26 March, 2012

Swedish Coin Purse

I found this tiny fabric remnant - 6"w x 12"l  -- a few months ago and it was re-placed near my purse frames for a rainy day.

Which happens particularly often in Oregon's month of March.

I even added an inside pocket.

I love how this turned out.
I have gifts to make for my upcoming trip to visit friends in Sweden & Finland. One friend has two girls (high school age) and the other has a girl who wants
Monster High Dolls.

Such as this one:

Maybe out-fitted as an aviatrix?

I think some small purses would be easy to bring and give.

25 March, 2012

Traveling With An Auto-Immune

Food for me is such a serious subject. Because of my auto-immune, I react to most foods. I stay completely away from the ones that set off immediate headaches, stiff joints, & bloating. Some of the food intake causes  cumulative reactions which show up days later. Most days, I eat off of a list of about ten foods. I juice an apple, zucchini and celery for my morning drink. This sits easily in my morning tummy. Mid-morning, I like to get some protein from either an egg, beef or chicken. Maybe a salad. I cheat all the time because it is impossible to only eat foods that cause minimal reactions.

I bring this up because I am off traveling this summer to Sweden & Finland for over two weeks.

This is my bad google search map. I am going to have to scan in a better map because I had a difficult time getting internet images to do what I want them to do. We are starting in Goteberg (Gothenberg) on the west coast of Sweden and making our way eastward to Stockholm, Aland Islands, Turku, Helsinki and possibly Rovaniemi (north part of Finland).

It is difficult to manage my auto-immune but not impossible.
Key to my health management is what I call my emergency food stash. I have had to use it quite a bit this week as my new boss keeps asking me to work longer hours - at the last minute. This kit is always in my car for when I need help - due to circumstances- stabilizing my blood sugar and energy levels.

I have been juicing and blendering veggies and fruit since late last summer. This helps out my auto-immune in a number of ways. The smaller particles of food are easier for my body to extract nutrition from. I am also eating more which translates into energy. How am I going to do juicing while traveling?

My niece (with my two practice grandkids) showed me a product that is going to be another tool in my arsenal. They take up nearly an entire aisle at Target. They are at other stores -- in the baby food area.
Usually organic, heavy on veggies, they don't taste half-bad. Well - it's like drinking your veggies, but the apple helps sweeten it up.

I plan on taking these pouches in my checked bag. I am flying domestic and int'l  and what with gifts for the  people I am staying with and my emergency food, I will have to check one bag. For Ireland (two years ago) I used  only a carry-on but we were gone just the one week. This trip is much longer but is anchored by staying with a friend in Goteberg at the beginning and another dear friend in Helsinki at the end.

You have to be at least 4 years (months!) old to enjoy this.
Quite a few contain Chia Seeds - for protein - which causes me to bloat up almost immediately. My 'favorite' is the broccoli and apple pouch. Simple & effective.
I am not sure about Rutabaga - when's the last time you ate this root?

They are for the most part made shelf-stable by the packaging (excessive and not recycling-friendly) and ascorbic acid + lemon juice. For the most part, they taste like what I am throwing in my blender. For traveling, this is a good way to make sure I am getting some bonus calories for the energy expended walking around and seeing the sites.

I am excited about this trip and love that this new product will make my energy easier to manage.

18 March, 2012

Book Reports On Fabric

 My nephew sewed a pillow to demonstrate his affection with the book he read.
{Silly school projects}.

He read Peter and the Starcatchers, written by Dave Barry who used to write all those newspaper columns of epic parody for the Miami Herald and Ridley Pearson who probably wrote something important but I've never heard of him.

The kids were asked to make a quilt representing their book. Suggestions included puff paint and fabric markers.

My sister was asking for advice and I told her about freezer paper fabric transfers. Basically, that's where you cut a piece of freezer paper to the size of your printer paper. Iron it shiny plasticy side down on your fabric, cut that to size,  and then feed this through your printer to print out wonderful graphics, words, & book reports.
The freezer paper gives your fabric the stiffness necessary to feed the fabric through your printer.

