So. Excited. Can. Hardly. Breathe.

Very soon I’ll be leaving Mr Rae and the kids and going to Blueberry Hill Sewing Weekend. For those of you who haven’t heard of it yet, it’s a weekend of sewing hosted by fabric designer extraordinaire Heather Ross. The workshop involves sewing in a barn, eating good food, cocktail hour, endless supply of chocolate chip cookies, ack!  Not only is the workshop, which lasts a weekend and is hosted at a bed and breakfast in Vermont, the coolest idea ever, I also to get to meet one of my favorite fabric designers, the amazing Heather Ross *dying of excitement*  And if that wasn’t enough, a few months ago Heather announced that Liesl Gibson, designer of Oliver+S fame, is going to be leading the workshop too. And oh yes then just the other day she casually informed us in an email that Denyse Schmidt will be there too. I’m terrified I’m going to spend the entire weekend immobilized by Sewing-Celebrity-Paralysis.

the book that inspired the workshop (minus dust cover)

For those wondering, this year’s two workshops are already full, but last year I kept a close watch on Heather’s blog and she announced the following year’s workshops pretty early in the fall.

Now I need to plan: what fabric to bring, what projects to work on?  Obviously I’ll bring the book, but much careful planning will be required.  I may have to charter a cargo plane to fly my fabric stash to Vermont to avoid having to make any serious decisions about what to bring.  Should I sew baby stuff so the fabric takes up less space or clothes for me since it’s MY vacation, or should I just sew cloth napkins so I don’t have to concentrate too hard on anything?  Just in case, you know, my brain stops working from Sewing-Celebrity-Paralysis? 

I got Mr Rae to procure an autographed copy as a Christmas Prezzie…awesome paper, eh?

And this is so pathetic I hardly want to ask, but what am I supposed to wear?  If you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time you know that almost every item of clothing I make for myself (see here, here, here, here, here) is from Heather’s fabric. So the question is, am I going to look like a total loser/stalker if I spend the whole weekend bedecked in Heather Ross fabrics?  Tell me the honest truth.

Seriously though, one of the reasons I am so excited about this is that it seems like events where you actually meet and sew with other crafters and bloggers are few and far between.  The current big events are things like Quilt Market (more of a supplies/fabric focus) and BlogHer Conferences (more of a business of blogging focus there) or Renegade (an art fair thing).  But there’s nothing really for US.  They even have a sock summit for knitters for crying out loud.  Right now there’s a Sewing Revolution going on right under everyone’s noses. So I demand a Sewing Bloggers Conference!!! It could have sessions led by all kinds of sewing bloggers, how to put in a zipper, how to attach piping, how to draft a pattern, how to take good pictures of your sewing. What do you think?  What other sessions shall we offer? What shall we call it? I think Detroit is a nice central location.  Can you come?

For now though, can’t wait to head to Vermont, will report back soon!

Kimono outfit for Baby C

You guys are the BEST.  Thanks for all the insightful, supportive comments you left on that last post.  I think I expected to get the smile-and-nod response (you know, “That’s interesting Rae, good thoughts” sort of stuff) but I was NOT prepared for how many of you would resonate with that topic. It definitely struck a nerve. It warmed my heart that lots of you feel free to actually post less now. I think we’ve started a Lazy Bloggers Revolution or at the very least Coalition. I’m all for empowering an atmosphere of relaxation around CraftBlogLand. 

I also want to be sensitive to the fact that despite my claims to pursue a “slow blogging” lifestyle, some people will still look at my blog and feel overwhelmed. That can and will happen with any craft blog regardless of post frequency or topic.  Some of you have less support, less time, less energy and some just feel plain inadequate when they see all the collected craftiness here and elsewhere.  And I don’t know exactly how to address that except to say that I struggle with that too. It’s hard not to look at other people and compare because there will always be someone else doing it better than me.  So it’s best to just not go there. We never see the whole picture of someone’s life online, just a glimpse (and sometimes, the collected works of years of crafting in one sitting, talk about skewing perspective). You can only do as much as you can do, and never feel guilty for giving yourself a break! And this will echo what many people said on the last post, but it bears repeating: sewing (and blogging about it) is supposed to be fun. If it starts to feel like work, quit!

OK, I actually did have something I made a couple weeks ago to show you today (but no pressure, haha, try and remember it’s taken me over a week to write this post). 

Ever since I bought this cotton floral reproduction fabric I’ve had this idea in my head for a pleated kimono top for C (my baby daughter, who will be one year on friday, ACK).  I can’t say it turned out exactly the way I had envisioned in my head but it is pretty cute. 

I guess what I mean by that is the pleats are a little weird, they don’t really show up and define it like I’d hoped.  Maybe there need to be more of them. But once it’s on it seems to fit just fine.  And I really love the fabric.

