Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Just a spot of wisdom for a Tuesday

If God had meant us to walk around naked, he would never have invented the wicker chair.
Erma Bombeck

Now doesn't that feel better? We always need a good laugh. Hey it beats hearing about "Bridges to nowhere," "Community organizers," "In February of '09, your television may no longer work," or "Worst financial crisis in our country's history!"

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Oh you shouldn't have...

But I am glad you did! Look what I got!

My stitching friend Missy gave me this. Visit her blog. She is not only a stitcher par excellence, she is a fantastic photographer and an avid blogger. Thank you Missy!

Now the challenge is to pass this gift along to 6 others. How to choose; how to choose. I will point you in the direction of other sewists that inspire me.

  1. Cheryl, at Time Really Does Fly. I want to be Cheryl when I grow up. She is a wonderful sewist whose creations always make me smile and strive to do better. Her thoughts about faith, family and life always inspire me to say nothing of her exquisite stitching. And check out her Etsy shop. I still love my ironing board cover, it is so pretty.
  2. Cindy at Sew Blessed. Not only do I love checking in on her precious projects but peeks of her growing family always make me smile. Cindy has recently begun teaching for her local SAGA chapter as well as in her local area. She is helping keep this art form of smocking and heirloom sewing alive.
  3. Erica at Erica B's DIY Style. Another place I haunt. I don't know Erica except by her prolific and stylish sewing. Her things are fantastic and she can sew circles around most anyone. Plus I have great admiration for anyone who sews for themselves and then wears them. Something I refuse to do. I don't know about you but I have a ritual of places I go evertime I sit down to the computer, email, the bank, Delphi Heirloom Sewing and Smocking and then onto my blog list. Erica's is always top of my list to check on everyday.
  4. Another stop on my morning ritual is Bunny at La Sewista. Bunny is not only a smocker and sewist, she has a a wonderful modern twist on smocking that I love. She likes to incorporate smocking in new and unusual ways. She recently even entered a super art piece bag into a competition sponsored by Robert Kaufman fabrics. Her bag has been selected to travel the country as part of their Quilt Quest 2008 Collection. Congrats Bunny!
  5. If ever there was someone who was an inspiration to take my sewing skills to a new level it is Tany at Couture et Tricot. All I can say is WOW and thank heaven for online translators. Tany is Portugese but I don't care where she lives, her sewing is out of this world. I don't know that I will ever have the courage and endurance to attempt the tailoring she does, but it is awesome. The precision produces results we can only dream of.
  6. And last but not least, I chose Anna at the Pleasant View Schoolhouse. Mainly because it seems like such a calm quiet spot to rest. Her blog has such a retro 50's feel to it. Her life is probably as crazy as everyone else's but when I stop by her blog I always get a sense of days gone by; quiet, cool, shady porch swings and clean sheets drying in the breeze. If I still cooked and cleaned and I would make myself one of those 50's aprons she has made. Not sure they would look as Donna Reed on me as they do on her though.
So those are some of the places I visit. I hope you will visit them too. Thanks for all of you who do visit and don't forget to comment, I love me some comment you know. LOL

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Getting ready!

I have found that there is a little known benefit to having previously inhabited bedrooms vacated. It gives you a place to start collecting your stuff when you are leaving on a trip! WOO HOO! I have a little pile started. Where am I going? Going to spend a week with my friends. What we will do while we are there? Only what we want to! We will laugh, talk to all hours, stitch, shop, laugh some more, stitch some more. Catch up on the happenings of each others lives since last fall. Laugh again, have a cocktail or two. Stitch, Shop, Laugh, Rinse, Repeat.

If there is any one piece of advice that I would give moms it is make sure that you take some time for just you and your friends on occasion. Granted I couldn't afford to go away for a week when my children were small; but I was blessed with a husband who understood the need for mom to leave the kids behind and re charge her battery. The most precious of all would be when we had four kids ages 6 an under, over the dinner table he would take one look at me and say "You're going to the mall aren't you?" Now we did not have any shopping money mind you, but I would go to the mall and window shop while he bathed, corralled, prayed and read kids to sleep. No amount of diamonds could have been more prized.

