Friday, October 30, 2009


I know...stupid play on words for my title, but I like it. I shot a quick snap of the vest and turtleneck when I got home from work before I changed for my workout. I obviously didn't check the picture closely, because the turtle has some funky wrinkles, but I assure you it was just the quick strike-a-pose before the timer snaps the photo. It was a very comfortable outfit for work and I have other vests planned. Work was good today...the day before graduation usually is pretty mellow and tomorrow should be the same, barring any visitor emergencies. And then it begins again...I really do love my job! Now for sewing...I have a Maggie London dress halfway done and should be able to finish it tonight or tomorrow. I worked on some patterns last night for a wool skirt (loving wool right now) and a dress/top pattern. There's an extra hour this weekend to help get some of these projects done. A little soup for supper and then up to the studio. Happy Halloween...everyone stay safe!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Better Today

It was another rainy day in Oregon. No big surprise here. I had considered going to a matinee of Michael Jackson's "This is It", but after I did my workout and showered, my sweats called out to me, so I decided to just stay home. It was a good decision. I finished the plaid wool vest, so I have a new outfit to wear to work tomorrow. I took my time with it and it was deeply gratifying just to work the process. I didn't have any music or TV on...just me the fabric and the hum of the machine. And the occasional encounter of the furry kind. The Chief likes to light on the back of my chair to supervise. I finished a spool of thread and tossed it for her to play with. Immediately Jo, the jealous one, took the spool away from her and proceeded to chew on it, which resulted in my putting it in the trash. Poor Chief. As I was working out this morning, I spent a lot of time thinking about my Mom. I always get melancholy this time of year because I lost her on a rainy night in October. One of the things about Mom was that she loved her animals...immensely. Pictures always included the animals and she always had some anecdote about what was going on with her epiphany...I have become my Mother!!! Sometimes I look in the mirror and I see her in my reflection. Not a supernatural see her face, but I see her in my smile, or her crinkle in my eyes. Maybe it is just the aging process. I feel reflective more and more...something that I didn't do so much when I was younger. Okay...enough of is Project Runway night...I have my Burda's here to organize...I'm going to copy the line drawings and put them in a binder so I can easily access the designs. I also have some things to cut out...more plaid wool and I need to eat something...back to work in the morning. Stay tuned...More later!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Out of Sorts...

Ever have a day where you just feel out of sorts? Today was one of those days for me. Yeah, I got things accomplished and I even had some joy, but it just wasn't my best day. I think it started with bad hair! My hair would not cooperate for love nor money and I thought about throwing on a hat, but even that looked stupid! So I put on a little product, did a few curls and went out anyway! (No, I was not wearing purple!) I went to the mall and did some shopping for the kids advent stockings...Sara is easy...Bryce takes a little more thought. Guess I have more practice with Sara. I made good headway on that project and should be able to complete the task in time to get it to England before December. I ran into an old friend at the mall...isn't that the way when your hair sucks??? Was good to catch up with Rita...I miss her at work, but she is happy, so that's the most important thing. Sewing progress report...I finished the turtleneck last night that goes with the plaid vest. I had to do some alterations. The pattern has a dropped shoulder and I really didn't care for that, so I whacked off about 2 inches to make the top more fitted. I think it will look better that way with a vest and I was hoping this would become a TNT top, so I need to make note of that on the pattern. Heard from the great white hunters this evening...the hunting is not that great, so I hope things improve or else I will have an unhappy man and a freezer not as full as it's potential! That's okay though...I went to Trader Joe's today and stocked up...I love that store. They have such good stuff!!! Love their Mandarin Chicken! I got lunch eggplant wrap with Taziki sauce...mmmmm...It was so good, but then after I ate the whole thing I read the nutritional label and half a wrap was a serving! Why do they do that? You think you're eating all healthy and then you're a pig!!! Actually, I am okay on my calorie count with eating the whole thing, but it's crazy. Tom and I were having cereal the other morning and I had an actual serving and he's like "What? Did we run out of cereal?" When I explained that this was one serving size, he was totally amazed and not amused! All this talk of food has made me hungry, so I better go fix some dinner! Later...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Moment to Pause

