January 31, 2008

Snow Dogs

I don't have much - been a very busy week, appointments every night after work, long busy work days - you all can relate :) Beau & Lucy love the snow. They will romp and play in it for hours. The will just stand at the gate and watch me leave, getting covered in it. Dudley is much smarter - he doesn't like to be wet so he will avoid the white stuff at all costs! Abby is still undecided. gotta run

January 30, 2008

Insanely Happy - Day 3

January 29, 2008

Insanely Happy - Day 2

I love the snow. I know - but it's because I don't live where we have snow in the Winter. When I lived in Montana - the first snowfall was great, but after that . . . Yesterday morning when I got up all the hype that the local weather people had been generating was true. SNOW. It's just to fresh and innocent - until it gets ruined. This is the view from my front door. I really enjoy that funky tree in the front garden. It's a twisted or curly something or other. The limbs curl around and the leaves are twisty too - so in the winter when it's bare, it's still pretty.
We had the most snow in the area where I live - measuring at 7" the kids were very happy with it and I had half of a snow day! I managed to make it to JoAnn's to get a new seam gauge and stock up on some needles. Went into the office for a couple of hours and then come home and sat on the couch with knitting and cocoa - good snow day :)

January 28, 2008

Insanely Happy

I have a very busy week ahead - or at least it was suppose to be very busy. Since we have snow.
Anyway, last week in my rush to get ready for work, I was sorta grumbling around when I happened to look up - out the skylight in my bathroom. What I saw was this nekked tree with a pre-dawn background. I stopped and just stared at it for awhile, then I went and got the camera and took a few pictures. The pictures aren't as beautiful as just looking at the tree, but it made me stop and smile.
So, this week during my busy week I plan on sharing bits and pieces of nature that I see daily and forget about, but which will bring a smile to my face if I take the time to enjoy it.
And my plan is to take a moment to enjoy it even during a very busy week. So, this week I wish you small moments out of busy-ness to enjoy the simple things that bring you pleasure.

January 27, 2008

Love/Hate Relationship

With home decor projects. Originally made the dining room panels back in July 2006. Your can see one side of the panels in the photo <- there. There is a blog post here where I say that I have hung the dining room panels, but they are wrong. I still haven't take them down, but it will be happening soon.
I still love the fabric - it matches everything (except the upholstered furniture off the kitchen) on the main floor of my house. The paint colors all match the fabric - I just love it! I love this fabric so much, I am considering recovering the glider with the extra and putting in our bedroom.
I also loving having exactly what you want without spending a ton of money. So this is how I spent my weekend. I finally talked JB into hanging the new curtain rods - I've only had them since July 2006! Then I measured the length for the living room panels. Yes, the living and dining rooms have the same curtains because you can see into one room from the other.
I got one panel finished and somehow I lost my seam gauge in the process of putting the lining and the panel together. I was going to work on the second panel tonight - but without a seam gauge . . . Anyway - I will be working on finishing these while my main machine is at the doctor - apparently it's really sick (something about the sewing head), but thankfully it has insurance (warranty)! I'm almost to the hard part - figuring out the math to find out how deep to make each pleat and how close to place them. After this - there is still 4 panels for the bay window and the dining room panels to fix - UGH! Love that they match - Hate manhandling the heavy panels and doing math!

Whacha Think?

When I make handknit socks for myself, which isn't often, I have 3 pairs and I felted one pair and gave it away! Anyway, when I make my own socks I like a really firm knit fabric. I like a sock that really hugs my foot. I really like knitting on little tiny US size 0 needles - either double points (my preferred method) or magic looping them. I really like sharp, pointy knitting needles. Okay, so here's where I'm looking for opinions. I making these lace socks from Favorite Knits for The Princess. She picked out the pattern and I've had the wool for sometime. I'm knitting them according to the pattern on US0s. I knit 7 repeats of the leg, then the heel and so far I have knit 1 1/2 repeats on the foot.
Recently, I tried them on. They are a little snug going over the heel. To my eye the knitting looks like it's stretched to capacity. I'm thinking I should rip them and start over on 1s or maybe even 2s. I worry about going up to far in needle sizes because I don't want a loose sloppy sock, but I think these are too tight. I think the top two photos show better how stretched the sock is when it's on a foot. So, Whacha Think? Rip and go up a needle size or two - or just keep going and hope she can put them on?

