Saturday, October 30, 2010

Advent Stocking

Gaylen asked for some more information on the Advent stocking, so I thought I'd do a post on it.  I can't take credit for the original idea because a friend of mine told me about it years ago and it sounded like fun so I started it with my kids. The concept is just like that of the little Advent calendars we used to get when we were kids, but instead of getting a piece of chocolate every night to mark the days until Christmas comes, I wrap little gifts for each night.  Now I try to be highly organized and gather things year round, so it's not OMG! I must buy or make 50 presents all at once! And I do include candy in the mix as well, because getting candy is pleasant too. The gifts range from something highly useful, like new potholders, to a new ornament for the tree, or a can of special cat treats for Lola my grandkitty, to a custom video I make with pictures from the year, or other small things the kids have asked for or need.  When they lived close I would include things like a box of a favorite cereal or dish soap...things I know they could use.  Living abroad makes it a little trickier as I have to consider size for shipping all these things, but it makes it easier because there are some things from home that they can't get in England.  We also have a little fun ourselves hiding things like little rubber snakes in the gifts for an extra SURPRISE!!!  Tom really gets into looking for snakes, etc. for the scare factor! Be careful if you start this though because your kids will not want you to stop! The first year I told the kids if they liked it I would do it again if they brought their stockings back. They were back to me before New Years Eve! I told my boss about it and she started it with her grandkids and curses me every year because that is 100 extra presents for her to wrap! I look forward to doing this for Colt, especially when he's old enough to open his own advent presents. Did I mention I love being a Grandma to this special boy???

Friday, October 29, 2010

Santa's Workshop

I love this time of year because thoughts turn to Christmas and giving.  I have been working on the advent stockings for the kids and this year is extra special because I have another one to fill for Colt.  Not that he will be able to open his presents this year, but it should be fun for Mom and Dad. I finished up his stocking this afternoon, keeping with the Rudolph theme because Grandma loves Rudolph!
I made some other gifts for the kids that I will show later...Santa's elves have been busy!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jalie Love

I promised to post some pics of the Jalie scarf collar tops that I have been cranking out.  Since I don't intend to get out of my PJs today, they are modeled by my altar ego Valentine. First the muslin:
The gumdrop top that I whipped out Tuesday morning before work:

And not a Jalie, but another top that's almost finished save for buttons and hem:
Now it's back to the workroom and more "Dirty Harry" until the Project Runway finale!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Weekend is Finally Here!!!

Well, mine is anyway.  Usually I am working while everyone else is having a weekend, but such is the life of a nurse! I did manage to finish another Jalie Scarf Collar top before I went to work this morning. I didn't have time to snap a picture and didn't feel like a photo shoot when I got home, but I am very pleased with how it turned out. I plan to make a white version for the first of my white shirt project. The Chief normally is sitting on the back of my chair or on my sewing table when I am working, but she was strangely absent this morning. Here's where I found her:

Jalie Scarf Collar Top

What an amazing pattern my friends! I cut out a quick muslin last night with a yard of fabric I picked up at the thrift store for 50 cents because I wanted to try out the burrito roll technique and check size before I cut into my prized fashion fabric! What a joy to sew! I had that baby whipped out in under an hour...before Hawaii Five-O was over! The collar trick was brilliant! If you haven't tried it, give it a shot and sew on faith.  For anyone who has ever sewed the wrong sleeve to the wrong armscye, or did some other unfortunate faux pas...this is foolproof if you pay attention to the markings and directions.  I think I will go whip out a "real" one before work today. It's my Friday and I think that's cause to celebrate with a new top, don't you?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Late Night Blog Post

I'm a closet night owl...when left alone. I don't know why I end up staying up later when Hubs is not home...I just usually do. I made some good progress on projects before going to work.  I did the majority of embroidery on Colt's stocking and cut out the basic stocking shape.  I finished the neck binding on the UFO blouse...oh, and I did the for hire job first. I picked out a few fabrics for the Jalie scarf neck top, which I hope to work on when my days off roll around.  I could go up and sew, but it's never a good idea to start sewing tired...leads to more work ripping out what you goof up! It's a stormy, stormy night here in Oregon...maybe I should just finish my sleepytime tea and try to go to sleep! G'night all!

