31 December, 2013

Bluebird Of Happiness, aka TMI

How fast one loses the need to take a photo so I can blog about it mentality.
I have sewed a few things during the christmas craziness but they were all gifts, finished late at night when the photography options are bad and frankly, I gave myself permission not to worry about posting stuff.
And what do I choose to post about after a long absence? Menstrual pads.

I started using flannel 'rags' a few years ago. A customer of mine makes these in her shop on etsy.
I started getting rashes - me and my food sensitivites and chemical phobias - on the commercial panty liners. I figured it was just a matter of time before the regular kotex pads also gave me problems. {{What do they use on commercial pads that would give you a rash?}}

Two summers ago, I planned a trip to Sweden & Europe and I knew I needed something else for a daily panty liner. When I am out all day in weird situations with unknown restroom places, I like to have a panty liner in place.  I tried Rachel's from her shop, Pleat, and I liked them.

They snap together around the crotch of your panty and the flannel keeps it from sliding. Rachel offers these in three different sizes.

You can vary the pad thickness by adding more layers of absorbent flannel.

They tend to last about a year with repeated washings. I had a bit of PUL fabric on hand (for waterproof diapers) and some flannel and decided this fall to make some more.

Because this fall, I took on a detail job in Portland that involved a stressful commute - basically being gone from my home 12 hours a day for an 8-hr job (hour lunch). The stress started me into peri-menapause in a very stressful way - the never-ending-period. Otherwise known as spotting.

All of a sudden I needed a daily pad that was thin like a panty liner but longer.
By the way, this is the only symptom I have to-date of peri-menapause.

The two pads underneath are somewhat worn. I tried not to gross you out with what the old pads really look like with the discreet covering of the new bluebird one.

Basically, the underneath portion has the wings with the snap and the center 'padded' portion is sewn on to that with all seams enclosed on both.
Don't you love the orange Aurifil thread on the bluebirds? This was the thread in my sewing machine. . . Not only TMI but you get a glimpse into my laziness.

I'm off to make some more right now while I wait for my plastic snaps and snap setter to appear in the mail.

19 December, 2013

04 December, 2013

Taildragger Christmas

I finished my last week of overtime at the day job and now just need to 'survive' Christmas!
I took a job transfer to the community where I live. Two of the benefits will be Less Hours and a Three-mile Commute.
I am ever hopeful this will stabilize my work hours (feast or famine), giving me more time for my other life.

And more sewing.
And more creative journeys.

Time for family and friends.

Time for taking care of my health needs.

I have lots of goals for this next year including a much needed formal business plan that involves my other life. I am excited to embrace the new year with some important decisions behind me.

Reindeer Cam:
This one is pretty cool. Watching the reindeer eat in preparation to their big night.

Also a video from Rovaniemi, Finland; This is where Santa really lives - contrary to most US citizens' belief in the North Pole.

An interview with Joulupukki (Santa Claus)
In Rovaniemi, Finland.

I've been here and I also had the wonderful opportunity to see the reindeer races!
I tried to go back when we were there last summer but couldn't figure out the logistics of being in two places at once! (lol)

11 November, 2013

Pendleton Pillows

I made a barter deal with my cubicle-mate, Darcy. She's getting a new couch and I told her I would sew her a couple of pillows. When I pulled out my home dec boxes and wools, I found this Pendleton Wool that worked with her colors.

I found this Pendleton Wool at a garage sale in Aurora (I remember exactly where!) probably 15 years ago.


A jacket (and lining) that was cut out and ready to sew up but the sew-er lost interest. I loved it because it was Pendleton wool.

This wool 'jacket' UFO languished in my stash until the Darcy project. I was going to mix and match some wools with pleather for the back side. Some strips, some rectangles. Random strips.

I was going to make a cording rolled edge but didn't have cording the right size and, frankly, I just needed to make pillows and not get all fancy on the design.

While the back is sewed with strips of coordinating wools from my stash, I loved the simplicity of it when I finally turned the corner this morning into having a finished project.

