Thursday, July 31, 2008

I need a Vacation!

Oh yeah...I'm leaving on one tomorrow! Thank God...the work getting ready to go is killing me! I have been cooking and packing the camper all day...the last load is in the dryer. I had hoped to spend some time in the sewing room today, but no such luck. Just checking in before checking out...I will leave you with a picture of my little man and me sitting out in the back yard. Catch up in a week or so. Mary

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I love Vintage Patterns

I survived the double shift and actually did some sewing before crawling into bed last night. I have been having some insomnia issues, due in part to the menopause factor, which I don't even want to go there!!! Moving on...I started on a 50's vintage wiggle dress, Simplicity 2549. I searched for a picture on line, but could not find this pattern. It probably is worth a lot of money and I cut it up. Whoops!!! The dress is sleeveless with an interesting collar detail. There are two different with the slim wiggle type skirt and the other with a full skirt. I asked Mr. Man and he preferred the slimmer skirt...something about a full skirt making my hips look gigantic??? I can handle the truth. The dress has been cut out for some time, so I started by marking and sewing the darts in the front and back of the bodice. I am thrilled with the fit...the darts are giving the garment a wonderful shape that makes my shape look good...lets just hope the skirt does the same thing for my hips! I hope to work on the dress this evening if the stars align right, but Mr. Man may want to go do something fun like a bike ride, which that would be acceptable too. Tomorrow starts the nurse's retreat...our counterparts from San Rafael are coming to Oregon, so I will be busy entertaining them for the next couple days. We have lots of fun things planned...a day at Casey Eye Institute and then a trip to either the Rose gardens or Japanese Gardens and then dinner at the Portland landmark Jake's Famous Crawfish. I may be MIA for awhile.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sale Alert!!! Sale Alert!!!

If you are on a fabric diet, don't read any further!!! (Yeah, right!!!) Ann at Gorgeous Fabrics is having a terrific sale on knits. I had been lusting over her fabrics and waiting for a good reason to buy something (see previous post). Anyway, I could resist no longer with a sale like this. Since I've already bought my fabric, I thought I'd share the love so you all can go shopping too! Can't wait to see what great things YOU buy!!! Cheers!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Treating myself...

I have been working mad overtime lately, so I treated myself to a mini shopping spree at this morning. (Okay, truth disclaimer, I don't really need an excuse to buy fabric and sewing stuff...any reason will do!) On top of all the sales flyers they conveniently drop in my mailbox, is now having web Wednesday sales. I missed out on the $1.79/ yd knits last week...there were three different fabrics left when I opened my email, but none of them really worked with my wardrobe plans, so I passed. What I did buy today was Jalie 2794 Sweetheart top pattern. I have been drooling over all of the beautiful tops people have been making with this pattern, and even though I am a little late to the party, I think I can still be in style. I also picked up some knit fabric to make a dress of Butterick 5206 Chetta B, the faux wrap dress. I bought some black fold over elastic to do the trim rather than cut bias strips (lazy, I know) Here is the fabric for this dress. I love the greens and teal. I almost went with the eggplant colorway, but I think these tones will look better with my hair.
I also bought a yard of this black and white print to make the top from Butterick 4789 There's always room for black and white in my closet. I finished the Vogue fishy, fishy faux wrap skirt an hour before I had to go to work, so I wore it to work today. It is very comfortable and flattering (I think), but the only problem is that if a big gust of wind comes up, your skirt is gone with the wind!!! Not a great skirt for walking the streets of Gresham!!! I have several more projects in the works and hope to be finishing and cutting out more. Seems I can't get that back table empty!!! I also have taken up another hobby. I know, I really needed another one! My daughter makes amazing jewelry and I have asked her to teach me. She is self taught and says I could do it from a book, but what fun would that be? I bought some things at JoAnn's the other day when all the jewelry making supplies were 40% off. I'm thinking Christmas presents here!!! Tomorrow is my only day off from work and then I'm working a double of Friday...more fabric???

