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 Leelala.net tomorrow! Stay tuned for more details tomorrow. Good Luck!
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.
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!
Does marathon sewing sessions kill anyone else's back? I sewed for hours today... and am a few finishing touches away from completing my wholesale order. Just need to sew on labels, snip threads, and finish up two pairs of bloomers.
In between sewing, we put in another offer on a house. The offer went in on Sunday... and just a came back today. We offered about 8% under asking & a quick close.; the house had a wet basement, and horrendously high taxes. We figured it was worth a shot. The counter offer came back at asking price, with more than double deposit. We have walked away from house #4. I feel bad for our Realtor... she has worked so hard for us and things just keep falling through.
I'm doing it again, The first five people to comment will receive a month of free ad space (200 wide x 125 high) on the right hand sidebar of my blog. All I ask from you is that you follow my blog, and give me a quick mention on your blog or facebook page, to help spread the handmade love. I'm excited to help promote your fashion/handmade/lifestyle blog or Etsy Shop! Edit: Please leave your email address in the comment!
I also wanted to let my readers know that I have recently added more pages to my blog, including a Press page where I am liking any articles, interviews, or features on Ohhh Lulu, a Reviews page for customer reviews, and a Blog Page, where (when I have time) I will be adding some of my favorite blogs. If you have mentioned Ohhh Lulu in a post, I'll be happy to add your link; or if you have really great blog, send me your banner!
Dan's mom & dad got back from Quebec this week bearing gifts from Grandma's house. I got bags full of beautiful linens with crocheted lace trims, embroidery, and other fine finishing. Dan received a beautiful old type writer to ad to his collection. We also received some beautiful milk glass, but my favourite thing is this:
A near mint-conditon hand-crank Singer sewing "toy" machine. Crank or treadle sewing machines like these are nearly indistructable - my grandmother had a treadle sewing machine that she kept outdoors that worked!
I was so excited to thread this beauty. It took a generous oiling and some adjusting, but I got it to stitch.
This machine has no bobbin. It creates a beautiful chain stitch... that will unravel completely if you don't tie off the ends! I found some really interesting information about this sewing machine here... I am pretty certain it is a Singer Model 20.
I also received a two lovely thimbles, one with purple enamel flowers on it. I love these small mementos, and the sewing machine is my prized possession.
Ohhh Lulu studios has been very busy lately, with a wholesale order being prepared to head to the Netherlands, a large order heading off to Finland, and House Hunting... I don't know how I find time to go to work!
We looked at 2 more houses this week.
That 70's House. I love That 70's House. The kitchen looked like the kitchen I grew up in. It has a fully finished basement with tons of storage. It has A/C. I've never had A/C. It's only 2 bedrooms, and 1 tiny bathroom, but would be plenty of space for Dan, Oliver & I... and maybe 1 more (we'll see!).
The House Beside the Scrap Yard. The house beside the scrap yard had some issues... namely an adorable 1940's kitchen (with original stove), that did not have room for a full size fridge. The current owner had a mini-fridge. I like to hoard food in case of impending zombie apocalypse. This just would not do. It also smelled like cigarette smoke... really bad. The back of the house was a lovely sunroom... that overlooked a scrap yard.
So, now That 70's House is in the running... Things I don't like about the house are:
Corner lot is not fenced.
Really tiny windows - will likely need replacing to be brought up to code
Needs a wall removed between kitchen & "florida" room
No dish washer &"Vintage" appliances
Blue plush carpeting & 1970's tile throughout
Things I do like about the house are:
Finished basement with seperate laundry room. Dan and I can have my sewing studio + his video gaming area tucked away in the large, fairly bright basement, and leave the upstairs clean & tidy.
beautiful trees on the lot (which is a good size). I have no idea what kind they are, 1 looks almost like a miniature willow, two might be maple.
I think Dan and I are at the point where we have been over-thinking this process... maybe "good-enough" is ok?
We have 1 more house to look at this weekend, which is just up the street from our apartment, then I think we will make a decision. It would be so nice to be settled for a little while... And set up a real sewing space! The thought of having space to store our stuff camping stuff, rooms to put our furniture in... it just seems like a beautiful dream...
Last year I made a lot of my Christmas Gifts- PJ's for Dan, a Portrait of Oliver for Mom & Dad, a brooch for the Mother-in-law, as well as custom made Tags for all of my gifts.
This year I'm hoping to do more, more, more!
