Thursday, November 28, 2019


In these trying times, I am so grateful to the press for shining their light into the darkness of corrupt actions by those in positions of power.  What would we do without a free press?

I am grateful for the chance to vote, both for local leaders and national ones.  Vote!

My retirement continues to be a time in which my true self emerges and I love following my interests.  

My marriage means so much to me and I cannot imagine how different life would be without the love we share.  You are my sweetheart, Ross. 

                                Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Why blog?

There is nothing worse than having to do something creative when given a deadline.  Even a self-imposed deadline.  

I got out of the habit of reviewing my sewing, and when that started, I also stopped sharing most of my sewing projects on other platforms.  As time went on, I couldn't convince myself of any of the benefits of writing a pattern review, or photographing a garment, or sharing a project here or on Instagram or Facebook.  

For awhile, I was happy to be all by myself in my sewing room.  I planned a project, I sewed it, and then I wore it.  After a time, I realized some things.  One, my work was suffering because I knew I was not going to analyze my work, much less photograph and publish it.  Two, I was losing some creativity because I was not feeding that part of the process.  Finally, I realized I was lonely for the community.  

So, why blog?  If you ask that question of Google, you will get a lot of information on how to build a blog following.  Oh God, just kill me now. 😱  That is the farthest thing from success in my little blog world.  What I do know is that there are many ways to share projects, and each has benefits.  Blogging allows me to ramble, think aloud, and to just have a brag session from time to time.  

Above is V1395 in a cotton voile from Fabric Mart.  The dress is very blousy with ties as part of the back overlay.  It is an interesting pattern to sew and a pretty dress.  The style works best on a rectangle figure type, in my opinion.  I am not that; I am curvy with the usual age-related changes.  Pattern review here.

Below is B5997. a very popular tunic pattern with loads of options.  I LOVE this pattern-someone please remind me to trace it or interface the tissue.  I've made it many times and always am pleased.  This was made for riding.  Tomorrow we have a group ride going out at 7:15 am-this plus a light jacket will be perfect in the chill of the desert morning.  Pattern review click here
Thanks for reading! Mary

Friday, July 26, 2019

Summer sews

I have lately been focusing on adding feminine elements to my wardrobe and also keeping Estee Lauder in business.  My recent clothing makes and purchases have been decidedly fun-lipsticks, fancy jacquards, glittery and striped linens, embroidered jeans.  I am feeling GOOD, healthy and strong and want my outsides to match that feeling.
I still struggle with pain and range of motion but am walking, swimming, riding and working around the house and yard.  Avoid at all costs falling off your horse or bike or a ladder at an advanced age!  

To celebrate this improvement, I made a dress.  It is a sheath dress, but with a button placket.  I used a rayon/linen blend in a warm paprika color, an impulse purchase for sure as this color is not in my closet at all.  While I love the color, the fabric itself is a bit too soft for the dress.  I know I'll make this again and use a more tightly woven fabric.  The pattern is M7944, a wonderful pattern for those learning to sew.  McCall's did a good job with this approach to a basic dress.  
This pattern includes basic instructions in a one-page introduction to sewing this pattern. There is information on supplies needed, size and pattern pieces, explanations of markings, how to adjust the length, how to layout the pattern, and transferring the markings. Each of these topics is discussed within its own text box.

I like the neckline, the front and back darts as well as bust darts, and the button placket.  The length as drafted is a little short and so I added 2 inches.  I am 5'2".  


The armholes are good, with no bra showing. 

Channeling my inner Marilyn Monroe :-)
Other projects have been a skirt and 2 tops using the following patterns: skirt from B6463, white top from Cutting Line Designs (My Heart's A'Flutter), navy top from Christine Jonson V-neck Tee.

The white linen top has become a coordinate for jeans as it is boxy as sewn.  The skirt is much loved, as is the navy tee shown below.  

This is what is on my table right now, using some pretty floral voile.  (V1395)  What are you sewing?

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Hot summer reads

Here is a sampling of what I have been reading.  Some are keepers and others? Well, they are entertaining.

First, I am currently staying up late reading The Farm by Joanne Ramos.  If The Handmaid's Tale caught your interest, you will find this novel thought-provoking.

Also taking up space on my Kindle is Before the Rain Falls by Camille Di Maio.  The story follows a woman recently released from prison, where she served a sentence for murdering her sister.  Did she do it?  Somehow, I think she was unfairly accused :-).

On a serious note, this title was recommended to me and others on a forum.  We were discussing resolutions and goals, and of course, improved mental health.  I have started it, but it deserves quiet study and I have yet to give it much attention.  It is good and contains both scientific background and helpful information as well as ways to improve one's mood.
The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time by Alex Korb
As always, I keep art and craft references close at hand.  Two books which are providing me some spark are Stitch Stories: Personal Places, Spaces, and Traces in Textile Art by Cas Holmes and Slow Stitch: Mindful and Contemplative Textile Art by Claire Wellesley-Smith.  Both are beautiful and rich with detail and inspiration.  

What is on your nightstand or on your reader?  I am always looking for titles to add to my list.  
Tanque Verde Ranch, on the east side of Tucson
Wonderful place to visit, have lunch or stay on vacation.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019



 Join me in the cabin at Mabel Dodge Luhan House, built many years ago, but still very comfortable. 

I was in Taos for a Design Outside the Lines retreat, led by Diane Erickson with guest teacher Bettina Matzkuhn. 

Diane designs both patterns and stencils and is a gifted teacher as well as an incredible artist. She is published in Threads, Vogue Patterns, Craft Stylish and Sew News.  Her work can be seen on her website  Diane Ericson-Design Outside the Lines.

 Bettina is a textile artist based in VancouverBCShe stitches stories and maps using embroidery stitches, paint and collage, with a  grounding in ecology, meteorology, and geology. Her website can be found here Bettina Matzkuhn                 

We spent a week playing in the studio, painting fabric, stenciling, doing slow stitch, looking at Diane's gorgeous designs, and watching wonderful slide shows of Bettina's work.  One of the fantastic parts of the week for me was seeing Bettina's maps, which are gloriously detailed and quite whimsical. 

Diane continues to inspire me, for her ability to see possibilities with almost any piece of cloth.  Her approach to draping is so intuitive and free-I admire her fearlessness!

Here are some pics of some of my works in progress from Taos.  I am assembling a book with pages of combined paper collage and fabric.  I'm still working out how best to marry these 2 textures and if indeed I really want to!  

Collage-paper on muslin with acrylic paint 


Painted linen with collaged frame

Painted landscape on linen with collaged elements and stitching


In sewing news, I have lots to share: a linen top with stenciled designs, a linen shirtdress which is sure to be a favorite, and a new riding top using quilting cotton (oh, the horror!).  :-)  Stay tuned and I'll get those pics up in a day or so.  Let me leave you with a pretty picture of the Rio Grande--->