Gone, Baby Gone...

"Beautiful girl, love the dress..." Anyone know the name of the group that's song opens with those lyrics? I gave you a hint (and no fair Sara, you know my eclectic, okay, kooky music taste!) That totally random song popped into my head as my beloved left on his elk-a-palooza adventure this morning and has left me to my own devices for a week.  I have to work part of it, but the rest is all about ME! I really miss Tom when he's gone on his trips, but I do try to make the most of my alone time to get lots of things done, and one thing that I need to get cracking on is Christmas! I need to make Colt's advent stocking and finish up the gifts for the kid's advent stocking.  I'm pretty certain I've got Colt covered for gifts (for the next 3, just kidding!!!) Being a grandma is wonderful!!! Oh, and since I haven't posted a picture of the little man in a week or two:
Love this picture! Okay, now back to what's happening in the sewing room.  I have a paying job to eek out this morning before work and then I can get busy with Christmas projects and me sewing.  There is a blouse on Valentine that should only take about an hour or two to finish up, a pair of pants that has been languishing for, um, years (better recheck the fit on that one!) and a simple vest...then the UFO train will pull out of the station, hopefully not to return soon! My morning has started out with a little FB, email checking and blog crawling, plus just a wee bit of fabric shopping...Ashley over at Trendy Fabrics is having a one day free shipping event and I LOVE free shipping!  I didn't go to hog wild...just 3 pieces that will fit nicely into my sewing plans.  So guess I better head on upstairs and get this party started before it's time to go to work. New students today...always a good time! Hope you all are having a great Sunday!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Warning: Not totally Sewing Related...

To be honest, this post will probably contain very little sewing, so if you are not interested in other random bits of life, feel free to click away right now! Let's talk about my husband's hobby, shall we? Tom is busy restoring a 1957 Willy's Jeep.  He is very excited about it and is vigilantly scouring Craig's List and the internet for parts and pieces he needs for this project.  This project started with his "little" brother (Eric is not little, but that's what Tom calls him).  They are always horsetrading back and forth and Tom brought home this jeep project about a year ago.  He was finishing up our son-in-law's classic Bronco and was itching for something new to work on.  Eric was working on a Jeep pickup and so this seemed like the thing to do. Tom stripped it down to the bare bones and welded and straightened the frame.  He got an old wrecked Toyota for parts and I'm not sure where the great transmission came from, but I've been told we have one! It's kind of like when I find a great vintage sewing machine...Tom knows I have it, but don't ask him for details!!! Anywho, there was an issue with the length of the drive line and Tom really had to do some figuring to work out how that was going to come together. He bought a transfer case off Craig's list, but discovered he needed a certain gear to "make it work" (thank you Tim Gunn!) plus an adapter.  Networking gave him a number of a guy that might have a gear, and he returned Tom's call early Thursday morning (okay, it was 7:20, I was up, but that's early for Mr. Man on his day off when He's not going hunting or fishing or something!). Come to find out, this gentleman designed the adapter for Advance and is an expert.  What a great resource! Since Tom was up in Brush Prairie close to Eric's shop that day, he stopped and took "little brother" to lunch.  They got talking engines, and evidently a guy that ERic raced with had the perfect engine for the Jeep he was selling at a good price.  So to Longview Tom traveled and now the Jeep has an engine.  Love it when a plan comes together.  I stayed home that day because I knew it was going to be a male bonding day for Tom, so I got some time to sew and cook.  I made a killer chicken pizza with my new Pampered Chef stone and it was a great dinner while watching Project Runway. It's Mondo, Andy and Gretchen...who do you think will win? I'm hoping Andy...we'll see. Didn't do any sewing last night because I had baking and cooking for Mister Man's excellent elk adventure.  I also purchased some new glasses at Zenni's Optical as my glasses that were repaired back in September are starting to fail again, so I dropped them off at the optical center for yet another remake.  I also ordered some Rx sunglasses, so I'm hoping this works out.  The price was very reasonable and the site has a feature where you can load a picture of yourself and with the pupillary distance you can "try on" the different styles to see how they look on your face. I tend to pick out the same frame (boring, I know), but this time I varied just a little bit...same basic shape but a different type of frame.  I am currently wearing my old pair of glasses that are rimless and have lasted better than the frames with rims! Go figure!  In other news, I made a new sewing buddy at work.  One of our students is a kindred spirit and she has become my new BFF! We are talking about taking a sewing tour together to NYC that is offered through Sew Many Options sewing will be me, Alice and her new guide Panama...Look out NYC!!! Well, enough rambling for now...Next post should be more sewing related since I will be a hunting widow for the next week and can spend all my free time sewing! Whoo-hoo!!!  

