Monday, 26 September 2016

Open For Dinner Invitations

Sophie the swimsuit is in a drawer. She is having a little time out to think about what size underwire she might like, and why the cups are too big.

Yes, I said too big.

We are renovating our kitchen. It looked like this as I came down here to post, and I hear plaster smashing as I tap away.
I think the beam between the kitchen and family room is biting the dust at this moment. It has a sag, brought on by it's inadequate size. Size matters when it comes to beams. We will be going bigger.

This all started when I wanted to paint the cabinets. They were mid tone oak. I was tired of that. However, this means removing the cabinets and sending them out to be painted. (Have you priced that lately!!!!!) Of course, a new countertop would set off the paint job nicely, and let's get a backsplash while we're at it. Repaint the walls - oh, let's do the whole house. It looks old.

So, what happened to the walls? Well, why not throw in a little insulation, check the wiring and reroute the heating ducts? No, the flooring will not match the new decor, so it's going and will be resurrected in slate with underfloor heating.

My man's imagination knows no bounds. At least this sort of thing keeps him out of trouble. He is happiest when holding tools and being professional. True to form he kept the dishwasher hooked up and running. Certain creature comforts cannot be abandoned! However, you do need 3 hands to do the dishes. One for the dish, one for the rack and one to keep the whole thing from falling flat on its face. They tip easily, apparently, when not hooked up under a counter.

I try to be helpful. I tote, fetch and admire. It's what I do best. We eat a lot of toast.

I shall be hiding out in the sewing room. I just finished a quilt. I pieced the top on my 1893 Singer treadle and quilted it on my 2016 Pfaff Creative Sensation Pro 2. It doesn't get any better than that! I really do need to measure and work to a plan. My quilts are often a bit strangely shaped. This one is too long and too narrow - and I cut some off as it was! I just get carried away, and the math takes time and makes my head hurt. This is the Lotus pattern from Jaybird quilts. I'm betting that reading the instructions more carefully might have helped with the finished size. The pattern uses the Hex n More ruler. I do like a nice hexy. I was a bit worried about dealing with a lot of bias edges, but they worked out just fine.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Sophie and I Make Out

The duck pack is now huge! It's hard to tell which one is mom! Discovered the neighbours all feed the duck pack and none knew about the others. At least they seem to be getting all the food groups covered, from the reports I hear.

Momma deer and tiny fawn have not been seen in a while.  However her last year's child is still stomping through my garden and chewing on everything in sight! S/he will not leave until physically threatened (seems I'm not enough, DH must be called). You should hear the haughty snorts of derision as it finally leaps off, flagging its white fluffy tail!

But I am avoiding the topic at hand. I am building myself a swimsuit. The annual girls week in Montreal approaches, and I need a suit. Closet Case Files just released Sophie and I liked the look. It has a very fitted bra style top. It could be great for me, or not - but well worth a try.

I've also got her jeans pattern, but haven't tried it yet. She seems to get good reviews though. First to impress me was the cheat lines so nicely in place for me! You print off your size according to your bust and she has nested the lower part of the pattern with 3 sizes up and down in light grey lines. You have your size and all the alterations right there! This alone is worth the price of admission! Practical genius at work!

Things would have been just swimmy if I had bothered to read the Big Bold Red Print. I printed out the size based on my upper bust, as I usually do. She bases the size on your under bust measurements and then a cup size factor. Yah! I got to go down a few sizes! And I got to practice my gluing. Always need more practice with that.

She includes 5 cup sizes and I was most hopeful for cup size 5, even though the measurements she gives are not in my range. My cup spillith well over that, methinks. Me right. She helpfully suggested making a foam muslin from the foam inner cup pattern. I did and well, brilliant idea. Saved me a lot of tears later. She may need to expand beyond 5 cup sizes. This Sophie was not going to fit left to its own devices!

However, this foam muslin idea led to plan B. I made up a foam cup from my fav bra pattern and them cut it apart in the same lines as the Sophie pattern indicated. This gave me new pattern pieces for the cups, but not the suit that they needed to connect to.