Here's the UFO pattern - Simplicity 9522. Vintage 80's length meant I had plenty of material. The second pillow front was pieced in the upper corners (armhole scye) but not that you would ever notice.
Utilizing my black vinyl pleather set up a good contrast with the deep red of the wool.

Various wools littering my sewing room floor. Those two pieces in center front are the left & right hand fronts to the jacket. I still have plenty of wool left!

I love these pillows. Darcy and I might have custody issues over these stunning Pendleton pillows!

Darcy and I had each others backs during my Portland detail job. She made me go walking at lunchtime -down by the river and to check in on the police horses every day - five times a week. She went with me on 'field trips', to the print shop, downstairs to drop our mail and other breaks. She kept me sane while I was commuting and working so many hours.
Her barter is to give a me a bunch of vintage sewing supplies.

Even better, I managed to piece two pillows that basically match - pretty dang well.

Here's my pieced back. I lightened (contrast/brighten) the photo up and the reds went a bit fuscia.

Everything came from my stash, including an 18"  & 22" zippers. They are both blue. I used a flap to cover the zipper and that turned out well.

My tip for making pieced pillows like this is start and try to keep to 19" wide - for an 18" pillowform (knowing I will be using 1/4" serged seams at the end).  However, fabrics shift while sewing and what you are really headed for is 18 1/4" by the time you trim &  serge the edges together with a 1/4" seam. This makes the finished pillow top 17.75" which makes the 18" pillowform sit tighter inside - poufing out those corners.

If anyone wants the multi-sized UFO jacket pattern, holler at me and I will mail it to you.

10 November, 2013

Chicken Curry - Mulligatawny Soup

Two weekends ago I made a new soup.

I found it in a Susan Wiggs book. It might have been The Apple Orchard. Or not. I was reading a couple of Wigg's books at the time.
There were various recipes at the start of each chapter.

It's a pureed soup with plenty of veggies.

Onion, Apple, Celery, Carrot,Tomato, Bell Pepper. Diced.

Used up my vintage Curry Powder and bought Garam Masala spices at my local Thriftway.

This is such a great soup. Perfect for Fall. It can be easily changed up - if you want it vegetarian - just use vegetarian stock and leave out the chicken.

Mulligatawny Soup
from a Susan Wigg's novel.

1 whole boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
salt & pepper
4 Tbsp. butter (separated)

diced fruits & veggies, including a whole onion, whole apple, stick celery, a carrot, a tomato, a bell pepper.

1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour (Rice flour)
1 Tbsp. Curry Powder
1 tsp. Garam Masala
4 cups chicken stock (I used beef stock because we are out of chicken)
1 cup cream or plain yogurt (Coconut Milk)
Cayenne pepper to taste

Season diced chicken with salt & pepper. Warm two tbsps. of butter over medium-high heat in a wide, deep pot. Add chicken and saute until golden; remove chicken and keep warm.

Add the rest of the butter to pot and reduce heat to medium. Add diced veggies and garlic and saute until mixture starts to brown.
Sprinkle in flour, curry pwd. and garam masala.

Add the chicken stock and stir to combine, then simmer until veggies are soft. Puree with your immersion blender or in batches in your counter-top blender.
The soup doesn't need to be perfectly smooth.

Add cream/yogurt/coconut milk. Season with salt & pepper , cayenne. Top with unsweetened coconut flakes.

Kathy's notes:
I only used half an onion as I have problems with onions. I used 1 1/2 apples - using up the rest of my lunch-time apple -- don't. The sweetness is interesting - keep it to one apple.
I also would use more chicken. One chicken breast was about 12 oz. This could be due to the size of my veggies - creating more soup. For instance, I used two stalks of celery, not believing one was enough.
My big substitutions were rice flour and coconut milk. Great tasting soup; leading me to believe you could substitute whatever is in season as long as you have the curry powder and garam masala spices.

This is a great tasting soup to add to my repertoire.

added: Once pureed, the soup is a light tan color - forgot to take photo. Had unexpected company. They agreed - Great soup.

27 October, 2013

Monster Aprons

My practice grandkids are turning 5 and 3 this year. 

