Our Home

Last year, we embarked on the crazy adventure of owning our own condo. With the help of my amazing realtor Maria, I bought a place just three blocks from where I was living. At 600 sq ft, it was small, but just right for us with an open layout and a nice patio space out back. And being the crazy over-confident DIY-ers that we are, we quickly started putting our mark on the place, starting the very night we got the keys...

So today I'm taking a break from the sewing to share how we're doing a year in. It's nothing quite like Liz's complete home renovation (oh. my. god. that girl can do anything!), but it is a little slice of our life for the past year.

Because I love a good before and after, here's what the place looked like when we bought it. The older woman who lived here had a pretty bare-bones decorating style, but it really allowed us to see the potential of the place, and those beautiful floors! Of course, we could have done without the purple ceiling...

We started out painting the entire place ourselves. The previous owner was a smoker, so not only did we want a fresh color but we also needed to cover up decades of smokey odor. This included washing down the walls, applying a layer of heavy-duty (and toxic) primer, and adding on a few coats of paint. After grossly underestimating the amount of time it would take to paint every surface and go over every piece of trim, we spent our evenings for two solid weeks before our move-in day painting, painting, and more painting. If ever there were a trial by fire way for a couple to move in together, staying up 'til 2am rolling the ceiling is definitely it! Luckily the odor was masked and (most) of the painting was a success.

And then came the moving boxes...

Row one: The bliss of getting the keys was quickly replaced by painting and moving chaos. After two weeks of nightly painting sessions, we moved all the sh*t in. Things got even worse as we pushed everything away from the wall to finish the paint job (that never-ending paint job!). 

Row two: By the end of move-in week, a slight floor space was cleared and we slowly began to put away the boxes.

Row three: By the end of the month, we finally had something resembling a living room! And July 1st is my birthday so we threw a party ;) It was so nice to have everyone over after basically isolating ourselves for a month and a half.

Luckily, we emerged from the other end happy and healthy! And here is what she looks like today:

The kitchen, while a bit dark, is perfect because it opens up right onto the living room and has enough room for us to cook or chat.

You'll also notice the bar stools at the counter, which seat four. We do not have a dining table (which was meant to be on the left) because that became my SEWING SPACE! Obviously this was much more important than a dining nook.

The bedroom was the last to be completed, as we gutted the closet ourselves, installed built-in bedside tables and cabinets, and generally used the room to store all our extra junk as we figured things out.

Check out those newly installed (if not slightly crooked) closet doors! They were salvaged from Urban Ore for $29, spray painted, and attached to the outside of the closet.

And last but not least, our little patio. It may not be much for you country folk, but for us it's a little slice of heaven!

The most amazing part of this whole process, however, has been building a place together. I'm not entirely embarrassed to admit that, as I write this, we are both snuggled into the couch on identical laptops, enjoying some post-dinner downtime. Mr. Made is the better cook, but I'm not half bad at the laundry and keeping things in order. And sewing - I do a lot of that.

I am also very excited to let you in on one more thing that has been in the works since we moved in. After giving ourselves a year to settle in, this week we finally adopted a puppy!! She doesn't have a name yet, but you're about to see a lot more of her! (And some doggy outfits - lots of doggy outfits.)

Thanks for letting me share. Now I'm off to pet that adorable fur ball!

Split Back Tee

Pattern: Grainline's Scout Tee
Fabric: 1 1/2 yds rayon challis
Cost: $12

This is the newest addition on the Scout parade. I just can't help it! It fits, it's a TNT pattern, and there's so many variations. 

This time, I went with a split-back variation a la Dixie DIY. I kept it long so I can wear it to work, but I think it's a fun detail for an otherwise very plain shirt. 

The fabric - a rayon challis - was a complete pain in the ass to work with. I love the final look, but I'm pretty sure it's off grain, and puckering in all sorts of weird places. Next time I think I'll use starch for working with a tricky fabric like this, but then again, I say that every time. 

For the hem (which was a long one), I tried a few techniques until I got something that worked. I ended up serging the raw edge, and then turning it under along the stitching line. Luckily the fabric presses well. 

