28 June, 2015

Review of Della Wallet Clutch

This is the Della Wallet Clutch from Swoon Patterns.
What sparked my interest was a youtube video posted on how to construct this wallet.

It's an easy-sew wallet utilizing two squarish rectangles which you sew separately and then put them right-sides-together (RST) and sew and turn. They are then folded in half to create the clutch.

You add your card slots, side flaps and handle fob before you sew RST together.

I was also smitten with these two zipper pockets. In the video, they are the same color which would never ever work for me so I used an orange and a blue zipper to differentiate the zip pockets.
These pockets are big enough to put your phone in.


I sewed the wrist strap as directed. Well --- actually,  I never bought this pattern.
I watched the video and approximated the size of the rectangles and card slots measurements.
I noted what I wanted to do differently and sewed it my way.

The card slots went towards the middle. This clutch's strap hangs from the bottom - or is that the top? The zip pockets look like the top to me so I changed the card slots placement to be reachable from the top instead of down towards the middle. Possibly a little OCD here.

I thought about making each card slot section a different color as well (like the zippers)  but then I cut the fabric and sewed it up, split it in the middle and added a middle section and I was fine with that.

I thought a pen holder case would be nice to put into the middle and that turned out to be a very nice addition.

There are four card slots on each half with the top pocket the full width of the wallet. For cash money or your check register.

The side tabs latch on with magnetic snaps to this strip of blue bubble fabric. Opportunity to 'decorate' is there before you sew it all together. I fussy cut a 'label' from my outer fabric to break up the strip.

I cut the outer fabric in half and re-sewed it together as I had a directional print. You want this wallet to fold easily in half so this seam was top-stitched down.

So now I have my card pockets all hanging down towards the open bottom and no way to keep items securely inside the purse. Which is why the actual directions have you put your cards slots towards the middle - for security.
Me - I always gotta go my own way. I added a snap to help with security. If clutch is dangled, then this should help keep things inside.

My gingham pockets inside the zippered areas are loose by the zipper teeth area. I sewed one side down by hand and tried to decide if a good pressing would be enough on the other side or if I needed to handsew that down too.

Looks like the top to me even though wrist straps turns this downwards. Those card/cash pockets are now easy to reach into, although not very secure.

That whole two halves open on one end is a deal breaker for me. Even if sewn as directed with pockets to the middle, the card pockets are loose and not secure enough for me.
I felt challenged to see if I could sew this without shelling out for a pattern and it is an easy sew even with my additions.

Things I changed:
1. allowed for directional fabric
2. zippers - two colors.

3. Card pocket directional (180') change.
4. Pen holder
5. Snap on open end.

Things I would do differently next time:
1. Make card pockets tighter - too much room side to side. Maybe place them horizontally instead of vertically so strap helps hold cards securely.
2. Add two magnetic snaps on open end (more secure).
3. Handsew pocket linings down so they don't bunch at zipper teeth.

The majority of materials used came from Japan. I love this Airport fabric and the blue bubbles was also bought in Japan. One of the zippers was as well. The snap, magnetic closure and swivel clip came from stash. The D-ring came from Japan. Gingham pocket linings from stash. Zipper pulls from stash.

This clutch might work for traveling with one pocket for change and one for phone. With the right security work done.
It's small and compact - about 8" long by 4.5" high.


26 June, 2015

A Calendar Of Eagles

Got one more week of overtime/long hours ahead then some 'slower' weeks.

 I've been thinking some nice random thoughts so I thought I'd write them down to get  them OUT OF MY HEAD.

 1. I'm no longer the poster child at work {12 weeks of postal drama over being sick for three days at the end of my Japan trip}.
2. Tami is. She had a stroke - at 42!
3. Mgmt says her doctors note is not good. wtf?
4. Do you want to be driving alongside someone who has just had a stroke? Tami delivers the  mail.
5. M girl gave me a calendar of Eagles - I made her envelopes.

6. M girl writes and sends as many, if not more, packages and letters than I do.
7. She is the only thing at work besides customers who makes me laugh.
8. I need laughter.
9. It's frigging HOT. 100'+ tomorrow.
10. Work AC is not up to the job (83' inside when I left).

