30 January, 2012



My creative friend sent me a link to yet another extremely fun purse.
They are called Macaroons. They can get very very elaborate and the greatest thing is that no seam is longer than 5 inches! Alhough most of those 5 inch seams are done by hand.
I think I spent an hour putting my first one together.

They are tiny little ring presentation cookies. The base is from a 1 1/2" covered button so a half dollar will fit. There is some vertical room for  tiny things like an engagement ring.

I had to go to Joann's Sunday. My list included:
1. double-fold bias tape (because I was 4" short on my work apron)
2. 1 1/2" covered buttons ( sure couldn't find any in my enormous stash - not a one)
3. 5" zipper (even though the macaroon tute gave a link on how to shorten metal zips, I was already going to Joann's).

Of course, when I finally got to the check-out with only one piece of fabric in addition to my list (good girl!), my wallet hadn't come with me. It was  back on the kitchen island - 15 minutes away. And my $20 emergency gas money wasn't in my first-aid kit - maybe not since the kids first left home - must be because we all have cells now).

Idea from tutorial. The next one for me.

Joann's vaguely promised to hold my purchase and I drove all the way home - this time at the correct speed limit - and drove all the way back. Golly.


They are cute.

The most difficult hand-stitching is slip-stitching the inner plate into the purse. Next time, I would just hot glue it. But if you need to stitch it, try using one of your curved needles. Tight-tight space.

There is a bit of machine-sewing with your zipper foot at the beginning. After that it is all handsewing.

I think I will throw this into the etsy shop. Any ideas about pricing?

29 January, 2012

Tea Cozy

The only thing I sewed in January was a work apron?!?!

Rumblings of "How Pitiful!" came forth from the depths of my spleen yesterday.
I couldn't let that slide.

Rambling around on the internet came forth with this gem that I felt a need to make.
The tea cozy turned out wonderfully.
Very Kerry Berry provided a template for the tea cozy shape and I strip-sewed the teapot together and sewed it on as an applique.
I did make a promise to myself that I would sew more for myself this year instead of giving it all away. I tend to take care of others because it is easier. Yes, easier.

When is the last time you sewed something just for you?
I find it much easier to dive into a project if I have someone in mind. The fabrics in  their colors tend to jump into my design basket so much easier. But if I were to sew something for myself?
Let's just say is it is difficult to take the time, to pick fabrics and notions with myself in mind, but more importantly, "Am I worthy of this selfish time spent on myself?"

In any case, I didn't sew this tea cozy for me. But I did figure out a process. The steps to make this little striped teapot, the process,  that IS sewing time for me.

Even though I don't have much personal sewing around me, I really enjoy the process of figuring out how to get a finished product off my cutting table just by looking at a photo.

Complicated subject: My new years goal is to make those projects more for me. Go beyond the process and sew the item with ME in mind. My colors, my fabrics, something I can use.

And if that is a work apron, so be it.


*** And I did sew this with someone in mind. But now I am trapped in my new rule of not giving it all away. Now what?

I found this amazing sight this morning as the dawn came forth with light:

Pencil Girl: This is my Underwater setting scene on my camera. I believe that's how I got the green lights on the Christmas Tree too.

26 January, 2012

Work Apron


A new work apron is the only thing I have sewn this January.
Pitiful, but the sewing room is a disaster after the frenzy of holiday sewing and someone needs to go clean it up.
I always need a new apron for work. Up until now I was using a 'pattern' that had a single strap around the neck. By the time I put my three pens in the pocket as well as my work gloves, the weight starts dragging on my neck.
I decided a few months ago that I would create a new pattern - a smock apron. The weight would rest on my set of shoulders rather than my single neck.
More even distribution, if you will.

I used my swedish tracing paper to create a paper pattern. I measured the hip width of my original apron and tapered it up to my shoulder width. I pinned it to my shoulders  several times until I thought it was the right width, right coverage and correct length.
Then I folded my paper in half length-wise to make sure both sides were the same. This is where I cut out the neck hole. I basically cut out a 'U' neckline and cut a bit more until I was satisfied.

I pinned it to my double-layered fabric and cut it out. I used a thrifted denim fabric.

For the bottom pocket, I cut another piece of fabric - pocket length and matched my rounded corners at the bottom. I then serged the edges together.
I hemmed the top of the pocket length AFTER I serged the edges necessitating me ripping a few stitches out to get it hemmed. After hemming the top edge of the pocket, I used my coverstitch machine (twin rows of stitching) to create the  pocket divider in the middle.

