Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sewing, Sailing, and a Visit from Big Sister

I can't believe it's nearly Christmas. But since moving to Florida I've found that sunny days just melt into new sunny days and then all of a sudden...

Crap! I haven't even started Christmas shopping!

But anyway I finally finished up some baby sewing for Hans' cousin who is due to have a baby boy this January. I found some very nice hand towels at Target that I made into bibs. Have you ever caught the silky hairs at the back of an infant's neck in the string ties of a bib? It's not fun for all those involved believe me! These bibs have a simple ribbed neckline that pull on and off Baby with absolutely no trauma. I've made tons of these over the years and some women have told me they were the only ones they ended up using full time.

You can see how big one actually is here (I have my little onesie, booties, and more folded bibs lying on top of one). This covers an infant's clothing very nicely during a feeding (and the pukey follow up!) and also provides a lot of cover for a toddler in a high chair.

Complete with diaper bag.

We've managed to get out for a couple of sails since we've been here. Now that Hans is working full time that only leaves the weekends and in order to sail, it's all about weather. A few weeks ago we had a fabulous day in the gulf with our new friends Carolyn and Mark. I met Carolyn through this blog and you just have to love the internet! Just a few years ago this never would have happened.
After the holidays we hope to get out a bit more. What's the sense in having a boat if you don't use it?

Here's Carolyn trying to relax which is sometimes difficult when you have a kissing machine of a pit bull along for the ride.

Very soon after our day at sea Hans and I went to New York City for a few days. Poor Hans had to work but I managed to stomp around (more like limp around on my very hurty feet!) the city and got to visit the garment district. And if anyone happened to be watching the Today Show while I was there, yes, that was me waving at you from Rockefeller Plaza. I had a great time and the ladies of the Today show are even prettier in person, they really are!

And right after we got back, Baby Girl decided to pay us a visit. She originally wanted to surprise me but there is so much involved in getting our guest berth ready, Hans had to let the cat out of the bag. She is a college soccer coach now and was able to use her break to visit us (not that she wasn't on the phone or texting constantly about recruits, meetings etc...).

Here she is taking a snooze with her baby brother Wilbur. Poor Wilbur ended up being left behind way too many times while Baby Girl was here because unfortunately pitties aren't permitted to prance about the many places we ended up visiting.

"You always did like her best!" Wilbur pouted.
We ended up taking a trip to The Pier and Baby Girl insisted on feeding the Pelicans. For five bucks you get five fish and let me tell you those five fish created quite a scene as pelicans came out of nowhere for their free meal. That man is holding a net behind her head to ward off any more renegade pelicans because in the heat of the moment a particularly famished (greedy) pelican slammed into Baby Girl's head and nearly knocked her off her perch. It was too stinking funny and I only wish I'd gotten a picture.

Oh the life a busy young lady. While she should be taking a note from Wilbur and relaxing, she's on her phone yet once again and her I-Pad is sitting at the ready for even more work.

I feel bad because I'd promised Baby Girl that if she ever got to Florida I'd make sure to get her to Disney World so she could finally experience the Tea Cup Ride. I won't go into details but when she was a tiny little thing the Tea Cup Ride was just within her grasp and it was rudely taken away from her and she's never forgotten it. It didn't happen on this trip either but hopefully she'll give me more notice next time and as far as I'm concerned she can ride it till she pukes!!

She deserves it and I'll make sure to take along a big bib.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

New York City... the story continues

Warning! Way too much rambling on this post!

First of all I don't think my feet have ever hurt as much as they do right now and I have to admit that it's all my fault. I may be wearing the very same shoes I wore a couple of years ago when I accompanied Hans on a whirlwind two week trip to Europe, but I'm afraid my feet have since then grown accustomed to sandy beaches and they are having a delightful time torturing me for making them stomp about on unforgiving concrete all day long.

I hate looking like a tourist but I had to whip out my camera and take a picture of this fabulous button and needle that marks the beginning of the garment/fabric district.

I only wish I'd been bold enough to take a picture of the young lady who walked in front of me for several blocks clad only in a polka dot white fleece robe and her hair in curlers. Might I add that her robe just barely covered her bottom. I wasn't the only one who found this unusual and since I was following her I got to see the reaction on the faces of people after they passed from the opposite direction. And then we walked past a construction site. Have you ever witnessed a group of construction workers go completely silent?

I managed to find the fabric district and it was actually pretty overwhelming. After a while I finally figured out that everyones prices were pretty much the same and I didn't find what I would call any real bargains. I wasn't particularly looking for clothing fabric but I did buy two pieces of spandex fabric at Spandex House. I didn't find any (affordable) fabric for purses but I did buy a few little o-rings (for wallet wristlets) and some short zippers. There are tons of pieces of hardware available here but some were pretty pricey and without a real plan for them I didn't want to buy any (I already have a lot of stuff I've bought in the past and still haven't used).

