new ones that my mom gave me.


I can’t even tell you how happy I am with my new front yard.  It looks so nice, I think it even makes the house look nicer.  My mom and I shared a nice moment enjoying all of our efforts and how pretty it became – It was so lovely having this all transformed in just one day.  And I have to say, all of my plants look pretty happy too.  :D


I’ve had to go outside and water nearly every day to keep the plants from going into shock & so they can winterize themselves (since I planted all this in the fall). I find it a major snooze to water… but I guess it’s a small price to pay for the pretty space it’s become.

As an update: I haven’t watered at all in 2015!  This yard is low maintenance!  I’ll have to water when it gets hot in the summer, but that’s about it.  No pruning, no trimming – everything is fine as is.

On the plus side, every time I’ve watered, I generally see people stopping to admire or chat with me to tell me how nice it looks.  I still don’t feel like I can take all of the credit since my mom was the architect of the yard, but I did do half of the manual labor and paid for it all.  :D

I’ve met a fair amount of my neighbors already, but since the yard is done, suffice it to say I’ve met loads more.  Felix has apparently gotten a lot of nice complements on it too.  :)

Upcoming work is the back yard!  That is even crazier & more overgrown than the front yard was, if you can imagine…

June 18

A Blue Floral Hollyburn

This is my first time sewing up Sewaholic’s Hollyburn Skirt & I’m in love.

Floral Hollyburn

Oh, how I love this skirt!

Top: Violet blouse, previously blogged here
Shoes: Me Too (Nordstroms)
Bracelet: FitBit
Hair: Oh so freshly dyed pink.  Don’t worry – It’ll fade after the first wash, cause even this is too pink for me.

I raved about this skirt pattern to Ms. Tasia herself when it was released, but sadly I hadn’t actually made it until now.  I wish it didn’t take me so long, as I could have had this beauty in my wardrobe for over a year now.  Never fear, I’ll make up for lost time.  heh

Floral Hollyburn

I found this linen/rayon blend fabric at my local Vogue Fabrics late last summer.  I only bought enough for the hollyburn skirt, but how I wish I had more.  It’s wonderful fabric; it’s drapey, lovely and perfect for spring/summer weather.

Complete Aside:

I generally purchase fabric for a specific project so I don’t overbuy.  I had always figured, it would be silly to make multiple garments in the same fabric like a skirt + dress or a dress + top.  But with this, I’m wishing I had more for a second (& third) garment…. what are your thoughts on this??

Back to Hollyburn…

Pattern adjustments – none!  That is if you don’t count my hem shortening, since I’m such a shortie.

Floral Hollyburn

I whipped this skirt up in short order and didn’t do anything fancy with the construction.  I inserted a center seam lapped zipper – since I love them so.

Floral Hollyburn Zipper

I serged the inside edges, and hand stitched down the inner waistband & hem like I always do.  And these tab fronts allowed me to use 2 stray vintage buttons I had in my stash.  What else would I do with just two buttons??

Floral Hollyburn Detail

I could have upgraded the construction by stabilizing my zip with organza, I could have added a lining, and I could have made the waistband fit a tiny bit smoother by separating the 1 piece waistband into a 3 piece waistband.  But…. I didn’t.  I wanted to finish this puppy up so I could wear it asap.

I did sew it up remarkably fast… but then I didn’t get it hemmed in time before the chilly fall weather – yes of 2014.  I didn’t get the hem finished in time to wear it at all last year – so why bother hemming it?

Just a few weeks ago, I picked this skirt up again to finish the hem since I HAD to wear it.  It’s lame that I didn’t get to wear it last year when I made it – but it was my own fault anyways, ya know?!  heh

Floral Hollyburn

But here we are, with a finished Hollyburn – on the blog.  And I’m now happily wearing my pretty blue skirt. This skirt has made me realize that I have a big gap in my wardrobe of royal blues and greens for the summer.  I have winter greens & blues but no summer green & blues.  My color preference is always very seasonal, I’ve come to find.  But this year, I’m all about the blues (you’ll see what I mean in the next few posts).