This is why a girl needs toys. I have a flexible ruler (it's wiggly and can be used in interesting ways) so I measured the new cups along the bottom edge from centre seam to side and centre, curved the ruler along the original seam lines of the cup cradles built into the suit and just dipped the line until it would contain the beasts. I was surprised at how little fabric need to be removed to add the seam length I needed.

And that is where I am now. The suit body is together and needs leg elastic next. Then the cups go in. Then I hope I can find an underwire in my collection to fit. Swimsuits are huge investments of time. However, this one is princess seamed, 1 or 2 pieces, colour block friendly - and suitable for the slightly squishy body I seem to have.  Well, I'll let you be the judge of that in a few days. Or not. I need to see it first before I decide if it suitable for the public eye.

Monday, 20 June 2016


I looked out the window around supper tonight. That's when you check on the cracked corn before the ducks arrive for their nightly feed. The single girl arrives first, and then there's a flurry of 5 that circle the yard once and then land with a crash.

I look out - and there is the single girl - trailed by the seven most obedient, adorable little ducklings ever! When you get ducks in a row, you just know! Sorry, no picture of that.

I sent DH out with a scoop of our finest feed. The little ones turned up their cute little bills but mom had a good meal. I think the little ones are still on soft food. We would be feeding the school ducklings cracked corn by now, but wet. These guys had other ideas.

Next the gang of 5 arrived. She could see them coming and moved her flock off a bit. The others gave her a nod and took over the food. Mom headed her group down the yard and we followed. There were a few tense moments as we stopped traffic, but the crossing was successful.

I can say that AFTER we decided that 7 did reach the other side, even though DH only counted 6. Mom counted them after they cleared the ditch. She would know. DH and I searched the ditch and stream just in case. People never know.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

The Slippery Slope

OK. Today we drove by a church on the way to be a check point in a car rally, and there was the sign in the parking lot - ATM located inside.

We drove by it twice, so I'm pretty sure I got that right. I was flabbergasted!

We also dropped in on DH's cousin who has a farm store on her dairy farm. Happy little chickens, sheep, geese, etc run over to meet you. You pick up wayward eggs and put them where they won't be stepped on. I loved it! We got some Very free range meat and e-transferred the money. Ah, the modern farm!

I find it interesting that I will buy meat that has been ethically raised. Today I looked my food in its cute little beady eyes and I had no problem buying it for dinner. I don't think I'll change on that, but we'll see how it goes. I find my opinions or my ethics are evolving. Not sure where I'll end up - or if they will ever settle for good. Now that I have more time to think about decisions and more time to be 'less convenient' when I want - I find myself wanting to put my money and time where it will best placed.

I rarely buy clothing and I am starting to consider how the fabric for my sewing is produced. I will spend more and go further to buy local. I try not to use credit cards at small local businesses. Of course this is all slippery slope. Once you make a step in that direction it's hard not to keep going further and further.

And I am so, so grateful I can afford to be this way. We aren't rich but we can make choices. And we're Canadian. We are lucky duckies.

Yesterday we went to the Greekfest. A lovely man at DH's work had given us tickets and it was a beautiful day, so off we went. It was great fun. They have a beautiful location on the water. We had a delicious lunch and all was perfect until we ducked inside to see what was there.

There was the dessert table. It was long, luscious and really, really good. Oh, so good! Beyond the outermost regions of good. We stuffed ourselves at a sunny table outside and then worked very hard to waddle on back to the car.

I'm sure that man had good intentions, but he's now responsible for the current state of my middle. All of it! I'm throwing it all at him.

And the Greek church also had a cash machine. In this case I was left with the impression it was just there for the fest. Oh, I so hope so! Didn't Jesus tear up a place of worship for doing the same sort of thing long ago?

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Sound The Trumpets!

If I knew how to put a drum roll here, you'd be hearing it!

I have been working on a lace scarf for over a year, and it's finished.


