Saturday, March 24, 2012


Thanks to an ingenious birthday gift (xoxo, A!) I had a happy evening recently at a how-to class for Kokedama. I'd stumbled upon these amazing string gardens over at Pinterest (oh how I love thee, you fantastic-ly gigantic time-suck) and without even seeing my pin, Mr. Man decided to send me to a class. You know you've hit the jackpot when your partner knows you'll flip for something before he's actually seen you flip for it.

Of course I fell in love with these little gardens because of their simply beauty. I consider it a mere bonus that you can hang them from the ceiling if you want, though I think lots of people are drawn to them for that reason. But imagine my surprise, dear reader, when I learned that the plants are wrapped in moss before you tie them up with string. I mean, come on, this was a craft meant for me, right?

I made two hanging ones at the workshop (not pictured in this post) but I think I'm actually going to avoid hanging them. I learned that traditionally they are placed on little dishes, and I do love the way they look sitting around the house. The above Kokedama are daffodil and grape hyacinth bulbs which I bought in two pots, separated the bulbs out and wrapped them up in little groupings.

I can't wait 'till these guys bloom.
I experimented with an orchid because I like to live dangerously and also the orchids at my garden center are going out of bloom and so they are 50% off. I also like to live cheaply.
And this is a scented geranium which smells much less like cat pee than normal geraniums do. Also, it's super pretty all wrapped up.
The materials for these guys are easy to find at a good garden supply stores, though I'm not sure about where to get sheet moss. Well, I am sure where to get it on the internet (here) but I'm not sure that garden centers carry living moss. You can't use the preserved moss because I'm told it will get funky as it ages (and you keep it moist) and also, what the heck do they do to moss to preserve it? It freaks me out, so lets agree to stop using it. I, of course, simply went to my stash of sheet moss that I harvested when we moved from our last house; if you don't move with a box full of dried sheet moss, you're clearly doing something wrong.

I took my class at City Planter and here's a good tutorial that's pretty close to the method I learned. Now, go get your Kokedama on!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Another skirt, in size: me.

Alrighty, it took me a few years, but I finally cut into my gorgeous Nani Iro double gauze...and it turned into a skirt! Inspiredby my newly organized studio space (read: fabric displayed in open shelves, organized by color!), and the fact that a sweet little stitching studio opened up nearby, I decided it was finally time to get a little instruction for pattern-reading. I'm a completely self-taught sewist. My dad showed me how to sew a straight seam and backstitch when I was a kid, but no one ever told me how to use a pattern properly. I'm not sure how this happened, since my dad made me some dresses when I was little and I know he was using patterns, though I suspect that he was just winging it as I have been all these years. I mean, do people really cut out all those notches? Do they really transfer all of the markings onto the pattern? Do they really cut with the grain? Um, apparently they do. Here are some things I learned:

- After you cut your pattern, fold back the paper to the mark you need to transfer and use a disappearing pen to make the mark (on the wrong side of the fabric!). Maybe this all seems really obvious, but I never really considered how to transfer markings without literally going through the paper. Using this technique, transferring darts was a breeze; I just folded the paper back little by little, making two lines of dots that converged at the point marked on the pattern. Then the darts were pinned by matching the dots up as the fabric was folded (so it was important to mark the dots for each side of the dart in the same horizontal line).

- Use pins. Just do it. It's a pain, they are annoying, but just do it. My instructor had us pin the patterns before cutting fabric and this was probably a lot better than my "stick whatever semi-heavy object it nearest to you on the paper and hope that it doesn't shift while cutting" method.

-Use your cranium before you stick pins into pieces you are preparing to sew together so that they are facing the right direction you'll be sewing in. This took about 1 billionth of an extra second's worth of thought and was really, really worth it.

- I'm not ready to admit that this is a lesson learned, because I'll probably still not do it, but making a muslin isn't a bad idea. I didn't technically make one for this project, but I did decide to make a lining for the skirt...and then the lining turned out to be a muslin and we took the seams in at the hips a bit. Maybe the lesson needs to be to make a lining for every skirt?

The zipper went in all lovey-dovey, and I opted to not create the yoke or placket or whatever for the waist. I just sewed everything with right sides together, then turned the lining and sewed a top stitch to keep it down. I'm good at topstitching, so this is a good solution for me; if you hate topstitching, don't do it!

For the hem, I used the ribbon method from the skirt I made for Bean a few weeks ago. It makes a nice, clean edge and I like hunting through my boxes of ribbons to see what works. I believe this ribbon was from a gift from my mother-in-law (she knows how I save all of this stuff!)

made. by k.d.