Friday, September 28, 2012

The Conversation

Of course it will help to set the mood and list the characters involved. The night was moonlit but not bright, the two main characters are Mr. S. the Skunk and myself.

T: "Christ sakes Mr. S, do you know I almost stepped on you?"

MS: "Why yes and do you know I almost sprayed you? In fact given that you are big,
        clumsy and rather threatening looking, I might just yet!"

ms starts to jump up and down on his front legs, hissing a bit. He even takes a brave hop
towards T ( who has moved away) in the dark.

T: "Now just wait a moment, be reasonable! I have no intention of causing you harm. I
      I didn't see you in the dark. That's a pretty skimpy white stripe you got there after

t is backing away slowly, only to be tripped up by a couple of stupid barn cats. When the dust settles, t is on her back, ms is completely turned around.

MS:  "I can't believe you, you insult me and then you called in back-up! To top it off you
          you are all incredibly inept. I'm not even going to waste the short amount of time
          to spray you. I'm  leaving!"

ms waddles off, tail held high, but turns a number of times to make sure he is not being followed.
t sighs in relief, gets up and dusts off. Stupid barn cats meowing by barn for breakfast. End of scene.

Let's go to a brighter, happier place. Like the sewing room! Everyones favorite Butterick pattern B5365 turned out even better on this second go round.

 The fabric looks and feels similar to a light wool, it has a homespun, almost rough and heavy feel, but is actually all cotton. I love this classic muted plaid done up in such a feminine blouse pattern. And it is as comfortable as it looks.

 Rhonda even got to sport a turtleneck underneath. I have one more cut out in this pattern and then away it will go for a while.

 I need white shirts and will be auditioning a new Burda pattern, #7136, a classic button down shirt. They refer to this as "vintage". Have shirts really changed that much? Maybe, I had to search high and low for the combination of collar with stand and back yoke. The added bonus will be if I can perfect this pattern, I can make some for my Mother. She almost exclusively looks for this type of blouse in good cotton shirting or oxford cloth and they are getting harder and harder to find. Couple that with her height (short like me!), and it gets near impossible to get a good proportional fit.

 Parting shot: Hurry up!  I got my coat on, so let's GO!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Collars-The Photo Shoot

The old collars were pretty ratty looking. These two love to play tug with each others collar so it's unlikely they will look this nice for long, but they sure are cute and bright right now! This is my second order from Day Dog Designs and Terri has such wonderful ribbon designs, it makes choosing difficult.

Robin, while as photogenic as Stella, just can't keep still. His collar is cute little foxes and flowers

Stella, our ham at heart, shows how it's done. She even carried around the bright lime green Timmy to coordinate for the first day. Seriously.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekend Warrior

I swear, even when I was working full time weekends were rarely relaxing.

I think that is true for most of us. They always seem to be overloaded in one way or another. I know Gene's was! The progress seems slow as there was a lot involved in getting that first carrier beam up. Grading the site, taking elevation measurements, drilling holes in concrete, wandering through Home Depot and notching those  pressure treated 6x6's for the carrier beams.  Oh and the fire call in the middle of dinner Saturday night assured he had "leftovers" when he got back around 9:00. That one was an illegal campfire. Obviously the NO BURNING information signs plastered all over the mountain by ODF wasn't meant for them. For 30 years Gene was a custom jeweler and he brings the same exacting standards to all his projects. Makes him slow as all get out too! ;) But I always know that when he (over) builds something, it's going to stick around for a while. I know this deck will be worth the wait, beautiful and sturdy!

So other than assisting where I could, and staying out of the way when I couldn't there has been other stuff going on. Friday I had a perfectly wonderful time with Mary and Woodrow. Woody seemed to look forward to his massage when he recognized me and through his responses this second time, let me know his likes and dislikes. The feedback is so important for future body work sessions. I also got to meet Mary's two adorable Jack Russell Terriers, Nick and Bandit! They were both cute enough to steal. What I did receive was this lovely Navajo piece about native plant dyes.