My days off have begun in earnest. I think it is important to take a moment to pause, or at least as long as you can with 3 birds, 3 cats and 2 dogs waking you up for some love and attention. The Chief woke me up at about 3:00 this my face purring and patting my cheek...NOT COOL! I managed to stave her off a little longer until she found my feet at the edge of the covers and started hooking them with her claws. Of course when I shooed her off the bed, the guardian Pom went off like a siren! The old man Figaro was oblivious to it me, his main interest was SLEEPING! Anyway, I have been up for a couple hours now...enjoyed my coffee and computer time, read the paper and now am contemplating where the day might lead. I always feel like I must be accomplishing so much every day, I think it's good to just slow down and let the day just that's what I intend to do. Another thought I had today (sewing related) is that it makes me really happy when my sewing brings joy to people. I do sew for money, and while cash is good, nothing gladdens my heart more than when a customer calls me up just to tell me their dress is perfect and they are now "twirling" in their living room. That makes it worthwhile for me! And since this is a random thought post, I must say "Hats off the the USPS!" My Team Edward girls in the UK got their care package in less than a week and are having fun with all their Twilight I need to finish up the Advent stockings for the kids and think about what to make for Christmas presents for my girlfriends. What are you all making this year for Christmas?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Stick a fork in it...

Because it's done! The paying jobs on my plate that is. I shortened the jacket cuffs, ran to JoAnn's to pick up a zipper and it went in like a dream, so unless any of the other pending jobs drop in on me, I should get to sew some clothes for me during my little staycation. Did I mention the menfolk are out hunting? I love my Hubby, but I do like my alone time, so 3 days off with no one to care for but the critters sounds pretty good to me! One more day of work and I'm there!

It always happens...

Business is business and I am very grateful for my patrons. Why is it the minute I clear my studio of customer work and have a little time to sew something for myself I get a rush of orders? Picked up a zipper replacement, cuff shortening, fly-ball bootie manufacture that could turn in to a pretty steady boss called yesterday and said the phone was ringing off the hook with "Is Mary there...I have a project for her..." while I was off. At least they're not calling for the dog anymore!!! It was rather disconcerting to pick up the phone and hear "Is Jo there?" Oh well, I'm not complaining because more business means more fabric, etc... I'm just saying... Guess I'll get the exercise knocked out and get busy!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Caution...Sewing Ahead

After some creative layout, the vest is cut out and ready to sew, as well as the corresponding turtleneck. It will have to wait until Sunday though because this nurse has a double shift today, which will be the new normal schedule every other week. We'll see how that works out! Until Sunday I'll be dreaming sewing dreams...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I'm thinking vests

Isn't it funny how you get a wild hair to make a certain item of clothing, even when it isn't something you routinely wear? I have a few vests, but I don't wear them very often. The gorgeous blue/gray plaid I picked up at the yellow house is a little over a yard in a nice wide width (I haven't put the tape to it, but it looks like 60") My first thought was a skirt, but lately I have been dreaming about vests. I have several vest patterns to choose from, so that's not an issue and then of course Burda has plenty. I found a beautiful blue rib knit in the clearance section of JoAnns yesterday that I thought would match perfectly, so I picked up a couple yards. My eye was right on because it does look great together, so a long sleeve T and a vest it shall be! Of course you can't come home with just one cut when clearance is an extra 50%, so I also emptied a bolt of a fabulous turquoise Missoni knit. There was only a little over 2 yards, so it's not like I was being a pig. There were other colorways and other JoAnns for others to get in on the fabulosity. They just remodeled the JoAnns in Oregon City, which was really nice. Now if they'd fix up the one in Gresham, I'd be set!!! I did 4 miles this morning, so now it's time to hit the shower, vacuum and then the afternoon is dedicated to sewing! Hope you all have a great day!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Operation Team Edward DONE!!!

