Monday, March 31, 2008
I have no idea why my muslin could be whacked out and sewn in one evening and the real thing seemed to take so long. I also had a weird thing going on with the side seam at the band, it just has a funny bump but I don't think it will be too noticeable.
In addition to lengthening the skirt, I omitted the back piece above the band. But: the bra has to attach to this back piece at the side and by getting rid of the back piece there is no place to attach the bra to. So I altered the bra piece by folding this part of the bra pattern under to get rid of this side extension, and now the bra attaches to the band only.
I've also included a picture of my slouch purse (that will hold the quart size baggie of with my shampoo, hair spray etc...) that attaches to my messenger bag for our upcoming trip. This way I know where it is while trying to get through airport security and then I can drop it inside the messenger bag when we're done. Of course it can be unclipped and used for a purse.
I realize this is a boring post but I promise to change that soon!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I'm still around for those of you (all 3) who may have been wondering.
It's difficult to work, sew, and blog all at once. I've been trying very hard to get Hans' brother's birthday present done. As I've said before I really hope he hasn't been keeping up on my blog because his present is in this post. I'm trying to make 10 quilted place mats complete with bound edges and they can be time consuming and somewhat boring. I cut out ten 13 X 18 fronts and backs. I fused batting to the backs and then machine quilted the front and backs together. I used the embroidery foot that came with my machine, dropped the feed dogs and just pushed and shoved (in a free style method) the sandwiched pieces through. Each one is a little different than the other, mostly depending on how much I'd had to drink at the time! Then using gold metallic thread I quilted through the leaf pattern on the print. That was an interesting experience! It took me most of Sunday to figure out how to do this.
My metallic thread looked just like a thin strip of gold, sort of like the tinsel that you put on a Christmas tree (The kind that our daschund used to eat, digest, and eventually present for an entire month as gift wrapped poop!). After several hideous attempts that involved different thread tensions and stitch lengths I got online and found some answers.This kind of metallic thread should be put in the bobbin only. Okay fine, except this means sewing blind as your fabric is now face down. But it worked!!!
Then I immediately ran out of thread and when I went to JoAnnes I found a gold metallic thread that was more thread-like and less shiny (and less dime store tacky) than my previous thread. Back to the drawing board. I found that it worked just peachy as the main thread and I didn't have to put it in the bobbin. I'm now using the first 2 place mats as guinea pigs. Poor Chlorox who had emergency surgery last week is now feeling very frisky and wants to roll all over everything that I'm sewing, so I keep giving her the prototypes but she ignores them and hones in on the 'good' ones. She's driving me nuts!
All of the place mats are now quilted and all that remains is the binding and I've already had issues with that too! I cut 2 inch strips of fabric, folded then in half wrong sides together and with 1/4 inch SA's attempted to attach them. However, they felt too thick and my mitered corners didn't want to miter!!! Again, this was done on one of the sacrificial mats. I've since found that by not folding the strip, sewing a single thickness instead, and using a 1/2 " seam allowance, it might work. I'll then fold the strip to the other side and turn under the raw edge. I'm also going to cheat big time and stitch in the ditch and not blind stitch by hand 10 place mats!!
I spent about an hour trying to upload pictures but Blogger was being difficult. Here is an idea of the place mats (I think before I added the gold accents). When I'm done I'll post the finished product.
Also, the other day I received a box in the mail from Angelia, who was cleaning out her patterns and sent some to me. I can't believe how many she sent!! My first thoughts were, "Oh my God how will I ever get to all of these! I want to sew all of them!!" What a nice gesture! Hans says hockey players and sailors are the nicest people you'll ever meet and I'm going to throw sewists into that mix!
But I think I have an attention deficit problem or something, because while I was working on Brother's place mats my mind kept going off in a whole different direction.
I think I came up with a really great idea for a really hot dress! It's been running through my mind for a few days and tonight I whacked out a muslin and I loved it!!! Of course that always happens with muslins, but tomorrow night I'm going to jump in and try the real thing! I still have a Burda dress sitting on the back burner that I was soooo close to tossing in the trash and finally figured out how to fix, but I have to be in the mood for it and I'm not!