Yes, it's done. About 120 bobbins, lace weight alpaca yarn - and a great pattern that let me really get comfortable with some very useful stitches. For those who don't know bobbin lace it's an obscure needle craft that is usually done with thread the thickness of a spiderweb. It takes at least an hour per square inch and if you make a mistake, fudging takes more time and knowhow than ripping it out and redoing it again - and again. I avoid the spiderweb stuff and like to try thicker, more interesting material.

I love the process. It's like a Sudoku for me. I started when I retired and it was just the thing to shake me up as a learner. I will never be anything other than a beginner, but that's just fine. I don't want to put the time in that would be required to get proficient. A few hours a week keep me happy.

Next I'm going to work on some pieces from a workbook I just bought. I plan to use the pieces in clothing I make. Practice that's practical.

Here is the masterpiece. No, the edge should not be all ripply like that. You are not looking at a good piece of lace. You are looking at a finished piece of lace that I am so proud of! I don't pick at or judge my work. I love it just the way it is, warts and all. So much more enjoyable that way!

Not sure what to do with the fringe.

Hours and hours of long scarf. 

These are some of the bobbins I used.

Friday, 13 May 2016

The Annual Family Picnic

Just heard knocking on the window. A duck. I don't know if it was picking the bugs off the windowsill, or asking for a corn refill. Either way, we both got what we wanted.

I miss the dog. Angus was so much fun! Now, mind you - let's not forget that 10 days is a reasonable commitment when you are talking dog. Those things need a great deal of maintenance! I loved every minute, but on the 11th day, I rested. Here I am resting prior to the 11th day. It was an enforced rest.

I have to make a list of what to sew. Every time I go to the 'makery' I am overwhelmed by the possibilities. So much fabric, so little ability to not start and stay with one project at a time. And then, why do I care about that? Why do we put pressure on ourselves to complete projects or make 'good use of our time'? Mind you, I do need clothes. Maybe it's not me doing the pressure so much as it might be my closet. Ah! I do have a boss - and it seems I bow to the hanger. I'm good with that. 

Oh, and the undie drawer seems to have an issue with me too. I am a woman with many bosses.

On Mother's Day the sisters and I had the annual Mother's Day Picnic with my mother, her mother and lots of other family members at the Chester graveyard. We spread out the picnic blanket, open the snack and wine and have a proper family time. Mom likes a nice glass of wine, so we pour her a sip. The same man we met there last year drops by and offers to bring the wine next year. He's visiting the wife. We make a date with him for 2017, Mother's day at 1 pm. This all makes sense to us. It just feels right.

Although I could never explain to anyone outside our immediate family why mom has yet to get a marker with her name - we all understand. It's been 9 years. She might get her marker this year. Maybe. It's an act of great love and respect on our part to honour the family tradition of procrastination. It's what we do, but only when wildly inappropriate and yet fitting into the family criteria.

Oh, and there was an almost albino blue jay at the picnic. White with a few black streaks in its tail. It hung around for a while so we got to enjoy it. Neat!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Cherry Cake

The excitement continues! The CS Pro2 should come on the big brown truck on Tuesday. Staff are on high alert. My cell phone is at hand. Preparations continue.

I bought fabric for the sewing space do over. I have a lovely sewing space. It's time to make it beautiful. And my machines all need covers. The dust that gathers is so harmful, and as electrical devices they attract lint. Then there will be chair covers, accessories - general frivolity.

One of the virtual gifts I got was an idea for a project. I want to stitch out stitches I don't know. The machine has about 600. I think if I already know it, I may skip over a few. C brought me some lovely projects she stitched out (see last post) so I based my fabric choices on a sweet print I have loved for some time. I bought the remaining fabric on the bolt. There should be enough for a sewing room mum! Then I pulled in some solids to show off machine stitch work.

Thanks to those who have contributed to my virtual shower! It's been hard to make people realize I don't actually want anything. I just want the ideas! Share in my excitement people! Send me a virtual gift!

Monday morning I am baking a lovely cherry pound cake for the arrival.

Mouse update: DH cleaned up the makeshift house and found no bodies or other signs of mice. I'm hopeful this means they collected the troops and went on their way. DH says they have probably moved back in the garden shed. If so, I'll be letting them stay.