Monday, July 21, 2008

Music Monday...Concert Recap

Friday the place to be was the Clark County Amphitheater. Melissa was there sporting her new BWOF top. I could talk about how fabulous Montgomery Gentry was (and I will), or about how Toby Keith rocked the house (which he did), but first I would like to pay homage to the people who opened the show...the up and comers. First to play was Trailer Choir They sang their new song "Rocking the Beer Gut", which was a fun and catchy tune...easy to pick up the chorus and sing along. They ended with their CMT single "Off the Hillbilly Hook" which is featured on the soundtrack of Toby Keith's upcoming movie "Beer for my Horses". Trailer Choir gets two thumbs up from me.
Next up were the sisters of Carter's Chord Beautiful girls with beautiful voices, but I wasn't as enthralled with them as I was Trailer Choir. Maybe it seemed a little "been there...done that" to me, but that's just my opinion. The other newcomer showcased on Toby's Showdog label is Mica Roberts. That woman can belt out a tune! She did a duet with Toby...Why don't we get Trashed (and throw it all away) and then she did a solo performance of "Lady Marmalade" that was amazing! I think we will be hearing more from Mica in the near future. Now on to the main events. As I mentioned, Montgomery Gentry was fabulous. I had seen them years before in the Rose Garden, and they seemed much more relaxed this time. Several times Eddie Montgomery chuckled into the microphone He...he...he...he...he!!!! I found it rather endearing. I love a man with a good laugh. It made me think of our friend Mel, God rest his soul. Mel had a great laugh like that and a twinkle in his eye. We used to go squirrel hunting together down on the Rogue and Mel made the best breakfasts. Fried potatoes with onions and jalapenos...mmmm!!! Nobody makes them like you Mel! But I digress. Eddie and Troy seemed to really be having fun and that makes me happy. Toby came out after a fun trailer for his movie "Beer for my Horses". His concert began with one of his newer tunes "Hottie". It appeared to me that he didn't even smile the first few songs, which kind of annoyed me, but then again, it might have been the migraine headache brewing. Someone up front offered him their beer, which he gladly accepted and in quid pro quo fashion, Toby offered them his cup. I'm not quite sure what he was drinking, but based upon his comment "Don't bring a knife to a gun fight", I am sure it was something pretty stout! Toby did seem to loosen up and smile as the concert wore on (maybe something to do with the good libations?), so I dropped my earlier judgement. All in all, a good time was had by all and now I am looking forward to the Oregon Jamboree with Sugarland, Glen Campbell to mention a few of the artists, but most of all I am jazzed to see TRACE (you have to lower your voice a couple octaves to say his name!!!)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Goosebumps Part Deux

Here is the concert dress. We took off a little early to run a few errands before a quick dinner and the concert. We stopped in Clackamas to pick up a filter for the hot tub. We had to walk around the building to get in the entrance. A truck went by honking at me and then another car slowed down and yelled "Whoa Mama!!!" Mr. Man just smirked and said "Must have gave him goosebumps too!" Nice!!! The concert was a lot of fun, but I was exhausted by night's end. I get up at 4:45 a.m. when I work dayshift, so by midnight I was beat. I took today off, so I was able to sleep in, but woke up with a migraine headache...ugh!!! I should have known when I experienced light flashes in my peripheral vision that morning that something was coming. Starting to feel better tonight. Another finished project is the swing reupholstery.

It's nice to have the swing back in service. There has been no sewing today, but I have been doing some surfing tonight. I want to tell you about a great giveaway at the Old Red Barn. Go here to enter a drawing to win a fabulous quilt.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I've got chills...they're multiplying

A song from "Grease" or my new dress. I finished the concert dress yesterday and Mr. Man said "Go try it on...I want to see". When I came downstairs he said "I've got goosebumps" and made me feel his arm to verify. That was his way of saying he liked it. The concert is tonight, so I will ask him to take a picture before we leave if we have time. The goosebumps??? I think it was the AC!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Moving right along...