Anyway, we're leaving for Paris and Geneva in 2 weeks and I have so much I need to do for this trip (like finish 10 place mats)! and I'll have to find out if anyone knows where we might go for some fabric! When we were in Germany last year (Hello Burda!!!) we couldn't find any stores and when we asked people where we could find some they looked at us like we were nuts.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Chlorox came home from the vet clinic/spa on Wednesday night. She has a gaping incision from her chin to her neck where the 'bad' stuff was released. (We're telling everyone it was an abscess and hope that The Enquirer doesn't find out it was really a face lift!). She's to take liquid antibiotics twice a day for one week and have cream (in a very pretty shade of icy blue) spread over the incision, also twice a day.I've always said that if Chlorox had been born a human, she would be very beautiful and very dumb. In other words, every man's dream.
But, dumb as she may be, she's come to realize quickly, that I'm the medicine lady. I know, because when I came home for lunch today she was nowhere to be found, but I knew it would come to this. She knows that as soon as I grab her she's going to have her head yanked back and medicine squirted into her throat and even though she actually likes the icy blue cream on her sore neck, she doesn't like being held down.
Last night I finally let her out of my basement bathroom (where I kept her for one day for her own protection) and The Beast greeted her with many hisses. This is because Chlorox has arrived home smelling of 'the bad place' and this is cause for great concern. Years (and different cats) ago, this happened to me so I'm not too awfully surprised as animals rely a lot more on smell than sight.
But my Beast is quite a talented cat because apparently she's also a ventriloquist.
When most cats hiss, they hunch their backs and double their tails in size and it can be a very dramatic display. Well, Chlorox had timidly crawled into the kitchen and looked all around with wild eyes, unsure of what may have happened in her absence when The Beast strolled in. At that point I started looking around because it sounded like something was leaking and then I realized that The Beast was hissing.
It went something like this:
Waddle, waddle, waddle, hiss, hiss, hiss.
Waddle, waddle, waddle, hiss, hiss, hiss.
That cat is so fat, and lazy, that she can't do both at the same time and she also can't be bothered to arch her back.
Chlorox on the other hand, had had enough.
She let out a huge hiss and then hid under the china cabinet.
I smacked The Beast who hissed at me.
Then in true school yard bully fashion, she stomped down the steps to the family room where she sulked for the rest of the day.
I have no idea how I used to manage a household with three kids, a husband, laundry, full meals, cleaning, homework, kid's activities, etc... while holding down a full time job with routine overtime and still was able to make cute kid's clothes and Halloween costumes back in the bad old days and today I can't take care of 2 cats and a wonderful boyfriend.
I must be getting old.
But!!! On a brighter note, yesterday, after work I bought a gorgeous print and some coordinating background fabric from a local store that sells the most beautiful quilting fabric and now I hope I have something for Hans' brother's birthday.
I don't know how much you can see, but trust me it's beautiful and I have to kick it into high gear tomorrow! I still haven't said what I'm going to do with this but I'll post the results as soon as I get something done.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Can you say "Full Moon Friday?" Because that's what's coming!
The phone at work has been ringing off the hook with I swear every lunatic in our tri-state region. And why?? why??? do men (or women for that matter) make their spouses call in with service issues and then shout in the background the whole time. One time I actually told a husband to please put his wife on the phone as I couldn't stand to listen to her shriek in the background for another second. His answer was to whisper into the phone, "I can't." And while life can surely be lonely as a single person, that is when I thank God I'm not married to something like that.
Let's see. My daughter called me at work to tell me her brakes smelled like something was burning, and of course she was right! New brakes and a caliper were needed. I worked this in on Saturday before my eye appointment.
Just a couple of days before that I had my fuel oil tank topped off at the unlovely price of $614.00! That very same fuel tank was filled on Jan 3 for around $628.00!
I kid you not!
On Sunday I noticed that Chlorox, my timid little Calico had a lump under her chin and by Tuesday it had tripled in size and was literally seeping! The poor little thing had an abscessed tooth and went into the vet's on Tuesday evening for what I told her was a spa treatment.
Three hundred dollars later (and they were very nice, they didn't charge me for tooth extractions, as 3 of her teeth fell out during the procedure), I have a cat with a much skinnier neck!
