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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Something Old

This old towel once had the sole purpose to dry my hair. It was pretty with tiny red flowers in little bouquets which you can almost see. Tiny green stems and leaves. I had only one towel like this. I never bought sets of things. I still don't. It was a simple towel, not hugely thick like everyone covets today. It was thin and perfect for my hair. You can still see the manufacturer's tag. It surprises me because I loathe those things and always cut them off. But for some reason, I never cut this one off. Very very odd.

How old can it be? Maybe 25 years old? I have had this for so long. So long.....

How did it make the trip to Oregon? I just don't remember taking certain things with me. My trip here is rather a blur I am afraid.

Now, this precious towel is threadbare, cut in two, and used as a rag. Every time I wash it I think, time to throw it out. And still, there it is. I just can't seem to do that. I can't seem to live without it.

You are laughing at me. Can't live without a rag. But this is no ordinary rag. It has been through "the years" with me. No, I am not parting with it just yet.......

New Children

After spending three weeks under complete pressure working on the garments for the International Textile Expo, it was quite a delightful change to do some children's things. I was given the white eyelet fabric and the pattern. So I went out in search of the colors. The pattern highlighted the colors as usual, in pinks. Well, I get tired of pink when it comes to little girls. So I went orange. It is absolutely adorable. What I object to though, is that this is a three page pattern with only measurements. No paper pattern to cut out and place on the fabric. Cut a piece of fabric 14 x 28 inches etc. The pattern is badly photocopied. And it cost $10.95!!! Not good. I just realized this at the end of today when marketing brought me the pattern because she was through with her end of it. I am going to check out the other patterns in this line as see if they are all like this. Because if they are, customers are going to complain about the price vs. the quality.

But it is a cute piece that anyone can make. You have to admit.

The powers that be are going through the warehouse shelves and pulling bolts of fabric that we have an abundance of and giving them to me to work up. They know that whatever I do sells fabric. This is a panel. Just as it is. I didn't even have to put a border on it. Below is the coordinating fabric. Cut by the yard. So I carefully cut it to match the top and then had to figure out how to put a batting in it. I know most quilters don't like to use the spray adhesive but for the store I make just simple little quilts and they don't want me to take the time to baste the quilt and do all the typical stitching that a good quilt involves. So what I did was to cut the backing the right size, I sprayed it to the batting, and then cut that to the right size. Then I sprayed and applied the front fabric. Then I basted all around. I found this red fabric that had little dots in it of all the colors in the quilt. I used that to bind the quilt. When you are creating a display, it has to stick out. The red made that happen. Hanging in the store, that red border is attracting to the eye. Of course, no matter what. I always hand stitch my bindings.

It ended up looking very good for not having to spend a moment piecing anything. I did do some stitching in the ditch on the top lines. But that didn't take long, not for me anyway. I used a walking foot which makes everything so much simpler. Quilters really have things under control.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Time For A Bath

First of all, I have to say that, although a popular style of shower and bath control, I just loathe this type. It is very very difficult to control the temperature of the water . AND, it does not allow you to control the flow of the water as it comes out of the shower head. There is only one strength and that is that. Now I am supposed to be living in one of the more expensive units so you would think that things like this would be more upscale. But they did not spend any extra money on this sort of thing. It is like the kitchen sink. There is no spray nozzle. Just the faucet. Can you imagine a sink in this day and age without a sprayer? I mean, stupid.

But I really love this apartment. It is very quiet and very very private. My neighbors are so quiet and out of site I might as well be living in a house all by itself. I never hear cars, or sirens, or planes. Just peace and quiet.

So I am not really complaining. Just a little tiny little little bit....

I have not showered my plants all winter. I usually like to do this every month or two. So, tonight I have done this. Each one goes into the tub, gets a nice luke warm shower and them is allowed to drip dry to a certain point before going back to its dish. When did these plants get so big! This fern was in a small four inch pot two years ago. This tiny little thing. It doesn't get any sun, nutrients twice a year, a little air in the warm months. It just loves being here! It sits on my sewing table and absorbs the vibrations of my sewing machines and the view of the neighborhood which never changes. It watches the rain fall and the wind passing through the trees. It loves it. It thrives. Nice.

I have had this one of four or five years? I think I had it two years befor I moved in here. So Maybe four years? In all of those years it has always - always had flowers. It came to me very small and I have re-potted it twice. It is desperate for a new pot. It is way too full I think. And even at that it flowers. Sometimes the flowers are huge and sometimes small. I am always primping this one, removing yellowed leaves and having conversations with it. It sits behind my sewing machine to the left of the above fern. Again, a happy peaceful plant.

