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Happy Holidays!

December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy holidays to all our Sew Rational readers! We really appreciate you taking the time to read our blog! We have some fun ideas for posts in the new year, so keep your eyes out. We are both home with our families for the holidays, enjoying their company. Once all those fun homemade gifts are opened we will post some things about them. Here is a glimpse of my parents house this holiday season, it feels very festive!





Happy Holidays!
~Love and Stitches,


Hello, Strangers and Happy Holidays!

December 19, 2011

Well hello! It has been quite some time. I apologize for the break. As I said before, I have been busy working on wrapping up school things before break (yay we are done! boo if you saw the bag of grading I have…). Now that we are on break for a while I should have no excuses, but with the holidays I’m sure things will come up. To so of catch up you, here is what I have been up to!

A few weeks ago I decorated my apartment for Christmas! We put up a small tree (while watching the South Park Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo episode of course!)

got a nice poinsettia and filled a few glass jars with holiday things on the dining room table.

Overall the place feels very festive! Last weekend I went to another teacher’s house for a great holiday party, which helped get me into the spirit even more! They had delicious alcoholic egg nog, definitely a holiday treat! I spent the last few weeks making Christmas cookies as I mentioned before. I give bags of cookies to many of the people I work with for the holidays and I make a lot of different kinds. I store them at my parents house because I don’t have the space for all of them. Some years I have made 13 different types…this year I settled at a modest 9. Last Thursday night I went to my parents house to layout everything I made and make the bags. Here are all the cookies ready to be bagged!

And then in the giant bag I took to school!

They were a hit at school as usual and will be a hit on Christmas Eve and day I’m sure. The last day of school before break is always really fun, and this year was no exception. We have very short classes (26 minutes!) so I do something fun with the kids. This year we did a chemical reaction to coat the inside of small vials in silver metal. Then with ribbon they can make them into ornaments for their Christmas trees or Hanukkah bushes, etc. The kids seemed to have a great time and I always enjoy getting the chance to cut loose and have fun with them!

After the school day was over at 12:30 we had our work party at 12:31 which was, as usual, awesome! I really love the teachers I work with, so it is extra fun getting to hang out with them in a more relaxed setting when we don’t have lots of school work on our minds! Then on Saturday I went out with E. Chadwick for Santacon New Haven. Oh man, if you haven’t heard about Santacon you are missing out. Basically it happens in a bunch of different cities on weekends in December. People dress up as Santa, elves, reindeer, etc and go on a giant bar crawl. New Haven started at 10:30 am, but we joined at a more civilized 2:30. Here was the scene at the bar:

It lasted till at least 6 pm. At least that was when we ducked out to get some food in our bellies! After enjoying, that I went to a holiday party hosted by a guy at work. All in all, it was quite the festive day. Not to be outdone, Sunday turned out to be pretty great as well. The Redskins handled the Giants and won a great game! Then last night my friend Laura came over to exchange gifts, have Chinese food, watch Love Actually and help me with gift wrapping! We have done this the last few years and it always puts me in the holiday mood! The gifts look GOOD!


So this week I am going to finish up some crafting, I still have a few gifts left to work on. I am also going to make pierogies for Christmas eve with my grandmother and cousins. Then it will be holiday celebration time! My mom’s birthday is Friday and we are going to go to one of our favorite places for dinner. Then Saturday the Redskins are playing at 1 pm and it is Christmas eve! So many fun things going on, I love the holidays!! What are your plans?

~Love and Stitches,


Busy Crafting and Cooking…but not blogging

December 13, 2011

Alright so it is our last week of school before Christmas break! This is excellent because it means we have 17 days of vacation (not like I’m counting or anything…), but this last week is always crazy busy. Classes are getting wrapped up with tests and various other holiday activities are happening. I have been trying to finish a bunch of gifts and baking Christmas cookies. I’ll give you more details this weekend, but here is a glimpse!



Love and Stitches,

Embroidery on Christmas Cards

December 9, 2011

After having such a crafty year, I decided it would be fun to embroider some simple Christmas designs onto plain cards to send out for the holidays to my friends and family. I browsed online for some design inspiration and came up with a simple ornament that would require about 3 colors and wouldn’t take me too long to embroider. As usual, I completed them while watching TV, my trademark crafting time. I am still working on finishing about 5 more cards, but they have come out really nice. I first sketched the design in pencil (an advantage over having to put the design on fabric), punched holes with a needle for the entire design and then got to embroidering. I just wrote in Merry Christmas with a silver marker. It would look nice embroidered, but I got lazy. Here are some of the final products:

I also did a more elaborate NOEL design that I sent to my parents. I was really happy with how it came out…but it took FOREVER.

