Oh what fun it was to ride … on the train into Chester to meet Ali.

I realize that’s a pretty sorry rhyme, but it was an absolutely marvelous time!

Here’s the back story: I live in New York and have cousins in Brecon, Wales. Many of my online sewing buddies (or rather, sewing inspirations since my sewing is going so slowly) live in the UK and one of them, the famous and fabulous, Ali of THIMBERLINA, was able to meet me for a day out fabric shopping! We found a spot half way between our locations which just so happened to be home to a particularly fine fabric shop, Abakhan, where we whiled away a good amount of time.

We started our morning early at our respective train stations, mine was in Abergavenny, and oh, such amazing scenery along the way! Horses, cows, and fields full of sheep. My traveling shots were blurry, so here is a shot of one of the many stations where we stopped, so many nicely landscaped and decorated. I was very impressed with the British rail system!

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After our separate journeys of about two and a half-hours, we all arrived at the Chester Station.

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Photo by and copyright Tagishsimon – Own work

Barely out of the station, Ali’s mum (yes, Cyber-mum was with us!) began the photo-taking. She spotted the perfect backdrop, this red double-decker bus!

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Since I obviously knew nothing about Chester, and Ali’s sense of direction is spot-on, she led the way to our first stop, the cafe at Marks and Spencer, where we enjoyed a large giant cup of coffee. As we settled at our table, Ali surprised me with a little gift – three patterns from Love Sewing magazine! Two pretty dresses (and a blouse) and trousers with t-shirt. All of which will be made up soon – I promise.

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I was very nearly run over while snapping this too-distant photo of the clock in downtown Chester!

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In short order, we arrived at our destination, Abakhan! Located prominently on the corner, it was easy to spot, and we charged right in and began our fabric adventure.

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Immediately upon entering, the bombardment began. Bin upon bin of remnants –  big ones, small ones, ones as big as your ‘ead….oh whoops I got a little carried away for a moment. I was drawn immediately to a lovely heathered pink jersey that would be perfect for my new t-shirt pattern! Despite the fact that the remnant was enormous, I toted it around the store while searching for soft(ish) printed materials for my new dress patterns. And are you surprised? Ali and I liked several of the same pieces! She brought me the perfect silky print, but after hemming and hawing, I abandoned it with my horrific memories of “shifty” fabrics and their uncooperative manner. At this point, Ali pounced and purchased it for herself. Can’t wait to see it come to life! When Ali mentioned that remnants could be cut, I searched for a piece for a second t-shirt and found a nice gray one straight away. My next major find was a delightful, pinky-peachy knit with bold heart outlines – so cute, and perfect for some new pajamas. This will apparently be my introduction to …  Sewing With Knits. Yikes! I’d also been requested to find some material to make work-out bandanas for my hubby, so I also added a couple of fat quarters to my pile.

Sadly, I managed to take ZERO pictures of the shop while all of this was going on, as I too busy searching, touching, unrolling, re-rolling, deciding, and undeciding to do so until finally taking my haul to the counter. Here are the lovely ladies of Abakhan joined by the lovely Ali as they cut down my pink jersey knit.

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A quick run to the second floor revealed equally abundant racks of trims, notions and yarns. We hastily ran back down and proceeded to our next stop, a quick bite and cuppa before getting on my train home. We found a little cafe, and ordered what I was assured was a staple in England – egg and chips with a pot of tea. I had considered ordering coffee, but was convinced by Ali and mum (rightly so) that tea was the proper accompaniment. It was delicious!

Final hugs at the station, and I was off.

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On the return trip, I relived the joy of meeting two wonderful people, having delightful conversation full of laughs, learning so much more about a blogger I already admired (she’s funnier and even kinder than you think), meeting her lovely mum, and accepting a challenge to sew with knits. And to think, just three days earlier, I was still puttering around in New York wondering what to wear. Such an amazing world we live in!

I hope we’ll manage another visit one day (on either side of the pond) and thanks so much to Ali and delightful mum, for showing this American such a lovely time! Must be off to the sewing machine now, t-shirts and jams await!

