Monday, February 27, 2017

A lot is going on around here!

A little bit of this, a little bit of that, and some sewing!

Since this is mostly a sewing blog, I'll start with the sewing. I am leisurely working away at my SWAP 2017 plan, and at last post, I was starting on the Bootstraps #40029. It is a great pattern and went together quite well, despite my leisurely pace for sewing it. I will make a couple of changes on the next one, which is already underway.

I did get the customized pattern with all 17 measurements, but I have put on a few pounds, and/or was slightly bloated, so the bottom button is unbuttoned in this picture. I have also lengthened the sleeves in the second version. Head cut off due to no makeup or hair styling! LOL

The fabric is a very light cotton chambray (I thought it was rayon until I looked!) It was purchased in May of 2015 from Amazon supplied by Designer Fabrics Warehouse. It's a dream to wear, and I anticipate a lot of use from this over the warmer days of summer.

I have started on the second version of this, made out of a Cotton/Lycra shirting from Emma One Sock. It's a dark navy with a tiny white flower print, and was purchased back in July of 2014. I'm using up some of my stash fabrics this year! It has the collar installed but not yet finished. Here's an "in process picture of it, slightly fuzzy.

As you can see, sleeves, are yet to come, as well as hems and buttons and buttonholes. This one is heavier and seems to me that it looks a bit more upscale than the chambray one. We'll see once I get it finished. 

As per my last post, I have a new friend, Carla, who has invited me out and is introducing me to some other local people. Her family has been in the Mesilla Valley since the 1800's, and she says she's probably related to everyone here some way or another. We've been to Aqua Fit a few times, and last Friday night, she invited me to go with her to the local Bernina/Quilting shop where they do a last Friday of the month sew-in and potluck.

I had purchased several "jelly rolls" a few years back thinking I could make the Jelly Roll race quilts with them. One was baby fabrics, and I'm a bit late in making a new quilt for my first Great Grandson. This was a perfect opportunity! Last week I stitched the pieces together a few hours at a time, and had the top done by Friday night. I put it together with the batting and a backing, and spent my time at the sew-in stitching along each line to quilt the pieces together. I've sent off for another fabric for the binding, and as soon as it gets here, this quilt will get completed! Hooray. Another stash item that will be in use! The fabrics I'm using are called "Monkey Tales" and those are sock monkeys all over. I think it's so cute for a little boy! Here's a pic of the top before quilting.

The sew-in was a lot of fun, and the potluck was great! I've been invited back, and I think that will be a regular monthly meeting in my calendar moving forward.

I'm doing a little gardening, a lot of sewing, a lot of reading, and generally enjoying life here in the sunshine. It's a bit odd to me to have sunshine 360 days a year, but it sure eliminates the Seasonal Affective Disorder I've suffered with for years. I need to wait until "last frost" to start planting most of my garden, but I am getting things ready now.

I sure hope you all are enjoying your time and accomplishing things that make your heart sing!

More later,

Monday, February 13, 2017

I may have a new and local friend!

I'm rather excited as a neighbor stopped to chat with Dale the other day and wound up inviting me to her Aqua Fitness class at the local aquatic center. I've wanted to go for a while, but am very shy and introverted and haven't gone yet because I didn't want to go by myself. She left her number, I called, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Tomorrow afternoon will be our first trip to the pools for the class. We chatted a bit about protocols, etc., and she mentioned after the class, she just throws on a dress and wears that home. As you are aware, if you've followed me for a bit, I don't wear dresses, and don't have any. However, that said, a pull on dress is a great bathing suit cover-up. With that in mind, I decided I needed one for after classes. This is what I came up with:

The fabric is a cotton Batik from my stash, and it reminds me of many cover-ups I have purchased over the years on previous trips to Hawaii. It's a pretty basic sundress style with a self bound neckline and armholes. 

I didn't have a pattern, but figured I wanted to draft something quick and dirty that would work. I took my altered tank pattern, that fits a little large right now and put that on. I took a denim a-line skirt I made a while back, also a little large right now, and put it on with the tank tucked in. In order to determine where the tank would end, and the skirt would begin, I pinned all the way around the waistline of the skirt. 

Once I had a length for the top determined, I took everything off, and marked the "waistline" on the tank pattern. Since everything is a little big, and the fabric I used on the tank has minimal stretch anyway, I just used the tank pattern at the original size. I traced it off to the waist, then because I was too lazy to try to find the skirt pattern, just laid the skirt over the tank and traced it. I added a small hem allowance, and made the dress up eliminating the waistline darts. It fits great just as it is. This one was a definite win! It will go into use tomorrow! 

