Monday, January 31, 2011

January Report Card

Tracking your progress can be interesting. I always feel like I don't accomplish as much as I would like, but the numbers look pretty good from my 2011 Sewing Tracker: I tallied a grand total of 67 items complete, with one work in progress still hanging on Valentine.
• Red Jersey Cardi-wrap Simplicity 2603
• Black leggings McCalls 6173
• Raglan giraffe print turtleneck Simplicity 4878
• Brown Bear track suit for Colt Simplicity 9738
• Black crochet lace cardigan Jalie 2919
• Fire Department coat Nametags X 44
• Shorten Fire Department Emergency vest bags X 2
• Anthropology Dalsland knockoff (1/12/11 WIP)
• Fire Department HoseBed Tarp Project
• Fire Department Strap modification X 12
• Michelle’s Bench Cushion Repair
• Black Mohair cardigan Jalie 2919 X 2
Looks like I really took this JAM (jacket a month) thing seriously. With 4 technically done this month, I should be good til May, don't you think? The Anthropology Dalsland knockoff needs some work to get it to fit the way I want. I have a direction, but that project has taken a backseat to more pressing jobs. My favorite project of the month hands down was the Jalie Cardigan 2919. Jalie never disappoints and I find myself using their patterns over and over (obviously). I definitely will be using this pattern again as I have another sweater in mind and this pattern will be the perfect starting point for this design. I'm disappointed that I did not finish my Pendrell Sew-along blouse. It is cut out, so I guess I could count it in the WIP category, but I didn' will be done next month (maybe tomorrow if the Sewing Gods shine down on me) I have a digitizing job to do and then I will be caught up for 2 seconds on business sewing.  Heading on into February (and towards Spring!)

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Not much sewing going on this weekend...first off, I worked both days and secondly, when I wasn't working, I was too tired to sew! Usually I can muster a little energy to do something when Tom is on duty, but after cooking dinner for the guys (while watching the original "True Grit" on AMC), I went home, did my chores and crawled into bed. Jo woke me up about 3:00 a.m. barking. Do you know how disconcerting it is to live out in the sticks and wake up to a dog frantically barking? I never did find out what set him off, but if I was a betting gal, I would wager it was The Chief! That cat delights in getting the dog in trouble.  My sleep was fitful after that rude awakening.  I had nightmares about my oldest brother (who is no longer with us). Don't know why that popped into my subconscious??? Skyped with Sara and Colt this morning, which was fun. Colt is such an active little guy! They have their hands full with that little Mister. 4 1/2 months old and two teeth! See...
Sara really had to work to get that picture because Colt kept doing this:
One more day to work and I will be to my weekend! Hallelujah!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

And I Could Not Ask for More...

I have been feeling oddly content and grateful lately. Oddly, you ask? It seems like there has always been some little thing that I am seeking out or wishing for, but for some time now I have not felt that way. I look around at the people who surround me and I realize how truly blessed I am. A friend at work is dealing with some serious health issues, another friend's daughter was in a serious car accident, another friend accidentally shot himself with his new pistol (he only sustained a flesh wound-he is so lucky!). This feeling is almost too good to be "okay Universe, what are you going to bring me...when's the shoe gonna drop?" But yet, I feel at peace.  I have lots of fabric and great machines to work with. My job allows me time to pursue my passions and my partner is so supportive. The only thing that I could possibly wish for is that the kids were closer, but they are living their life and it is good, so I am alright with that too! Feeling very zen at the moment.  As for sewing, I have been tracking what I sew this month and it's been a productive month. I used to look at other people's stats and think "Wow, how do they make so many things?", but when I started tracking it I realized that I do pretty well myself! Sara has requested some lovie blankets for Colt now that he is in daycare, so I have a new mission.  I will make him some nice taggie blankets and toys with his name embroidered on them. That's what Grandma's do (at least this Grandma).