 

Sunday Sevens – 8.28.16

Hi all, and welcome to today’s installation of Sunday Sevens, created by the lovely Natalie over at Threads and Bobbins. It’s a loosely-ruled challenge: just choose 7 (or so) pictures from your week, and post them on Sunday (or any other day). Check out her site, and think about joining in.

In no order whatsoever, here are a few snippets of my week.

New toy

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Some people are easily excited by the most mundane things. I must be among that group of people, because I’m unnaturally thrilled with my new salad spinner.

Painting continues

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My contribution will be the window facings and baseboards, when all the “messy” stuff is finished and cleaned up. I got off easy, wouldn’t you say?

So pretty

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Haven’t had a cloud shot in some time, so here is dandy one for you.

Needles

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So, why would anyone be lining up their needles and photographing them? Perhaps because one’s glasses prescription is outdated and one cannot read the fine print on the needles, thereby being unable to determine which is the proper choice for a particularly fine fabric without enlarging the picture. I’ve heard that can happen to someone….

A new hamburger joint in town

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We tried a new place, and we were quite pleased. These three stooges gentlemen were apparently happy customers, too. (We did not eat any one-pounders.)

Curses

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One of my nearly new tires was slashed. I don’t know where, or when, or how, but it went nearly to the cord. Spent an afternoon getting a new one. Grrrrrrr.

Cutting out

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Oh look, progress! The muslin is finished, and the real fabric is now cut out and ready for stitching up.

More to come

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And look, some new cloth bits.

That’s it for now, everyone. Hope your upcoming week is outstanding!

 

 

 

 

Photo Challenge – Street

The topic of this week’s photo challenge is STREET. Going back through my photos to find an appropriate STREET (and one I’ve not already posted), produced some shots from our move from the West to the East Coast. We spent a night in Indiana, home to the University of Notre Dame. A more beautiful campus I cannot imagine.

Streets of all knowledge

The spirit here will change you

Road to mindfulness

Driving along through the hallowed halls and gardens to find just the right area to park.

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We began our walk here.

Picture 300 No walk would be complete without visiting the stadium, and this statue of Knute Rockne.

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Across from and overlooking the stadium is …. “Touchdown Jesus!”

Way too many photos to choose from, hope you enjoyed these few memories with me.

 

Thanks to the lovely ladies who created this challenge:

Cathy from Nanacathydotcom

Jane from Rainbowjunkiecorner

Melissa from The Aran Artisan

Sandra from Wild Daffodil

Linking up with Ronovan’s Weekly Haiku Challenge! This week’s prompts were MIND and CHANGE.

 

Sunday Sevens – Aug 7 2016

Good morning all, and welcome to today’s Sunday Sevens. Sunday Sevens is a round-up of sorts, little bits of your week that don’t really need a full post. Pop over to the creator Natalie’s site, Threads and Bobbins, to see if you’d like to join in. It’s fun, easy, and has no real rules. What follows are bits of my last couple of weeks, in no particular order.

No more blue room

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Bedroom is now primed, and finish coats go on today. The color will be richer, a nice soft cream – this is just the primer – 50% saturation. Trim is glossy white. Hmmmm, what colors now to use for linens and such? I’m leaning toward a darkish shade of turquoise perhaps with printed curtains over white sheers? Maybe some coral? Any ideas?

Curvy corner closet

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This will be my closet. Since it is so tiny and shallow, we will opt for shelving with some hooks for scarves, belts, bags, etc instead of a hanging rack (that will to go in another room). The tiny corner shelf already in place will hold my hat boxes. That is, if I had hat boxes, they would stack there. I’ll surely find a good use for it.

Sewing

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This might explain why sewing has been so SLOW to get going. Until my sewing room is finished, I’m squeezed into a very warm (yes, it’s really hot) and crowded laundry/storage/”where-will-I-put-all-this-stuff-from-the-blue-room” room! Can you spot the sewing center in this embarrassing shambles?

In spite of the mess, I have started a new project…

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My new blouse! Pattern printed, assembled, and cut from muslin. Gotta love finally seeing some progress.

Transformations

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My oak leaf hydrangea outside the kitchen has transformed. Now that the bees have had their fill, the once vivid white flowers are now green, deepening to pink. So lovely!

