Monday, May 20, 2013

Up to my eyebrows in renovations

13May20renos Or, what am I up to these days besides work and sewing. If boats are a hole in the water that you throw your money into, then houses are a hole in the ground. It all began with that wakeup call last March (2012) when a day of very strong winds from the south blew the roof off of our deck. Planning on how to replace it unleashed a whole bunch of other plans that we’ve been thinking of for years but never acted on. No money, no time. We still don’t have the money, but we have a bank loan. And Mr. ZQ is retired now, so he has time to direct the proceedings

13May20bag To be fair, the house was built in 1972 and hasn’t seen a lot of quality care since then. When we moved in 11 years ago, we replaced the kitchen cupboards and the appliances which were just about to crater, and fixed up the bathroom and installed a shower! Modern times had arrived. Last year we bought the deck roofing, but it hasn’t gone up yet. This year we also purchased a new vinyl covering for the deck itself and new railings to replace the old wobbly wooden ones. Last month we replaced the original furnace and air conditioner. The heat pump that doubles as the air conditioner meant that we had to remove the stairs to the deck so that it could be placed where it was. Last week we removed the old indoor fireplace which was an add-on by a previous owner, and done badly. It was placed in a corner next to the front window and came so close to the window that there was no room for the molding on that side. I love fires, but 13May20lace we’ve never used this fireplace. It’s absence really opens up the livingroom nicely. Of course, the walls behind it, the ceiling above it and the floor underneath it all have to be replaced. On Saturday we ordered enough hard wood maple flooring to replace the carpet in the livingroom and hallway. Oy vey! Tomorrow the paving stone guys are supposed to be here to move around lots of earth and create a sidewalk to the front door, as well as a patio in the backyard, a paved area for our fire pit and a paved base for my as of yet unbuilt greenhouse. And in two weeks, the window guys arrive to replace every ugly old window in the house with modern, high efficiency, low-E windows. I’ll probably have to put my sewing machine away for a few days for the window replacement since it’s currently sitting in front of the deck door. That doesn’t include other work going on in the front yard, which is minor in comparison – putting down landscape cloth and covering it with bark chips on one side and a willdflower mix on the other side.

13May20pocket So, I haven’t been at my sewing machine as much lately as I’d like to be. But I haven’t totally abandoned it. Every day sewing is another day to learn new things from my mistakes. Just when you think you’ve made them all, you come up with a totally new mistake – which adds to your experience in fixing them. I can tell you that I am able to fix my mistakes much faster than I used to! Obviously I wasn’t paying enough attention because I put the zipper in facing the wrong end. I unstitched it and turned it around, but in doing so I put the inside welt pocked on the wrong side. That one wasn’t important enough to me to undo and fix. I’d already decided to give it away you a young neighbour who loves cowboy boots so much that I often see her walking down the street in her father’s oversized boots. I experimented on this one with two-inch lace and I really liked the effect. I’m going to do some more with lace, but first I need to find some.

If you don’t hear from me in the next two weeks, don’t worry about me. Just know that my house is getting a little bit of the TLC that she deserves.

Until next time,

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Getting the hang of it

13May15zips I love it when a zipper comes together on something that I’ve sewed! It’s a great feeling to see it actually work like it’s supposed to! I’m so happy with zippers these days that I’ve increased my zipper stash with lots of different colours. I might even love zippers some day.

I’ve made another clutch for another friend – the musical one. She saw the first one I made a few weeks ago and wanted one for herself. I hope she likes it. I have so many blues in my stash that it was hard to choose one, but I found this 13May15bag blender that I’ve had sitting in my drawer just waiting for the right moment. And this beautiful brown and tan blender in a similar pattern. Made for each other.

The zipper went in with next to no trouble. What do they say about practice? The double welt pocket inside is my first, and it caused some delays. I’ve done a single welt before, and always with double sided fabrics so I never really had to worry about how to put the pocket and lining together. I made a real mess of the first one and 13May15bagstitching ruined the first lining. It’s in the scrap bin now. Then I spent some time with the pocket and lining turning it different ways to see which way it was supposed to go. Bags with linings are a real puzzle because they go together sort of backwards. Then you flip and pull and mash them around until the lining sits inside the bag. Add a pocket like this and you add another layer of flipping and pulling, etc. Whenever I make something like this, I write down every step so I remember for 13May15baginside the next time.

The pocket opening is a bit crooked because the piece of interfacing I used was too big and made it difficult to fold the fabric in the right places. And it’s smaller than I had planned, but that’s okay. It’s big enough to hold a few bills or coins or a card. And there’s a tab with a clip on it to hold a key ring. Pretty good for a little wristlet. And I’m thinking the next one will be even better!

Until next time,

Thursday, May 9, 2013

It’s in the bag

13May9A A-tisket a-tasket
A green and yellow basket
I made a clutch for my best friend 
And on the way I dropped it,
I dropped it,
I dropped it,
And on the way I dropped it.
A little girl she picked it up and put it in her pocket.

Yup. My friend Judy saw the clutch I made from these free instructions and wanted one, too. So I finished it off last Saturday and walked a few blocks to the Farmers Market where she was. On the way I put up a poster at the community 13May9B hall. When I got to the Market, I realized I wasn’t holding the clutch anymore. Kind of ironic when you remember that the best point is the strap to put around your wrist to keep from losing it! I hope that whoever picked it up is enjoying it.

So I made Judy another one. Actually, it’s much better than the first one I made for her. The zipper went in better, the strap is tacked down better, I sewed around the zipper with this one, and I like the fabric combination better – beautiful Kaufman pastels with a touch of Thimbleberries. And I used some plain and fancy stitching to embellish it – the loops are one of 13May9inside the stitches programmed on my sewing machine. And I have to say (knock wood) that zippers are getting sew much easier to put in!

That and sewing patches on my jeans are about the only sewing that I’ve done in the past couple of weeks. Kind of sad, but the weather is so nice here that I’d rather be outside. Wish I could take my sewing machine out on the deck with me!

13May9closeup New Moon today at 19 Taurus. I always note the New Moon of the month because as the Full Moon is a culmination of the past 28 days, a New Moon is a fresh beginning. Taurus is a nurturing sign, Earth, Fixed. A lot of these people love their gardens. They are devoted to their friends and family and quite stubborn in other areas, especially real estate and finances. One thing I admire about Taureans is their ability to focus on a task until it’s finished – even the boring little details. Sounds like a good time for that applique project – the one with 1,000 tiny little pieces! Mercury and Mars join the New Moon today, lending stamina and focussed thinking for the rest of the month. I don’t see any negative aspects to the New Moon, this time, so it should be smooth sailing for the next 28 days.

Until next time,