Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gratitude, a look back at 2008 and a look forward to 2009

First off I want to say thanks to all my blog friends who have sent encouraging words. You'll never know how much it means to me when I am throwing myself a little pity party. Not much improvement in the vision today, but I am reminded of the Rx I used to give a lot of my inmate patients when I worked for the DOC..."tincture of time is what you need to heal". Patience is a virtue that seems in short supply these days and I am digging deep to find some. So with that in mind, I am turning my focus toward being grateful for the good things in 2008 and the things to come in 2009. Many people are doing a review of their sewing year, so I thought I would follow suit. 2008 was the year of the dress for me. I made more dresses than any other garment type. Here is how 2008 played out (to the best of my memory)

11 dresses
4 skirts
8 tops
2 jackets
1 coat
1 sweater
1 pair of pants

These totals are only garments made for me. There are countless other items and embroidery jobs I did for my business, but that's just business. Those tallies will go to the accountant. It's hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to choose, it would probably be the Chetta B wrap dress. It is so comfortable and seems to be the go-to dress when I want something quick and easy. It also always gets compliments, which is a good gauge of success. Of course, there was the Toby Keith concert dress and the retro sundress, oh and then the's hard to pick. I think I effectively worked to make more of my wardrobe made by me and less RTW, which I will continue to do next year.
So what's up for 2009? I need more tops...specifically a nice black blouse and casual tops for work. I have several sweater knits in the stash that could easily be made up. My goal this year is to use from the stash more efficiently. I want to improve my fit and make more pants. It's not that I am afraid of high school I almost made all my pants because back in the 70's there weren't a lot of clothes for really tall girls. I guess I was just blinded by the dress this year! I want to improve my skills and look forward to another year of inspiration from my sewing friends. I wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year. Mary

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

One step forward and one step back...

I went for my postop follow up today and I am doing well for the first day per the doctor, but my vision is blurry. My intraocular pressure is up a bit higher than it should be and I have 3 different drops to do TID. My eye looks pretty gruesome and my pupil is still pretty dilated, hence I am wearing the "Jackie-O" sunglasses on a cloudy day. I had kind of talked myself into going to JoAnns tomorrow for the New Years sale, but truth is I don't really need anything (I want things, but am trying to be firmer on wants vs. needs) and I don't feel confident driving in to the city. I went downtown to the post office and bank, but Estacada is a one stoplight town, and I could probably navigate it with my eyes closed (Not really!!!) Think I will crawl into the recliner and peruse the new Burda some more. Tomorrow will be a better day!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ahoy Matey!!!

Tom has been teasing me about being a pirate all day, so here is a picture of me with my parrots (wannabes!!!) Not a very flattering picture, but I will take it because it means that I will be seeing much better. I'll admit I was a little anxious about the procedure as I am not fond of eye drops of any kind in my eyes and even more freaked out about lens removal. The CRNA noticed that I was "white knuckling" the hand rest of the surgery chair and really helped to calm my nerves. The versed I was given didn't really put me to sleep. It was a weird sensation because it didn't really hurt. A sterile drape is placed over your face stuck down with adhesive with a small opening for the operative eye. My vision really went cloudy as the lens was pulled out, but when the new lens was inserted I could clearly see Dr. Plumb's face, which really put me at ease. It really didn't take that long and after I sucked down a quick cup of coffee to prove that I was okay, we were on our way home! Tom has been taking real good care of me. I should be back sewing tomorrow when the eye shield comes off. Then I will only have to wear it at night for a week. Sure glad that's over...until the right eye is repaired!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Another Good Christmas Day

