Nov 25, 2010

Pick-me-up Pens

Happy Thanksgiving!!!  I refuse to say "Gobble, Gobble," even though I have received numerous texts with such message [irritating].  My husband urged me to "make a wise decision" the last time we were in Books-a-Million as he walked out the front door.  Moments later, I triumphantly displayed my "wise decision" in front of him with a giant smile!  These Le Pen pens are my new favs, and I just had to buy a pretty fall palette in Olive Green, Teal, Oriental Blue, and Dark Grey.  Now I color-code all of my notes and make my days even happier.

A few weeks later, I felt the need for a springy set as well!

Nov 24, 2010

A Little Fluff Under the Tree

The Holidays are the perfect time to start blogging, with so much extra time and all... Nonetheless, I used up two hours of my graduate school time and some leftover material to create a keeper of a tree skirt.  So, I present my very first (and second) ruffled tree skirt: one for sister, and one for me!  And one for you if you can decipher my no-sewing-patterns-allowed directions.  (By the way, it always turns out better if you skip the pattern.)

Brown burlap, for my sister's traditional red grosgrain and gold bulb tree.

Tie a 25" piece of string to a pencil (or silver Sharpie for burlap), trace a circle on flat fabric.  Tear four 8" wide strips of muslin (seen here) for ruffles.

Draw a 2" circle in the center of the skirt to cut later.  Pleat/Ruffle the skirt by turning 1" of fabric to the left and 1" of fabric to the right (much like a tailored bed skirt pleat).  After stitching the first layer of ruffles, cut a line to the center.  Continue pleating, pinning, and stitching ruffles until you have three finished rows.

Before adding the top row of pleating, cut out the tree hole.  Lay a scrap piece under the skirt center and pin.  Stitch 1/4-1/2" seam directly on top of skirt.

Make the top layer of ruffles by crating 1" pleats in the same direction all the way around the skirt.  This gives the top layer enough flounce.

Turn the tree hole facing out and press.  Stitch to cover the edges of the fourth row of pleats.  Cut four 1 1/2' long x 3" wide strips for skirt ties.  Stitch two at the top of the skirt and two between the second and third pleat.

Ta-da!  The most precious tree skirt ever handmade.
I used three yards of 45" wide brown burlap.  Since it was leftover, I couldn't be picky; however, I would choose a wider piece next time.  This was a difficult fabric to work with, especially when there were multiple layers.  I had five yards of 104" wide thin muslin.  This was the best to work with because I could roll up the layers and pin them while I stitched a new layer.  I also hand tore my strips of muslin, saving time and irritation trying to cut and hem all of the layers.  The result was a sweet and simple look that will be perfect with my olive, gold, and bronze tree.