Friday, January 28, 2011

Date Night Done Right

Actually date night yesterday was in the afternoon, but that didn't rhyme so I took poetic license! Bah! Anywho, Tom and I have been taking time to do stuff together lately, which has been truly refreshing. Whether it be errands out and then stopping for a nice meal, or yesterday's venture to a matinee, it really helps a relationship to have fun together. Yesterday we went to see True Grit before it leaves the theater. What a great movie! Of course I had seen the original with John Wayne, and although it's tough to compete with the Duke, it had been long enough since the original viewing that I was able to objectively watch the movie and not compare. I think Jeff Bridges did an outstanding performance as Rooster Cogburn. I hope he wins the Oscar. I had wanted to see Country Strong until I read a review that spoiled the ending! DipWad!!! Why do people do that? When I complained to Tom about it, he said "Don't look at the reviews for True Grit...don't want the ending to get spoiled for you!" Funny guy! I said, "I know how it ends!!!"  In sewing news, I finished the 2 Jalie cardis and all of the paying jobs.  The cushion repair had to be rethought because the zipper was toast and I am not putting a 10 foot zipper in.  I will however work with what is there to modify the closure for my friend. This bench cushion is made of heavy duty canvas and the zipper was the cheapest nylon zipper known to man! It had me scratching my head!!! I have my Pendrell blouse cut out for the sew along and will probably whip it up tomorrow. I knew I couldn't sew it slow, but then I rarely sew slow!!! Now to figure out what to sew next!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Taking a Breather

A glorious Saturday off work after a double shift. Start with a nice long chat with Sara and Colt (thank you Skype!). French toast made from the last of the french bread I baked the other night and bacon for breakfast (Yumm-o!) Tom won the ebay auction for the headers he wanted for the Jeep lower than the guy had them on Craigslist (local seller so we can go pick them up later without paying shipping). Finished up the embroidery and edging on the name plates for the Fire Department job...nothing more to do with that until the hook tape arrives. 
The hose bed job is finished and on the truck. I didn't take pictures of that because I was so exhausted after horsing that heavy tarp through the machine, I just wanted it to go away! I saw it on the truck Thursday fit perfectly and the metal stays are keeping the rain from pooling in the hose bed and I will be paid well for my efforts. Just imagine a big red truck...
It seems that when I get on a roll, the jobs just keep coming in.  I have some strap modification work to do (will get on that right after I finish my tea), a plea to reattach the head of the stuffed dalmation the guys carry in the truck (I want to know who ripped the head off? Maybe I should sew it on backwards!) and an upholstery job for a dear friend that we will discuss on Tuesday at work. It kind of makes me sad because I have so many of my own projects I want to complete. So what's a girl to do when she can't stitch a new garment for her wardrobe? Go shopping of course! It is mandatory that we take a lunch period at work, even though we eat with the students during work hours.  I used to bop over to Border's when we work downtown Portland, but sadly that store closed recently.  Fortunately for me there are plenty of other distractions within easy walking distance, so I ran over to the Nordstrom Rack to snoop shop and pick up any great bargains if I found any.  I am big into sweaters (I think it's Mom loved sweaters too!) and there are some great shrug styles out there. I picked up a longer burgundy knitted cable shrug with a cool tux-tail detail for under $10.00. I'm wearing it now! :) I also wandered into the dresses as there was a Maggy London colorblock dress I had seen on the website that interested me. I decided that the bodice was too short to look good on my body, but took a quick scan through the dress clearance rack. What should I find but an adorable Maggy London LBD in my size? At an unbelievable price point? I would not have paid $118.00, but for $15.97, I can't even buy the fabric and notions. And it fits perfect, so that's when RTW makes more sense than DIY, even considering the satisfaction of saying "I made it myself"! Well, I guess the break is over, so I'll get back to the machine and hopefully I can get "work" sewing complete and resume "fun" sewing!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Back to the sweat shop

Just a quick blog break before I head back to the sweat shop! I finished the tarp project for the Fire Department yesterday. That sucked! I really need an industrial machine for those kind of projects, but truly can't justify the expense and it would just invite more of those jobs and who wants that! Not me! I do have the name tag job for them to do, but that is more up my alley...machine embroidery, serged rolled edges and sew on to velcro. Hopefully I can knock out the the embroidery today and the roll of hook tape will come. Then regularly scheduled sewing can resume! I need to cut out my Pendrell for the sewalong. I already have made a few, so I know the pattern fit is great, but the group is getting ready to cut so it's time to jump in. Well, better get at it...time's a-wastin'!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In a Previous Life...

