Monday, December 28, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Knowing that there would be some serious movie watching going on here I decided it was about time to finish a pair of socks that have been on my to-do list for a couple of months now.
What do you think....
There really is another one I just couldn't figure out how to get both of them on the chair without Alex and the Girls jumping on me.
The yarn is wool with aloe in it. I think the aloe is to make the wool softer to wear.
These were knit from the toe up and include a bunch of cables. Fortunately the yarn's colors hide any mistakes I made in the knitting. I've worn them all day and have now realized that they do not go with any of the shoes I own so I guess they will be house socks for now.
Another UFO done.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I remember thinking many years ago that there was no way I could ever make it to the year 2000 as 48, my age in 2000, was so ancient.
Now I was sitting in a room of bright, beautiful, creative women and they were all over that ancient age of 48.
How my feelings about age have changed!
But enough about age.
We're talking about Sewing Holiday Parties and, for them, its about the location, the food and the loot.
Most of the parties have been held in private homes and the hostesses seem to go all out to decorate to the hilt. Today's home was a prime example. There were towers of glittery ornaments and lots and lots of green wired ribbon bows everywhere. This home was so decorated that the wire mesh waste basket holding a standard green garbage bag had lots of the same green ribbon looped and draped all around the upper edge.
Now that's decorating.
The food for these parties ranges from packages of exotic cookies from the grocery store to dishes that have been in people's families for generations. I brought food from Sweet Sadies to a few (beans or brisket) and salads made from kits to others. I am so going to miss sampling all the fine eating of this season . Going back to lunches of peanut butter sandwiches will be a real let down.
The loot is the icing on the proverbial cake. Each of these sewing related parties has included a gift exchange of some sort. In general, those that participate collect some sewing related items and wrap them up. The participants choose one of the secret gifts or can steal a previously opened gift. The number of times a gift can be stolen is usually limited and its fun watching people trying to figure out out if their targeted gift will still be in play when their turn comes around to pick.
The party today had an unusual twist to it in that gifts were not swapped but each of us was challenged to create an apron using only stuff that we had on hand in our resource centers.
I created a reversible apron using a pattern in Lotta Jansdotter's 'simple sewing' book. The fabric was from Clothworks retired fabrics called 'Well Done'. One fabric had lots of cooking words on it like baste, saute and grill while the other fabric was full of cartoonish restaurant staff.
I received an origami apron done in a lovely peach and cream linen blend fabric. Here's a link to a similar creation.
With a week to go before Christmas, and two weeks before New Year's Eve I am partied out. I still have a couple of small gatherings I plan to attend but there are no obligations attached to any of them.
Little did I know when I started to get more active is various sewing related groups that my hoiday schedule get so interesting.
I wonder what it will be like next year?
I better start dieting now so I can enjoy the wonderful food even more that I have this year.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Not pretty but there are bits that are quite pleasing like the Japanese lady and the fish motifs.
Not letting it go into the trash bin after the huge investment in time to had spent, I decided to use the bits I liked in several little projects.
From one 16"x 20" ugly fabric collage I came up with a holder for my iPod Nano Touch:
Attached to my purse
A cover for my address book,
And, a box to hold paper and pens near my sewing machine.
Not bad for an ugly piece of collage.
I hope your weekend is going well and that the typical pre-holiday cleaning is not getting you down. I have set a small goal for myself... getting all the laundry done AND put away in the right drawers and closets. Somehow laundry gets done here with great regularity but not everything gets put away correctly. Tea towels end up piled on the counter, socks to be folded languish on a dresser top and towels get re-used before even seeing the inside of the linen closet. For just one day I would like to see it all done and put away.
And while I am working towards laundry nirvana I will be on the look out for more UFOs that I can complete before year-end.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Not that a gift certificate would not be appreciated but there are other places to find great gifts and stocking stuffers for sewers.
For instance, at the electronics store, you can find an iPod phone or iPod Nano Touch. This gift would give the sewer not only a nice MP3 type musc player but a lot of applications are out there that would appreciated like a quilt block sampler or a set of videos on how to do several complex sewing related tasks.
