Wednesday, December 28, 2011

We had a green Christmas here, which is pretty unusual for this area, known for its skiing and winter snowstorms. However, last night we made up for the lack of Christmas Snow.

Christmas was wonderful, but busy. We had dinner and gifts with Dan's brother, mom, niece and nephew on Christmas Eve, then headed out to my parents for our Christmas Eve presents (we get pajamas every year on Christmas Eve). On Christmas day we were up early to do gifts at my parents, then headed to Toronto shortly after lunch for Dan's family gathering - which fun but overwhelming, with lots of people I had never met! We didn't get home until after 9 and by then I was exhausted. On boxing day, I sewed 3 tops for myself because I am tired of all of my clothes... Then we headed out to my Aunt's for Boxing Day Lasagna (a new tradition in my family). Yesterday, Dan and I bought all of the paint for our house, new light fixtures, picked out a new tv stand and coffee table, I worked half a day, then we had dinner at my parents again. I am back to work this morning (absolutely exhausted), waiting for a call from our lawyer to come pick up the keys!

In between all of that, I managed to do my nails (my one moment of relaxation!). I got my inspiration from this Pin on Pinterest, but used gold as a base, then painted over with a dark plum. I love this reverse-french look.

I also recently tried that new matte top coat - specifically the one from China glaze. It matte-ifies like magic, but I found after 2 or 3 days, the matte-ness totally wares off. I did a black on black french manicure and after 3 days, my nails just looked worn. It definitely looks pretty cool while it is matte though!

Is it over yet?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I am officially having a pre-Christmas, pre-move freak out!

I spent most of this morning packing... and just now remembered I have 1 christmas gift to finish sewing and several to wrap. Luckily, the wrapped gifts were all wrapped in haste so I don't need to worry about making them look pretty at this point... Though I am sure I will go back and add bows and ribbons before the day is through.

Why is it that no matter how much stuff I give to Goodwill, I always feel like I have way too much stuff when it comes time to move. I swear, around here we do a Goodwill run once a month, getting rid of old, unused clothes, dishes, pots, pans, etc. I don't feel like I shop enough to warrant giving away so much stuff! And still I'd like to get rid of half of what I own.

Yesterday I made marshmallows and hot chocolate mix to add to a couple of my gifts. I have officially decided that I am crazy.

I used Martha Stewart's recipe for Candy Cane Marshmallows and Vanilla Marshmallows, and a recipe for hot cocoa mix I found here. I used fair trade organic cocoa to make it a little extra special, and added some cinnamon to my mix (because I like it). I've never had home made marshmallows before. They are VERY sweet and very tasty and sooooooo melty, ooey, gooey good in mug of hot chocolate! I found some cute printable tabs from Ellinée Blog and Lovely Design's Blog. I just printed them out, wrote with black fine-tipped marker on them, and tied the tags on with twine. I think they look pretty good (and taste even yummier).

I normally love Christmas, but this year I will be happy when it is over. We have too much crammed in too little time this year. Today we are going to Dan's brothers, then to my parents, then home, then sleep & wake up, then my parents, then drive to Toronto, then drive back home, them pack, then move... I will be happy when I can focus on one thing at a time! :)

Anyway, Merry Christmas to everyone! I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and gets to spend lots of time with loved ones and good food and all that jazz. I will likely be "out" until our closing date and will be back at that time with lots of pictures of MY Christmas Present - a New (OLD) House!

Getting Ready

Friday, December 23, 2011

Phew... I moved 2 times in 2010, and I'm pretty sure at the end of it I swore I wouldn't move again any time soon!

But, here I am.

I loved the little apartment Dan and I found, surrounded by parking lot, downtown. It's so cute and charming and cozy. Cozy being the operative word. The small shower, that at first I thought "will do," has become like torture chamber - every relaxing shower ends being pelted with falling body wash bottles and bars of soap, bruised elbows from the confined space, patches of hairy leg that never get shaved quite right because there's not room to move with out getting sprayed directly in the eye with an errant spray of water. The parking lot surrounding, which at first was fun to people watch, is noisy; if I hear one more coffee truck cheerfully tooting its horn at the nearby postal workers, I might just snap. The small patch of grass by the Bank has been peed on one too many times by my little dog. I don't think it can take much more. Our oven only half works, the bathroom has no heat, our closets look like a well-played Tetris game, full of boxes and holiday decorations.

Last night I packed up a few boxes, then we headed out to my aunts for a small birthday celebration. We watched my cousins little boys play in bits of torn up wrapping paper, and point out all the decorations on the tree. It was really fun.