When your printer is done printing on the fabric, you peel off the freezer paper and iron it to the next sheet of fabric. I think the freezer paper is re-usable four or five times.
You could buy expensive transfer sheets at any office supply store or even get them at Joann's with your 40% off coupon, but this is far cheaper and easier. And different. Impressive, really.

First; he drew out his pictures and printed the words
{{hey! these words are in english. I thought he was in spanish immersion school???
Nephew decided to print the words around the drawings.

Secondly; colors were added.

Thirdly;  They scanned in the papers and made a file on the computer.

Fourth;  He sent the file to the printer loaded with the fabric attached to freezer paper. Load only one fabric piece at a time.

Fifth; It printed.

Heat set the inks. Dry iron (no steam). High heat.

After cutting the squares - as squares-
he sewed them together with, I believe, a quarter-inch seam.

 Proudly holding his creation, ahem, book report.

 The back side was this perfect pirate fabric, ordered from etsy, which arrived just a few days before the book report was DUE.

Graded A+

The second book in this series is Peter and the Shadow Catchers. These are about Peter Pan before he knew how to fly and the island and the pirate and all that stuff before Wendy became famous.

***You can google "Freezer paper fabric transfer" and you will be directed to multiple sites featuring this easy-to-use technique. Suitable for all book reports.

14 March, 2012

Wool Bleach Test



I was just asked if the wool yardage I was selling in my etsy shop was 100% wool and have I done a bleach test on it???!!!

Well, then. . .
Google it, and yes, there is. A test, I mean.

Did I know this and forget? It seems simple.
You take a small square of your material and pour a cup of bleach on it. Let it sit in a well-ventilated area and a few hours later?

--- If it totally dissolved, the fabric is 100% wool.

--- If it partially dissolved, it is a wool blend.


Question 1: Does it have to be a whole cup of bleach? I didn't use a whole cup. . .
              2. How long? before it dissolves. I left it overnight in the garage.

My fabric did not dissolve. Therefore, it is a wool blend.
There is also a burn test - if you want the smell of burning hair in your house (go outside).

Washington Make It With Wool Contest 2012

This gal on PatternReview.com

13 March, 2012

Snow Surprise

I woke up this morning at 4:30am to loud blinking lights from my alarm clock radio. Discovering the power had gone out during the night, I also discovered it snowed. Nearly four inches (tiny exaggeration).
I tried to go back to sleep after resetting my clock but to no avail. I got up again and woke Rusty to go outside and play.

With Willamette Valley snow, it can melt away very fast and you don't want to lose a minute of enjoyment.
This was our first sticking snowfall in Canbyland this winter so it was very welcome.
Weirdly enough, when I texted my kids (before 6am because I am a good mom!), they did not get any snow and acted all surprised {Portland & Corvallis}.

It's a good day to sit at my sewing machine as I don't have to go back to work.
This was a very wet snow - lost some branches from the weight - and it is now really sloppy wet snow. Rusty and I played at just the right time.

If you like goofy dogs, then watch this.

Or, this. Rusty buried his ball, his tail is wagging wildly, still can't find the ball, you can see green of tennis ball peeking out.


It was a cute tutorial. It appeared quick.
One pattern piece. Only a few pages in the pdf download.
It was free.

I dislike it.

It goes against the grain of my ingrained practicality.

If I added ribbon pull-tabs on each side, it would zip easier.

I do like the inside seams bound in contrasting bias tape.

Still not making another one.
Who can I pass it off give it to?

11 March, 2012

How To Sew A Better Purse

When do you ditch the purse pattern as a fugli piece of. . .?

Sewing purses is gonna give you lessons on weird interfacings, zipper construction, boxed corners or not, and needle breakage.

I have a friend, Pencil Girl, who has a quilt shop near her home where the owner loooovvves bags. Kathy offers purse classes - kind of an all-day-sewathon - for $15!

