Saturday, 9 January 2016

Fredericks of Hollywood

I fixed that bra with the stretch issue. It was wearable, but I was not adverse to experimentation. So, I flipped it over and stitched the lining (which was stable) to the outer fabric (which was stretchy). I covered the cups with lines about 3/8" apart. It now looks like one of those fab Fredericks of Hollywood bras from the 60's. And it worked! Looks better and lies smoother!

I found a good tutorial for rope bowls. I like the embellishments with fabric and yarn. Opens the door for all kind of fun, methinks! If I notice a lack of clothesline rope at the Home Depot I think we will confirm this as a new trend. Note the problem she has in the tutorial with her sewing direction. She needs to stop and flip as she turns the bowl up on its side. Just avoid that issue by starting the sewing in the right direction in the first place.

My nephew has given me the greatest present! He married a girl who wants to learn to sew! We spent 2 days together this last week and she is amazing! She has an analytical mind and good control over her stitches for a newby. We made a bowtie, the Colette Sorbetto top and a nursing cover for a friend. I am so happy! I'm trying real hard not to totally snow her down with emails and links. They have 3 children (perfect children!) under the age of 5. I think she'll be a perfect candidate for Nancy Zeiman's 10-20-30 minutes to sew approach. Sadly, they live in Calgary. It will be a long distance sewing partnership.

I was asked "Why underwear?". I know. It seems silly to sew undies when they can be bought so easily. Now with bras that doesn't work as easily for me. A good fit is not easy to buy and I enjoy making them. Then you need the matching bottoms, of course.

But more importantly I needed to do some 'me' sewing after Christmas. It seemed too long since I had done some selfish sewing. It felt good.

I hear from many that it's time to control the stash and sew only for the joy. I so agree. I'm trying to weed and bestow excess on others as I go. It seems easier to do that now and releases some of the pressure. Fabric without an immediate and joyous purpose can impose its own kind of pressure. Unfinished projects can also do that. I want to ignore what I think I should do and just do what I want to do.

For instance, today I started to quilt am embroidered puppy quilt I finished some time ago. I worked away all afternoon but took a few breaks as well. When DH came in from his play date in the garage (a friend and a suspension needed suspending) I joined him to vegetate for the evening. Now I had 3 more blocks to stipple, but they get to wait. I will find joy there tomorrow. Tonight it would be an obligation. Fine line? Indeed.

I will be eyeing my other UFO's with a joyous measurement stick. You got joy for me? Then you and I got a date! No joy? Maybe you will give someone else joy. Who knows. Its worth a try.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Hanging Out My Underwear

Finished my first book of the new year. I reread Persuasion by Jane Austen. I wanted to do it with the vision of the Bath locales fresh in my head. The only thing I don't like about Jane is that I have to slow down to milk her complicated speech patterns for what she wants to say. Of course, you can always ignore her wisdom and just whip ahead for the romance and happy endings.

Why do we all get on the bandwagon for new ways of doing things in the 'coming year'? Mind you, all that ruminating can be interesting, and defining.

I have rediscovered the joy of the bath. Small b bath. Got myself some Epson salts and a few bubbles. I think it could be the new jogging. Good for the mind and the pores with none of the joint pain. Excellent when snow is on the ground. We need more happy time to just relax and think happy thoughts.

I have too much stuff. I would like to do a better job of appreciating the things I love and disposing of the things I don't think earn their dusting. Do I love dusting this?That's the question.

I need to get real about my sewing room. There are a lot of things, fabrics, notions, etc not earning their space. I have a large sewing space (2 rooms and an attic), but I think things should earn their right to take up shelf space and management time. As Sewing on the Edge says, let's make room for new ideas and sewing we will love to do. Let's make my sewing more about me and less about guilt that I haven't done or used that yet.

Along that line I spent the last week on 'me' sewing.

First up - Jan Bones' Smoothie panties.  (Thanks to Hop Along for the pattern and fabric!) Now DH says they are grannie panties, and they are. But there are times when that is just what the outfit calls for. These are great panties for a flat bottom like mine. Nice fit, go together well. In answer to the grannie designation, the 'Welcome" glows in the dark.

The  I finally got around to making the Watson bra and panties by Cloth Habit. I am well endowed. This is not a bra for people like me but I can dream. Much to my surprise the fit was excellent! The fact that it isn't supportive is exactly what the pattern says in the first place, so I got just what I knew I would. It's comfy and cute. I love the wide band - just like wearing a hug! The instructions were good, but there is a Sew Along for even more detail. I love it when a designer does a sew along. It shows confidence in the design and you really get all the help anyone could need that way. The panties were not made for my flat bum, but they will do.

Flat bums. The bain of the little old lady. I'm not content with mine. Doing daily butt exercises to combat this scourge. Encouraging remarks welcome.