This one. Sorry it is a bit blurry. This one comes from a terrarium I have . I needed to weed it out. It was just a tiny little sprig of a fern. I put it in this pot and look. Within almost a year's time, it has grown into a full plant. It not only is full grown on its own, but it grows this little offsprings on its leaves. It is an incredible fern. I love ferns. If I lived near a forest, I would be growing in the house lots of mosses and ferns because there is so much out there to admire.

You can't really see the largesse of this one, but it is huge. Almost a floor plant. Again, when did this get so big!!! I remember when I got it, it was so small. I think I got it at the grocery store for maybe $5. And now it takes up half a window. It has so much strength and life. It has an incredible presence that always lifts my spirits when I look at it. Denise gave me these little turtle sculptures and one of them is int his pot. They belong together, the turtle looks so happy to be there. In this picture, the pot looks small. In real like, that pot is 9 inches high and 7 inches wide. I would re-pot it, but it shows no sign of strangulation. So I am not sure it really wants a new pot.

I do have a terrarium and an orchid. The orchid just came out of bloom and the terrarium need weeding. Maybe next week I will take care of those. the weather is not right for now. The orchid has bloomed four times for me in the past two years and we have this understanding. I have a sense with it. It is not the right time to disturb it. So I will wait another three weeks or four.

I love indoor gardens and if I were very rich and lived in a huge house, I would have indoor gardens in every room. Very specific gardens, ones that matched each room. And a fish tank. And a bird cage.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ice cream smoothie

I am in the middle of my lunch today. It is a busy day at the store. We are having our monthly big sale. The store is a mad house and the employees are particularly stupid during these two days.

Beth, my angel, comes into my sewing room in all her grace and plunks down next to me a chocolate/coffee smoothie from McDonalds. I take one look at it and find myself thrilled to have the treat. She is such a dear. I quickly figure out how to suck the stuff up through the straw and within minutes, I have consumed practically the whole thing. Yum. So tasty.

Yum. OK. It is time for me to go back to the floor and get back to giving breaks to the cashiers. I stand up and BAM I hit a brick wall. Lactose intolerant!!! For nearly a half hour I can't move. I make it out of my room as far as the entrance to the lunchroom. And I have to sit again. I just sat there. I could only move my eyes. No one said a thing. I just sat there. No one ever sees me sit in the lunchroom. Ever. But there I was, immobile. No one said a word. So Strange.

Finally, I was able to get up and make my way into the store and back to work. Luckily, I was not missed because during these sales, I am not the only one doing what I do. I just look at the list and take care of the next person, being one of several who look at the list and take care of the next person.

Lesson learned? I talked to Beth. I told her that the next time she brought me a smoothie, to emphasize that I go at it slowly over the course of the day instead of all at once. That way I won't get sick. She offered to get me a smaller one. What is she - nuts? It is not about size. It is about speed. Take it slow, in small amounts. I just need to be reminded.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Jody's Shawl

This is a basket weave design and is 106 inches long, almost 3 yards, and 21 inches wide. Very heavy. This is the type of shawl that wraps around you on a cold evening, and it just doesn't fall off. And it will keep you warm on a walk when a heavy winter coat is too much.

As you can see, there are lots of colors. Most of the color is in small amounts. The green is the base color. I have to admit that I am sitting here thinking - ooooo I would love to wear this~~~

But I made it for my friend for the cold upstate New York weather. It is late in the season, but still, there are cold weeks ahead and many more years ahead.

It was fun to make, but then, all knitting is fun to work.

Love you Jody.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


These are some of the things I am learning to work with for when it comes time to hand piece my quilt. To the left are the pins that are made from piano wire. Very very thin. So thin that they do not leave a hole behind when removed from the fabric. I will leave that to another posting.

The green thread is Aurifil from Italy which is supposed to be a superior thread for hand quilting. It is very smooth. No twisting at all. A little pricey, but how much does it take? Jody, would you like me to send you some?

What you can't see and will be for a future posting is the sewing needle which is a "Black Gold Needle made by the Clover Company of Japan. It's a size 10, about 1 & 1/4 inch long which is very short for me. Very very thin, ultra smooth - "specially polished with black plating", the label says. I like them. Unfortunately, we no longer carry them at the store. I am going to have to see if we can re-stock them. Sometimes I can get our lovely Georgia who purchases these things, to re-order discontinued items, especially if I intend to sell them up to customers.

Then there are the thimbles. These are only four of the many I have tried. There are rubber ones, and plastic ones and the shapes of metal ones are limitless. Upper right is a leather one used in the Japanese Sashiko embroidery. Lower left is my newest. Each one, truthfully is a struggle.