Today, I work half a day, sign papers at the lawyers, then am off for a few days. I can't believe how fast the closing day is coming. I am so, so, so excited!

*I Think Sew* slipper patterns

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I found through pinterest and immediately bought about 5 different patterns.

I made up the Kimono Slipper for myself a few weeks ago, and at first was frustrated with the fit. However! With 2 small tweaks, I think I perfected an already adorable, comfortable pattern.

First, I removed 1" from either side of the "heel" and inserted 1 2" piece of stretchy ribbing. Second, I reinforced along the top with a piece of sturdy, 1/4" elastic, pulled taught and zig-zagged on. This created a "Smocked" effect on the back, but allows the slipper to stretch on your foot, while the elastic holds it on tight. I HIGHLY recommend doing this if you make these slippers. I found, when I made them as it, they were either TOO tight, or falling off my foot. I found that this was the best method for making the slipper the most comfortable and wearable.
On the moccasin slipper, I added a cased-elastic along the heel to hold the slipper on snug. I also experimented with just adding a piece of elastic along the back. Both of these methods work, but I found that the method above was the most comfortable.

I appliqued non-skid "hearts" to the soles of all of the slippers. Over all they were very easy to make and cute to wear! I am definitely going to be making more of these.

Getting Excited!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

PHEW! I am exhausted! But I feel accomplished.

More orders will be going out on Monday and I finally am almost done my Christmas Crafting. I made my nieces Dress-Up Tutu's (I kind of want one!) last night out of about 10 yards of tulle each. Aren't they fun? Wouldn't you like to frolic and spin in one of these? I know I would.

Remember all of the hand-embellished linens I got from my mother-in-law? They have found new life as heirloom cushion covers. They are made out of 2 pillow cases with crocheted lace trim, embroidered placemats, handkerchiefs, and handmade doilies. I've combined the handiwork of myself, Dan's Great-Aunt, and his Grandmother. I am really in love with these. I hope the recipients like them as much as I do.
I made them envelope style with bridal buttons up the back. I have about 35 buttons to sew on tonight so I will keep this breif...

Knife Edge, envelope pillows are very simple to make and do not require a pattern - you can find simple tutorials for them online, or just wing-it (my method).

Am I crazy?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why did no one tell me there is only 1 Crafting Weekend until Christmas?! I haven't done ANYTHING!

I have actually done plenty of things, just nothing Christmas-related. I finished up the majority of my orders, and bought a house. Between those two things, I have been crazy busy. Never in my life would I have imagined that buying a house would be so involved. I don't know how I thought it would be, but I didn't think it would be as complicated as it was. Now I am just so grateful and in awe of the fact that I have my own house! I don't think we will believe it until we move.

The only thing non-Ohhh Lulu and house related that I have had a chance to do was my nails. I am a nail polish junkie, so I am glad to see that slightly-tacky patterned nails are back in style (in my mind they never went away). I nearly died when I saw Sally Hansen brought out Nail Polish Strips in LUMBERJACK PLAID. This is what I have on my hands and toes at the moment. Prior to the plaid, I had pink and white polka dots.

Polka dots are really easy to do. Paint your nail the base colour and wait to dry. Drip a blob of contrasting polish on to a piece of paper (this is the "dot" colour). Dip the pointy end of an orange stick into the polish. Do a couple of test dots, allowing some extra polish to build up on the tip. They make the perfect size dots. Occasionally, every 6 or so dots, you will want to wipe off the excess polish from the orange stick to keep your dots a uniform size. A layer of top-coat smooths things out.

I am super, super, super excited to try out the new Matte Top coat that everyone on Pinterest is pinning about. Who else is obsessed with pretty manicures? What is your favourite technique? And, has anyone successfully tried marbling?

On pins and needles...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Well, if all goes well today, it looks like we will be moving at the end of the month!

My Etsy shop will close on December 22 and re-open mid-January (just in time for Valentines Day) after we get set up in the new place.

We hit a major roadblock in the house buying process on Tuesday, but I managed to find a way around it. We have everything in order, we are just waiting for the sellers to sign back the Waiver of Conditions and it's done!

I am in awe of the space we are going to have in this house; the idea of having a place to store all of our stuff - Christmas trees, tools, sewing machines, an extra bedroom for guests, my own bathtub, is a dream come true. 1100 square feet feels like a mansion after sharing a small, one-bedroom apartment with a 6'3" giant, an over-grown pug, and a humongous sewing habit.

What we wore... Edwardian Shirtwaist & Corset Cover

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I think I've graduated from being obsessed with Victorian Clothing to obsessing over Edwardian Clothing... I've moved a century closer!