Floral Hollyburn

So… yay for Hollyburn.  I’m a bit late to the game but at least I showed up, yea?  At least now I know why everyone loves this pattern so much & makes multiples of it.

Cheers & happy sewing.

April 8

A Wool Knit Renfrew & Zinnia

Well, I’m back once again with some projects I took photos of pre-pink hair; this time it’s my 2nd Renfrew top and 1st Zinnia Skirt.

Before I get chatting about my outfit – Thank you all ohh so much with your “welcome back” notes and kind wishes about my step-dad.  I’m getting back in the swing of things and will be commenting back soon to you, as I’m able to.

Renfrew and Zinnia

This is my new, dusty purple, wool knit Renfrew.  This is my second renfrew  top; I only slightly modified it from my navy renfrew by increasing the shoulder height by 1/4″ of an inch on both the front and back – to allow for a bit more room for the umm… girls.  This also meant I had to lengthen the cap of the sleeve to match the longer armscye.

Looks much better when I pull it down where it’s supposed to sit, yea?!

Renfrew and Zinnia

I tucked in my shirt all wonky & attempted to fix it but failed.  heh  I promise the shirt isn’t normally all twisty like.  :D

Renfrew and Zinnia

I am soo in love with this wool knit fabric.  It’s so soft to the touch and I got it for a steal.  I think it’s a wool jersey – much ligher weight than my navy renfrew was (which was a thicker, cotton jersey)

I bought this wool knit fabric from my local fabric store at least 2 years ago (maybe 3).  I bought it waaaay before I even knew how to sew with knit fabrics.  I knew that one day I would sew with them and I’d love to have it in my stash to use when that time came.  It was a bargain (for wool knit) and I loved the color.

Lo and behold, when I went to make this top up I found several moth holes right down the center of the fabric!!!  Sometime in my last apartment moths found one of my favorite fabrics and ate it.  :(  Waaahhhh!!!

I laid out my Renfrew pattern pieces just so, to avoid all of the moth holes.  I think there is one little spot on the cowl where there is a hole but it’s hard to find/see.  I had enough yardage for the Renfrew + some more, but ended up using the whole length just to avoid all of the holes.

I’m really happy I was able to still use this fabric at all and turn it into one of my favorite fall/winter tops.  I was pretty estatic when I finished cutting it since I’d made it around all of the holes.


On to the Zinnia skirt…

I’m so glad I got photos of this Zinnia skirt before I went and shrunk it in the wash over Christmas break.  Can you believe it?!

It was a stupid thing to do – attempting to wash wool crepe with cold water in the washing machine.  I should have known better but I did think it would have been alright in the cold water… Guess not.  Learn from my mistake folks!

I love the Zinnia skirt pattern!  This black skirt was a staple in my closet (until I went and shrunk it).  It worked with everything…

Renfrew and Zinnia

You’ve actually seen this skirt here, but I forgot to talk about it in that post.

I don’t remember the size I cut, but I remember I cut a straight size across the board, despite my hippy hips.  I added the little belt loops to the waistband, but rarely use them.  This skirt was a great opportunity to use that one fab button in your stash – as it calls for a button at the center back waistband.

Renfrew and Zinnia

Same picture below but I lightened it up a ton so you can see the tucks better, I hope you can… black is so hard to photograph.

Renfrew and Zinnia

Look how long my hair was, and this is when it’s curled?!  Sorry I digress…

All of the tucks were uber time consuming to make, but they’re worth it.  I’ve paired this skirt with some vintage sweaters for a modern 40’s vibe and also with my modern tops – this skirt just works for me and in so many situations.

As a result of the shrinking fiasco, I went hunting for more black wool crepe at my local store but didn’t find any!  Can you believe it?!  Anyhow I found some dark grey wool that’s more drapey and worked on a second version (to be blogged about soon).  It’s not as versatile as the black Zinnia was, but it’s a good basic to have also.  In the meantime, I’ll have to keep a lookout for some more black fabric.

Renfrew and Zinnia

Big shout out to my mom who found me these nearly-matching purple tights!  *thanks mom*

Happy sewing & knitting – I’ll be back soon to show you one of my new knit projects…. soo much to catch up with still, it’s crazy!