The leggings were made with the tights pattern (just like these) except now I make them bigger because she’s older.  I wouldn’t recommend adapting the pattern for leggings with anything other than an old shirt/sweater though, because hemming the bottom of those little legholes would be No Fun if you were making them with knit fabric.  Just use the hem of the sweater for the leg hems and go from there.

It’s getting harder and harder to get her to sit for a picture.  So you’re going to have to put up with the little tikes car today, because that’s as good as it gets around here with the photos lately. 

C lacks the ability to a) mount/dismount or b) steer the little tikes car, so she ends up rolling across the patio until she hits the edge and can’t go any further.  Then, in typical second-born-fashion, she sits there quietly for a few minutes until she decides she’s sick of it and then starts screaming “Nah! Nah! Nah!” and signing “More” until someone comes and turns her around.  Then the process repeats.

See how her hair is turning strawberry blond? It was so dark when she was born.  I had to make sure I included the little black ruffle rosette for her hair. 

I had an epiphany!

(This post almost got titled “Rae goes blahdeeblahdeeblah about ?)

I am pretty sure that as soon as I say this outloud on the blog it’s going to sound really dumb, but here goes.

I realized just this evening as I was driving (by myself, without the children, Praise the Lord) that craft bloggers have it harder than other bloggers.  See, I told you it would sound dumb.  But hear me out.

Other bloggers can produce posts about their topic of choice and they’re finished.  A political rant.  An embarrassing parenting moment.  Links to cool designs.  A family picture.  And I don’t in any way mean to demean the work that entails, but we have a different situation, a predicament of sorts.

Craft bloggers (and most food bloggers too) have to not only produce the actual post, but they also have to produce the THING that the post is about.  Sew the skirt, the dress, applique the backpack, knit the sweater.  That’s (at least) two things you have to produce for every post you write: the thing, and the thing’s post. And sometimes a tutorial, in which case more hours put in making the things + taking pictures of the things.  OH and we have to procure supplies. Are you getting me here or am I sounding stupid.  Don’t answer that. And I’m generalizing of course, you can always do posts about your kitchen wall or things that are unfinished or take pictures of your cats.

From what little I know about the business of blogging, I understand that to really make a living doing it you have to write a post a day or at least something very close to that.  That brings in traffic, you know, and traffic = shop sales, ad revenue, Martha appearances, White House invitations, etc.  And what I realized is that to try make it happen daily on a craft blog, well, see isn’t that nigh to impossible?  Especially if you are trying to piece together some semblance of a Real Life (in which you go Real Places and talk to Real People).  If you’ve been around here long enough you know that sort of post-regularity isn’t happening on Made By Rae, and if I’m honest with myself it probably won’t ever (sorry to disappoint those of you who were hoping for the daily dose).  Side note: the crafty folks who ARE doing it, well, hats off to you amazing people!!!

So then the other thing that struck me was: you guys could go anywhere online and read something every day, but you still make a stop over here occasionally (or every hour, you crazy obsessive people), even though I don’t and can’t produce the daily awesome professional stuff that Design*Sponge or SeeSaw or Dooce can.  So thanks for reading, even though this just turned into a cheezy feel-good post, blaaaaaaaaaah (see? I just barfed all over it for you to cancel out some of the charm). Thanks too for being patient with me when I can’t pump out patterns for every single thing I make at the drop of a hat, because that sort of pressure would probably break me.  And thanks for all the really nice things you say in your comments too, because that means so much that you took the time to say hi and it brightens my day.

I really do not mean to whine about how much work blogging is or anything like that, just felt a little liberated when I realized that I’m happy with where I am here in this space and that trying to attain the daily-blogging goals in my head that you probably didn’t even know I had until I wrote them is probably not worth it.  OK, that’s all.

Posted in at home

Summer on my kitchen wall

I am extremely excited about my new kitchen wall makeover.  I can’t remember what put first put the idea in my head but earlier this year I got bit by the painting bug again.  It might also help that every advertising banner I see online right now seems to be for paint.

The color is Endless Summer from Mythic Paint. I believe I discovered this color in Cookie Magazine last year (can we all take a moment and silently weep into our coffee cups for Cookie?  WAAAAAAAHHHHH! OK, perhaps that was more of a full force sob).  But truly Cookie was the best magazine since Sassy. My heart just leapt a little when just I went to Cookie’s site to link it and saw that they still have a button up that says “Subscribe.” I thought, could it be?  But no, all that’s there is a big fat error message *more sobbing*. But back to my wall.  I had originally thought this color would go nicely in my bedroom, which is currently a deep shade of pumpkin orange but doing an entire bedroom over seemed too daunting.  As our kitchen was completely white I thought doing just one wall was just about the size project I was willing to commit to.  I like that the deeper color makes all my light-colored stuff pop.  The goose measuring cups were my inspiration point.

I know this is going to come out sounding like a product review post, but this paint is really awesome.  I love that it doesn’t smell at all (it’s low odor, zero-VOC) and of course I love the color, being a fan of all things turquoise.  If I was smarter I Mythic would be paying me to write this post.  But they’re not, so you know there’s absolutely no chance of writer bias here *snorts coffee out nose*.

