Friday, February 27, 2009

Self Portrait!!

Yes, I know this is a little scary, but it is how I have felt for a good portion of the past few days.  Please don't judge my drawing ability from this picture.  I did it in about 2 minutes, which is 2 minutes more than I really had!!  You know how it is when there are just toooooooo many things to do and all you really want to do is go sit down at the sewing machine and sew, sew, sew!!! ( The extra long eyelashes are because I started using that new Loreal mascara the adds tubes of length to your own lashes.  It really does work.  My eyes feel a little sticky when I use it, but hey, beauty is worth it, huh?)
These past few days have been  crazy!!! Just about every thing went against what I had intended.  First of all, I went to get my mom's taxes done the other day and felt very stupid when the accountant pointed out to me that I needed a bunch of  stuff I didn't have like: her retirement tax form, SS tax report, statements from a few stocks that she has, etc....  I realized at that point that I had not received these things in the mail, well, "Why not?" you might ask.  It could be because when she moved into a nursing home about a year and a half ago from an assisted living facility I never requested address changes for any of these places.  I got them last year because the post office was still forwarding her mail to me.  Now, she's moved into a different nursing home, and things just got a little more complicated.   DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO SIMPLY CHANGE SOMEONE'S ADDRESS ????   It is like an act of congress.  Anyway, I think I finally have all of that stuff taken care of, except for having a couple of things notarized and taking one to have some kind of special medallion ?????  that can only be done at a  bank.  What is up with that?  I guess I'm glad they are so careful, but this is insane!!  Mother has to have some tests run this coming week and can only be transported by ambulance.  My brother was going to be able to go if she could go on Monday, but of course, they can't take her till Friday; MY day off.  I'm glad to go with her, but there goes another sewing day.  I know, I know this sounds VERY selfish, and I feel so GUILTY even thinking it, let alone writing it for all to see.
My chiropractors, yes, there are 2 of them, told me to drink at least a quart of water for every 50 pounds that I weigh.  I'm not telling how many quarts that adds up to, but I spilled the first two quarts in my sewing room first thing this morning.  Of course, I soaked myself in the process.  Also, even though I've been to the chiropractor only 3 times, I was feeling much better, that is , until this afternoon, when I had one of the worst pains from my sciatica yet.  It's better now, though.  I think stress has something to do with it.
Then, when I finally did get to sew, things didn't work out like I had planned.  I had intended to do scallops along the hemline with the trim that I made from the fabric I had left over from Emory's dress.  There wasn't ANY GIVE in this trim so curves were out.   Ok, I decided I would do straight lines.  I was in such a funk and trying to hurry so I didn't do my neatest work, hence, the pinkish ribbon on either side of the hemline trim.  Actually, I like it this way, so I guess that's a good thing.  Nothing ever comes out like I envision anyway.
Since I used the ribbon on the skirt I decided to add it to the collar too.  Here is the collar unattached and unfinished.  I love the little girl with her parasol.  
Riley is 3 and started preschool yesterday!!  She wants to be a hippo when she grows up!!  She's a hoot!!!
On Thursday morning I was late to work; I've never been late to work in all the years I've taught, but my DH forgot to turn on the alarm, and we overslept.  It was no big deal, but it did throw me off for the whole day!!  This evening I kicked over my drink in our family room and sent it all the way across the room!!  Earlier today I knocked my wooden calendar that has little square wooden pieces for each day off the wall.  Nothing broke, and I found all the little squares after I fished them out of my soapy dish water.  I did cook a good supper, though.  I made chicken tetrazzini. My DH does most of the cooking around here.
When I told my DH that I was coming back down stairs to sew some more, he said, "Please be careful!"  What a thing to say!  I was only walking down the stairs, using a hot iron (which I burned myself on a couple of days ago), scissors, and an electric sewing machine with a sharp needle.  He knows me  well.  I decided to blog instead.  It seemed safer.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This is for you, Lisa!