I was a musher.  Not like awesome Susan Butcher, Iditarod musher.  Oh yeah, I had Iditarod dreams, but eventually reality set in and I knew in my heart that I wasn't tough enough to get serious about it.  That didn't stop me from loving the sport though.  My husband worked with the first man from Oregon to complete the Iditarod in 1977, Jim Tofflemire. Jim did most of his training on the dunes of the southern Oregon  coast with wheeled carts.  In 1978 he started the Oregon Dune Mushers Mail Run, a 70 mile run over the Oregon Dunes from North Bend to Florence, commemorating how the mail was delivered long ago and served as a fundraiser to help support mushers from Oregon who wanted to run the Iditarod.  Mushers would sell envelopes that they would carry from North Bend to Florence.

Jim recruited Tom to help with the run first, and of course I was painting signs and helping too shortly therafter.  Next Jim gave us our first lead dog Yaetna, who to this date was the smartest dog I have ever known.

She knew the dunes like the back of her paw! I am known for being a little um, directionally challenged at times, and Tom advised me that all I needed to do is tell her where to go and she would take me.  That was great until we had a chewer in the gangline who released the front 4 dogs when we were climbing up a big hill.  I knew I was having to do alot of pushing, but I didn't know why until I crested the hill and saw the front four were gone, including my leader Yaetna.  That was a fun trip back to the truck, but Yaetna and crew were sitting by the truck waiting for us when I entered the parking lot. Yaetna's expression said "What took you so long? We've been here for an hour!"  Tom wanted to do the Iditarod and so we began building up our kennels and eventually breeding our own dogs.  Puppies were a lot of fun.

All tuckered out from playing Mom!
Tom and company after a snow run
Here is a picture crossing Tahkenitch creek

Here is me coming down Heartbreak hill.  This hill scared the bejeezes out of me and I was so happy to make it down without crashing as it was a lookout where people would hike out to watch the teams come in. Trust me, I wiped out many times and my best scars are my mushing badges of courage (or stupidity)!

Life has a funny way of changing and you move on to other dreams.  We eventually got out of the dogs and a part of me misses our mushing days.  I'm really grateful for the experience because it taught me many things. That's what lifes all about, isn't it?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wearing the Pendrell

I wore my Pendrell blouse to work today and realized I had not taken a picture of me actually wearing it. Here I have it paired with a basic Ann Taylor loft black skirt, tights and boots. I think it works well...what say you???

Friday, January 14, 2011

Company's Coming

No sewing this weekend. I did cut out 2 more Jalie cardigans yesterday after making a mad dash to JoAnn's for another yard of this luscious mohair knit. Tom asked "What did you screw up?" No screw up, just a change of plans. I had bought enough to make one cardiwrap to replace my ratty ol' gray one that is now relegated to wearing with sweatpants (it is so comfortable I hate to part with it!), but after I finished the Jalie cardigan, I wanted to make one for me and one for another special someone. Hence I needed another yard! I may get a little sewing in after work. It just depends on when the company arrives.

