Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tim Gunn's Voice in My Head

Telling me to "carry on and make it work". Now why would he be doing that? Well the Friday after Thanksgiving Target had a sale on the Singer Prelude sewing machine. $65! Can't beat that. So for the first time ever I ventured out on Black Friday and actually scored one.

The spousal unit has informed at this point I can no longer blame any sewing mishaps on the crummy machine I'm using. I tested this baby as soon as I got her home. I was able to adjust the tension and my stitching is smooth and pretty dog gone nice. It just so happens that JoAnn's had a sale on McCall's patterns. $1.99 each. Not too shabby. So I picked up a few. I am particularly fond of the pajama/lounge pants patterns. It's much classier to call them lounge pants than pajamas don't you think? I mean Nora Charles or Doris Day or Lucy would wear lounge pants not PJs. Remember when Lucy bought those harlequin patterned lounge pants for Ethel as a gift from Fred, I think all poor Ethel wanted was a new toaster. Lucy couldn't style Ethel to save her life.

Today I made these lounge pants from McCall's pattern 3370. My fabric is coffee and donuts and if you saw my stomach and my butt you'd know that those are two of my favorite things.

Here's an action shot, well I'm standing, that's sorta actiony don't you think?

I didn't not prewash this fabric and they are a perfect fit at the moment, I'm not sure if they'll fit after they are washed. I love them dearly. It's the first thing in my life I have ever sewed that came out right.
I only had to bug my friend Pam twice. Apparently I'm not the sharpest crayon in the box and couldn't get the drawstring to turn inside out. That folks is a skill. One that I will hopefully acquire soon. Any other mishaps you might ask. Well, I forgot to leave a hole in the waistband for the drawstring.
I have fabric for one more pair of lounge pants and I didn't take a picture of it because you'll all just die when you see it. You must remember I'm fortiesque. When the lady at JoAnn's was cutting my fabric--I missed the 99cent a yard flannel sale, but let's all say a big thank you for the 50% off coupon--anyway, the lady said and I quote, "Some little boy is going love his new pajamas." I informed her that I would be the little boy of who she was speaking. She cut my fabric really quick. But it's great. With any luck I'll be able to show you another pair of pants and this fabric tomorrow. I know, I have you all on the edge of your seats.
This need to sew can be blamed on Sue. She's been a sewing "machine" the last few months. She has really inspired me to get over my fear of sewing and do it already.
This machine really makes all the difference in the world and it doesn't hurt that I now have a little bit of a clue about how a sewing machine is supposed to work and what the stitches are supposed to look like.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Breaking News!

"We've Been Framed!"

The story of the three suspects currently held under house arrest somewhere outside of Pensacola, FL has not changed. Sources tell us they were framed--

at the Stitchery House in Ft. Walton Beach:

Carriage House Samplings-Needlewoman

Blackbird Designs-Quaker Garden

And Leisure Art's Home Again, by D. Morgan. When Home Again was questioned about how she came to be framed, the suspect refused to cooperate. Apparently the suspect is saving her story for an upcoming book to be released in October 2008.

Friday, November 16, 2007


This Thanksgiving will be the first Thanksgiving of my life when I can't pick up the phone and call my Mamaw and ask her how to make dressing. It's the first time my phone won't ring on Thanksgiving morning and her voice be on the other end. But imagine my surprise when the mailman left a package by the front door. The package was from my dad. The only thing I asked for of my grandmother's was this jewelry box. It's nothing fancy, but I love it. I would spend hours sitting on her bed playing the music and dreaming about faraway lands and wearing kimonos and binding my feet(don't ask what I read as a child) all I knew was I wanted to be somewhere more exotic than Bartlett, TN.

