Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lessons learned...

After 5 weeks of sewing lessons, my granddaughter finished her gored skirt.  We won't count the week she was more engrossed in what her brother was watching on the computer - she didn't get much done that evening.  Nor will we count the night her lesson followed an afternoon at the dentist to get her new braces put on. So really, it took her 3.5 evenings to complete the skirt.

Sewing the hem....the last step!

It was a good first project for a young girl.
I heard an audible gasp from Colette in the other room, as Reyna pranced through the house in her new skirt. I knew it was time to make something for her.  The next morning, I went through my limited fabric stash and found some fabric that my daughter and I had found at Nasty Goodwill. 
I should explain that regular Goodwill stores are a great place to find second hand stuff, but Nasty Goodwill is a veritable paradise of all things donated.  It's a distribution outlet where none of the merchandise is on shelves and the clothes are never hung or displayed.  Everything is piled in giant rolling carts/bins that you have to rifle through.  The clothes (sadly) are in the same shape as when YOU donated them: often soiled and torn and basically are just plain "nasty".  You never shower before you go there...women wear rubber gloves to sort through the bins and fight over items when a new cart is rolled in.  It's a just remember to take your hand sanitizer and for God's sake, don't ever touch your face while you're there!
But bargains abound at Nasty Goodwill.  I have found Talbot's Capri's, never worn dress shirts, cute jeans, tablecloths and fabric. And all for $.08 a pound!
I have a favorite knit top pattern that I decided to try to use on this NG fabric that I found
 several months ago. I knew I would need to cut it on the bias as it wasn't a knit.
And that I would have to find just the right stitch for the seams...
something that would have some give in it.
The fabric wasn't that hard to work up.  However when I tried it on, the crepe nature of the fabric cut on the bias did not lend itself very well to the long sleeves I had designed.  They were too tight and felt scratchy...not like the soft knits that I had used previously. I kept cutting them shorter and shorter until the top felt more comfortable.
I looked in the mirror at my top. Again, I thought I heard Colette sigh in the other room.
Okay, girlfriend, let's try it on YOU, I thought, and see what you think. Maybe it will look better on you!
Me: "What do you think, Colette?"
Colette is no dummy.
Colette, astutely: "It's okay, but have you forgotten that you and I look hideous in brown??"
Me: "Evidently so, 'cause I looked like my old maiden aunt in it. And you don't look muck better, hon."
Colette: "You better add some pink to this sucker and some accessories, cause I'm dying here!"
Not bad, Colette.
This is how we learn about sewing: Try a design or fabric and see if it works. I don't particularly like the fabric, but it was cheap and the finished top works with a pair of jeans.
Laurel. Nasty Goodwill is calling.  See ya!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Before the Rain???

Tuesday, 8:30 a.m.
I check my iPhone for today's weather: "90% chance of rain by10:00 a.m." 
 I step out into the courtyard in my PJ's...the air is so fresh.
It's as good a day as any to start my walking regimen...
Besides, I can see if Spring is on the horizon in my neighborhood.

Uh huh...

Flowering favorite Spring flower.

Tulip Trees are a sure sign of coming Spring...

And paper whites...yeah baby!

Whoopsie....somebody didn't get the Spring message yet...

I'm almost done with my 45 minute walk and.....
once again, the weatherman missed the timing of the storm.

Laurel. Good thing I have a hair appointment today.

Monday, February 11, 2013

UFO Sightings

Lost a "Follower" today...don't know who or why...and I'm figuring this post title may freak out a couple more.  But in my world, UFOs are not flying objects bouncing through space, they are unfinished objects that have grown mold in my knitting basket.  They are neglected projects that either bored me to tears, were too complex for my pea-brain, or I had decided that I hated them before they were ever finished. 

For knitters and other crafters, our drawers and closets are full of UFOs. We hide them from our husbands so we can justify buying more stuff for our stash, whether it be yarn, fabric, beads...whatever. Occasionally we trot them out of their resting places for a fresh look.  If we are lucky, we become inspired all over again, put our pedal to the medal and finally finish them.  There is nothing more gratifying than finishing a 900 page book that you have been reading for a year, binding off a sweater that can actually be worn THIS season, or sewing that fabric that you got on vacation two years ago.