I had about a package and a half of black double-fold bias tape which could be enough(?). The only navy blue I had was a narrow double-fold bias tape and I wanted the 1/2" look on the edge.
I started sewing down the bias tape on the raw edges which was very easy as I was sandwiching just a single layer between the bias tape and it didn't shift at all.
As it was, I was 4" short. A trip to Joann's is in my future this weekend.

I did use the narrow navy blue bias tape for the ties. I sewed the fold shut and then attached them at my waist spot on each side of the front & back of the apron.

However when I got to work, placed my three pens and gloves in the pockets and put my ID badge and name tag on -- the weight in those pockets caused the back to creep up - making the front start dragging. Not good!
When I cut out the neck hole, I made the front and back the same. Next time, I will bring the back up to the neckline so it won't creep.

I thought about it for a few days and I think I have a solution (it's been a week already!). I am going to add a strap across the back just under my neckline which will act as a stop when  it rides up against my polo collar.
Right now, I untie one side and just lift it off and up over my head. I think I will make the strap with a snap just in case my head gets is too big to lift the apron up and off of my big head of hair.

When it rides at my shoulders, it is very comfortable to wear.

I have noticed that the denim is already wearing at the waist so I still have to add a wearable piece of art at the middle.  I will zigzag stitch it on and when it starts looking sad I can easily slide my seam ripper down through the zigzag stitches and sew on another pretty add-on piece. This little add-on takes the brunt of my work and I won't have to sew an entire apron next time.

I have had  the most delightful day with my mom and her kindle, the sun has been shining, and I cleaned the house thoroughly and then the light went, which leaves you with photos taken with a flash and other bad photography problems but hey - it's a work apron.

This new smock-type apron took about two hours to sew and three months of pattern gestation in my head.
And only after I was forced to admit my previous apron looked sad, very sad.

Oh - the upper pocket is for my IPOD so I don't have to listen to anyone who is mean & cranky.

22 January, 2012

GIVEAWAY & Random Thoughts Said Out Loud Stay in People's Heads

 January 26, 2012, Giveaway is Now CLOSED.
Thank you to everyone who commented and I am sending your chocolates straight away.

Back before Christmas, quite a few customers were shipping nuts to their friends & relatives. Oregon is blessed with abundant Walnut and Filbert (Hazelnut) Trees. We kinda take our nuts for granted.

Other parts of the country have to make do with nuts that have been stored - a long time. We have access to fresh nuts.

And fresh nuts, once they are dried taste way better than a nut that has been in cold storage for three years.

In any case, I told my dream to a couple of my customers; that I have always dreamed of connecting with someone with a Pecan tree and we could exchange nuts.
Pecans don't grow in Oregon and we have to make do with three year old cold-storage pecans. Pecans happen to be my favorite baking nut.

Today, one of my, beyond lovely, customers came in to drop off a bag of Pecans - FOR ME!!!

Out of the blue, she was invited on a train trip with an 82-year-old friend who needed a companion to go down to the southern states. Along the way, they stopped in Louisiana and she remembered my dream.

What an awesome gift.

I am exchanging with her a bag of hazelnuts and walnuts.

How often does someone remember what you say?
What makes them remember you?

This is the best gift I have gotten this year.

I know just what I am going to do with some of these pecans. I am dipping them in dark chocolate for a sweet gift to me AND for you.

Just because I was taught to share -- I am giving away a small packet of these dark chocolate covered pecans and walnuts.

If you want to be considered, please leave a comment below maybe telling me one nice thing that has happened this week to you.

I will mail the chocolate covered nuts anywhere in the world.
I'll close the comments in  few days.

****Tuesday -January 24th, 2012.
Heads up:  I got called into work for a few days - I will close the giveaway tomorrow and hopefully mail out Thursday. Thank you all for the lovely comments.

21 January, 2012

Allergy Pride

Spot on for Portland allergy sufferers. Note the milk truck - one of the first floats - advertising Fifty Licks Ice cream - the best ever! Lemon Sorbet - Yeah!!!

Season 2, episode 2 of Portlandia.

By the way - still addicted to Grimm - on Hulu tv

I am doing a GIVEAWAY in tomorrow's post. Stay tuned.

20 January, 2012

Kindles & 78 Year Olds

I've been taking my mom to E-reader class at my public library in Canbyland.
I have a friend who adores her Kindle because it is slim, fits into her purse and she can take it on multiple road trips north and ALWAYS have access to a book.
My mom & dad recently traveled east to visit my sis in Minnesota. I know they packed four books each AND read what was available in Minnesota as well.