This is a very usual corset cover. It is made of a starched cotton (beautiful hand), with heavily starched ruffles over the bust (hiding some beautiful pin-tucks). The Edwardian shape always amused me - it is so unnatural with the large bust and thin hips. You can see how this corset cover would help achieve that look, by adding extra volume to the bust with all of those ruffles! If Ohhh Lulu were around 100 years ago, I probably would have designed this:

The shirtwaist is in rough condition. It is a net lace exterior (which is near perfect) over cream silk, which is pintucked down down the front. The silk has seen better days and is beginning to crumble in quite a few places. It has metal snaps down the back and is quite obviously handmade.

What we wore... Antique Clothing Collection.

As you may have gathered -I love vintage clothing and textiles, but even more than that, I love antique clothing and textiles.

I have finally gotten around to photographing some of the items in my very small collection. The unfortunate thing about pre 1940's clothing is that alot of it is made of silk or fine cotton... which just does not stand the test of time. I want to make sure I keep a record of what I have so I will have a reminder even after the silk is too brittle to touch....

These are both gifts from Dan's grandmother. The black collar is Victorian or Edwardian and is hand stitched. It is not finished, and I wonder if this was to become part of a top or whether it was meant to be just a separate collar. I think the shape is really unusual, and the lace is absolutely beautiful. I love the appliqué down the front.

This bolero came with the collar but I'm not sure that it is as old. It is stunning and in excellent condition. It is very tiny and just fits my small shoulders. This is one of my favourite items...

Handmade Histories...

Dan's grandmother's house was full of treasures. My mother-in-law packed 3 large bags full of hankies, silk scarves, hand trimmed cotton pillow cases, handmade doilies and some silk babies clothes. I love all of these little handmade and sentimental items.

I sorted through them last week and found some real treasures, and so many silk hankies!

Many of these were embroidered and tatted or crocheted by Dan's great-aunt and Dan's Grandmother. I really love these items... even though I never got to meet these people, having these precious items makes me feel close to them.
Among some of the items were little silk baby dresses and a small silk bonnet and cotton bib that belonged to Dan's mom and Dan's uncle. They are so precious, I love them dearly!

Please, please, pleeeeeeease!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

House hunting has been the biggest roller coaster ride of my life. It seems like there is a constantly a new surprise around ever corner... Today we got to experience our first Home Inspection.

The home inspector was amazing, way more thorough than I had anticipated, and hardly found any serious issues with the house... considering its age I was expecting some major problems. I would 100% recommend to anyone buying a home, to have a home inspection. I actually feel reassured knowing that there aren't many huge problems with the house. I was happy to find out we have a new roof, new shingles, a new furnace, a solid foundation and updated plumbing.

However, we did find one very pressing "issue;" Knob and Tube wiring connected to the "new" electrical panel. As far as we can tell it looks like there is just a small amount of this wiring which will need to be replaced to bring it to code and make it insurable... but we can only see what is visible in the basement. We are now rushing to find an electrician who can do an inspection and give us a quote on a Sunday so that we can get our insurance quite and have the financing finalized. I can't wait until this is over and paint colours and floor plans become my biggest worry... I would love to hear other peoples experience with this type of wiring. I am expecting this to be a very costly repair (expecting the worst and hoping for the best), even with the upgrades that have been done, but feel like it would be worth it for the amount we love the house and the condition the house is in.

So, if all goes as planned and we are able to get the wiring fixed (and hopefully the price of the house adjusted accordingly...), we should be moving at the end of the month. But, we all know from the very important lesson learned from House #1: until you are actually in the house, anything could happen! So I am doing my very, very best to NOT GET EXCITED.

But I'm not doing a very good job... I'm already day dreaming and mentally planning everything out. Fantasying about having places to put all of our stuff... Yearning for a backyard for Oliver to run in (However small it may be...)

The house itself is quite unusual; I passed it by so many times because, well, it looks kind of weird. It has a Gambrel Roof, which you don't see a lot of in this town. It is half brick and half white stucco & board. It has a little bit of everything going on; one Dormer that creates the cutest little window seat in the stairway, oversized wood moulding around doorways and windows, pale wood floors, and the largest bathroom I have ever seen - complete with an avacado green bath tub. But a Bath Tub all the same! Oh.... to have a bath... The more and more time I spend in the house, the more and more I fall in love with it - even the wood panelling.