Once in a blue moon when my schedule permits and Pencil Girl can get away from the farm, we go sewing. Two years ago, we made this bag. I am not going to disclose the pattern name (to protect something) here, but we nearly made wadders trying to cram too much fabric under our presser feet.
I think Pencil Girl finished hers finally - I finished mine today. We are meeting Wednesday to celebrate Pencil Girl's birthday at Moonstruck Chocolates in Beaverton.
Finishing my bag is my present to her.

Here are some thoughts you can use (free-of -charge) when next you feel inspired to sew your own purse.

1. Get a pattern. Look for a pattern that gets brand specific on interfacing and batting.

2. I have problems with fusible batting and interfacings. The drape of the material gets compromised by fusibles. It looks fine while you are sewing but I noticed (2 yrs later) that the inside of this bag is texturally 'off' where the fusible bond failed or shrunk or ???   As I sew more purses, I am using more sew-in facings.

3. With that said, starting out, fusible interfacings and battings will keep layers from shifting and make it easier for your machine to sew through the layers.

4. Hand-basting might become your best friend - to keep those layers from shifting.

5. I have yet to see a bag pattern that talks about trimming down your interfacings and battings where you are stitching. Where Pencil Girl and I got stuck on this bag? Not just because we ran out of class time but we could not get the flipping handle and the bag under the presser foot. And if you manage to get all that material under the foot --- skipped stitches are your nemesis.

6. Where handle attaches to bag -- try to envision the end sewing. Try measuring and leaving out the interfacing and batting at the sew lines. This is what I did with this bag   ---after unpicking my previous crap stitching. This bag incorporates a tab with a 'D' ring attaching the handle to the bag.
The directions told me to use fusible batting along the length of the handle - which was a long rectangular piece of fabric.   After fusing, you chop off two pieces each measuring 7" for the tabs. Then you fold and sew it up with all that batting inside. That's where Pencil Girl and I might have been asked to leave the county for swearing too loudly. It would have been better to stop the batting 7" from each end of the handle and leave it out altogether from the tab sections. Two years later - that's what happened. I still needed to hand-sew a couple of seams because of the thickness of all the layers.

7. Do not use black lining material unless you want a black hole in your purse. Plus a black zipper which became invisible. I at least top-stitched my inside pockets in a contrasting thread color. Two years later, I added a small swatch of the outside fabric to the center pocket to give a visual clue that pockets exist in this bag.

8. Re: zippers.  Some of these have tiny minute holes in the zipper pulls. The larger the hole, the easier it is to thread a ribbon through to create a zipper pull. Since my lining and zipper were both black, I added a red ribbon pull. If you have a chance for a choice, pick the zipper with the largest hole in it's pull tab.  The smaller the hole  inversely relates to the amount of swearing trying to force anything through that hole. I know I will remember this next time. uh huh.

The other option? From the jewelry friends, borrow some jump rings ( which are called that because they 'jump' away) and make a earring kind of thing with beads to act as a zipper pull.

9. I like a bag to stand up. I am not a big fan of slouch bags. Even though, some of the battings and decor bond recommended in this pattern were overkill. But you won't know until you try them.
A lot of these battings and interfacings are somewhat new to the sewing market so we are all learning what to use when we need more stability. Sometimes nothing is okay, sometimes a layer of flannel will work fine without compromising the drape of the fabric and sometimes you need serious decor bonding. I tend to use more medium-weight (home decor) fabrics. Some of these patterns are designed for use with quilting cottons. (which made this my problem because of my poor choice of fabrics!)

10.  I know when I use WonderUnder to bond fabric to fabric, my sewing machine is fine with it. If I use the Heat'nBond (garage sale find), my needles gum up and my machine (if it had feelings) HATES me. These products are essentially the same thing but they act differently for me. Same with different brands of  interfacings - they may look the same . . .When in doubt, look for someone who sews who is employed where you are shopping and ask.

