Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tools of the Trade

I have most of my sewing/crafting tools in a little white thingy with all of these divided compartments and the whole thing spins.  I have it from back in the days when I sold kitchen tools at home parties.  It's perfect for all of the tools of my trade.  When I look over at the cutting table from my desk that's nearby, it makes me very happy to see all of those wonderful gadgets.  As is so true with any job, the right tool can make everything a little easier.  I have a small addiction to gadgets.  I can't help myself, I just love them!  Don't they all look so happy in their little spinning holder?

I have been busy lately working on a project that may become another class.  I used an Amy Butler pattern, The Domestic Goddess Apron.  There are three different aprons in this pattern and I decided to do the Pleated Bodice Full Apron.  I had never used an Amy Butler pattern before and I was very impressed.  The directions were super easy to understand, very clear and concise.  I'm already planning to make the Half Apron from the same pattern.
There are several pleats in the skirt and the bodice of this apron and I needed to transfer the lines for the pleats from the pattern to the fabric so I could be sure they were evenly spaced and the proper size.  So, I dug out my trusty Tracing Wheel.  I have had this little tool since I began sewing a very long time ago.  (as in almost 40 years ago!!!)  What a handy, dandy tool.  It still works like a charm and I even had the same package of tracing paper and it worked beautifully.
I don't even know if there are still TG&Y stores around.  Are there?  Is there one where you live?  See my pretty little orange lines that show me right where each pleat should go?  I love having the right tool for the job.  This apron came out pretty cute.  Those pleats are really slimming.

G was out of town this past week and couldn't take my picture when I got done.  Rex the Wonder Dog refused to take it because he said he never can figure out the Canon camera, so I took myself up to the Bernina Store where I bought the pattern and fabric and Julie took my picture for me.  I think she took a great picture.

I love being able to sew, really, really love it.  I love the different things I can make, and the freedom it gives me.  I love picking out the materials for a project and then following it through to a finished product.  It is a valuable skill and I am grateful to my mother and grandmother for teaching me.  If you haven't heard about it, head over to Handmade by Alissa and read about Action Kivu.  It's an amazing organization that is teaching women in eastern Congo to sew.  These women have to overcome mind blowing obstacles and this organization is giving them a skill set that will empower them to take control of their lives and to feed themselves and their children.  It makes me very grateful to live in the country that I do and to have had the advantages that I do.  I am so blessed....

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Last night I was getting ready to go to bed and as I washed my face, I thought "wow, my cheeks sure are rosy" and then I thought..."man! it's hot in here".  So, I wondered out to the bedroom and asked G if he was hot (I know he's hot, but that wasn't the kind of hot I was thinking of).  I took a gander at the thermostat and it was 85 degrees in the bedroom!  So, at 11:45 on a Saturday night we were up in the attic investigating.  Another 45 minutes later we came to the conclusion that the air conditioner was not working and there was not a damn thing we could do about it at 12:30 at night.  I was very grateful for the ceiling fan and the two oscillating fans we own.  It was a little warm, but we made it through the night.  We were able to locate a repairman and by 1:30 this afternoon we had air conditioning again.  It was not a fun 12 hours, but it made me think about all the people here in Texas that can't afford air conditioning and are having to endure this horrendous heat we're experiencing.  I sometimes forget how very blessed I am and I certainly am guilty of taking all these conveniences for granted.  This is an exceptionally hot August and I am so ready for it to be over.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had finished a pillow for a friend.  I used this tutorial from Sew4Home to create this for her from fabric left over from the shower curtain I made for her a few months ago.  I can post this picture now, since I gave her the pillow today.  We met for breakfast and while I was extremely pleased to catch up with her, I was ever so grateful for the air conditioned restaurant!  Here's a pic of the pillow (I know it's a bit blurry, but G took the photo for me right before I ran out of the house this morning.)

It was so fun to make.  The back is a Bella Solid green with a covered button that matches the front.  The fabric is Andalucia by Patty Young.  It love how all the little birds form such a cute circle!

