Friday, August 29, 2008

UNCLE! she cried

We switched email software at work, so I had to deal with that big fat migration of data, with downtime, etc. And while we were at it, we moved up to Microsoft 2007 products. Don't get me wrong- I can now have 1.2 million rows on a spreadsheet. Wasn't it so lame when we only had 65,000 rows? (she said sarcastically).

But I gotta relearn how to navigate all this stuff. Some of my co-workers have set up the new software to look like the old software, and I am too lazy to even do that. I will just get used to it.

But don't you just get tired of getting used to things? Sheesh.
It's the gnats that get ya.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

effortless treasure hunting

Look what I found on the washington dc craigslist! It is labelled "Strommen Bruk Hamar – Product of Norway". It is a nice size- big enough to serve as an end table, but small enough to carry easily. My mom had something along these lines when I was young. It was really convenient. I need to stay off of craigslist, though- too many tempting machines out there.
Lotsa fun sewing htis weekend, but no photos :(
I sewed bolsters for Daniel to take with him to his apartment in Boston and I altered a polo shirt for Kelly. I used the instructions from Pamela's Patterns #103 T-Shirt Makeover.
I didn't use Pamela's pattern though, because I thought darts would look better. I used Vogue #8151 Today's Fit by Sandra Betzina. It was a little tricky because I had to work around the collar. And it was a little stressful because there was NOT ENOUGH fabric under the armpits!! I extended the pieces using little leftover scraps. Voila, gussets! This is a gusset.
So sad, no pics, as I was quite proud of my work. And I did it in 2 hours. The shirt was provided to her through work and she is required to wear it tomorrow, so I did have a moment of panic before I created the gussets.
Not everything was successful- I finally showed Laura the dress (that killed my mojo!) and she agreed - WADDER.
Now that I have done some sewing for other people, I think my mojo is coming back. I just need to finish the draperies. Panels are cut, washed and ready to assemble. Lotsa long seams in my future.
I hope you've had some sewing fun, or, any kind of fun.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fabulous Fabric (on sale, too!)

Can you even believe what I found for $1/yard?! This is labeled 100% viscose made in Italy. I bought the whole bolt for $25. If you are local to Baltimore, there is a table with $1/yard fabrics at A Fabric Place. This fabric is black & tan with a lot of white woven in, so it has a very soft muted effect. Just what I wanted. The new strategy is to go with grays and tans. Of course there will be pops of color, but this is an easier background - more soothing. With fabric shopping, you win some and you lose some- big win for me today. Also pictured is the fabric I selected for Daniel's bolsters. He likes his vintage and I thought this cotton plaid had that look. It coordinates nicely with the bedspread I want to send with him to Boston. We'll see how that goes. You know these young adult children are picky!! But I know he will like and take the bolsters because he appreciates anything handmade. I love that about this generation. They like to recycle and they appreciate frugality (go green!).
I was a young adult in the 80's, and I freely admit I was a yuppie!
But hey, it seems to have paid off, look at how our kids are turning out. I am so incredibly proud of the three we share.

After I have finished with these curtains, I will create a Lessons Learned (aka Tutorial) on how to sew these kinds of curtains. And I'll be looking to give-away or sell all the extra fabric I acquired. (email me or post if interested - I'll post on craigslist, too)

I've learned so much on my housewife's vacation.
ha ha- with the condo now, frankly- we cannot afford a real vacation! But, I couldn't be happier. I am enjoying every minute of this week's domestic activities.
Happy Sewing and Domesticity!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Restoration of the White House (& how it relates to me)

When Jackie Kennedy became first lady, she launched the restoration of the White House.

From wikipedia, "Her skillful management of this project was hardly noted at the time, except in terms of gossipy shock at repeated repainting of a room ..."

And this, folks, is how we keep things in perspective.
I am not feeling those curtains!

From Big Ideas for Small Spaces , a Sunset book by JoAnne Liebeler; featuring JoJo's Notebook, I found this photograph of the exact same curtain rod. I likeee!!! And believe me, these panels are going to be waaaaay easier to make.

So, just like Jackie Kennedy (LOL!!!) I am trying again. Down come the black and white panels, and next up will be something a whole lot quieter. I wanted the bold black and white to help work with Darth Vader, the portable A/C unit. But I have changed my mind ... again ... and that's that.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How Full Should Draperies Be?

When I was growing up, my mother was really into interior design. As children do, I absorbed her standards without noticing that other people might not even care. About drapery fullness, for example. She said you should always make your draperies 3x the width of the window treatment, just to be lush. I guess the norm is 2.5x.

Here are the draperies with 2 panels- which was not even 1x.
Here are 4 panels, which is about 1.5x
And here it is with 6 panels which is 2.25x-ish:
I think I have enough fabric to make 2 more panels, and that would get me to 3x.
I know you don't want to cross my mama, but do I really need more?

Today I sewed a bunch of things for Kelly and I got distracted and sewed a curtain for the bathroom. Yep, I have taken time off from work just to putter and feather the nest. When I looked at my attendance record I had THIRTY accrued vacation days. That is 6 weeks, for crying out loud. We have finished year-end close, so what the heck, I AM on a sewing VACAY.

Having fun, too. Next I want to sew some bolsters for Daniel to take to college. I need to find some really fun fabric..... where is the camouflage department?

Draperies for the Sewing Studio

I am starting to think of this condo as my sewing studio. DH really doesn't care how I organize things- all he needs is space to sit and read a book or watch TV. So I can devote the living room to sewing. The major advantage of using the LR for sewing is location. The only thing below is the entry to the building, so the sound of the serger won't disturb my neighbors. That sucker is loud!