Phea has a birthday  party next week.  She is turning five years old already! Since they have about eight sets of grandparents and I'm smart, I am sending them the aprons this week so they won't compete with all the presents next week.

I picked up this pattern at Quilt Expo this year. I was not sure about how my great-nieces were going to get into these aprons themselves. I thought about re-drafting the back to cover their back with just velcro at the top. In the end, reality imploded said, don't change up the pattern because you are gone from your house 12 hours a day and you are approaching exhaustion. For once, I sewed this project as drafted and as instructed.

The bias tape forms loops so you can adjust the fit.
Afterall, my great-nieces reside over an hour from me
- it's not like I can fit the apron on them. I'm guessing at the sizing as it is.

The mouth forms a pocket for kitchen stuff.

Pink for Phea.    Rooaarr!!!!

26 October, 2013

Police Horses

One of the benefits to working downtown Portland these last couple of months has been walking during the lunch hour. My cubicle-mate, Darcy, forces me to do this every day.

We start our walk by Union Station and climb the stairs to cross over the rail yard. Then we walk through a short plaza lined with Gingko trees until we break out along the Willamette River.

Union Station is one of the favorite filming locations for the Portland-based TV show Grimm.
We have lingered for a while while film crews put the extras through their takes.

Our halfway destination is the Police horses paddock.

As we brush the workday cobwebs out of our brains, the river and the horses entertain us.
Our Portland weather has been stunning this fall.

Old mill across the Willamette River.

After we see the horses, we walk back up the Willamette, turn around to get back to Gingko Alley and then cross back over the rail yards. 47 minutes.

13 October, 2013

Dragonfly Purse

 A Dragonfly Purse Finish.

I didn't start this - it appears to be a kit.  I found it at a fabulous garage sale this summer. 
A quilter was giving it up.

Fabric, Ott lights, interfacings, kits, etc.
And at garage sale prices.

It has plenty of pockets. Light colored lining at the pockets and bottom with blue, yes blue, vinyl sewn to make pockets.

One outside pocket and a continuous vinyl pocket separated into five compartments. I like the idea of vinyl pockets - you can see what you are 'organizing'.

I love light colored linings - much easier to not lose something inside the bag.

Look at this sashiko detail. - and the round buttons.
She had completed the panels
       -- from the patchwork to the sashiko stitching to attaching the handles.

Very nice stitching.

All I had to do was put a zipper (not included) at the top,  sew lining to outside panel, insert bottom stiffener (Cardboard (not included)) and sew up the side seams. I just had the panels in my ziploc. --no directions. All that time spent making purses these last two years paid off.

I don't know what the kit was called but I love the dragonfly indigo fabrics.

This is a medium sized purse. That bottom stiffener was 11" x 3" if that helps.

I think I paid less than $5.00 for this ziploc treasure.

***Note to Kyle: Peltex is very stiff. I forget what the next level down is called but this purse has it and it's a bit more flexible. Fusible fleece but a tad stiffer.

08 October, 2013

Woven Ribbon Birds

So a friend at work was showing me  crafty things she makes. Woven Ribbon Birds.
Checking facebook tonight, I stumbled across that boy who writes to the world. He has a crafty stall and wants to sell cards to write in. They decorated the front with Thai woven Fish.

Look! you can make your own:

---and right next to the fish video was a link to weaving birds and dragons;
The bird is exactly what friend is making.

How many are you making?

06 October, 2013


Fall has arrived.
Foggy with falling temps - 40'

Canbyland sometimes holds off on the frosts until late November.

Chrysanthemum with slug attachment

Nicotiana - Tobacco flower

I left two pots on the patio who are still blooming their heads off.
Gartermeister fuscia and variegated leaf Inpatients.

The last two nights dropped to 40', so we took advantage of yesterdays sunniness to clean off the patio.
Put away patio table and swing. Chairs stacked up.
Flower pots in their winter positions - protected on the north wall of the house.

Ready for winter fires in the fireplace, reading the Sunday paper, drinking my coffee.