Off to the races

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We went to the local racetrack. Our friend’s son was in the main event, and although he didn’t finish well, he did finish. And in a crash-filled race, surviving with body and machine intact was a huge accomplishment.

Scary seats

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The racetrack and the bleachers have been around for decades. It might be better not to watch your step when clambering around these seats; if you don’t see all the holes it feels less precarious. Pay no attention to the wobbly steps. Ack!

Relaxing weekend visit

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After a sunny, Friday afternoon followed by evening at the fire pit, I awoke to a wonderful, misty morning.

Bridging the gap

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We nearly drove past this jewel of a spot, but quickly turned around to see what it was…

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Was this originally a railroad bridge? A foot bridge? What is it now? Next trip, we’ll make time to investigate the surroundings and story of this old bridge.

Fun fest

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We made our first visit to the Park Avenue Summer Art Fest. The weather was ideal, there were arts and crafts, home services, and food choices a’plenty! We opted for poutine, a delicious mess of French fried potato strips covered in gravy. I chose the vegetarian version, and pretended it was calorie-free and absolutely healthy. The residents along the avenue were out in force, playing music, even offering cheap lemonade from front porches. Businesses also were open for business and they were packed! We found a coffee purveyor, serendipitous as we just finished our last bag. Timing is everything.

Well, I guess that just about covers the last couple of weeks. Hope your last weeks were lovely, and the next one even better!

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Challenge – Strength

The prompt from this week’s Photo Challenge is STRENGTH.

As children, our parents are our strength. They love, support, and guide us through all of our trials and tribulations. The day may come however, when we must be their strength. Even though she is tiny and frail, my little mother soldiers on. As you can  see, there is quite an incline ahead, and mama is anxious to get to the top of it. This picture was taken several months ago and she’s had a debilitating fall since then. After weekly physical therapy sessions, she has decided today is the day to walk again toward that hill, in preparation for walking in the hills of Wales one more time next month!

IMG_6714 (2)Marching on
Kicking up more dust
Reward? PIE!

She is still my strength and my inspiration.

 

Thanks to the originators of the photo challenge:

Cathy from Nanacathydotcom

Jane from Rainbowjunkiecorner

Melissa from The Aran Artisan

Sandra from Wild Daffodil

Haiku for Ronovan’s Weekly Haiku Challenge! This week’s prompts were PIE and DUST.

Sending out an SOS…

My sewing friends, I am in desperate need of some design assistance.

As you may know, my daughter’s wedding is coming up this fall and, oh, the days are passing with lightening speed. My MOB dress has finally arrived and is ready to go for alteration tomorrow (it’s much too long, and the bodice is considerably “off”). This flowy, chiffon dress was actually from the bridesmaid’s collection, and it’s black, but my daughter selected it – she loves it and I do, too. What then, is the issue?

It is sleeveless, a configuration that simply won’t work for me, and as I don’t want to wear all black, some adjustments are in order. I’m at a loss.

Below is the dress as worn by a real person, grabbed from personal reviews on David’s Bridal website, and the details are clearly shown (3 ruffles front and back, lined chiffon, satin belt).

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I’ve tried a number of toppers:

a silver, fine knit bolero – sloppy, too casual, and uninteresting.

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a black lace and sequins cropped jacket – so-so, and so much black.

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and this loose, silvery, shiny cropped number with flutter sleeves – way too loose, shapeless, unflattering and soundly rejected by the bride, as it should have been.

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My online search revealed a no longer available jacket (I believe sold originally as a set) that met with approval from both of us. Daughter likes that it is fitted, matte, and not sheer, as do I. However, my concerns are that it is too structured and formal for this dress and the beach setting, and that it might difficult to execute.coast-naturals-marge-DUCHESS-satin-jacket-product-1-497320004-normal

Here’s where you come in.

  • Do you know of a pattern similar to this?
  • Would it be simple enough for me to sew?
  • What fabric would work to add the proper amount of structure to such a flowy dress?
  • How do I make the black dress and gray jacket work well together?
  • Would black piping help to connect the two pieces?
  • Should the dress’ black satin belt be changed?
  • Should I abandon all hope and keep looking in RTW?