 It's stunning in person. Shows the dye stuffs, what color they produce on wool yarn and then used in a beautiful bit of weaving. How perfect. Thank you Mary!

I have been poky in my sewing but I did manage to finish up a heavily modified version of the Victory Anouk.

Gone is the center placket, the resulting gathers, the keyhole, the yoke closure and instead a very comfortable, simple top, showcasing these two wonderful fabrics. A medium weight yellow linen and a beautiful cotton floral.

Since one stable has gone down in numbers, it's only fitting another go up. Yep, just like that I replaced Nick with Ducky, a Pfaff 1475.

His original owner bought him new and lost interest almost immediately. He was wasting in a closet. Heartbreaking isn't it? But like me, she finally realized that it was time to move him along to a more useful and productive life. I promise to provide him a good loving home.

Parting shot: Robin, having a Rin Tin Tin moment .

Friday, September 21, 2012

Beep Beep!`

Did you see that? That was my week whizzing by. No deliveries from Acme though, but it is still possible! I have a lot of ground to cover, and I'm going to try to keep it somewhat chronological.

I missed mentioning last week this SUPER cute market bag that was made special, just for me.

 I always envied the scads of beautiful market bags Sandi makes at Fabric of Vision for her Swig & Stitches but I'm not a bag maker. Of course after receiving this wonderful one, I might just have to become one. The bonus, this market bag came with it's own fresh picked  and super sweet tomatoes.

Sandi has kept Gene and I in those fresh fleshy red orbs for weeks. Oh my god, they are so good and the bag has become my daily wear one. Have I mentioned that horses can recognize a carrot stub in hand at 60 yards? I have not flashed this bag anywhere near the paddock and have no plans to!

Wildlife is on the move. Critters everywhere are as possessed as their human counterparts with readying for the coming winter. The raccoons obviously are becoming more bold about checking for things. The grey fox has been a fixture all summer. We've both seen him/her. Gene once with a rabbit, me numerous times down around the barn at morning feedings and sometimes late in the afternoon, watching us from one of the hills on the north side of the property. Skunks too have made their presence known after a long summer with no sign or scent of those black and white furred stink bombs. The lame hen turkey that has passed through our property on a twice weekly basis at least, is still lame ( might be a deformity) and now has but three mature chicks out of a brood of seven. The deer are disappearing as they start to move lower, although the grazing is just as dry there as here. I've spied track of bobcat/lynx and coyotes. No bears so far close to home base.

Monday, Mary and I had a fun meet-up with a fellow sewist and blogger from the SF Bay area. We stopped in at Fabric of Vision to drop off some donated fabric( for the HS fashion program), before our agreed on meet up time and place. Who should we spy, but Shams of Communing with Fabric already there! No need to go to the fountain on the plaza. ;) We shopped, we lunched, we shopped some more. It was lots of fun and if you want to read more, complete with pics, click on the link!

Cooper is much better. The boys are bonding again as a twosome. I saw them playing together yesterday. Not the all out play of their youth, but they were having fun with the face game ( horse people you know what I'm talking about)  and a little chase complete with tail biting and play bucking. Both horses got ridden this week.

 I'm enjoying having a horse for each hand and nothing more.

Wednesday they brought the wood for the deck.

 I was surprised at how reasonable the delivery fee was. $50.00. Heck, renting a trailer and gas would have been more than that. Gene has started work on it, although I need to help him sometime today with the laser thingy getting elevations. I suppose level is a good thing for a deck.

Today I travel over to Klamath Falls to visit with Woodrow and give him a follow up massage. I'll get to see Nick too, but to avoid confusion for him, I'm going to try to stay out of sight for the time being. I know he is in excellent hands.

