Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sauces, and Stuffings, and Croute, Oh My!

Cooking. You won't often find me blogging about cooking because I'm not really that into it. I know lots of crafty people really like to cook, as well, but not me. Give me those 5 ingredients in 30 minutes kind of recipes and I'm all set. However, the story of the pheasant hunt does merit some mention, if only so that the poor pheasants did not have to die in vain.

The story begins in late February when Kyle and Roland set off with other college boys and their dads for some father-son bonding on a pheasant hunting trip in southwest Georgia. They head to a hunting "farm" where the hunters stand in a large semi-circle, and the birds are released and are shot. I supposed it's not so much pheasant hunting, as it is pheasant shooting. I have no pictures of this massacre. Thankfully, for me anyway, the now dead birds are cleaned and turned into just the breast meat, and placed in zip loc baggies. Roland and Kyle took their share, and I am happy to report, that they did not take as much as they actually killed. From February until just a couple of days ago, the baggies remained in our freezer, and every so often, Roland would ask when we were going to eat them.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tutu Fun

It seems I'm still Sewing.For.Others (SFO). This project though can't entirely be classified as sewing, as much as knot tying. There was a tiny bit of sewing... I sewed the ends of the elastic together to make the waistband... it took about 2 minutes, but I did break a needle in the process. Don't ask me how I did that!

I had all these leftover tulle strips when I decorated for my dinner party. You can see how I tied the tulle around the chairbacks and then inserted a glittery floral pick from Michaels to really dress it up. Well, I don't have any little girls directly in my life, but my daughter's fiance has a 5 year old niece that would love a tutu. You don't have to look far in the blogosphere to find a tutorial for tying the strips around a ribbon or elastic.

I opted for the elastic, and after about 5 minutes of tying, my attention wandered. Laura was around though, and she finished tying the rest of them and we have this adorable tutu, ready for the dress up closet!

We decided we like the raggedy edges
Don't worry sewing fans, the real sewing is about to begin! I know most sewists have lots of projects planned and even cut out in their minds, and I am certainly no different. I even have no less than 3 handbags in various states of construction as well! Today's non-sewing project involves pheasant. More on that later!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Selfish Seamstressing: Another Take

I recently discovered sewing blogs (I know, I am always so far behind on any trend), and one that inspired me to start my own is The Selfish Seamstress. She has actually inspired me in a lot of ways, and one of those is an entire attitude shift on "why I sew". Of course, #1 is I haven't figured out life without sewing, so that hasn't changed. Anyway, she recently wrote a "Guide to Selfish Seamstressing" and I thought I'd throw in my version.

My basic rule is only sew for others if they pay you (hey, I do have an etsy shop that has things that I sew... you can buy them) or you owe them a huge favor. Some people make casseroles or baked goods, or agree to watch small children in return for a favor ... I prefer to machine monogram towels. Of course there are always exceptions.

I think I'll start with her categories in her guide:
Costumes for Kids: I made my kids almost all their costumes, but wouldn't want to make costumes for other kids unless money is involved. But, there is almost nothing easier in that the material is usually cheap, and the workmanship can be, well, mediocre comes to mind. And look how cute! My kids still talk about the shark:

Mending and Alteration: I am 100% with her on this subject! I have clothes of my own that need hemming that were purchased more than a year ago. I'm usually not asked.

Home Dec Sewing: You couldn't pay me enough money for this one, but I'm darn good at it. The house we're currently living in had only blinds on every window, and now they all have fabulous creations made by me, saving the family buckets and buckets of money. I particularly like the valance and matching shower curtain I made for the bathroom next to Roland's office (which also has a matching valance).

 When we leave this house, I want to take them all with me, whether they fit anywhere or not.

Clothing for Men: Not going to happen. Oh, wait. I did make College Boy one of those towel wraps for the dorm shower. Even monogrammed it. Not wanting to make it easy on myself, I made it out of some kind of furry toweling stuff I bought at Joanns, that left fluff throughout the entire house. Odds that he actually uses it... slim to none.

Clothing for Women: Also not going to happen, unless it's for lots of money, or for Daughter Laura. She has a cute figure, and is fun to sew for, and she usually doesn't ask. I just do it.