I was thrilled to death to accompany Hans to New York on his business trip. I've never been here before and the thought of seeing NYC during the Christmas season was too good to be true. So I told Hans that for my Christmas present I wanted to go to Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes. My great grandmother thought the Rockettes walked (or perhaps tapped) on water and I only wish she'd been able to attend an actual performance during her lifetime. The show was spectacular and I have no idea how the hell those girls remember all their dance steps.

Of course it rained like crazy on Rockette night and here's Hans with both of our umbrellas. We got soaked.

The sculpture behind us was created years ago for Radio City Music Hall and was then banned for being too graphic. It's now very much out in the open and don't think Hans didn't appreciate it!
I mentioned before that I have no sense of direction and was a bit fearful of maneuvering about Manhattan on my own, and I admit that I had to back track a couple (okay a hell of a lot!) of times. But in the end I found myself enjoying the Big Apple immensely.

How well I recall bursting into our hotel room late in the afternoon on our first day in New York only to find Hans had gotten there first.

"What the hell are you doing here?" I demanded.

"I'm done for the day. Where have you been?" was Hans' reply.

"My feet were killing me and I just had to sit down so I had lunch up the street at D.J. Reynolds Pub and the owner happened to be there and he bought me a drink and I've been having a fabulous time!" I exclaimed. "I love New York! It has such a small town feeling and I told Dennis we'd be back for dinner tonight!"

"Who's Dennis? Hans asked.

"The owner."

"Why am I not surprised," Hans sighed.

He knows me all too well and could only shake his head, because, you see, I will talk to any one, any time, and at any place.

D J Reynold's Pub is a fabulous Irish Pub (and I've been to Ireland) with good food at a very affordable price (we ate there every single night!). By all means please go there if you happen to be in Manhattan. You will not be disappointed.

When we moved to Florida I had no idea I would be heading north before the Christmas holidays (I left my winter coat back home) and I was in dire need of a winter coat to take with me to New York. My new friend Carolyn stepped forward and offered me a beautiful leather coat that had belonged to her husband's mother. It fit like a glove!
Here I am right before we left to see the Rockettes.

After dinner at D.J.'s, our waitress, Siobhan followed us out into the street and after giving us a hug, she commented on my beautiful coat.

Thank you Carolyn!

We are now back home and apparently just in time.

I've been informed my youngest is due to arrive for a visit tomorrow!

Wilbur can't wait. He loves to sleep with his sister.

Monday, December 5, 2011

New York City

That's where I am right now folks!
Believe it or not.
I've never been here before and I very well may never get here again so tomorrow I'm going to take a stab at hitting the fabric (or garment) district.

We flew right over the Statue of Liberty which was really pretty exciting as I try never to look out the window of a plane.

Anyway, I have absolutely no sense of direction so God only knows where I'll end up.
Wish me luck!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Some stinking cute baby sewing.

I mentioned in a previous post that Hans' cousin is going to have a baby this January, and let's face it, now that I live in Florida, I'm having a very difficult time wrapping my brain around the fact that it's already December. I truly need to get my head on straight and finish up this baby project and get some Christmas shopping done.

So check out this adorable onesie I made out of one of Hans' old dress shirts by using this tutorial.

I also made my own bias tape.

And you wouldn't believe how much bias tape you can get out of a very small amount of fabric by using this method.

Since the future daddy designs ships, I purchased some sail boat fabric for the collar, cuffs, and bias tape, which was a perfect match, and I also thought it was just too cute.

And those are adorable matching shoes on the right. They were too easy to make and don't be surprised if I find a way to enlarge the pattern and make a pair for myself!

A view of the back.

Look at that little pleat!

And again, the shoes!

I rinsed it out and hung it out to dry on my red neck clothes line (which is really Wilbur's retractable leash).

Here's a close up of the cuff I added that wasn't on the tutorial, but you can see the sleeve placket that was kept from the original shirt.

I added an extra button hole and button at the bottom of the shirt front. I then made a tab with a button hole and stitched it to the back of the onesie. This tab then attaches to that button and secures the onesie to the baby.

And once again the little shoes. This was the first pair of these I've ever made and I'm pretty sure I cut the elastic just a bit too small on the right one which is making it pucker. The next pair will surely be better.

Waste not want not.

Very coincidentally I happened to see a Sewing with Nancy episode on the very day I was making this outfit. And on that particular show they were re-purposing a man's shirt into various useful items.

The very last thing they did was to cut off the collar and make it into an adorable dog collar.

Believe me when I say I wasted no time at all hacking off the collar of Hans' shirt, and no dog could possibly look as cute in a dress shirt collar than our Wilburbutt!