During my wait at the vet's they had all kinds of emergencies going on. One cat came in and needed immediate euthanasia, another woman came out of the exam room, whispered something to her husband, and when she went to pay the bill he leaned over to me and said, "It's gonna be a sad night at our place tonight."
The Beast was positive that during Chlorox's absence she was going to be getting Chlorox's food portion.
I came home at lunch today and decided to work on the small slouch bag that is to be part of my travel gear. In one hour I managed to mistakenly slash through the lining and with seconds to go I opened up the outside zippered pocket (that I added as part of my own design) and watched the zipper tab fly thought the air. I had shortened the zipper and for the first time in my life I didn't zig-zag across the end to secure it and....guess what?
I just remembered that Hans' brother's birthday is the 31st, hence the visit to Switzerland in less than three weeks and I promised Hans that I'd make something for him! Not clothing, but something for his newly remodeled home and I hope to hell he doesn't read this drivel or I am so busted!
And...has anyone besides Myrtle been keeping an eye on the calender?
Oh, yes! PMS and a full moon!
Details at eleven.
What one does...
Sunday, March 16, 2008
This is a 'picture heavy' post of my finished Amy Butler Messenger Bag. It went together very nicely and I'm happy with it.
Here is a view of the bag with the supporting strap that I added to the back that holds it to the extending handles of my carry on bag. The strap is on the bottom part of the bag, the handles are draped across the top. Even though the bag is very light, my computer still weighs around 4-5 pounds and I don't want to carry it any longer than I have to.
This is the 'zippered hanging pocket' that's attached to the inside front of the bag. This is the only part of the pattern that I don't like. This free hanging pocket falls short of the bottom of the bag by about 2 inches. That's not an error on my part (I promise) and if you put a cell phone or anything else in it, it 'pulls' the whole hanging pocket down which also pulls the front of the actual bag down. If it were the same length as the bag this wouldn't happen. The next bag will have a longer 'hanging pocket'.
I added straps in the lining in in the 'back' of the bag in order to hold the computer in place so it doesn't bounce around. They have Velcro attached to make for easy adjustments.
Here is one of the sides. I added a pleated pocket to each side for magazines or water bottles.
This is the back of the bag where you can see yet one more zippered pocket. Hans and I like to do crosswords and I can store some in this. It would also hold folders or magazines.
Below the zipper (although it's difficult to see) is the strap that I added as a luggage support. At the time I just took a stab at it's placement, and the next time I will place it a little higher.
For fabric I used quilting cotton instead of home dec. I also used fusible batting and not canvas. My bag only weighs 1 pound 4 ounces and I can't imagine how heavy it would be with home dec and canvas!!
I fused the batting to underlying pieces and not the exterior pieces just in case the fabric rippled or bubbled with the fusible.
Normally I will not deviate from instructions but in this past year of sewing I've found that the pattern police will not swoop down on your house if you don't do exactly what they tell you to do!
The only thing left is a small bag to hold my quart sized baggie and passport. This bag will have a clip that goes onto the D-ring at the top of the bag. It can then be dropped into the bag itself.
That's it folks! I really recommend this pattern! Baby girl has already put in an order for one but I'm to try and make it back pack style as she has back problems.
Yesterday I paid a much needed visit to my eye doctor. I've worn glasses since I was 10 and contacts since I was 15. Needless to say I can't see a thing without them. My right eye is a -11.0 and my left is -9.75 if that means anything to anyone.
Since my last visit three years ago, I've had to resort to reading glasses, even for using my computer. One night when I arrived at the restaurant where I'm a waitress I panicked when I realized I'd left my reading glasses at home because there was no way I could work without them. Luckily the front desk had a bag full of them and I actually found an old pair of mine that I'd left behind one night.
So at my appointment yesterday I asked if there was anything that could be done. The thought of bifocal contacts didn't sound like something I could adjust to very well so we opted for this; a weak contact in my left eye and my regular prescription in my right.
The theory is that the left eye will take over when reading and the right will be for distance. I didn't scoff out loud, and I do know people who've done this, but I didn't think for one minute that it would work for me.