Turns out I am better at selfish seamstressing than I thought I was. At least with those categories. Here's where things go bad for me.

Sewing (non-clothing) Gifts for Others: It seems like a great way to get attention and show off a skill not many that I know personally have. I like the gushing and the "I can't believe you did that". I have made stuff as gifts and not gotten the appropriate amount of fawning over (or even a proper thank you), and those people get gift cards now (ok, maybe not because I'm averse to gift cards, but you get the point). Here's my latest "gift for others" which will actually stay at my own house because that's where it will be used by my future son-in-law (and Thomas, if you read this, you gushed appropriately, and I had fun making it).

Now I just need to work on making more stuff for myself, but I have some projects lined up. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's a Mom's Life

The last 2 days have been more about a mom's life, and how moms everywhere support their children through thick and thin. Let's sum up the last 2 days for me and the College Boy Kyle:

Hours in Car: 16
Tanks of Gas: 2
Hours of Country Western music listened to because listening to Christmas music made him too upset: 5
Best radio station for interstate travel through North Carolina and SW Virginia that played non-holiday music: WSOC 103.7 out of Charlotte
Hours of Christmas music listened to once the drama subsided: 11
Nights at the Holiday Inn Express, Troutville, Virginia: 1
Minutes talking on the phone to the attorney: around 20 max.
Miles traveled: 884

Finally, mother/son bonding: Priceless

We will never forget the 2009 holiday season, as the one we drove to Virginia, where there was a major snow storm, that closed the courts, that made it impossible for us to get to our 11 a.m. court appointment, that meant the attorney, who said it earned College Boy major points for effort, handled it all by phone. Bottom line, his misdemeanor reckless driving charge was reduced to a regular ol' speeding ticket. I think (hope) he's learned his lesson.

the General District Courthouse in Fincastle, Virginia

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I Made Something for Me!

I confess, I often don't make stuff for myself. Ok, make that almost never. That hasn't always been true, but in the past 10 years or so, that's been the case. All that is about to change! I'm still going to be sewing for my Etsy shops, because that is my "job" and I love it! But it's time for me to branch out, and I want to try garment sewing again.

So, did I make myself a fabulous holiday outfit? No. I wanted to ease back in, so to speak, and I bought this adorable kit for one of those thread catcher/pincushions when I was at the International Quilt Festival in Houston in October. Yeah, I know I could have just bought one there for less money, but where is the fun in that? The one I bought is called the Abbey Bag from Abbey Lane Quilts, and is so easy that even a beginner can do it.

I pretty much followed all the instructions, as is (I'm notorious for improvising), but the pattern was very straightforward. The only real change I made was to stitch the connector piece to the bag before gluing. And the only real challenge I had was a non-sewing issue, and involved filling the lining bag with sand for the pincushion.

There was an incident with the machine sewn gathering stitches that was remedied by using buttonhole thread and handsewing the entire opening, first gathering the edge, and then pulling the whole thing tight.

Here it is, ready to be encased in the outer fabric. The whole inner part is flipped over, so that the opening will be to the top of the pincushion.

The finished product. The button could be just a wee bit tighter onto the pincushion, but I was having needle issues. I also didn't intend for the outer pincushion fabric to be quite so gathered, but it works and it's for me, so I'm okay with it.

I haven't put it to the "in use" test yet, so I'm not sure exactly where it will end up, but I know I'm going to love it (hopefully) saving my carpet from all those threads that I just toss "in the general direction" of my little trash can by my machine. I'll especially love it when I get the serger out. I'm not really sure what the little pocket is for, but it's still cute.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Welcome to my brand new sewing blog! It seems like I've been sewing forever, and wanted to write about mostly sewing, but also other things as they pop up. A very likely topic will be my daughter, Laura's upcoming wedding in June of next year. There will be sewing that goes along with that!

I'll try to include lots of pictures, too. Works in progress, patterns I love, ufo's (maybe I'll finish them!), completed items, both past and present. And while I sew to make a little money (I was going to say for a living, but was consumed with laughter on THAT one), I want to rediscover my love of sewing something for myself. Crazy, huh?!


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