Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Some Christmas Sewing

I made the ubiquitous microwave soup caddies for our kids and grands, and a couple extra for relatives that showed up and a couple of "White Elephant" gift exchanges:

I used cotton quilting fabrics, Quilter's Dream batting, and Aurifil thread. I made an effort to match the fabric pattern to the person. I.E. our son-in-law who is a scuba diver got a fabric with little scuba divers, fish and bubbles all over it. A granddaughter who does cognitive science research (PHD program) got some little bots with lots of math equations. One granddaughter who is an artist got a Picasso-esque fabric. A granddaughter and her partner who are heavy into music got musical instruments, etc
These were made from the free pattern on They are quick and easy, and once I got them figured out, I found the actual sewing to be about 30 minutes per pair. I can see them being a great seller for craft booths and local fairs with vendors. 

Then I made another "fish pillow" for my brother. This was just an 18" square pillow form, with the fabric cut at 19 1/4", a zipper added, and 5/8" seam allowances. I love the fabric, find it cheery and it makes me smile every time I look at it. As a minister, he's not only a fisherman, but a "Fisher of Men," so it seems to me to be appropriate. 

And along with a horrendous cold, some cooking, a bit of reading, and some cleaning, that was my November-December.

Now to move forward with one more late Christmas present for my BFF, and then to selfish sewing once again. I'm hoping for 36 garments made in the upcoming year.

I had thought to do the Artisan's Square Sewing Guild SWAP, but I'm just going to go at my own pace, making the garments that fit my lifestyle and my needs. It may turn out to be a mini-SWAP, or a maxi-SWAP, or just a cool bunch of clothes that are badly needed.

First up will be a new French Terry cover up for my continuing Aqua Aerobics classes. During the winter a little extra fabric is needed. Then on to January and my three pieces in teal.

Hope you are all getting revved up for a wonderful New Year full of joy and surprises!

More Later,

Monday, December 25, 2017

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you all the joys of the Holiday Season!
Merry Christmas.
Happy Hanukkah.
Happy Kwanzaa.
A blessed Solstice.
Buenos Las Posadas.
And a joyous festival of lights for the rest of you.

I'm sending you sincere desires for a wonderful New Year filled with hope, joy, love, and expectations.

Although I've been neglectful of the blog for the last year, I hope to improve on that situation in the coming months! Thank you for being my virtual friends!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Catch up time

I've been sewing for the summer, but life has gotten a little hectic around here. Just a quick catch up post with some items I've made since the last post at the end of May.

First off was a pair of Burda 6613 shorts out of a suit weight natural linen. I was in a hurry because I wanted to take these with me to San Diego for a Granddaughter's graduation from UCSD and I knew the weather would be perfect for dress up shorts. Since I've used Burda patterns forever, I didn't make a muslin, just made them using my measurements.

DUH,.. I didn't think about the fact I've been doing Aqua Aerobics for months and my body has tightened up a lot. Put them on the morning of the graduation, and they slid down to my hips making me look like those youths with the falling off pants. SIGH. Took them off and tried again. First pair:
I thought about taking them apart and re-cutting them, but it was more trouble than to remake them from scratch. The pattern is beautiful with the inner pocket that goes across the front, a nice fly front, and all the rest of the top stitching and so forth.

I did a "wearable muslin" from a wild and crazy patterned indigo and white stretch cotton. I did carefully match the pattern on the pockets, but went stupid and didn't even think about the side seams until they were completed. Oh, well. The wild pattern is just carried a bit farther.

These had multiple alterations, finally I think taking in a total of 6" around the waist and dropping the back crotch seam by a fairly large amount IMO. But now they fit well and are in regular rotation. Then because I didn't have a sleeveless top to go with them, I did a navy tank. I did use my TNT tank pattern and removed about 2" from each side by the time I was done altering it.I very much like the fit now. 

Once the navy tank was done, I quickly made two more pair of the shorts out of linen from JoAnne Fabrics. Not great quality, but they'll do for the rest of the summer. 