Here is what is on this years Christmas "To-Do" List:
Felted "Porcelain" Bowls. I've never felted anything before, but after completing 3 socks, half a sweater, a scarf, half a hat and a dish cloth - I think I can handle this project.
Knitted Dish Clothes in pretty cotton yarns. Incredibly simple pattern that even I can memorize. Cast on 3 stitches, knit next row, knit 1, increase 1 into next stitch knit to end of row, repeat last step to 52 incnes, knit 2 knit 2 together to end. Knitted dish clothes are great scrubbers...
Eco-Friendly, reusable wool dryer balls! If you can wind a ball of wool, you can make these. Follow these simple instructions on GreenEyed.com
Canvas or Wood Block Portraits. I love this tutorial and hope to try it out, maybe with a wedding photo or two! I've seen this done on blocks of wood too... I had the idea to do a 4 sided wood cube, each side with a different photo or perhaps just a solid colour. Do 2 or 3 in different sizes... it would be a unique & modern way to display photos! Cushion Covers made of vintage scarves from Design Sponge- such a great way to use a vintage piece!
Hand made soap... made easy with melt and pour kits. Here is a great "how to" from 100 Layer Cake. I am excited to come up with some creative ways to decorate the soaps I make..
Home Made Marshmallows & Other Candies (citrus zest lollipops, anyone?. I've been wanting to make marshmallows for so long... I've got an idea of making a hot chocolate mix with some home made marshmallows (Martha Stewart has Candy Cane Marshmallows, Vanilla, Chocolate Covered...)
What is on your Christmas list? I love this time of the year... such a great excuse to be a little extra creative!
I started my Christmas Crafting Planning on Saturday, picking up a soap-making kit, and some cotton yarn to knit dish clothes (I am also going to do felted dryer balls). I started my dish cloths on Saturday Night.
The pattern went as follows:
Cast on 3 Stitches
Next Row: Knit
2nd Row: Knit 1, Increase into next Stitch, Knit to end of row
Follow Last Step.
This is how I read the instructions:
Cast on 3 Stitches.
Next Row: Knit
2nd Row: Knit 1, Increase.... yeah yeah, blah blah, I get it...
Obviously, I wound up with a large, scalene triangle. I took out my stitches, laughed, and started all over again.
I rarely follow the crafting rules - I prefer to figure it out by myself and there is a huge bonus to this! When you figure out the steps by yourself, you have a better understanding of how and why, and you develop your own techniques. Sure... you might sometimes end up with a triangular dish cloth or a skirt that's too short, but crafting is way more fun when you abandon the rules - and as the workroom manager at the very fancy custom drapery shop where I used to work taught me, EVERYTHING IS FIXABLE!
I love sewing, it's not work, it's fun, it's a puzzle, it's free-flowing-creativity! And, that's my two cents...
I had an amazingly productive weekend. I cut and assembled 10 pairs of ruffle bloomers, 6 bras, and 1 camisole. Phew... Now it's off to a week of Day-Jobbing, and House Hunting. We have passed up on the chance to put an offer on the old house. It was lovely, but didn't feel like "home."
Dan and I have been out to see 3 more houses. This week chronicled:
The Cat House. The Cat house smelled like cat. Each bed had a body pillow under the blankets that looked suspiciously like a body. There was also a hot tub in the basement... which caused an awful lot of black mould to grow along the once-white baseboards.
The Fun House. The Fun house had a brand new, beautiful kitchen, sunken living room, gas fire place, 2 bathrooms, 3 bedrooms, huge lot... but the stairs and upper floor were like a fun house. There was something seriously wrong with the floors, and I can imagine after a glass of wine or two how much vertigo I might get. Good thing I don't drink! Also, The doorways were only about 6' tall. Not so great for my husband, who is taller than that. I foresaw many bruised foreheads in our future.
The Old House. I like the old house. It is big. It has a claw foot bath tub, with painted gold feet and original faucet. It has beautiful molding (that needs to be painted white). It has 3 bedrooms + a sewing room. It has a front porch that needs a rocking chair and a few plants, and a sign on the door that reads "HOME."
The Old House is in the running! Cons to the old house:
There is no flooring in the kitchen
The kitchen needs to be re-done, but paint, new tile, and a new countertop would get us going for a few years
It is electric heat. We would want to install a new gas furnace (Duct work is there).
It does not have a garage, but has a workshop. There is room for a Garage.