The fun just doesn't stop. Yesterday we were able to connect with our kids and had a fun afternoon/evening. We headed into Portland to take the kids their gifts. The driveway into their apartment complex is quite steep, and a grader was scraping the snow in their parking lot when we arrived. There was a big snowbank at the bottom of the drive with little room to get around (probably to discourage people from coming in while he was working), but once you are committed on the Beaverton/Hillsdale highway, you pretty much have to go. So go we did and it was fine. I never worry when Tom is driving. He always keeps us safe. We took the presents in to the kids...Bryce his .22 pistol and Sara a new vacuum cleaner, plus some cash since getting a new vacuum cleaner is not a fun gift, even if you do need one! We then ventured out to the Nike Employee store (thank you Bryce for working at Nike) and did some shopping. I had to buy something because years ago when Sara played basketball in school her team played in a tournament in Portland. Tom went, but I had to work that weekend so I stayed behind. They all got passes to the Nike employee store and had a great time. When they got home, they were showing me all the cool bargains they had found. I kept waiting, thinking maybe they would have brought me a pair of socks...something??? Not!!! It kind of hurt my feelings, so I bitched a little...okay, I bitched alot, so over the years it has been one of those family jokes. I didn't buy alot for me, only this cool windbreaker jacket that will be great when Spring arrives and hopefully will get me back running. Tom got a great pair of black tennis shoes. It is hard to get him to buy shoes so I applaud when he seeks them out. Good shoes are important! Next up we took the kids over to Clackamas Town Center to look around until our table was ready at Claim Jumper. The mall walk was really a ruse to kill time until our friend Johnny got off work and could join us. It was a surprise for Sara as Johnny has always been a father figure/big brother/partner in crime to her. Not much had changed since they last met and the banter at the table was lively. Johnny had not met Bryce yet (To which Sara thanked Johnny for NOT coming to their wedding!) and quickly was giving him a hard time too. Johnny told old hunting stories that I either never heard before or probably just forgot (most likely the latter is true). A good time was had by all! Today is to be a low key, clean the house, maybe do a few projects type of day. The rain has set in and should help melt the increasingly ugly snow. It is so pretty when it first arrives and the aftermath...not so much! I started my eye drops for my surgery on Monday and have an appointment for a haircut this afternoon. Pretty ho hum, but a nice reprieve before new years. Not that we have any big party plans. What are you all doing on New Year's Eve?

Friday, December 26, 2008

The day after Christmas

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Ours was very low key, but we enjoyed it none the less. The weather has kind of put a damper on travel around here, so we didn't get to see the kids yesterday, but we will get with them today and celebrate. My hunny got home a little late from work as they had a call about 5 minutes before he was off duty. We exchanged gifts and hung out til early afternoon when we ventured out to see "Marley & Me". Very good movie...2 paws way up!!! I read the book and loved it. The movie did a good job chronicling the journey of a dog and it's family. Of course a dog movie is going to be big with me! It made me nostalgic for all the great dogs that have been a member of our family over the years. There are more great dramas out there to see, but if you want something to touch your heart...go see "Marley & Me". Later in the evening we went to Clackamas to pick up our good friend Johnny who works for ODOT (Oregon Department of Transportation) to get dinner. He lives in North Bend on the coast and was called up here to help clear the snowy/icy roads here, which means he is away from his family. He is working 12 hour shifts, so by the time he got off the selections for restaurants were pretty slim. We ended up at Denny's and had a wonderful meal. Our server was so pleasant and nice. It was a great experience and I feel blessed that we got to spend time with our good friend Johnny. Today I need to go work awhile and then will go spend time with the kids. It's a good day!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Projects Finished

Today has been a good day for getting projects done. Like the Camo Bunting
And some Chickadee Potholders for me
and a recovered pet bed. No pictures as the fat cat claimed it as soon as it hit the ground and all you really will see is fat cat! I also have embroidered 2 cardinal pot holders and have plans to do a couple of retro owls as well. I cut out a sweater BWOF 12/08 113B that I will probably whip out while the embroidery machine is working. I will leave you with a picture of Kodi with his hot dog. For a big dog, he is very gentle with stuffy toys and has called dibs on the hot dog. Jo is cool with that, as long as Kodi doesn't start eyeing the bear. Merry Christmas!

Happy Christmas Eve!

