Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014, A Very Different Year For Me

 
 This year has been better for me than many!  Yet, to hear about it, you might ask why.  To be honest, I haven't been myself for quite a while.  I know that depression is difficult to hear about as much as it is to talk about, but after eight years, I found myself feeling better than ever.  I hope that this truth gives hope to anyone who experiences the everyday drudge of depression.
     What does this have to do with sewing?  Well if you are down, it is hard to sew.  When I was struggling, I spent loads of time reading blogs instead of attempting my own projects -- probably not a healthy thing to do.  This year, however, I have been excited about my new found motivation.  I haven't blogged much and realize that is kind of selfish.  I get so much enjoyment from reading about all of the interesting projects all the awesome sewing bloggers are making, I feel that I should contribute.  Sooo, even though my resolution should be to lose all the weight I have been putting on, I am going to try to blog a little despite that fact that my photography leaves much to be desired.
Warning: this may be my longest post to date, but it is mostly pictures.
A Review of 2014
(with some unblogged pics)


 
January 

New Year's in Hawaii

The man taking our picture thought he should take another because the wind came up and grabbed my hair, but this is one of my favorite pictures. Lol!


I had a great time shopping at Vicky's.  This is Vicky's daughter.  She had a great selection and was so much fun.  I didn't buy much, and kind of regret not getting a bigger piece of the surfing Santa fabric.



February
Spent all month stressing about making the wrong decision and finally forced myself to buy new furniture before redecorating.  




March
Made my mother-in-law a fanny-pack for garage sale and re-sale shopping.
Reading month at school was a blast.  (Note to self and others: don't use a Sharpie to draw on door.  It bleeds through paper and does not come off door unless repainted. Oops!)




April
Fabulous trip to visit my daughter in New York including Idena Menzel's new musical and The Empire State Building at night!













May and June
Painted my family room and kitchen.  It was quite a big change in color.  I loved the brick red but change is good.  Notice the holes in the walls?  I finally got D to do something about all of the cords hanging out of the walls.  A big thank you to Lori from "Girls in the Garden."  She posted the same problem.  After reading her post, I gave D three choices: add some built-in shelves and doors to hide them, add on to the fire place and buy furniture to hide equipment, or hire someone to feed the wires through the walls like he promised in the first place.  He chose door number three.  YAY, NO MORE CORDS!!! We also had the wood floor refinished and got badly needed new carpeting.






July
Back to New York with the in-laws including a trip to Ellis Island.  No time for fabric shopping :(
Attended a wedding in this un-blogged about dress before I put on the weight I am currently needing to lose.  It fit except for the bust being too tight.  This pattern is OOP Simplicity 3867.  I have since given it away to someone who looks much better wearing it.  I will probably make it again now that I know a little more about where I went wrong.

Beginning of August
Quick trip to visit my parents in their summer home while they worked on the county fair.  

I painted the living room which is open and connected to the family room a darker shade of gray. Then I began making a new slipcover for my couch.  It is a slipcover couch from Jennifer Convertibles and the old fabric no longer matches the carpet.  This fabric was in my stash for about 17 years.  I forgot about it until I opened a long forgotten box in my basement.  I reused the piping, zippers, and velcro from the original slipcover.  Cushions have been recovered andI have yet to finish the cover for the frame.

Then August 6th the shit hit the fan! life became more difficult.




Southeast Michigan had the worst storm of my lifetime.  Both of our parents houses were flooded and the tree in my backyard broke and hit the house within about 30 minutes.  The streets were flooded and the roads were closed.  I couldn't get to our parents' homes.  They live about 30 miles away but within in a mile of each other.  The bucket is what the water looked like after one or two swipes of the mop.  Water came up through the drains and basement toilets.  We filled the streets with everything in the basements that couldn't be saved several times during the week.  My brothers tried to help, but my parent's house was mostly left to me because my brother's house was also flooded and my husband had to help his parents.  We were so grateful for the hurricane training we had the year before.  Mold can be nasty!


In the midst of it all we gave a 50th wedding anniversary party to my parents along with 75 of their friends and relatives.  It was one of my favorite days ever!  They took the losses to their belongings quite well when they got home and saw the damage from the flood.



September
On September 8th, my participation in the flood clean-up came to an abrupt halt when I got ready to go to church and broke my tailbone as I was coming down the stairs.  Ouch!  Fortunately, I healed enough to make it to The American Sewing Expo on the 29th.  I learned so much from Joi Mahon's class and had a fabulous time with Kyle from Vacuuming The Lawn and Lynn from You Sew Girl!