I only hope Hans doesn't ask me next week why he doesn't seem to have any more good dress shirts!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Some Thanksgiving sewing

Now that Hans and I have been displaced we were very thankful (no pun necessarily intended) to be invited for Thanksgiving dinner at the home of a former college friend of Hans' from some 30 years back and whom he hasn't seen in, well, nearly 30 years! Thirty years!!! It would appear we're getting to be pretty darned old wouldn't it?

We were informed that we didn't need to bring anything so I decided to make a couple of holiday pot holders and take along a bottle of wine and a pumpkin pie.

I have a pot holder tutorial but I decided that it might be a bit too big so I just decreased my pattern by an inch over all. Not such a big deal but I like it a little bit better. For added protection I also added Insul-brite to the pocket side.
I chose a snowman theme as it can be used all winter long unlike Santa and Christmas trees etc..

Hmm, Wilbur knows something's up and it's most likely not good.

And he was right. He stayed home Thanksgiving Day while we were out having a high old time.

But don't worry about the little man, he had many cushions to lie his tender pitty body on while we were gone.

I also made a couple of fabric covered buttons for decoration.

At the last minute I thought maybe I should make a wine bag and dug up this wine themed fabric and ripped that zipper out of a previously made garment and reused it for this project.

Here it is all zipped up.

And now with the top turned down. I also used a slice of wine cork threaded through a key chain jump ring for a zipper pull.

Actually, it was a bit amateurish and if I sew one again it will look a lot better, but it was kind of fun to make.

I'm now trying to come up with some fun (and cheap) Christmas decorating ideas for our slip here in the marina. And I need cheap since most anything I do will probably be vandalized and tossed into the water anyway.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Some 'friendly' sewing.

So today I actually loaded up my sewing machine, too many supplies, and my best company manners (or as good as my manners can be anyway) and headed off to Carolyn's house. I became acquainted with Carolyn through my blog, and shortly after Hans and I arrived here in Florida she and her husband graciously invited us to watch some boat races on the beautiful beaches of Clearwater. Ever since then we've kept in touch via email and today we were able to get together at her home for some sewing.

Carolyn had an idea for a very simple sewing project and I envisioned us sewing up a storm and churning out dozens of these little earbud cases. In fact I was positive we'd probably have to dig ourselves out from under of a mountain of these little buggers, not unlike toddlers who bury themselves in plastic ball bins at those obnoxiously noisy kiddie restaurants.

The reality?

Not so much.

I swear, you'd think neither of us had ever sewn a stitch in our lives. When I unpacked my gear I nearly didn't retrieve my seam ripper since I was smug in the fact that I was not going to need it but, I hadn't sewn more than a few stitches when out it came.

More than once, and in fact several times.

Halfway through the afternoon Carolyn triumphantly read one of the last steps out loud, "Since this piece is so small and simple you probably won't need to use pins, just place your pieces together and sew." She seemed very relieved at this news.

I grimly looked up yet once again from the crooked and frayed mess that I'd just yanked out from under my presser foot and stated, "You might want to use those pins anyway."

And that pretty much sums up our day.

So without further ado (drum roll please!!!) I present to you the results of two and a half hours of sewing!!!!!!!

Ta Da!!!!!!!!!!!!

The front.

The back.

Isn't it fabulous?

Here it is with my hot pink IPod.

Yessiree, I'm pretty sure this little baby would easily command about a $50.00 price tag for all the blood, sweat, and tears that went into it.

But then again it probably wouldn't.

I don't think anyone needs to worry about me being kidnapped and sent to China to work in a sweatshop anytime soon.

BTW, Carolyn does not have a blog but she really should!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

While the cat's away...

... (meaning Hans) the mice (meaning me and Wilbur) will play (and end up making a huge mess).

Hans was away on business for a few days and I took full advantage by never putting my sewing stuff away. Normally I'll get as much sewing done during the day that I can and then put everything away before Hans gets home in the evening. We only have a tiny table that we have to share (imagine dinner in addition to two computers!) and then there's the ironing board, and all my supplies etc... add to that mix, a pitty whom I seem to constantly be sidestepping or trying to shove aside on the settee so that I can have my own personal tiny space, and you can see why Wilbur and I turned into absolute pigs while Hans was away.

This is actually appears to be pretty neat.

No spools of thread, scissors, snippers, bobbins, fabric scraps...

Only that pesky little pitty.

My galley area taken over by a box of notions.

I doubt if Columbus ever envisioned a future navigation station being hampered with an iron and ironing board.

Just below the ironing board is a bin full of dog food and on top of that; two baskets full of scissors, thread, and notions.

I'm finding the need to keep my brain occupied these days, so this morning I whipped up this little lunch bag.

I take Wilbur to the dog park quite frequently and I've met a ton of really nice people there. One of them is Michelle and she has the sweetest bull dog-pit bull mix (who wiggles like a worm and plays kissy face with every dog that enters the park). Michelle recently lost her office job and is making ends meet by cleaning houses.

