Tuesday, July 15, 2014

195 and counting

My self imposed rule on my pattern stash is a limit of 200.  I have gone beyond that, and when I do, something bad kicks in.  It's like me and alcohol---> Step One says "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and our lives had become unmanageable".  With patterns the exact same thing happens.  1 pattern, 2,3,...10 new patterns and so on.  I lose track of how many I buy, if I have the fabric to make them, how my buying is impacting the projects still unfinished on my work table.

I lose the LOVE of sewing and become focused on the next pattern.

For me and patterns, it is a reflection of my insecurity in the world.  I need that pattern because what if it isn't available when I want it in the future?  I need that pattern because I don't have ...something... I need that pattern so I can control my circumstances.  Pretty deep, huh?

View A as a fleece bed jacket
So, all that being said, I joined the PR Pattern Stash contest this month.  Of all my patterns, I have about 25 which are older than 6 months and have not been used at all.  Instead of trying to win the contest (another character flaw of which I am mightily aware), I am systematically matching a need in my closet with a pattern in my stash list.  I'm also using stash fabric because...well, I'm broke!  So far I have sewed up a sexy little knit dress, a demure woven shirt jacket, and a cute skirt.  Currently I am making a bed jacket using an old Butterick pattern and some sky blue fleece.  I think it will work if I can tame the 4 layers at the shoulder seams.

S 2059 shirt jacket over a Scout 
Mr. Biblioblog and I are settling into our new home in Arizona.  We had a business meeting this morning, in which we set aside some money for landscaping and window treatments.  That will pretty much use up what is left from the sale of the Oregon home, and we will be saving monthly for other projects.  Painting can be done by us, plumbing and tile work will need to be contracted out.  I think I am going to lose out on my plans to cut out some of the cabinets in the kitchen for a pass through or window.  We jumped into this house pretty fast, and we are only now coming up for air.  The choice was right, but that does not make a move like this any easier.  Buying a pattern or 2 might ease my pain though.
S 1887 flirty skirt and new haircut

M 6724 tee shirt dress

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

hot nights

I've entered PatternReview's pattern stash contest.  This is one of those low anxiety contests in which everyone helps one another keep sewing through their old, old patterns.  I sorted my 200+ patterns and found a number I can enter into the contest.  First up is this nice tee shirt dress by McCalls:
Cute, huh?  Especially in that nautical stripe and on a slender boyish figure.  I knew that would not be what I would get.  I tend to more of a Christina Hendricks figure, without the boobs.


The McCalls pattern is really good, with options for 2 different necklines, 2 different sleeves, and gathered sides.  I am surprised it didn't get any more attention and is now out of print.  Only 4 reviews for the dress on PR!

I am a realist about my shape.  I knew I couldn't pull off a casual beach vibe, but I did know I could get some curves happening with this knit dress.  Here it is.

The neckline is a bit lower than the envelope promises, and I added a wide binding.  I also made this a sleeveless dress, as I look like a weightlifter in short sleeves.  I like this dress and will make it again in a more substantial knot.  This lycra blend requires serious attention to posture and maybe some Spanx.

Next up is a little shirt jacket using Simplicity 2059 and some deep maroon cotton blend from stash.

I am adding a cut on facing to the front center line and will probably use ties for closures.  It will be similar to Christine Jonson's Inset Jacket, but without the dropped shoulder.  I made that pattern up in April and I like the jacket but find the shoulder line unattractive on me.  This pattern will be more fitted.

It's hot here in Tucson :-) and we are waiting for the monsoons to begin.  I'm looking forward to the rain, and the greening.  The plants are pretty green right now so with more moisture it will be spectacular.  I've planted some vinca and some purple fountain grass in containers for the front patio, adding much needed color to our new home.  We drilled into the brick walls in the back and mounted 6 pieces of Mexican pottery we collected over the years.  We then planted some lantana in 3 of them.  I'll get some photos soon.  The outside is shaping up slowly, and we are enjoying ourselves.






Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What have we done?

Yesterday I stepped outside with my little terrier Nick, and nearly squashed a cockroach the size of a Volkswagon.  Good lord, it was big!
from http://www.ppdl.purdue.edu/PPDL/weeklypics/3-2-09.htmlbecause I was not going to photograph such a creature.
We continued our walk, keeping an eye out for any snakes.
As Nick and I walked up the hill toward the pool, and around the top of the development, I admired the gardens but was careful to not touch.  Every plant is potentially painful.


Whew, made it home safely and did some inside chores as the temperatures were rising and the sun very bright.  I realized that I needed to set up grain for big Nick and so after lunch, drove out to the stables to organize grain, supplements and psyllium (to ward off sand colic) into easy to feed packets for the barn workers.  When I got to the stables, it was deserted which wasn't unusual as it was 106F and the middle of the day.   The horses were all snoozing in the their stalls or under their ramadas.  Big Nick was finishing his morning chow and gave me a quiet greeting.  I did my chores, gave Nick a treat, and stopped off at the manager's house to tell Angie about the grain.  As I dipped my head under the arbor I glanced to the left and saw a hand drawn sign which said:

DANGER  BEE SWARM

I carefully backed away, and listened for any buzzing.  None...heavy sigh from me.  