Lisa asked me to do a tutorial on making these purse organizers from a place mat.  "Why  a purse organizer form a place mat?" you may ask.   Well, because place mats are the perfect size and are already finished, so that eliminates some of the steps.  Of course, you could make this from any fabric that you have in your stash.  You would need to use a stiff interfacing with some fabrics.  Also, I like this organizer because everything is readily available when you reach in your purse; there are no snaps, no zippers, no flaps, etc.... that you have to undo before getting to your stuff!!!  My favorite thing about this organizer though, is that to change purses, I just move the organizer with everything that I need already in it.

So, here goes: 
1. When you purchase your place mat be careful not to get one that is too floppy or one that is too stiff.  You want one that is somewhere in between.  You want it to have enough stiffness to stand up in your purse, but not so stiff that you can't sew through four thicknesses.  I have done both!!!!  
2. I've broken lots of needles.  You really need to have  a jeans needle or some other really heavy duty needle.
3.  Decide if you want your organizer to be deep or shallow.  I like the shallow for me because I always carry a shallow purse.   
4.  If you decide you want yours to be deep, fold the place mat hamburger style, that is, with the short sides together.5.  If you want  yours to be shallow, fold your place mat hotdog style, or, with the long sides together.

6.  Actually, you don't have to have the sides even.  I like to fold it so that there is about an inch left on one edge (for the hamburger fold you could leave about 2 inches.)  But, if you want both sides the same depth you can fold them evenly.  That is how I've done most of mine, but lately, I've decided I like for my cell phone to be in a pocket deep enough for it to stay, but one that I can get it out of easily.  I don't like for my credit cards, etc... to be in one that is so shallow that they fall out.  Disaster!!!

7.  Then you fold it in the center so the two edges are on the outside of the center fold where they all meet.   You are folding accordion style here; remember the paper fans we made in elementary school?

8.  You have more options at this point.  You may want to sew sections that are different sizes on each side.  If you do, open it at the center fold, and only sew through two thicknesses until you reach the center where the edges meet.  Then, you may want to sew  different sized sections on the other side.  If so, just do the same from the other folded side.  I hope this is making sense.  You can make it so that the pockets on both sides are the same.  If so, just sew through all four thicknesses.  and skip this step.
 9.  Then, once you get the different sized sections on each side, fold it in the center again so that you have four thicknesses.  Now, sew through both ends, down the center, and anywhere else you want for the sizes you want your pockets to be.  I always make one that a check book will fit in, another for my cell phone, another for credit cards, insurance cards, etc...  I also like to have a section for my pens, my lipstick and chap stick.  Then, there are extra sections for miscellaneous things.  On this one, there is a pocket for my camera since I've started carrying it with me almost every where I go.

  My camera fits in the pocket on the far side where the white paper is sticking up.  I just put the paper in to show that there is a pocket there.  I also carry a small calendar which will fit in the same pocket with my check book, or one that size.  
10.  You could fancy this up with a ribbon loop on which to attach your keys, etc..... 
11.  Note that you can fold this even smaller along any of the sections to fit in almost any purse.

On a different note; as you know by now, if you've been reading my blog, I love old things.  My friend found this tracing paper and tracing wheel in her stuff when she moved.  She knew I would appreciate these.  Look at that $.29 price tag!!  Does anyone use tracing paper and tracing wheels anymore?  I know I don't.  My high school home ec. teacher required it, but I never used it if she wasn't going to catch me.

Now, on to Riley's Easter dress.  These are the things I'm  using on hers.  These are antique, hand embroidered tea towels.  Do you recognize the trim?  I made it from the fabric that I used for Emory's dress.  I used stabilizer and stitched close to the flower design.  I just love these flowers.  Her fabric is the same as Emory's under dress except in yellow.  I hope I can get this done this week.  

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My daughter said it's okay!

I talked to my daughter and she said to go ahead and post these pictures of Emory's Easter dress.