My new friend Carla also invited me to a sewing potluck the end of the month. It's at the local Bernina store, and she said the attendees mostly do quilting, but you're welcome to bring anything you're working on. Carla grew up right down the street, and will be a very welcome entry into meeting more people in the area. I'm actually looking forward to both events. 

Now I'm back to the blouse pattern. I realized that the pattern was purchased before they had the "customization" feature. Which meant there were about six measurements instead of the customized 17 or so. I know that patterns don't fit me because I have VERY narrow shoulders, and really "bodacious" biceps, plus I've lost about 25-30 pounds (depending on the day) since I purchased it. That makes for some inches lost. Instead of fiddling with it, I just went ahead and bit the bullet and bought a new pattern to my customized measurements. At $3.49 US, it's not that big an expenditure. The new pattern is all taped and glued together, and I'll be moving on with that today. 

I lost some of my motivation for SWAP when the Stitcher's Guild went down for so long, but will be continuing to make the garments I intended to do. I have to admit, though, that others like this bathing suit cover-up may intercede into the mix. 

I hope your sewing is going very well, and you have a glorious February day before Valentine's Day!

More later,

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The groundhog saw his shadow!

I can't believe it's February already. For any readers who don't know about Ground Hog Day in the US, here's the information I found on Google:

Groundhog Day is a popular observance in many parts of the United States. Although some states have in some cases adopted their own groundhogs, the official groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, lives at Gobbler's Knob near Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. If this little groundhog sees his shadow, that is supposed to predict another six weeks of winter.

Well, I don't know how that works in our part of the world, but it has been lovely out with temperatures in the high 60's to low 70's, and brilliant sunshine. Generally the low at night is about 30 degrees colder than day time highs, so I'm hearing it's not officially spring until after the last freeze, which is typically the end of April. We may have showers a week from Monday, but predictions that far out are frequently incorrect in our area. So right now, I'm enjoying the weather very much in my new little part of the world. We've had a particularly mild winter this year, and it doesn't appear that will change. Thank goodness! 

January has been a rather on again off again month for me. I was quite surprised how the cataract surgeries affected me. I thought they might be similar to the Lasix Surgery I had many years ago. That was a trip to the doctor, a very quick surgery, and a day or so of recuperation. This hit me much harder, and I was down for about a week with each one. Since they were 12 days apart, it really put a kink in my plans for January. I am happy that in general, I'm not wearing glasses at all though. I'll find out on the 22nd if anything more than "readers" are necessary. 

In Northern California, I always pruned my roses around Thanksgiving. Here, the recommendation is to wait until January or early February, but at least before Valentine's Day. With the surgeries, I haven't done them yet. Today I spent about an hour working on one rose, pulling weeds, and trying to get rid of the Bermuda grass which is trying to choke out the plants I want. It is extremely hard to remove and keep out. It's going to be my project for this year! 

I was also going to do the first tilling on the area I intend to start my garden. BUT, after a couple of hours of getting the tractor and the rototiller ready for me, Dale realized when we couldn't get the tines to drop that the battery on the rototiller is dead. He used some kind of charger to start it, but the electric motor on the tiller tines requires juice to work. Now he's headed off to get a new one, and I'll try again tomorrow morning. I want to do several passes on the garden area before I actually start planting, pulling out weeds in between each pass. I'm hoping I can get rid of great masses of the Bermuda Grass and weeds before they start germinating and spreading themselves like crazy! 

In the sewing room, I finished my corduroy baseball jacket, which was the first item for my SWAP. I love it and it's already in rotation. I also realized that a 30 pound weight loss really requires new clothing as well. All my tees hang on me now, and I need to redo all my unmentionables also. 

Without further ado, here's the new jacket:

It's really too bad the fabric doesn't show better in the picture. It's a lovely navy pinwale with a tiny teal polka dot. I purchased it from Style Maker Fabrics when Carolyn of Diary of A Sewing Fanatic mentioned them in her blog last September. It's a gorgeous, quality fabric, and wonderful to work with. 

I also re-drafted my pants pattern, and got a pair made out of grey corduroy. It's my "muslin" for the new draft, but imminently wearable. I don't have a finished picture of them yet, but here are two in process pictures. The first is the pants with the waistband pinned, but not yet sewn. The second is the Hong Kong finish on the inner edge of the waistband. I love the colorful interior and have used some fabric remnants from one of the 13 aprons I made for Christmas. 

