The Mystic and Her Transmog Machine

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B.C.  (before children) hubby and I use to play a lot of Diablo III.  A key part of the game is buffing up your character with garments and weapons that have beneficial stats to create a highly efficient demon killer.  Sometimes, the gear with the stats you need looks pretty lame while really wicked looking gear is crap for stats.  That’s when you visit the Mystic to transmogrify. For a price, she can make your ideal garment by altering the gear you need to look like the gear you want.  

My transmog machine isn’t quiet that efficient.  It takes a lot more effort to turn RL fabric into custom garments, but the results are more than worth it.  It is a kind of magic to watch a piece of yardage or a castoff garment be cut to pieces and then assembled (re-assembled) into something beautiful and useful.  

A Sip of Fall

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Fall brings a lot of warm fuzzies at our house.  It is the season my husband and I met (fun fact, our first date was on Halloween) and also the first season we enjoyed under the same roof.  It was fall when we found out we were expecting our first baby and almost exactly a year later we took our cross country adventure to move our then small family back to my home state.  We’ve done a lot of memory making in the crisp Autumn air.  

Favor is a big emotional marker for both my husband and I, so when the days start to grow cool we begin to dream of our fall favorites.  I simmer huge pots of soup on the stove all day, bake pumpkin everything, and ladle up mugs of steaming hot cider.  This past weekend, I made our first batch of cider for the year and shared it with some of the neighbors.  It was a big hit.

I have been making cider this way for years now, but apparently its gingery punch is not the norm.  If you prefer less zing, feel free to reduce the ginger.  Always use fresh spices and apple juice with as little processing as you can find.  I prefer organic and unpasteurized.  

Spiced Cider

1 gallon 100%, unsweetened apple juice 

1 cup sugar

3 cinnamon sticks

3 slices unpeeled, organic orange

3 whole cloves

3 slices fresh ginger

A pinch of salt

Place all ingredients in a large, covered pot and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 hours.  Serve hot.  


That’s all there is to it. Really, the waiting is the hardest part, but the house will smell amazing!   

The Story of a Hat (Abridged Version)

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Once-upon-a-time (like 5 minutes ago), this was a nice long post about how I found some yarn at a thrift store and made myself a hat.  


The yarn was heather grey and 60% wool, 40% acrylic and cost me a whooping $1.50.


I whipped the hat up with some ninja free-style knitting, left it on the counter for days before blocking it, then had a bugger of a time getting a good selfie.  


So I drank some mead. After which I came up with the wonderful idea of having my husband (who had also been drinking mead) photograph me in the hat.


He went all into an Austin Powers photo shoot routine.  And the results were interesting to say the least.


Then I waited another 24 hours, edited the photos and wrote a blog post.  Only to (completely sober) accidentally delete it.  

I like my hat.  The mead was tasty.  My brownies are cool enough to cut.  Thanks for reading and see you next time!

A Bargan or a Bribe?

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Today at the thrift store, The Blue Eyed Cyclone wanted a talking Barney book.  

It was my fault.  

I told her and her sister to each choose a book.  Nevertheless, I couldn’t stomach the idea of paying for that book when I knew I was going to have to make it disappear ASAP.  

No other book would do.  I tried.  So I started playing big cards.  

“If you put this book back, I’ll make you a new tutu today.”

She didn’t think twice before cramming the book back on the shelf and we came home with three spools of Halloween print tule ($1.25 each at said thrift store). Holding up my end of the bargan, I started cutting tule strips as soon a the younger two went down for a nap. 


In a moment of sanity before starting supper, I slipped into the sewing room (aka. my bedroom) and stitched the ends of an elastic length together.  Then I started making.  One or two strips here and there.  

Stir the pasta sauce.  Add a strip.

Turn the sausages.  Add a strip.

Set the table.  Add a strip.


It was slow going until I sat down for some evening coffee with the hubby.  Then I started rolling and had the tutu finished before bedtime, just like I promised.  


She loved it so much that she wore it to bed.  Furthermore, she was in such a good mood that she shared another tutu with her little sister so they could both dance  “lallay” in their dreams.  