After looking at 20 homes or so (we have literally looked at every house in our price range in town that does not have a serious structural issue), I feel like we are really making a good choice. I'd even go as far as to say that this might just be my dream house. We put offers on a total of 5 houses:

1. The DIY house - which has sideways light switches installed in the trim around a door, the electrical pannel was behind the kitchen cupboards, and had two bathrooms side by side...
2. The Red Roof House - my second favourite house; it had lost of character but sold for over asking...
3. That 70's House - in hindsight I don't know why we put an offer on this one...
4. The 'Estate Sale' House - the sellers took a week to respond to our offer (6 days beyond our deadline date!!!)... and countered with more than double the deposit and not a dollar lower than asking. Not surprisingly, that house is still for sale, despite another offer being put on it.

So, necessary renovations aside, I am still so happy (and nervous) and looking forward to getting all of this unfun stuff out of the way! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

On that note - if all goes well I will be closing shop around Christmas and re-opening Mid-January :)

Give Away!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Head on over to to enter my Giveaway for a pair of Mulberry Knickers!

Good Luck Everyone!

And wish us luck - we put in an offer on house #5!

Sick in Bed...

Monday, November 28, 2011

I had an incredibly productive weekend... followed by a horrible migraine and upset stomach that kicked in moment I woke up this morning. I did something I haven't done in over a year - I slept in until 11am! I sat in front of my sewing machine for a few minutes before making my way over to the couch where I plan on spending the rest of my day, with Oliver by my side, a cup of hot Chai tea in front of me, some documentaries on the TV, and some knitting in my hand. I love Ohhh Lulu so much I forget that sometimes I need to stop... and rest. So this is a good chance to do so.

I looked at 2 more houses over the weekend (we are up to 20 now). The first was an open house up the street. The house had some serious issues - needed to be jacked up in the basement to fix some sloping floors, had no appliances, a needed a bathroom gut-job, and the garage looked like it might fall down any day now. However, it had some great features and was relatively inexpensive (relatively still being $165,000) - a fireplace that could be converted to gas, a gorgeous 1920's wood banister, beautiful foyer, lots of space, huge bathroom, beautiful wood trim, and a window seat in the staircase. The second house I looked at was about... one hundred thousand dollars more than what we can afford, but we went to the open house anyway "just to see how the other half lived." It was nice, and put every house I've looked at to shame... I left regretting looking at that house.

Anyway... In more exciting news:

I'm giving away a NEW design on tomorrow! Stay tuned for more details tomorrow. Good Luck!

How To: French Tacks

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Do you use French Tacks to secure your lining to your fabric, or to make belt loops. I had never done a french tack before I went to college - but it is a great way to stop a lining from shifting during wear, and a look I really love for belt loops. You can use ribbon, twill tape, or a machine stitch to do french tacks but I like to do them by hand. If you havent' done a french tack before, here's how I do them:

1. Start by double threading a needle, so you have a total of 4 threads (2 going through the eye, doubled). Knot your end, and thread it through your fabric - I'm making a sash loop in this picture.

2. Thread the needle through the fabric again forming a loose loop about 2-3 inches in diameter (big enough for your fingers to fit through plus some!).

3. Put your fingers into the loop, and grab the thread - pull another loop through the original loop, pulling the original loop taught. You're beginning to form your chain.

4. Continue pulling loop through loop until your tack is long enough (usually about 1 inch to tack lining in place - do this on each side seam near the hem for skirts and dresses)

5. Secure your tack by passing your needle through the loop and pulling tight - this will for a knot. You can then join your tack the end point on your fabric or lining. Knot securely.

Victorian Calling Cards...

Monday, November 21, 2011

I love the idea of calling cards... And I was lucky enough to find a small collection of 3 at the antique store on Saturday!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

I have gotten so much sewing done over the last week. I have sewn 21 pairs of panties, 6 bras, and 6 camisoles! 33 Garments and I worked 30 hours and I majorly cleaned/decluttered the apartment! I feel like a superwoman, and now I am ready to collapse onto the couch and watch a little X-Files.... I feel on-top again!

It is always so exciting sending garments out to new customers - kind of feels like Christmas!

I sewed a couple pairs of Every Day Panties for a customer, one in black and the other in white eyelet. I had forgotten about how much I love these undies. They are very comfy and super cute. They can be made out of any cotton solid or print you like, with a coordinating lace waist!

I would really like to stock my own shop with some ready made eyelet Every Day Panties, as well as some plain velvet and cotton floral knickers (sans ruffles or bows)...
Dan and I got out and did a little more house hunting... nothing compares to the house we put an offer in a week ago. I am hoping if it sits for a little while the sellers will be a little more willing to negotiate with us... House hunting has really turned out much more difficult that I had imagined it would be. It is especially frustrating because we were ready to move on June, but because of Dan losing his job we had to put everything on hold... Everything went so smoothly with this house, and this time around it seems to be so much more difficult! But, I am trying to stay positive. The One will come along!

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