The dress is coming...I spent a couple hours last night fiddling with the bodice to get the fit I wanted. I will save the diatribe about the fit issues with the "Big 4". It's a crap shoot. I have had some things fit really well straight out of the envelope and then again sewn a garment using the size that matches the measurements and had some crazy results. I ended up completely redrafting and cutting a new front piece as the pattern version was just too wide. I cut it down almost 2 inches, but in the process discovered a design element that I may incorporate if I make another one. The next one will be a more casual version made out of a nice cotton. The bodice fits nicely now and the straps won't be sliding off my shoulder, which would totally make the dress a wadder. I can't stand anything that takes that much attention to stay on my body. I should wear the clothes, not them wear me!!!
This post was briefly interrupted for a phone call from an old friend. Yesterday I had a few minutes free before heading into my office and so I gave Pat a call and left her a message. Tonight she called me back and we caught up for over an hour. Thank goodness for cell phones. When I bought my previous house I moved out of the local calling area from Pat. I had one helluva phone bill one month for someone I worked with and saw almost every day! Crazy!!! Tomorrow is my day off and Tom has returned from his trip to go back to work. I need to do some shopping, but the priority of the day is FINISH THE DRESS!!! 3 days til the concert!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Music Monday

As you can see, today's Music Monday is about a band making a comeback...Van Halen. Van Halen has been on my mind for a few days as I have Valerie Bertinelli's book "Losing It..." on hold at the library, and I have been listening to Van Halen a lot lately on the radio. Van Halen went through some changes over the years...David Lee Roth left the band and Sammy Hagar stepped in as the lead singer. I like Sammy Hagar, especially his solo stuff, but to me Van Halen was not the same without David Lee Roth. He went off and did the solo thing for awhile and then was working as a paramedic. I can only imagine being in a medical crisis and having David Lee roll up singing "I'm just a gigolo and everywhere I go, people know the part I'm playing..." I have a twisted mind, I accept that!!! Van Halen's music is edgy and rift with awesome guitar playing. I also think it is uber cool that Wolfie is playing with the family band...might as well JUMP!!! On to sewing news...the concert dress is progressing slowly but surely. I am being very deliberate about the construction and checking things before sewing those seams. Caught myself today almost sewing one of the straps wrong. It's amazing how slowing down can make a project go faster, especially when you can avoid ripping and re-doing!!! The fabric is a pretty orange/red brown print chiffon and I am lining it with some chocolate lining I bought from Trendy Fabrics
They are having a contest for the largest stash. While my stash is big, I have seen some of your pictures, and I don't think mine is the biggest (yet)! Working on it! The skirt will be two layers for a swingy look, at least that's what I have in mind. Will see! Pictures later this week.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I hate RTW...

I don't buy a lot of least new clothes. I have been known to scour thrift stores and garage sales for treasures, but to go to the mall and buy an outfit? Not so much. So when I do buy a piece, I really have to like it. I bought a nice white cotton blouse at JC Penney last year that I really loved. It had nice shirring at the shoulders and pleats in the front that made for a pleasant silhouette. I got compliments every time I wore it. So imagine my dismay as I was ironing it to wear to work today with my tutti-fruitti skirt and the fabric split in several places in the front near the pleats. It wasn't even at the seams...something that could be repaired...the fabric just disintegrated. I am sew bummed!!! Guess I'll go shopping for some nice white shirting. That should cheer me up! I have been shopping a little while my Hunny is away. Not like major spend the wad, as I am a thrifty person, but a little here and there to humor me. I picked up a BWOF off of pattern review that had some styles I am interested in (like a white blouse?) and I located a 1 step buttonhole foot for my Singer Touchtronic 2001. That machine is becoming my favorite to work on. It performed beautifully on the swing reupholstery project and I think I am going to put a new needle in and make my next dress with it to see how it does with finer fashion fabric. I like the feel of the machine. It is heavy and doesn't move when I work with heavy or big items. I even did the bar tacks on the seat backs with it and that was a thick layer. My only complaint is the back drops down for the freearm, which is a feature that I do like, but if I rest my hand heavily behind the needle it sometimes drops down. A solution is not resting my hand back there, which I am working at breaking myself of, however I will go scare up a block to stick under there to prevent it from happening. Every problem has a solution if you look long enough. I also discovered while digitizing the logo for my client that Embird had come up with a new version, so I coughed up the $15.00 to upgrade to version 2008. I know...Hey, big spender!!! It's a business expense for heaven's sake!!! The sewing for hire jobs are caught up and I shampooed the carpet before heading to's time to start sewing my projects. I think once I clear the table of already cut garments I should start thinking Fall. What are you all sewing?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Forward Progress