October
I spent the month trying to sit on my broken tailbone long enough to work on my cousin's wedding dress.  The bright spot was my new Bernina 350!  It runs like a dream and hemmed the dress beautifully!  What fun.  My son bought his first car.  We had given him a 2003 Pontiac Vibe.  After 280,000 miles, he decided to buy himself another one.  The new one is a 2010 model with only 29,000 miles.  He knows a good thing when he finds it.


A rare moment with both of my children!





November
The wedding day arrived and the dress was finished! We also had a blast in the unusually pleasant weather for two Thanksgiving parades.  Despite what you may hear, I love Detroit!  The car is from Green Field Village.  We had fantastic seats in front of the Detroit Historical Museum.  Isn't this last picture cute.  I caught my mom and dad holding hands as they walked around Royal Oak after the first parade - even after 50 years.




December
Had a wonderful Christmas with some great gifts pictured.  My dear friend made this gorgeous framed message board. It is magnetic and the magnets are made from buttons -- some vintage.  My daughter came home for the holidays.  She gently broke the news that she got an exciting new job.  Unfortunately, she will be moving to Shanghai for 6 months!  I said goodbye yesterday for 7 months.  Though I am thrilled for her, I am writing this marathon blog to keep my mind occupied and because I hope sewing will make the time go by quicker.

Have a wonderful New Year!  I am looking forward to another good year.





Monday, November 17, 2014

I Should Have Retired!

This fall I began working on my beautiful cousin's wedding dress.  I wasn't excited about using those rusty skills again, but I love my cousin and would do anything for her.
I have now officially retired from that line of work!  I am so happy to have been a part of her wedding, but will never alter another wedding dress.


Frankly, this one put me over the edge.  I could have made two dresses in the time it took me to take in 6 1/2 inches, hem, and bustle this dress.  I won't name names, but it came from the largest bridal chain in the country. I can't imagine why they would carry a dress that was not made to be altered



  It consisted of  a sateen strapless dress full of boning. Attached at the empire waist was another dress made of netting with numerous seams.  The lace was then sewn over the seams apparently with the feed dogs down using a minuscule stitch length.  Atop the lace was beading.  Hence, I had to remove the beaded trim around the waist, remove the beading on much of the bodice and below the waist, remove the lace from bodice and all seams involved in altering the skirt, remove the bones from the lining of the dress, take in 6 1/2 inches from the bodice tapering down at the hips, and make a sway back adjustment.  It was like removing knots!  I can't believe that I didn't rip the netting.  I sounded like a sailor at times and had to stop when I got a headache from looking at the white on white with magnified glasses.  I didn't begin the hem and bustle until 6 days before the wedding, and I had parent-teacher conferences all week! Ugh!  Sleep? What is that? I finished at 2:50 A.M. Thursday night.  The wedding was Saturday.


Funny thing is -- I would do it again! Look at that sweet face.  She is always kind and always cheerful.  My frustration with the dress is nothing compared to the joy I felt seeing her so happy.  Love you A.

P.S. I used to be a procrastinator, but that is not why I worked until the last minute.  The amount of work and a little mishap kept me from finishing.  I fell on my stairway as I was leaving for church the day of the wedding shower in September and broke my tailbone.  I doubt most sewists ever think about how important their bottom is to the hobby.  I never did.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

On My Sewing Table

Life Lesson: Procrastination = Nightmares
I learned this lesson years ago, yet I continue to relearn it every now and then.  This lovely pink ball of fluff is a prom dress with five layers with many fishline ruffles and layers of tulle attached to the top layer.  It is truly beautiful on the very sweet girl who will wear it tonight, but from the point of view of the person hemming it -- well you can imagine.  
Fortunately, I didn't have time to procrastinate as I have in the past.  She brought it to me last Thursday before I left for a weekend quilt retreat.  Monday night I began on the under-layers. No time to work on it on Tuesday.  Changed methods for the top layer Wednesday.  No time Thursday.  Worked, cleaned my classroom, finished lesson plans, set up classroom for Monday, and stayed up until 1 a.m. last night finishing the most unusual hem that I have ever done.
Ready for the prom tonight.  The lighting is not good at nine o'clock in the morning for pictures.  I took up 2 1/2 inches all the way around on the underside.  Because the ruffles are attached vertically, I had to sew between each column of ruffles staring and stopping to avoid catching the ruffle.  Normally, I would have taken it up at the waist, but the ruffles were shaped beautifully, and I would have lost the effect.  It felt so wrong to do such an unconventional hem, but I am happy with the results.  No one will ever know where it was shortened but me.   The hem can even be removed if the dress goes to her taller, younger sister.  Can't wait to see the pictures tomorrow!