Wrap Me Up

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I ran across this image a few days ago, while wearing these pants and decided that they were just too good not to share.  After all, I wear them a few to several times a week. They go with everything from t-shirts to my favorite Lagenlook jacket and are amazingly comfortable.    

Better yet. Since they were created with stash fabric I bought years ago and a slub knit fabric from a no longer needed maternity dress, they were essentially free.  

So why hadn’t I used this amazing fabric?  To start with, it wasn’t what I thought it was.  It was my one and only order from a well known online fabric store and was listed as “embroidered cotton lawn.”  I wanted to make a flirty skirt.  What I got was actually embroidered cotton broadcloth.  Big difference. Also, the base fabric was originally white.

Back to the story at hand.  

When I got the idea to make a pair of pants from this yardage, the first thing that had to be addressed was color.  White pants just don’t suit my life.  So, I broke into my stash of RIT dye and fixed that right up.  

Then I drafted my pattern right onto the fabric.  The pieces looked somewhat like this.


Please note, my diagram is not to scale! I cut the leg and pocket from my embroidered cotton and the waistband and tie from the upcycled dress. In addition, I applied a decorative trim of the knit around the hem and at the top of the pocket.  

It was one of those start to finish, one evening makes and it was probably some of the most valuable time I’ve spent at my machine in years.  The amount of wear I get out of these pants is astounding.  

When I was tossing around the idea of creating these, I really wondered how well they would fit into my life.  

Would they stay up?  Are they practical for a busy mama?  

Absolutely!  


However, next time I make them I will change a few things. Most notably, I intend to drop the crotch a bit more since it seems to pull about the butt and hips when I’m up and down with the kids. Also, instead of making them sandal length, I plan to add about 3 inches. Nothing big and I certainly am going to make another pair.  

Not Sew Simple

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I spent all day yesterday debating rather to blog this make or not.  As much as I want to be.  I’m just not in love with it.  Which is unfortunate, because I am in love with this fabric: a charcoal and white double knit cotton with stripes on one side and dots on the other.  Its silky soft too.


When I bought this fabric over two years ago, I planned to make a tank style, reversable, maternity dress.  The project was about number three on my sewing list, but by the time I got to it my old machine had developed a taste for fabric.  It ate everything I tried to put through it.  So, the fabric went into the stash and by the time I had a new machine I had moved on to other things and I was no longer pregnant.  I rediscovered it this fall and have been obsessing over it for a few weeks.  I knew I wanted to keep it simple, but I didn’t want a t-shirt.  

Enter the thrifted pattern.  

Usually, I sew for me using self drafted patterns.  I gave up on commercial patterns years ago when I realized that I was spending more time resizing them than I would spend actually making the pattern myself.  Plus, I never quite follow a pattern the way it was designed.  However, this pattern was simple and basic.  That’s exactly what I wanted.  What could go wrong.

Why did I ask?


I started out with a pattern size smaller than what the manufacturer recommended, because I didn’t want my tunic to be quite as boxy as the one pictured.  Even then I had to size it down.  The very first thing I did was take 3/8 inch off all around the neck line.  Still it was enormous, so I did a little tricky thing with the collar by handstiching in a box pleat and embellishing the detail with two vintage buttons.  

Oh and yes, my facing is on the outside and made with an entirely different process than the pattern intended.  

I also took 1 inch off the bust at underarm on each piece (a total of four inches) and tapered it out to the waist.  Then I lowered and set the bust point back by 1 inch in each direction.  Thankfully, the fitting on the bodice is perfect.  


Thinking I was in the clear, I stitched it all together and discovered that I had forgotten something very important.  I failed to size down the shoulder (and the collar is still larger than I would prefer).  


The excess size makes it a little more relaxed than I had intended.  Layered under or over another garment it is feasible, but on its own it feels like a night shirt. I sure the fabric choice and lettuce edged hems don’t help.   

I have thought about removing the sleeves and doing the alteration to the shoulder, but mentally I have already moved on to bigger and better things.  Layering is my look anyway, so I’ll just go with it.  


Which leads me into an older make. My favorte upcycle jacket that will more than likely become the constant companion to this tunic.  It’s pretty simple and to the point, but I love it.