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Buyer's Remorse

Or more aptly, buyer's disgust! Those blouses I bought at the Rack yesterday had to go back.  I had picked them up on my lunch break and thought...white blouses in my size...looks good...lay the money down, get out, move on... When I got home last night I tried them on.  MAJOR yuk!!! The first one fit okay throught the bodice, but the shoulders and collar were about 6 inches too high. The top of the collar hit me midway up my head! What??? I thought, well certainly they both can't be bad. WRONG! The other one had the collar down where it should be, but those cute little ruffles didn't look so cute on! So back to the rack they went this morning and I will chalk it up to a lesson learned. I guess we are spoiled as sewists. We strive for perfection in fit and don't settle for "good enough" (although neither blouse qualified for that description).  I was able to get some sewing and embroidery done today. Here is my afternoon in pictures:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Taking Care of Business...

Okay, who shouted out "Everyday!"??? You know who you are, you closet BTO fans! Seriously though, I haven't posted in awhile as I have been a busy girl.  Not all of it has been sewing, but in a roundabout way it always comes back to sewing.  I have been having a great response to the patterns I listed on ebay, at least all the Daisy Kingdom patterns.  I tried a few vintage numbers that are not seeing as much action.  I may need to change my strategy where that's concerned.  I did a major cleanout of the guest room closet and had an epiphany. It's only my husband and me living in the house.  We rarely have guests stay for more than a weekend.  Our closet is crammed between the two of us.  Why not take advantage and give my clothes some room to breathe? So that's what I've done and I can now see what I have to wear. They no longer need to be re-ironed because they've been crammed in a space that is too small! Tom actually has more room for his clothes, which surprisingly enough, he has quite a few. Who knew? While we're speaking of clothes, I must admit I bought some RTW today (Oh, the horrors!) We were downtown today and I took my lunch at the Rack and Borders.  I found two white blouses in the clearance with delightful ruffles.  They were 75% off and I snagged both of them for under $15.00.  What's not to like?  The one blouse had 3" squares tacked on to make a fluttery ruffle effect that I would like to copy. It was all for research, I cried, RESEARCH!!! :) Anyway, I did purchase David Coffin's book on making trousers, which I am finding quite fascinating.  I would like to up my game where pants are concerned and I like David's style.  May have to scare up the shirt book next! Yesterday the weather surprised us and was unseasonably warm. Neither one of us felt like working outside, which is what we needed to be doing, but we decided we would tackle one project and them we could both work on something we really wanted to spend our time at (Tom working on his sewing of course) We decided to clean up the garden beds to prepare them for winter and trim up the raspberries.  It truly turned out to be an enjoyable time, and we not only did those tasks, hauling all the weeds to the burn pile with the Polaris, Tom drug the driveway with the tractor and I divided up the rhubarb in the upper beds before heading in to make lunch.  For not wanting to work outside, we got four hours in quite painlessly.  Sometimes you just have to get started...we ate lunch and messed with the stupid printer (thank you Honey for fixing it!) and even managed a nap before grocery shopping! After dinner Tom went out to the man cave to adjust the new trigger on his .270 and I went upstairs to finish an embroidery job.  I'll leave you with a picture of my last job:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Oh you love to tempt me! My fabric closet overflows, yet you continue to haunt me with emails promising bargains beyond belief! Poof! Did I just hit the delete button? Ahhh, now I can quit obsessing...til the next time!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What are you looking for???