It just always make me grin each time I see the print on the interior of my pants. Staid outside, and wild and crazy inside. 

I'm in the process of tracing off Bootstraps #40029. I'll be making it without the bows on the sleeves, and think it's an excellent blouse for both casual and for business casual type situations. I can see many of these in my wardrobe. So a muslin of that is coming up next. Here's a line drawing.

I have one in my original SWAP plans, but that might get mixed around with less tees and more woven blouses. We'll see. 

I hope you're enjoying your weekend, and if you're a football fan enjoy the Super Bowl which I understand is tomorrow. 

More later!


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Quick one ~ catch up!

I was hoping to do a daily post this year, but I have already messed that up! Oh, well!

Friday, I finally came down with the cold that everyone seems to be passing around. I went down hard for a couple of days, stayed mostly in bed, reading or sleeping, with extensive use of Zicam and Benadril, and by Sunday night was feeling better.

Read several books and they have now been returned to the library. I'm kind of a cozy mystery book freak, and I'm enjoying a new library with many new authors that I'm not familiar with, but I did fill the Kindle before our trip, and have a few books left on that to be read. So I'm doing library books and Kindle intermittently.

Monday, I had an appointment with the Ophthalmologist to schedule my first Cataract surgery, and the timing was kind of right, but also overwhelming a bit. I'm schedule to go in tomorrow for my first eye. I anticipated a few weeks to get used to the idea of surgery, but no, a few days and it's going to be over with this one. We have tentatively scheduled the second eye for January 24. They say by 5 days after the surgery, I should be seeing quite well. Perhaps by the end of the month, I will be able to thread a needle without hassle. Woo wee!

Yesterday was spent seeing my regular physician, having labs tests, and an EKG so the Ophthalmologist can do their thing. They require a health "report card" for lack of a better term so they know I'm healthy enough for surgery. We'll be going up to Alamagordo for the surgery, about an hour and 15 minutes away, as they have their own facility there, and despite the fact it could be done in Las Cruces, they have more control over the environment there. I haven't been to Alamagordo yet, so we'll go up early and have lunch and see a little of the town before I head in. My surgery is scheduled for 3:15 pm, and they say it's only about a 15 minute procedure! Just incredible to me that my eyes, which have been a problem for over 55 years can be fixed in a matter of a few minutes!

The baseball jacket continues. I have to add buttons and buttonholes, shoulder pads, and finish off the facings and it's done. I like the look of it a lot, and hope to have all of that finished today. I don't like leaving things unfinished, but it was pretty amazing to me that out of five boxes of buttons, I didn't have any that would work. Along with my other errands, a quick trip to Jo-Ann Fabrics yesterday was in order. I now have several buttons for a navy jacket, and an additional set for a teal green. :-)

According to the news, the weather has been unusually warm, with yesterday being one degree off the warmest since they've been keeping records. As I write that, I feel very bad for all of my friends that are elsewhere and suffering with the atypical cold and stormy weather. Northern California where many of our family resides are having flooding and torrential rains. The Sierra has tons of snow, and the highway was even closed down. That's good news for their drought, which I think has officially been declared over. My friends in Oregon have inches and inches of snow. My family in Denver also has snow, but for them I think it's more typical of a normal year.

While we are basking in sunshine, which I don't mind other than feeling slightly guilty, the rains are scheduled to come in over the weekend. We could really use some of that rain to heal our drought, although I think when you live in a desert, that's the sum total of the weather patterns. Drought it is.

Anyway, I finally figured out the problem with comments, and can now actually leave comments on other's blogs as well as my own. So feel free to comment if you are so inclined!

More later, but maybe not tomorrow!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Quick one today!

It is late in the day and I am trying to relax after spending a couple of hours on the telephone with our mortgage company trying to get our Homeowner's Insurance straightened out.

This is the third servicer we have had this year, and I think they are truly incompetent. I don't know why our mortgage keeps getting sold, but it does, and each time it gets sold, the insurance gets messed up. We have our taxes and insurance paid through escrow so I don't have to deal with it a couple of times a year, and we get a lower interest rate by having the escrow account. Well, this time, even though all the funds were there and available to be paid, the new bank says they had the policy number and the amount but didn't know what company they were supposed to pay. Instead of calling us, they just sent a letter.