Mr Rae put up the shelves this weekend. Being handy and handsome and smart, he is the Perfect Man (still puzzled as to why they didn’t hire him to do the Old Spice ads).  The shelves are of course from IKEA. 

The above pictures were taken this morning as the sunlight came in (la-la-LOVE!), but I also love how in the evening the turquoise turns into a darker, almost peacock blue (below):

That picture perhaps gives you a better idea of what this room usually looks like.  Salad spinner = best toy EVAR.
And here’s a “before” shot.  I think the room looked bigger with the white walls but the new shelves make it look wider so it’s a decent trade.  I’ve ordered a new pendant lamp to replace the navy farmhouse one you see here but it hasn’t arrived yet so I’ll have to show you that later.  Can you find the goose measuring cups in this picture?  I can barely see them against the white wall.

: : Some other cool walls online : :
If you haven’t already seen Dana’s paint posts from her daughter Lucy’s room makeover you should go see; she has such fantastic taste when it comes to color and I love the grey stripes.  I also love Alicia’s studio paint color, although lately she’s been threatening to change the aqua and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.  Meg’s sewing room is another great shade of aqua awesome.  And what do we think of RED? This AT post has a great red wall.  So now I’m on the prowl for a new color to paint with.  Please share your paint ideas or inspiration pics!

UPDATED: A few people have commented and asked where we got some of the stuff shown in this post; I’ve put a list in the comments section.  Thanks for all your great comments!

Posted in at home

Coming soon…

I’m not sure I even know how many baby pants samples I’ve cranked out in the last couple weeks.  Spurred on by recent (and not-so-recent) comments asking for a pattern, I’ve been gettin’ busy.  And for those just joining, these pants are designed for cloth diaper babies, but they also work just fine for disposable-diapered babes.  So far I’ve made sizes for 6 months, 12 months, and 18 months, but I’m hoping to add 3 months and 2T by the end of the week.  For someone like me who has no training whatsoever in clothing design, grading, or computer graphics this has been a real exercise in patience.  Taking every pair of pants my kids ever wore and measuring rise, inseam, hip, waist, blah blah blah. Anyway, I’m hoping the time spent on all this will pay off with truly good-fitting baby pants.  Here’s a preview for your enjoyment.

with the linen band at the bottom:

with ruffles:

as shorts:

with pockets:

with contrast rear panel:

and a few more action shots:

Made for ME: Red Stripey Knit Shirt

I’ve finally gotten back my selfish-sewing mojo.  It disappears for a little while after Top Week as I tend to get completely burned out and never want to sew for myself again.  For about a month.  And then it comes back.  This time I made a knit shirt out of that recycled cotton stripe I used for the baby tights (tutorial and pattern can be found on the sidebar).

someone insisted on being part of the photo shoot
I drafted the pattern for wovens but when the sample came out a little too tight I decided to try it with knit instead.  I really will do any sort of trick to get out of hemming knits so the raw edge on the bottom just curls up, and rather than hem the arms I folded a band of fabric and half and just sewed it on.  Once that was done I felt it needed something else, so I added some pockets.  And by golly I think they’re actually slimming, with that vertical striping near the waist.
I really appreciated the posts on Sew Mama Sew this past month about sewing knits (and now of course I can’t find the category to link, sorry!); I used some “Lite Steam-a-Seam” for the edges of the placket and to hold the pockets in place while I sewed and it made sewing those edges much much easier (I think this trick came from Meg’s post?).  Another trick I’ve learned is to take a piece of paper (the thinner the better) and place it over the knit material under the presser foot; it fools your machine into thinking its sewing paper instead of knits and the whole process goes much better.  For curved seams I cut the piece of paper to match the seam and then just place it over the edge I’m sewing.  The needle creates a perforation in the paper that you can just tear away when you’re finished sewing. 

What I like about the photo above is what you can’t see happening down at my feet. C discovered the kiddy pools and completely soaked herself and that cute boat dress.  Well that makes four outfits for today…

Back to work *sigh*

 our little beach baby (wearing thrifted-sheet-turned-Big-Butt-Baby-Pants)

We had a wonderful holiday weekend.  It was a little busy; we hung out with my seesters and their husbeasts and went to see Cinematic Titanic in Ann Arbor (any MST3K fans out there?) then drove over to West Michigan to spend time with Mr Rae’s parents.  Hard to decide if the best part there was their pool, fabric shopping at Field’s, or swimming in the most beautiful lake in the world?  Of course I’m biased but if you’ve never been to the amazing beaches of West Michigan, you are truly missing out.  Having lived in the Bay Area for a couple of years and vacationed on both the East and Gulf coasts, I understand the appeal of the ocean.  But fresh water and white sand with no kelp, jelllyfish, or sharks?  Now that’s what I call a good beach.

 What did you guys do? I love hearing what everyone’s up to!