Friday, May 30, 2008

On Hiatus!

For a little while. I miss my sewing terribly but...

...I would like to plant my little garden. My house is in disarray. My kids' activities and my LL involvement is killing any free time I have. My walls and ceiling desparately need to be painted. The lawn always needs to be mowed.

Therefore, my sewing and blogging is on hiatus. I'll be back in a few weeks but will keep up with my sewing buddies via Bloglines.

Everyone else, have fun sewing!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What a Weekend!

Stayed Friday night at my brother's and SIL's house 2 hours away. Got virtually no sleep (strange bed issues) and left their house at 6 a.m. to drive another 1 1/2 hours to the softball tournament for DD#2. SIL made a great breakfast though before we left :) !

DD#2 had a bad cold Friday into Saturday so she was loaded up with non-drowsy cold meds. Don't know how she did it, but she played phenomenal and hit like the true slugger she is. I start coming down with her cold on Saturday, my voice was very raspy on Sunday, drove the 3+ hours home, and yesterday I lost my voice. Voice is still lost today with a horriby scratchy, mucous throat--yuck! The coughing irritates my throat and until that goes away, my voice isn't coming back anytime soon. And I have to go on a field trip with DS#1 to NYC. What fun :( . It's quite annoying have to write everything down.

So, although the softball tournament was fun, the cold was not. Can't wait to be able to talk normally again too.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Light" Sewing

Thanks, everyone, for the kind comments on my clutch bag. I'm hoping to see my mother on Thursday to give it to her. My sister saw her last weekend and told her the picture does not do the leather justice, and I agree. And, of course, you cannot feel and smell the leather in a pic either ;) !

Yesterday I did about 15 minutes of sewing. DS#2 is home sick with a stomach-type of virus. His demeanor is absolutely fine, it's just that he can't leave the house. He helped me clean out the fridge and microwave yesterday too. You know my fridge was dirty when everyone opened the door and exclaimed, "Wow! It looks like a new fridge!"

Anyway, my 15 minutes of sewing was to put together the wall-hanging for my daughter's room using the purse embroidery samples. I'm recycling old denim jeans for the wall hanging, except for the embroidered pieces. Those were made from denim I purchased at about two months ago. When I got the denim, I didn't like it at all but figured it would make for great muslin fabric for pants or whatever. The wall-hanging fits into the whatever category.

This type of sewing is basically all I have time for these days. What's funny is, I enjoy making wall-hangings. I have no interest in quilting, but wall decor is actually of interest to me. (Note: wall decor does NOT include draperies 'cuz I hate making those too!). We have a wonderful talking parrot in our kitchen. I've been meaning to paint our main kitchen floor for about two years now, which includes our kitchen, living room, and bedroom hallway (ranch style home). Right now I have a wall hanging up in our kitchen that I purchased from Lillian Vernon maybe 10 years ago? It's showing its age. Really it's time to retire it. Embroidery Library is having a sale on bird designs that I really like. I love to make a wall-hanging in our kitchen next to our parrot cage of the various types of beautiful birds. There are about 7 or 8 designs I like and purchasing them would only set me back about $10. It's $1.88/design plus an additional $5 off the order.

Last week I saw Debra H's wall-hanging at Patternreview and loved it! So that's kind of what I would like to do on some of my walls. And it's the only type of sewing I have time for right now. We're right at the peak of our sports season and it's just crazy busy! But a little sewing every day helps keep me sane :) .

Friday, May 16, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Here is my Mother's Day present to my mother. She's probably a bit upset with me because she thinks I forgot or didn't get her anything. But I've been working and finally finished.

My second red leather purse, this time a clutch:

Rhonda asked about the closure. Yes, under the flap is a gold magnetic snap. On the inside is shiny, black lining my sister purchased for me from Paron's in NYC last Christmas. She bought me about 10 yards or thereabouts so there is PLENTY for future projects. The purse pattern did not include a pocket so I drafted one for the inside. I'll do a review of it soon.