In and around the clothing, my brother moved here from Southern California. He's disabled, and I've done A LOT of running around getting things set up for him, getting him a home, furniture, etc. And as a Welcome Home gift, I made him a throw pillow.
He's a fisherman, and I saw a similar pillow on a website and knew he'd love it. So I sketched out the fish, pulled a piece of canvas from stash, a colorful remnant with shells on it in "sea" colors, and made the pillow with the fish on front. I don't do applique as a rule, and anyone who is talented at applique would probably not be impressed, but my brother loved it, and has it in a place of honor in "his chair." 

This week I'm making him another fish pillow, (he would rather fish than almost anything) for his birthday on Saturday. He's 18 months younger than I am, and we've always been close. With the advent of his move here, we talk and see each other most days. He's going to be thrilled. The last one, he just kept saying, "No one has ever made me a pillow before." Now he can't say that, but I know he's going to love the new one. Luckily I have enough of the canvas remnant for a semi-matching pillow. 

Once the pillow is done, I'm moving forward with a few more tanks. I have the fabrics washed and ready to go, and perhaps I'll make a couple of pair of denim shorts. They'll be quite useful for days when I'm working around the house. My sleeveless shirt TNT pattern somehow got way too big, and I've started altering the ones I have that I'd like to keep moving forward. A few have been donated, but some are worth keeping because I love the fabrics.

So all in all, a relatively productive few months. I had thought to start making fall and winter items in August, but with the temps still in the 90s, I can't bring myself to start sewing heavier fabrics. I'd like to get back to knitting too, but the thought of sweaters and hats makes me start to sweat. So I'll wait a few weeks before I start thinking about such items.

Hope you are all enjoying your summer and sewing a lot! More later,

Thursday, May 25, 2017

It's summer here now!

In Las Cruces, New Mexico summer has arrived. Our ten day forecast shows six days with highs in the 90's and four with highs in the 84 to 88 degree range. Our night time lows are all in the 60's. We may even get a bit of rain on the "colder" days, so that would be nice and refresh things a bit.

Dale had gone to Santa Rosa, California for the last week to visit the kids and watch our granddaughter graduate from Sonoma State University. She graduated with honors, and he got a nice visit with both his daughters and their families, and even got to have dinner with my daughter one evening. On his return, he had a layover in Phoenix, where the temperature was 108 degrees at 4 p.m. He was glad to get back to our 90 degree temperatures. It was 94 when I picked him up at the El Paso airport at 9:00 last night!

I'm quite pleased to report the serger is back and in use once again. I had a few things cut out that are finished now.

I used my TNT pattern, and made up a quick royal blue tank top. Nothing out of the ordinary other than the fact I used cross grain for the neck binding, and the armhole bindings, and turned and stitched them. I may have to redo it with bias. It seems to me to not be quite tight enough on the neck band, and after a quick washing and drying I'm going to reevaluate and perhaps take the straight grain off and add some bias. We'll see how that works.


Once the tank was done, I did two quick pair of pajama bottoms out of cotton flannel. Both pieces were from JoAnn Fabrics a while back. The floral was several years ago, and the teal was purchased in 2016. Neither is good quality fabric, but they will be useful in my wardrobe. I don't post pictures of things like this to bore you, but because this blog is actually my sewing record of things I've made throughout the years.

I am using these as a kind of "muslin." They are from the Style Arc Barb pattern, shortened to about an inch of so below my knees. The pattern is designed for knits, and these are both wovens, but with the weight loss, they fit fine in the woven. I had decided to do a quick and dirty muslin to enable a few pair of quick elastic waist shorts to wear around home in the heat. It was a big success in my book. The only changes I'll have to make is to add pockets, since I'm not sure I can be awake and not have pockets! As Barbara from the Sewing on the Edge blog mentioned a while back, my main accessory is poop bags in my pockets! LOL

I've been cleaning rather frantically because like a lot of sewers, that is lower on the list than sewing most days, and I have a granddaughter coming to stay for the first week of June. I'm very excited to see her, and we should have some nice photos of things to share. But, I do have to clean, as she'll be staying in the "guest room" aka the sewing room, and there really does need to be enough room for her bed!

The next outfit will be a pair of "desert color" stripped shorts, and a sleeveless, collarless, button down shirt using my TNT pattern I've made several from before. Those shirts are getting a lot of wear in this weather!

Hoping you are all enjoying your sewing, and making lots of gorgeous or at least useful things!

More later,

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Quick catch up

I've been sewing, but it's been a little of this and a little of that. 