It's Christmas Eve and looks like it will be another cold one! They are predicting the return of rain by Friday with warming temperatures, so with that we should see some flooding as the snowpack melts away. My Hunny is back at work today. He actually spent most of his day off helping others who were in need. That's just the way he is...I am so proud of him. He did get me out to mail my package and restock our pantry and the critter pantry. It's been really fun watching the different birds. I have a big book to identify the different species. One day I was all excited and said "Hunny, come quick, we have a dove". He rushed in to look and said "That's a mountain robin woman, put your glasses on!" I put on my glasses and sheepishly said "Oh". So yesterday when I did actually see a dove, I had to take a picture because I knew he wouldn't believe me. I also captured a great picture of a downy woodpecker. I was surprised to find him at my feeder, but there he was. As long as he doesn't start pecking the house, he can stay! We have had woodpecker problems before!!! I really believe I am channeling my Mother. She loved feeding the birds and would stand at the window happily watching them. I never got it...until now (Note to Sara...sorry to tell you kiddo...the more like your mother thing sneaks up on you when you least expect it!) On tap for today is to finish the camo bunting and blanket and I may cut out a little blaze orange jogger suit...just perfect for when Jason wants to take little Payton out woodcutting!!! Well, we want her to be visible!!! Then some sewing for me. Embroidery Library has a sale on bird designs, so I may treat myself to some new designs...Maybe embroider some kitchen towels and hotpads for me. I noticed ours are getting rather shabby. It is getting light out and I see my feathered friends are drifting in for breakfast, so I better go check the feeders. Merry Christmas to all my blogging friends and here's to a great new sewing year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How the Cat does Winter

I've posted about the dogs. I've shown you countless squirrel and bird pictures. It occurred to me yesterday that the smartest one of us all is Figaro, the cat. This is how he chooses to spend his snow days (Side Note: Brief intermission from blogging to go rescue cockatiels. Peaches is an accomplished pilot, but the other two yahoos don't fly so well. Every once in awhile they get the urge to take flight and then there are frantic SOS calls to each other. I think they are saying "Where's the cat? Anybody see the cat?" So as a good bird steward I must go find them and return them to a safety zone. It's like playing "Where's Waldo") Back to Fig...the closest he gets to the cold stuff is looking out the door and saying..."not going out today, let's have a bite and a nappy". In sewing/craft news, the baby blanket edging is almost complete...only 1 more row to crochet. Still pondering sweaters and made a window shopping trip through as they have a 20% off sale going, but nothing jumped into the cart. Guess I've reached the saturation point. It is another snow day from work, but quite frankly I would really like to go. Sad, huh? I will leave you with another gratuitous squirrel picture. This brave fellow braved snow above his head to cross the yard to see if the bird feeders had any better offerings. He was disappointed but gets points for his pluckiness!

Monday, December 22, 2008


Yep, not going anywhere unless I walk today. I considered walking to town as I discovered I have no snaps to finish the bunting I sewed this morning. I even had planned to walk to the post office to mail some sweatshirts, but it is a chore to walk to the end of the driveway, much less the 1/2 mile to town. Plus my DH who is working a double called and said "don't do it...I'll take you to town tomorrow!" So I guess I will just sit tight. Not that I don't have supplies to do other things. I'm thinking some sweaters right now are the project of the day and will go peruse my Burdas for the perfect projects. I've already pulled some sweater knits out of the closet for inspiration. I also plan to crochet a lace edging on the camo baby blanket. I think it's a nice touch and since I can't really go anywhere...the Dish Network is fubarred (not that they aren't fubarred anyway, but I will save that rant for another day!) so it is to the video file for entertainment. I lost power last night so I was very thankful my Ipod had enought juice to entertain me til I could sleep. I think I scared the dogs with my singing, but they should be used to it by now! Power came back on about 2:30 this morning, which freaked the boys out and caused them to bark (Big Ninnies!) I hooked the Ipod up to charge and found my IRiver too for good measure, making sure it has a fresh battery in it. The IRiver has a radio tuner, so I can get some news...not that it will help if I listen to my favorite station of the moment...they have no DJ in so it's all music. Oh's's with it Mary! Kodi is enjoying the snow...Jo...not so much! The only thing Jo likes to do outside now is raid the ground feeders. I caught him packing off peanuts the other day. I think the bluejays will take exception to that and could probably pack him off! His question was "How come you serve them peanuts and we get kibble?"