Well, there it is! Hopefully back later this week with a more complicated make!

Quilted Scout

Pattern: Grainline's Scout Woven Tee
Fabric: cotton quilted (scuba?) knit
Cost: $18
Tuesday night I dropped Mr. Made, the film crew, and my costumes off at the airport on their way to filming Twinsburg, and I've had the place to myself ever since. The house is clean, the fridge is stocked with frozen meals, and I've gotten the chance to sew, read, and run to my heart's content (except for that whole going to work thing).

First thing up on the sewing roster was a simple Scout Tee (the first of three, I'm afraid). The special part of this shirt is the fabric, which is a beautiful quilted affair that feels a bit like cotton on top and scuba underneath, and has a slight stretch. I believe Sewaholic's Tasia made a skirt and bra top out of it. I first saw it at Stone Mountain after one of our Meetups, but held off on buying it. Obviously, I couldn't get it out of my head, and scooped some up on my next trip. It's such a subtle, elegant design that I couldn't resist!

This also gave me a chance to perfect my pattern tweaking on the Scout Tee, which I noticed needed a bit more room in the armhole (armscye) on the front piece. It's not such a big deal on a shirt with a bit of stretch like this, but I do need it on my woven tees!

I wore this shirt today and it was very comfy. I could probably do with shaving a bit more off the shoulder, but I want to see how that turns out in a woven fabric before I make any more changes to the pattern. 

Since Mr. Made is off, I busted out the ol' tripod and snapped some pics myself. Hopefully he'll be back soon so I can dispense with the selfies (and stop sleep walking - I am quite the mess when he is gone)!

Bay Area Love

Whatever frustration I have been feeling about a certain pair of pants lately has been totally appeased by some local sewing love. Out of all the international sewists in Kestrel Makes's Spring Sewing Swap, I had the good fortune of getting paired with local Melizza of Pincushion Treats. She sent me a beautiful package of white embroidered cotton, notions, and a pincushion which I immediately put into use (my old one was soo ratty!). I have a pattern in mind already, and can't wait to meet up with her soon to show off our makes!

In other local news, this past weekend I had a chance to get together with the Bay Area Sewists for a fabric swap. The group is so fun, and I always love the chance to meet up with old friends and get to know some more of the super talented ladies out there! It's like going to a party where you can always count on the topic of conversation to be your favorite thing ever-sewing!

Back row: Sylvia, me, Leah, Lynn, Angela, Ali, Alice, Meg, Ericka, Claire,
Parish, Laura, Beth, Sara, Hillary, Charlotte, Ebony
Front row: Cassandra, Lindsay, Allison, Jilly
(with a few names missing)
Photo Courtesy of Bay Area Sewists
The swap itself was also a major success for me, as I brought a whole tub filled with things and left with just two pieces of fabric (bathing suit lycra and cotton gingham!), interfacing, and a scrap of silk for costuming

Thank you to everyone who makes this such an amazing community to be a part of!

Theatric Adventures

Do you recognize this little guy? How about now? Well, the last couple of weeks I've been hanging out with my very talented friend from Pixar who's branching out on his own to make a short film! And I get to test out my chops as a costume designer ;)

I didn't quite know what to expect, but working on the costumes has been very interesting and VERY different from sewing. While I like to think that I know my own sense of style much better since I started sewing, thinking of the sartorial choices of a whole cast of characters is quite something else, especially when  you're working with someone else's vision. Luckily, I'm not sewing up the costumes, but rather shopping for and compiling outfits for the characters. It has totally stretched my skills in a whole new direction.

The short film, if you're curious, is a dramatic comedy about identical twin brothers reconnecting at the world's largest gathering of twins in Ohio. Yes, it's a movie about twins! Which means lots of fun double outfits, great costumes for the annual Twinsburg festival in Ohio, and lots of shopping. Check out the promo, below:

I hope to share some more about the different outfits and the inspiration behind each after we get everything together. They're headed off to Ohio on Tuesday to start shooting! In the meantime, if you are the sort of person who enjoys being a benefactor of the arts, they're still raising funds here

I hope to be back sewing soon (so many plans! so much fabric!), but for the mean time I am tired.