First, this is the organza that I found in my antique stash and just had to use.  I'm using this on Riley's,  too, but in a VERY different way.

I put it through the pleater.  It really went through easily.  I was afraid that the flowers would not go through so well, but no problem, thank goodness! 

I first smocked with white, then I did a cross-over stitch in rows.  I used lavender, then green, then yellow, then pink, then back to yellow, green and ended with the lavender.  These are all colors that were in the flowers on the fabric.  There were red flowers, too, but I wanted to emphasize the pastels.  When I came to a flower, I just smocked around it.  So, they became part of the design.  This fabric also has a double row of what looks like entredeaux between each row of  flowers.   Entredeaux is a ladder looking trim that is used in heirloom sewing to edge lace or whatever when inserting it or when attaching two pieces of lace, etc...  You can see the holes near the center of this smocking.  
Then I decided to match the rows of smocking with rows of the same colors of ribbon across the back.  I left these rows of ribbon very long so they can tie together to make a bow in the back, like a sash.  See one of the pictures below.

I used all French seams on this dress, even on the sleeves and slip, etc... Everywhere.For the neck and sleeves I cut a bias strip.  I stitched it on with my machine and finished it by hand to make a narrow band.  The sleeves are gathered mostly right in the center at the bottom which gives a different sort of look. I hope they look good on Emory like this.  Then, I gathered a strip of the fabric, without flowers or the entredeaux design, on both edges.  This strip of fabric was triple the width of the skirt.  I probably would have made it fuller if I had it to do over again.  I then sewed real entredeaux to both edges, and then I sewed lace beading to the outer edge of the entredeaux.  I thought about weaving lavender ribbon through  the beading, but decided that I liked the openess of the holes.  When I attached the entredeaux I trimmed it very close to the stitching.  Then, I sewed this band of gathered fabric with lace edging onto the skirt of the dress and then trimmed the fabric from behind it.  This is kind of scary, because Im always afraid I'll cut something I'm not supposed to cut.  I usually use my applique scissors, but I couldn't find them.  I need them, so I have to look again!!  I used interfacing at the back opening to support the buttons and button holes.  I just realized that I took this picture before I made the buttonholes or sewed on the buttons.  I put three buttons.  Emory won't stay still for long, so I hope 3 buttons and a bow won't be too torturous for her and her mom.
This is a wing needle.  It makes holes in you fabric when you sew with it.  I used it to hem the slip.  A lot of heirloom stitches have holes.  It is reminiscent of the drawn work that you see on many antique things.  For the slip, which Emory can actually wear as a sundress since she lives in the desert, and it's hot all year long, I used a very soft, thin, cotton, fabric that is kind of like dotted swiss, but has little tufts of thread instead of dots.  I made bloomers because Emory is 18 months old and is a real climber. I finished the arm holes and neck with a shell stitch.  To do this I made a very small rolled hem and used a hemstitch or blind stitch so that the stitch that extends out went off the edge of the fabric.  I also tightened my tension.  I wasn't sure how the lavender would look under the dress and almost went with white, but I like it.  I hope Emory does, too.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

First Easter Dress, New Best Friend & Other Random Stuff!

I finished the first Easter Dress!!!!   Here's a sneak peek!  I am dying to post photos of the whole dress, but I don't have the slip made yet, and I kind of want to wait till I send it to Emory before I put photos up.  I may not have that much patience, though.  We'll see.  I'm going to make her slip today and start on Riley's dress.  I'm excited about hers, too.  Actually, I'm excited about all of them.  I just get so impatient wanting to be working on all of them at one time.

Yes, I know this is pitiful, but my new best friend is this new heating pad.  Remember I said that my sciatica is acting up?  I got the shot of cortisone, do my stretches every day, take my ibuprophen, and now I have my first appointment with a chiropractor on Monday.  In the meantime, I am using this new heating pad.  I really like that it is so long; it hits all parts from the hips up.  I also like that it is electric and stays hot, well, it does cut itself off, but I don't have to keep heating it up.  And, I like that it is flat, so when I lay on the floor to do my stretches, I can lay on it.  I really love my old heating pad that I heat in the microwave, too, though.  It smells great and fits across my neck and fits in the small of my back.  I sometimes tuck it down in the back of my pants and do whatever I've got to do.  It looks really weird, but who cares.