11. Use your heaviest needles, back up (reverse) cautiously, and be prepared to change out needles. Use the manual wheel to move forward or backwards if you need to be extra cautious.
The presser foot lever on my machines can be lifted higher if I manually lift the lever.
A jean-a-ma-jig can be used when starting a seam to keep your presser foot level. If you don't have one, improvise. Your machine will do less skipped stitches if the foot is level.

12. Don't be afraid to make design changes. Originally the tabs on my purse were the same color as the handle (instructions). Two years later, and after I unpicked the stitches to rip out the batting, I had a lightbulb moment and made the tabs out of the pendleton fabric. Sometimes it takes two years for lightbulbs to go off.  on.

13. Editing. The bag calls for a flower brooch for the outside embellishment. I made it, but I can't stand it. It appears that any embellishment will compete with the Pendleton fabric.  Ideas?    I haven't seen a button that will work. All of my metal buckles and belt stash items aren't working. I'm gonna let Pencil Girl make the decision.

09 March, 2012

March 7, 2012 Flowers on Friday.

Here's updated pics of stunning spring flowers. 29' last Wednesday night and around 50' during the day. Back to rain soon - but Wednesday - was a sunny day.
I took the photos Wednesday but I finally remembered my Ottobre top photos which I posted instead on Wednesday.

Rusty;ball in mouth --it's like a pacifier

These white crocus and stunning Iris greet me near my driveway.

This Japanese Maple makes a good hide-out for bad bored dogs.
Rusty rearranged all the crocuses which came up in spite of him.


This is that Nootka Rose that WAS sending out runners to take over the world.
I foiled it with 6" wide flashing bought at the hardware store.
It nearly surrounds the Rose except where there are tree roots.

07 March, 2012

I Guess I'll Go Eat Worms

I sewed this top for me.

I almost forgot to post these. This is now one of my favorite tops to wear.

Much better day today. All that other stuff in my head will get resolved and shoved out so I have time for the fun stuff.
For my medical, I was trying the entire month of February to  get rid of my Blastocystis parasite (again). The major antibiotic, Nitazoxanide, in addition to Boluoke, an enzyme made from Earthworms(!) to soften the shell of the parasite so the antibiotic could work on the parasite, left  me tired.   The energy was not happening.

Today I felt better, and I am finally blogging about eating worms. For an entire month!

 If I am going to post pictures of ME wearing  my creations, I am going to have to address lighting. My inside house lights all have that yellow tone thing going.
My daughter can take good photos (composition (i.e.  disguise the flab)) but not sure about hubby.
Both my kids are finishing up school and haven't lived at home for several years although I might get the daughter back. She says her soul would die if she had to move back to Canby (from portland) but she's run out of money and we are currently engaging in a call to jesus talk with her about the realities.

She turns 24 in April. She has been managing her life well - it's just difficult to find a good paying job post-school. At what point do parents shut up and at which point is the daughter too old to listen?

06 March, 2012

Flower Filler

Sasanqua Camilla

These are photos of flowers from last week but since the weight of the world in the form of new boss, medical situation and et cetera is being dealt with, I give you some of my spring flowers.


Today, there are now white crocuses flanking these dwarf Iris's

Crucuses popping up thru a ground cover.
I liked the composition.

More sunny crocuses. These are the ones the dog dug up creating a 'wallow'.
"Wallow" - a place where bad bored dogs lie down to HIDE.

Thorny, spiny Nootka Roses - starting to think about RUNNING away and popping up more thorny, spiny stalks nearby. I bought some aluminum flashing at Canby Builder's and dug a trench around the running roses. Probably won't stop the bad behavior but it will slow them down. We had an absolute gorgeous day on Sunday and I took care of this chore.
They are growing next to a large tree stump and they do hide it during the rest of the year.

Tiny Narcissi, Narcissus, Narcissii  (sp?)

More of my Iris's

Dwarf Fosythia - my sis sent it from Minnesota

Christmas Cheer Rhodies.