In my last post I mentioned that I am cleaning house in the pattern department and had, oh one or two patterns to unload.  I got thinking that some of you dear readers may have some patterns that you have been seeking, or you may just love sewing with vintage patterns.  Here's the deal...if I have something in the to go files that you would really like, I would be happy to send it to you for the cost of postage. Obviously I can't post pictures of every pattern, but if you have a specific pattern you are looking for or a certain era, I can send you some pics of what I do have and perhaps we can make the connection! Happy Sunday!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cleaning House...

A couple days ago I was perusing Craigslist and came upon an ad from someone wanting to buy vintage sewing patterns...Cash they offered. I had been thinking that I really needed to weed out my pattern collection as there is no way in the world that I can sew every pattern I have ever bought, been gifted or otherwise inherited and the sheer volume has made it cumbersome to find what I want when I want it.  I thought it was a match made in heaven. So I emailed this person and diligently went through the boxes and drawers that house my patterns. At first cull, this is what I came up with:
Over 300 patterns, including some vintage gems like this:

I was prepared to let them all FREE!
That is until the emails started coming "oh, I can't drive out to your house. Can you drive into the city and bring them to me?" What, would you like me to sew them up for you too? I got annoyed with the whole deal and just told her I was going to do something else with them.  My husband said he would manage selling them on ebay, so I may give that a whirl or open an etsy shop.
Speaking of wonderful husbands, Tom installed the new washer and dryer yesterday when he got home from work! I love the front loader so far and it requires so little detergent.  I had asked about complaints I had read online about the front load machines smelling musty. The owner of the family owned business where I bought it said that is caused by using too much soap and recommended using only a tablespoon of detergent per load. Tom's work clothes came out wonderful! Crazy the things that make a girl happy!  In sewing news, I have committed to finishing UFOs before I cut anything else out.  I have 2 blouses to finish, a pair of pants and re-attachment of an ill placed ruffle before the blades can fly again.  I have great incentive because I bought some adorable knit prints from Trendy Fabrics to make some stuff for Colt.  Grandma has to get her sew on for her little man!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What $3.00 Can Buy

I've seen several posts lately about recent thrift store finds. Yesterday was an extremely good thrift day for me, so I thought I would show you what $3.00 can buy on a good day!
A lavender L.L. Bean cardigan sweater and a heather blue hand knit sweater.

A Bandolino shirred top (looks better on a body than on the hanger) and an Eddie Bauer jacket that looks like camo at first glance, but actually is a beautiful floral print.

2 pairs of pants, 2 embroidered Merino 3/4 sleeve Tees (with the tags still on) and a Columbia 3/4 sleeve Tee

And lastly a baby blue eyelet skirt that needs to be refashioned, but will probably be put on the backburner until Spring when it will be more appropriate.  All of this cost me a total of $3.00! The thrift store I went to sells bags of clothing for $3.00. My bag was not totally stuffed when I went to the counter and the clerk said "You can pick up a few more items if you want", so round 2 around the store netted the hand knit sweater, the Lee Khakis and the skirt to refashion.  I love thrift shopping almost as much as I enjoy sewing!

Now off to finish bailing out the dead washing machine so it can be removed.  Tom will install the new set tomorrow or Saturday and then I will be playing catch up with the laundry! Good times!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Washer & Dryer Shopping

That's the order of the day. I think I have it nailed down to a local family owned appliance business that has awesome customer service. After rebates, the Frigidaire front loading, water and energy saving pair will cost $844.00. I don't think I can do any better than that and if I don't have to spend all day running around I can sew. Sounds like a deal to me! :)

Trendy Fabrics Alert

Go check out Trendy Fabrics today! Under new ownership...let's help her get started with a bang! 99 cent shipping today only to US customers

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

If it's Not One Thing...