In other news, my grandson Colt turned 4 months old today and had his 4 month checkup. 27" and 16 pounds! The doctor said he is developed to a 6 month old and can start on solid foods! Yay for Grammy's big boy! Since I haven't posted one in a day or is a new pic of the big boy. Colt loves his baths!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Keeping Promises

I said I'd take a picture, so I did! Here I am in the leggings, the Jalie scarf tie top and the newly minted Jalie cardigan. I took about a dozen pictures and while not perfect, this was the pick of the litter.  I could never be a model because I always look like a dork in photographs (self assessment).  Without further ado...
The Jalie cardigan is a winner pattern. Even though the crochet like knit fabric was a bear to work with, the pattern itself went together  like a dream and I definitely will make more of these. It is comfy and fits well. Move over cardi-wrap...there's a new sweater in town! On to new business...I got the fire department label job and am looking for a good price on 1 1/2' adhesive velcro hook tape. I only need 20 feet, so buying a roll for 25 yards seems like overkill, but I'm having trouble finding a vendor that sells it by the yardage.  I need to call Fabric Depot and check Home Depot and Lowes too.  Any other ideas??? I may even consider sew on and apply my own adhesive...that might be a better option because I could control the sticky because I'm going to sew the edge anyway...hmmm???? On to old business...the floors need to be swept and vacuumed, so I best be getting off the computer and getting my chores done before we head off to work...more later...

Still Plugging Away...

Apologies for the lack of pictures...I have been sewing every spare minute I can catch, but the camera...not so much! Soon I will have a photo shoot.  I worked a double shift yesterday and am covering tonight, so only a little time to sew this morning. Last night when I got home I got some good work done on the crochet lace Jalie cardigan. I am sew in love with this pattern! Thank you again to Barbara who gifted me the pattern! I have not found a Jalie pattern yet that I haven't loved, so I guess when they come out with a new style I like I may as well just buy it, because I find myself reaching for those patterns over and over again.  I already have plans to cut another one out today (shhh, it's a gift!) Still loving the Janome Coverpro...Tom is making me an aluminum plate for attaching my binders.  They want $80.00 for a generic plate off ebay or you can buy a binder plus the necessary plate from Janome for a higher sum! Thank God for all the great information on Pattern Review.  Debbie Cook and Vonnevo are my personal heros...well, right up there behind my sweet husband who looked at all the information and said "I can do that". The great snow event that they were predicting didn't effect me too much.  Everywhere around campus had snow and ice, but when I went to leave work last night the ice was almost melted off the car. Nice!!! Halfway down Kelso to the golf course, the precipitation was freezing on my windshield...the windsheild that had the defrosters blowing full blast on them! Uh-oh!!! Another half mile and it stopped doing that, but it served as a reminder not to be too trusting of Mother Nature! I made it down the hill without incident and safely home to stitch a stitch, which is what I'm going to do now so I can have a new lace cardi to wear to work! Happy Wednesday!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Quick Post

I didn't mean to stay away so long, but life kind of gets in the way of blogging sometimes. That, and work. Today is a day off (from work), but my nursing skills are still necessary today. Unfortunately my dear sweet husband has contracted a respiratory bug, so I am taking care of him today (shhh...he's still sleeping, which is why I don't have all the machines fired studio is across the hall from the bedroom!) Even though I have been working, I did manage to finish Colt's little jogging set and did a bunch of label samples for the Fire department which could turn into a nice little embroidery job.  I have the Jalie cardigan cut out and pleats marked, ready to sew up (when a certain someone wakes up).  The order should arrive today with my fabric for the Pendrell sewalong that starts this week. Tasia made a cute little button for our blogs (see-->) and there is still time to get involved. I have a question for you...when does buying a ready made item make more sense than making it yourself? My daughter sent me a link to a breathable baby bumper for Colt's crib.  It looked ridiculously easy to make and so I set out to find the perfect fabric to make him one.  I was discouraged when I could not find what I had in mind for the bumpers, so I went to the website to gather more intelligence.  When I compared the cost of the bumpers to what I was seeing for fabric and notions, it made more sense to buy it, especially when I discovered that it could be shipped by Amazon to an APO address for free.  I will see how she likes it and get feedback.  I did see a cotton mesh at JoAnn's that looked promising and thought about embroidering simple line animals to make it more interesting than just white fabric.  It goes on sale Sunday, so I may pick some of that up to try it, but the important thing right now is to get something safe to protect his little arms and legs.  He just learned to roll from back to front and he likes to practice his new skill! I did wear my new leggings to work yesterday and they were fabulous! I wore it with the giraffe top and was too busy to snap a picture last night, so I will try to get a picture next time.  The pattern was McCall's 6173 and I made version C, the slouchy bottom, but did not slouch them. I had added about 4" because being a tall girl leggings never were long enough, but found that if I cut them out at the pattern length for slouch I got the perfect length for a pair of straight leggings.  As I mentioned before I did have to taper them in to get the desired fit, but all in all I was very pleased with the pattern.  I also plan to raise the rise about 1" in the back to insure undie coverage. I will make the minor tweaks and trace out a workable made-for-me go to leggings pattern! Well, I hear coughing upstairs, so it's M. Deeter, RN to the rescue!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