I finished up the Team Edward box last night and this morning I posted it to the kid's APO address. I am very curious how long it will take to get to England and get through customs. That will be good information to figure out how soon I need to send their advent stockings. I stopped at my favorite thrift store and picked up a piece of beautiful wool plaid in a smoky blue/gray colorway. They also had a new box of patterns, so I picked up a bunch of them too. I think I am the only one who takes patterns because they hang out for a long time. Let me know if there is a particular pattern you are looking for and I will keep an eye out...Free is a very good price. We got to chat with our girl this's so funny...I say "Good morning" and she says "Good afternoon"...I'm fixing breakfast and she's cooking dinner. We were able to do a 3 way skype conference, which was fun. I love technology...I would be a wreck if I couldn't talk to my baby on a regular basis! I bumped up my workout this morning and now need to scoot into work early. We are working towards automating our charting which will really be helpful to be able to access records at our San Rafael campus. Here is a parting shot of the last Twilight goodie to be stuffed in the box...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It's my Wednesday

One of the weird things about my work schedule is that my mid week falls mid weekend. Doesn't really matter and it's really rather nice having my days off during the week. So much easier for scheduling appointments and shopping is much less crowded. I also adore working the second shift (I do both days and evenings in my schedule) because I can get up early...use my best energy to get my house cleaned and my projects done and then skip off to work, returning to (hopefully) a clean house. I didn't make it to the studio yesterday afternoon, but I did start a new cross stitch pattern. I used to cross stitch all the time and then other things took over my life. The past few years cross stitching has been sporadic. I have hung on to this kit for at least 20 years and now appears to be the perfect time to get it started. I hate to be vague, but I will reveal more when it gets a little farther along. Big cross stitch patterns can take a long time...especially Stoney Creek designs that have the most beautiful, subtle color variations that make for beautiful pictures. Also makes for tired eyes. I did a section with 2 different colors and to the naked eye, I could barely detect a difference. I know when the picture is done though, it will make a difference. I am still honoring my commitment to fitness and so I need to get off this computer and get my exercise done and attend to some house details before I head off to work. I am moving Lola and Chief's "essential services" into my sewing room. They have had the run of the guest room, but my Father in Law is coming next weekend and I doubt seriously that he would enjoy sharing the room with 2 cats!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Date Night at the Gun Show

My Hunny and I have been together for a long time. We try to be mindful of our relationship and have "date nights" every so often. I feel it's important to get out once in awhile and just have fun together. It's good sound relationship maintenance. Date night doesn't have to be the traditional dinner and a movie (although that is fun too). I remember telling one of my visually impaired students one day that I was excited because that night was going to be date night. He responded by asking "So are you going to go stand on the corner in your hooker boots?" I was kind of taken by surprise and said "I don't know what date night is like in your household, but that's not how we do it". He sighed and said "Nah, we don't do that either...I'd probably pick up the wrong hooker anyway!" There was a gun show at the Expo and usually Tom goes with his buddies because I am working. Last night we were both free and the gun show was open til 7:00 p.m., so we headed out. It was fun. Tom had a few things on his list to pick up and a few other things he has been wanting to buy. It's nice to see that some of the stock that has been hard to find is starting to be available again and that the prices are staring to go back down. There is still a lot of anti-Obama sentiment out there and that saddens me, but then again we do have freedom of speech in this country, so everyone is entitled to their opinion. Sorry about the political moment...just an observation. Anyway, back to the gun was fun to watch Tom get all excited...kind of like me at Fabric Depot. That's what a good partnership consists of...championing each other and finding joy in their enthusiasm. So here's the question...what do you do for date night?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Team Shirts

I finished the shirts for my UK Team Edward girls. They are your traditional 3/4 sleeve baseball shirt with red sleeves and neck binding. They just need a good pressing and then they can be boxed up with all the other Twilight goodies. Here is the front: And the back:
I put a "17" on the sleeve...what fun!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rainy Day in Oregon...

But I don't mind...perfect weather for holing up in the studio and sewing. I continued to work on the Twilight goodies and a surprise for one of my favorite students. I also visited the local thrift store this morning and picked up 3 new pairs of jeans for a buck a piece. My thrifty Mother must be smiling in heaven. One was a pair of Levi 501s. It is amazing the difference in sizing. All three pairs were different sizes and they all fit perfectly! Talk about your Sisterhood of Traveling Pants!!! Now I am watching Trace on GAC and drinking a glass of 3 buck Chuck is good!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Grosgrain: "How Much Fabric?" Card GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Check out this great giveaway! Grosgrain: "How Much Fabric?" Card GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble!