Our house guest is  making himself comfortable. He is smart and aims to please. I like him. However he does remind us how much care a dog requires, and therefore I don't see a dog on our horizon.

There was great consternation when his fav stick just wouldn't fit up the stairs and had to stay at the park. He did give it a good try.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

A Virtual Shower For Me!

There is so much excitement in my life right now, I may explode!

First - the other day I stopped at an intersection and let a large dump truck proceed. They have brakes and shifting and things - they deserve a break when you can and when you should. So as the truck passes me the load cover lifts and lowers! Just like it was tipping its hat to me! Better than running into Mickey Mouse at Disney! Amazing! Makes you feel like the princess you are!

Next, we are sitting a 75 lb. Irish Setter named Angus. He is so sweet, well mannered and he loves to spoon! We are really enjoying his company. That poor dog is being walked off his paw pads! After some time with no pet it is a treat to have him here. Though, I must say it's best not to follow him up the stairs. That rear end is like a little perfume atomizer - puff, puff, puff!

But the big news is>>>>>

I'm getting a new sewing machine!!!!!!

A really big one, and it's brand new!!!!!!

I finally decided to go for the new Creative Sensation Pro 2. It's just been released and I am jumping on it. The CS Pro has been a great, reliable machine. This machine adds a few bells and whistles and I am ready to go sewing/embroidery. I like to embroider and it seems silly not to get a machine that does it well. It also sews beautifully. The tension thingy is amazing and helps with both sewing and embroidery.

Now I did consider the new Husqvarna Designer Epic. I drool for the features on that machine. However, I want to stay Pfaff for the IDT (walking foot built in). Pfaff may be coming out with an 'Epic jump' in features as well. If and when they do I may reconsider then. My options are there.

So the order went in today and it should be here next week. In the meantime I am throwing myself a virtual shower, and you are all invited!

If you could, and money is not in question, what would you give me as the perfect present for the new embroidery/sewing machine owner? It could be an accessory, fabric, whatever! It could even be a project that I should try. What was the best thing you got yourself, or did?

The Great P 'gave' me a virtual magnetic hoop. She finds it practical and versatile.  I agree, and have one on order.

Our technician brought me a project she did and suggests I do. I want to spend some time stitching out the decorative stitches. Everyone says that but we rarely get there. They look so much better stitched out than they do on the machine menu. She thinks it's best if the stitch out then goes into something you use. For inspiration she brought me some bags and a seat cover/bag she made long ago - and still uses. Excellent!

So. Come to my virtual sewing machine shower! Bring me your fav accessory or project that will send me off to a great start with my new baby! Help yourself to the virtual and calorie free temptations and make yourself comfortable. I am so excited!

Sunday, 10 April 2016

If Mice Would Just Wear Nappies

It was lovely yesterday! Sunny and perfect for rummaging around the garden shed.

We moved lots of things out to make room for gardening activities. Lawn furniture, that sort of thing. I was digging in my cupboard drawers looking for some wettable sulfur when my nose picked up a less than delicate scent. Yuck! Stinky mouse pee in my potions and lotions drawer!

Now pay attention. Stupidity sets in here.

I am grossed out thoroughly but figure I better do the cleaning today as it won't get any better with time. I start to pull things out and set them outside for bleaching and hosing. Most things are in bins so it's easy to do. The bottom drawer has the foam sheets I used for wrapping trees. It's really stinky and I pick it up by both ends so no pee spills out.

I make it to the door before I realize that wasn't what I needed to notice.

Things like:

  • the pee smell was fresh - very fresh
  • foam is soft and easily chewed
  • mice had been there for some time - why?
So at the door the well chewed bottom drops out of the pile of foam and a mass of chewed foam, a mother mouse and a whole bunch of baby mice drop on the doorstep. OMG!