There's a New Pony in the Stable...

Or No Good Deed goes Unpunished...I couldn't decide which title I liked best.  I knew when I gave that guy the sewing machine that good karma would follow me! Let me introduce you to the newest machine in my fleet...the Janome Coverpro 900
She didn't quite look like that when we first met. Last night I was checking Craigslist (like I always do) and there was an ad for a Janome Sewing machine for $75.00. No I don't need another sewing machine and I usually don't pull up every sewing machine ad I see. The ad title was pretty generic, but when I pulled it up, it said Janome Coverpro 900.  Be still my heart! I have the Evolve, which converts to do great cover stitch, but  how nice would it be to have a stand alone machine so you don't have to switch back and forth between operations? I could hardly sleep, I was so twitterpated! The man had bought it from the Goodwill for  $130.00 and said it worked great, but I was suspicious.  Would it have major tension issues? What's the problem? When I got there, he had it all set up and I could see some samples that didn't look too promising. She was filthy dirty and had tape and even the Goodwill price tag still on. He had it somewhat threaded, but I had brought thread and fabric to test. He said "go ahead, try it out". It didn't stitch well and the reason was he had quilting thread in the lower looper and the other thread was not much better. When I changed to my thread, she came to life! The people were real nice and asked me to stay and have a cup of coffee and watch Jerry Springer with them...I politely declined, paid them the $75.00 and got the hell out of there!!!  A little cleaning, new needles and she's now stitching like a dream.  And it looks like the binders I have will work with her too. Here's the first string lineup:
Yay team! Now back to work...I need to mix up the bread for dinner and then back to work finishing up Colt's bear sweat suit, the giraffe top and the perfect made for me leggings.  More on that later!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Unofficially Joining In...

It may be fear of commitment...I don't know. Maybe it's all the great idea bandwagons that I have jumped on enthusiastically, just to fizzle out a few months down the road.  I love the idea of 12 months/12 jackets. I'm just afraid that if I declare my intentions, the desire will leave. I have been on a jacket frenzy lately. The cardiwrap sews up so fast, I want to make more things like that (and will). I don't want to feel like a total failure if I don't keep my resolve, so I shall unofficially follow along, so no judging if in a couple of months I am in a crazy dressmaking mode! There is a lot of inspiration out there though. Did you catch Heather's Anthro knockoff Tute over at Featherty Sews? Go check it out...I think it's a great idea and I hope to knock one out soon. I may get a couple of wrap type garments done this month and be good until, like April!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Oops, I did it again...