Alexandra, yes you have to get some leather :) ! It has been a learning experience for me but the leather bags are so "showy" and rich-looking. I experienced a lightbulb moment last fall when I was wearing clothes that I just made but they were constantly covered up with an uninspiring, boring RTW coat or jacket and black vinyl purse. So I decided to sew some fancy coats and purses. Now if I could just add some fancy shoes...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Progress update

I took pics this morning! Here's the progress. The first pic is of the bags in various stages of progress. Sorry, I had to delete the one team name because it is an official organization and easily searchable. That one has the tagline, "Good Girls Hit and Steal" :) . The other is "Whipping the Wind Out of the Competition". I wanted cute catch-phrases for the bags and thought of those. The softball bags will have simple denim straps embellished with a narrow ribbon and a flap with a magnetic snap.

This pic shows the sample embroidery that I'm turning into a wall hanging. I fringed the edges and am going to recycle some denim for the backing, maybe using some bleach to add a star stencil around the border. Another rectangle still has to be create for her school team so there will be a total of three blocks.

And here's the boy who had a good game last night :) . In a little while I'm going to see my daughter's last 7/8 grade school team game. Hopefully I'll be able to get a video clip since I don't have any of her in action this season.

And I'm off to a very exciting softball game :) !

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I've been tagged! (And picture progress too.)

Keely, Jemima Bean, and Cennetta got me with a tag :) !

Oh gosh! That means you get to see my inner sewing geekness for sure. The book that is closest to me (sitting on my kitchen chair) is "Jackets for Real People". The rules? Here they are:

1. Pick up the nearest book.

2. Turn to page 123

3. Find the fifth sentence

4. Post the next three sentences.

5. Tag five people and acknowledge who tagged you.

So here is the text:

"The pocket tissue was placed on the front and matching lines drawn on it for placement on the fabric.

Cutting Tips

Stop spending hours trying to match two layers of plaids perfectly before cutting. Cut the top layer, remove the excess fabric around it..."

Now I have to think of 5 people to tag...hmmm...

Sewing news...did I say yesterday I'm making a wall hanging for DD#2 with the embroidery samples from the sports purses? I can't remember--so busy! I know I did say I would post pics. That has to wait until tomorrow. I've been in and out all day. DH came in tonight and brought in my book, "Easy Guide to Sewing Tops and T-Shirts" by Marcy Tilton. Where did that come from??? I didn't even know I owned the book since it must have been in his trunk for at least a year!

Here's the good news. DS#1 had a good game pitching and their team won 4-2. There were at least 9 strikeouts. They're still undefeated after 9 games. DD#2 played her second to last game on the middle school team and came in the 3rd inning to pitch (it was tied up at that point, 3-3). She pitched the rest of the game allowing one run and they won 12-3. She hit for the cycle, too, with a home run, triple, single, and double. She came home and iced her arm and shoulder because she's supposed to start tomorrow. She's really looking forward to this game--it's one of the best teams in the league. What a difference a year makes, especially since she was struggling last year.

Off to bed. Picture progress IS forthcoming.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tomorrow, new pics, promise!

I've been steadily working on embroidery and sewing, I have 4 bags cut out, 2 for one softball team, two for another. I'm going to give two of the four to my friend who is a natural salesperson and could sell you the shirt off your back. Our daughters are on the same teams and if anyone could generate interest and possible purse orders, she can! (I'll give her a cut, of course :) .) The purse embroidery samples are going to be stitched into a wall hanging for DD#2. Two more floral purses are being worked on and a leather clutch, the same red leather from the vintage bag I made for the Handbag contest but in a cute clutch style.

My thoughts right now about the leather is to avoid pronounced curves. I was having issues on the flap curves but finally got it to work out and edgestitched the flap. It wasn't without "moments" though.

No garment sewing on the horizon. Lots of thoughts though, a coat has been cut out and sitting on my couch for months, a pattern already altered and ready to be cut, styles in my pattern box, few more weeks and things should settle down for some garment sewing. Right now it's just quick this and quick that type of projects.

And pictures? I'm planning on getting some up tomorrow! Lots of talk and no visual action make for a boring blog.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day and other deep thoughts!

Happy Mother's Day everyone! I hope your family is treating you to a nice breakfast, warm hugs, and lots of kisses. I can forgive my youngest ;) . I told him to wake up and eat his eggs dad made him. Told him it's a special day. I ask, "Do you know what special day it is???" He replied, "Yes, it's Sunday." :O Think hard, young son! Took him about five minutes and a whisper in his ear then a "Happy Mother's Day, Mom." :) DS#2 just gave me a hug with the appropriate wishes. The girls are still sleeping.