I couldn't try it out yesterday since part of my procedure was having my pupils dilated. Have you ever had that done? After numbing eye drops for the glaucoma test comes more drops for the thrilling experience of pupil dilation.
I went out and sat with Hans for a spell while the drops took effect and the waiting room lights were blinding (no wonder!). After looking deeply into my eyes Hans didn't tell me how stunning and beautiful I was, instead he said, "Wow, you look like you're on some kind of trip."
I couldn't kick him as he was my ride home, and driving after pupil dilation is not to be encouraged.
Back in the exam room, blinding lights were beamed into my eyes and it felt as though they were boring deeply into my brain. Luckily all was well and there appear to be no holes or tears in my retina although I can't say the same for that thing that's supposed to be my brain.
I will admit that the procedure went better than the last time and while I still had to wear sunglasses the rest of the day, at least when we went to breakfast afterwards my eyes didn't constantly stream giving everyone around us the impression that Hans is a bully!
But today, I read the Sunday Paper and even as I type this, I'M NOT WEARING READING GLASSES!!!!!! Oh happy day! You have no idea how liberating this is for me.
So now that I've 'seen the light' I wonder if my sewing will improve. Hmmm, we'll see.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
I've also decided (and I hope this isn't a major goof) to use fusible batting instead of canvas. The canvas is there to provide support and strength, but do you have any idea how heavy canvas is? Pick up a couple of yards in your hands and you'll find out! Added to the weight of my 14" computer, accessories, and the bag itself, I don't feel like getting a work out while carrying it.
Again this comes from experience! It harks back to the time that Hans and I had to literally run from one end of San Juan's airport to the other 3 TIMES (and still missed our flight)! First of all their airport is loooooong and our terminal was the last one in the building and very deceptively labeled # 1. Second of all , in an idiotic attempt of mine to design a unique carry on bag, I created a monster. It was a bucket shape, made from old blue jeans (HEAVY) with pockets all around the front, in which I put 4 hard back books (what the hell was I thinking?) and anything dropped into it was immediately lost. It's narrow leather shoulder strap bit into me, forcing me to clutch this monstrosity to my chest as we ran like terrorists though the airport.
But I digress! Back to the bag! Changes that I'll be making:
A wide strap flush across the back (below the back pocket zipper) that will secure the bag to my rolling luggage's extending handle, with the bag sitting on top. (I'll post an example of what I'm trying to explain, when I'm done).
I don't want the computer flopping around the inside of the bag , so adjustable Velcro straps will be added to hold it against the back.
Side pockets for magazines or drink bottles. The sides are 3 inches wide so I'll make the pockets slightly wider and pleat them at the bottom in the same manner as the front pockets and elastic will be inserted at the top so they don't just gape open.
A D-ring will be attached at the top of the side panel in the same seam as the handle.
I'm going to make a bag that holds my HUGE (sarcasm!) quart size baggie that contains all my liquids, and it will also hold my passport. Then when we are giggling and cavorting our way through security, I can hang the 'liquid' bag onto the D-ring, whip out the baggie (without having to dig for it) and pop it right back in when the security people are done torturing and interrogating me.
We will be flying once again next month to go visit Hans' family and when I'm being searched, questioned, and prodded, I'd like to be properly accessorized!
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Here is my sister's birthday present, finally done! I think it looks like something she might like. Since the purse has a zipper closure, I decided not to use a zipper on the inside pocket. I also added a decorative flap that just flips over the top freely without a snap to hold it on the other side since it wasn't necessary as the zipper gusset keeps the purse closed.
My camera doesn't do well with close ups so this is blurry. I added a small loop at the end where the zipper 'starts' so that you can grasp it for easier opening.
Here is the view from the top. This really is a nice pattern with a lot of potential for different looks. It also has a flap alternative, or you can forgo the zipper and just have a snap closure which makes for a much faster sewing experience.
I worked on my Burda dress today also (I'm not happy with my work on it). I need to hem it and I'm not sure how to do that since I underlined it with organza, which is stiff and I'm not sure how it will affect the hem. Do I cut the organza away from the side seams and hem it separately, or do I turn it under with the fashion fabric?