There! Now you have Brittany Spears stuck in your head for the day! Actually, I did a couple of things again. I was looking at patterns and JoAnn's had McCall's for 99 cents, 50% off their Red Tag fabric and on top of that I had a coupon for 10% off the total purchase for New Years...well, shoot, I had to go, didn't I? Well, I didn't, but I did. Interesting enough though, in spite of the pattern sale, they did not have any McCall's books out for people to look at. What? Now that I think about it, the Vogue books weren't out either! Lame! It didn't phase me, because I always go armed with my list of must haves, so I just hit the drawers and get out of that section, but the poor Grandma looking for a pattern to make something for her new great granddaughter had a much more difficult time. I tried to help her as I was looking at baby patterns too, but what she really wanted was a hooded towel pattern. We discussed...easy enough to make without a pattern. I picked out a few bolts of fabric, but the selection at JoAnn's really has declined as their prices have increased. Really? No wonder I am such a loyal customer.  I can buy better stuff at Fabric Depot and the Mill End JoAnn's! Get a clue! As I was perusing the fabrics, I noticed a man looking intently at sewing machines for about an hour. Really intently, like he wanted to buy one, but didn't have the slightest idea where to start.  Did anyone approach him to help? No!  It's not like they were swamped...sales people were standing around doing nothing! Finally I walked up and said "You look like you're confused...are you looking to buy a sewing machine?" We struck up a conversation and he said that he was looking for a machine to repair sports uniforms for a kids league he is involved with.  It just so happened that I had a Singer Merritt in my car that I had picked up for someone wanting to learn to sew...(remember, I am the patron saint of sewing machines?) After I paid for my purchase, I went out to the car, brought the machine in and gave it to him.  Sounded like a good match to me and he could use the money he was going to pay for a cheap machine on sports equipment.  I gave him a mini lesson and told him where to look to download a manual.  JoAnn's missed an opportunity to sell this man a machine.  Good customer service seems to be a thing of the past.  Anywho, I snapped a few pictures of the cardiwrap for you all:
And then with the cowl drape, which is one of my favorite ways to wear them:
Now I need to skedaddle off to work...see you all later! :)

New Year's Sewing

In spite of waking up with a headache yesterday (No alcohol contributed to that party animals here!), I did manage to get some sewing done. Tom headed down to his mancave to work on his Jeep a bit, so I took that opportunity to get my sew on. While watching Casablanca I whipped up a little jogging suit for Colt. It needs a little finishing as I need to switch the Evolve to coverstitch, but that won't take long. I try to maximize my coverstitching by batching projects so that I am not constantly changing back and forth. Good argument for a seperate Coverstitch machine or at least another serger, but truly I don't have space for it, so I'll make do. (Guilty admission...I do watch Craigslist for a good buy on another serger or coverstitch machine).  Tom got called to do an emergency oil fill at a firehouse yesterday afternoon, so that left me with more uninterupted sewing time, so I cranked out another Simplicity cardiwrap out of some red slubby rayon knit I got from's last delivery.  It turned out so nice. I did a rolled hem with some wooly serger thread for all the finishes.  I made the sleeves longer, as the first one I made had 3/4 sleeves, which is okay, but I wanted them to my wrists.  I must have overshot my mark or the rayon was stretchier, as the sleeves were a little too long, but I shirred the sleeves at the wrist, similar to the gathering at the posterior neckline. It is a nice design element now! I may try to knock out a long sleeved Tee out of the houndstooth knit that also came with the last order and wear the ensemble to work this afternoon. Playtime is over for this kitten and it's back to the grind.  I have enjoyed my time off, but it will be good to see my work peeps again. I think I can do this retirement thing though. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy 1/1/11

New Year's is a time to reflect and look forward. 2010 was a great year for me! We welcomed Colt Bryce McCall into the world (and what mention of my cutie-pie grandson would be complete without the obligatory photo to prove it?)
Or two...
I was fairly productive this year in the sewing department and hope 2011 continues in that vein. I am trying to be more fiscally responsible in the fabric aquisition. Most new fabric has had a fairly short shelf life, but I still have some pretty nice cuts waiting in the stash.  No ban on second hand fabric...Linda makes sure I see the new stuff when I visit my favoritie thrift store! I plan to grow a great garden this year. I'm running out of home grown canned green beans and I need to re-do my strawberry bed. I divided my rhubarb this fall and if Scrappy the squirrel doesn't ruin it by burying peanuts in my rhubarb bed, it should be okay. I extended out the raspberries to a full bed and soon as the weather warms I'll till in some chicken manure into my raised beds. I would like to keep a perpetual salad bed going this year so we can have fresh salad every night. Other than that, my goals for 2011 is to enjoy life, continue to prepare for retirement and spoil the heck out of Colt! That's a resolution I'm confident I can keep!

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...