January 25, 2008

For Those Who Don't Sew

There were several of my knitting friends who commented that they would love to join the Sassy Apron Swap, but they don't sew. Well the bad news is that the Swap has closed. But here's the good news for next time. Look at how cute this 50's Inspired Apron is. It was designed by Jordana Paige and shown on Knitty Gritty. Look at how cute that Strawberry pocket is. Someday I may add this to my queue over at Ravelry, but for now I'll just admire it from afar and tempt my knitty friends with it. D - you can quit gagging now :)

January 24, 2008

We Want Ice Cream!

I know lots of you don't believe in giving your dogs human food - human grade dog food, yes; but human food, no.
Well in our house the dogs eat a lot of what we eat. Their kibble is supplemented with cheese, any fruit they will eat - with the exception of grapes & raisins.
They also eat tons of veggies - again with the exception of anything on the "do not feed" list. By supplementing their kibble with fruit and veggies, I am able to cut back on the kibble (feeding 4 dogs is expensive) and keep them trim.
Their favorite of all is ice cream. Anytime JB gets off the couch after dinner Lucy lifts her head to see where he's going. If he heads into the kitchen she very slowly leaves the living the room, but once she reaches the dining room she runs into the kitchen. Usually alerting all the dogs that treats are a comin' Nobody gets left out of the action. Generally when JB is dishing up ice cream whoever is in the kitchen gets their own personal doggie sized scoop. Then whoever was good (usually just Abby) gets to lick the bowl.
I love this photo - if you look closely you can see 'Kilroy' eyes looking over the counter to make sure that the ice cream is still coming. They do have to work for their treats and nobody gets left out.
Lucy can really get some height. Look Ma - no hands.
hey Dad - drop that ice cream already. We're waiting.

Knit Night

So tonight I went to knitting. This is the first time I have been there since Thanksgiving - well except for the holiday gift exchange. Hmm - I forgot to share that! First I worked on The Princess socks. To date, I have turned the heels, finished the decrease rows on the gussets and am working down the never ending stretch that is the size 10+ foot! UGH. Next I showed the current pair of socks for the hubby. I turned the heel on these on Monday - short row heels, socks being worked toes up. I'm loving the way this yarns stripes. I got an email that they are discontinuing some of the colors so if you like it head on over to Knit Picks and check out Felici.
Finally, before leaving I purchase a new hank of sock yarns just for me. Since I felted my monkeys in the washer - I gave them away. They are now more slipperish than sockish. Anyway, that means I'm short a pair of socks. I went for a hank of Pagewood Farms - this time with a twist similar to Koigu KPPPM. It's $18 a hank, so not bad for hand-knit socks. It may become some new monkeys for me.
From now on all my socks are going into the washer on the gentle cycle and being hung to dry :) Lesson learned!