While you are there you can also get the little vacuum attachments for sucking up dust from delicate computers. Great for getting all the thread lint out of the bobbin area of any sewing machine.
Over at the hardware store there are a lot magnetized gadgets that are a real boon to those of us who work with dangerous things like pins and needles. One that I use a lot is a pointer type thing with a magnet in the tip. They even make them wth an LED light in the tip as well. Just run it under the sewing table and pins and needles just leap onto the tip ready for re-use.
Another thing I have heard about, but not personally seen, is a magnetic bowl that mechanics use to corral nuts and bolts. I must get one of these as I have heard you only need to fling things in the direction of the bowl and the pins and needles just jump into it for re-use.
At the office supply store there are a lot of things that sewers need. Pick up some extra paper and printer cartridges. Not galmorous but they would save a lot of cursing when the sewer finds out that there is no paper or ink in the printer when they just have to print out 25 pages of how to sew a particular project. Files folders, plastc sheet protectors, newsprint sheets, colorful binders and file boxes are always in great demand when the urge to re-oganize somes upon the sewer.
And don't forget the grocery store as a source of stocking stuffers for sewers. Skip the flowers and pre-made dinners and find the freezer paper. My freezer paper has not made it back into the kitchen for months as I have been using it a lot to make applique templates. A not very galmorous gift but a great stocking stuffer would be washable glue in sticks or bottles. Don't forget to pick up some colored pencils, marking pens, Sharpies, lead pencils, art erasers or crayons. All are things that are needed by the sewer and just never seem to be on hand when needed.
If you must go into a sewing store, consider an expensive add-on for the sewer's current sewing machine, new embroidery disks, or, if you must, a new, top-of-the-line sewing machine. More modest needs are straight pins, size one safety pins, big spools of the sewer's favorite neutral sewing thread or pre-wound bobbins.
For as little as a $1.00 even a cash strapped little kid can make a sewer's life brighter.
Here's the lazy part... she made 50 based on my mention of this project. I, on the other hand, only made twelve.
Its nice to have inspired someone to contribute so much but I feel a lot of guilt that I made so few.
What's a 'one Yard Hug' you ask?
Basically you take one of yard of cute cotton flannel, hem or serge the edges, then donate them to a local hospital that gives them to new moms who may not have any receiving blankets for their new babies.
With cotton flannels on sale everywhere this time of year this is an inexpensive project and, if you serge the edges, it only takes about five minutes to get one done.
Please consider this project if you are ever looking to use up some stash flannels or searching for a group giving project.
The moms and babies will be greatful and your stash will thank you for the breathing room.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
3 "cupcake / sweets themed" fat quarters (fabric that measures 18"x20" at minimum)
1 yummy cupcake recipe
1 sewing notion min.
1 or more cupcake paraphernalia
I was lucky enough to draw a Home Ec. teacher as my swap buddy and here is what she sent:
She included a bunch of fun things including some cute fat quarters, a handmade cupcake-like pin cushion and a cupcake shaped placemat. The recipe is for Snickerdoodle Cupcakes (how good does that sound?).
I have only participated in this swap twice and have enjoyed evrything that I have sent and received, which can be a rarity in swaps. The problem with swaps is that I originally joined thinking I would be able to reduce some of my surplus resources but, in most cases, I have ended up with more than I actually sent!
I hope your weekend is going well. As most people know, Houston had about four inches of snow during the day yesterday. Snow is not a complete rarity here as Houston sits right below the Great Plains so storms can sometimes roll right down from the north without anything to stop it. Unfortunately I hear that there will be another chance for snow next week. Personally I don't mind the snow but the Girls hate it and have to be forced outside to go for walks. Alex, on the other hand, doesn't seem to notice and just loves to be anywhere I am... even if it is only twenty degress out.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Yup, I love it all.
This Black Frday there wasn't all that much I was excited about in most of the ads but JoAnn's, once again, was selling what I needed.