Parting shot: Keep away #1

Monday, September 17, 2012

Two Can Be as Bad as One

 Three Dog Night had it right when they sang "It's the loneliest number since the number one." Just ask Cooper who looks like a pretty sad gate keeper up at my paddock. I knew he would be waiting all day Saturday for Nick to return, but I didn't expect the vigil to continue to all day yesterday and I am certainly hoping it will have ended by today.  He is eating well, drinking well and physically in fine shape, but those that don't think animals have feelings need to either get a few or pay close attention to the ones they do have. I can say without a doubt in my mind, they have friends, they have enemies, they love, they get angry with one another ( and make up too) and they grieve. I have no way of telling Cooper he's found a new home. To him, Nick is just gone.  If anything, paying extra attention to Coop has kept me from feeling too sad about Nick's departure.  Dandy has been a steady friend also, hanging with Cooper even though I know he would rather be back up on the hill in the shade of the trees

Nick did me proud though, he walked right into that strange trailer with Mary, made himself at home and said let's get moving onto new adventures. And off they went. I'm told he was a gentleman unloading and sensibly surveyed his new digs without drama or silliness. The end of a long chapter here with us. Onward Ho!

I did bury myself a bit in the sewing room. The Hazel dress by Victory Patterns was a total success. Color blocking in a classic and simple style.

 I had wanted a way to use this deep apple green linen since it came into Fabric of Vision, but it's a hard color to work into an adult wardrobe. This pattern was the perfect solution. The bottom shell is fully lined with a beautiful satin smooth muslin. If I had more of this creamy white fabric I'd be making myself a blouse with it, the hand is so smooth and soft, the weaving tight and firm. The cream bodice is a linen & hemp or cotton blend. It was very nice to work with also. Certainly held a press well.

 I'll be making one or two more of these in tunic length for the fall and winter. The fit is wonderful, not a single adjustment other than length needed. I didn't do the color blocked cuff, it was just too much for me and instead opted to do a simple cuff slit and add a touch of the apple green as detail.

Second up is an almost finished blouse. (That's sun making it look blotchy.) This is Butterick's 5365 another Connie Crawford pattern and quite nice right out of the envelope.

 I like that the collar and stand is sized smaller than many patterns. Nothing screams home made like a too big collar on a blouse.

The dart detailing from shoulder to bust area work to give the blouse a soft easy silhouette
and are quite pretty I think. My only adjustment will be to lengthen the sleeves on the next one. They ended up on the short side which usually is not the case for me.

The big cement pour happened Friday at high noon!

Not near as exciting as when the house foundation was done. Then they had six cement trucks loaded in a line down the driveway with a crew of 4 men (plus the drivers of each truck), and it took most of the day. Friday we had one truck, a meager 4 yards ordered and the driver.

 That meant I was pressed into slave labor. My job was to level off the footings while Gene and the very nice (and fun!) driver poured the next one.

 It took 45 minutes from the time the truck got into place until he left the property. Gene smoothed off all of the footings. This week the actual building begins.

 Okay, I want a cement truck in my barn right next to Bob and that little excavator! They are just so nifty.

If you don't have anything good to say, best not say anything at all. I have nothing to say about the Patriots game yesterday and the missed 22 yard field goal. Nothing.

Parting shot: Red Alert! Code Blue! Everyone to the kitchen STAT! An escaped Timmy!

Friday, September 14, 2012

New Chapters

Somewhere on my third or fourth outing on Nick, I realized I was going to be hitting an annual brick wall. Cooper was a green horse once long ago and had the benefit of two good years of daily riding from April to November. Over that two years, we parted ways a few times, had many discussions about acceptable trail behavior and grew together as rider and mount. He turned into my perfect partner and I like to think I'm his. Dandy had a fine start before he came to us and needed about 30 days of consistent riding to get into condition and beyond the skills he had come with. Nick as horse 3 in the herd is never going to get that kind of time here. I have more things other than riding that I like to do and truth be told, I like my two easy experienced trail horses. Isn't this what I worked so hard for? Yes, it is.  So it is not with a heavy heart that I tell you Nick is starting a new chapter in his life, one in which he gets the opportunity to be someones much loved "Cooper". When my occasional riding partner Mary saw Nick, she fell in love with him. When I mentioned I needed to move him along she thought that he would be a fine replacement for her much loved but ready for retirement horse, Woodrow. I thought she would be perfect to handle his gregarious and playful nature.