January 23, 2008

How I Spent my Bonus Day Off

First I cut Simplicity 3774 out of the brown fabric. I has pink and cream polka dots about the size of quarters. I'm using the wrong side as the right side for this dress. Also, I'm making the full skirted, darted bodice, caped sleeve version. Since I made this once last summer in a nice cotton (I looked and can't find the pictures!) I decided to line this poly version with muslin. It should give it the body that the dress requires that the poly doesn't have on it's own. I'm also planning on trimming out the midriff band with an off-white bias trim. If I have enough, I'll also put the same bias trim on the neckline and sleeve hems. Since I wasn't so happy with how the bodice darts turned out last time, this time I'm planning on gathering the top into the midriff band. I had barely enough fabric to cut out top B from Butterick 4996. I really like this little top. I have 2 other pieces of fabric destined to become it. However, this one will be a muslin of sorts. Next, it was onto Butterick 4980. I'm making the View A jacket. Only I will be lining it. The fabric is a fairly heavy pink home-dec piece. I'm making the open version to wear over the polka dot dress and I plan on lining the entire thing. I'm sleeping with the Taunton book on linings to figure out what I need to do. I have everything cut out, except the linings. Which I will work on Thursday evening. Tomorrow is knitting. Both my 'good' sewing machine and my serger are going to be serviced this weekend. So my back-up machine and I will be finishing the living room curtains. (Aren't y'all sick of hearing about them?) So, slowly, I am working my way through the newest projects. Hopefully I haven't jinxed myself by cutting out too much. I used to be a mass cutter and then sit and sew - but lately, I do much better with one or two things at a time.

January 21, 2008

Scared to Leave the House

ever have one of those lifetimes? i don't know about you but whenever we have a 'shortage' of money or something has happened like an adult in my home quits their job i feel compelled to spend.
currently, i need to go shopping. i need a cute top and/or a cardigan to wear with the new dress. i also need some new black heels. i don't want to spend a fortune on black shoes as really brown is a predominate color in my closet ~ but a grey dress needs black shoes.
also, i saw some really cute fabric in the sales flyer and i would like to find a different fabric to line the pink jacket - but the ivory i have will work just fine.
however this fall/winter our family has had some major expenses - first a new tankless water heater because the old one died; then both beau & i had surgery; some planned for big dental expenses for both jb and me; ending with installing a new furnace. so currently i am scared to leave the house. i know that it would turn into a spending spree on things i don't need and really shouldn't afford. ( i could go shopping and buy anything i want without breaking the bank, but i just shouldn't right now)
yesterday i did some online shopping for yarn - they were having a sale, it was all sock yarn and that doesn't count as stash, right? well i loaded my cart with 5 different hand-painted colorways. man were they beautiful, i would have had some well dressed feet. thankfully i logged out without buying anything. and for now i'm going to stay my workout clothes and go into the basement and work with what i have!
i do not need new dishes, i don't need new dishes, i have plenty of dishes, i do not need new dishes, i have no place to put new dishes, step away from the dishes

January 20, 2008

Essentially Done.

I say essentially because I still need to tack the lining to the zipper tape. The Dress is Simplicity 3673, I made View C in a combination of sizes. I started with a 14 through the shoulders, tapering to a 16 at the waist and a 20 at the hips. I moved the zipper from the center back to the left side and cut all the pieces on the fold. I also fully lined the dress. The pattern only calls for lining the bodice, but I'm learning it's pretty darn easy to add a full lining and make it feel good when you're wearing it. The fabric is embroidered wool flannel from JoAnn's. I wasn't sure it was really wool until I washed it and then ironed it. There is a definite smell that belongs to wool alone and believe me - this is wool. I can't remember what I paid for the yardage, but I purchase 3 yards and have a very little bit left. I might make some sort of matchy-matchy handbag. Not sure. I think, based on the muslin (I haven't actually had the dress on yet) that I could have stayed at a 14 through the waist and gone out to a 16/18 through the hips. But I didn't want to over fit the dress. I will mostly wear this work, where I sit and jump up and down all day long. Currently, I don't have a cute little blouse to wear under it, but other than the fact that it is Winter I could wear it without a blouse and just layer either a soft pink or blue cardigan over it. I will try it with a turtleneck, but I think it needs a cute little blouse like the envelope. Thanks for the support and encouragement during this project. Tonight I'm going to cut out the next dress and lined jacket. Carolyn - I'm finally taking you up on the challenge to make a lined jacket. Stay tuned.

January 19, 2008

What is it About Saturdays?

