Minecrafting

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Are your kids obsessed with Minecraft?

lemons are for lickingMine are !

So naturally when thinking of summer projects for them I wanted to theme everything around those blocky characters. I had a total blast doing it too. I used appliques and some painting on this project. I love the look of appliques so will give you a lot of tips in this post.

lemons are for licking

I used the Clean Slate Pants pattern from Blank Slate, size 6 in width and 8 in length, as K is tall and slim.  I’ve used this pattern before and it has become a go-to for me with kid pants. It you haven’t ever used one of Melly’s patterns and are on the fence, jump off and grab one. Her instructions are great! I have reached new skills as a sewer by using them. And this is my first time doing a FLY !!! Her step by step instructions and photos made it easy !

lemons are for licking

my first working zip fly yay!

The fabrics are all from the stash, and so old I can’t remember where from (yay me getting through the stash.) The blue cord has been used before on capries for E, and the accent material was originally bought to make scrubs (never happened) but doesn’t it have the best little block pattern for minecraft themed projects :)

The inspiration for the pants came from a google search of minecraft images, I knew I wanted to applique but wasn’t sure what might work for my oldest K. He is getting a bit more particular in his tastes. Then I  found this little gem and it all took off . I loved the idea of him peeking through.

lemons are for licking

The creation of the applique took a few steps. First was creating the Creeper, I masked off a checker type grid with some tape and randomly painted the squares. Once the first pass was dry, I did a second sloppy grid so the that it wasn’t a checkerboard pattern but really random looking like in the game. I used the 2 shades of green and the white mixing them together for more randomness. Yes I did get totally OCD on the Creeper lol.

lemons are for licking

 Making the cut out was easier than you would think. Everything is so square it was just a matter of measuring out a grid pattern and cutting strait. I mapped it out on paper then simply used the template as a guide to cut the pants. If you do something like this I highly recommend double checking your design as you go. Make sure that its looking the way you want, because we all know you can’t uncut something.lemons are for lickingmccreep3

Now lets take a minute to talk about applique, it’s a great quick way to make a garment totally custom. The key to it looking awesome is nice neat straight lines and no warping or shifting of the cloth as you sew it on.  The tricky part is that if you have a major error your mucked up a mostly finished piece. So here are my tips…

  • try to match fabric as best you can in weight and type – this is not always possible but if you can it makes thing easier
  • woven non stretch fabric is way easier than knits, you can still use knits and I do lots, just go slow and easy
  • speedy sewing will warp a knit applique
  • base/sew your applique in place in stead of pinning, you can either rip out the stitches after or zig-zag right over them
  • OR use an iron on adhesive to hold your applique in place – great choice for thin rolly knits
  • on your corners don’t do a traditional needle in fabric turn, take your needle right up and manually line up your fabric to get a crisp corner

lemons are for licking

ssssssssssssssssss

 

So for my creeper I based him in place, the green knit was quite heavy so slow and steady = no major warping. I also sewed all the way around my brick cut out. The two woven probably could have been done without any shifting or weirdness but why take the chance. I also have to show you all how close I came to running out of thread while working around the cut out.

Lemons are for licking

eeeks look at that thread !

At the request of K a Enderman was added as a back pocket. I happen to also have purple cord scraps around to use for the eyes. You can see here the quick zig-zag used to hold the eyes in place. The pocket is actually attached like the appliques, because the black material is a really heavy knit sweatshirt material so ironing and folding the corners in would’ve created way too much bulk.

lemons are for licking

When you put it all together it looks like this.

lemons are for licking

With a Creeper creeping around in front … and an Enderman on the back

lemons are for licking

Some functional side pockets and a happy small man who will pause his video game for a quick a photo shoot !

lemons are for licking

First batch of Soap at Home

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Now if you’ve been reading along for any amount of time, you probably know that I share my follies right along side with my victories.   And as much as I am excited about becoming a soap-a-teer (yep I just made that up) it does not make me good at it ;-) This first batch was definitely a learning experience. It all seemed straight forward when I had Rene from Karma Suds at my side giving me step by step instructions. However on my own was a bit trickier

Now I had bought myself cute scale, and had all my new soap making ingredients set up, (if you want more information about how it all works click here) Spent a few days thinking about my recipe and what I was going to make. I decided on a coconut and olive oil based soap, with green swirls of  olive leaf extract and blue swirls of organic colour. I chose the essential oils of neroli and jasmine – I know fabulous right ?!

making soap with lemons are for licking

Now one of the great things about customizing your own soap recipe is you get to add little extras, like shea butter or an exfoliant. For this batch I chose avocado oil, it’s so great for the skin and we are heading into those hot days of the beach where we might like a bit of vitamin A  n’ E and more moisture. Great idea but also part of where I had my learning moment.

making soap with lemons are for licking

When taking the soap to “trace” I got a bit over excited and I think I added my avocado oil a bit too soon, my lovely soap stopped thickening. And was loosing heat instead of building heat in the reaction that takes place when you make soap – saponification

In a panic I reheated the batch on the stove. I was really worried that I had messed it up beyond repair and would have to start all over :(

Bringing it back up to temperature did kick-start the magic again. I got it in my mold cleaned up and went to bed.