After all this embroidery and hand sewing of ties I woke up with a swollen hand and couldn’t move my fingers! A trip to the athletic trainers at school (they are our nurses) and I was wrapped up like this:

Yes, I got tendonitis from sewing. A crafting injury. Try not to laugh! However, I am happy to report after a day of icing and wrapping, my hand is back to normal! 🙂

I also sent a few cards to my college friends through the Cards app that was new to the iPhone with iOS 5. You customize a card with a picture and some text and they mail it for about $3.00 including postage. You just look up the person’s address in your contacts and it writes it right on the outside of the card. Not bad for a custom photo card, done right from your iPhone! I’ll let you know how they come out and what kind of feedback I get from my friends. Anyone have any creative holiday card ideas? I’m always looking for something fun!

~Love and Stitches,


More Elvery, or, Measure Twice, Cut Once

December 7, 2011


This weekend, Krypton and I sat down to make some ties for some men we love!  Little did we know (well, really, just in my case) how difficult it would turn out to be.  Thor is an habitual bow tie wearer, so I wanted to make him a bow tie out of the fabric I bought at Mood a few weeks ago.  Since I only had a limited amount of that fabric, Krypton and I both used some homespun that I had lying around.  As you will see, the fabric was crazy candy colors–the fabric had been given to me by a colleague who made some bandanas for a daughter’s dance performance long ago.  Krypton had a pattern for her tie, but I didn’t, so I used a tie I had borrowed from Thor for this express purpose.  I traced (what I thought) was half the tie onto a piece of printer paper, added a seam allowance, and first tried cutting on the bias, placing the pattern on the fold:

Aside from possibly creating a ridiculous new fashion trend–perpendicular bowties–this first cut was useless.  Clearly the math teacher made a boo-boo (hey, I teach Algebra, not Geometry) and I had to start over.  I cut on the bias, but cut two separate pieces that did not include a fold and stitched them together.

Now THAT looks more like a bowtie.  Notice two pieces are sewn together–my idea was to create another piece that looked just like this, then sew them almost all the way around and turn the piece inside-out.  This is me ruggedly jamming a chopstick up the tie as a turning tool–I quickly realized that I would be unable to turn the tie because of the narrow path created by the neckband.  Here the pictures get a little spotty, because, as they say in politics, “mistakes were made.”  I created a perfect gingham bowtie…oh wait, two edges are exposed.  I fixed that issue and made a perfect gingham bowtie.  Then, I created the same tie out of the silk (albeit more carefully) and it looked BEAUTIFUL!  But in going to put it on, I wondered why it felt so tight.  Thor’s neck is a good three and a half inches bigger than mine, and this was never going to work.  So why on earth didn’t this work if I had used HIS bowtie?  Ladies and gentlemen, by trying to avoid the hardware (adjusting hook and whatnot) in the tie, I neglected to realize that the hardware creates two sides of the tie unequal in length, and I had gone with the shorter one.  So, basically ruining the streamlined look of my piece, I had to insert a lumpy middle section.  Sigh.  The tie certainly looks “special” when sitting around, but Thor tried it on and you couldn’t tell at all.  Yes, I already gave the tie to Thor because I was disappointed at my efforts.  Krypton fared better:

She was working from a pattern, so her job was much easier (though she did request my help to show her how to slip-stitch the tie).  Above are some of her cutouts and here is the mockup of the tie…

Nice fashion choice, Krypton.  Stripes and plaid aside, she knew there were a few issues she would fix in the actual tie-making process (notice the point at the bottom isn’t even, etc.)  Here’s her finished tie for her dad:

This side of the fabric is actually the “wrong side,” but we both agreed that it looked better since the gradient of colors was much more pronounced.  Krypton embroidered her dad’s initials into the back of the tie and added a loop to it!

Now it’s my job to create the tie for E. Chadwick (Krypton kindly cut out the pieces for me).  Let’s hope it goes way better than my bowtie experience!  Not to mention I still have to make a whole shirt for my dad!  Eep!  Gotta run and craft!

~Love and Stitches,

Miss Pascal

We are Santa’s Elves

December 2, 2011

So I have been trying to kick it into gear a bit more with my gift making/crafting over the last week to get ready for the holidays. I am going to start baking cookies soon which means two things. One, expect a few posts about them. And two, my sewing time will be limited so I need to get going now! Since it is past Thanksgiving it is now acceptable for me to decorate for the holidays and start listening to Christmas music! I have a large Christmas playlist on my iPhone and listen to my favorites (All I Want for Christmas is You sung by Mariah Carey is one of the best). I helped my parents decorate at their house this weekend, putting up the tree and decorating the whole house.

