Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Ruffle T-Shirt Craze Continues . . .

I am hooked on and have fallen head-over-heels for these ruffled t-shirts! Am I crazy? I definitely have the ruffle bug!

I am also excited to say that I have been given a feedback e-mail on the tutorial I did for the Ruffled Toddler Dress from an Upcycled T-Shirt, AND it included a photo of the reader's finished dress!

Oh, and if you noticed the "Vintage Pollyanna" name on the photo collage, it is a blog I am creating that showcases a love for all things vintage, lovingly named after my Mom's antique store.

Stay tuned,

More later, gotta run and sew!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ruffled T-Shirt #2

I went over to my friend Flannery's house last night to sew with her--we decided to try out this tutorial from Tea Rose Home. She chose a white tee and I chose lavender.

Sewing with a friend is so much fun! It was great to work together--she is a more experienced sewer than I am, so I feel like I learned a lot. Her shirt isn't quite done yet, but when it is I will be sure to have her post some photos so that I can share them with you!

This one was a bit harder than the first ruffled t-shirt I did, but I am really happy with how it turned out!

My friend Erica has asked for one of my ruffle tees and I think this one would be great on her!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Spirograph--Something Old is New Again

Chris had mentioned to me last year that he wished he still had his old Spirograph kit from when he was a boy. I did some searching on Ebay and found one, with all of the discs and the original pens. He pulled it out a few days ago to show to James and needless to say, the boy loved it!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ruffled Toddler Dress Tutorial from Upcycled Tee Shirt

Hold your horses folks--I am about to present you with my VERY FIRST sewing tutorial! I have been absolutely crazed with the ruffle shirt tutorials over at Tea Rose Home, (see my recent attempt here) and so I started poking around looking for a toddler dress tutorial which I found at Happy Together. My dress is a combination of both.

For those of you that know me, you know I am NOT great with a sewing machine. I am NOT organized, I am NOT patient, I do NOT use patterns,--basically the way I sew is haphazard, frenzied with excitement and usually with James or Ella (or both) running around. So, my point is that if I can do this, YOU CAN DO THIS!

Start with a tee shirt. I went through my closet this morning and found an old, OLD long-sleeved tee from Old Navy that I used to wear when I was pregnant with James.

I'm not sure why I still have it, as it has a HUGE grease stain on it, but I am sure glad that I hung on to it!

As is instructed by the tutorial over at Happy Together, I found a dress that Ella currently is wearing that I really like the cut of. I folded the tee shirt in half vertically, and then did the same with the dress, which I placed on top of the tee shirt and then cut around it with scissor. See? NO PATTERN!

Then I cut up the side seams on the tee shirt and placed right sides together, pinning them so that I could stitch up the sides (leaving the armholes open) and across the shoulders.

After I finished stitching the two sides together I turned it inside out. Don;t worry about stitching the hem, as you will be covering it with a ruffle. Notice in later photos that when I cut the shape of the dress out, I centered what will be the dress' neckline over the v-neck of the tee. That way there is a more finished look on the dress. Not necessary, but so helpful for someone like me.

Next I cut open the arms of the tee shirt.

I trimmed them with my rotary cutter into a rough rectangle (notice I say "rough" there is blissfully nothing exact about this pattern.) Then I cut two pieces about three inches wide and one piece about 2" wide. I did the same on the other arm.

Now for the ruffle. sew all four of your two-inch pieces together, to form a nice long strip. Next, change your machine settings so that you are using a wide straight stitch. (If this ruffle part makes no sense, I will not be offended if you need to jump over here or over here for a better explanation of how to do it.)

Sew down the middle of your strip. DO NOT BACK STITCH at the beginning and the end.

When you are done, take one end and gently pull the bobbin thread (this is when it is handy to use two different thread colors) or else just try each thread until you find out that when you pull it you make a ruffle.

THIS is the step that is time consuming, almost frustrating, as it can take some time to get the ruffle to look just right.

VOILA! Ruffle!

Next pin the ruffle around the bottom edge of the dress. Tee shirt material can be a little wonky, so make sure that you aren't pulling or stretching either the dress or the ruffle as you go along.

Next, sew RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE of the ruffle, all the way around. Some people do this step, but not me, as I said, I am a haphazard, let be what will be, it may all come out in the wash (fingers crossed that it doesn't) kind of seamstress.

Now make a ruffle out of each of the 1 1/2" pieces for each armhole. Pin them around (start and end at the armpit) and sew again.

Ta-DAAAH!!! I was so excited at this point that I was jumping around the room, shoving the dress at Ella and James and yelling "LOOK WHAT MOMMY MADE!!!"

You could be done at this point, but I was going ALL OUT and felt like I was on top of the sewing world, so I got a little crazy and wanted to add an embellishment. I had made one of the flowers in the Tea Rose Home tutorial and it just about did me in, so I went for what I thought might be an easier approach--the rose in the Happy Together tutorial.

I sacrificed an old tee shirt of James' that is too small for him.

From the back I cut a large oval-ish piece and then began to cut a 1/4" (sort of) piece from all the way around it.

Next I pinned it to the shirt and started winding around it loosely.

Next I stitched it in my typical lackadaisical fashion. Not great, but that is why I like the shabby part of shabby chic. (Wink, wink).

I added a vintage purple button to the center of the rose and that was it! (For the life of me I can't get this photo oriented vertically, so just bend your head to the right and you'll see the dress properly.) HA HA.