Working a double shift today, so I doubt much sewing going on. I finished a little gift for my boss yesterday for boss's day and found some cute Twilight gear for my Team Edward girls in the UK! Gotta get the New Moon care package ready to go out this week. Then I can concentrate on my Fall and Winter wardrobe! to work I go!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Open mouth...insert foot...

I know many of you follow Dawn's blog, which is full of great sewing and rich details of her Alaskan life. I love Dawn's blog because she is not afraid to tell it like it is and be herself. That's how I try to live my life too. I am not ashamed that my husband hunts and provides much of the meat for our meals. I have hunted in the past too, but with just two of us, we don't need that much meat anymore and Tom loves to hunt. It's a family tradition and a social outlet for him, besides fulfilling a basic need for protein. So when I made a comment about going to shoot my new shotgun and the possibility of coming upon a "dumb deer", I meant that it was highly unlikely we would see a deer at that time of day, but if we did happen upon one while up in the woods, Tom would have his rifle along to fill his tag. That comment generated some negative feedback and I truly did not mean to create a firestorm for Dawn. I have refrained from adding comment there because Dawn did a wonderful job stopping the negativity without any input from me. That reminds me of Sher's stalker, ridiculing her blog, which I truly enjoy reading. As my Mom used to always say..."ah, live and let live". We can disagree with people, but if we are voluntarily visiting their world, shouldn't we be respectful of their values? If not, we don't have to follow them anymore. The delete key is always an option. Let's celebrate our differencees and not put each other down! Okay, off my soapbox...original sewing programs will resume! Picture Source:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What a half hour gets you

Sometimes we don't think we have time to sew, but given a free half hour, I discovered that I could get my new wool coat laid out and cut. Granted, it is only 5 pieces, but's forward sewing progress! Every little bit helps!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Mail Bag Treats

My wool melton I ordered earlier in the week from's irresistable sale arrived today! I am sew excited. I ordered the black and it is destined to be Simplicity E.S.P. 8150. This vintage pattern is circa 1977 (the year I graduated from high school!) I got it for a quarter at a garage sale and I have coveted this pattern for about a year now, waiting for the right fabric to come along (at the right price) to make it up. After I ordered the fabric, I began the search for the perfect braided trim. Not as easy as I thought it would be. I first considered using a charcoal gray, making the coat a bit more conservative. Number one, charcoal gray fold over braid is virtually impossible to find, and number two, the more I thought about it, gray seemed rather blah for a coat I have been dreaming about sewing. Since my fashion consultant is not readily available when I need her advice, I relied on my own fashion sensibility and asked my husband for his input. He initially suggested gray (can you tell we've been married awhile?),but when I offered up red against the black wool, he thought that would be smashing. I looked at JoAnns, but nothing there. Tom even went with me to Fabric Depot and helped me peruse all the trims there, but the only fold over braid to be had there was white, and that did not appeal to me at all. We even tried to think out of the box and looked at other trims, even the home decorator stuff. I got ideas, but nothing that really excited me, so I went home empty handed. I did eventually find what I wanted on line and am waiting for it to arrive. I should have the coat sewn by the time it arrives, even though I have vampire baseball shirts to embroider first! Here is the back of the pattern: The coat has darts in the back neckline, but I plan to "smoosh" them out (the Marta Alto way) because I feel they are unnecessary in this garment. If I was making a fitted blouse, yes, I would sew the darts, but this is a loose coat...I think I can get away with it. Well, my lunch is finished, I need to go punch down the bread and get my exercise in before I head up to the studio, because otherwise I might be tempted to skip it and I can't do that! I hope you all are having a wonderful Columbus Day weekend!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fashion After Forty: Giveaway!

Fashion After Forty: Giveaway!
Head on over to Sher's blog...she's giving away a gorgeous bracelet!!! Go now...what are you waiting for???