This week, I finished two projects. Yay!

1.)  A small knitted purse that I plan to use for shopping at Stitches West in Santa Clara this month.  It goes over the shoulder so that my hands will be free to pick through skeins and skeins of beautiful yarn. I actually "felted" it to give it a little more stability and lined it with a pretty pink batik fabric. Big enough for my wallet, some lip gloss and my iPhone. Very hippie, don't ya think???

2.)  I also finished a poncho that I started several months ago.  I got this soft tweedy yarn from the stash of one of my fellow knitters who had passed away last year and whose daughter kindly invited us all over to take some yarn home. This is Sweet Sue's poncho.

With hippie purse in hand and rockin' my new poncho, I will be ready for the Stitches convention.  And since a girl can never have too much yarn in her stash, I fabricated this cute little rolling market cart for the day.  I purchased a small collapsible luggage cart at Target and the fabric basket at Lowes.  I bent the top rim of the basket (heavy wire of some kind) into a square and then velcro'd it to the luggage carrier.  Voila...a mini-shopping cart I can drag behind me.  I can also use it to take to the Saturday Farmer's market this summer. Bonus!

Laurel. Procrastination is crushed!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Blind Date

My first poem in a long the photo prompts from Tess at

Magpie Tales

The Mag #155

artwork by Joseph Lorusso

Blind Date

the photo was old
perhaps before kids
her profile was honest
yet some things she hid;
the booth was sticky
the waitress crisp
"I'll just have water"
she tugged on a wisp;
long minutes ticking
sweat penetrating blush
will he show? she stewed
I hope I don't gush;
no jacket or hat
no briefcase or phone
just him and his smile
just him alone;
unnoticed hours
glances and touch
without reservation
a kiss for lunch.
 Shared today at Magpie Tales

Laurel. How did you meet???

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Some good...some not so much...

I am trying to figure out how I get so busy.  When I was working, I used to wait longingly for the weekends to do all my crafty stuff, never getting to half of it and waking up Monday morning trying to figure out why I never got anything done.  Five years later the dilemma is still there. This morning I woke up sorting through my endless list of to-dos, have-tos, ought-tos and want-to-dos.

Among the list of neglected projects is blogging. I get so busy with other stuff, I postpone writing until I actually finish something. I have totally lost that "multi-tasking" mojo in the midst of all my half-finished projects, not-started projects, and the "%@# - canned" projects that went by the wayside.

When you take on too many things, some of them go well, some don't. This little dress went well.

 Little girls love lady bugs....

"Tinking" is the opposite of knitting.  It means that you basically screwed up your pattern somewhere and you have to rip it stitch at a time. I didn't like the way this sweater pattern was headed, so I put it on Colette and she agreed.  She hated it ("It makes me look fat, Laurel").  I'm not much of a "tink-er", so I just yanked the stitches off the needle...about 10 rows. I'd say this one didn't go so well.

After hand painting my two stools last month, I decided that this 30 year old end table with two little round nesting tables needed a face lift too.  I'm thinking this project get's a 9 on the 10 point scale.

Besides being guilty about neglecting my blog, I've also been carrying on a running argument with myself about my poor lonely art quilt hanging on the project wall.  I was going to try to finish it before the Super Bowl party, so I did clock some hours in January stitching away on several areas of the landscape.  The thing about an art quilt that you are thread painting, you can not rush the process.  It is painstakingly slow...stitching, changing threads, winding bobbins, breaking needles, designing as you go...etc. This project is a procrastinator's dream.

Like I need another project, I am having fabric withdrawal and need to get down to Stone Mountain and Daughters in Berkeley for some spring knits.  Colette needs some new tops.  But she will have to wait until I get back from Stitches West in Santa Clara....the Knitter's Mecca, I understand.  I can't wait to add more yummy yarn to my stash!!

Meanwhile, I brought back a little gift for Colette from my Mom's yesterday.  I knitted this cute little sweater for her last year, and yesterday she gave it back to me. According to my very wise mother, little wrinkled 88 year old arms should never see the light of day.  Sorry Mom...Ill have to make you something with long sleeves. Another project to start.

Yippee for me... if I can get it off Colette!

Laurel. Think I'll go shopping.
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