Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Hello lovely readers! I am taking a short hiatus from my blog and crafting to work on some projects around my home. Hopefully it won't take too terribly long! Thank you so much for stopping by, and if you're looking for crafts, feel free to check out the blogs I have listed in "further prescriptions" on the sidebar. I'm also still updating my instagram and twitter if you want to follow me there (also linked in the sidebar.)

Now go jump in some leaves and hug your loved ones. Cuddle up with a good book and some hot cider. Take a hike in this beautiful fall weather. Maybe get off the internet for a bit and assess your own home.

Whatever you do, I hope you're having a great day.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Homemade Wardrobe: T-Shirt Dress

Let me just tell you about today: it was fabulous.

As I’ve gushed about before, I teach High School full time. This year we rearranged our schedule to include a big chunk of time in between block classes for things like assemblies, awards, athletic signings, and clubs. I thought this might be a good opportunity to get a small group of adorable girls together for some sewing and snacks. I called it “The Sewcial Network.”

I was going to call it “The Sewcial Club” but a student showed me the error of my ways. Thank goodness!

I was expecting maybe 12, 15 kids tops? (And all girls of course.)  What showed up to my classroom today was a tidal wave of human bodies, sharing seats, sitting on the floor, all crammed together and all with their lunches in their laps. I had over 50 people in the tiniest of tiny classrooms, and yes, that included boys!

(Mr. Kopf, as wise as he is, says that these boys are the smart ones—they go to where the girls are)

I’m so excited about my little/big club! I don’t doubt attendance will wane as the year goes on, but today was pretty affirming. I ended the meeting by shouting “WELCOME TO THE CRAFT REVOLUTION!” and we cheered and most of them left.

A few stuck around to talk projects and pinterest, and I had a hilarious discussion with one of my most avid seamstresses. I told her she should make herself a shift dress.

“What’s a shift dress?”

“It’s just a straight dress, like a long tshirt, without any darts or tucks or a waist or anything.” (Ok, sometimes it can have darts... but mine never do.)

“I can do that! I can sew rectangles! It’s like a pillowcase!”

“And a lot of skirts are like pillowcases! And a tote bag is like a pillowcase with a handle!”

At this we all had our minds blown by how easy sewing is when you realize how many projects can just be rectangles.

This is a kind of silly face but I wanted a closeup of the boat neck so that's what you get
I am on my way to a closet full of these dresses. They’re absolutely perfect for work. I can dress them down with a little sweater and some flats, or dress them up with heels and a structured blazer. I feel incredibly comfy while I’m teaching and I don’t have to worry about… not looking professional… when I bend over. Of course, it meets the ultimate wardrobe requirements for work clothes: they must look nice AND feel like pajamas. Check and check.

Model pose = no one ever stands like this
Though it looks more summery right now, Mr. Kopf's assessment is that this dress is very seasonally transitional. He expressed as much to me when he pointed out that I looked like a candy cane. If you invite me to a holiday party I will wear this... with green tights and pointy shoes.

P.S. Participated in my first hashtag-crazy-talk-to-everyone-sewing time on twitter the other day, under the hashtag #sewingsocial. It was so much fun! I found several more seamstresses to follow and blogs to read. If you're interested, join us! It was hosted by Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons blog. As I just popped to her blog to provide the link, I see she's working with striped knit too... maybe I should add sleeves for Autumn.... hmmm

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Bags and Blogs

Whenever I pop on here to write a new post or to show and tell my latest project, I'm always genuinely surprised and humbled by the amount of people who have stopped by to read. I sometimes wonder if it's just my mom checking it every hour or so, but that takes a lot of time out of one's day, and my mom has lots of things to do. I sincerely appreciate every comment, view, facebook like, and retweet. You guys are the best.

I'd like to take the blog further but I'm really not sure how. I'd like to make it look nicer for a better reading experience, take better photos, and really do justice to all the fun I'm having in my craftroom. I could probably figure these things out on my own, but they'd take a lot of time, and I've got myself a full time job teaching. It would be years before I got this to where I wanted it to be, so I looked around online for some help.

Several blog ladies I've been following for years seem to learn a lot through sewing conferences, and many have advocated for the Altitude Design Summit. I figured that was a total pipe dream until a few weeks ago, when they announced an online version of the conference, Alt for Everyone. I'd like to virtually attend, but it costs money and it's money I don't really have to spend right now. Mr. Kopf and I are both teachers, and with him in grad school, we try to be pretty careful.

So what happens when you don't have money? You make it. Or you make things, I guess. I've whipped up some tote bags and put them on my etsy store. Shipping is not included in the prices, but if you're local and send me a quick message, I'll give you a coupon code so your shipping will be free and I can deliver it to you in person. Some bags are paired with key fobs! And of course, there are still some pincushions...

Why yes, that's a chalkboard wall there. It's in my kitchen and it's pretty awesome and super fun. We love how our friends have decorated it!

Here's our vote on Star Wars vs. Star Trek... and someone included Battle Star Galactica. What?

This bag has cats on it... and I think I'm going to make one of my own!

All the money I make from these bags will go straight to my registration for the conference, and the conference experience will go straight into making this blog more fun, more entertaining, and more attractive! Hopefully you can find a bag you like and help me out!

Monday, September 2, 2013

It's The Great Fall To-Do List, Charlie Brown!

I can tell it by the smells... Pumpkins, apples, cranberries, crunchy dead leaves! Fall is coming!