Wow, I logged in and realized that it has almost been a week since I posted! It's been a busy week. Tuesday Tom and I spent most of the day in town. My SIL is buying her first home and she wanted her big brother, the fireman, to do a walk through. She did good! It is a cute house in a good area for her and her daughter and she got the fireman's stamp of approval. Of course there were a few minor things, but nothing that can't be easily fixed. Wednesday morning I was up early to drive into Portland for the annual smashing of the girls. There has been no contact from the radiologist, so I am assuming all is well and my little thumbs up notice will come in the mail soon. I beat feet home after that because my little man was coming for the day. Hayden was teething and not feeling well, but he was good as gold, albeit a little quieter and snugglier than usual. Tom took care of his business and came in to monitor the baby while I finished up some rush embroidery jobs. Thursday I did my run, worked in the garden a bit and cooked a good old fashion German meal of cabbage rolls (made from my first harvested head of cabbage of the season), hot german potato salad and steamed baby beets and greens (also from the garden) Tom left yesterday to put a roof on his Mother's barn, so I have been spending my spare time sewing. Last night I finished the reupholstery of the patio swing. That has been one of those "Make it Work" projects (thanks Tim Gunn, for the motivation). I bought the outdoor fabric for the project a couple of years ago at JoAnns. It was on the clearance shelf and I think they were having a 50% off of that price sale, so it was ridiculously cheap and I bought all they had. I thought I would have plenty. When I deconstructed the cushions I realized that there were 3 layers. The width of the fabric would only accomodate one piece, guessed it...not enough fabric. So we went back to a JoAnns on town day, and they didn't have the exact stuff, but another pattern in the same green color, so I scooped all they had left (which wasn't much) and vowed to make it work since the only pieces I had left to cut went on the bottom of the seats. I also picked up some other fabulous fabric off the clearance racks (another 50% sale...whoo-hoo) I have discovered the secret to buying all the fabric you want. Take your husband to a high end store like Ann Taylor and show him some outfits that are similar to things you have made or are making. Then show him the price tags!!! Tom was pulling bolts off the shelf saying..."this looks like the fabric from that one blouse with the interesting sleeves"...oh yeah, Baby!!! My darling husband doesn't like to shop and so he really isn't in tune with what clothing items cost. We did pick up some shorts and a shirt for him at Penney's (on sale, of course). Anyway, I digress. Some creative piecing pulled the project together and now all that is left is putting the swing back together. I will wait til Tom is back since he took all the hardware off and it will be easier for him. This morning I woke up way early before I had to get ready for work, so I got out of bed and started digitizing the surprise embroidery job I acquired on Thursday. Tom's new shift partner belongs to a Paint Ball group and they wanted their logo on some polos for an event. He asked about it months ago, but didn't get on the stick til now...less than 2 weeks before the event. Sigh!!! I think people think machine embroidery is as easy as scanning a picture into the computer, pushing a button and out comes a perfectly digitized design. I wish it were that easy. I used to use PE Design, but now my software of choice is Embird. I like Embird because it is easier to use (IMHO), I like the batch unzipping and the Iconizer plug-in is awesome. If you have ever spent time opening up files looking for a particular design you know you have, but have filed in some quirky way that makes no sense today...Iconizer is for you! (disclaimer: I do not work for or are affiliated with Embird in any way). I was able to digitize the little paintball guy this morning before work and should be able to complete this project tonight. Then tomorrow I can show the sample to Richard and pending final approval, whip those shirts out. Then I can hopefully concentrate on some new clothes for me!!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Music Monday