11. I get July 4th off - two days in a row - a bonafide WEEKEND!
12. Happy July 4th everyone!
13. I've got to clean my garage. When I took the blueberry netting out, it came attached to a couple of mousey nests. eewww...
14. Need to pick the dang raspberries too.
15. Water, water, who has time to keep up with the watering?
16. Did I mention it is hot?

17. My older sis had a stroke at 56 years old.
18. Do you know the stroke symptoms?
19. FAST    Face dropping, Arm weakness, Speech problems, Time - call 911
20. I should make more envelopes. I have the papers.
21. I made some envelope templates years ago.

22. Might sew this weekend. I have a UFO on the cutting table that is 70% complete.
23. Overtime is not conducive to free time.
24. Are eagle feathers still illegal to own? The one I picked up on a beach in Petersburg is burning a hole in my keep box. The eagles nested all over and feathers were a dime a dozen on the beach up there.
25. Our local bald eagle has not been seen this year. (last fall - two of them).

26. A house sold on my airpark and it will have children! That end of the street won't be mired down in crotchety old people.
27. My copy of "Outlander" came up on the library queue.
28.  Guess what I'm watching this weekend? All 8 episodes?
29. I read Outlander twice,  plus Diana Gabaldon's other books.
30. Will the DVD series captivate or disappoint?

31. I want to make some neck coolers. Not sure what goes in them to make them cool.
32. Someone said craft store, other people say plant nursery "crystals".
33. advice?
34. My boy got an extra special scholarship for next year. He is amazing!
35. Women, especially, need to know the signs of a stroke.
36. Take care of yourselves.

23 June, 2015

Stearman Biplane Cockpit Cover

This is our Stearman Biplane out of the hangar.

 I made the cockpit cover before I started the blog (in 2009 - I think I made this cover in 2006) and I wanted to snap some photos of it for posterity my use. Documentation - if you will.

This post is photo heavy - 24 photos. It's probably only interesting to me but you never know.
It's me at my best long-winded self.

The Stearman has been thrown out of the hangar because hubby needs some room to paint the wings of the J-5 Piper Cub. This involved a lot of maneuvering. Chiefly - extending the paint booth to get those long wings inside.

Tonight, in the humid sweaty airless evening, we moved the stearman back into the hangar as it will be over 100' this weekend and hubby didn't want plane to sit in the sun.
You can roll eyes any time here. Two neighbors helped us hang the J-5 wing so painting can commence.

The Stearman is expensive to take up and fly, so a plan was hatched to buy a little plane (the J-5) that costs much less in avgas and is enclosed so supposedly flying could be done at all times of the year. The Stearman is open cockpit so its a mite cold up there in the winter.

Some specs on Stearmans:
1942 WWII trainer. This is what the farm boys learned to fly in. Pilot flys from the rear cockpit but student can also fly from the front cockpit as well. Its like sitting in a huge bathtub on the ground with limited forward vision. To taxi, pilot must maneuver side-to-side to make sure nothing is in the way.

Its powered by a Continental 220 engine - what we call a round engine - lovely music - similar to Harley motorcycle music. This Wiki article is pretty in depth if you've a mind to know more.

This plane is built to survive farm boys crashing. We know this because we crashed two years ago. This plane is so well built and solid that chances are you will walk away from a crash. We walked away and rebuilt the plane.

It is lovely to fly and I really totally lose all stress when I am airborne. I am reminded of one of my favorite poems every time we go flying. It was written during WWII by a Canuck named John Gillepsie McGee, Jr., entitled, High Flight.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

It was a cloudy morning when I took these photos. We only ever use the cockpit cover at airshows if we stay overnight. For security and to keep things dry.
A friend had one and hubby wanted to buy one at $400+. Frugal me piped up and said, " I can make one."
You have to recall this is before I started blogging and I had not yet 'met' The Selfish Seamstress.

I did. I made this.

It only took all winter. I borrowed our friend's cover and made a pattern. I bought all  my fabrics at Rose City Textiles - RCT Fabrics.

I needed 1000 denier  Cordoba, something like fleece to go over the acrylic (easily scratched) windscreens, straps, buckles, stuff.

The gal at RCT fabrics was a huge help. I dragged in the cover and some photos and she zeroed in on all the particulars.

I believe I spent $115 to make this.