I have been very busy lately working on a fun crewel pillow kit that I purchased off eBay recently.  I can occasionally be a little ADD in my crafting.  It's funny though, I always come back to fabric.  It truly is my first love. (in a crafty sort of love)
I can't wait to get it finished and on the sofa!  The kit even came with a lovely green velvet piping and a real metal zipper with cotton twill tape!  The pillow front is a nice heavy natural linen and the yarn is pure wool.  The kits I buy today just don't have that same quality.  Sigh.......

What are you working on?  Are you finding fun ways to stay cool?  I hope so...

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Productive Weekend

Well, I just returned yesterday evening from a four day weekend at a quilt retreat with seven wonderful women!  I have sore cheeks and amazing tight abs from all the laughing we did.  There were many times during the four days that I had tears streaming down my face because I was laughing so hard.  I am not sure there is a drug that can make you feel as good as you do after a good long belly laugh.  It just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside.  It makes my muscles relax all over and I always end with a very deep satisfying sigh.  I love the feeling and it seems as if it has been quite some time since I laughed that much and that often.  That alone was worth the price of admission, not to mention I got a ton of sewing done.  Funny thing though, my jeans were a little tighter this morning?  Must have shrunk in the wash.....or maybe it was all of the amazing food we ate all weekend.  Gina, one of the gals on the retreat, did all of the menu planning, shopping and cooking!  We will be forever indebted to her.  So will the Gap when I have to go buy new jeans!  Okay, I'm only kidding, I don't think I gained that much.

I quilted a baby quilt, finished a pillow for a dear friend, and got the top and backing pieced for a quilt for another dear friend that recently moved away:(.  I'll post pictures of those projects soon, but I'm waiting until I gift the items before posting those.  In order to not be photo-less( is that a word?), I'm posting a couple of shots of some recent fabric acquisitions.  The first is some fabric I picked up on that recent trip to San Francisco,
One is a feed sack reproduction by Darlene Zimmerman for Robert Kaufman.  The other is also a Robert Kaufman print - Monaluna Mingle.  I bought these at a very cool little shop called Urban Burp.  It is great shop specializing in vintage fabrics.  The owner, Electra Skilandat, was there that day and she was a joy to visit with.  If you are ever in the city, stop by and say hi to her.  Tell her I sent you!

These lovelies are my winnings from Quilt Home that I won for being their Blog of the Week awhile back.
Aren't they gorgeous?  I can't wait to make these into something fun.  Not sure yet what I'm going to make with them, but it will be something fun and it will be soon!
What are you all working on these "dog days of summer"?  Cause I know you are all outside enjoying the 107 degree heat!  Man, I don't like this weather, it just wilts me into a puddle.  I am ever so grateful for air conditioning, aren't you?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Back to Real Life....why do I live here again?

Every time I take a vacation, I spend the whole time there thinking "I could live here, lets get jobs and never go home".  Well, this trip was no exception, in fact I think it was the most intense dose of "lets live here" ever!  What a gorgeous city and so exciting!!  The weather was absolutely perfect the entire week we were there.  Sunny every day and about 60 degrees.  And the food.....divine!  I did not have a bad meal the entire time I was there.
This meal was from The Slanted Door and I think it might win the prize as the best meal of the week.  The restaurant was really cool and modern, but we ate outside on the glassed in patio.  You could see across the bay to Annabel Island and we watched the ferries coming into the harbor.  I can't remember the cool name that my dish had, but G's dish was called Shaking Beef!  YUM.

I had the best latte there at a little shop called Blue Bottle Coffee Company.  And look how cute they made it!

I went to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and had a great time looking around!  They had an exhibit there called Calder to Warhol that was fantastic.  And take a look at this display.  It's all picture frames, but I see a quilt in there, do you?  I don't know about having a big hump in the middle of my quilt, but I was definitely inspired.

And I see a quilt in this picture as well.  It would take some definite planning, but I am sketching it out in my head already.  This is actually a chair.  They had a big round circle in the middle of the room all made up of different chairs, very cool.

There is much more to tell you about the trip, but I'll save the rest for another day.  We got off the plane to 107 degrees at 9:00 at night and that's when I asked the question "why do I live here?"  Of course, I ask that question every year in August and then in December I remember why I live here.