Also cut out and sewed a new bra. The Shelley Bra from Bra Makers Supply. I've been admiring that pattern for some time and was on a roll. I used a stretchy fabric and didn't get it stabilized well enough. Too bad. I love the bra and the fit wasn't bad at all. I need to move the front strap extension in a bit. TL has helped me do that on a different pattern, so I'll review what that looked like and try again.

After all this undie sewing I went off to check out local sources for fabric and fixings. Don't bother people. Just order online. It seems to be the best solution for a project that has some very specific requirements.

One complaint for all you underwear designers out there. Tell me what measurement to cut the elastic and give me a mark for matching seamlines. Yes, I can just stretch elastic into place but I like my 2 legs or armholes or whatever to match. It's good to have some measurements and lines to start with. It's a little thing, but it's a good thing.

Lucy Neatby has a free Sock Knit Along on Craftsy. I love Lucy! I got so many pearls just from the first session! If any of you locals would like to spend an occasional Monday afternoon knitting socks just let me know. I could knit.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Star Hot Pads

Here's the tutorial I used to make my star hot pads. I do have a few comments and suggestions.

First, notice her cutting of the first 2 layers. It's not accurate or straight. It doesn't need to be at that point. I'm all in favour of rough cuts.Trim it properly before you turn to the right side.

 Use a cardboard template and draw around it. I googled pentagrams, used my quilting ruler to add to each side and enlarged it.

She doesn't seem to pad hers. I made a template for the padding and added it after the star is turned right side out. Notice how she draws lines from the midpoint of each side to determine the star folds? That's the template and placement for the inside batting layers. I used one layer of quilt batting and one layer of heat resistant batting. Just wiggle them into place. The batting layers will be stitched in place as you top stitch the star shape in place.

Got scraps? Well there you go.

And speaking of going, Patch has a great sale this week, and I found lots to follow me home. Yum!

Monday, 28 December 2015

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner and a Movie?

So I'm lying on the couch, watching a good old movie when I see something brown waft by the basement window. I'm downstairs looking up at the window. I think little of it as it's windy and probably just some garbage blowing by - but I keep an eye out. And then the deer head pops in the window, nose to the pane - to get a better look.


Three of them at the side yard! A doe and I think her twins. They were smaller and she was a good size. They hung out in the wild shrubs, munching for a while. Long enough for the neighbours to call over in case we were missing it. The snowplow noise sent them on their way. However,  they're regular visitors. A month ago DH had the door to the workshop open and they considered climbing the stairs in before he discouraged them. He also was watching TV. I sense a pattern. I hope it's a milder winter. We lost a lot of shrubbery to them last year. This year we are armed with a bag of deer food if they get started.

Now, some words about the Christmas giving. As usual I made a bunch of things I liked and then gave them out to people and let them have their choice. As usual, this worked well. However I did make some stuffies for the growing collection of little ones the nieces and nephews are providing.

I do find people in general are happy to receive and I enjoy their pleasure. But NOTHING beats the sight of a little one going atomic when handed what seems to be just the right thing! I know from experience (both as a recipient and as a giver) that the receiver always appreciates, but there does come a few special times when the right note is hit and the little one bounces high with delight. I have no idea how I nailed it (with more than one of them!), but was that ever enough to hold me for a least 10 years, or more! It was a pure and perfect Christmas moment.


These are terrible pictures, but here we have the proud new owner of a doll and her brother about to toss teddy just one more time. Got to love an a-frame ceiling! They held onto those stuffies all night.

I made a quilt for my brother. I was not happy with the result until we got the border right. It defines the pattern blocks and gives them some required 'gravitas', I think. The Great P did the quilting on he long arm as time was creeping up on me. Quilt sewn on my Singer 27VS treadle (circa 1893) and my Featherweight when I decided to clean my treadle, forgetting I was halfway through a quilt.

I made some Noodlehead Open Wide bags. Excellent free pattern (and her purchased patterns are even better!) and I finally like the way the zipper on a bag is put in place. 

I made some bowls from both twined fabric scraps and Home depot cotton clothesline rope (not in picture). They were easy to put together and you can really play with top and bottom thread colour. I plan to play with adding scraps and other embellishment to the bowls next. The family finds they make excellent hats as well. Creative family! 

I made some pentagonal folded star hot mats. If I remember (feel free to remind me) I'll post a tutorial. 

Pinterest twigged me to crochet a cord cosy for my phone charger. Not that was just plain fun! Do give it a try!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015


I showed my recent 'must have' notions at sewing guild last night. We all want an adjustable double tracing wheel with chalk marker wheel on the outside. Tiger tape also requested - it's one of those 'good things' that would be nice to have, once you figure out what to do with it. Hand sewers know about tiger tape. And Wonder Clips. Just buy as many as you can afford, in both sizes.

I was more than a bit disorganized in my delivery. It's that time of the year. We get so much up in our heads! One needs to just gather it up and chuck it out occasionally. If only Swiffer would come up with a product. They could give a whole new meaning to Mind Sweeper! (or is it Mine Sweeper? Regardless, both involve things exploding at inopportune times. And then you have a mess.)