Here you get an idea of what I am working around. The window A/C is hideous! It looks so ugly hanging off the front of the building and the windows are very old and rattly. Every time the compressor kicks in, I am afraid the whole contraption will fall down to the ground. And it blows nasty cold air right at you. I've stopped using it, because we bought a portable A/C- and it works so much better. It does look like Darth Vader, though. Oh well, it was the only one left at Home Depot and it was on sale. We installed the hospital drapery rod to the ceiling. This allows the curtian to hang 6 inches from the wall, thus clearing the heating elements below the window.
Oh, did I mention I lack design talent. So, I copy ideas. In this case I am copying Nate Berkus. I am putting lots of black and white as my background colors. Then, whatever comes afterward will look chic, right?
So now I am in the decision-making phase. How full do I want these curtains? I am experimenting here. Below, the curtains are 1.5 x the total width of the window treatment.
I am off to JoAnns to buy more of these hooks so I can hang more panels and see what is most pleasing.
I'll post more pics of options. Feel free to chime in with your opinions!
The curtains will definitely be backed with light blocking material to insulate from extreme heat and extreme cold. These windows are OLD and not getting replaced any time too soon.
Happy Sewing!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Honey, did you order a giant package of spaghetti?

Because if you did, it came in the mail today.

That's the email I got, announcing my curtain rod is here!! In a very long tubular package.

I have always wanted curtains that hang all the way from the ceiling and I just love those privacy curtains they have in the hospital. So functional! And I want a funky retro modern vibe. So I ordered a ceiling mounted track and some hooks and found lotsa yardage at IKEA in the discontinued bin.

Now I don't really like sewing home dec. projects, so I need to rev up my mojo with some inspiration. This has caused me to search the internet and get a little distracted by toile and damask, especially the way Greg Natale uses it in his super-sexy & original modern sophisticated retro style. Yowza! And then I found these stunning fabrics ...
Which led me to this post on Sew, Mama, Sew! blog.
Whew!! All that while laying around with my laptop, petting the cat.

Thank goodness for an incentive! Unfortunately, I won't be able to cover my walls, bed and lampshade with eleventy-twelve yards of fabric. That would involve the extremely satisfying act of BUYING fabric, but... let's not go there.

But I will make my quirky curtains. Here is the "before" shot. Now let's see if I can hold my own feet to the fire and make this project happen! For some reason, making a tutorial about sewing curtains sounds a lot more fun to me than making curtains. I guess they will be the by-product of my tutorial. heh heh

Saturday, August 9, 2008

my current project

hmmm these might not be the greatest pictures... but here goes, anyway.
I got the urge for a trendy jacket. This particular burda pattern from the May issue of World of Fashion wants to be in my closet. (I like the top, too!)

I sewed a muslin- and made a few adjustments. The burda plus patterns fit me beautifully in the shoulders! (who knew? yay!!) I just cut a size 44, based on my measurements and voila. I also added a center back seam and vertical darts in the back took it in quite a bit in all three places at the waist. I never realized exactly how my body is shaped until I started bogging and posting pictures of my sewing and my quest for properly fitted clothing. So I highly recommend the liberal use of a digital camera, whether you keep it private or post it. Too bad I waited 51 years to see myself! Ha!Hee hee, this is NOT radioactive material. I altered the contrast in the photo editing software, to make the design a little more obvious. In addition to the shaping seams in the back, I removed almost all of the gathered peplum. All I want is a suggestion of volume - not a big fat tutu!

For muslin fabric I used some very pretty linen /cotton blend that I bought from Michael's during a sale. It was $6/yd and I bought quite a bit, planning to make curtains in the condo. Well, I washed it in hot water and dried this stuff on high heat -3 times!- and it still wrinkles like crazy.

You win some and you lose some!
I have devoted all of it to muslin fabric now.

Or, as my honey likes to call it, muslim. He's always asking me if I have sewn any Muslims lately. One of these days I am going to slip and say it, too, and I am sure it will be in a very non-politically-correct moment.
LOL !!
Happy sewing friends!

Monday, August 4, 2008

sewing without a plan ...

I sewed a few knit tops recently and a knit dress for my DD. I used a Bernina My Label pattern for the dress and noticed a glaring mistake in a key measurement after it was finished. Sigh.
That is one thing about BML - always double check the model's measurements. It will re-calculate some measurements and you must go back and check every measurement one last time and correct any new re-calculations. Well, it was good practive sewing with knits and I left it in her room so she can pick it up next time she stops by. Maybe she can chop it off and wear it as a top? Who knows.
After that little fiasco, I wanted a quick win, so I sewed this sweet flirty little skirt from another rayon knit from EmmaOneSock (I am hooked her her fabrics and the way she packs them in tissue paper like litte presents!)
And look at what the mailmain brought for me! Magazines all the way from kbenco in Australia.
What a pleasure these have been! The one on the left is devoted to embroidery and comes complete with instructions for select projects. The other it Australian Stitches magazine. It is sooo interesting to read a magazine I had only heard about. There are a LOT of meaty articles and of course, I am fascinated with all the advertisements and subtle differences between a US publications and one from Oz.
The feature projects are really cute little Asian themes:
I may ask my neighbor to help me get started with some hand embroidery.

Next up is a jacket from Burda WOF. I have sewn a muslin of #131 from May 2008. I am in the mood to sew something trendy. It will look cute with my orphan skirt shown above.
Even with all this fabric in the cupboard, I don't have anything suitable. A trip to the fabric store is in order.
I worked a long day on Saturday so I am taking Monday off for a little personal sewing.

I also received some industrial sewing machine needles in the mail from Martha Domke- THANK YOU! Those will be good for heavy duty sewing - like canvas.
The sewing community is so generous and thoughtful. It is truly heartwarming. And fun!
Happy Sewing, Friends!