Wrapping Up 2017 – The Unposted Bits and New Plans

Welcome All and Happy New Year!

Here you’ll find some bits from unfinished posts, tidied up, and combined into what I hope will be an interesting wrap-up to close out a difficult and heartbreaking, yet ultimately joyful year.

We celebrated Thanksgiving in the US a month before Christmas, and I was overjoyed and thankful to have my grandson “C” here to share his week off from school with us. This was his first visit here in NY and there was much to do in a short time. We showed him around our neighborhood and surrounds. We drove him to two major colleges (certainly not an attempt to entice him to the East Coast for college, right?). We went out to eat. Again and again. We went to the Rochester Museum and Science Center, and enjoyed a fascinating exhibition at the Planetarium.  Hubby showed him a nice necktie from the science-themed offerings in the gift shop, which featured the periodic table. C thought it was cool, but said he “could never wear it.” Why?, we asked. “That table is outdated,” he said, as if we should have known better. Oh how I laughed. [Aside: hubby of course, new about this. Three of the elements had been renamed.]

We drove to Niagara Falls (the US side) and marveled at the scenery, all the while shivering in spite of brilliant sunshine, and bracing against the icy wind which nearly knocked us off our feet.

Back home again, we stopped in at Stever’s Candy. C bought a package of chocolates for his mom and promised he would try to save some for her. Later she said “he told me in his Forrest Gump voice ‘I brought you a box of chocolates….I ate some of them.'” That’s my grandson. He’s a keeper.

Christmas holidays we spent with my kids in California! What could be better? Handmade gifts were started but sadly not completed, and Gran’s recipes were gathered together, but not used. It seems we are still a little too raw from Mom (Gran) recent passing, and adult children have lives and jobs and such, and plans just didn’t quite come together in every instance. As I was in a wounded state, being together helped. Tears were shed, funny stories were shared, and bit by bit the holiday became what it was supposed to be. A lovely series of events and quiet moments, surrounded by loved ones. Those times combined with the warm, sunny beach just steps from our hotel room was positively curative. Oddly, I took no pictures of family activities, but here are some from the beach. In lieu of family, here’s a new friend….he walked along the shore for a bit at sunset with hubby and me.

Now for a bit of sewing news. My finished Linden. Who doesn’t love a Linden? That would be me. Well, this particular Linden, that is. It was actually a muslin, made from remnants in the sale bin, purchased nearly two ago years in England. As it happened, there was not enough of either fabric to complete the long-sleeve version, so I used a bit of each. The result was a nice-looking combination that seemed like it might actually be wearable. Now, I’m not overly fond of the 12-year-old boy baseball shirt that resulted, but beyond appearance, the fabrics really didn’t play well together. They didn’t really play well individually either, as one had about 200% stretch (give or take), and the other had edges that rolled beyond description. And the neckline is far too wide, perhaps due to the unruly fabrics’ unnecessary stretch. Additionally, during the making of this very easy garment, my sewing machine failed me a couple of times, my own lack of attention created a “catching up of fabric in the seam” moment with stitches that could not be  found, and the whole experience was just a bit taxing. Does it need to be said that this garment is a total wadder? It will never be worn. But, it fits without modifications, and the pattern is lovely, so as a muslin it worked and I’ll soon make another.

This pic shows that the unhemmed  sleeves are nearly long enough without cuffs, I’ll need to add a few inches to the body length because I don’t want the band, and just look at that neck opening. Admittedly, I haven’t attached the neckline yet, but boy is it sloppy. And see how much the pink edges are rolling? grrr.

The ultimate result? In the bin. Or if I can stomach it, I’ll rescue and finish it for a painting top.

My hubby does zazen meditation and was in need of more support cushions for an upcoming retreat (I’ve done a little zazen and it’s very hard on the knees and back). The cushions must be brown, so while on our holiday we sought out an appropriate brown material, and came upon a likely one at a little fabric shop in California. With no pattern or measurements to hand, he made a guess as to required length to buy, and I increased that by about 1/2 yard. Upon our return home, he trimmed and tidied the foam pieces and I set about making simple pillow cases as a trial. If they’re successful, I’ll try to box the corners (see the nicely finished professional pillow on top of stack), and finesse the opening a bit (they do need to be removable for cleaning). And the yardage? There was less than 1/4 yd left over, so it was close. Whew!

Dots are in my immediate future.

My next sewing project will be my dotted Grainline Farrow. Then I have an adorable top that needs finishing, a fleecy Linden to sew, a muslin for an open jacket whose pattern should be in my mailbox very soon and cozy fabric to purchase for it, and a few lovely pieces of fabric begging to finally be made into something wonderful.