This morning started out promising. We got up on time, as JB had to be to work at 8 to work on a friend's car. We were out of the house with the big dogs pulling us up the street by 6:30ish. It was rather dark, but it was nice and quiet, peaceful actually. The local latte stand opens at 7:00 and we were making good time. In fact we had to go around the block because we were early. Then it was back home where I fed the dogs and JB headed off to work. I then planted my hind end on the couch, where I watch sewing shows on PBS and Food Network. I spent lots of time on the phone with The Princess, some time knitting, did a few loads of laundry, bought groceries and fixed a nice dinner, including dessert. Every Saturday it's like this. Apparently, I need Saturday to recover from the week. I really wanted to finish the Flannel Dress today, but it didn't happen. I did get to the heel flap on the Merino Lace Socks. Tomorrow, there will be no laying about like the lazy dogs in the photo. I am hoping to walk dogs first thing in the morning. The fix breaky and head downstairs. There isn't much left to do on that dress and darn it - I want to wear it! I also want to start working on the next one. Hope everyone is doing what brings them pleasure this long weekend.

What I Love About Crafty Blogs

Have you even noticed how the crafty and knitting blogs have contests and Swaps? I love that. I love that it encourages people to make friends ~ even if it is virtual. I love how it brings a group of people together. I love the bloggy friends I have made, I look forward to emails from blog friends and the meeting up when I can actually get to their neighborhoods. Don't get me wrong - the sewing blogs do the same thing. You will see the same pattern being made by lots of sewers. You will see bloggers sharing fabric sites, books and pattern information. But mostly the sewers are about sewing. Which I love. My main love is garment construction. That being said, occasionally I love making something crafty. I enjoy putting together a box of goodies for someone I have never met. I enjoy the process of shopping, making, having JB wrap, filling a box and then shipping it. To that end, I am playing along with the Sassy Apron Swap. Ever since my cocktail party in December 2006 I have wanted a great apron. Something that would look fabulous over a cocktail dress. I made several aprons in 2006, but I didn't keep a one! If you are so inclined - click on over and play! I'm looking forward to filling another box :)

January 18, 2008

I Should Have Been Vacuuming

But instead I put 12 darts into the skirt of the Flannel Dress. I also sewed down the tucks in the lining. It feels good to be getting down into the sewing room on a regular basis again. At this point all that's left is sewing the right side seam on the skirt; attaching skirt to bodice - twice; inserting the zipper; handstitching the lining to the zipper tape; and hemming. I have a long weekend coming up - this time with Monday off. Which results in a short week - 3 days next week. Although I plan on doing some work from home on both Saturday and Sunday, I don't plan to let it consume me. I have a dress that wants finishing! In an attempt to not post without photos (because I'm not always that interesting) I have been taking random photos around the house. The candle and candle jar? were gifts from The Princess for throwing her a "get out" party. This is the first time I have lit them. The candle is vanilla - yum. The little tiny person in the back of the bottom photo, is a yarn, fabric and wire interpretation of one of the girls. I have 3 of these figures - The Musical One, The Princess and Dudley. My friend from High School made these for our family one year for Christmas. We have had them so long we only had Dudley at the time. I keep asking her for Abby, Beau & Lucy. They are really cute though.

January 17, 2008

A Very Un-Proper Dog!