Now - I don't want a Kindle - at all  (although I am saving up for a smart phone and a IPAD).
I live in Clackamas county and have free access to all nine libraries in the county system. I go onto the computer (internet) and look for books and place them on hold. When they come into Canby, I go pick them up.
So easy to do.
I thought my mom would enjoy the Kindle because of the ability to increase the font size. Surprisingly for her - this is not an issue with her (yet). She's a little computer challenged and she has not yet learned how to locate books online through her Washington County library system.
My library started offering e-reader classes back in November. I invited my mom to the class and she indicated an interest in the Kindle. But it has been a tough road to learn. From the foreign computer lingo to library talk, from amazon stuff to Libraries2Go, etc. We are working on it one step at a time.

For me - this works with my schedule. The upside is I get to spend time with my mom (alone), take her to lunch and get her out of her comfort zone.
Today's lesson was where to plug the cord into the Kindle (cactus up) and plug the plug into a wall socket so it can recharge.
Last week's lesson: How to turn it completely OFF. If you slide the off button once - it puts the device to Sleep. If you hold the on/off slider for about 10 seconds - it will completely power off - saving battery power.
It's slow, but Mom is coming along. Libraries2Go no longer intimidates her. She accepts that she will get to Amazon.com eventually. And she has deleted an expired library book from her Amazon "Manage Your Kindle" page. Woohoo!

We keep repeating.

When I was thinking about this post, I was trying to formulate words to express why a 78 year old would even want a kindle. Well- I see my mom & dad shutting down in their retirement. Mom goes to her same groups/clubs. A world of if this is Tuesday, then this happens. Predictable. The same, mind-numbing daily stuff. Getting my  mom to pop a few neurons learning new things is a goal for all of us to emulate. Is that why I like blogging? Learning new HTML code? Learning how to replace a background that has gone blank? How to highlight hyperlinks?

Just this morning I wasted spent an inordinate amount of time putting together a music playlist because I saw one on a blog I had just read. In the process (#@!$%##!!!), I learned a few new swearwords I learned some new skills. Now I have an incomplete music playlist to show for it on the blog, but hey, one thing at a time. lol

My mom has never been on the techno forefront but if she is interested, she can learn. We've been spending time together since before Christmas on this project and I anticipate spending  6 months getting her comfortable in placing books on hold via her library website and opening them up in her Kindle. She is really coming along on the new language skills.

She is the designated chauffeur when my dad needs to go to doctor visits and since my dad can talk anyone's ear off (who me?), my mom is sitting in the waiting room for lengthy amounts of times. The kindle can store a thousand books, and doctors places generally have wifi and she can download with her kindle anytime she is near a wifi place.

It's not only the font size which makes reading books easier, it's the size of the device. Plus the little booklight which comes with the case! I confess to falling in love with the case.

I have discovered several things by taking these classes with mom:
1. My mom is currently using my library code number to access Clackamas county libraries. She is having a little problem with getting her Washington Co. library card number to work. This means if she has my daughter's card number (FOR MULTNOMAH COUNTY!! the ultimate library system) she can access kindle books from any library she has the card info. for.
2. The kindle lending library is going to teach you how to put books on hold. All the latest books are on hold for someone else. There is a limited amount of available e-books. However, if you have access to other people's library cards - you could use those to see if you can find a better hold number. My mom wants to borrow "The Help". We are currently # 601 out of 771 in the queue. Maybe we can cut the time shorter by putting it on hold in Washington county as well.
3.There are no fines for e-reader books. Once they get to your kindle - you have a certain amount of days to read the book - before it goes back. You can't renew. (You have to re-start the hold to get the book again. And your Kindle will remember what page you left off on!)

Keep your brain on notice. Learn new things. Do your Sudoku, Ken-Ken, cross-words, etc. Leave room to figure out new skills. Stop saying no.

18 January, 2012

Felting the Easy Way

I found this lovely coral sweater at a garage sale Friday. He wanted $2 but I talked him down to a buck. I just knew that all that cable goodness was going to felt into an interesting texture.

You can find a lot of books about felting. You can spend a bit of money to get way too involved or you can felt the easy way. I bet you know how to do it already!

First off, find a sweater that is marked 100% wool.

Alternately, LOOK for Dry Clean Only.

Next, you are going to throw this into your washing machine. Who hasn't mistakenly done this to a beloved sweater only to find it child-size later?
You also want to throw in an old towel to help agitate  the fibers. Tennis shoes that need cleaning are perfect for agitating wool. You also want to add some detergent, or a drop or two of hand-washing soap like Dove,   or forget - like I did.

Remember to use old towels, because the by-product of felting is lint
- that gets on everything.

