2015’s Project: Learn.¬†

Twenty Crafteen is almost over, friends. This year I made (deep breath): coasters, tote bags, crayon rolls, aprons, circle skirts (I miss wearing you so very much), a misshapen dress, baskets, zippered pouches, wine totes, pajama pants, pajama shorts, a nightgown, and baby blankets. 

I didn’t make everything I wanted to make. I was so hoping to make a dress that a) fit and b) I liked, but that didn’t quite happen. But. BUT. 

I started 2015 by texting my amazing friend a picture of my machine’s deconstructed bobbin case with the caption: “what is this and what did I do.” I cried over that stupid bobbin case. 

I started 2015 not knowing how to sew a straight line. 

I started 2015 with no handmade clothes in my closet. 

I started 2015 a less patient person. 

To really stick with a new skill, you have to be patient with yourself and forgiving of yourself, things I’m not sure I have ever done. Past Me had visions of the Wondrous Creations that would fly from my machine with no effort at all. I got frustrated when I realized that this would not be the case. I thought I was failing because I was inherently bad at sewing. 

I changed my expectations, but I still pushed myself to try more challenging projects. And now, at the tail end of the year, I have skills I didn’t have before. I’m proud as hell. And maybe a bit more forgiving of myself?

At the very least, my bobbin case doesn’t make me cry anymore. 


August’s Project: The Zaftig Housewife

I’ve been absent for a while…. There’s a good reason for that. Remember when I talked about Project Tango Zulu Hotel?
I opened an Etsy store! It’s called The Zaftig Housewife, and it went live about five minutes ago.

This is a nerve-wracking new venture for me. As you all know, I only started this year-long sewing project eight months ago. I’m certainly not as experienced as many other sewists, but I know that the items I’m offering (for now) are high-quality and fun. Eventually I’m going to offer custom circle skirts, totes, and zippy pouches.

Everything is colorful, functional, and fun. Functionality is really important to me; there’s already so much clutter in our lives, so if you’re going to invest in something new, it should fit into your daily routine and make your life better. (I sell wine totes.)

My first goal with my shop is to make enough money to buy myself a new sewing machine that has embroidery capabilities. Everyone seems to love a monogram! My longterm goal is to sustain my sewing habit with this shop. I’m not going to be a millionaire, or even a thousandaire, but I might be able to break even.


And don’t fret, friends. I’m still continuing on my sewing journey. Next up: a cute knit top.

Thank you for all of your support and feedback. It means the world to me!

May’s Project: Dresses

I thought it would take me the majority of the year to build my skills to Dressmaker Level. However, I think I found a pattern or two that I can try now (even though it’s not May yet). 

My first attempt is Butterick 4790. It’s a retro pattern from 1952! I love retro dresses, and ones from the ’50s usually have just the right shape for my curves. This dress is really neat; it goes over your head and then the back snaps at the front waist, creating a sheath and overskirt look. 

Of course, I chose bright, bold fabrics because I can’t bring myself to wear neutral colors. 

The feathery fabric (L) will be the back and overskirt; the floral will be the bodice and front skirt.

Yeah. I like color. 

I cut my pieces out today. There are only three pattern pieces (a total of four fabric pieces) to this dress, so they are all huge and obnoxious to cut. Tomorrow I’m going to tackle darting! Stay tuned. 

Crafting, Anxiety, and Granola

This article on CNN Health yesterday really hit home for me. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which basically means my brain overthinks everything and I’m always worried. I could be on the beach, sipping a margarita, and I’d still be worried about¬†something. It doesn’t even matter what I’m worried about; it’s usually something that most people would think of as insignificant. My overactive brain makes relaxing pretty much impossible. But new studies show that crafting, whether it’s knitting, scrapbooking, glass etching (more on that tomorrow), or decoupage, can help anxious and depressed people calm their minds. Focusing on a craft project can bring your mind to a state of flow, where you become so engrossed in something that it’s hard to think about anything else. Crafting has definitely done this for me; I find that when I craft, I become relaxed and, as a bonus, have a sense of pride in my accomplishment. I feel the same way when I cook. So get out to the craft store, get some glitter, and calm your brain. This morning, I made granola, something I’d attempted before, but never successfully. This is delicious, easy, and multi-purpose; it’s great in yogurt, with milk, or just in dry handfuls stuffed in your mouth.

Fruit & Nut Granola

  • 8C rolled oats
  • 1.5C oat bran
  • 1C chopped almonds
  • 1C chopped walnuts
  • 1.5t salt
  • 1/2C brown sugar
  • 1/2C honey
  • 1/4C molasses
  • 1C vegetable oil
  • 1T cinnamon
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 2C dried cranberries (or pineapple, or raisins, or mango, or whatever)

Preheat oven to 325F. Combine oats, bran, and nuts in a really big bowl. Combine salt, brown sugar, honey, molasses, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepan; bring to a boil, then pour over the dry ingredients and stir until it’s all coated. Spread evenly over two baking sheets. (I didn’t line mine and it worked perfectly). Bake for 20 minutes; stir at the 10-minute mark. When you take the granola out, it will look like you messed it up; it won’t be crunchy or anything. Don’t worry! Once it’s cooled, it will transform, and you can take a spatula and chunk it up. After it’s cooled, mix the dried fruit in with the granola. Store in an airtight container.