It's another...I'm happy to report the check engine light spontaneously went off yesterday! Yay!!! I think it may have been the gas cap. It seemed loose and I tightened past the click. From what I've read, it sometimes takes driving a bit for the light to turn off. I was so happy about that. I ran my errands, visited my favorite thrift store and came home to start some laundry and sew! Second load in the washer stopped mid cycle. Weird. Started it back up again...did the same thing...right before the drain and spin cycle. Drats! Fished the clothes out of the water and took them to be rewashed.  Looks like a new washer is in our future!  I finished the top I was working on last night.  I took my time with the buttonholes and I am extremely happy with the fit and how it turned out.  The plaid even matches up! This will be a TNT shirt pattern for me for sure.  I also completed a repair job that I didn't know I had until late last night.  A tow strap was hanging on my front porch railing and I thought Tom had left it there for whatever reason.  Nope...a friend had left it there to be repaired, so I knocked that out last night while watching Dancing with the Stars.  I'm solidly in the Jennifer Grey camp...sentimental I know, but nobody puts Baby in the corner!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Amazing what you can accomplish when you get off the computer and sew! I almost finished McCall's 2094 version C in a gorgeous green stretch cotton plaid.  Never mind that I cut it out months ago. It will be a welcome addition to the closet.  I also have Simplicity 2601 ready to stitch in a lovely light blue dotted swiss.  It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so what is more perfect than spending some quality time with my machines up in the studio? Maybe some romantic comedies to keep me company? And a kitty and a puppy? Can't wait!!!

Because I Can't Stop Myself...

Grandbaby picture!!! Colt out to his first Pet Fest! Handsome boy with his Halloween hat on! I noticed there were no pictures of my grand kitty Lola there, but I'm not surprised. Lola isn't a party animal!
Now it's off to the sewing studio to play before I have to go to work! The "Check Engine" light came on last night on my way home from work. Why does this happen when Mr. Man goes away hunting? He changed the oil the night before he left.  I texted him to call me when he could...cell service is spotty at best where they are and he called 10 minutes later! I feel so loved!  Anywho, he said I could drive it to work so I don't have to fire up Ol' Blue and I will take it over tomorrow to get the code read to get an idea what might be the problem. Did you know something as simple as the gas cap not being put on tight enough and clicked can cause your engine light to come on? I had checked that and it did seem a little loose. I felt so smug when Tom asked me if I had done that! Maybe I have learned something in 50 years!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Make it/Wear it

Here is a shot of the top I finished late last night. Please excuse the glazed look on my face...hour 13 of a double shift! We got through it!!!  Things I learned about this top...I definitely need to make some strap holders to keep it in place. I had a wardrobe malfunction earlier in the day that I remedied with a couple of pins.  Otherwise it was pretty comfortable and I think next time I will make the other version with the simpler one piece front bodice that will cover more.  I'm glad I persevered and hope to get a few more things done soon as my wardrobe seems to have some major holes in it.  Hope you all are enjoying this autumn weekend with those you love!

Friday, October 1, 2010


Today's project needed a dose of perseverance. It was a remake of a long forgotten maxi dress that I think never ever got worn.  I loved the fabric, so I repurposed it into Butterick 5497 view A. Seemed like a rather straightforward pattern, but I ended up ripping more than I sewed today.  Stupid moves like wondering why my serger safety chain stitch was horrible coming right from being serviced.  I re-threaded and changed thread and lastly changed my needle since I couldn't remember the last time I changed it.  Does anyone else do that? I left mid rip to take dinner to the boys at the firehouse, and thought I would just let it be since I couldn't get it right earlier in spite of all my best efforts. I couldn't leave it alone, so I spent a couple hours and stitched out the top I imagined it could be.  It looks better on my body than Valentine, but I'm too tired to play model. Now I have a new top to wear tomorrow as I work my double shift.