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Freezing Rain

The fun and beauty of fresh snowfall has been sullied by the evil freezing rain. It started last night and left a glistening crust on the snow that is slicker than snot. Tom actually walked to work today, which is unusual because he loves a driving challenge. I ventured out to get the Sunday paper and tried to keep in Tom's footprints as I was a slippin' and a slidin'! Jo is so light he did not even break through the snowy crust, but Kodi did some crunching! Our poor paper delivery guy must have had a hard time because our paper was tossed on the roadside. I imagine he just slid down the highway throwing papers as he went. Making it down to the road was only half the battle. I didn't consider what fun it would be climbing back up the hill. We made it though and then I spent some quality time grooming Kodi. He doesn't get as much groom time as the spoiled one, aka Jo, the little tyrant and it's a shame too because he loves it more than any dog I have ever known. Just lays there and fiddles when you brush the right spot. Kodi will be 10 this summer and he has turned out to be one of the best dogs ever. I'm glad we said yes to bringing that little bear cub home. Here is a picture of Kodi when he was little. I have a couple of things cut out to sew, but may just pop in a movie and knit. The satellite dish is not working due to the ice and I am not climbing on the roof to try and rectify that, so a movie it shall be. Hope you all are staying warm and dry.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful...

Yes it is another snow day in the Pacific Northwest and I am grateful that I have no place to go today. I am up early watching the snowfall and savoring the possibilities of the day. There is no sleeping in when you have a household of animals. Somebody always has to go out, or wants fed or needs some attention. That's okay though...that's why we love them. I have been getting little projects done. I made a pink camo baby blanket for our friends Jason and Janis who are expecting their first. Jason is a big hunter and so the blanket had to be camo. I also have a bunting cut out (another pink camo fabric) and several other projects planned. I love baby sewing. I cleaned out the guest room the other day (it's closet serves as another craft storage unit) and finished up a couple fleece panel blankets for the family room. I think they were meant to be a gift about a thousand years ago that never got completed, but hey, they fit our decor and a nice new blanket is just the thing on a cold wintery day. This morning I have been doing some research on gravity feed irons. Why, you ask? Because my dear Sweetie told me yesterday that he intends to buy me one for Christmas and wanted my input. I just mentioned once that I was thinking about getting one, and he stashed that away and has been looking online. Anyone out there care to comment? I know Melissa in Kalama was selling hers awhile back, but I can't remember what she didn't like about it. I am just tickled that he was so thoughtful to pick up on that...Awe!!! Anyway, the sun is coming up and I have birdfeeders to fill before Mr. BlueJay comes a knocking at my door. You all stay safe and warm...Mary

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow Day!

Here in the PNW we were hit with an arctic cold front. Things are not as bad as other areas of the country, but there was enough to keep me holed up at home creating (and cleaning). I finished 2 knit tops, made a new cover for the cat's bed and felted some new slippers for me. I am really getting into felting and was armed with several different slipper patterns to knit. None of them made sense to me. I can knit and purl and have even turned a heel now and again, but the acronyms and techniques were just not working yesterday. Perhaps I will find a nice knitting class or skilled knitter to teach me. I may be a confused knitter, but I can crochet like nobodies business. My Hunny suggested I make my own pattern, so that's what I did. The thing I like about felting is that if your item is too big, you can just throw it back in the hot water and agitate. But don't agitate too long or it will shrink too much. I finally downloaded a picture of the red jumper. The other thing that has been keeping me busy is feeding the birds and squirrels. Here are a few of my new friends.

Friday, December 12, 2008


I've been gone from the blog (but hopefully not forgotten!!!) doing domestic things, Doctors appointments and crafty projects for others. My hunny started me off by deep cleaning the family room...I hate to get started on a deep clean because it brings out the OCD in me and then I feel like I must deep clean EVERYTHING. And I don't like to stop when I'm in that mode. The kitchen is almost done...a few more cabinets to wipe down and then a good scrub of the floor, wash the rugs...see what I mean? I can't stop once I get started! In other random tidbits...we like to watch syndicated TV in the afternoons (while cleaning, or whatever) Love Law & Order (miss Jerry Orbach) and JAG used to be a favorite, but is not running currently. Our current addiction is NCIS. We started watching the show in the beginning, which started the last year JAG was on. Currently it is on 3 hours a day in the afternoon. I love it...a guilty pleasure to be sure. My hunny loves it too. How do I know that we are watching too much NCIS? When I say something obvious and the reply I get back is "Ya think, Dinozzo?" Good times!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Love Letters (A meme)