Mother picks up a baby and runs to a plumbing pipe lying handy by the door. She stuffs baby in and then turns to glare at me. I'm horrified! The babies seem too young to move on their own and I figure the best I can do is to put the group back together in a safe and warm spot. DH is fetched from his workshop and brings a milk carton with an old towel. I scoop mice into the carton, push it over the mouth of the pipe, dump seeds next to it, cover it with other bins and insulating layers. I'm still horrified, but recovering. I feel so bad! Poor little family! 

Back to the cleaning. I mix the bleach really strong (I hate to admit I even own bleach,  but there are times when nothing else will do). I spray everything in the bins and let it sit while I go back to the drawers. There are cardboard tubes in the bottom drawer I haven't yet moved and I decide they need to go. As I reach for the first one, it moves.

Add to the 'need to notice' list above:
  • the babies seemed to be in two groups - older and younger
  • this might indicate more than 1 mother
Mother #2 pops out of the tube, checks me out and scampers over the drawer wall - and then who knows where? I am a home wrecker and a family breaker upper! 

I clean the drawers and the bins. I no longer smell bleach, it's just what the world smells like, I think. I left the door open all day so maybe mouse #2 can come out and find her babies again. 

The mice here are really quite cute. They have round little bodies, they don't bolt and they hop. Really quite adorable! As DH has had them climb his legs on 2 separate occasions, we call them pant mice. 

I can only imagine what they call me. 

And yes, we do figure the baby she grabbed first was her favourite. Every mother has one.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Do Onto Chickens....

I will be 60 in July. I find myself referring to me as already 60. I'm not sure why. Mental rehearsal? I used to think this was going to be hard, and it may yet still be. But feeling good about it right now!

Can't decide to party or not. Any thoughts?

Some events come back to you vividly. Many years ago I was teaching a small group of 8 year olds and we somehow got on the topic of where water goes when you send it down the drain. This led to toilets and where that all goes. At that time our waste water went directly, untreated, into the harbour - not more than 100 metres from where we were at the time. We could see the harbour out the window.

The looks on their faces will never leave me. It was profound. The horror! The knowledge that adults, trusted people who ruled their worlds - would do such a thing! How could this be so? No politician would have left the room alive. They would have shrivelled in the glare.

Notice how I ignore my role in all this. I tried, but it just makes you think. All the time, at the most inopportune moments. What kind of touch am I leaving on this world?

So I see this short video on Facebook. I try not to fall into those rabbit holes, but I was weak.

It showed the life of a chicken, from egg to store. I raised ducklings with my grade 2 classes, so I have a thing for fluffy hatchlings. Mind you, I do find chicks stupid. Ducklings are intelligent, and they like to sit on your feet while you teach. Love that. So cute. And then they poop.

It was not a horror film designed to send you to nightmare city for the next week or two, but it pushed me over that edge. I don't think I can buy regular chicken anymore. I want happy, free range and naturally unengineered chickens. I'm also thinking that way for meat in general, and less of it all.

I'm not militant. I just want to be aware, and able to look those 8 year olds in the eyes. I am currently finishing off the 'bad' freezer contents. Waste not, after all. DH looked at the price tag on the free range chicken I bought and decided his conscience will allow him to eat the factory chicken after all. That's fine. He knows his way to the store. I can only be responsible for me.

I also checked out a Michael Pollan book from the library. It won't be the page turner the Michael Connolly was, but I shall see where it goes.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Working Out in Style

I ate the peeps. They were supposed to make it to Easter. They didn't. I'm not sorry.

Ms. G made me socks! You should all make something for a friend. It makes them feel so good! Just think of the joy you could spread!

On the subject of joy - you know how we all sweat the fact that our stash will more than likely live on well after we are gone? I have found a way to live with this - guilt free! I plan to have my stash bundled by a friend who knows what she's doing (The Great P) and given away as nice gift bags at my wake. That way it goes to people who know what it is, where it came from - and will know just patting it and never making a thing will be just fine. And now, I don't have a 'finish' line! I can stash on comfortably, knowing my stash has a purpose and a plan.

I have also decided to sew that stuff I keep thinking I should keep for good. Maybe someone I don't like will show up at the wake and get that piece. It's hard to plan these things. Who knows who may show up?  I'll want to be a good wake hostess and treat everyone well. I'm going to sew it if I want to!