The next day when I removed my pretty cake of soap from the mold, it was so lovely to behold….But it was kinda soft and oily looking and well just not quite right.

making soap with lemons are for licking

beautiful to look at but odd and oily

After a few e-mails to my teacher and checking of my recipe, it was concluded that I over oiled (or under lyed) my soap. Its pretty  likely that I went wrong with the math of my lye solution, or by adding my avocado oil too early I  threw off the balance of the reaction.

making soap with lemons are for licking

can you see the odd texture?

 The good news is that it will be usable but soft and possibly mushy if left in the kids bath. It takes about 6 weeks to cure all the way so I will soon know how usable this batch is.

making soap with lemons are for licking

extreme close -up

Its all about the journey here in my lemony home, I’ve started thinking of the next batch already.

P.S.

  It took me a few weeks to get this out, and you know what? My weird soft soap is usable ! I think it would melt away quite fast if left in the shower, but its great for in the kitchen where I wash my hands like a zillion times a day.

 

 

 

The Over Grown Shrubs

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Spring sprung early here in the north-west, and after months of cloud cover and rain it is just so great to get out into the sunshine. There has been lots of work to do in our yard, when we bought  our Little House of Lemons a year and a half ago (wow time flies) the front beds were all overgrown, and the back yard had just a few neglected beds.

garden house

The only photo I could find of the front beds is from the listing. Can you believe that there are 11 shrubs in there ?!

gardenThis one is more recent but is is post mega prune.

This Spring I have almost finished tidying up that fount bed.  Those plants were all wild and growing into each other when we moved in. I have been learning about the shrubs and doing my best to not ‘shock’ them as I prune them back. I’ve been doing it in phases, the rhododendrons were last spring.

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This spring I tackled the azaleas. They were higher than the boxwoods, I did what is called a re-juvination pruning. its a severe cutting back. Since the shrubs are  mature they should come back in a nice ball shape. It looks bare now but I have hope. I’ll give you all an update on them over summser.

More Things not Sewing

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Some of the time I have been away from my sewing table this spring has been in the garden. In the back this year we just put in a raised bed for me to garden in. !! I’ve wanted one since we moved it, I enjoy gardening, but had been really limited as to what I could grow when we were living in our townhouse. It took me some time to pick a spot in the new yard, its in the north-west corner, but since our home faces east that is the sunniest spot in the yard.

garden2We had to pull out a rhododendron (it found a nice new home with a friend.)

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The plan is to build a second raised bed right beside it and leave that little blue berry bush where it is.

It was a bit of a job but a lot of fun. There were power tools and long distance phone calls to my carpenter step-dad.

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Its basically a box of cedar planks. I learned a carpenter short cut, you hammer together the basic box first, level it, and then securing it all with screws to the stakes that support it. Takes the removes the chance of errors in where your stakes are planted. It is then much easier to add the second boards.

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The boys pitched in with their rock removal and leveling skills, thanks little men!

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The only nutty part was that since I work shift work, and needed some dirt hauling help from Mr. Lemons, the weekend we had off together was a rainy one.

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He is a good sport and went along with my excited madness. So there we were slogging threw the muck hauling tubs of rich soil. It was worth the drizzle and the messy jeans cuz on the monday I could plant :)

garden5

And now for Something Completely Different

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Ok here we go on a bit of a tangent…

I’ve gotten all inspired this past winter, to make home-made soap. I had bought great bar of all natural hand crafted soap from a table at a fair.

I loved it ! !!

It was beautiful and smelled great, made my skin feel so soft. Next when we were on a family vacation in Tofino I picked up a sample pack of naturally crafted body lotion, bath gels and well a whole lot o’ stuff.  Now I’m hooked on artisan soaps !!

See I have sensitive skin, I get contact dermatitis from some dish soaps, laundry detergent, fragrances in lotions, make-up…the list goes on and on. So does my daughter and the boys most likely do too, they just have never been overly exposed to anything that isn’t formulated for sensitive skin. The crafted soaps are amazing for my skin. I went all summer with out an eczema outbreak ( I know kinda gross but a major yay for me all the same) So of course me being me I wanted to find out if I could make some too. And you know what?  turns out the amazing lady from Karma Suds (who I bought that first great bar from) teaches soap making ! she runs a whole on-line soap making school. But for us lucky peeps in the GRVD she offers classes in her studio!