I was all prepared for Music Monday this morning. A song came on the radio that reminded me of an email my darling daughter sent me a couple of months ago. The subject line was "Guess what I'm doing tonight? Everybody's doing it" When I opened it up, it launched into "Everybody have fun tonight...Everybody Wang Chung tonight!" Being a sweet child of mine in the 80's, she knew I would totally get it and love it (I did!!!) At dinner tonight I asked the students at my table how their day went, and one of them said "I"ve seen better days..." I inquired what had went wrong and he said, "Oh no, I was talking about the song", which prompted me to break into song. They then asked me to stop. That started the conversation about blogging and Music Monday, which had to be about Better Days and Dylan wanted credit. So this one's for you Dylan! Better Days was done by a group from Wisconsin called Citizen King. Their music was featured on television shows (Malcom in the Middle), movies (a remix was part of the Gone in 60 Seconds Soundtrack) and video games. Funny how these songs just stick to a person. I personally am Wang Chunging tonight, but then again...I am old!!!

On the sewing front, I finished a job for hire this morning. One of our trainer's standard poodle ate through her soft crate, so I fixed the holes and repaired the zipper. After I finished and put the frame back in Figaro had to inspect my work. He gave it 2 paws up.
I am the resident embroidery and repair person on our campus. I get alot of work by word of mouth. It's usually small jobs that no one else would be bothered with, but I don't mind. It's not my main source of income and I enjoy a challenge. I received happy mail today...BWOF 7/07 that I won off ebay arrived today (note to self...must leave good feedback) as well as a big mondo box from How do they make any money? I got in on the $3.95 shipping special they had a few weeks ago and bought about $25.00 worth of fabrics (I'm a sucker for the $1.95/yd clearance). Anyhoo. the shipping on this big fatty box was almost $33.00!!! I hope things don't change dramatically with Amazon taking over, because I am really doing well with this deal. Anyway, I am loving all the fabric I purchased and it is all telling me what it wants to be. I cut out the fashion fabric for my McCalls dress and need to press the lining so I can cut it out. I bought some piping for the dress this morning and need to dig in the zipper stash for a zip. I'm sure there is something appropriate in there. I have a few more summer pieces to knock out and then the focus will be on Fall garments. I am sew enjoying making my own clothes. My plan is to sew the night away and watch the final few episodes of Season 2 Project Runway...shhh! Don't tell me how it ends!!!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Thank Goodness for the Network!

Holidays always bring fabric sales! God knows I have enough fabric to keep me busy for a long time, but sometimes fabrics just cry out to be made into something. Such was the case this weekend at Joanns. I popped in their to pick up McCall's 5094 as I loved the style and think it will look good on my figure. God also knows I have enough patterns, as does my husband who commented "you don't have that one already? Let's go look!" Smart @$$! In the interest of full disclosure, I admitted to buying another pattern. As I told him, I could have just put it with the others and he never would have known. But Homey don't play that way!!! Anyway, back to the sales...all of the clearance fabric was an additional 50% off with and additional 10% off everything you bought. I found a gorgeous brown print knit that begged to become BWOF 3/2008 #103. I figured I would check Pattern Review for a review of this pattern after I read through my favorit blogs. Tany at Couture et Tricot just made the dress and had lots of tips on how to do the twist feature. I love sewing blogs...I glean so much good information and inspiration from my bloggy friends! Anyway, stay tuned for this dress. I plan to do the 3/4 sleeve version for a nice Fall dress. I have a few things cut out to finish up and the McCall's dress is jumping the line as I think it will be a pretty dress to wear to the Toby Keith concert if I can get it whipped up. I have almost 2 weeks and Tom will be out of town for part of that, so it may be doable. I get more sewing done when I'm on my own...staying up way too late. I have been watching season 2 of Project Runway that I checked out tof the library. We don't get Bravo, so I had not watched it before, but after hearing about it on everyone's blogs, I had to check it out. Let me tell is like crack to a designer/seamstress. I watched like 6 episodes non-stop on Friday while I cut out pieces for an upholstery project (that I need more fabric for), while I ran on the treadmill, ate my dinner and then snuggled with the poochy in the recliner. Who needs fireworks anyway? Tom was working and the 4th of July is usually a pretty busy day for the Fire department, so I knew he wouldn't have much time to spend with me (which he did not...they had a lot of calls). So I enjoyed my 4th being independent...watching Project Runway. Tomorrow Tom is on duty...I have 2 more DVDs to watch in the series. Damn work anyway!!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

