Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sandy Still Requires Attention!!!

 I hope you will read on to get to the sewing part of this post!
Ashokan Resevoir
     I have just been to the mountain-top, metaphorically and literally.  Two weeks in the state of New York, how lucky am I?  First a visit to the Catskill Mountains for a family baby shower, next down to Brooklyn for a week including a day in Manhattan, then back to the mountains to spend more time with relatives.
Though the mountains were beautiful and the relatives lovable, I will always be grateful for the spiritual experience in Brooklyn.  I am fortunate to attend a truly faithful church with a pastor who has a passion for missions.  We decided to donate half of what we would normally have spent on Christmas gifts this year to the victims of Hurricane Sandy in Staten Island, then organized a group in coordination with UMCOR to be trained and work on storm relief in Brooklyn.  There is still soooo much to be done.  When I told friends that I would be leaving, some said, "What hurricane?"  How quickly we forget about the catastrophes in other places.  Another acquaintance said something about that being a noble thing to do.  The truth is, I don't agree.  I got to feel useful and to be a part of God's plan.  In fact, the time I spent with the beautiful Ms. M was a gift to me.

    Okay, so what does this have to do with sewing?  Well, after the first day of mudding, sanding, painting, and planning for tile work; we went back to our host church for the evening.  During the dinner conversation, my awesome hubby said something to me about how Ms. M had been a seamstress -- assuming that I had heard that conversation.  She told me that she lost almost everything and I saw the damage, but I couldn't sleep that night wondering and wanting to ask her if her sewing machine was lost too.  Then I began to think about this crazy day a few weeks earlier when I found an incredible White at a garage sale for $30!  I had three thoughts of what I might do with it but hadn't committed to any of them.  I now knew why.  
I thought about giving it to my niece or my mother -- or keeping it to travel back and forth when needed so "Bernice" my Bernina doesn't get roughed up.
     When we got to her home the following day, I could hardly contain myself, but I didn't want to overwhelm her anymore than she already was.  I took her aside and told her that I hadn't been part of the conversation about her seamstress skills and that I was a bridal seamstress before I began teaching.  We connected on a new level immediately.  I asked her about her machine and was floored by her answer.  Unfortunately, her machine had stopped working before the storm, so she borrowed one from a friend.  They were both destroyed in the flooding.  She bought a new one for her friend to replace the one she borrowed but didn't have one for herself.  I melted. (I am very emotional and sorry this is so wordy.)  
     Beware: the world is going to get even smaller now.  Out of the blue, my 27-year-old daughter K decided to move to Brooklyn about a month before our trip.  Therefore, I will be returning with the White and some fabric from my stash this month when we move my sweet little girl/best friend and all of her possessions.  I don't believe that any of this was coincidence.  
K with her wristlet.  She doesn't look upset that the lining with credit card pockets is upside down.
     Ms. M is an amazing woman, and that machine will be put to good use.  I wonder how many other fellow sewists have lost what many of us in this blogging community hold so dear.  I don't think I can ever pass up a decent machine at a yard sale now.  However, finding those in need will be a challenge.
     For those of you who might be interested in the devastation, here are a few details that I learned.  
  • The water rose so quickly in the homes that are slightly below street level, or in basements that people trying to get things out had to escape through windows.
  • The only items that can be salvaged are made from solid materials.  But even then, they may be warped or rusted.
  • The relief stage of removing damaged and moldy materials from the homes is just now coming to a close.  Many people have not been able to live in their homes.
  • The people who were affected are still working very hard to recover from the damage.  
  • Some repairs were done before everything was cleaned properly and mold is growing behind walls that will have to be redone.
  • Some businesses will not be able to recover at all.
  • The damage is not visible at this stage from the outside of the homes, but many people are without walls and staying in less than comfortable accommodations. (Imagine doing your dishes in a laundry tub and bathing in a bathroom without the bottom four feet of wall.)
  • Money is often tied up so people are still waiting to begin repairs.
  • The area was hit with another damaging storm a month later, then an extremely snowy winter, and two more difficult storms after the snow melted.  There are some who had to start over several times due to the continual bad weather.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wrapping Up Loose Ends

     This summer has been productive yet a bit overwhelming.  I have decided to become very self-disciplined about my hobbies.  Cleaning out my sewing room in order to make it a room in which to actually sew has been quite the reality check.  
     The reality is that I purchase new patterns and fabric because of the current trends .  Then I feel guilty about all of the projects I have started but never finished and put off the new projects.  I tell myself I can work on them as soon as I finish the old ones.  Truth is -- that will not be happening in this lifetime.  I am going to change my whole philosophy -- determine what I am most excited to work on and make it NOW.
     How do you get rid of perfectly good fabric with no purpose in mind?  Do you donate it, give it to someone who also may not know what to do with it, or just keep it like I do?
     Well, to wrap up another loose end, here is a picture I meant to post when I lost my camera. (Still not found)  This is the pajama top I made to go with the pants during Karen's first Pyjama challenge a year ago.

I have worn these pajamas more than any other because they are soooo cool in the summer.  The fabric is lawn by Lisette.  I had to iron the top for the picture but it is a fabulous fabric.  The thin cotton makes sleeping at my parents lake house endurable.  McCalls 6249 is a simple make and I will definitely use this pattern again - soon to use up some of my stash!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

My First Quilt!