Decorating meant that I got to give my parents the cork garland! It was a huge hit and found a home on the fireplace. I LOVE the way it looks actually hung up!

After this inspiration, I hit up JoAnn’s for some more fabric to use for various gifts. I spent a few hours the other night cutting out LOTS of fabric, totally feeling like one of Santa’s elves.  While I was cutting out all of this…

…All I was singing in my head was “We are Santa’s Elves”, a total classic from the 1964 Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer movie. I watch it every year in addition to Love Actually and Elf, of course.

Expect a post of some of my finished work sometime soon!

~Love and Stitches,


Miss Pascal’s Crafting History: A New Chapter

November 30, 2011

I only recently learned how to knit.  Actually, let me rephrase that…I only recently learned how to knit the RIGHT WAY.  I learned how to knit for the first time sometime in high school–my girlfriends and I all made each other variations on the same striped scarf (a Where’s Waldo kind of thing) and I made a scarf for my high school boyfriend.  Since I was the only left-hander in the group, I had to learn by observing my friends and then switching everything they did upside-down and backwards.  Left-handed diagrams or picures in books were hard to come by and difficult to understand in conjunction with written explanations.  I read about purling and learned how to recognize a few basic stitches (stockinette and seed stitch, mainly), and although I could create scarves, the whole process seemed really foreign to me.  The only project that I’d knitted up until recently that I was really proud of was a scarf I made for my college boyfriend, which I hope he still has)–a soft brown seed-stitch number (notice a pattern?  I like making men things, and consequently Dad is going to have to stop reading around Christmastime).  Anyway, although there was a set of knitting needles lying in a drawer in my sewing room, I pretty much felt that knitting as a concept was beyond me (much like Krypton and sewing patterns, har har).

Enter Chloe, one of my closest confidantes and co-owner of Knitting Central, an online knitting shop (  She creates beautiful work and duing our “crafting dates” is usually working on a new pattern or something really exciting and, to me, mystical.  During one crafting date recently, while I was working on our Halloween costumes, I told her I knew how to knit but was always wondering if I was doing it correctly.  Chloe, who has also taught plenty of kniting classes, waited patiently as I showed her my pitiful excuse for a cast-on (she showed me the long-tail cast on in a much more efficient way) and basic stitches.  It turned out that my self-taught technique wasn’t inherently flawed–I knew both the basic purl and knit stitch–but I was knitting upside-down (holding the needle with the work in the wrong hand) and using inefficient hand movements to slow down my work.  Chloe definitely turned on her “teacher voice” and taught me how to knit RIGHT!  After about 20 minutes and a bunch of yarnovers (when you forget to bring the yarn to the front/back when you switch from knit to purl or vice versa), my head hurt but I had retrained myself the right way.  I was stoked and was ready to start some projects!

SPOILER ALERT:  If your name is Liz or Jane and you are related to Miss Pascal, stop reading.  🙂

My first project was a set of chunky arm warmers for my sister Liz–I knitted flat pieces and then sewed the edges together, leaving a gap in the seam for the thumb to go through.  It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but the arm warmers are a rich plum color!


My next project was my first foray into knitting in the round.  Using a stockinette stitch (just knitting) all around, I made a super-soft cowl for my dad’s girlfriend, Jane.  It’s basically a neckwarmer–a circular scarf–that drapes a little bit:

I was sick with a cold a few weekends ago and decided to try following a pattern to make my first hat.  I found the pattern on–a Facebook of sorts for knitters.  All you have to do is sign up for a free account, and you can search thousands of patterns using very specified criteria (like needle size, yarn weight, and the exact kind of garment). Thor was the intended recipient, and I wanted to make a simple watch cap to match his new winter coat.  My first attempt was a lumpy rendering of the pattern–it was too big, the decrease stitches at the top didn’t quite match, and the ribbing at the bottom was too long.  Thor tried it on and it definitely didn’t “fit” him (not just the size–it didn’t look good).  Over the past few days, I tried again, edited the pattern, and now it fits him perfectly!  Not to mention that it was a cinch to make!  He was sitting beside me as I knitted most of it, so he is fully aware that this is the first of his Hanukkah gifts, but it was worth spoiling the surprise to know that it is just his size and style.