I am most grateful for any help and advice.

THANK YOU!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Sevens – Week 94

Hello All and welcome to today’s installment of Sunday Sevens, invented by the lovely Natalie of Threads and Bobbins. Why not give it a peek and see how you can join in.

Seems like a rather uneventful week…but I’ve been up with the birds every day and walking about in the neighborhood. Here are a few shots of what I’ve been enjoying…

Early morning sunlight

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This is one of my favorite trees, the light makes these puffy flowers just glow.

A tiny detour

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The surrounding woods offer paths and trails for hiking, biking, walking or running – or in my case, simply meandering.

Street art

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The whole intersection in this quiet family block is painted in such vivid, colorful, happy nature scenes.

Veggies galore

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Healthy eating can be a joyful experience…just look at the delicious beginnings of this 15-bean soup. Yum!

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Or how about a “deconstructed” salad, served with a little balsamic, cheese and homemade bread (there must always be bread).

Out my kitchen window

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The sweet aroma wafts in and fills the kitchen, and I happily share these blooms with the birds and bees.

We watched a bit of soccer

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Gareth!

Not really construction

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We are just painting a bedroom, but poorly done repairs by previous owners necessitated some new plastering, new molding, and new closet interiors. Just a quick peek into the entry. More to come.

The double rainbow in the feature photo was taken by my hubby after a recent, welcome rain.

Have a great week, everyone!

Sunday Sevens – Week 92 ( I think? )

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to my latest version (and I’ve no idea what the real number is, let alone my own) of Sunday Sevens, invented by Natalie, over at Threads and Bobbins. Check out the non-rules, and see if you’d like to join in.

It seems as if we’ve been housebound lately, but I do have some photos of short strolls and wanderings around the house and environs.

Feline Shenanigans

IMG_7071When one walks up the stairs, this little kid stops in front and demands a back scratch.

IMG_7073Upon reaching the first turn landing, she then needs her belly rubbed.

Breaking Bread

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My hubby is quite the bread maker…this lumpy darling is my first loaf. Yum!

Cleaning Up

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Lots of bare patches to fill in after recent street work was completed. One day as I watered, this little fellow jumped in for a quick shower.

Kiddie Garden

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The children work this garden in the elementary school around the corner.

Empty Room

IMG_7190Ah yes, more renovating. Much as I would love this to become my dedicated sewing/dressing room, I believe it will be the new master bedroom.

Wise Words

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This sign at the zoo is a bit hidden, I feel it should be more prominently displayed.

Out for a stroll

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All kinds of families enjoy a nice summer outing.

Have a most marvelous week everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Challenge – Headgear

This week’s photo challenge is HEADGEAR. Several years ago, my then 8-year-old grandson and I were browsing through the Halloween Shop. He took this picture of what he thought was my best look!

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Sparkly blue topper

Do I look scary to you

Light enough to fly

Thanks to the originators of the photo challenge:

Cathy from Nanacathydotcom

Jane from Rainbowjunkiecorner

Melissa from The Aran Artisan

Sandra from Wild Daffodil

And I’ve joined in for the first time with the Ronovan’s Weekly Haiku Challenge! This week’s prompts were TOP and LIGHT.

 

Photo Challenge – Door

This week’s Photo Challenge is DOOR. Beautiful doors abound, and I’ve selected two for you.

There are many, many old churches near my home. This one was built in either 1901 or 1915 (descriptions vary depending on the source). While most old churches have impressive entrances and beautiful doors, what I like about this one is the juxtaposition of old and new. Can you see it? The recently installed solar panel over the century-old doors.

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A trip to NYC and Brooklyn produced this shot of the front entrance of the Brooklyn Public Library. This door takes the prize for sheer spectacle; my phone camera doesn’t do it justice. See the link above for information on the figures on columns, above the door, and the inscriptions. It’s worth the search. Where else will you find Brer Rabbit and Moby Dick together? And in gold?

1853 (3)Thanks to the originators of this challenge:

Cathy from Nanacathydotcom

Jane from Rainbowjunkiecorner

Melissa from The Aran Artisan

Sandra from Wild Daffodil