I spent about two and a half hours on the telephone with them and the insurance company the first week in December when I got a notice that our insurance hadn't been paid. They supposedly got it handled, with the rep at the mortgage company, the rep at the insurance company, and myself on the phone while the paperwork was completed. HOWEVER, instead of sending the payment to the correct address they were given in Southern California, they sent it to Cincinnati!

Yesterday I received notice from my insurance company that my policy has expired and hasn't been renewed. I called our agent, and said they had paid it the first part of December. He said they hadn't received the check. So after three calls to robophones, I finally got the right number to call and after a wait, spoke with a rep in the "insurance department"  at the lender. She asked me why they'd sent it to Cincinnati. I told her I had no idea as at no time has our insurance ever been through a company in Cincinnati. She called someone there while I was on hold, and they also said they had no idea why the check had been sent there, it was an incorrect address and they had no idea where the check went.

To make a very long and frustrating story shorter, after about another hour and a half on the phones with various people, I've been told she will "monitor" the account and be sure it is handled by next Wednesday or Thursday and call me to let me know the outcome.

Nothing else other than the basics have happened today. AARGH!

Yesterday I did get my collar sewn, but nothing further. I hope to accomplish a bit more this evening for sure.

It's been a lovely day with a high of 62, and should be a low of about 44 tonight. I'm so pleased to live in an area where my Seasonal Affective Disorder is no longer an issue at all. It's a wonderful bonus to our move.

Hoping to have a much better day tomorrow with upbeat news!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


I am so spoiled right now! I heard from a close friend in Eugene, Oregon that this morning they had 2" of snow and more to come, and a good friend in Santa Rosa, CA that they had over 1/2 inch of rain in a half hour last night. We have brilliant sunshine, and although there is a little wind, it's perfect weather. Our current temp is 59 degrees at 2:40 pm, and that is the anticipated high for today with a low tonight of 39 degrees.  I'm not gloating, just happy we made this move.

This morning started off a bit slow, and I haven't done much today except the usual daily chores. I did get a bit more done on my jacket last night, currently have the pockets finished and top-stitched, as well as the fronts pinned at the shoulders. Not sewn yet, but I hope to make progress today.

I've been relaxing a bit and reading. Current book is a new to me mystery series by Jane K. Cleland. It's a series about Josie Prescott, who owns an antique warehouse in New Hampshire and appraises estates for people. I think it's quite well written, and am reading the third in the series now, and will read the rest, although I have a few new requests from the library here that will get read first. It caught my interest because I was an appraiser, albeit for real estate, not antiques and collectibles. That's a super specific field that requires a lot of experience to get things right.

I did get some other sewing done yesterday. I read on a website and in a book about potty training your puppy, and we do need some help in that area. After some reading, I'm beginning to believe that Baby was taken from her mother too early. She doesn't have the typical "tell" that dogs have when they need to go out. She will jump up on me to let me know, but then she also does that when she wants to be held and cuddled. So I'm remiss when I'm being lazy and we have accidents. The book I was reading indicated that you can "bell" train them to let you know. You attach a string of bells to the door, and teach them to ring the bells, along with a command of "out." Since I do know how to sew, the cost of the bells was ridiculous to me. I made mine with a scrap of ribbon and $6.00 worth of bells from Hobby Lobby.

Well, that's my brain drain for today. Fairly boring. 😑Hope you are well and having a wonderful day. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

It's a beautiful day here with it 51 degrees at 10:30 am, and an anticipated high of 59 with a low of 39 degrees tonight. The sun is out, and although there are high clouds, there is no wind, and it's very comfortable with just a sweatshirt over a short sleeved tee with jeans all that is needed.

I did accomplish my goals yesterday with my new baseball jacket, and actually went a bit farther. All pieces have been cut and interfaced where appropriate. The machines have been threaded, and construction has begun. This is a pretty quick and easy pattern to make, and the fronts have the pockets attached, waiting for serging around the pockets, and then the stitching and basting to the fronts. Here's a picture that you can maybe see the pockets stitched in. They are inseam pockets with the typical stitching around the pocket bags you would see on a Letterman's jacket. Hmmm... guess I'm a bit shaky this morning! The pictures have been lightened a bit, and are a bit fuzzy so the polka dots look like a geometric slash! LOL

Today I anticipate more sewing on the jacket. The fronts and backs should be put together at the minimum today depending on what else rises it's head before my day is done.

All the best to you!