woensdag 29 juli 2015

Uit de oude doos - baby pulletje

I stumbled across this Drops pattern when I was looking through my Pinterest boards, and I was hit by a wave of nostalgia. My baby is already two years old, and, if I have any say in the matter, will be my last baby. While I'm quite happy to think of getting this fourth child on the potty and having more sleep and more energy to devote to other things than nursing an infant 4 times every night for months on end, I also feel a twinge of sadness to think that I will never again hold another newborn (well not my own anyway). I loved the tiny baby phase, especially with the third an fourth baby (it took me a while to get the mommy vibes flowing) and really every other phase after that, although they all have their own hardships, too.
Happy baby in pretty knit sweater.

I used Lang Baby Cotton, which is super soft, even after washing.

I used 3 colors, which I called snow, vanilla and mocha.

In hindsight I shouldn't have done the top part in pure white, because the baby drizzle makes it go yellow so fast...

Anyway, when I saw the pattern I realized I hadn't blogged my version of it yet, even though Felix has outgrown it a long time ago. I don't even think I kept it, I hope it's being used by another baby right now. In this post you can see a hat I knit from the same yarn.

maandag 27 juli 2015

Capsule palette autumn/winter 2015

My palette for the cold seasons this year is just a little more earthy and toned down than my summer palette:

I started with just a mix of all colors I like to see and wear in winter. Then I sorted them into neutral, nearly neutrals and accent colors (from top to bottom):

And finally I picked my palette:

I also started planning my capsule, but this is just a draft. I don't plan to sew a lot of garments. I would like to concentrate on just one or two quality pieces. I bought a pattern for a shirt dress and have been eying a beautiful wool Liberty fabric, which should be just right for it...

I'm looking forward to getting started! If you want to know more about planning and sewing a seasonal capsule have a look at the Colette website. My moodboard on Pinterest is here.

dinsdag 21 juli 2015

Creative with hook and sewing machine

I had the urge to make something, this weekend. Something quick, easy and colorful. So I crocheted two dish cloths
The colors sort of go with the kitchen.

I used a double cotton yarn, with hook 5, and I switched colors gradually, for a cool, blended effect.

And I added a big loop, to fit around the cabinet handles, so we can hang it out of the way.

DC2 (modern art name for dish cloth number 2)

DC1 Don't you think the colors an textures have a modern art feel?
Today my husband urged me to finish my first sewing project for him. I drafted and made him some shorts! I cut up a much loved but very worn pair of shorts to serve as the base for my pattern, and just winged it from there.

Front: looks good!

Pockets: functioning perfectly!

Back: looking fine!

I made him tuck his shirt so you can see the waistband and ...

... perfect fit around the backside (there's two small darts that make the fit so snug).

The waistband is just a few cm too large. I noticed this when doing a first fitting and wanted to take it in, but Willem prefers to have the pants a little loose and then cinch them with a belt. Don't ask me why, it looks horrible! But I have his permission to try a perfectly fitting pair of pants next time... Luckily he usually wears his shirt over his waistband. Plus, this is all the gather in one place. When I distribute it evenly around the waist, it doesn't look quite so bad.

See the lining just peeking at the pocket edge? Intentional! And my heart label of course!

Neat topstitching!

The hem folds over to reveal more flowery fabric (it's also on the inside of the waistband and pockets).

I'm very proud of the result. It fits him well, has a functioning fly, and the flowery fabric adds a just a little 'je ne sais quoi' that Willem really likes! I feel more husband projects coming in the future!

And he's off to try if his new shorts will sit comfortably on his bike (they did!).

The garden in July

It has been very dry here in Belgium, and the garden has suffered. Most perennials have gone over, the old growth withered and trimmed away. The annuals had a hard time establishing themselves. They stayed alive, but didn't flourish. Just recently we've had a few good showers and the garden has really picked itself up.

My side garden is a jumble of colors: yellow day lilies, pink cosmos and Salvia viridis, blue cornflowers, orange calendula, yellow tagetes, sweet peas in all colors, orange nasturtiums, ... . I like it that way. It has a lot of annuals, because I like starting them from seed (most self seed around the garden as well), and they have a really long flowering season. Also, I get to keep the bed clean and get rid of as many perennial weeds as possible, before planting out the annuals half May.

View of the sweet peas, calendula and hanging basket with tomatoes, chilly peppers and nasturtiums. And of Lucas in the hammock under our covered porch.

My latest creative endeavor in the garden:...

steps leading up to the slide!