So back to my original thought, I am accumulating my "getting ready" pile on an unused kid bed to go spend a week with some of these hooligans.

Atlanta here I come.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Not much sewing this week

I have been painting dress and bonnet stands and knitting on my lonely sock's companion instead. My feet are getting tired of sharing only one sock. And you don't want to show favoritism so you have to keep track of how long each foot gets to wear the sock. The first sock could be worn out before the second one is finished. That could open up a whole new host of problems.

Less than a month until SAGA convention. I am getting excited. Have lots and lots to do before then as usual.

Random child comments from this week

Phone rings around 10 pm Thursday evening,
Mom: "Hello"
Baby Daughter: "Mom! I met my husband!"
Mom: "Oh? And what is your husband's name?"
Baby Daughter: "Chad. He's delicious mom."

Next day an email arrives from Baby Daughter, with only this text;
"My husband has a girlfriend. Men are pigs."

And people wonder why I am a touch off. You truly need a score card around here to keep up.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bragging on my friend

I just want to give a shout out to my friend Rachel. (She may kill me for posting her picture to the thousands of visitors. I'll be able to talk her down when she finds out that only 6 people, 5 of whom she knows, read this) She set a goal, went after it and accomplished it. I am in awe. She ran/walked a marathon! 26.2 miles. What a woman. She said a friend asked her to do it. Not sure if she needs new friends or if I do. NO ONE I know would suggest it to me. My friend is not only obviously a disciplined person but she is a wonderfully loving, faith filled and fun person too. And a mom to 6! We won't even talk about how gorgeous her smocking is! She puts many of us to shame. I can hardly wait to see her next month at SAGA convention so I can give her a congratulatory hug in person.

Go Rachel!

Won't he be handsome?

Dressed in blue with yellow trim? I love blue and yellow. This is a quick and easy baby gift to have. Blue Imperial batiste, Madeira applique collar. Whip stitch piping on the collar and cuffs. And to top it off two precious MOP buttons on the pleated front. And for the first time I used Snap Setter tool by Snap Source. The pattern is Pleated Bubble by Creations By Michie. So if you need a quick gift, this is great.

Houston, we have a sock!

I didn't say "a pair of socks"; I said "a sock." While visiting my oldest daughter a few weeks ago we had to, of course, go to a craft store. You never know what you may find. As we were browsing and bumming, bumming and browsing, she expressed an interest in learning how to knit socks. Well leave it to me to run with it. Before you know it we had 2 sets each of double pointed needles and 3 balls of sock yarn. We won't even mention the danger present in double pointed needles. If nothing else we had lots of laughs as we tried to find a free pattern on the internet that matched the materials I had bought. (There wasn't a lot of planning that went into this endeavor.) And the sore shoulders from tensely trying to follow the directions. My daughter kept saying "Isn't this supposed to be relaxing?"

I have knitted, very basically, but this was a bit more challenging. I now know why pioneer families treasured such items. It takes weeks to make a pair! No wonder they were lucky to have more than one pair per person. So here is my sock. Now do I have the stamina to make its mate? Or will I just let my feet take turns being cozy? This is as close a picture as you are going to get. And thank goodness it was a multicolored yarn. It covers up the mistakes. Now I am not sure I am good enough to be able to repeat the same mistakes when I make the second one. When I am smocking a geometric plate, if I skip a stitch, unless it is glaring I just repeat the same glitch all the way down the design. Now of course if it is dead center, or hugely apparent I wouldn't do that but for a run of the mill occurence, there you have it, a confession. But I have been smocking for almost 25 years. I have only knitted one sock. So my experience it a bit narrow. So here is hoping that the next one at least looks like it matches.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

In case you didn't feel inadequate enough

You know as mothers we have untold levels of self inflicted guilt. The issues range from was I loving enough?, attentive enough?, disciplined enough?, a good moral role model? etc. Now I can feel guilty because I made 270, 363 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from 1983 until 1999 while my kids were in elementary school. Made with sugar sweetened, salt adulterated peanut butter and pesticide laced apple or strawberry jelly. And for an extra treat, if cash was flush, I added a high fructose corn syrup sweetened fruit flavored box drink. And the fights that ensued over the last package of single serving cheetos were mammoth. To add to my "Worst Mother of the Year" award, I threw the packaging in the trash without recycling. Now during all those years I was hoping to get them in the car or on the bus with all of their belongings, clean enough uniforms and socks that at least looked like they matched. We won't even mention my glea when it was a "pizza day" fundraiser. Imagine my horror when I stumbled across these art gallery worthy boxed lunches.