After the moderate success of my Great Summer To-Do Lists at keeping me on track and productive, I decided I would make a real one for Fall. If you’ve hung around me long enough, you know I had one for Spring Break last year, and if I can pick one up for Spring, why not Fall as well? I’ve referenced before that my Fall list usually consists of “stay alive, grade papers, and make anything pumpkin (or apple)” but it’d be nice to be a little more specific than that…

I took a different approach to this one: the Pinterest approach. I pin so many things and then instantly don’t care about them, but they are so neat! I wanted to go through my boards and see if there was anything that jumped out at me to make or find or craft, and to finally accomplish some things from that ultimate to-do list/time suck that is Pinterest.

So here we have it, the Great Fall To-Do List, v. 1!

  1. Mustard or Yellow Skirt
If I’ve pinned it twice (as well as a yellow dress), then it must be something I want. I especially like the polka dots in the blouse of the first image. I happen to have a polka dot blouse… I’m 1/3 of the way to owning this whole outfit!

Mustard + tweed

  1. Fancy Sweatshirt?
I can see skinny jeans happening with this one. This is a kind of intimidating project for me, since I’d classify it as “outerwear” and I’ve never done “outerwear” before, and never “innerwear” either, just things you “wear.” I am going to search for a pattern somewhere, but if anyone has an idea where I can get one without me having to spend a considerable amount of my life on the internet, please let me know!

sweatshirt in disguise

stylish sweatshirt -- great with skinny jeans

  1. This Fox Plush
fox plush

Because it is just adorable. I have been wanting to make these for a while. Maybe they would be good Christmas presents for the nieces and nephews… Hmmm….

  1. Homemade Graham Crackers
Why not try this in the Fall, when I’m craving cinnamon-sugar things? (Cinnamon Sugar Grahams = the best!)

Homemade Graham Crackers

  1. Soups!
I’d like to learn how to make a good soup, and there are so many you can do in the crock pot. Perfect for chillier and chillier evenings as we head into winter.

tomato soup.  crockpot.

  1. Follow Tradition: Pick apples, make pumpkin bread, wear fancy boots, cuddle with my sweater collection. First I have to find fancy boots, since my old ones died. Anyone have any shopping suggestions?

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Flying Geese

The fourth block I did for Amy Smart's online quilting bee featured four flying geese wrapped around a little square. It was the first time I had ever done this particular quilt block, and I was intimidated. Oh my goodness, what is this little square on a rectangle and you cut away half the square and what is happening what am I doing aaaaaannd there's a flying goose. Hooray!

I try to push myself in both sewing garments and quilting. Earlier this year, I worked with triangles for the first time and did my little warm and cool zig zags. Now, I'm not only doing a new block, I was really focused on getting a large quilt together.
A substantial quilt! A full quilt.

I wanted to keep it as simple as possible so I could focus on the construction without worrying about colors and pattern placement. I'm sure most quilters spend the majority of their time like I do--planning, rearranging, playing with pattern scale--but I knew I wanted to eliminate that process in order to actually accomplish the biggest quilting endeavor I have ever attempted.

I know myself, and if I start something this big and it takes too long, I will put it away for a long, long, long time.

Thankfully, Mr. Kopf was out of town for three days in a row and I was locked in my sewing room with my wheat thins and my diet coke all by myself! I booked it, and got all my rows of geese finished.

I knew I didn't want to do the whole thing in black and white flying geese, but by arranging them all at the bottom, I made a little forest. I love my little, mysterious, fancy quilted forest. I can't wait to show you the finished top!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Maxi Skirt

I've been wanting to put together a maxi skirt for about a year now, but something about it always dissuaded me. I think I was intimidated by the yardage I'd need to get. Would there ever be a fabric I'd want that much of? How do I work with something that long? What tutorial should I use? You know there are a gazillion out there.

I finally decided I'd just figure it out. I could do an elastic waist skirt--I had made like two in college--and this was the same thing, just much longer. This time, I also had a serger, and that was very helpful.

Yes, this is a model pose.
I found a really fun silky floral from Hancock fabrics, slapped it together, and now I need to make another one. Now I need to make a tshirt dress version. Cotton and Curls has a wonderful tutorial on that. Super simple, super easy, and not at all intimidating!

At some point, I'm really going to have this posing thing DOWN. You just wait.

Now I just need a teacher top to go with it. This tank is not going to fly as professional-wear!

I'd love to do this maxi skirt/t-shirt dress in navy blue or a bright green... oh the dreams that will have to wait until fall break! Back to the classroom!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The New Craft Room

My crafting space has been through several incarnations since we moved to this city, and all of them have been documented here on the blog.

On August 3rd of last year, I did a post about the crafting space in our tiny one bedroom apartment, which was half of our bedroom. Mr. Kopf was so, so sweet and patient. He would keep his little corner so clean, but right next to it was an explosion of fabric.

We moved into a two bedroom apartment, and then I finally had a space all to myself. I was really amazed at how well I filled out the space. Did I really have this much stuff?? Yes. Yes, I did unfortunately.

Finally, we have a house. We're going to be here for many years, but eventually we'll put some kids into those bedrooms and I am going to enjoy having a big craft room all to myself for as long as possible.

I have a beautifully big window, a desk, and a six foot banquet table that holds my sewing machine and my serger at the SAME TIME.

I have space for my giant cutting mat, and my tower of fabric is out in the open where I can see my projects, and therefore, not forget about them.

My ironing board is always up. I can't tell you how convenient that is.

My rolly chair is so much fun to roll in between the desk and the table. Like walking in heels on a hard floor, the sound makes me feel very important.

It was a wonderful combination to have this summer: a new big craft room and a lot of free time. I got a lot of things done this summer, and I'm just hoping the momentum carries over into the school year!