Couldn't have been too embarrassing. The Great P held it together throughout. She's been know to go off the deep end and require medical assistance when I make what she sees as an unbelievable gaffe, and what I see as an innocent remark requiring a twisted mind to get where she goes.

Mind Swiffers for all my friends!

At this point for most of us makers we have all the usual notions. We are looking for new toys to play with and help us to new possibilities. And then some of us just want a shiny new toy. Regardless, I enjoy checking them all out.

Clover et al? Send them my way. I can't be bought, but I promise to play hard.

That's wrong, actually. Send me enough fabric and I could be bought.


Waterways are usually considered Federal jurisdiction around here. The province looks after wildlife. The city kicks in with local parks.

So how do you explain this? And what do we do?

Last night's work interrupted by breakfast. No wait! That may have been breakfast!

The new extension to the house. Wife wants it done before the relatives arrive for the holidays.

 Regulatory signage. The papers are in order.

Note the efficiency. Some call it clear cutting. Alert Green Peace! 

This is well off site, so there seems to be some unregulated expansion. I've been reading in the papers lately that this clear cutting may be happening outside of the established boundaries. 

City park. Federal waterway. Provincial animal.

No, actually - I think the beaver is considered of National Interest. However it's nice that the city has stepped in here to take the lead. The appropriate official signage clearly indicates a construction zone. And although dogs must be on a leash, beavers have no such restrictions. I'm waiting for the first smart ass to add to that sign. Hmmm.... Where are those Sharpies?

This area was formerly known as the Shubie Canal. Soon to be the Shubie Lagoon. If you are crossing overhead on the Cole Harbour extension highway, a PFD is recommended.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Ode To My Flannel Sheets

Ode To Flannel Sheets

O Flannel sheets!
How I love you so!
From my softly cradled face
To my well snuggled toes.

I love you so.

It is impossible to leave you
In the early hour.
Who are we kidding?
To leave you at any time
Just makes me sour.

So sour.

I was once inconsolable
During your week in the wash
I bought a second pair
The pleasure is now endless -

(dash rhymes with wash, kind of)

Endless love.

May you never wear out.
May you never defuzz
I celebrate your glory
Until June, because

At that time your welcome
Is a bit overstayed.
I switch to white cotton
Much to your dismay.

But you get to do the snuggle
With your partner pair
To the closet you go.
Your dark warm lair.

But for now, I love you so.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015


We went to Lunenburg this weekend. DH took a course in stone carving with Heather Lawson. It was perfect and he came away ready to get into it. We certainly have the backyard for it and we both like that sort of thing. He has that sense of space and proportion that should serve him well. He's aiming for a turtle some day. I'm betting on one enormous and beautiful turtle. We stayed over Saturday night in a local Inn. There are 10,000 little inns in Lunenburg.

It was interesting to visit another UNESCO heritage site after spending time in Bath. The two sites have a lot in common. Both adhere to a particular type of architecture. Both are on a hill overlooking water. They have obvious pride in their physical presence and an awareness of their role as a heritage site.

I've not walked above the waterfront in Lunenburg before. You can walk the whole place in a few hours and it's worth the time. In fact, I did it several times. There are nicely placed signposts telling you some of the details of different houses. It has the biggest bandstand I've ever seen! The town has free wifi! Great to help tourists get around, and you can buy more data if you need to. In Bath I was annoyed by being unable to access an online walking tour as I was walking. It wouldn't download either. In Lunenburg I could see if Kate's was open for breakfast, and it was!

Kate's Catering and Cafe was a highlight! Just go. I used it as my base for snack and warming. Centrally located in the shopping zone.

And OOOOOH! the shopping! First, they have a Lunenburg Makery! It was so much like the Bath Makery - just like twins! Lovely little shop for makers of all things. They have a series of their own kits - many wool felt stuffed animals, etc. They carry some modern fabric, sewing and craft supplies and have studio machines for rent as well as classes. Lovely!

But upstairs and next door there is a clothing shop that makes on site some/much of their stock. Well made, simple designs, lovely fabric and good prices. $99 for a sheath dress in a beautiful yummy fabric. I found all the clothing stores to have good, well curated stock. Quality, not overpriced and much of local or Canadian origin. The home dec stores were similar. It's worth the trip. I'd have to say I liked it better than Mahone Bay (My mother just rolled over and groaned. No worries. She's done that before!).

It could be that I had no rush. Nothing could be better than 2 days to just mosey and poke your nose into nooks and crannies. It was just what the soul needs at times. I also got to hear church bells in play and as I walked by some holy building I could hear hymns being sung. At Kate's later I got to hear about the minister and how the Sunday School activities were progressing. It was like eavesdropping on a community, but in a  nice way. It was a privilege I very much thank them for.

Ooops. I've dangled a participle. And I liked it!