So I therefore took a lovely piece of thick linen and some wonderful canvas and made a bag for the gym. I joined the local gym. With a great bag I am now obligated to go and work out. I'll also need new workout gear and a swim suit. Love it! More fabric that won't make the wake!

This bag was an amazing make! I was using thicker fabric than the quilt weight cotton called for and that caused problems for me, but first let's just talk bag. The Nora Doctor Bag from Swoon goes together just as she says it will! I love it when complex parts fit together and sew perfectly around curves. These patterns are always well drafted and work. The directions are very complete. Good pictures but you have to read the directions to get all the details. I hate reading directions, but I don't mind for Swoon. She doesn't waste words and chooses her words well.

She calls for several different stabilizers. I matched what she said and it gives the bag wonderful shape. I did remove interfacing from the handles. More info on that below.

I did add another strip of inner pockets. I needed a pocket for my locker lock. Now about the thick fabric! OMG! I had to experiment a lot with thread and needles and even then I had some skipped stitches and absolute refusal. My conclusions. Go slow, let your machine do what it can and don't force it. A jeans needle was best, but go as small as possible so the hole to be 'punched' is as small as possible. I used 30 wt Sulky cotton thread in bobbin and needle. The stitch looks more balanced that way. I didn't know I could do that! Thank you Lori.

I did end up stitching the last thing on my Singer treadle. I had to stitch across the straps - so 8 layers of tightly woven canvas. The treadle did it! No skipped stitches! However, It was a bit akin to drilling holes. I often had to literally punch my way through for some of the stitches. But the treadle was up to the challenge! Mostly, perhaps, because it doesn't have a motor to give you a hard time. It is my Super Hero.

One change I did make to the pattern. She calls for boning for the top bag channels. I tried boning and it wasn't as stiff as I liked, and kept shredding threads and such. In my corset class we used huge (28") zip ties from Home Depot. They were perfect! Very stiff, perfect size and slid into the channel beautifully. Also I moved the closing tab up from its back position to get it to close like the picture shows. However, look at my Actual doctor's bag. The closing edges overlap. Maybe that's what I should be aiming for. I'll ask Swoon.

I'll need a custom locker at the gym so my bag doesn't get crushed. They'll understand.

I'm off to Easter dinner with the sisters, et al. I'm taking frogs (Purl Soho freebie). They're stuffed with lentils or barley and most posable!

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Peep Show

It's supposed to be spring, but I'm still cold. My fingers, my toes - all cold. The flannel sheets are still my best friends. I love them. So soft.

I promised pics of my stuffy phase. It seems to be slowing a bit. I haven't stuffed anything in a week. I do have Easter stuffy plans, but that seems a natural. I haven't added facial features. Can't say I miss them. What if you end up with a naughty expression? What then? This way, it's left to the imagination. I think of my stuffies as home dec items. They add a cuddly touch and colourful touch to any room. I need a few sausage dog neck pillows. I fell in the curling club parking lot and have a sore neck. And a bump where my hipbone used to be.

All but the elephants were free patterns from Purl Soho. It is a most generous site with excellent kits and patterns for sale. I used barley and lentils to stuff the frogs.  Makes posing much more fun.
This is a quilt I made to showcase some neat fabrics at the store. The Great P added some wonderful variegated thread for the quilting. She is getting quite particular and accomplished! You should see her pat gently as she guides the machine. Just like a mother duck! 

This a row of bunnies for a 'bed scarf'. It's such a quick project to try out a quilting idea. In this case the pattern came from a book All In A Row. It has a wonderful variety of row patterns and matching filler rows. I wanted to try appliqué with this bunny idea. You cut the bunny in pieces on tagboard and insert paper fasteners. Then you can pose your bunny as you like before tracing it on the appliqué fabric. I also used a fine fusible batting (Soft and Stable?) to back 2 of the appliquéd bunnies. It raised the fabric a bit and the bunny looks much better with the machine blanket edging. I'll do that again!