Little Miss Sew N Sew was doing a meme and I decided to accept the challenge. Here is the assignment, should you decide to join the fun!
You leave a comment on this post, and I’ll assign you a letter. You write about ten things you love that begin with your assigned letter, and post it at your place. When people comment on your list, you give them a letter, and the chain continues on and on.

You can leave a comment and not be assigned a letter if you want. Just let me know if you want a letter to keep this going.

My given letter is "M" for Mary...10 things I love that begin with the letter "M"

1. Mom...the lady who gave me life. She didn't always have it easy, but she always made sure we had the best of everything. I miss you Mom.

2. Marriage...I am thankful for my husband. Today is our anniversary. 7 years if you are counting consecutive years; 27 if you are counting cumulative years. Long story...I won't bore you with the details.

3. McCall...not the patterns, but my kids. My daughter married a wonderful man and took his name McCall, so now I have a son and a daughter.

4. Mail...I love getting packages in the mail, like the big box from that was delivered today...or a new magazine...BWOF please!

5. Medicine...becoming a nurse really changed my life. I love the practice of medicine and helping people.

6. in sewing machines. I couldn't leave out my passion for the stitch. I love all my machines, old and new, and I am always on the lookout for some unwanted sewing machine.

7. Mannequin...Valentine has made fitting issues so much easier since she came into my life. I don't know how I sewed without her before.

8. Music...where would I be without a song in my heart? Today we sang along with the radio all the way on the bus ride back to campus. James Taylor's hit is now titled "How Sweet it is to be loved by Steve!"

9. Maui...I had a wonderful vacation there once and would love to go back...anytime!

10. Last, but not least, I love ME. It took a long time to get to this realization, but I can say that I have learned to be comfortable in my own skin and love myself for who I am and not who I think I should be.

So come on...if you want to play, leave a post. It's fun! Mary

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Stick a fork in it, cuz it's DONE!!!

The corduroy jumper was finished this morning without much fuss, which was a big surprise to it's creator, who thought she would have to wad it up and hide it in the closet before it ever actually became a garment! Perseverance won out though, and it actually turned out nice despite the bust point being closer to my belly button, the pattern pieces that were cut out wrong, the recutting of said pieces that had to be altered to fit the remaining fabric and the sewing together of things wrong!!! I think it may become a favorite outfit. My dear husband made such comments as "Bathrobe?"..."Grandma Dress?"..."Are you from the Little House on the Prairie?" and my personal favorite "Corduroy is a comfort fabric, isn't it?" Yes, it is. I hope to wear it tomorrow to work and will try to get a picture so you all can form your own opinions. To answer a question from my last post (Hi Kat!)...I did learn a lot of tips working in a sewing factory. The main thing to remember in production sewing is that everything is done as an operation. So if you were working on a T shirt for example, your operation might just be the shoulder seams. Your work would come in a bundle of 12 items and you would just serge up those seams and bundle them back up to be taken to the person who was putting the binding on the neck, or the person who was doing the coverstitch hem, depending on who's bin was getting low. I did primarily elastic application on the serger, so I was the one putting the rubber elastic on the legs of swimsuits before they were hemmed. There is a real art to how much ease to put in the front elastic and putting the right amount of tension to gather the behind. When I look at pattern instructions today, I look at what operations I can group together to make the construction go faster. (that may account for some of my faux pas, as well...LOL) I use my serger for most things unless I absolutely must press the seams open (the one exception is lined garments...I usually use my regular machine for those). I loved working for of the coolest things was when they would clear out the scraps. We were allowed to go in the back and take remnants from the cutting room and there would be some pretty big pieces, especially if you are making swimwear. They then decided that we should be paying for it so they charged us a quarter for a garbage bag of fabric...oh, hurt me! My daughter had a lot of swimsuits for a number of years growing up! We also could take home roll ends of elastic because when it got too close to the end the elastic sometimes was wonky and was not good at keeping your measurement specs. I think I have one roll end left that is almost gone...pretty good considering I quit that job in 1982!!! time flies!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