As many of you know, Beauregard James had surgery the week after I did. The timing was great because it was Winter in Washington and the dogs were able to stay in the house all day, be super warm and lazy all day long. They were very good and would go outside a couple of times a day long enough to 'take care of business,' but there really was no playing. For a little more background - because Lucy is a goat in dog's clothing and Abby is an escape artist, the dogs do no stay in the house all day when we are at work. They have a huge dog yard which is completely fenced and escape free. They also have a 12x12 cinder block shelter built into the hillside that the shed is built on top of. Inside their shelter is 4 igloos and other bedding fit for dogs. Also in their dog yard is lots of dirt for digging, a pool in the summer and all year long there is a fountain so they have fresh water all the time. So, by no means are they thrown outside and neglected. They are well taken care of in the dog yard. Anyway, about a week before I was scheduled to go back to work. Beau decides that he isn't going outside when it's time for me to leave the house or downstairs at bedtime. Well, when you have a dog that weighs 105# when he decides he isn't going somewhere, he pretty much isn't. A couple of time I had to put a leash on him and walk him downstairs. Once JB took him out the front door and put him in the dog yard that way. Buy the time JB got back in the house, Beau was inside and laying down again, thankfully JB had the foresight to put the gate up first. Well that first week of work really kicked my arse! On Thursday I was tired, so I asked JB if he could get the dogs to bed by himself. He said yes, and off I went to bed about 9:30. The dogs get to stay up until the last person goes to bed. So, later I hear JB and Beau fighting about whether Beau is going downstairs or not. JB finally makes it upstairs. He walks into the bedroom, shutting the door very forcefully, and says "Your dog is gonna die!" (Before I get hate mail, he doesn't mean it. Beau lives here, is a member of the family and nothing will ever happen to him.) When he gets into bed, I asked him if he had trouble getting Beau to go downstairs. JB says: Tomorrow when he goes outside after dinner, he's staying outside! And he can stay outside until he can behave like a PROPER DOG! (Proper Dog was said with a British accent.) I laughed so hard. We have now figured out how to outsmart Beau at his own game, but he is now referred to as "the Proper Dog!"

Sock Progress

This is a progress shot of the Merino Lace Socks from Favorite Knit Socks. The Princess picked a couple of patterns from the book while she was home and I started knitting away. The yarn is Filature Di Grosa Maxime in white with pink specks. It's a little splitty, but overall pleasant to work with. I am working this pair both socks at the same time, from the cuff down. Since I'm not a huge fan of ribbing, I stopped the ribbing after only about an inch. The pattern calls for 6 repeats of the main lace panel - which I have completed so far. I'm thinking about doing 7 or 8 so the sock is longer. Frankly - I like the way the side lacy bits look much better than the center lace panel. I think I will make another pair of socks using the two different lace panels from myself. I'm thinking about some orange yarn from the sock yarn bouquet. Hopefully, The Princess will like these socks. Since she has such freakin huge feet (sorry kiddo) they won't really fit anyone else if she doesn't like them.

January 15, 2008

Thank Goodness for WhirlyBall!

What you might ask does whirlyball have to do with sewing? Well in my life it means that JB won't be home until after the second game. For me, that means I can have scrambled eggs and a toasted cranberry bagel for dinner at 9:00 p.m. It also means I can lock the dogs behind the gate downstairs with me, turn on mindless tv and work on the bodice of the flannel jumper until I can't take their whining because it's past their dinner time anymore. As long as we're thanking goodness, I also need to thank goodness for The Easy Guide to Sewing Linings by Connie Long. The last time I made a fully lined dress I could not for the life of me figure out how to sew the lining in on the sewing machine. Remember in this dress, I moved the zipper from the back seam to the side seam. So, I wanted to sew the lining into the dress entirely on the sewing machine. I didn't want to bind the armholes (that's what I did the last time). So, thanks to Connie Long, I managed to put the lining into the bodice completely with the sewing machine. Now, to sew the right side seam and the bodice is finished. Finally, the last photo is of a film canister. JB still shoots film and I steal one empty canister every 6 years or so. I punch a little hole in the top and snap it back on. Then every time I change the needles in my machines I drop the old needle into the canister. If you're really industrious you can use the 'dead' needles to hang photos on the your walls or for sticking things up on your cork board. Anyway, I use the film canister so I'm not dropping sharp objects into the garbage for somebody to get poked with or one of the dogs to eat. Works great and now, after about 6 years, this one's finally full.

January 14, 2008

Do You Belong?