Several years ago, my cousin started making these really cute purses from place mats.  Have you seen them?  I will post some photos of one soon.  I decided that I need a new purse, so I'm going to make one, but not until all Easter garments are made.  Anyway, I got the idea to make these organizers from place mats.  I use one all the time.  The green one is mine.  I have made them several ways.  For the green one, I folded the placemat long ways, as we say at school - hot dog style.  Then I folded the sides up to meet the fold.  I then sewed through all thicknesses in 

several different places so that a check book, cell phone, credit cards, and pens, etc..   would fit in  their own special sections.  It will fold in several ways so that it will fit in almost any purse.  I cannot imagine not having this in my purse now.  I just made the red one for a lady I met at the beauty shop the other day.  She was complaining because she can never find her cell phone. Her purse is a pretty red floral design and much deeper than mine.  So, I found this red place mat that is solid on one side and checked on the other.  I folded hers hamburger style, as we say at school, with the short ends together.  I then folded the sides up to meet the edges.  I made one side deeper than the other so her smaller things won't get lost.   Hers is not as wide as mine, but that's what she wanted because the top opening of her purse isn't very wide.  I hope she likes it.  

This is a photo of the "CLASSROOM" I am using this year.  I was so used to a really BIG room, but, I am retired, and I'm only teaching 6 kids at a time 3 days a week, so I don't need much space.  This does get rather cramped at times, though.  I'm also claustrophobic, so I have to leave the door open all the time.  The hall noise can be a pain, and the door to the outside is straight across the hall from my door so we get cold, but, oh well.  When I first started this job, I was using two different rooms.  One of them was fine, but it is really the speech teacher's room, so on the days she is at school, I was to use the music room, which is a portable room that has steps into both doors.  My stuff was on a portable rolling cart; steps didn't work. I asked if this storage (nurse's) room could be cleaned out, and it was.  The nurse was very happy that her room finally got cleaned out, and she and I are there on different days, so it really works out well. 
 Is this not gorgeous!?!  When I pulled out of my driveway the other morning, I looked back toward our house, and this is what I saw.  I pulled over to the side of the road and snapped this picture.  What a sunrise!!  See the mountains in the background? This is what we can see from the deck on the back of our house when we get up early enough to get out there and look.  I love living here.  
Gotta go sew!!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Talk About Buttons!

Have you ever seen buttons like these?  I hadn't until my SIL's aunt showed them to me.  I bought a whole bag full from her.  She is very generous though so I almost got them for nothing.  She loves to see her things actually used in garments.  I've only used them on a couple of things, so far.  They are crocheted teardrops.  They have a hard roll of cotton (?)  inside them that almost looks like the end of a large q-tip.  The sizes and shades of color vary from button to button.  Some are closer to a taupe and others, barely off white.  The stitching is looser on some than others, too.  But, since I have so many, I can usually find enough close enough alike to put on a dress.  
I also like the idea of mixing them up, though.  These are on the dress that I made for our oldest grand daughter last year.  I've posted a photo of this dress before, but not of the back or close up.  I used the open spaces in the lace as buttonholes.  The bodice of this dress is made from strips of lace and some antique fabric that already had tucks.  I also wove ribbon through the lace.  I dyed all of the lace and the fabric for the bottom with tea.  I may have already told you that in the other post with this dress.  I've included a close up of the embroidery that I did on the front of the skirt.  I love to embroider by hand.  I mixed up doing shadow embroidery with regular stitches.  Note the imperfectness of the design.  I just made it up as I went.  The ribbons are not the same on each side, etc....  I like it that way.  Note, the lace medallion inserts below the embroidery.  I also got these from my SIL's aunt.   Now, on to sewing for this year's Easter.  I'm in the middle of smocking the first dress.  I love how it's turning out so far.  