This is when I stock up on needed items... like batting for quilts at $4.40 a yard rather than the $10.99 regular price (I bought the whole bolt) or interfacing for garments and bags at $0.30 a yard or flannel for one yard hugs at $1.19 a yard. Love it, love it, love it!
I was also able to put together children's art kits at Michaels for under $10.00 each. These will be going to a local charity once I get some tote bags made to hold each set.
I'm almost sorry that its over. There is one toy I was looking for but did not get. I am now searching on-line to see if I can find it before they are all sold out or the store's servers crash (JoAnn's are down for the count.).
Wish me luck!
Friday, November 27, 2009
Poem By Joanna Fuchs
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
It's called 'Jane Austen's Sewing Box'. Subtitled 'Craft Projects & Stories From Jane Austen's Novels', the author, Jennifer Forrest, takes fourteen projects referenced in Jane Austen's novels and gives you a historical perspective on the project, excerpts from the novels relating to the project and then gives you instructions on how to reproduce the project.
Projects include a 'huswife', a bonnet, a needlepoint pillow, a knitted miser bag and nine more for you to try out.
I love this book.
It is a joy to read each section with the mix of historical information and the bits from the novels.
The projects are interesting and the illustrations are lavish.
Just browsing through it for a bit this afternoon I was taken back to the Regency Period and kept imagining myself the clothing of the period sitting in the rooms pictured working on paper flowers for the coming holidays.
Although this book does not have a U.S. publisher, it is available through Amazon from several sellers. Mine came from The Book Depository in Gloucester, U.K. It only took a week to get here and I am so looking forward to cuddling up in bed with Alex and the Girls to read it this evening.
For those who watch the movies based on Austen's novels and get distracted from the action by the clothing, accessories and home decorations, this is the book for their library.
If you can start the day without caffeine and pep pills,
If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when loved ones are too busy to give you time,
If you can overlook when people take things out on you when, through no fault of yours something goes wrong,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can do all these thing,
Then you are probably the family dog.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I don't seem to do well with New Year resolutions. I usually fail to follow those for more than a month or so but my short attention span works great for shorter periods.. like about 39 days instead of 365.
So here goes... no new projects unless they have to be done for giving this holiday season.
All other activity will be focussed on getting projects done that have been started already... like the little quilt I started back in September or another one from October or the fabric collage from two years ago or the class project from a year ago or on and on and on.
I had a similar resolution a couple of years ago and it really worked in cleaning up my sewing space.
I hope this plan works again this year or I will have to move houses just to find space for all the unfinished projects around here.
Wish me luck!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
On Thursday Evening KNOT (Knitting North of Town) had their holiday party. We had some great food and some great show and tell. I took a sweater I have been working on for a while and got about two inches done on one of the sleeves. Of course, this sleeve is all I have worked on for about two months and I still have many inches to go before even that sleeve is done. I am working on this pattern from Knit Picks. Since it uses lace weight yarn its probably going to take the rest of the winter to get it finished at this rate.
On Friday morning I met with the little group of knitters we have that meets at a local Starbucks. I probably only got another one or two inches done again even though I worked pretty continuousely for about an hour.
On Saturday morning the Kingwood Library group met and I must admit that I spent more time seeing what every body else was doing rather than working on my sleeve.
Why is it that during the summer I got lots of socks done as well a heavy weight sweater but now that it is getting colder(40's in the morning, low 60's during the day) I seem to be unable to find any time to work on a simple sweater?
If you figure it out, let me know... please!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
This is a book that will not teach you how to sew but it does have some great projects. I will admit that some are pretty lame... like how to recover a small ironng board using the old cover as the pattern (duh!) but there are many, many more that will stretch your imagination and give you some great results.
Doesn't Kelis look mad to be woken up by the flash?
Those big fluffy walls are just Alex and the Girls love to rest their heads on when they are taking naps....just don't tell them that it was designed for a cat!
The fabirc is a golf themed flannel that I have no idea how I acquired it or why. I stuffed it with tiny bits of cotton scraps that I spent way too long making even tinier while clearing out the TIVO yesterday...I should have just run out and bought some fiberfill as suggested in the instructions!