The bathing suit tankini took a lot more contemplation and a lot more testing and work than I anticipated. Getting an inner bra installed in something you're not sure where the bustline will be is a process. It was overall successful, but harrowing and difficult in my brain. I spent a lot of time mulling over what exactly would work. In the end, I eliminated their lining piece and did one of my own design, adding the bra cups where I felt they should be on my body. 

Sorry about the flannel pajama pants underneath the top! If you look closely, you can see that the bra area is not ideal, but it is certainly wearable. Sorry about the fuzzy picture of the pants. They work just fine, but as I'm peeling pounds away, I think they won't last for long.

I did make some decisions based on this muslin. I need to shorten the straps by about an inch. In the future, I'm not going to try to add the bra into the tankini top, but actually make a swim bra out of the same fabric (from my custom bra pattern) and just it combined with the tankini top. 

I have upped my Aqua Aerobics to three times a week, and hope to get in five times in the combing weeks. That will necessitate a few more suits as I go along. I'm thrilled that this program is really enhancing my range of motion, and ability to move. Every week I am able to do something with my body and my knees that I haven't been able to do in years. It's very exciting to get closer to "normal" physical status for me. 

Currently, I'm working on several things at once. I am adapting the Morris Blazer from Grainline Studios to my personal body, and a muslin will be coming out fairly soon. I have a tank top begun, but the serger has issues and so will be out for servicing starting tomorrow. I have some pajama pants laid out on the cutting board as I can do those without the serger. I'm also going to be working on a muslin for a sleeveless woven shirt. Just an old fashioned shirt with front buttons, back yoke, and regular collar. 

Our weather is a bit crazy right now, but overall warm and sunny. We did get a few drops of rain this week, but our temps are generally in the 75-85 degree range during the day. That necessitates sleeveless tops, tank tops, and knee length shorts to supplement the bathing suits. Also need more shorts, so those are percolating too. 

Hope things are going well in your sewing world! More later!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Been down and out of it

There is a really nasty cold going around, and I was lucky enough to get it a few weeks ago. The first week was mostly lying in bed, sleeping, and trying to get plenty of fluids. In between naps, I did get to the sewing room a little bit.

I was able to complete a new pair of jeans, and a cotton oxford cloth tank top. It can be worn alone or under my "big shirt" or other topper. As the body is shrinking, (thank goodness!) it is changing in ways that were unexpected. The water aerobics is helping a great deal with range of motion, and mostly eliminating the pain in my knees, so I am more able to do things, and so on and so forth. I've started to rebuild muscles that had been sorely atrophied, and it is also making a big difference in motivation when I can so readily see results. The waist has shrunk, as has the butt, but perhaps due to my age, the belly is holding on strongly. I'm thinking I'm going to get back on limited portion sizes to do much good with that part.

Anyway, here is my new outfit. The jeans are again a self draft from the Don McCunn "How To Make Sewing Patterns" book. I think I may want to slim the legs down a bit to be more fitted, now there is less of me. The tank is modified from the one I made in knit at the Sure Fit Designs retreat. I eliminated about an inch in shoulder width, changed the French dart for a standard dart, and did some upper body adjustments for my slightly rounded back, plus more at the waist for a sway back.I may need to do a little bit more at the bust to eliminate the wrinkles from the bust to the waistline. The back of my pattern is beginning to look like a mountain road with all the S curves! LOL

This outfit should get a great deal of wear over the next several months. 

I've moved on to a new bathing suit. Bottoms are in the works. I'll share, but not on me at this point in time!

Move later,

Friday, March 31, 2017

This is why you should post after each garment!

Okay... I forgot one of my makes. I had in my head an idea for a shirt similar to one I made back in the dark ages and literally wore out. Unfortunately, when I went pattern diving, I realized I was a size 12 when I made the shirt. Measurements on the pattern are listed at about 34-26-36, and it's been a REALLY long time since that would fit me!

Instead, I decided to try to make a "big shirt" with a Mandarin collar. I did a franken-pattern using an old Simplicity # 8497 mixed with a Bootstraps that has been fitted and muslined. It’s kind of an old fashioned “big shirt” but brought into the 21st century. I widened the shoulders by an inch, and have short sleeves on it. I used a very nice blue and white striped oxford cloth, and actually have enough left over to do a tank that matches. I’ll be able to wear the big shirt open over the tank in air conditioning. I’m enjoying working with the cottons more so than the knits for now.