This is after one cycle through the washing machine. The back has shrunk but the front and the sleeves are still not quite felted enough. Conjecture and all that. You may have to throw it through a second cycle. Don't fret.

I also threw this through the dryer for more shrinkage power. Be sure to check your lint trap if you do this step.

This Shetland wool ended up with a lot of fuzzies. Go outside and shake thoroughly.

Before you track it down the hall to go find the camera.

This is from the doll bedding my sis and I made our great-niece for her doll. This striped sweater was 100% Lambswool and felted without hardly any lint. Very smooth texture.

Excuse the colors. It still is the same lovely coral color but it is raining cats and dogs (no snow, grumble, grumble). Photo was taken inside with the yellow tone lighting in the kitchen.

You are aiming for a thicker version of the sweater and much smaller. Adult Large down to child's large. You should be able to cut anywhere without it unraveling. You can store it easily by cutting it apart at the seams. I tend to leave it as is until the perfect project comes along. I can see making this into part of a purse and utilizing the buttonhole band for a pocket closure. So, I don't want to cut off the buttons just yet.
You may want to use the sleeve wrist banding or even the neck banding  The cables are still discernible.

I still need to de-fuzz the rest of the lint balls sticking up. I've already shaken this outside. I usually wait until my project is cut out and pick off the pills as needed for the piece I have cut out. I think I actually have a battery operated sweater de-fuzzer thingy - somewhere.

That's it. No special equipment. Better yet, no books to weed through. No experts steering you in the 'right' direction. Felting the easy way.

You can find 100% wool sweaters at almost any garage sale or thrift store.
Give it a try.

15 January, 2012

Catch-up Photos

Clearing out my temporary photo file --- wanted to share:

Miss Ella - behaving herself at  an Ikea shopping trip

 Missy Sophea - my great-niece. One of her grandma's made this darling knitted jumper dress. The armholes and neckline have a knitted embellishment.

 My fabulous Amaryllis.
Sent up one stalk which was four (4!) trumpets. The second stalk also had four trumpets.
It started blooming New Year's Day and is still going strong.

 Playing around with my camera settings - post Christmas.
I'd taken all the ornaments off and sorted them into boxes for my kids and wrapped the rest away - down to the lights when I took this breather.

And finally, this cute little doll-sized trunk. It looks like a simple wood box you can buy at Micahel's and then add 'leather' embellishments.  It's on my inspiration board- which if I could manage one more web platform - would be Pinterest.  Pretend Pinterest.

I think this closes out 2011.

13 January, 2012

Temari Balls

After all the gift goodness on the previous post, I thought this would be the best way to say Thank You to a dear friend!

Temari Balls can be addictive. I have made a few now and there are so many designs to choose from.
My creative friend gave me a book on Temari Balls at Christmas that has some good designs in it.
I also own this one too. This pattern is called Striped Obi.

 Temari are very tactile. There is slight give to the surface and the threads lined up entice you. And if you are really thinking, you'll add a little rattle inside to make your insides sing.

All it takes to start is a bunch of thread. Lol.

These are a great way to use up nearly used up spools of thread - serger cones, specifically. I look for these at garage sales.
The thread above is a pearl cotton which is thicker for the designs placed on top of the base thread wrap.

12 January, 2012

Lovely Surprise Gift

 Right before Christmas - Friday and Saturday (Christmas Eve) to be exact, I received two small parcels from my friend in Japan. We discovered each other last Spring in the SewMamaSew Giveaways. It turns out she grew up right behind Canbyland, where I live.
She writes a sewing blog that occasionally delves into Japanese culture in Awagi. She has a traveling sewing machine repairman AND a traveling fabric salesman. I am very jealous of her good fortune.

 All of the goodies laid out.

Hello Kitty from Awagi cloth.
Can one take it out of it's cellophane and use it? Is it destined to be a souvenir?

The green packet caught my son's eye.
Thankfully, she worte in english that is was a bath bomb and not candy.

 This darling little cosmetic-size bag with it's lacy zipper and key fob.

Reverse side of the crane bag.
It's sitting on another Tight-n-Tidy bag in a soft blue.

 She sent along a Star Kit containing pre-cut strips of Japanese papers and Japanese instructions on how to make Magic Stars.

Magic stars only take a few minutes to make and you can easily fill up a containter full for luck? Similar to a 1000 cranes?

 This is the Tight-n-Tidy Tote I ordered from her shop. 
She blogged about this fabric and I couldn't get it out of my head. I am using it to carry my laptop to the library for my mom's e-reader class.

I love these cherry blossoms on the purplish-grey background.

Look who remembered about my airplane fetish.

Thank you, dear friend.