This is where I have my difficulties. The information that I gather from magazines etc... never quite goes the full distance for me. I need things explained in DETAIL! Whenever I've taken classes I've always done really well (thus earning me the title of Teacher's Pet!). But learning on my own is a whole different story.
Well folks, I'm sick to death of winter. The storm that swept through Texas this week has hit us here in the North East, but I think that every storm that hits anywhere in the good old USA eventually finds us and I refuse to take any more pictures.
Yesterday by lunch time we had around 6 inches of snowfall. I shoveled the driveway at around 6:00 pm and by this morning there was 6 more inches of snow waiting to be shoveled. Hans got into the airport last night around 8:30 and lucked out in his trip to my house in that there was a small window of opportunity when it wasn't snowing, or raining sleet.
It's been steady sleety snow all day and is supposed to finally stop tomorrow, but I know I will have to shovel yet once again.
March is a cruel month.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Tonight I worked on a purse for my sister, yet once again. Unfortunately, I selfishly kept the first one that I made her (because I'm her sister and I can do that). I will finish this one tomorrow and I promise I will send it to her. I didn't take any pictures tonight, so I'll do that tomorrow.
Hans (the big stinker) is in Aspen skiing this week. For some reason he and his friends zipped right through airport security with nary a hitch. As any of you who've kept up with this blog (again, something like 3 people) know; every time Hans and I fly anywhere together, we get the royal treatment (if that's what you call strip searches and cattle prods!).
I'm anxious to see what evolves next month when we leave for Paris and Switzerland (family visit). When we went to Germany last year, we watched a woman in full berka gear (who'd fought with security about her over sized, carry on baggage and WON), breeze right on through the second security check point, while they yanked Hans and I aside, took our passports and boarding passes for what seemed like forever, until they were very grudgingly handed back to us!
For now I will leave you with this.
Tonight when I went for my run (wearing the new running shoes that Baby Girl gave me for my birthday!) I passed a house that, I kid you not! had a microwave oven laying in the front yard beside their driveway. I almost went back with my camera to take a picture but, since this is a pretty normal and well kept neighborhood (except for me and my house), I was afraid if someone saw me it would give them another reason to have a neighborhood meeting about the undesirables living amongst them!
Wait until next month. Myrtle may be getting herself a matching harvest gold refrigerator and stove!
Monday, March 3, 2008
I can't even begin to tell you what a crazy day I've had so I won't. But I did call my sister tonight and tell her that her birthday present may get to her sometime this century. I had made her a purse but I couldn't part with it! (I didn't give her that information!). Any way, I found some leather-like fabric at Walmart that I really liked and it's machine washable! I also found lining for a 1.oo a yard and a pretty decorative bead thing that will be used in some way, I just don't know where yet!
But look at this picture! The dangly little bead thing looks just like a skeletal hand!!! I hope it doesn't look that way on the purse! I'm always rubbing it in to my sister that she's older than me but I'm not that mean!
I was going to dust and sweep tonight but, my son stopped by my house and then I ran into an old co-worker at Walmart and one hour after asking "How are you?" I was able to purchase my much needed cat litter and go home. Needless to say I didn't get a thing done tonight but take this creepy picture!
God I hope I don't have nightmares!
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Hans is calling this my 'birthday weekend' and it started Friday night. My trip to the Big City normally takes an hour and a half, but thanks to the awful weather (our SEVERE STORM WATCH WEATHER TEAM!!!! who normally wet their panties over a single snowflake goofed up big time Friday, because their forecast all day long consisted of; snow flurries with a possible accumulation of 1 inch!) took me almost 3 hours! Thank God Hans had a new bottle of bourbon!
I arrived to find flowers waiting for me along with a card and a home made gift certificate to, get this! The Good Will and another very nice second hand clothing store! Now ladies don't start thinking that perhaps Hans is cheap or that I'm even more stupid than you originally thought, because I adore second hand stores!!! The outfit I have on in the above picture is a Good Will outfit. I think the whole thing cost all of 9.98 and I'm modeling it with my Nicole Mallileu Day Bag. What I like about these stores is; first of all I can get outrageously expensive clothes for next to nothing and they're already broken in. No surprises the first time something comes out of the wash because most of this stuff has already been through the dryer.