So you guessed it, I took her class. And now I am obsessed!

Now I wasn’t thinking that this would become something that I would blog, so I don’t have good photos of that first cake of soap being cut or anything (I know how silly of me) I cut the bars small to share with my friends and family.

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What I really loved about her class is how Rene taught us about special additives and creating swirls and artifing the soap. The end result is so lovely. This is what has caught my fancy too, making these beautiful looking cakes where the swirling colours are full of anti-oxidents or skin purifying agents. Everything is lovely and beneficial to your skin at the same time.

soap2

This one bar was made thinking of my daughter, each additive promotes clear skin and reduces redness.  And the fragrance used was lavender, lime with a hint of bergamot.

Since then I have made a second cake of soap all by myself at home. There will be another post soon about that.

New Adventures in Not Sewing

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My little BLOG here started as a place to document my adventures in sewing. To add to a community that has kept me company during my days home with my lovely (but at the time not so great at conversation) little boys. I have grown so much as a sewing momma mainly due to the great inspiration of the online sewing community. Being able to challenge myself, share it, sew along and watch others do the same. Are you feeling the love in this post yet ?!

As of late I am finding that my hyperactivness craftyness has been shifting away from sewing, towards new interests, things I may not have tried if I hadn’t been documenting my sewing here in this little space, where I can see it progress. So I have decided to widen the focus here to include some of the other ways I am keeping my crafty hands busy. There will still be sewing cuz I just love it. And there is a tone of fabric in my stash needing to be transformed in to stuff lol

So stay tuned for some new stuff that I’m all inspired about that isn’t sewing :)

Spring Break Lemony Goodness

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Ok so the actual fun time was over spring break ( 2 weeks ago ) and I’m putting the post together just now. And there is even a long back story to this one too……

Last summer I was out with E on an adventure to get a few bedding out plants and he spied a Lemon Tree !! His need for the tree was so cute and sweet I was powerless. It came home with us.

who could resist that face?

who could resist that face?

You see my boys like lemons, that’s where the name for my blog came from. K is on a personal mission to find the lickiest lemon in the world. I love watching his cute face sour up when he licks lemons. So of coarse we needed that lemon tree to grow bright yellow goodness in our own yard!

What we didn’t know is lemons take a long time to grow and ripen in out northwestern climate.We moved our tree indoors in the fall hoping it would stay alive. The boys were convinced for a long time that I bought the wrong tree “I think its limes mom.” they would sadly tell me ready to give up on the dream.

Then this spring finally they were ready to pick!!!!

So we made Lemonade !!

lemontree2

Our little lemons were “really juicy” I was quite surprised it only took about 5 little bitty lemons to get enough juice for a batch of lemonade.

I noticed on the close ups thier hands look like big kid hands *sigh*

I noticed on the close ups thier hands look like big kid hands *sigh*

1/2 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed by excited children

1/2 cup simple syrup (1 part sugar 1 part water boil dissolve sugar and cool)

2-3 cups of cold water

chill and enjoy !

lemontree3

 

Bunnies Made by Boys

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I was cleaning out some photo files on my PC and came across this project that never got blogged. One bored day last summer the boys and I made some stuffed bunnies out of old socks. They were feeling bored I was feeling crafty …. drum roll please….

Bunnies !!

We took old socks, drew out some ears (I do believe I used a you tube tutorial to show the kids the idea of it but 6 mths later have no idea who to credit) I did the ear part for them on the machine.

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It was really cute watching them choose what sock would make the best bunnie for them. E chose a really fuzzy sock, it ended up being really stretchy too. K liked the maple leaf sock, he had learned all about our flag in kindergarten.

stuff stuffing

stuff stuffing

They had a good time and stuffed more stuffing then I ever thought possible into the socks.

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Such busy little hands :)

The boys enjoyed making the choices of what buttons for eyes, and how big to make the arms and where to place them.

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They liked watching the bunnies come to life with they work of their  own hands. They did most of the sewing up at the bottom, I hardly had to help.

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looking like a bunnie now

After we were done the boys made homes for them out of shoe boxes. The bunnies still live in them, and E puts treasures that he finds in with his bunnie.

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Little Black Shirt

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I seem to have this on again off again flow to my sewing in the last while, and right now its on again. I have been puttering away at a few new shirts for myself. This one is another self drafted T-shirt, its a copy of a favorite of my wardrobe that is really looking worse for the wear.

the original

the original

new lil' black shirt

new lil’ black shirt

 

The material is made from a yummy knit I found in a remnant bin., It feels like a bamboo or cotton with spandex blend, or something oober soft and has a tun of stretch. I tell ya the Sundrop Studio in my town had got the best stuff in the discount bin, a lot of the fabrics are from really wide bolts too so there is a lot to work with.

