Thursday, October 27, 2011

thread. scissors. fabric. ahhhhh.

Updated on November 1, 2011 to add my own odd little girl:

It's not much, but I did touch base with my sewing machine this week.

With Halloween fast approaching, I buckled down and sewed the costume requested by my daughter.  She is planning to dress up as Wednesday Addams.  Per wikkipedia, The Addamses are a satirical inversion of the ideal American family; an eccentric, wealthy clan who delight in the macabre and are unaware that people find them bizarre or frightening.

Lisa Loring played Wednesday in the television series, and Christina Ricci played her in the movie.

The dress is a simple black knit dress from Target and I appliqued the collar and cuffs using fabric scraps left over from white t-shirts sewn in 2009.  Those t-shirts are still going strong, too, I am happy to report.
I sewed on five shirt buttons that have a silver edge around the mother of pearl.  I imagine this will be a somewhat tarted-up version of a prim strange little girl.
Mini dress with a low neckline.  Not all that prim, after all.

At work, we are having a Halloween party on Friday and costumes are encouraged, but I will just wear orange and black.  Tonight I am making a sandwich platter for the party.  Go me!

How about you?  Are you dressing up for any parties or answering the door for trick-or-treaters on October 31st?

Or will you turn off the lights and pretend you aren't home, a la Martha Stewart?  That is per Martha's daughter, anyway.  I do not think my daughter would ever say such nasty things about me.  Maybe Martha didn't sew enough costumes for her daughter.  Hmmm. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

simple teal shirt

I did some comfort sewing this weekend and ended up with a classic teal cotton shirt.

And just what is comfort sewing?  
It is something I can sew without consulting instructions, using easy-to-handle fabric and satisfying to press. {I love to iron!} I cut this shirt back in February, so it was nice to jump in and start stitching.

There was a time when it was unthinkable for me to leave a project unfinished for eight months.  Whether I was too excited to let it rest, or, determined to conquer the challenge, I had to finish what I started.  Nowadays, I can let things marinate.  My sewing is a reliable endeavor that produces wardrobe staples when I am not up to big challenges, as well as relaxation when I am not up to big challenges.  This would be very similar to pulling frozen tomatoes out of the freezer to make a hearty stew.

There was a little bump in the road when I accidentally serged a slice into the armscye:
I didn't fret, though, because "these things happen."  All it takes is another piece of fabric on top of the mistake and now we have a design detail.  I refused to let it that little accident ruin my shirt because I was so close to finishing, I love the color and I will usually wear another layer over it anyway.  I maintain you can barely even notice it.
My oops turns into a "design detail" 
Boy, just looking at those curved & narrow shoulder seams makes me glad I sew.  I shopped around a department store yesterday where I could hold things up, look and see that they just weren't going to fit my shoulders, so why bother trying them on.  That can be a little depressing, so I just scooted on out of there.  I will just keep sewing up UFO's until I am struck with inspiration.  I want some new skirts, too, so maybe I will sew up a couple versions of my versatile skirt.

Tights and lace-up shoes sound good.  I like these by J.Jill:
Then maybe a tweed blazer?  Yes, that sounds nice!  We'll see.  One thing at a time.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Before & After Shots of My Big Fat Home Improvement

Wanna see what I did last summer?  The house needed some work, so I took advantage of the opportunity to lighten things up.  

Just for the record, HGTV is a bad influence on me.   Once we decided to update kitchen appliances, there was a domino effect with this project. I had a vision that was put in my head by too many episodes of "How to Update This House!" type of shows.   BUT,  I am so glad I went big, because the house is so much more welcoming and enjoyable now.

Meanwhile, back in the sewing room, I sewed plackets on a shirt sleeve last weekend.  That made me feel very good.  Life is so unpredictable, isn't it?  Someone close to me is going through health issues, but we are just hanging tough together and that's really what it's all about, isn't it?  Being there for our loved ones.

May this find you well...
And Happy Sewing

Saturday, October 1, 2011

True Confessions

I do my best to create certain illusions about Robin Denning, and blogging is a great way to create an idealized persona.  In case you haven't see through to the real me, I have a few confessions on these illusions:

  1. Robin is computer savvy.
  2. Robin a good mother.
  3. Robin is good at sewing, dating back to childhood.
  4. Robin has millions of ideas that flow like Niagara Falls, and energy to see them through.
October 1, 2011: emptyness
Let's start with #4-Niagara Falls so I can confess the truth.  My last blog post was at least a week ago. I looked inside my little brain for ideas and, people, I found nothing!  

It is easy to explain the empty brain I am experiencing - Laura came home.  Getting to know the 2011 version of her seems to be crowding out my obsession with sewing.

She is great, and we have a great relationship, but I can't say it's because I am #2-A Good Mother.  I made all the mistakes people moan about "parents these days".  From 1990-2004, I was a divorcee raising a child while ambitiously pursuing a career.  I confess, I wanted her to like me and, I set very few boundaries.  I confess, I treated her more like a friend than a child.  Yep, I confess that we were more like Thelma and Louise than parent & child.  It was OK with me that she went to the other side of the world after college and it was fine that she hasn't been home for Christmas or Thanksgiving or her birthday for most of the last 5 years.  After all, adventure is awesome.  I was all for it.  Other parents seemed to feel sorry for me, that I must miss her terribly, but I saw it as a chance to visit Europe and Asia with the her to be my tour guide.  We had Skype and we never grew apart.

This geographical distance between myself and Laura brings me to #1-Computer savvy.  I confess I set up my blog by accident.  Laura was in Germany in 2008 and she created a blog to share her adventures.  The first time I commented on her blog, I followed the prompts to create my own account.  Oops - look at that - I had just set up a blog.  I quickly realized that I could post my own photos and narratives of life at home without my little accomplice  daughter.  It may have looked like a sewing blog, but that was just a cover-up for my desperate  desire to post about life at home for a certain family member to read.  I won't bore you with how she banned me from commenting on her blog at one point (apparently it is not cool for mom use that avenue to proclaim pride in daughter's every little activity) or how shocked I was the first time someone commented on my blog about my sewing. That was, um, a little weird.

This brings me around to how and why I got so focused on sewing, #3 Good at Sewing.  I really wasn't that good at sewing.   I had sewn since childhood, and enjoyed it a great deal, but sewing certainly wasn't so central to my life back then.  Oh yeah I thought I was pretty good, but once I saw the work of others in the online sewing community, I had some catching up to do.  I practiced A LOT and the rest is chronicled in the 419 posts prior to this one.

In conclusion, I hope this doesn't shock you too much.  
Just kidding, you probably already knew my dark secrets.

I have every confidence that ideas will return and sewing will continue, but posting may be light for a while.  She has found a job and new digs are soon to follow.  But for the first time in many years, Thelma can spend the holidays with Louise and a new normal is unfolding for our family.

Thank you for reading and thank you for following.  You all have become an important part of my life. You helped me through a challenging time.  Final confession: it was a wee little bit hard to live on opposite sides of the globe from my child for 4 out of the last 5 years.
But, I think everything is going to be [more than] OK.

Happy Sewing, cyber friends!