My life has settled down a bit now, and thankfully I can devote more time to sewing. My wardrobe needs a complete overhaul, and I’m also including non-garments in my sewing plans. As of this writing, my desired makes include dresses, some crafty projects, pants (jeans perhaps??), cozy comfy tops for winter, some pj’s, Christmas items, and curtains for my kitchen. That should keep me busy, wouldn’t you think?

But at this moment, I need a bit of stress-free pleasure and this little lap blanket from FinchBox is just the ticket. Everything I need is right here, including the prettiest, softest flannel ever.

Thanks for reading, and until next time, Stitch On Everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Riddle Me This

For my next project I have 3 yards of this fabulous Atelier Brunette Tabby, a lovely lighter weight cotton woven, purchased from Finch Knitting + Sewing Studio originally to make a shirt dress. Sadly, the reality is that I’d likely never wear such a dress. All the pretty, shapely dresses all over the internet are so lovely, but frankly, just not me. Now, I still want to make a dress, but with certain requirements: sleeves, waistless (because I have no waistline), and hitting just below the knee (because they must not be seen). And it must have some interesting character, and must not be frumpy – not easy to accomplish when one is only 5’4″ on the best of days. Realizing that is a tall order (no pun intended), I’m turning to you, dear readers for some advice. At the moment, I’m waffling (oh waffles, I do love a waffle now and again, that could be problematic) between these patterns.

If you follow me, you might recall that I’ve joined the 2017 MakeNine project. None of these dresses is on my list, but that fabric is so gorgeous I just can’t wait! And I promise to work on another one of the list items next…..perhaps the Linden? Or the Morris Jacket? A bright, flowery blouse? Besides, surely I can swap out my project list items – it is my list after all, right?

Atelier Brunette Tabby

The following are my top three pattern choices: cocoon, trapeze, and swingy (?). Given the above requirements, what would you choose? And oh yes, if you’d like to further complicate matters, you could even offer up a different pattern if it would suit the fabric and the requirements! Yikes. Pattern art from the respective websites.

Style Arc – Adeline

Merchant & Mills – Trapeze

Grainline Studio – Farrow

So what’s the verdict everyone? I’m anxious to get sewing again.

A brief update on our household – the tiny bundle of strength that is my sweet mother is still hanging on(!), although she slips a little more each day. In the meantime, I begin outpatient physical therapy on my left knee this afternoon. Very soon I’ll be able to sit at my machine long enough to sew, and to hop up and down to ironing board, etc.

Soon I’ll join in as you …. Stitch On, Everyone!

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!

 

 

 

 

 

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 69

Hello everyone! I hope 2016 is starting with a bang for all of you. Thinking about starting a new blogging tradition? Then why not pop over the Natalie’s site, Threads and Bobbins, and check out the Sunday Sevens. It’s a great opportunity to blog about random loveliness, with only the slightest suggestion of rules (you just need to include seven photos; and if you don’t have seven, any amount will do nicely).

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At our household, we begin 2016 in a bit of disarray…this was the view from study into bathroom just two days ago.

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The little half bath of my hubby’s study was slated for a very minor rehab sometime far down the road. We planned to update the sink and vanity (or down-date?) to a more period-appropriate set. The house was built in 1910, and these fixtures were added in the 80’s. We thought we’d also install a tile floor and either wallpaper or repaint the walls. But my mom is coming! In twenty-one days, this will be her room, and she will need a shower. So we are making room for one. No easy task in this awkwardly arranged space.

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Partial demo

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Further demo. A bit of electrical investigation and old floor removal will be done tomorrow – then the new installations can get underway!

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Look at the study now. Impressive, isn’t it.

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The old lath and plaster ended up temporarily on the front porch.

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Items from the old bath closet are now parked on the dining room table, and the desk from study is in the dining room, too. Wherever shall I sew?

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And what will I be sewing? For starters, this pattern in this gorgeous fabric.
Here is a question for you: does anyone remember the term “yardage” and does anyone use that anymore? Just curious.

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Now, I do realize this is Monday, and not Sunday, but I have a really good reason for not posting yesterday. We were in Buffalo at an NFL football game, the Buffalo Bills v NY Jets. It was a beautiful, although very, very cold day and the Bills actually won, which is something they do not do often enough!

So there you have it. The pictures are not so very pretty, but that will change in just a few short weeks.

Stitch on, everyone!