The design is really basic a T-shirt with a cap sleeve and a bit of flair in the neckline. What I loved about the mother shirt is the neckline and colours. I tried to copy the cute neckline but it didn’t turn out :( so instead I tacked it up and made a keyhole neck line. The result is cute but not planned. I guess we call those things ‘happy acidents.’ And its part of my sewing adventure these things that go a bit wonky.

There is nothing to do about coping the colours though, black material was calling from the fabric stash, so its a black shirt lol. It needed a little something to add a bit of interest, enter contrasting thread.  I sort of have this thing with contrasting threads and the funny stitches all our machines have that no one uses. Using green thread I over stitched the shoulder seams. And then another stitch for the sleeve and hem.

blshirt

oooo contrast thread

 

As always since I’m long I added length so that the shirt hits where I like it, however I had a not so happy accident along the hemline. Serging the hem was a mess, the stretch of the fabric (i think?) made the stitching go all wonky, the tension was all wrong so the over-loops were all loose, I realigned the fabric and tried again…the result was no better. I mussed with it got frustrated, well when I looked at it it was all crooked and worse I had eaten up the nice long waistline. See I wanted this a little touch of contrasting thread in the hemline with the serger, and instead I ended up with a shirt that is few inches shorter than I like. In the attempt to salvage the shirt, I did a basic fold over hem, it is not strait at all, and really quite sad. Instead of a contrasting serged edge it is over stitched like the sleeve hem, and it looks fine done like that. Wished I had stopped my war with the serger sooner…sigh…then the hem would at least be strait.

the wiggly hem..at leadt it has cute green over-stitching

the wiggly hem..at leadt it has cute green over-stitching

So here is to honest sewing and learning as we go. I’ll still wear my imperfect creation, the hem can be camouflaged, the neckline is cute.

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New Shirts

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As Rainy January slipped in to rainy February I found a few days to sit and sew. I was able to finish 2 projects for myself, both of them are great every day shirts. It seems like a small feat but its has been tricky lately to carve out the time to sew. When I make the time for my crafty side it pays off on many levels, I’m more relaxed and can take things in stride a bit better and I have new stuff !

This was a new attempt for me, a reglan T that is my size. I have done the reglan thing with a super style hoodie for my boy, (check it out here) but never for me. I don’t even have one to copy :P what is a girl to do ? Well search blogs of course. I found a free one size reglan style T-shirt over at Dixie DIY (check it out here.) I have sewn one of her patterns before (click again … lots of clicking today) the perfect concert T and liked her easy to follow straight forward design.

sooper silly selfie, with an effect on the phone

sooper silly selfie, with an effect on the phone

The free pattern was not going to fit me, and was not really the fit I had in mind, so I frankenstiened up a pattern mix of Dixie DIY’s free pattern and a self drafted pattern I made up last year and loved (once more… you can see it here.) Starting with her original free reglan shirt, I placed my self draft pattern over top matching the armpits, I adjusted the length and shape of the pattern. Then I made adjustments for my smaller bust line and narrow build. I cut the pattern in half down the middle of the shoulder seam and overlapped it to take out about an inch. This step translates into about 2 inches since it comes off each side. Now that I’m trying to post and explain this I wish I had thought to take some quick snapshots. I was really worried that this step would muck up the way that the sleeves fit, but in the end it was ok.

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You can see here that there is a bit of an odd thing going on at this in between stage with out the neckline.The sleeves are higher and odd, I just trimmed it off rounding it all out. In hindsight I should’ve taken a wee bit out of the middle on the ‘fold’ say about a half-inch to help the neckline, it’s a bit too wide n’ scoopy. The oversight was easily camouflaged with a wide neckband.

bunchy armpit fit

bunchy armpit fit

And there is a weird fit thing going on in the armpits…its like the arm hole is a bit too long? So most of the photos the shirt wrinkles up in the chest all weird (the best shot was the bad effect selfie, my photgrapher today is only 3’8″) Again I put it up to the adjusting, next time I will possibly make the armpit shorter. With a few more tweaks I’ll have a good reglan pattern :) it is a great style to quickly whip up.

The other mistake is that I underestimated the length of my arms, the arms were too short. There was a moment of panic when I thought it would have to be a 3/4 length sleeve, not my favorite, instead I added longer cuffs. Looks alright almost like it was planned that way.  In the name of quick sewing I didn’t finish the bottom hem, here is a good shot of the long cuffs and raw serged hem.

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I think it is important to include all these imperfections, we put way to much pressure on ourselves. This shirt is not perfect, I already love how comfy it is. It has animal print and it fits long enough on my lanky frame, I know i will wear it imperfections and all. Its mostly why I don’t often finish the hem on jersey knit shirts…I can’t wait 10 more minutes to have them done!

see no one can tell its not perfect :)

see no one can tell its not perfect :)