Working on a Project

ruffles_2514_smI have been working on a new project. Lately my sewing skills have been brought into action again. There was a time when I spent many hours at a sewing machine. But it has come up more and more recently. A few weeks ago the youngest friend asked me if I would help her make a cape. Then the next thing I knew I was asked to make a pillow sham for a body pillow for a customer of the local arts & crafts store the wild child works for. At first I was reluctant because my machine is not in the best of shape, and using it for something someone would pay me for didn’t sit well with me. So I called the woman and told her just that. She told me that was not a problem as her husband had bought her a machine years ago that she had never used and I was welcome to use it. So the wild child and I went over to her house to check it out. She was just the sweetest lady, and we ended up spending almost two hours visiting her! So I said yes, and left with the machine, material, and the plain white one she wanted the new one to match.

Now keep in mind, I have done very little sewing over the last 12 years or so. When we moved from Wyoming in 2000 my wonderful Babylock machine bit the dust. My mother picked me up an off brand machine for $69.00 just so I could make the kids their Halloween costumes that year. I have used it for making curtains, mending, and a few little things like a bag for the youngest and my daughter-in-law, and an outfit for my nieces first birthday. But it just hasn’t held up.

Well, on with the project. No pattern, just the other sham as a guide. I can do this, yes I can, yes I can . . .

You know that saying, measure twice, cut once. Well I must have measured 5 or 6 times, done the math over and over again. I just didn’t want to take the chance of messing up with her fabric. But the first thing I had to deal with was the zipper. You see it called for one that went the length of the pillow, 60” long. Do you think I could find one? Not locally, not even in the U.S., I had to order one from Canada! So that took two weeks to get here. In the meantime I started on the ruffle.

My mother-in-law bought a rolling cutter, mat, and ruler for a project she did last year for Christmas. After she gave it to me, and I am loving it! I was able to cut all the ruffle strips out with it so easily. This sham is 70”x28” so we are talking 196” worth of ruffle, so you have to double that; 392” of fabric! There was a straight blade and a pinking blade. So I could make one cut with each blade, one side to hem, the other to gather and wouldn’t fray.

Let me tell you, I spent so much time pinning, and re-pinning! zipper_2536_smThe only real issue I had with the machine was that the foot didn’t hold the fabric very firmly, so it didn’t feed very straight. But the one goofy hiccup was the zipper foot. I pulled it out and put it on. After trying to get the silly thing to line up I took a good look at it . . . Something is definitely not right here. The needle is supposed to slide just inside the little notch and it is way back. this_is_not_right_2540_smAnd look at the way the thing is sitting in the bracket. Then when I tried to slide it over to the other side, you couldn’t. Something was definitely not right. So I Googled the make and model for the manual, and sure enough, someone had taken it apart and put it back together the wrong way around!

But you know what? When I do these things and I figure them out, it makes me realize that taking on a challenge is a good thing. Yes, at first I was a bit reluctant to do this. But I did, and in the end it turned out pretty nice.

So nice that it made me start thinking about that wedding dress I am supposed to be making for the oldest. And the bridesmaids dresses too. This wedding is coming up in October, and I guess this is just priming me to get ready for it.

So I found a great deal on a new sewing machine.

It should be here tomorrow 🙂sham_finished_2541_sm

Passing down the Knitting

just_snow_cold_2355_medWell today the wild child and I were supposed to go on an adventure. She took the day off work so we could make the 3 hour drive to Canton Ohio for the celebration of President McKinley’s birthday. Yes, that probably sounds a bit odd, especially coming from me (being English and all). But I am bound and determined to change my ways and get out there more with my camera. We totally enjoyed out trek to New York City, and want to keep that up. So when I read that they do a show with Civil War re-enactors, well that got me interested. My cousin that met us in NYC had recently taken photos at a 1940’s re-enactment event in the UK, and got my creative juices going. Well this horrible frigid weather we have been having was a real turn off for road travel, especially when we woke up to blowing show. So we decided not to go, but also didn’t want to waste the day.