I finished up the shirt and have worn it a couple of times. It’s not exactly what I wanted just yet. I like the big shirt theme, but want a regular collar, and the shirt tails at the sides with side slits. So that’s in rotation, but not quite there yet. 

So although it works for now, I will be experimenting with this also in the months to come. This style is heavenly in the heat with either a light weight cotton fabric, like a plisse, or a seersucker, or something of that nature. 

Without further ado:

And now I'm moving on. I'll try to post more often so I don't forget! LOL

Been sewing, not posting?

I've been doing a bit of sewing, but not really posting. Don't know why, but that's the case.

I finished the Bootstraps #40029 second shirt, and added about 3" to the sleeves, which suits me better. Here's the finished top:

Bootstraps #40029 #2

It's gone into rotation already. I debated about what would be next, but due to the weather in my new location, shorts hit the radar hard. I have the Style Arc Jennifer City Shorts that I thought might be just perfect. I haven't used many Style Arc patterns, and the instructions and way of doing things are a bit different than I'm used to. On the first pair I goofed up the waist facing treatment, and had to modify it to work. I also left out the hem vents on this pair. Here's an in progress photo with the pants on before hems and waist facing. I think you can tell they lie really low on my body:

When I got to the second pair, I inserted an inch in the body of the pants to bring them up a bit higher. I did get the vents into this pair too. They're all done except sewing the button on the second pair. Unfortunately, as I was doing my preliminary test for the buttonhole, my machine decided it didn't want to do those anymore. SIGH! It's now in the shop where they are estimating a 2-3 week turnaround. I'm hoping it just needs adjustment and not a new computer part! I pulled out my Pfaff Passport that I bought to take to classes, and set it up. I've only used it a couple of times, and it took a while to find everything and get it moving, but I actually really like the buttonholes on that machine. Both pair are in a light weight denim from JoAnn Fabrics. Here's a pic of both together. 

I'm not sure if the first pair are going to make the cut. I cut the size indicated for my measurements, but yesterday I was wearing them, and after the typical denim stretch, they were falling off my body. I realized I could actually remove them without undoing the button and buttonhole! Perhaps after a couple of wearings and washing in hot water, they'll be fine. I did realize I really don't like a waistband facing on MY body. I love them on others, but with my body, they don't sit well, and as stated above, have a tendency to move on down the torso. 

To that end, I went out today because JoAnn has their Burda patterns on sale for $2.49 and got Burda #6613, which will be used for the next pair of shorts. Hopefully going back to my beloved Burda will get me some shorts that work really well on my body. If they don't I'll modify my self drafted trousers to make the shorts work for me. 

I'm also reworking the navy ponte waterfall jacket I made a year ago. It was kind of oversized when I made it, and 30 pounds later, it's just sad. So I've removed the sleeves and the side seams, and am debating what I'm going to do with it. I think it's going to be recut with a Semi Grainline Studios Morris jacket vibe. Or maybe something else. However, it's going to be a lot shorter, a lot more fitted, and probably will lose at least most of the waterfall. 

My "to do" list is getting longer and longer. I want at least four or five pair of shorts, several new woven tank tops, some tees, and...I have a few bathing suits on the list too, as we've become regulars at the Tuesday and Thursday Aqua Fit classes, and I'm going to add on a third one each week. The old bathing suits are getting pretty roomy, and this week as we were doing "jumping jacks" I almost lost the bottoms to my Tankini. I got a pattern from Butterick that is in the right range I think, and have the fabric and notions for three new suits. We'll see how that goes. 

Hope your March was marvelous! More later,

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!

Monday, January 2, 2017

The rain has fled

I'm hoping to use this blog as a more or less daily journal like my virtual friend Ann of the blog Everything Sewing. I enjoy her almost daily missives, and think it is a good way to keep records of your activities.

Today is a more or less sunny morning. It is my understanding that the New Year's Holiday is being celebrated today, so no mail delivery, no trash pick up, no Government services are available.