We got the slide from neighbors, the earth was left over from digging the foundations for the porch, the slabs were found around the garden, and the bricks used to be on the facade of the house. I planted some purple sage, mint, lemon balm, cosmos and calendula on the bare earth.
Since we had the porch built last year we've been spending much more time outdoors. We enjoy eating outside, even when it's drizzling. The kids play outside a lot, ride the bikes or the go-cart, playing in their puddle pool when it's hot, or just doing kid stuff. I like 'working' in the garden: things like building those steps, but mostly taking care of the plants and chicken. Willem does the man work: digging out shrubs and mowing the lawn. I'm planning to add some willow huts in a woodlandy garden. Even though it's not a big garden (our plot is just under 600m², or 0,15 acres, and it has the house and porch on it, too), I find that there is enough space to do all I want to do: have a flower garden, some (fruit) trees, a small potager (in the planning stage), chickens, a lawn, a place for car and bikes, some play things for the kids, ... And because it's not to big, it's manageable. At the moment we don't have it all under control, but it's not running wild, and we can see an end to the work that has to be done to have it 'finished' (I don't really want a finished garden, I like a bit of wild, like the poppies that pop up on the compost heap, and the buttercups that line the shed because the lawn mower can't reach them. A perfectly controlled and trimmed garden is not my thing. Right now we are very proud of how far we've come from the building site that was here just two years ago, and our main plan is to enjoy the garden as much as possible!

donderdag 2 juli 2015

Wardrobe Architect - Summarized.

I started planning my wardrobe capsule back in January. I've been sewing since February. I made myself six pieces of clothing. I have never sewn so much in such a short time. I bought two second hand garments, and just one new: a pair of jeans to replace my tattered, too large old pair. I really bought 3 pairs of the same jeans, because I wear jeans a lot and all the ones I had were worn out. I found a model that suits me (it is large enough around my bottom, but doesn't have a waistband which stands about 3 cm from the small of my back, like most pants do), so I decided I should buy enough for the next few years. Since then I've been losing more weight, however, so I'm afraid they might be too large in another year's time. We'll see, I've always had a full back side, hopefully it will remain round enough to fill those jeans for a year or two, until they are worn out. I have just one item I planned, bought fabric for, but haven't sewn (yet).

So, to summarize:

My final capsule contains seventeen garments and three pairs of shoes. Of the seventeen garments, six were sewn by me this year, two were bought second hand, one was bought new, and eight were already in my wardrobe (of which one was sewn by me, one was bought second hand, and the rest were new, when I bought them). I bought one pair of shoes for this capsule. All through June, I wore only my capsule, cheating only once (more about that in my next post: Wardrobe Architect - Lessens Learned).

My final capsule, shoes excluded.

  I plan to take pictures of all the garments in my capsule, to make this summary easier to oversee.       

Wardrobe Architect - Lessons Learned

1. Basic does not equal boring!
I've always thought I didn't like boring basic colors. I naturally gravitate towards bold and bright colors when looking at clothing or fabric. But to make a capsule of garments which you can combine, you need basics. If you have a lot of accent colors, you end up with a set of outfits which each have to be worn separately, not with a true capsule which offers many possibilities to combine garments into different outfits. So I set myself the  task of including neutrals and nearly neutrals in my palette, sewing with them, and wearing them. And I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome. I really liked the look of basic colors on me.

2. Accent pieces in accent colors are fun!
If basic is a bit too basic, you can add accent colors in accent pieces, like a scarf or a piece of jewelry. I found that, with a basic outfit, a piece of jewelry can become more visible, more special, and that it really adds to the overall look and feel of an outfit.

3. White garments in a capsules should have a double!
I love wearing white in summer. It's such a bright and fresh color. But if you have kids, or ride a bike, or cook, or do more than sit in a white sofa all day, white gets dirty very quickly. I can wear a white top for two days, but white pants only survive for one day before retiring to the laundry basket. And that is why I cheated on the 29th of June. I really wanted to wear my dusty pink tunic with white lace color in combination with white pants, but of course they weren't clean. So I got out a double, which wasn't in my capsule. And I came up with this lesson learned.

4. Creating a capsule is not easy!
But not as hard as it seems, once you get started, and with a little guidance. I did a lot of research and a lot of planning when designing my capsule. You can find the resources I used dotted around this blog, but the easiest thing to do is read the articles about Wardrobe Architect at Coletterie.

5. Wearing a capsule is very easy!
And fun. In June I took all my capsule garments from my wardrobe and put them in a basket next to it. Every morning it was just a question of looking at the weather forecast, sampling my mood and picking out a few garments accordingly. Add shoes and some jewelry or a scarf as desired, and you're ready to go. No rummaging through the closet, finding something you'd like to wear, but then not finding anything to go with it, finding something else, but then figuring it might be too hot/cold for that particular item. Because you have a limited options and everything pretty much goes with everything, picking your outfit becomes easy. And fun, because you find yourself wearing outfits you would otherwise not consider.

6. Green is not green.
And that's fine. Pink is not pink either, and grey is not grey. When composing your palette, you have just one shade of each color in it. Ideally, to make mixing and matching easy, you should stick to these shades as closely as possible. But n reality there are so many shades of lime green, you end up with different shades anyway. I find this adds some depth to outfits created from your capsule. If you were to respect the shades perfectly, certain outfits would be too monotone and flat.

7. Restrictions foster creativity!
Try it, you'll see! Having a restricted palette made it easier to pick fabrics and challenged me to try a few new things, like sewing with polyester and trying to sew a cardigan/vest. I've never been so inspired and I've never sewn so much. Having a goal and a brief to fulfill makes it easier to get started.

8. Creating a capsule saves money.
I didn't spend a lot of money on clothes this year, yet I feel I have a more cohesive wardrobe than ever. So I'm really, really pleased I did this, and am already planning my Autumn/Winter capsule!