Aha! Back when I was cleaning houses I chanced onto this Linda Spivey wash day fabric and made myself a work bag. When we moved onto the boat I brought the left over scraps and dug them out last night.

It looks like a simple bag here.

But emerging from its inside is this insert.

These black ties are for reference only. I ended up stopping at the fabric store on my way to the dog park and found a perfect creamy yellow shade of cording but forgot to take a picture of the end result.

A view from the top but imagine it without those black ties.

Oh, I forgot. The plaid material came from a fabulous woven Indian fabric I lucked onto at the Good Will a few years ago (for a couple of bucks) I still have tons of it left but I was very happy when I realized it worked so well with the wash day fabric.

This is Wilbur, after a wild day of sewing (check out the paw beneath his jowls).

His motto may be, 'Party On Dude!' but he's really just an innocent baby at heart.

I let him have his dreams.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A very fashionable diaper bag is finished.

At least I hope it's fashionable but since it's been 20 plus years since I've carried one of these buggers I could be way off base.

Anyway, I posted a few days ago that Hans' cousin is expecting her first baby and I wanted to make a diaper bag for her. After spending too many hours scouring the internet in an effort to find the ultimate diaper bag to mimic, I finally settled on my own idea. I started with Nicolle Mallalieu's Beach Bag Pattern and just went from there.

This is the front of the bag in its fully expanded mode.

The flowered overlay is a roomy outside pocket.

In its expanded mode this bag is very roomy and can hold a lot of baby stuff.

This is the front of the bag with the sides cinched in. It's still pretty roomy but perhaps a bit more stylish.

The back of the cinched in bag with a secure zippered pocket.

And now the back in its fully expanded mode.

So how does one cinch in the sides of this bag?

Sorry, but this is one very crappy picture.

In short, it consists of two 3 inch tabs stitched to the inside of the side seams of the bag. Velcro is then attached to the top of one tab and the bottom of the other.

They connect midstream and pull the sides of the bag inward!

The inside of the bag.

At the top is the facing with a magnetic snap in the middle of it.

The flowered fabric is the lining.

The striped fabric is a patch pocket with a Velcro closure.

This is mirrored on the other side of the interior.

And now the outside zippered pocket. I've installed tons of these over the years but for some reason this one gave me fits.

It was the batting I used for structure on the main bag that caused an issue. It was just a bit too thick and made for sloppy corners.

If I were to do this again, I'd trim the batting away from the zipper area long before hitting it with my hissing steam iron.

The bottom is a chocolate vinyl and is what had me concerned the most, and I was prepared to forgo this step if I didn't feel it was going to work. I ended up being very happy with the results and as far as I'm concerned this bag is finished!

I sincerely hope that Susie likes it!

And on a sad note, Nicolle has made the decision to end her online store by the end of 2011. This just makes me sick as she is the absolute guru of purse patterns and if it weren't for her I would have quit making purses a long time ago. I can see that I'm going to have to treat myself to a few last minute Christmas gifts and pick up a few things that I may never be able to find again!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Quickie wallet update

Here is a small update to the wallet that I posted about yesterday. You can see where paper money can be kept behind the change pocket.
Here you can see a couple of quarters sticking up out of the change pocket, and below that are two credit card slots. You can always stick an extra card or two in there if you want.

And now the outside with a proper button.

Last but not least is Wilbur.

As soon as I got up, he stole my warm spot.

Tonight we're actually supposed to experience temperatures in the upper 40's believe it or not.

Well excuse me! I thought I was living in sunny Florida! Hans has some explaining to do.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A small stab at sewing

I managed (despite very limited space aboard our boat) to cut out my diaper bag. But sewing it is a whole different matter since I have to put absolutely everything away in order to do little things like cook dinner, and fishing it all out again is just not fun.

So I decided to use some left over scraps to make a small matching wallet.

Please ignore the huge button. It's a total fake and used only as a guide, and anyway I ended up buying a much more suitable one after I took these pictures. I'll update tomorrow.

The front (remember, please ignore the button).

I'm not a huge fan of Velcro, but when you're in line at the store and in a hurry, it works better than trying to line up snaps.

The top part of the wallet is where you keep your change (Velcro once again! but I promise it's secure), and that very same change pocket has space behind it to hold bills.

I guess I'll have to add a demo to tomorrows update.

The lower part is for credit cards.

I guess there'll be yet another update.

Apparently I'm not very prepared.

The unfolded outside (ignore that damn button!).

And the back.

This is really a quick little wallet that took way too long to make as I only had one small remaining scrap of fabric left over and I didn't want to make a stupid mistake and have to buy more.

I apologize for no parting pic of Wilbur (but no worries there, I have plenty to choose from and will include that tomorrow also)!