The side porch needs replacing... or removing
The house is on a slight... slant. But we are finding most of the houses have wonky floors, tilty walls, or strange angles.
Nearly everything is painted navy blue... or bright yellow. Trim included.
I don't feel excited about this house. I feel like there is a lot of work to do prior to move in.
Pros to the old House:
Dan and I both have dreamed of owning a lovely older home
we have the opportunity to make it our own! With a little craftiness (and we are crafty) I think we could do it on the cheap.
CLAW FOOT BATH TUB. Yes, I know they are a pain to wash under, but they are so pretty
New steel roof, new insulation, new wiring, new plumbing, new bathroom on main floor
It has a basement
It comes with the most adorable Play House in the backyard. We would have to have a little girl.
Front Porch is perfect for sitting and people watching
1400 square feet.
With some elbow grease, I think it would have good resale value
Dan really likes the house. And I like it when Dan is happy <3
I feel like at this point, we've looked at so many houses - it's like when I was wedding dress shopping. At the end of the day, I had looked at so many I had no idea which one to choose. Each had pros and cons and none seemed better than the others...
What are your words of wisdom when it comes to buying a house?
I am not a very good knitter, but perhaps some of you are? I have these lovely (and quirky) 1950's knitting patterns in my collection. The Lace Cloche and Long Gloves have been on my "To Try" list, but in order of importance, they are pretty far at the bottom. I love the poses, and the page with the floating heads is actually quite creepy! The lady in the first picture looks quite conniving.... I wonder what she's up to...
I love Victorian (and earlier) homeopathic remedies and "Toilet" remedies. My 1897 edition of The Cottage Physician has so many of these... Recipes for "Invalid Food," Tinctures to treat Hysteria and Nervous disease. Real fun stuff! Not sure I'd be hoping on the bandwagon to try any of these things. What do you think?
I'm also a little scared at the fact that this book comes with its own prescription sheets!
Dan and I are hitting the pavement and House Hunting Again. We put in an offer on a lovely home on Sunday night that was outbid last night. I'm learning with each offer we put in, not to get excited or start making furniture plans in my head - even if the offer is accepted there is so much that can go wrong...
So, we are on to find house #3. We will be looking at 2 tonight. I don't really want to do this too much longer. The excitement and anticipation of the offer... just to be rejected, outbid, or in some other way thwarted, is exhausting!
I dreamed last night we went to look at 2 houses... with marble floors and granite counters, an indoor swimming pool... Far from reality. I just want some place clean & tidy to put my stuff. I am currently in my living room/studio. Fabric is everywhere, There is camping stuff piled in front of the closet (there is no longer room in the closet to store it), every wall is lined with furniture. Seven Hundered & Fifty square feet is not enough for work space, office space, and life space...
So far we have seen...
The "Starter" home - the bedrooms were so small, I'm pretty sure only a single bed would fit. I felt a little claustrophobic.
The "Newly Renovated!" Home. The house had been newly renovated, but horribly planned. Bedrooms led directly into other bedrooms with out hallways, the electrical pannel stared out over the dining room table, and the piece de resistance, the upstairs hallway was not high enough for even me to stand upright in.
The "3" Bedroom 4-season cottage/"starter" home. This was quite nice. However the master bedroom was partitioned off with a curtain... no walls. Also was about 700 square feet.
The "90%" BRAND NEW home. Which really was new. And Ugly. And expensive. And small. And backed onto a parking lot that housed Hydro One trucks...
The "waterfront" access home. Flags should have been waving when I read "Price is negotiable." It was for sale by owner. The "tenant" was home, and let me in. He opened the door, cigarette drooping out of the corner of his mouth, cats spilling from the open door. I took a quick look... wood panelling. So much wood panelling. And Shag Carpet. And Sloping Floors. And still $155,000! I think only a bulldozer would get rid of the cat and cigarette smell.
The cute and cozy Starter or Retirement Home! This 2 bedroom home, featured a lovely dining room that was now being used as a bedroom. The actual living space (non-bedroom space) was even smaller than what we have now.
There's slim pickings and I am getting antsy to move. I am very very grateful we can afford any house, but it's frustrating that there is so little to choose from in our price range. (Occupy Wall St!)
Anyway, Oliver had a successful trip to the vet yesterday, and is healthy despite my apparent over-feeding of him (for which I feel terrible, but he just loves to eat!). He got a clean bill of health and we went on our way... Today is his 4th Birthday. Happy Birthday Oliver!