A big congratulations to Connie! She won the Handbag Contest at Patternreview. What a stylish, chic bag she made so here, so if you haven't seen it already, CHECK IT OUT!!!

On to deep thoughts for the week. I self admittedly don't have many friends (really, who wants to be friends with a geeky sewing addict LOL). I'm very picky, like to think it's a high standard kind of thing. I gravitate to what I feel are honest people with good hearts and strong ethics. It's always disturbing when someone lets you or someone you know down when the obvious decision to do what is right is negated. Especially when, in my case, it doesn't affect me, but someone unrelated to me that I think very highly of. It wouldn't be that easy to put things in perspective if the situation affected me personally, but it doesn't. The situation reminds me of what I would like my kids to be, the kind of person I hope they will become.

There was a principal I worked under as a teacher right out of college. He retired about 3 or 4 years after I started. He was a people person to the nth degree. Hot temper, of course, but you always knew where you stood with him. One week during the summer I went to pick up my paycheck and he was in his office. He told me to come and we had a lovely chat. Just about anything really, that's the way he was. Open door policy, good conversationalist, and not only that, he was SINCERE! A quality I find sorely lacking these days. It's one thing to say something, the other to mean it. It made me want to work twice as hard at my job for a man like that. Yes, the man had his shortcomings as many were quick to point out, but he had the real qualities that mattered--friendship, loyalty, and sincerity.

I remember, quite distinctly, walking the halls for Hall Duty one morning at our high school. We had a custodian named Joe who was as friendly as can be. Mr. X, our principal, was talking to him and I walked up to them to make some morning conversation. It seems Mr. X was setting up a day to go fishing with Joe on the weekend. They were friends, beyond the high school walls. It didn't matter that Joe only had a high school degree and was head custodian, nor that the principal had at least a Master's degree (and maybe then some) and was the school principal. They had a genuine friendship rising above the usual social obstacles like job title, job prestige, networking with your own "social" class, etc. They had a genuine friendship and hung out together after the work day was over.

Unfortunately, this is not typical, at least IMO. Not these days at least. Positions, degrees, social class should not trump what is really important in life like family, true friendship, loyalty, honesty, ethics, morality, and compassion. And yet it happens all the time.

So this Mother's Day, I ponder these thoughts. Remembering that it is my job to help teach my kids what is truly important in life. The do-anything-you-can-to-get-ahead mentality does not cut it with me, although I see it far too often. Everyone once and a while we are privy to situations that remind us who are true friends are. Those are the friendships which should be valued and nurtured.

As my mother once wrote in a birthday card during my teens, "True friends are like gems, precious and rare. False friends are like leaves falling everywhere." I'll remember to tell my own kids that today.

Happy Mother's Day and I hope you find some time to get some sewing done today. "Sincerely" hope ;) !

Friday, May 9, 2008

More bags!

Yesterday was a busy day (what's new), and it was supposed to be a no-sewing kind of day because I didn't think there was time. While doing housework, I did embroider the front of a new bag made out of denim. I'm making purses specifically for certain sports to support the team (maybe I'll even get a couple of orders for purses so who knows).

The front turned out so nicely that I should actually be embroidering the front for the second bag right now as I type this. However, the area embroidered doesn't fit any particular bag pattern in my stash so I drafted one myself. It's not too little, not too big, just right for a tournament. I know some people like big bags and they do serve a purpose, but the only time I like a big bag is for PR Weekend. A big bag is just begging for a lead ball. The lead ball is actually the pile up of coins, lipstick tubes, gas station receipts, and a myriad of other goodies and who knows how they got there. The bigger the bag, the more I put in it and I'm not the most organized person in the world. So, the bag is simply a nice size for me.

On the inside flap of the bag, I'm going to embroider the name and number of my child. Just in case others want a similar bag, this is how we'll know whose bag is whose. On the back of the bag I'm going to put a pocket. At first I was thinking a zippered welt, but then I'd have to go out and buy a zipper for it. That would mean driving into town at least 10 miles and with gas prices being what they are, I'll choose the pocket route. The only thing I have to do now is buy some fabric for the lining but I'll do that locally in my town. Maybe my second bag will have the zippered welt.