My Ella in her brandy-new upcycled tee-shirt dress!! (Seriously, I could stitch some paper bags together, throw them on her and she would look great.) Who can even look at what she is wearing when her smile is co crazy-cute??!!

I hope you try my tutorial! And if you make this dress, please leave me a comment and let me know how it turned out!

I am linked up over at Tea Rose Home for Link Party 17! Go see what everyone is posting! Fun stuff!

Oh, and stay tuned . . . I am in the midst of a new blog project combining all of my favorite loves--cooking, baking, homemaking, crafting and collecting--and all with a vintage twist!



Friday, July 16, 2010

Meet A Few of our Feathered Friends

Chris and I are amateur birdwatchers, and we have quite the bird feeder set-up in the back yard, right outside the dining room windows. Yesterday I noticed that we had an unusually high amount of bird activity, and in the space of a few minutes I snapped these photos. Enjoy!

House sparrow in flight.

Blue Jay and House Sparrow in flight (next to the really long, new tube feeder Chris just brought home.)

Blue Jay.

Blue Jay and juvenile Starling.

Common Pigeon.

Pesky Squirrel. OK, I know he is not feathered, but I had to include him. Look at his hind feet!

More Blue Jay. I can't say that I really like Jays, because they seem to be really bossy and eat a ton of our birdseed, but you have to admit that that they are beautiful!


More House Sparrows. I really liked the composition of this photo.

Juvenile Starling. Look at the speckled feathers on his breast. I also shot some photos of a juvenile female cardinal, but they were blurry.

Common Pigeon.

I believe that this is a female Downy Woodpecker.

I have said it before, but again I am astonished at the number and variety of birds we get to see here in our neighborhood!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

2 Tee Shirts + 2 Hours = Homemade Goodness!

I've been wanting to try this do-it-yourself upcycled ruffled t-shirt tutorial for months! A friend suggested that we work on a similar one together, and once I got the idea in my brain I just.couldn'!!

I grabbed two shirts from Old Navy on sale for $5 each, and then raced home to start. I finished sewing all of the ruffles in the first hour. EASY PEASY. The flower??? Dang it, Flan told me it would probably give me issues, AND IT DID. (Notice there is one shirt on my flower and two in the tutorial.) Sigh.
Anyhow--it's done! Whaddya think?

(And stop slobbering over my new bag. HANDS OFF!) I got it on wicked clearance when I was as the Freeport Outlets last weekend. Anyhoo--my husband says it reminds him of a construction zone. Whaaaaaaaaaatt??????

Here is the shirt as pictured on Old Navy's website. The color I got is called "dumbell."

Go make yourself a shirt!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Grown Here, Not Flown Here - - Shaker Farm

Having grown up with parents who had an enormous garden and kept chickens, geese, turkeys, rabbits and horses on a 24-acre piece of heaven in Maine, the "buy local" phrase has been a part of my life forever.

Yes, if I could, at this very moment I would be living on a small farm with all of the above-mentioned animals, a somewhat smaller garden (I do not profess to have the green thumb that my Dad has) and millions of flowers. That day will come. Soon. I. hope.

In the meantime, I get the majority of my local produce from a little place called Shaker Farm. Chris and I have been going there since we met (10+ years ago.) During that time that we lived in the desert on the other side of the country we often spoke about Shaker Farms, and how we wished that we were running out for their blueberries, or tomatoes, or butter and sugar corn.

Thankfully, now Shaker Farm is just the next town over.

I stopped in today for some tomatoes and blueberries, and when I noticed that the girl that rang me up had on a new shirt. I HAD to have one!

A few minutes later the owner came out with one for me!! YAY!!!

If you are in the mood for some local produce (and baked goods--me, the baker now has a strawberry-rhubarb pie on the counter), just head to Shaker Farm!

My Yankee Doodle Dandy Girl

I just remembered that I had this great photo of Ella that was taken during our little friend Mary Larkin's birthday party. I completely forgot to post it. The theme of the party was an Olde Tyme Bike Decorating Party to get ready for the 4th. How sweet!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A July Visit to Grandpa's

We headed up to Maine this weekend to spend some time with my Dad and Sister Amy. Unfortunately we had wet weather, but we made the best of it! I think the highlight of the visit was when Dad and Amy took James down to the creek to go fishing. Dad fashioned James a fishing rod from a sapling like he did for Amy and I when we were little. The headed down to the creek in nice weather and on the way back got hid with a nice mid-summer downpour!

Just look at that smile on James' face. He LOVES his Grandpa! Ella as you can see is giving her new look to the camera, the one where she lowers her head and looks at you from beneath her eyelashes.

Here's Ell, Dad and I. Isn't my little sweetheart the cutest? And Dad just showers her with kisses. There's nothing quite like seeing your parent with your children. It's a very precious sight.

Here's Ella trying out her demure look:

And James being his regular goofball self:

Dad treated us to Maine lobstah and haddock on Saturday night, and my sister made us an old-fashioned chocolate sheetcake. What a feast!

We came home with a car loaded down with goodies, including a vintage folk art rocking horse, a ride-on plane from a dear family friend, tons of belated birthday gifts for James from his Auntie Amy, and some special items for Chris and I from Dad, including a beautiful painting of a Greyhound.

I meant to take more photos from around my childhood home, but the weather just did not cooperate. Maybe next time!