They are called Bento. A delightly arranged and boxed lunch common in Japan.

These are from http://www.flickr.com/photos/cuteobento/. She has a blog but I am not very fluent in Japanese. Are these awesome or what? I don't think I could sling these together in 20 seconds flat, throw in a brown paper bag and pitch to the running child as they dash out the door. No wonder those Japanese children are stomping us flat in math and science. Their mothers are slaving over art made into lunch before daybreak. Well just one more thing that my children can tell the therapist when the time comes.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

There is no original thought..

Bunny of La Sewista is in the process of making what promises to be a gorgeous christening gown. I had commented on her blog last week while she was planning to pleat the fabric for a bishop gown with a lace overlay. When pleating two layers of fabric most patterns, books and instructions will tell you to baste the fabrics together and treat them as one as you send them through the pleater. This makes great sense on the surface. As sewists we want to control things. So it sounds like it will help us control the fabric. But a pleater works by sending the fabric through 3 ridged rods that look like gears and onto the needles. Much like the feed dogs on a sewing machine there is no way for the fabric layers not to shift as it goes through the "gears." And one fabric is going to feed faster than the other. By basting the fabrics together, you don't allow the fabric to move freely as it goes through the gears, and it fights against itself and the basting. causing skipped and y-pleats. Otherwise known as a hot mess. One of my son in laws would say "its a physics thing." Now understanding that statement may help his phenomenal golf game and probably makes a lot of sense to a lot of people but life science was my gig not physics. I may not understand it, I just know that it works.

The best way to pleat two layers is to roll each fabric on its own rod, put both rods through the handles, feed the fabrics in at the same time. Each fabric enters the pleater on its own. Very rarely will you not have one layer of fabric come up shorter than the other. As you pleat pay close attention to the fabric as it is enters the pleater, not the rolled fabric on the rods.

Bodice of silk organza/silk batiste christening gown.
Fabrics pleated as one.

Now in reference to the post title, before anyone bows down to my infinite wisdom and knowledge I must confess I was clued in by someone else. I sought advice from Gail Doane when I was embarking on a christening gown made from silk organza and silk batiste. Gail has been featured several times in Australian Smocking and Embroidery, Sew Beautiful and teaches for SAGA and other groups around the world. So when it comes to questions about construction, Gail is the one I ask.

That is what is great about the sewing world, we all learn from each other.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

You are loved

...and missed.

September 2, 2004

Monday, September 1, 2008

I've been found out!

It appears as if oldest daughter has found me, and linked me! Geez louise now I have to be careful of what I say about her. I think she is just stalking me because her two sisters have pictures and she doesn't. But I can fix that, and you have to always be careful what you ask for.

Age 4
First dance recital
Spring 1983


Truly though she is the apple of our eye

Age 8 months
Wearing Mommy's Christening Gown
(shown in post below as most prized possession)
and its hard to believe how grown they all are. I started sewing for her when she was just walking, but I didn't start smocking until she was about three. I don't think I still have this dress but when I think back on it, it was pretty awful. It was done with the iron on dots you pick up by hand, there was no back smocking. I didn't know about back smocking so the ruffle on the top was all sprung out. It is amazing how far you come over the years. I have taken lots of classes in recent years but for most of my sewing life I have been self taught from books. So not really too bad in the scheme of things I guess.

Flower girl
Age 4

Dress for her flower girl
Adaptation of Australian Smocking and Embroidery Snowdrop Issue #30
Sleeve and collar from AS+E Storybook Issue #66
The smocking is a bit better 20+ years later.

Blushing bride and handsome groom
Nov 11, 2006

Love you honey. Now go back to that blog of yours and clean up that language! You weren't raised that way.
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