Monday, October 5, 2009

Casting Call

Ann of Gorgeous Fabrics started an interesting meme about who would you cast to play you in a film. I thought about this for a few days and then it just hit me...Susan Sarandon! From her portrayal of Louise (of "Thelma & Louise)to sassy Annie Savoy in Bull Durham, and Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking, Susan has shown a depth of character. I think she embodies my essence.
"I feel I've always been on the outside and always on the edge of an abyss. The women I portray, and the woman I am, are ordinary but maybe find themselves in extra-ordinary circumstances and what they do is at great cost." Susan Sarandon
So who would you cast to play you?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Progress Report

I spent a few hours on the Maggie London dress last night. The bodice is together and the ruched waistband is attached on the front and back. The directions have you attach the sleeve flat and then do up the side seams. I had hoped to work on it this morning, but life details got in the way...the little munchkin needed a bath and I did some cleaning (and my work out!) My cardiolgist recommended 20 minutes a day five days a week. I committed to doing at least 20 minutes every day. I could just do the minimum, but I'm afraid if I give in to that I'll become Mary McSlacker and stop working out. I really don't want to take the meds because I need to develop healthier habits. We do eat pretty well, but not so good on the exercise. It's good to have a goal and the reward? If I do well and lose weight I'll need new follow my logic???

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cardio and Sewing Report

I did 3 miles yesterday while watching Walter Mathau and Jack Lemmon in the Odd Couple. I picked this up at a garage sale on my way home from work along with several other movies for 50 cents a piece. I love old movies and having something to distract me helps me forget about the pain. My left hip, leg and foot gives me fits sometimes. It is shorter than the right and I was reminded of that yesterday morning when I was taking a student sighted guide...he remarked "You have one leg shorter than the other, don't you??" I asked "How could you tell?" He said "You rock when you walk" Gee, it took several doctors and a physical therapist to figure that out...I should have just asked one of my students! When I told my husband about it he said, "Well yeah, I told you that too, but he was more tactful" Tom told me I waddled! Gotta love the honesty in a good marriage! I did finish a Jalie top last night that is destined for the charity box. It wasn't the really was a muslin that I hoped would be wearable, but in my heart of hearts I don't think I will wear it much, so I am going to pass it on to make way for things I love! The problem was I went back to a 5 thread serge with the safety chain stitch and it made it just a little too snug (Unlike the t shirt I am wearing today that was made with the same pattern and sewn with a 4 thread serge). I'm glad I found out before I used a better fabric. Next up are some pants which I sorely need and a beautiful Maggie London dress. Tom is still gone hunting, so it's me and the fur/feather babies. Some sewing again after the cardio...what movie shall I watch today? Maybe "Fried Green Tomatoes"!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Rainy Day

Sitting here at work (on my break people!!!) staring out at the rain. I will be home in three hours. I'm thinking...get my cardio out of the way and then sewing, movies and a pumpkin spice latte...doesn't that sound like fun?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A good day...

Today has been a good day off. I return to work tomorrow. I got my workout in early, chatted with my best girl online and did some major cleaning in my bedroom. I love books and the stack by my bed had gotten out of control. Does that happen to anyone else? I reorganized the book situation, found another home for my guitar and music books, sorted out the sock drawer and even did some dusting! I took a box of goodies to charity and then came home to enjoy a Pumpkin Spice Latte. What? You say that's not a health hearty drink? It is if you modify the recipe with skim milk and reduced sugar! Stacy posted an awesome recipe for making Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I have several packages of frozen pumpkin from last years harvest. I'm always looking for recipes to use it and I think this will do it. My version makes enough to make 8 cups. I make a coffee syrup that will work perfectly with this mix for the days when I go to work early and don't want to make a whole pot of coffee. Here is my recipe:

1 cup Pumpkin puree
1/4 cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

Mix ingredients. Add 2 Tablespoon Pumpkin mix to 1 1/2 cups skim milk and heat. Add milk mixture to equal parts coffee (or a couple shots of espresso if you prefer) You can add whipped cream sprinkled with nutmeg, or not. It's good without it! I found this mix very tasty and enough vanilla flavor for me (the original recipe this is adapted from calls for 2 Tablespoons vanilla per 2 Tablespoons Pumpkin.) That was way too much for my sensibility! Try it and fool with the recipe to your taste!

Now that I'm fueled with a little caffeine, I think I'll go vacuum so I'll be ready for Project Runway...Michael Kors is supposed to be back! Yay!!! Can't wait to hear what he has to say!

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...