Friday, February 13, 2009

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

These are my favorites in issue 122 of Sew Beautiful that Lorraine sent me.  These are on pages 13, 14, 56, 64, and 68.  I will adapt my grand daughter's Easter dresses using ideas from these.  I really like the gathered inserted piece at the bottom of the first one.  I like the dress on the left of the next one best.  I have an idea for the bodice that will be different from this one, but I like the smocking below the bodice.   I like everything about the next one, but I'm not sure what I might or might not use from it.  The 4th one is so cute.  I love the hem line.  I am going to try to make a similar one.  I have an antique tablecloth that has a scalloped edge that is sort of like this, without the embroidery, but I'll do that by hand.  I'm not sure about the top.  I love the bishop style, but I'm just not sure about it on this dress.  The last one has lots of inserted, shaped lace.  Beautiful!!  I may just have to copy this pretty closely except for the type of fabric.  I have found more antique pieces to use with these dresses.  I'm not going to post them, though, because I like for the finished product to be a little bit of a surprise for the girls and their moms;  their mom's read my blog.  I actually found the prettiest piece of organza that I will probably use in two of the dresses.  I found lots of lace, too.  I love going through my antique stash.  I always find things I forgot I had and that will be perfect for the dress of the moment.

I have patterns that I can use for sizes.  I do not have any of these exact patterns, but I never go exactly by a pattern anyway.  Now, that I've spent a good part of the day deciding what I'm going to do, I hope I can get started this afternoon and sew tomorrow, Sunday afternoon, and all day Monday.
The puppet team is entertaining at our church's Valentine's Dinner tomorrow night.  We're getting together to practice in the morning, so that will take a bunch of my time, but oh well, there are other things in my life besides sewing.  I just wish that I could sit down and sew until I'm finished with all of these dresses and Little Man's outfit, which I haven't decided about for sure, yet.  His mom has told me kind of what she wants.  I just can't decide if I like the fabric I got for him.  
I'm still looking.  There is this fabric store not too far from me that has lots of fabrics of all kinds.  I went yesterday for a few minutes, but didn't have time to really look.  It used to have all the fabric just all piled up and hard to find, but they've been working on organizing all the fabrics.  It's much easier now.  The prices are fantastic!!   I'm going back soon and taking my check book.  They don't take credit or debit cards.  It's a family owned place.  They also have all kind of buttons, a whole barrel full that you buy by the coffee cup full.  Fun!  They have lots of laces, appliques, etc...  
By the way, speaking of grand kids:  I was speaking about grand kids, wasn't I?  Our 17 month old climbed out of her crib the other morning and was coming out head first.  Luckily, her mom was standing there and caught her.  She is now sleeping in her crib minus the side.  It's one of those that converts into a day bed.  She loves it.  
 Our 8 month old started crawling yesterday.  We had decided that he might be one of those babies who never crawls, that he might just get up and start walking.  He's been scooting himself all over the place.
  Our 3 year old told her mom, "You are making my heart happy."  Isn't that about the sweetest thing you've ever heard?
The oldest two girls have been having fun making Valentine cards.

Happy Valentine's Day to you!!  Hope your life is full of LOVE, HUGS, and KISSES.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Surprise in the Mail!