cassie_finishing_nanas_2395_smSo at first we got on the computer to see what was going on in town. Well let’s get real, where we live what would be going on in the dead of winter? We tried the Art Institute, but all they had today was a family event with Duct Tape, LOL not exactly what we were looking for. Then the wild child brought up a knitted piece she had that my grandmother, Nana, had been working on just before she died in 1997. Now you have to understand, the wild child is an avid knitter – expert level. Not just in knitting, but in yarns too. Having worked at a store that carries a plethora of yarns (yay, I love that word, plethora) for something like 8 years, she can tell you anything and everything you could imagine. So as far as I am concerned it is her inheritance to have anything of our Nana’s as she too was a phenomenal knitter.

old_patterns_2384_medWell, looking at the pieces of the garment Nana was making we wondered if we had the pattern. I have a folder of her patterns, so we pulled it out. We never had the time before to really look through them, but this time we did. We were able to just sit and one-by-one read her notes, and even see where she had written each of my kids names on a pattern she had made for them. vogue_book_2371_medWe noticed too that most of her patterns were things she had made her grandkids and great-grandkids.

We found an old Vogue Knitting magazine from 1962. It has “Jubilee Edition” printed on the cover, so we know she had to have brought it with her when she moved here from England in 1967.

vogue_book_2379_medBut the pattern that got to me was the one that had the outfits for the doll clothes. She had made so many outfits for my dolls, bears, and Barbie’s over the years. It made me go digging through boxes until I found those two special ones. The doll is Betsy, there was a little blue jacket, skirt, and a hat that has been lost. She has blue shoes, with one foot the toe had been chewed by a puppy we once had. The bear is all in red, is no longer fuzzy, and has lost his nose. They have holes, and are worn, but almost 50 years later there they sit, memories of the past.betsy_bear_2416_med

Love you Nana, you are still here, you are still remembered, loved, cherished, and adored, always.nanaportrait_sm

2014 Starts Out COLD!

Well I am not starting the New Year off well as far as posting on my Blog goes. It is just plain cold here. I know it is colder north of us, but I’m sorry when you get into the negative temperatures there comes a point where cold is just cold, and we are all just cold together. Our neighbor’s pipes froze, so my little space heater was needed over there. I don’t begrudge her at all needing it; I just put on another pair of socks and a bulkier sweater. But when I read about these low temperatures it just boggles the mind. 

winter_cold_2272_medThe youngest went out to the kitchen earlier and commented on how bright it was out the front window. The sun was out and there was ice on the road. I grabbed the camera to take a picture, but just trying to do that made my eyes water. It was bright! The wind has been blowing, and there isn’t that much snow. The wild child even went to work for a short day. And she will stop by the store on her way home to save me having to go out today, bless her.

 Christmas was quite a jumble of mixed up plans and such this year. It all started with a bug, as in a virus that the flu shots we had didn’t cover. So in order for other people to not get sick everybody stayed away from everyone else. Our family Christmas with the kids was postponed numerous times, we didn’t do Christmas day with Hubby’s family, and overall it was just a very strange couple of weeks.

But now everyone is well, and on Sunday we finally had all the kids here for brunch and exchanged presents. The plan had been that on Monday I would start taking down all the Christmas decorations. But the temperatures were so low that school was cancelled. You would think, even better! Now I have extra hands to help. Well not so much. You see in order to take the decorations down we need to get the tubs out of the garage that they all go into. That means getting the car out of the garage, which means someone has to get all bundled up, get into the car and start it, open the garage door, and actually go out into that cold! There was not one volunteer, yes, not even me.

birdfeeder_in_snow_2184_smOn a brighter note, Hubby got me a birdfeeder for my birthday. After all the fun I had in Canada taking the pictures of the birds, I will really enjoy having this on my deck. But with all this snow I’m not sure how busy it will be. But I am getting some visitors. I am going to really enjoy this 🙂