 Both her riding style and soft touch bode well for a blossoming partnership.  There are 4 happy souls in this deal. Everyone is getting just what they need and want at just the right time. Bonus is, I'll get to visit him since he won't be too far away. He leaves tomorrow and I know there are going to be tears, but not too many.

Since chapters is part of the subject of this post, here are two wonderful new additions to my small sewing library. The first is actually a weighty textbook for fashion design students and covers a wealth of topics taking you from basics to couture.

 I have coveted this book for a while but the price is out of this world.

After over a year a reasonably priced copy came up on eBay and Gene grabbed it for me. The second is all about inspiration.

 It's not going to tell you how to make something, but when you're scanning around for ideas to jazz something up, this is a go to for sure.

The horizontal pin tucks on the cuffs of my last San Diego top came right from this book.

Very little sewing has happened this week. Preparations for Nick's move and deck stuff have eaten into hobby time, but I did manage one lovely sleeveless duster from Connie Crawford's new Butterick pattern 5473.

This was a fun pattern to do and very nicely drafted. It is easy but does have a fair amount of finishing to the garment so it takes a little more time than you would think for a long vest.

The fun colored selvage provided a little detail between the bodice and lower portions

Finally after a week of grumbling and swearing, Gene has finished up the eight forms. The concrete company heads up this afternoon to pour those footings and we can get to the actual structure building next week. I'm sick of the ladder. Bringing groceries in yesterday was a real pain. I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend with no holidays or festivals. Maybe a reflective morning ride or two.

Parting shot: Purple Timmy, when green or orange Timmy just won't do!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Early Autumn Right On Schedule

Not only did the kids go back to school, but autumn on the mountain seems to be keeping calendar time. The nights have been cool, low 40's high 30's and the days glorious. No smoke, clear as  bell and hovering in the mid 70's tops. Of course some rain would complete the perfection of the season, but it too will arrive at some point. The horses are all putting forth their winter coat efforts. Curls and swirls and the promise of fuzzy cut velvet like pelts are sprouting. Even the donkeys are beginning to lay in coats over the almost shiny slickness they had this late summer. The little spotted fawns of June are spotless and darkening. Their coats becoming the color of bark and tall dry grass and earth. The seasonal shift has happened and even though subtle, it has been duly noted and welcomed.

The weekend was a busy one. Gene was running amok up at the Greensprings Mountain Festival and the turn out for this first big community fund raising effort went surprisingly well. Of course there were problems and small emergencies, but the only big one involved a loose horse that wasn't recovered until Sunday morning. All proceeds from this event go to the Greensprings Fire & Rescue, The Pinehurst School and the local food bank run by our small little mountain church. I spent my time holding down the fort, starting to put summer clothes away and some pattern cutting. I prefer my mountain experience quiet and unpopulated.

Yesterday I decided to do a much needed bit of organizing and cob web cleaning in my messy little tack room. Buzz and Juno gave me an obvious heads up about an early morning visitor in there the other day. Neither would go through their little kitty opening in the wall. A sure sign something was afoot inside. I opened the door very slowly in the dark and spotted one of the biggest raccoons I've seen to date up here. The mountain version of a fish story goes like this. He must have been over 40 pounds! He went up onto the table and I closed the door and waited outside the barn. I should have left the door open for him. Just as I was going back to do that, two shiny eyes and a pointy nose popped up in the cat opening. I lit the escape route for him and off he went after squeezing back through the way he got in. Our morning routine continued as if nothing happened.

There are other changes coming besides the season, and the deck, but I'm saving that until it all falls into place. And please excuse my almost picture less post. I'll leave you at least with parting shots!

