Friday, June 28, 2013

Time away from it all...

Even in retirement (I use the term loosely), you need to take time away from your normal routine for a spell...a time for relaxation and rejuvenation. Personally, if I only have a few days, I prefer to be somewhere near the water. I like to take my knitting, my camera, a good book and a nice Chardonnay to sip while taking in nature's beauty.

This year, I have finally succumbed to the art of fishing.  It's something that the Dave and I can do together and truthfully, when you are on a beautiful lake watching your pole rise and fall with the waves, there is nothing more relaxing.

Though the weatherman did not forecast sunny/moderate days ahead, we gathered up a couple of friends and headed for Eagle Lake anyway. Despite the wind and rain, the clouds did part long enough to get our limit of juicy trout.

Did You say something to me, God?

Okay, I heard You that time!

Though there are few similarities between sewing a fine garment and catching a fish, the end result is the same: pure satisfaction...a period at the end of a beautifully composed sentence...the final chord of a sonata...

an Eagle Lake trout...

watching the moon rise over the lake...

enjoying the company of friends...

As much as we'd like to stay on vacation forever, we need to get back to the real world - back to our appointments and errands, back to our family obligations, back  to our quasi-work...back to our SEWING!!!

On the ride home, we stopped at Truckee (oh the shops!) to grab a bite... one pass beside a boutique window and I my brain is already back to designing stuff for me and Suzan, aka Fabric Lady/Daughter of Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics.

Oh yea, baby..I could make that in a heartbeat!

See Dave patiently waiting as I drool on the window...

My friend's little pooch is ready for home too...

I am "The Bologna Lady" to sweet Roxie

I feel like I've been gone for a many projects waiting for me, my brain is spinning!! Unpacking can wait...I need to get back to my little corner of the world!

Laurel. Do something you love!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Two women...Two blogs...One goal

Last week I wrote about meeting the FabricLady and our new adventure into the art of sewing fashion garments. (See My Exciting New "Gig")The FabricLady is Suzan Steinberg, the "daughter" of of Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley. Suzan's new adventure includes a new healthy eating lifestyle and an updated wardrobe. My new adventure is making her new wardrobe using the awesome fabrics from her store. And both of us plan to share the whole experience on each of our blogs.

I used to live near Lake Merritt in Oakland in the late 60's and worked in Berkeley at Cutter Laboratories down on 4th and Parker.  During the week, I did some nasty things to rats, mice and rabbits (which still haunts me) but in the evenings and weekends I sewed hippie dresses and wedding gowns. Despite my middle-America suburban/retirement lifestyle these days, I still feel a warm kinship with the whole Berkeley vibe and love the drive to Stone Mountain. I heard that Chez Panisse just re-opened so me and a couple of foodie friends will be traveling down for lunch after a fitting with Suzan.

Guess who else is happy about my new adventure? Yep, Colette. One of the benefits of sewing for Suzan is that I also pick out gorgeous new fabrics for me (and Colette!). My new fabric of choice for the summer is Linen. Several weeks ago, I picked up a beautiful linen/flax fabric ("Nevada") to make a pair of crop pants. I made the pattern off of pair of Tommy Bahama linen pants that I paid way too much money for.  Colette loves it when I save money by sewing for myself.

This week, I made the same crop pants out of a handkerchief linen with an elastic waist.  Our mothers hated linen because it wrinkled, but we love it for the very same reason! It's cool, breathable and easy to sew - I swear, it took me less than an hour to whip these crop pants up!  I even had Suzan try my "crops" on yesterday, and even though they were too big (Colette and I are a little heftier than Suz) she picked out some linen for a pair for herself.

Please join Suzan and I as we work together to get women sewing again. I've already had several friends drag out their machines, dust them off and start sewing.  And since everyone loves a road trip, the list of  friends that want to go with me "the next time you're going to Stone Mountain" just keeps growing!

Laurel. Colette thinks I should try Suzan's diet:(

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Exciting New "Gig"

Okay, it's not like I don't have enough projects or anything, but you know me - there's always something new that pushes my creative buttons.  Over the years I have juiced my entrepreneurial spirit sewing for others, designing dresses to sell, creating unique one-of-a-kind necklaces, selling paintings on the street corners, doing interior design and house staging, etc.

My friends know that have always wanted to have my own fabric/yarn/jewelry/artwork etc. boutique, but somehow it was never in the cards. When I visit a shop that I love, I try to imagine how I might "become a part of it", but more often than not, I will just breathe in its ambiance, buy a few trinkets and leave, wishing I had had the chutzpa to do it myself.

Along came Suzan Steinberg, co-owner with her father Bob, of my favorite fabric shop in Berkeley, Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics. Suzan put out a notice to her customers that she was looking for people who might be interested in sewing garments for her, as well as samples for the store. I promptly replied to her. expressing an interest in more than just the sewing gig, but some sort of "collaboration" that might also include my love of blogging and photography as well as feed my inner need to create, teach, otherwise influence and inspire others (there's that "corporate" head still trying to rule!).

Suzan and I met, threw around some ideas and quicker that you can say "fabric", I was sent home with bags of material, patterns and notions to make several outfits for her. Somehow, things are just meant to come together - it's almost like I've known her for years. I will be a guest contributor on her blog, FabricLady, that will feature some of the outfits that I am making for her, along with some tutorials perhaps, and whatever else Suzan has in store!

 For Suzan... Vogue Pattern #1355 designed by Sandra Betzina
I am excited to work with her creating some garments that not only showcase the quality and variety of Stonemountain fabrics, but just get women to want to start sewing for themselves again. Both of us think that fashion sewing is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, and for my part, the more I can get that message across, perhaps more of the big "chains" will start to take notice and truly be able to call themselves "Fabric Stores".

 Laurel. Busy Hands are happy hands!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Rose from Karen's...

One of the best things about being retired is knowing that I don't have to go to work. It seems to hit me most in the early mornings when I used to be in my car, fighting the commute and thinking about a boring 9:00 meeting. These days, I am often in my car headed for a nice mocha at Karen's Bakery and Cafe in Folsom.

Besides having THE best Apple Walnut Muffin in the entire free world (bar none!!!) and a  friendly morning vibe, I love that there are always a fresh flowers on each table.  I don't know where she get's her roses, but they always beg for a picture.

Between bites of that yummy muffin, out comes the iPhone...and click!  

You tell there anything prettier that a peach rose sitting
 on a black tabletop???

Laurel. Shoulda got a picture of the muffin too...
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