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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Making Toys

I just love this horse. The green horse was the first and I thought maybe the body was too thin and so I thickened it in the purple one. The horse is 7 inches high.

So it looks really good. I didn't trim the hair neatly. It's a toy not a showpiece. I like the irregularity of it and children just want to hold these. I made this color for a boy.

So this is the original, thinner one. In the end, I liked this one better. So when I create the pattern I will include both so people can have a choice. It is just as cute as can be. Any little girl would love this I believe.

This is the elephant. Three pieces. Front, back, and ear which is sewn in between the first two. This is for a boy. It is 6 inches high and has a braided yarn tail. I found some really cheap yarn online and ordered some basic colors. Really cheap. This will allow me to make hair and tails when I need to. Yarn can be expensive and I don't have any leftovers suitable for these projects.

This is the little girls version. You can see that I top stitched the ears and then I stitched in a heart. When I created the ear I layered it with a piece of thin batting. You can almost see the heart in the boy version. I am wondering if I should make them bigger. But if I do, then will the toys be able to be made with scraps. I am not an accomplished quilter and so do not have quilting cottons readily available to me. So far, I have designed these to fit the possible scraps a quilter might have. And Fat Quarters. These cottons came from my one of my sisters who made a series of scrubs for my little sister. I have quite a bit to work with. But does one ever have enough?

I can just imagine the children's thin tiny arms clutching these toys while getting their treatments and being so happy to have them. That is my vision.


These are my sewing and serger threads that I collected when I had my business in NH. They are Guterman threads when Guterman was a great thread. It is so wonderful to never have to go to the store to find a thread. There is really thin pickings in this area. I was appalled. Now I don't have to worry. And this is only one collection. I have a huge collection of silk threads, and threads you can't find in stores, all that I got wholesale. I haven't taken them out of storage yet. Those will come out in the spring when I move into a better apartment.

You can't buy threads like this unless you go to a supplier. They are all 1,000 yard spools as you can see on little cardboard cores. I got them for $2.69 a spool wholesale. Having a business gives one access to so much. There are about 350 spools here. Envy...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sister's Glasses

I am just not very photogenic am I? I am sure you remember this picture because my sister Denise wanted to see my new glasses. So this is what I sent.

So she sent me off this picture of her glasses. Twins again! When we are together people always say we look alike. I don't see it. She is so pretty. The closest I have ever come to blond is this grey. But isn't it funny how we ended up with the same glasses? And all while I was sick recently, she was sick too, three thousand miles away. We have always been close even when we are apart.


One of the things I love when I am dressmaking is the challenge of making points. Excuse the fact that this is not on a mannequin. I am currently without one.

This dress had 51 cuts of fabric between the fabric, lining and interfacing. So just cutting took over three hours. Then almost every line of stitching was top stitched. The instructions wanted me to make 1/4 inch top stitching. But I don't like Jeans top stitching, so I always go for the barely 1/8 inch stitching. It is more elegant. I struggled with the pockets because they didn't lay flat on the skirt until I realized that they were designed this way.

This is the zipper. Zippers always intimidate people. But I love them. For the most part, I always get the sides to meet on the first try. I don't like undoing and re-setting a zippers. So I try to make sure I get it right on the first try. This one went in smoothly even though I had a lot of meeting points.

This is the side seam. So you can see that all of your seams have to be stitched the same otherwise they just don't join properly. The top stitching is done at the time of the stitching of the seams. So even the top stitching has to be the same. I am sure this dress is going to look great on the mannequin especially if they put bra cups in the bust. It will need bra cups.


Over the years my sister Suzanne has collected some lovely Asian art. This is a tiny fabric piece that is so beautifully woven. I can only imagine it was woven specifically for this purpose. It is stretched over a cut piece of a thin piece of wood or fiber board.

Other ones like the red. It gives me all kinds of possibilities when it comes to displaying some focal areas of my collection of kimonos in order not to lose the intensity of the art of the weave and the painting of the fabrics. And also, I noted that the frames are not ornate. They are simple.

For two or three years I created these rice paper calendars that I hand printed each month. Each page had a thin paper upon which I placed a cut piece of hand made paper and a clipping of vintage kimono silk. It was my hope that these pages could be turned into cards or some sort of art work such as this. I think Suzanne did a lovely job with these nine months.

I have admired moss for years. I have never seen it grown like this. Simple pieces placed in a lovely dish and just kept moist. I am now looking for a dish of my own so I can grow some just like this. I love the contrast of the blue and vibrant green. The simplicity of it. Just beautiful.

I was drawn to this first by the bowl. And when I saw it up close, I saw that it was just a few tiny plants set in an incredible old dish. Suzanne is a genius.

Mom's Birthday

Whether she likes it or not, Mom gets a birthday every year. Now, we all really know that she loves the attention, but she will never admit it. And I am told that she does not like to have her picture taken unless she has a piece of chocolate in her mouth or some ice cream. So this is the closest out of all the pictures I took that looks like a smile. It is her 87th birthday.