Anyway, yesterday I thought there would be no time for sewing. However, there was a 20- minute block right after dinner and a 10-minute block just before 9 p.m. I was able to get the purse and flap cut out from the denim, the Timtex cut out, but have to do the lining now. Also, during the baseball game I basted the Timtex to the front and back pieces.

I was thinking about using buckram to interface the bag but it just felt so stiff and the bag has a slight curve. Maybe the buckram might be better suited to more boxy square or rectangle styles? Perhaps a buckram user could chime in and give me some input. Batting wouldn't be appropriate on this project because I want it to have some structure.

Duty calls. Maybe I'll have time to work on my purse and post a few pics later. It's really rainy here and that might cancel all our nightly activities. But right now I'm off to do my motherly responsibilities.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Top 4 Reasons that make it hard to sew!

Here they are. It's that time of year again. Lots of projects in the cue, but nothing much happening right now. Housework is the fifth reason but who wants to see a pic of a huge pile of dirty laundry!
Reason No. 1:

Reason No. 2:

Reason No. 3:

Reason No. 4:

Still, as Linus would say to Lucy, "Those are good reasons!" Except for the fifth, that is.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Great News!

It's not sewing, but family news.

DD#1 qualified for a special Track tournament. This is her first year throwing Jav (only about 5 or 6 weeks) but she qualified to attend. Her personal goal is to break the school Jav record, and she's a sophomore so she has the time to do it.

DD#2 had the best day of her softball life today. She played in a multi-school tournament and they won the championship. Played four games and won every one. She pitched the first and fourth game and had 3 home runs. Actually four but one didn't count--went out of bounds. DH just bought her a new bat because she's working so hard and who knew bats could be SO expensive!

Suffice it to say, I got no sewing done. Nada. Nothing. Surprisingly I don't feel cranky about it. Must be that parental pride. I'm savoring it. For every good day, comes a bad day. So right now we're just enjoying the good.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What keeps us busy?

Or the real question is what keeps us away from sewing. Other than the housework or a full-time job.

I was over at Jemima Beans blog and was in great admiration of her daughter. I love sports pictures and her daughter is a softball player. Good girls do indeed hit and steal! Being a uncoordinated sports loser, I always wanted my daughters to be tough little cookies. Being one of the "loser" types of girls in gym class was not to my liking and I wanted my girls to play hard and not be like me. If they had some type of dance or aerobics and weightlifting in gym class, I would have excelled, just not organized sports (neither of my parents were into group sports at all).

So our parental mandate is that all our kids must play a spring and fall sport. We don't care what it is. Over the years, DD#1 has played tennis and soccer. She's more of a natural athlete. She's now playing Varsity Tennis and Track. Today I'm going to her meet to watch her do Jav, maybe run the 800 if I don't have to leave to get the boys off the bus. DD#2 plays Field Hockey and Softball. Right now it's softball season and she's on two travel teams and the school team. Both the boys play spring LL baseball.

This keeps us very busy. My nights are activity filled with no time for sewing. I work on ribbonwork sometimes at the boys' games--depends what position they're playing. The girls are older and really play competitively so I have to watch. And I like to watch. But this means sewing time is drastically cut.

It's so worth it though. To watch the physical growth, mental concentration, self confidence explode through hardwork, motivation, and dedication makes it worthwhile to the nth degree. And to be able to do so and maintain excellent grades, well, I didn't do either. Not only was I a sports loser, but an academic loser until I turned myself around as a high school junior.

There are things that I hate to lose sewing time to, like housework and food shopping. Sports is worth it though. It just does so much for the kids. Some people may say kids are successful because their parents push them or are trying to relive their past. Yeah, I've seen that. We push to a point. They're my kids with my genetics--they *need* to be pushed LOL. Not shoved, mind you, just pushed. Actually more like a nudge. If we didn't, they sit home and play with their thumbs and become losers like their mom. Well, I consider myself a reformed loser :) !

Maybe later I'll post some sports pictures. Just like any parent, I'm mighty proud of them. And if it weren't sports and they were in Marching Band or some other activity and working hard at it, it would be just as good.

So march on over to .Jemima Bean's blog to check out a good girl that hits! And a home run to boot :)

Now I'm off to the drudgery of food shopping...