Our weather forecast for today is a high of 51 today and a low of 33 tonight.. It was comfortable when I took Baby out this morning but I did have my jacket on. 

My jacket is underway. I got all the pattern pieces traced off with the adjustments I needed. The fabric has been washed and ironed, and the first pieces laid out and ready to cut. Today the goal is to finish all the cutting, get the appropriate pieces interfaced, and get all the machines set up and ready with the appropriate thread so when I start I can just run with it. 

Here's the current state of the garment:

I'll try to remember to keep taking photos throughout the process so I have better records.

Have a lovely day wherever you are, and enjoy the second day of 2017!

P.S. I am unable for some unknown reason to have any comments posted, not only on my own blog, but on others. Please know I appreciate very much your comments, and enjoy reading your stories and would like to comment, but can't. 😢😢😢

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy 2017!

I know unlike a lot of bloggers, I don't have hundreds of followers, and I have let this blog lie fallow for far too long. I hope to change the blogging frequency in this upcoming year! Retiring is good, but retiring and moving 1200 miles away to a home that has been occupied by a very messy man and a dog for almost two years takes some doing! Lots of time has been spent in organizing, but much remains to be done!

Our big dog went to heaven this year, and we got a tiny puppy a month later. Found her on Craigs' list as her former owner couldn't keep her. She was 12 weeks old, and her name is Baby. I'm in love, but I had forgotten after 13 years how much work a puppy really is! She's adorable though. A Maltese-Poodle mix, and at this writing about 7 1/2 pounds. She's about six months old, and will probably be less than 10 pounds at maturity. Here's a pic a few days after we got here. Who could resist?

I am settling in and adapting to a very different area, lifestyle, and climate. We've had our ups and downs over the last few months as we become accustomed to living together again after 1 3/4 years apart. I think it's getting better, but we still have our days where  our backs get up and it takes a bit to settle down. IMO, that's just marriage though. We have a great partnership with different sets of skills so we each bring something to the mix.

I lived in California for the first 69 1/2 years of my life and moving to Southwestern New Mexico has broadened my horizons quite a bit. For one thing, there are actually seasons here that are as distinct from one another as anywhere else, but are also very different from other areas. We are having a rainy New Year's day, which is much needed and wanted by all. Living in the desert, rain is always welcome, but you do have to adapt.

For 2017, we are hoping to do a lot of exploring of our new environs. There is a huge amount of history in the area, and many things to see and do. I will be having a few surgeries that I hope to be inconsequential other than to improve my life. One for cataracts which I have been told isn't bad at all, and another for a knee replacement which will require more recuperation time and more work, but that all promise to make my life much better.

In addition, I'm hoping to sew every day, (SWAP 2017 is underway) try to exercise more, eat better, and continue to eliminate the excess weight I've accumulated over the last ten years or so. Hope to make some new sewing friends in the area too.

We have 2 acres of mostly dirt and weeds right now, and the plan is to gradually grow at least most of our own food. I'll start with a plot between the fruit trees we planted last fall and the roses Dale brought with him to make me happy. Because I haven't been able to do much due to mobility issues, it looks pretty bad at the moment, with weeds everywhere.

Here's a mostly before pic of the front southeastern corner:

If you look closely, you may be able to see my fruit trees in the background. We planted two each of pear, apricot, and peach trees in September. We also planted four shade trees, but need many more before we're done. We have an existing fig tree we thought was dead that came back to life, a couple of pecans, one fig we brought from California, and a pomegranate we brought from California. Everything seems to be doing well. 

Once the chance of freezing is over, I'll be out on my "new to us" tractor and rototiller getting the garden beds ready for the first plantings. I want to grow everything! LOL Dale is still fighting me over getting chickens, but I think (or hope) that they are eventually going to arrive too.

I've started my SWAP with a very old pattern for a baseball jacket that I'd made back in the 90's and loved. I still have it and another 10 pounds or so and it will become a regular part of my rotation. In the meantime, I've learned a bit more about fitting, and have done a narrow shoulder alteration and a FBA, which will make a big difference. I have a navy with a teal polka dot corduroy fabric and I'm hoping for a great jacket when this one is done. Here's a picture of the pattern. I'm doing View C. 

Well, once again, I'm wishing you all a fabulous 2017 filled with fun, joy, health and prosperity!