I have a full length, black leather coat that cost 45.00, a brown leather jacket was purchased for 10.00, and I wore a black Limited cocktail dress that was bought for $4.99 to a private club where the membership is more than I make in a year, and no one was the wiser!
Saturday night I wore the above outfit to a birthday party for someone else (Hans and I pretended it was mine) and we brought home some birthday cake that I haven't been able to stay out of!
So yesterday I got a pair of pants and a pretty eyelet top, and today I found a pair of jeans (after trying on about 30! And am I the only woman in the world with a shape completely alien to all designers?), a long sleeved white cotton top, and a red anorak type jacket with a hood that will be perfect for shoveling snow! And just so you know, Hans asked me many times if I didn't want to go to a regular store and buy something 'new', but I just couldn't bring myself to do that!
Tonight we're grilling steaks, and opening a nice bottle of wine, and my middle daughter, the vet tech, who lives here in the Big City (with 2 cats that she doesn't think any one knows about!) is going to join us.
But I did have to have a little fun. I asked Hans where my gift certificate for Saks Fifth Avenue was but when he turned white, clutched his heart, and his wallet, I quickly reassured him that I was joking.
No way, no way, please hear me say!
We'll save Saks for another day!
I don't want to finish up my birthday weekend in the emergency room.
For one thing, I'm still trying to finish up my taxes and I'm also having trouble accessing one of my parent loan accounts to not only make a payment, but to find the amount of interest I've paid so I can claim it. Upon logging in, one of their security questions confused me ,causing me to give a wrong answer, then web site decided that I don't exist, threw me out, and now I can't get back in.
That would be A-OK with me but I have a feeling that once the loan is late in being paid they'll decide I do exist after all and hunt me down like a dog.
I mentioned early on in my blogging that I'm a procrastinator and I'm trying to remedy that a bit, so I've been busy taking steps getting my personal life in order.
This week I went to my lawyer to have my will made. Not that I have a lot but I want to make sure that if something happened to me now, everything would be in order and all spelled out. (It's somewhat depressing to find at the end of the day that my life's savings are going to provide each of my children with enough money to buy a nice used car!)
I also want to have a living will made (although they're not called living wills anymore). This is to be used in the event that I've been declared brain dead (something I'm not far from on any given day as it is) and gives the medical world permission to 'pull the plug'.
That way my family isn't forced into make this agonizing decision.
Although in my case I have a feeling it would be a whole different scenario.
Fast forward into the future. My kids, after reminiscing about their childhood, and remembering the times I'd: spanked them in public (for disappearing into the clothing racks of Walmart and scaring me to death), forced them to eat my beef stew, not let them drive to Tijuana with their friends the day they got their drivers license, made them write thank you notes etc... they'd probably fight over who GOT to pull the plug and I'm rotten enough to deny any of them that pleasure!
I'm also putting into writing, and giving everyone in my family instructions, that I'm to be cremated and I don't want any memorial services.
First of all, as I don't have a lot of friends, no one but my family would come to see me , and in that case I don't feel like giving a funeral home my hard earned money. Second of all, I can guarantee you that my kids (no matter how old they are) will get into a fight. I can just see them having a tug of war over my ashes and spilling them all over the funeral home's carpet, and I have no desire to end up in some one's vacuum cleaner bag.
Although if that were to happen, I would hope that when I stroll through the Pearly Gates (yes I'm an optimist) St. Peter would say, "Wow, she can even make a vacuum cleaner bag look good!"
If you don't set your sights too high, you'll never be disappointed!
Saturday, March 1, 2008
I'll make a removeable bottom support. The pattern called for it to be sewn between the body of the bag and the lining. I like to be able to remove the support when the purse needs to be washed, and it holds the lining down nicely when you place it in last.
Next, I will line the inside pocket. As it is, it's a piece of fabric with the edges pressed inward and then sewn to the lining. When you peek into the pocket you can see the seam allowances and interfacing and I don't like that.
Other than that, I like it! It has a zipper across the top and it's installed using a gusset which gives it a more professional look.