My New Bike!!!

On a whim yesterday afternoon when I got home from work, my husband and I went bike shopping. My boss' son has a bike, board and hiking store in town and so we went in there to get some good advice and you know we had to come home with new bikes!!! Tom was looking for a mountain bike that he could use to go hunting and to ride to work. We only live 1/2 mile from his fire station. I, on the other hand, was looking for a comfortable road bike that could handle some light trails, but no hard core off-roading for this girl. This is what I got...a 2008 Jamis Citizen 1 in a pearly white. It is so pretty, which of course is important as I am touring the countryside. My new helmet is pretty too...white (to match) with aqua flowers. The seat is very comfortable (wide for this big ol' butt!) and has it's own shock absorber for going over those ruts!!! We have a great old PGE road that follows the river and is blocked to vehicle's where I like to go run...we took a spin to the furthest dam. It was so fun...I felt like I was flying. To be honest, I don't think I had seriously rode a bike in 15 years...the last episode was an adventure where we got lost biking around the lake and it turned into an all afternoon bike ride, which was not at all unpleasant while you are on vacation! We have another route that I am excited to ride...the Springwater trail
which extends from Boring to Portland, with interesting places to stop along the way. I think our new bikes will lead to great new adventures...Now if I can just keep it upright!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Homemade Bread

Adrienne posted that she just got her first KitchenAid mixer and wanted to try her hand at making bread. I have been making all of our bread for over a year now and have a recipe to share that has never failed me. It is so easy I think I could make it in my sleep and you can vary it to make wheat or cinnamon raisin bread or ??? Here it is...enjoy!

Mary’s White Bread

2 cups warm water (110 degrees Farenheit/45 degrees Celsius)
2/3 cup white sugar
1½ Tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 Teaspoon salt
¼ Cup vegetable oil
6 cups bread flour

In large mixing bowl combine warm water, sugar and yeast. Allow to proof for approximately 10 minutes until mixture is foamy. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with dough hook until it makes a nice dough that feels tacky but does not stick to your hands. I like to knead it by hand at this point for a bit (to add a little home made love, however this probably is not necessary). Place the dough in a greased bowl (I just grease the bowl I mixed it in) and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise until double in size (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours). Punch down and shape into 2 equal loaves. (I flatten them to a rectangle shape and roll, tucking the ends as I go)
Place in greased loaf pans, covered loosely with plastic wrap and raise until doubled in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in pan and then remove from pan. Finish cooling process on rack.
Makes 2 loaves.

Wheat bread variation

Substitute wheat flour for up to half of the bread flour. I also add a tablespoon of ground flax seeds (heart healthy-to decrease cholesterol)
Allow to rise and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cinnamon Raisin bread variation

Add ½ cup raisins to basic white bread recipe. After first rise, sprinkle cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg on the divided pieces while forming the loaves (I flatten them to a rectangle shape and roll, tucking the ends as I go)
Allow to rise and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Project Dress a Girl

For the past couple of years, I have made dresses for Project Dress a Girl Around the World, in part thanks to the campaign launched by Mari...