 Each buckle has a strap underneath it so it would not scratch/rub against the paint in windy conditions.
There are three long straps that go around fuselage up to other side. In addition, there are the front pieces that secure around the wing strut.

Yes, I burned all the edges of every strap so they wouldn't fray.

 Two sizes of strapping.

 All corners and centerpieces are reinforced with fabric. 
All seams are enclosed - welt seams.
All the edges are finished with grosgrain ribbon  - folded in half around raw edges of cordoba and stitched down the entire lengths.

There was something else I used at the edges - about 2" wide to stabilize the edges but I can't recall now what it was. It's underneath - I'll have to go peak underneath later.

You can see the weird angles here.
Couple of camel humps topside to manipulate fabric around. Those are the acrylic windscreens.

 This is where we climb up onto the wing to get into the cockpit. 'No step' is on fabric. Please step only on the black stuff next to the fuselage.
No Step is just to remind you to watch where you step.
This is a fabric covered airplane. Sewing was involved and ironing to shrink the fabric.

 Our round engine.  Propeller is upper left - wood.

Throwing the last of the photos in. If you read this far, thank you.

"...reach out and touch the hand of God..."

18 June, 2015

Fresh Strawberry Jam

I haven't made Strawberry jam in years!
For one - I'm very allergic. I wasn't always. I love strawberries but when my immune system started crashing, I was in denial. Picking them gave me hives. Full blown hay fever sneezing, eyes weeping, itchy all over.
When my first food allergy test came back, I can't say I was surprised.
Secondly, even if I could eat strawberry jam, there is nothing to put it on.

I have been relying on family gifts to feed my husband. This has always been a quick and easy homemade gift to give. Yet, my cupboards were bare.

My strawberries are bountiful this year - as are the raspberries and blueberries. They are loving this drought we are in. Early to boot and all ripe one on top of the other.

I picked them this morning, afterwards, I soaped down my arms to keep the hives to a minimum.
Then I made the jam.

My family has always done it the simple way. We don't process in (water bath) canners, we just turn the jar upside down for five minutes to get the seal to work. This means everything needs to be sterilized hot. As in touch quickly so you don't get burnt HOT.

So you see my clean canning jars in assorted sizes simmering on the back burner.
The potato masher whose sole purpose is to mash strawberries or blackberries. (I use my little electric mixer to mash my potatoes.)
The funnel cup to get hot boiling jam into jars neatly.

The obscene amount of sugar. This was the pectin I had on hand. You can make strawberry jam without pectin - look online. However, since I hadn't made it in a while, I chose pectin to make sure of it setting up correctly. This pectin required seven cups of sugar! for five cups of mashed berries.

The ladle to dip into the hot jam. The tongs to grab hot jar lids. The hot pads to hold jars while the screw bands are tightened. The tile hot plate. . .

The tile hot plate was a wedding gift from my parent's neighbors. I use it primarily while canning but that thing has been one of the most useful wedding gifts ever. A big tile set into a wooden frame.

The little half-cup jars will be sent as presents. My mom & dad enjoy the smaller jar.
The bigger jars placed lovingly into my pantry cupboard.

16 June, 2015

Random Saturday Posted On Tuesday

Backside of PO Boxes. Green lidded tubs are for people who will not pick up their mail.

My initials, randomly placed in order, at the store.

In the mailbox when I arrived home from work and shopping. Guess I know what I am doing July 4th. Lawn tractor races.

Throwback Saturday. One of my favorite photos of our Stearman Biplane.

Son took these with a GoPro camera (out in the windstream!). Hubby is in back piloting.

Farmland below. Yellow at upper left is upper wing. Grey diagonal post at bottom right is wing strut.  Pilot can fly from both seats - Flying alone is always done from back cockpit.


My new smart phone had an unfortunate incident that it may never recover from. I liked the Blogaway app (android) and used it extensively to upload blog posts with lots of photos in Japan. 

These photos are from my old phone - which is still working, However, it can't do Blogaway and my old BlogIt app is in an unbelievable snit.

To get the photos here onto the blog, I have to email myself the photos, then download them, then upload them. Gah.

Good thing I have a homebrew festival (six! of the neighbors are now making their own beer) to look forward to.

 Except I can't drink beer. The grains and barley really bother my poor intestines. Oh well, there's always a sunburn to obtain while timing the tractor races.