This is a picture of the inside:

Here's a picture of the front and it's painted like this all the way around:

And this was the note taped to the bottom:

My daddy bought this for my Mamaw forty-eight years ago. Seeing her handwriting broke my heart.
A few weeks ago I found a letter in with some pictures that my great-grandfather wrote to my great-grandmother before they were married. The letter did not really go with the stories I had heard about him. Rumor has it my great-grandfather on my daddy's father's side was mean but he wrote a pretty sweet love letter to my soon to be great-grandmother. That was like finding hidden treasure. The sad part is I've had this letter for ages and never read it because I couldn't make out the handwriting, then I remembered my Mamaw gave it to me because my great-grandmother did a lot of handwork, applique, tatting, embroidery, she always thought I would have liked her.
On to some happy stitching talk, I made some executive decisions:
1) Once all ornaments are ornamentificated I will work on 13th Colony Bay.
2)Since I'm being so positive that 13th Colony Bay will be finished before the end of the year when it's done I'm going to work on Mirabilia's Lady of the Flag
3) Since receiving my Mamaw's jewelry box I decided I now had a good reason to stitch Dimple's Designs Embroidery and I will finish a Dimensions design Serene Shores I started back before I got married in 1985, both are Oriental designs. As soon as I round up both-they are probably out partying with Jane Atkinson and Beatrix Potter- I'll post pictures because I don't have links for them. It also gives me a reason to start Dimensions Mighty Samauri(think that's the name and forgive my spelling).
Now for a conversation starter and some ideas, how in the world does the eclectic stitcher make TW designs, Quaker designs, Reproduction samplers, mermaid, primitive designs, and Mirabilias, etc all work together in the same house? I can't begin to start to figure all this out.
My tastes are all over the place. I also think once I finish Lady of the Flag I want to pull out Design Connections Cowboy Boots which is a design I started a few years ago and it still makes me happy to see it and maybe get it finished. Not by the end of the year though, but maybe by next summer.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

No Pictures Today

Because all of my stitching the last week or so has been ornament swap related stitching I have no pictures to share today.

Thanks for all the nice comments regarding my little friend's pillow. He loves it and that's the most important thing.

I can't believe the year is almost over and I believe I have finished all of four projects, not including the ornaments for my swap.

I'm not a big chocolate junkie, I have plenty of self control but I am currently addicted to Lindt Lindor Truffles. The addiction is pretty bad--if they are in the house and everytime I go to the store I somehow end up coming home with a bag, well I eat the whole freakin' bag. This is not a good thing. The bag does last me several days but I've even started letting the kids see the chocolate stash so they are the ones eating them instead of me.

New Project Runway!!

I'm so beyond excited that a new season of Project Runway starts tonight. I can't help it, I love this show. TV has not been too interesting the last few months and I'm underwhelmed with fall tv these days. I'm hoping Project Runway is full of creativity and wonderful cattiness between the designers. I know I'm horrible--so far season two is my all time favorite. They had designers with the most personality, they were all a little over the top. Daniel V, Nick V, Santino, Kara Janx, Andre(What happened to Andre?). I enjoyed them all, even the designers I haven't mentioned. So I'm hoping these new designers are entertaining and creative. Is that too much to ask?

Back to the Stitching

As soon as my ornaments are finished unless something comes up I will focus all my stitching time on 13th Colony Bay. It's so sad to sit it sitting all alone in it's Ziploc baggie.

As far as stitching goals for 2007, I'm reasonably sure I didn't reach any of them but that's ok. The state of my stitching is chaotic and that's how it's always been and even though I see myself gradually becoming more of a one project at a time girl I can't imagine ever having anything less than 20 projects started at any given time because I love starting projects. I see them, I kit them up, and those first stitches are just begging to be stitched. I'm weak. I make those Xs and then for whatever reason I set the project aside for a while, then one day it's all I want to work on.