This is my Mixed Mutts quilt. It's a match to the cat quilt I made previously. I think the best part of this quilt was working with friends to get the blocks started. Sewing should always be social. Especially when puppies are involved.
 I have a few quilts in various states of completion right now, but I'm letting them percolate. I need to sew something for me. I therefore made myself a cozy knit dress. I am waiting for this phase of droopy hems and saggy pockets to pass, but in the meantime I am on that bandwagon. I also signed up for a pant drafting class on Craftsy. So far it looks good and makes sense. The proof will be in the rear end, and we don't get to that for a bit. Fingers crossed!

Yes, Easter is on its way! This calls for a Peep display, and these peepers are in the spotlight on my kitchen windowsill.

Monday, 29 February 2016

Love Your 'Hood

I was out walking in my 'hood and doing my 'once in a blue moon' pick up de crap. I had scouted things out the week before and came armed with a large clear bag. I decided to pre-sort and only collect recycled things today. In the 20 minutes I collected I overfilled that bag. Fortunately the mail carrier took it off in her truck for the Sea Cadets or I'd still be tugging that sucker home. Cheap vodka and Moose Dry are very popular.

If you love your 'hood, give it a try. Spread the love! I also know, from my scouting trip last week - that someone else is loving the 'hood, as several beer can piles were already picked up by today.

Do this on wash day. Beer spills. Strip at the door, clothes to the wash and a hot shower for you. Maybe some of that Moose Dry to follow.

Found an amazing tea house this weekend in Halifax down by the Split Crow. Sawadee Tea. They had an overwhelming selection of teas and adorable tea strainers. I got a deep sea diver with his own alert buoy. I told her what I liked and she made several excellent suggestions. Finally I found a source for Lapsang Souchong tea! Smoky and really amazing! Check them out on FaceBook.

I spent the weekend at NSCAD making a Chinese thread box. Google them. It was a lovely weekend with good people and a relaxed instructor. It's a very doable and repeatable project. I would like to try it out in other materials. I'm wondering about batik and a twin needle to mark the fold lines. I'd also think Tyvek would be interesting. They are holding a Japanese box building workshop soon. They also looked wonderful!

We made a 11 compartment box. About three 22"x30" pieces of heavy paper go into this wallet sized construction. It's like a paper swallowing black hole! I want to make a seed keeper. The twist pockets would work really well for that. The white box is a star box we made at the end. Most of us felt that it would be our first and last star box without very, very close supervision. The blue wallet is what unfolds in the next pictures.


The twist pockets fold to hold securely and lay flat.
The twist pockets are each on top of a box that are on top of this box.

A second rectangular box under the first.

I've been finishing up a few projects and I must mention my stuffed phase. I have had an insatiable urge to make stuffed toys. Not for children - for me! As items of decor, so to speak. There was even an emergency run to Walmart for more stuffing on a Sunday afternoon. I find Walmart a scary place. Scary people wearing scary outfits shop there.  

I made myself a curling suit. The fabric has a brushed warm inside and stretches. The men missed my quilted jacket. Those boys need more colour in their lives!

Finally finished the puppy quilt. It has a navy cotton  velvet binding. Another well aged scrap finds its purpose in life!

Lousy picture. I want a new phone. This was my amazing faux leather pants and silk shantung top destined to surprise my little sister on her birthday. The clan planned to fly up for her surprise party in Montreal. We even cleared security before they cancelled the flight. Major disappointment. It was the worst drive home ever, so you could accept the cancellation.  And Porter refunded our money with no fuss at all. The counter clerk even offered to have our picture taken with my hands at her throat! The family vetoed that. They really don't understand me.  But we had such a good plan! It would have been amazing! I'm pretty sure Mamie had made me fudge even. 
Can't find any stuffed pictures and all of them are at the store. I'll remedy this on Thursday when I am back at the salt mine. But if you also feel the urge, go to Purl Soho for patterns and ideas. It's a most generous web site with the freebies and the patterns work.  I love love love the weiner dog!

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.