Imagine my surprise when I got these magazines in the mail from Lorraine in Texas!!   Thank you so much.  How sweet of you to think of me and send me these wonderful magazines.  I've had fun going through them.  I get so excited when I see all the pretty little garments in the Sew Beautiful.  I agree with Bunny at La Sewista, whose blog I read the other day, that most of the stuff in Sew Beautiful are not things that children can wear comfortably or often.  They sure make pretty Easter dresses, though.  I was going to post some photos of dresses I particularly like in the Sew Beautiful, but my camera battery died.  I'll try again tomorrow.
SCIATICA!  - I have it  -  Oh the pain!!  I went to the doctor today for a shot of cortisone.  Hope it helps!  I started yoga classes three weeks ago, (just one day a week) thinking it would help my pain, but it's just gotten worse.  I left early from school today, but that's ok; the classes were all celebrating Valentine's Day today.  The teachers have a work day tomorrow, so the kids have a day off.  Actually, they have Monday off, too.  The teachers have parent conferences.  That's one good thing about teaching part time; I don't have to go on those days!!!
I'm going to warm up my heating pad and pray that I feel like sitting at the sewing machine tomorrow.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The "Behinder" I Am, the "Behinder" I Get!!

Does anyone else ever feel that way?  It seems that when I get in a hurry to do something it just takes me that much longer to do what ever it is.  I guess I need to learn from this and SLOOOOWWWW  DOOOWWWNNNN!
How?..... is the question!!
This past weekend we celebrated my father-in-law's 80th birthday.  We had a huge reception at his church and a dinner for his out of town relatives and a few close friends at a junior college in our town.  My sisters-in-law and I divided up all of the jobs such as getting the tablecloths, making the punch, buying the cakes, getting the flowers, etc..... you know, all the things that go with a party like this.  One thing we all did was go through pictures and find what we could of the honoree and our family.  We framed some, and one of his daughters made a video with some.  Two of my daughters compiled a book of history, memories, photos, etc... for their Papaw!!  It was so nice.  Their Papaw was so excited!!  Our other daughter and her husband gave a donation to his church . The church is purchasing a pulpit Bible and stand with their donation.  It was supposed to be here for the weekend activities, but it didn't come.  That's ok, our church is invited to a family night supper at their church this Wednesday.  Our puppet team is entertaining. They are hoping the Bible will come by then and they can make a presentation then. (The puppet team is also entertaining at our church's Valentine's dinner on Sat.  I need something else to do!!! Right?)
I've never seen my father-in-law as excited as he was during the weekend festivities.  Only one of our daughters was able to come since they all live so far away, but one did.  She brought "Little Man"(8 mos. old) with her.  It's amazing how much he has changed since Christmas.  He was so much fun!!  I only wish we could have had the others here, too.  But, I understand why they couldn't come.
Below are the fabrics that I purchased for Easter with some of the antique linens that I may use to embellish them.  I'm trying to decide which I like for each piece of fabric.  I haven't gone through all of my antique stash, yet, so I may find something else I like better than any of these. 
What do you think?  With the exception of the lavender flowered fabric I found several things that would maybe work with each of them.  "Little Man's" won't have lace, flowers, etc... on his, so unless I can find a "manly" looking something, his won't get any antique embellishing. 

This beautiful bowl and mugs are gifts from one of our daughters and her daughters for Christmas.  They have found a place to go where they can paint all kinds of ceramic things and leave them to be fired.  The bowl has a red and green plaid design on the inside.  On the outside are the girls' handprints and fingerprints for holly leaves and berries.  Isn't that the most clever idea you've ever seen?  Our 8 year old grandaughter painted the green striped mug for me, and our 6 year old painted the other for her Grandaddy.   My daughter said that the bowl was a Christmas bowl, but I cannot bring myself to pack it away.  It may just have to be one of those Christmas items that stays out all year.  I have the perfect place for it in my kitchen in an open shelf above our stove.  Do you blame me?
Between the birthday party festivities, teaching part time (which is taking more time than I intended), tutoring 2 afternoons a week, going by to check on my Mother at the nursing home (I try to get there at meal time at least once a day to help her ea.t), puppets, a youth program at church. that I'm in charge of - Why?  I dunno!), laundry, and all the other things that a person does each day   - When am I going to get to sew?   I hope this Friday and some on Sat. and Sun.  At least, I will try to make final decisions on what I'm using and pick styles and patterns to adjust to those styles.

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