The Tale of Laptop

Well my laptop is possessed. I have work to do, next deadline December 7th, and my monitor is doing this flashy thingy and at the moment I pretty much have to sit on the floor to see what's on the screen, it has to be at this weird angle or the flashing won't stop or if it does the screen goes to black. Kind of hard to get any work done. Fortunately it's still under warranty and last time the factory got it back to me in five days but this is going to be cutting it close and no right now this is the only functioning computer in the house so I don't have a back up. Also we have a school project due at the end of the week so I can't ship this off to be repaired until we have that finished, keeping my fingers crossed we get it finished tonight!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Rectangle That Became a Pillow

Back in 2001 I stitched Lizzie Kate's Welcome Sit Stay. It's a cute design. I had planned to make it into a banner but the fact of the matter is that while I see things and I automatically think "oh I can make that into a pillow or a banner". I tend to forget that I can't sew!

Like for instance we salvaged some patio chairs from a dumpster. I am not a sewer -period. But in my delusional state of mind my first thought is "after we paint them I can make cushions for them". My first thought is never to buy cushions but to make them even though I don't know how to sew. So now that we are clear on the lack of sewing skilz 'round these parts, I decided to make Welcome Sit Stay into a pillow for my almost two year old buddy John. I found some fabric and sewed the stitching to the backing fabric, by hand:

Extra points for moi as I remembered to leave a little section unsewed so I can stuff the thing. We will not go into how many times I have sewed pillows together but forgot about that whole stuffing thing. Below you can see the backing fabric:

And here's the front:

Cute, no?

And here's the finished pillow sitting on my plastic front porch chair, my poor wicker has seen better days. We'll also ignore that the porch needed to be swept and two neighbors kept giving me strange looks as I moved the photo shoot to the front yard instead of in the back. They already know I'm a little "odd" anyway.

Now for the weaker aspects of my sewing:

Here's my whip stitch closing, not too bad. But below you will see the mistake I continue to make time and again:

I trim the fabric way too close to the sewing every flipping time. See why I don't participate in a lot of swaps? I won't even tell you how many ornaments I've had to restitch at the last minute because I cut too close. Now you all know why I procrastinate the sewing thing. But you know what?

My little buddy loves his pillow. This was what he did first thing. Run to the couch and plop down on his pillow.

This is what it's all about. Believe me there was a time when I would have cringed at anything stitched being chewed on, thrown around, but this little guy, he loves his pillow. It's got a puppy, he loves puppies. It's got a fire hydrant for good ol' little boy gross out stuff, a dog bone and a dog house and a heart for "I love you". Everything a little boy needs.
And the best part? He has no clue that I cut the fabric too close to the stitching.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Fat Bottom for a Friend

Here is the Fat Bottom Bag I crocheted for my friend Pam:

Fat Bottom with Rusty Wheelbarrow

It was supposed to have been a birthday present on September 18th but I procrastinate when it comes to sewing because as you can see below, I don't do it very well but my friend knows that and doesn't mind. She's a good friend that way.

Since it was a very late birthday present for her, it ended up being a thank you present because around September 27th, I had the biggest, hugest, most important deadline of my life and I had a melt down. Complete, total, ugly cry, tears, stuff running out of my nose, stomachache from all the crying meltdown. You see I spent the summer writing a book. My deadline to have the manuscript completed was September 30th. It had to be in my editor's hands by October 1st.
I had plenty of material, the book was done(at least the first draft), but it still wasn't a book. It was a pile of essays, all uncatergorized, all crossing over into each other. I tried to organize it, it didn't work. My friend Pam said, "Give it to me, I'll get it organized for you." Did she ever. Without her I couldn't have done it. You see, I can type, I can send an email, I can open Microsoft Word, but I have no idea how to use the program other than to open a document and write. Oh and I can use word count, I love the word count tool. But Pam could move stuff around. She could type in a keyword or search term and find the essay we were looking for just like that. I had no idea such magic existed.
So the Fat Bottom Bag that was intended as a birthday present became a thank you gift and I stuffed a can of Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Hazelnut Pirouette cookies in there--because they are her favorite.