The instructions were very well written, short, to the point and very accurate. If you follow them, and do not get distracted, you will have success with this book. Please note that it is not written just for quilters with their obsession with 1/4" seam allowances, although there are a lot of projects that need bias binding as an edge finish. Many of the projects are suitable are non-quilting cottons which makes this an extremely versatile set of projects.
Even though I do like this book, I am a little disappointed in the projects offered. Even though there are some darling children's clothing and some other great things I haven't tried, there wasn't a hint of a bog coat or a six square jacket... not even one bias top or a simple bag for a wheel chair.
I guess there is still a lot of material out there that can be included in the next addition.
After all, new developments are usually carved out of large tracts of land that have been purchased from one owner. After you have put together a new subdivision you get to name the streets and can pretty quickly run out of variations of the original owners name... New/Old/Smith/Farm Road/Drive/Place/Lane/Circle/Drive is pretty limiting. As long as the new names are acceptable to the postal service you can name the new streets anything you desire.
There is a small subdivision just north of my area that failed to take off for reasons I will not go into here.
After the first dozen homes were built a succession of builders came in and did some fill in building. Finally someone came in and bought all the vacant lots and, for some unknown reason, renamed all the streets.
Here's where the lack of imagination comes in...
Not only did the final owners name two streets This Way and Thay Way, they built a house where That Way turns into This Way.
Now I am all for a good joke, but it must get tiresome explaining to friends and family that your house is located at the corner of This Way and That Way.
And before you go looking for This Way and That Way on Google Maps, be aware that they are both called Right Way there.
Have a great week!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Inside these boxes are the results of two different donation efforts from here.
The top box holds 65 Christmas stockings, each wth a holiday card, for the use of Operation Care Package's holiday mailings this year. This effort is about half of what we did last year but there is still time to get more done before the packages are sent overseas.
The bottom box holds about 20 scarves for the Red Scarf Project of the Orphan Foundation of America. Even though yarn does compress quite a bit you can see I have had trouble getting the box completly squared up. I think I will need to use a lot more tape to get it fixed before shiping it off tomorrow.
I wonder if I can get Alex to help me out with that?
Have a good Sunday. I intend to spend the day enjoying that old TV mini-series "V" while working on Sweet Sadie's books. I guess the grass will just have to wait for another day. My heart is broken. :-)
Saturday, October 31, 2009
What a great project for a grade school class, a group of friends, an individual quilter or anyone else, anywhere in the world who would like to share a dream.
Now to come up with a dream for a 2' x 2' panel .... and the fee.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
I do not do elaborate costumes for Alex and the Girls because, after the first few minutes of hilarity, they really do look pretty stupid. I do little ruffled collars as their costumes/dress-up outfits with coats for cold weather. Here's what they wore this year:
Alex would not pose without showing off his equipment in the most uncute manner. Here's a shot of how some of the other critters and their owners were dressed.
This guy was most appropriately dressed and amused many of us by climbing up the walls of his cage in his effforts to get out.
Most of the day was spent untangling leashes:
Note the new harnesses for Alex and the Girls. One of the reasons I went to this event was to purchase new harnesses for them from a woman who donates all of the proceeds to DROH. I ended up with an extra small for Kelis, a small for Alex and a medium for Kimora. These are incredibly well made and I can't blieve how inexpensive they were to buy. Check out the DROH website for ordering information. I also gave her all my doggie themed fabric to help defray some of her expenses. I didn't realise how much I had and I know she can make good use of it.
The saddest thing all day was one little guy who had to wear a stuffed lobster that kept falling off of him. He was a real charmer and bore it well. His owner won a squeaky stuffed toy and walked around with it completely ignoring the little lobster boy's efforts to get her attention so he could have the toy. He didn't bark or whine or cause a scene just sat and stared longingly at the toy.
I finally took piy on him and let his owner know what was going on and asked her to let him have the toy. She did and he was in squeaky toy heaven as we left.
Have a great week. I will get back to sewing posts soon!