What's almost as good as a day off? Getting to sew at work! In my other life before I became an R.N., I sewed for Jantzen Sportswear. God, I loved that job! Listen to my radio all day long (aside...I had a radio that picked up television too, so I could keep up with GH...Luke and Laura were getting married the first time to give you a sense of the era!) and the bundle girl would keep my bin full so all I had to do was sew. All day. And on breaks and lunch I could use the power machines to work on my own stuff. You would think one would get tired of sewing, but not me. Anyway, I digress lost in the memories. Today at work I customized these great dog coats that many of the students bought at the Mystic Pony. They brought their dogs down to the nursing office for a fitting and I adjusted the velcro on the strap to fit them perfectly. Working dogs need coats that fit well under their harness. These coats were exceptionally well made and the fabrics are gorgeous. Some of them were reflective just by virtue of the fabric, but for those that were not, I added 2" reflective strips to make them very visible in the dark. I'm a safety girl and I want those crazy drivers to see my friends. It was a good day at work!

Friday, December 5, 2008


Progress comes in bits and pieces and sometimes in waves. I have been more in the bits and pieces mode, but things are getting done. The jumper is coming along...waiting for the skirt to be attached to the bodice and then just finishing. I should get there if I feel like it tomorrow after work. I made 3 bracelets and an amazing owl necklace yesterday afternoon while caring for my sick hunny. Today I felt like cutting some new projects after work, so I cut out 3 knit tops that should sew up quick. I also need to fire up the embroidery machine to do some towels. Christmas is coming...soon!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Knock it off

I have been so inspired by Sherril's recent Coldwater Creek knockoffs, that I have been drooling over their catalogs and email ads they send me. Two basic tops caught my eye today that I think I can easily duplicate. They have a turtleneck with princess seaming...supposedly very slimming. I don't know...gonna find out. They advertise them for $19.50, which is cheap for CWC, so I may just buy one anyway. They also have a very basic pullover with an overlapping funnel collar, trimmed in a blanket stitch. The sleeves are a little flared at the wrist. That shouldn't be too hard to emulate. We shall see. I got about an hour in on the red corduroy jumper this morning, but it has some fit issues now. The bodice is a little longer than anticipated and the bust point is about 3 inches lower than I would like it. So out comes the topstitching and I plan to raise that sucker up. The jumper appears a little long waisted, but not terribly and I'm not exactly short or petite! I will make it work, if it's the last thing I do! Not sure how much I will sew tomorrow. Still waiting to hear from my daughter if she is free to go to the movies. I thought it would be fun to go see Twilight. I have not read the books yet, but the movie was filmed in the Portland area (sorry, Forks folks), so that always makes a movie fun. Tom is on duty, so I will be able to sew the night away. Thursday is high speed day, so hopefully that transition goes smoothly and I can be blogging lightening fast! Hallelujah!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Vintage Bib Apron Giveaway

Another great apron giveaway at Catherine's Vintage Style Blog Go check it out! Mary

Welcome to the 21st Century!!!

I ordered the high speed today and it will become reality Thursday morning! Whoo-hoo! Major party going on! I also did some Cyber Monday shopping today. The Discovery Store had the Planet Earth DVD series for $24.99, plus I got a best of Discovery 4 disc set for an additional $9.00. Add to that a five dollar savings, which negated the shipping charges, and I am one happy girl! I also have another Discovery surprise on order, but I can't divulge this secret lest there be spies among us!!! I did a little more sewing on the red corduroy jumper this morning, but ran into a bit of a problem...I did a bunch of bonehead things when cutting this garment out, so hopefully there is enough fabric left to cut out another bodice back. This was the last garment in an all day cut-a-thon, so I think I was tired (or brain-dead) when I got to it. It looks like it will be a nice outfit if I can ever get it right! I just takes a little time and thought.

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...