Having spent the entire weekend involved in ASG, or American Sewing Guild, activities this is a question that is in the front of my mind right now. I am a group leader for the Neighborhood Group that meets closest to my home. The focus of the group I attend is garment construction. Occasionally, we have a topic and when we do it generally deals with garment construction, how to deal with a particular fabric type, seam finishes, drafting, or something else that pertains to garment construction. Since we have just entered into a new calendar year the focus of ASG has been updating, membership, how to be hip. So, I'm polling my readers - do you belong to the American Sewing Guild? If so, why? What keeps you attending? In the alternative, what keeps you from attending? Do you know that at 44, I am one of the 'youngsters' that belongs to my local chapter, which is the Bellevue, Washington chapter. Because the majority of the membership is older there is a wealth of information - want to know how to completely line a sleeveless dress? Ask, someone will know as they have already done it. Need to find the perfect fabric , know how to make a flat-felled seam, or perfect the hand sewn catch stitch - someone has already done it and is willing to teach you. As well as the wealth of information, this is large group of fun loving woman and men of various sizes and shapes who all have a common interest. It is wonderful to take a piece of fabric to a meeting that you aren't sure how to pretreat, what type of stitch will create the perfect seam, if it should be lined, underlined or fused, if the style you are thinking of will be flattering to you and ask for help and opinions. This group is non-judgmental and willing to share their knowledge. As well as all the knowledge available, there is an abundance of discounts available to members of ASG. Everything from online retailers to most brick and mortar fabric stores and some machine retailers. Most chapters have Educational Events and some have retreats. So, again, I ask - do you belong? If so why? If not, why not? Please share with me as I am really curious.

January 12, 2008

Eureka! We Have Heat

And not from the wood stove! This is one of my favorite features in our home. And yet, we rarely use this room. When we did our kitchen remodel this living room off the kitchen became a 'great room' of sorts. I purchase new furniture for this room. I love it, it's really comfortable and great for curling up in and reading or knitting. However, JB hates this furniture. Don't really know why. This room most often gets used when we entertain. We will sit in here while dinner finishes and then move to the dining room and back to the 'great room.' Since we moved the big television upstairs - I hate entertaining where the tv is. JB can rarely be in that room and have the tv off. MEN! Today we had a lovely ASG meeting. It was nice to be back. There was a good turnout and I got to fondle lots of lovely knits. Saw some fabulous garments and learned a few new tricks. However, since I took all day (the guy got here at 8:00 and wasn't finished until 6:00) to install the new furnace I didn't get any sewing done. It was too cold to be downstairs sewing. Tomorrow I have an ASG meeting all day and then we are having dinner with friends. Maybe Sunday evening I can make some headway on the flannel dress - I really want to work on it!

January 11, 2008

Bits and Pieces

Apparently, when your furnace dies they can send someone to look at it right now, for a service call of course. But once they have determined it's dead it can take weeks to get a new one installed. The guy who came out to sell us a furnace irritated the bujeesus out of me so I'm cancelling the horrendously expensive contract today. Smart, huh? This weekend will be all about sewing - but most likely all I'll get done is sock knitting. Thank goodness it's so portable! Why will I only get knitting done? Well - it's all American Sewing Guild this weekend. Saturday is the Neighborhood group for the group I lead and then Sunday is the annual planning meeting for all Neighborhood Group Leaders and the Board. I've been a group leader for 3 years now and I've always had plans on the meeting day. (I had plans this year, too, to stay home and work on my new dress!) But this year I'll be a team player and put some knitting in my bag and have a good time :) Today I only work half a day and then I have my final doctor's appointment. So hopefully, I will be home early enough and be able to bundle up enough to still be able to sew. The plan is to get the lining cut out and start working on the embroidered flannel dress. I'm looking forward to a little joy that sewing brings. The picture? Taken by JB last weekend. That is the view on the East Side of my house as seen through the kitchen windows most every morning. Beautiful, no?
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