This is Hyrum who I had not met. Melanie's youngest son. I had seen hundreds, hundreds of pictures of him running through the house, captain of his universe, in and out of diapers, posing as little boys do, making sure that any even tiny little space he occupied was the most exciting place to be. But it has been awhile since I have seen any pictures. And now he appears here and he is tall, quiet and shy,and ten years old. Oh my!!

This is Melanie, his mother, my first niece who was also the princess of her own universe when she was just a baby, and little girl. And now she is all grown up and being very enthusiastic about the world she lives in. Not like me at all who tends to ignore the outside world in favor of creating a surrounding of artistic views to ward away the realities of the disharmony of the world outside my doors.

I didn't photo dinner because I was busy in the kitchen. We had Chicken Cordon Blue, with a root dish of thinly sliced potatoes, summer squash, and I think tomatoes. These were layered on a dish and drizzled with oil, dill, and cheese and baked in the oven. Oh, and there was a layer of onions which I caramelized on the stove which was layered on the dish before the raw vegetables were placed on them. Then there was a hot salad. I should have written down the recipes. My sister Suzanne had the recipes on her Ipad which was lovely, but I like paper. Something I can take home.

There was a lot of conversation during dinner and all while the festivities of the opening of gifts and the cutting of the cake. I didn't make this cake. I have to test my oven as it is old and not dependable. So my sister Linda ordered this cake and it was just a beauty. A perfect cake for my mother. Mom loves flowers and she was thrilled about this cake. Four layers of chocolate. No surprise - big smile!!!

Mom had a lot of gifts to open and loved everything. As much as she does not like fanfare, she really loves it.

She especially loved the opening of the boxes of Van Otis Chocolates. She got two boxes. She didn't want to share, but I insisted on having a piece as I have not had one in over a dozen year. Over a dozen years.

Mom loves wearing slippers and these were a special style that would be very comfortable on her feet.

Don't you remember when everyone was taller than you? Especially your great grandmother?

My most wonderful baby sister Linda who just had all her hair cut off. I just love it. Why isn't my hair this curly? Why is everyone's hair curly except mine?

Thursday, September 8, 2011


This is George, my perfect husband/ex-husband. We are at this wonderful little cafe called "Extra Touch Gourmet". It is owned by an old friend of ours. They serve wrap sandwiches that are really divine always combining fruit with their meats and the freshness cannot be compared. Their soups are unrivaled. They do serve dinner fare, but not many. Mostly they are a breakfast and lunch service. They want me to work for them. Not too much pressure there!

Everyone wants to see my new glasses.  I have always wanted to wear black glasses. I have always envisioned the little black round ones but my eyesight makes them unavailable because the size of the lens  is too small for the prescription that I need. But I love these. They are heavy and definitive. They sit nicely on the nose and I love how I can see them when I look through them. I feel like everything is framed as though everything is a work or art. This picture George took while we were at the cafe.

This one I took

No one will believe this, but I now have fingernails. Two reasons might be possible. One, I haven't done any challenging work that would tug at my nails in over two months. My nails are fragile and they tear and snag easily. OR... the iron infusions I received last month have affected my nails and they are not as fragile anymore. A lack of iron in your system is supposed to affect your nails considerably causing them to form these breaking ridges downward.

Whatever the reason, I now have fingernails. Now although this is lovely, the problem with having them, is that I can't type as fast as usual. And the other problem is that I can take my tiny embroidery scissors and trim the ones on my left hand but when it comes to trimming the nails on my right hand it doesn't work. Now you all must be thinking that I am really being bubbleheaded here, but I have never had fingernails in my life. So the whole business of managing them is not a routine of mine.

OK, am I amusing you yet?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Food for a week

 I love making these dishes. I can put anything in them and they last me a whole week. It begins by sauteing a meat. In this one I put a chicken sausage with red peppers and sage. I slice these a quarter inch thick and cook them with onions and garlic.

 While that is cooking I begin slicing my vegetables. Here is baby shitake mushrooms and fresh corn cut off the cob.

Then I slice carrots and quarter brussel sprouts. I love brussel sprouts.

Here is cabbage and yellow and orange peppers. I also took two large roma tomatoes which I de-seeded and and cut up. Oh, and also I put in some snap peas which I cut in half. I love these too and almost always put these in my dishes. Some how I lost the picture.

After the sausage was cooked I removed it from the pot. Then I  added all of the vegetables to the pot  and simmered it for awhile with two cups of water and some chopped dill, parsley, cilantro, and a Northwoods Garlic Pepper spice mix which has garlic, black pepper, celery, sea salt, sugar, onion, red bell pepper, and parsley. And last, I added a bit of balsamic vinegar.

After about fifteen minutes, I added the sausage to the vegetables and let it all stew for ten minutes. Then I turned the heat off and covered it. What happens is the vegetables continue to cook but they do not turn mushy. So when it comes time to eat, everything still has a bit of crunch. There is enough for the week and some for the freezer.

I know. Some of you can't imagine eating the same thing for a whole week. But pair it with rice or mashed potatoes, or with polenta. It can get pretty interesting.