     This summer is about finishing UFOs and depleting my stash enough to get into my sewing room.  It is ridiculous to think that I finally have a sewing room but can not use it because I have too much stuff.  Isn't that hoarding?
     On the bright side of this issue, I am working like mad to get in there, and I have finished something I am very excited about.
     I started this after completing two quilt tops.  I was afraid that I would have difficulty with my machine while trying to quilt, so I made a small practice quilt.  This will probably go to a grandchild if I ever have one.  I started with 12 inch nine patch blocks and cut them with the rotary cutter down and across the middle.  Then, I turned the blocks to create a new design.  It was a lot of fun.  (I also like puzzles.)
     I love the way you can see a new design each time you look at a quilt depending on the area or color of your focus. 

       I learned a lot about myself through this project.  I always knew that I liked things simple, but I am okay with the fact that the woman at the quilt store thought my choice of only two fabrics was boring.  I like to see the pattern and the quilting.  I have more color in one of my quilt tops, but I enjoy the lines in the garments I sew and the simplicity of this quilt.  My wedding dress didn't have any lace, but the cut and design was beautiful.  

     The backing has more color.  I love to turn it over and see the quilting on the back.  Can you tell how excited I am about this project?  I have decided to machine quilt one of my finished tops similarly to the way I did this one.  The other I will send out to have stippling done.  I was inspired to by Lori's Escapade quilt over at "Girls in the Garden."  What a beautiful design!
     Not all of my UFOs have been so much fun.  I just finished two large totes today that I started 18 years ago.  Luckily I still hoarded had a completed make to look at.  It is difficult enough to walk away from a project and come back to it, but after 18 years my memory gets a little fuzzy.

Friday, June 28, 2013

I Missed You Mojo!

I am elated to have finally found my sewing mojo again.  Unfortunately, due to some sad situations in my life, I lost it for maybe two years.  Though not gone, some of the difficulties have gotten better.  Thankfully, I feel the joy I once did when I hear the purr of my machine (Bernadette.)  Look what she and the machine I bought for my nieces to use at my parent's lake house (Monty) helped me create!
Five Wristlet Purses
 I am keeping two and using the rest for gifts.  I got the pattern during a quilting shop-hop.  The one on the bottom came in a kit.  You can find it here.  I liked it, but I thought I might like a little more room and added an inch to the depth.  I love to use wristlets when bargain hunting and sight-seeing.  Warning: they are easy to lose if not kept on your wrist!  I lost one once in Taco Bell when I set it down to put a lid on my drink.  Fortunately, I didn't have much in it.  The worst part was that it was the best DL picture I have ever taken.

 This is my favorite one.  I love this fabric!  It is missing a strap because I am still unpacking.  I three two packs of clips at JoAnn's for only 50 cents.  The D rings actually cost more than the clips.

My daughter loves hers too.  She chose the fat quarter two years ago, so this was unexpected but perfectly her.  In my hurry to finish before she got home, I sewed the lining in upside down.  The inside lining has great pockets for gift cards, credit cards, or your license.

I made the first two while visiting my parents, then came home and made three more today.  They are nice and quick if you don't put the lining in upside down.  I might have been even faster if I didn't have to maneuver around my protector.  It was raining, and he likes to sit with me during the thunder and lightning.
Isn't that the sweetest face.
It is fun to choose the fabrics.  I used fat quarters from the quilt stores I visited during the shop hop.

Lastly, this is the end of the season for my dogwood tree.  Thought I would share what makes me smile.  It was incredibly full this year.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Me (20 pounds lighter) Made

     I haven't posted in a very long time.  As the school year comes to a close, I hope to have some time to sew.  Starting each morning with the frustrating task of finding something to wear has motivated me to get busy.  I need a new wardrobe thanks to Weight Watchers.  It is an exciting place to be yet a bit overwhelming.  So many fabrics, so many choices!  The practical side of me says, "Just alter the clothes you have."  Hopefully, the impractical side will get motivated to sew go crazy and tear into my stash the day I say farewell to my kiddos.
     This morning, while trying to get ready for church, I came across this dress that I made about two years ago from Vogue 8351.  I was never able to wear it because it was too tight.  Rushing to get something made, I didn't bother to fit the pattern correctly because it was stretchy.  My bumps and bulges didn't look so great in the cotton Spandex, so I put it in the back of my closet and forgot about it until this morning.
     Sorry about the quality of the pictures.  I couldn't find my camera, so D took these with our Ipad. He is not a natural photographer, however, I appreciate his willingness to help.  With the wind blowing in my face, I don't look very excited, but I love this dress.  It is incredibly comfortable and the print from JoAnn Fabrics is really me.  I love geometric patterns.  
     I will definitely make this again now that I don't have to carry around the spare tire.  The short-sleeved version will be great to wear this summer hemmed just above the knee.  I really enjoy working with knits.
     This pattern was very easy.  I made it before I bought my coverstitch machine, so the hem will be even simpler.  I will probably make an adjustment to the front neckline.  The front bodice is self lined because it is made from one folded piece.  It shows more cleavage than I care to reveal when the cowl is not laying just right.