I drove back to my home, which represented relative safety at that point.  

Mr. Biblioblog and I were sharing about our days, and he said "and we haven't seen everything yet".   I am not usually squeamish, but I do believe I have reached my limit.  I have yet to see centipedes, or scorpions, or tarantulas, or termites, ants, killer bees, coral snakes, rattlesnakes (well, one dead one in the road).  

The other evening Nick and I were walking through the neighborhood and he alerted me.  Tail up, absolutely still, staring in one direction as if he were a pointer.  I looked behind me and there was a coyote passing by...then another, and yet another.  Down the street they went, giving us a nod, and slipping into the wash. I'm comfortable with coyotes but do know they will take a pet if possible.  Nick knows it too!

I have been sewing and will share in my next post.  I'm on muslin #3 for McCalls 6928, a very simple top which for some reason needs lots of adjustments on me.
I am using View B and have 3 tops for riding so far (the muslins) and will be ready to use some special fabric on the next try.  It is a loose woven tee with a low hem in back.  I love the comfort it offers in the summer heat, and the ease of construction.  It is possible to make one of these tees in a few hours if you are quick with binding or baby hems.  I'll take some photos soon and write up a review of the pattern.  

In the meantime, I am keeping my eyes open for any possible danger lurking.  


Saturday, June 14, 2014

I'm 60

me and my honey at my birthday dinner last night
Dinner was at Mariscos Chihauhau on N. Grande in Tucson.  The restaurant is very casual and plain on the outside, but inside...wow!  All the walls are painted, and there is an interesting diving bell in the front.  The service was great, the food plentiful and the atmosphere very family oriented.  We had camarones culiche, and pollo culiche.  I highly recommend this little restaurant when you are in Tucson-a great place to grab lunch on your way to the Sonoran Desert Museum or University of Arizona campus.  For my sewing friends: I am wearing The Sewing Workshop Tosca dress made in a very light B/W batik.   

We shared our celebration with my friend Susan Else, who was in town teaching classes for the Tucson Quilt Guild.  Sue and I have known each other since high school, and have shared so much of our lives.  I was able to attend her lecture and take a class in Fabric Collage.  Sue is a sculptor and uses fabric to build 3D figures and scenes, some of which are mechanized.  Visit her web page-her work is so interesting!  Here is a link to one piece that is special to me: hard times

Mr. Biblioblog and Sue went to college together and are dear friends on their own too:




During the Fabric Collage class, I was able to check off some "firsts" from my list.  It was the first time I successfully appliqued, the first time I used invisible thread, and the first time I attended a quilt guild meeting.  I had a great time and left inspired to keep using the techniques.  She taught us how to collage fabric together without any seams, using zig zag and cutting away layers.  Here are some examples of the student work.  

We used multiple layers and cut away, then used the gift pieces from the cutting.  Some people added in glitzy fabric, and some stayed in one colorway.  We added cording or yarn or other embellishments near the end of the day.  




I had a lot of fun making my sample and hope I can use this technique to add in some art to my sewing :-)  Thanks to many of you for the birthday wishes on FB and email~you made my special day even nicer, 
                                                            Mary

Sunday, June 8, 2014

photo essay

We are settled in, and all the boxes are unpacked.  The truck has been fixed-we made it to within 30 miles of Tucson when a diesel line broke and sprayed fuel all over the engine and the fuel dripped, smoking, along the freeway.  Our welcome to Tucson involved a firetruck.

The movers only broke a few things.  It's okay, I like a rustic style.






Furniture has been arranged in probationary ways...I think I like what I see, but will know for sure once all the art is on the walls.


My sewing room is in the master bedroom, and we are sleeping in the guest room.  This just makes more sense to us.  We only use the bedroom for sleep (hmm) and the other room is so much bigger. I love my sewing room.  The light is great, and I can hear the birds as I work on my projects.  The room has a walk in closet which I'm using for my clothing.  It is so spacious!  I call it the princess closet.


 I have organized ALL my stash into a hall closet.  This little space now contains all my patterns, all my fabric, all my art supplies.  LOVE the space in this newish home.  In the photo below you can see only one part of a shelf.  There are 5 shelves in this closet, which opens with accordion doors.  I have binders for pattern envelopes and notes, boxes for the tissue patterns, a tackle box for hardware and buttons, and of course, my fabric stash.  You can see that some of the fabrics are nested together with ribbon...these are coordinating fabrics for future projects.

I have been sewing the last few days, and finished a Tosca dress using some loved B/W batik.  For those of you unfamiliar with this pattern, it is a cool little dress, but has the deepest armholes ever.  I left them deep this time to see if they would be cooler in the desert heat.  The only change I made to the pattern was to hem it in a straight hem, not using the band provided.  I chose to be conservative here because the armholes are such a strong design feature, and my fabric is a standout B/W print.            
The cowl forms as the "collar" drapes toward the bustline.  I used interfacing here and the collar and cowl have lots of structure.

The length is above the knee and I will wear this as a dress, and also a tunic.  Look at the deep armholes-I like them.  I bought some little cotton tees to wear underneath.


~~my first garden addition~~


so nice to be back here, Mary