So here I am tonight, once again practicing and re-reading the book, when, looking at the picture, I realize she is wearing the thimble on the third finger, not the ring finger. So, here I go again, re-learning. It was never comfortable on my ring finger. Maybe it will be better on my third finger.

The intrigue of being a student. I washed my kitchen floor, cooked some fish in a rich miso broth and fresh herbs; and now I sit. It is three in the morning and I have a good two hours to work on this.

So peaceful.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I think what it has been for me for just about all of my life, is that I have never had the type of girlfriend with whom I have ever shared rituals with. Makeup, Hair-do's. Manicures, pedicures. I have never spent time shopping, just seeing what there is out there for girls who then turn into women.

Having been so large during such an important time of my life, I missed all of those things and secretly suffered for it. So, I never put an emphasis on femininity. I chose to be simply me however anyone chose to perceive that.

So now, the simple discovery of a facial wash makes me feel feminine because it IS feminine. A friend of mine three weeks ago, gave me a ruby ring. Tiny, gold. I wear it on my ring finger and I keep staring at it because it IS tiny and it makes my hand look so feminine. I feel like I am just recently discovering, at the age of 61, my girlishness, womanishness.

There are people in my life who are telling me that they have always thought me feminine. I am curious. I have been unaware. Is it just that I have never thought about myself as feminine. Maybe I just took myself so much for granted that my attention was just naturally drawn to what was in front of me rather than what was looking back at me in the mirror. I did spend a lot of years not looking in the mirror at all.

OK. So now I am trying new things. Like learning a new sewing technique that I already know but now differently. Making everything new. It is an interesting time of my life.

Trying new things, being new.

The facts

Two truths:

I gave up jogging for my health when my thighs kept rubbing together and setting fire to my panties.

Skinny people irritate me! Especially when they say things like ..."You know, sometimes I forget to eat!"
Now, I've forgotten my address, my mother's maiden name, my keys. But I have NEVER forgotten to eat.

You have to be a special kind of stupid to forget to eat!

Just a laugh for today.

Because this was not my greatest day.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Camera case

When I first got my camera I immediately made a case for it. So, this weekend I was looking for it and couldn't find it anywhere. I hate that when that happens. You just know that as soon as you replace it, the old one will show up, eh!

So I whipped up this cute little case in about three minutes. The ribbon winds around the beautiful button. that's the closure. It is just a tiny piece of fabric left over from a project from the store. I rarely bring home anything from those projects, but I couldn't resist this little piece.

So I am sitting here trying to take a picture of this and I look up. What do you think I see? There on the shelving next to the iron is the first case I made. .....

Dress Two

The fabric is a leopard charmeuse. You can see the beasts peeking through the fronds of palm leaves. There is a lot of piecing in this dress and opportunities to detail aspects of the fabric without being too tacky.

I love how the cap of the sleeves are pleated and then let loose and ending in a tiny band. It would have been over the edge if the sleeve was just gathered at the top. This style made the dress a little more sophisticated being that there is so much gathering in the front and back.

This is the back. There are actually two bands of elastic in this gathering making is comfortable for the body that is fuller to wear. Very thoughtful.

The front detail is all gathered. I used a black charmeuse to make the 1/8th inch piping. The bust gets gathered into the flat top band. There is a slightly gathered middle band. And then a flat lower band from which the skirt is gathered.

What you can't see is that the hem is a shirt-tailed hem which I managed to pull of pretty well. Another point I like about this dress is that there is no fullness on thge sides making is very slimming. This dress could be made in any type of fabric from cottons to silks. Just a great pattern.

Las Vegas Again

It's time again for the International Textile Expo. At least, that is what I think I am sewing for. I am always left in the dark. One day I am working away on all my projects and then the next I am called in and given a pile of fabrics with the directive - Logantex. Logantex is the manufacturer of the fabrics and they are showing their lines and i am to make their model garments. I love doing this but I have two issues:
1 - always last minute
2 - the most boring fabrics

So Julie picked this pattern for this blue knit fabric called "Sophia".
The front is absolutely lovely.

The back has one small issue. I am sure I can correct it, but I have three more outfits to work on first. What you are seeing as a navy trim is actually a black lingerie elastic that is perfect for this dress. It wraps over the edge of the knit and provides a tiny loop on the upper edge. You would never know it was meant for panties.

It looks all crooked here but it just doesn't fit the mannequin well. This is not a very good picture now that I look at it closely. It really looks better in real life. It just needs a little tweeking. It is not a style that appeals to everyone. It is very today, young, and you have to be able to wear dresses without a bra, I think. I have to keep remembering that I can't just make things that I adore.