Raccoon Spotter.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pick a Decade

 For me, a child born in the late 50's it's the 1960's, early or late. Motown, big cars with lots of chrome and metal, Alfred Hitchcock Hour and The Twist. It started out with Breakfast at Tiffany's and Please Mr. Postman and ended with 2001: A Space Odyssey and Woodstock. So it's no surprise that my fabric and pattern choices remind me of another time. In fashion, I don't think anything is really new, just "updated".  Earlier in the week, I was honored to be able to be able to do some massage work on a friends senior horse. He was a love and a joy to work with and I'm looking forward to another session with him. Afterwards though, we both did a little shopping. The JoAnn's in her area is moving to bigger, newer digs and everything in the old location is on sale. EVERYTHING. All patterns were $1.99. Didn't matter the brand.

Other than one pattern, (that pesky Burda 7700), I found all my selections. Looking at some of them I sure can see retro styling. What's old is new again!

On the actual sewing front, the second version of the Amy Butler Anna tunic is done but for the snaps at the back neck.

 I added pockets to this one. Loved working with this heavy weight cotton oxford type cloth. Wish I could find more of it in some other colors as  it should wear very well. Good thing too, the piece is pretty versatile.  I spent yesterday hemming the living room curtains ( only took 4 years), and at the cutting table.

This week really didn't include a lot of inside time. Cooper got out for a good long ride one day and another we worked on trailer loading. He walked right in, he stayed in, he relaxed and he had to be coaxed out. He may be stubborn about some things, but when he decides he's over something, he is. Today, tomorrow and into the future. I love that about him. You know just where stuff stands with him. Gene made a little progress on the footings. There are eight of them. It has not been lost on either of us that that is the exact number of dogs we have. Hmm. I have heard him muttering about little cement shoes....

The mailman delivered a pretty cool little 60's lunch set I bought on Etsy.

 I've looked for something like this for at least a year. Non breakable with soup/chili bowls (instead of cups) for Sunday football snacking. And how avocado green! Speaking of football, finally, the official start of the season is Sunday. Go Pats!!

Parting shot: Temptation.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pow! Bam! Right to the Moon Alice!

Who remembers Ralph Kramden from the Honeymooners? Thinking of moon voyages long before the space program, at least for Alice! ;) But when you can't get to the moon,  you can bring the moon to you.

 That's what we did last week by bringing the excavator ( this one would look sweet in my barn right next to Bob the Tractor.), over to dig up the front yard for footings.

 My own mini moonscape and unlikely visible from space. And it hasn't gotten any better. Over the weekend Gene ripped siding and flashing off where the deck will be bolted into the house. Cut away some wood that carpenter ants have damaged and in general made it look really, really bad. He has assured me this is about as awful as it will look. Hmmmm.

Should I ever decide to make a moon flight, I have just the thing to wear too.

 I finished up this fun top yesterday. I mean really, rocket ships, planets, friendly looking robots (they don't look like Daleks thankfully), moon and stars.  The plain sleeve got a horizontal pin tuck detail.

 I liked the idea of a double row of snaps instead of the 4 loops and buttons. I am not considering this as a jacket (Sewing Workshops San Diego Jacket pattern) but a shirt, so I needed a bit more closure, scaled it down a bit and added a simple pocket.

I'll admit Saturday afternoon and early evening was completely lost as to productivity. They had a Dr. Who marathon on and trotted out the first episode of the new season. Those Weeping Angels still give me the creeps though.

Along with the top, a fun pair of cargo pants for my Mom was completed. These pics were taken right after completion.

 They need a good press but you can at least see some of the details and those voile lined pockets I worked so hard on. It makes a lovely pocket lining, smooth, stabilizing and adds no bulk at all. For those that might be new, this pattern uses a greatly modified version of Sewing Workshop's Trio pant.

 I'll be whipping up something to complete the outfit although the pants in their deep olive color will go with many, many things.

Friday was the dreaded trip to the vet with Robin and Pogo. Robin was eager for the car ride and instead of putting him in the crate I harnessed him into the back seat with a special travel harness. He did get his medication for travel sickness and acquitted himself quite well on the trip. Pogo did too, but the treats he got at the vet arrived back up on the way home. Toenails were trimmed (muzzle and two experienced people needed), shots given and lots of fuss was made over both dogs. Fingers all intact when I left too. Checkbook not so much. :)

Parting shot: The long and winding road. ( Robin & Peter)