Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I have never constructed my own lining for an unlined garment, but with a little help I'm feeling Olympic level confidence in doing so.  In the spring I finally picked up an out of print book that deals with the lining and only the lining; "Easy Guide to Sewing Linings" by Connie Long.

 Why this excellent book has gone out of print is a mystery to me, but being OOP means the prices can be all across the board. I've seen it for $3.99 and I've seen it for $80.00 plus. I picked mine up for $18.00 on a "Buy it Now" option instead of spending time bidding. But back to the book. Concise and easy to follow directions on how to make lining patterns for unlined garments, like jackets ( with and without details like princess seams), skirts, pants, coats etc. using the existing pattern pieces, half linings, lining materials, replacing old linings, lining pockets and on and on.

 What a fabulous resource and it is a treasured addition to my sewing library.

So armed with my lining book guide, I cut out my jacket, marked all the pieces and went on to using those tissue pattern pieces, complete with adjustments, as my template for the jacket lining. Here is picture of the jacket shell.

The lining is still in process on the sewing bench but pictures coming in the next post.

 The jacket fabric has proven to be quite challenging. It's a thick and thin twill weave in silk, cotton and wool. Might have a little rayon thrown into the mix too and unravels at the cut edges like nobodies business! I needed to get it together quick and serged.

I did a decent job of matching the fronts, and the two lined patch pockets. As a reminder, this is being made up into Simplicity 2153 which means elastic needs to be done in a casing for the waist and sleeves and of course that big fun collar with it's drawstring makes the jacket in my opinion.
I might even be tempted to enter it in the lined jacket contest over at Sewing Pattern Review in August. Might...

Since it seems I've fallen in love with fabrics with a French flair there was no way I was going to resist this Japanese interpretation of French Teddy Bears.

 It's a lightweight canvas and I have a pattern and some soft wonderful baby wale corduroy for trim and details.

Over the weekend I caught some of the Olympics. Mostly the equestrian events, all 45 minutes (commercials included), that they chose to televise. I always feel a bit robbed. Certainly watching beautiful animals show off in the dressage phase of the 3 Day Eventing is much more entertaining than table tennis? And of course, the times they they do give a fair junk of time to the equestrian sports is usually the most dangerous portion, the cross country. I watched in fascination and horror yesterday as falls and ambulances stopped the proceedings over and over again. Finally I had had enough and went out to ride my own athlete Cooper. As I was doing up my boots and grumbling about horse safety Gene asked, that if I was the Olympic Queen, would I ban that portion. I had to really think about that. I'm the last person who is all for saving people who feel the need to do stupid dangerous things. People want to go ahead and be ass hats with their own bodies and lives, have at it, but when you drag another into it, especially one who really can't voice an opinion, it changes the game, at least in my mind.  In all fairness, these equine athletes are very well taken care of, no doubt about that. It is noteworthy though, that few of these horses are actually owned by their riders. So would I ban it. No, but I sure would cut down on the number of jumps, the danger of the jumps and their placement in the course and concentrate more on flat work. I don't care what anyone says, having a horse running at a gallop for over 10 minutes on changing terrain complete with water features and steep drop offs be there 28 jumps or say only 18 well placed ones for horse and rider safety is still exciting and challenging. Here's hoping that both the riders and horses from Canada and Ireland are fit to ride another day soon.

Parting shot: Oh no, the soapbox is out!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Behind Closed Doors

Closets, can't live with them, can't live without them! What did you think I was going to launch into? If you were "lucky" enough to spend a year of bleeding money (and arguing with just about everyone about something), while you built your own house, you'd put a ton of them in wouldn't you? Well I didn't. HEAD SLAP GOES HERE. In fact, besides each bedroom having a basic closet there are only 3 closets for general use. Here are two and as usual, the crew is ever present to "help".

Bathrooms have free standing  furniture as I prefer to have vintage pieces rather than closets in those places. So of my three closets, the largest one wasn't working for me at all. It had never gotten a shelving system. Stuff was stacked on the floor and in crappy old dressers, much of it ready for Goodwill or the freebie bins downtown. My other closets/dressers where doing double duty and the madness had to stop! Gene finally installed a full set of shelves. I now have 5 shelves 20 inches wide by 7 feet long and so began the long migration. I won't bore you with the endless hours spent sorting, sifting, folding and tossing. We're going right to the good stuff.

 My hanging clothes and shoes got their new wonderful home in the huge French wardrobe in the bedroom,

freeing up floor and shelf space in the master closet /sewing room area and of course allowing for another dog bed area.....

 The blankets and quilts and spreads packed into that amoire got moved to the shelved closet along with their close friends the bed sheets, who were co-mingling in the other closet with towels and such. Neatening still needs to happen in the new digs.

 The existing shelved closet got a full overhaul and now the towels and such are all happily on their own dedicated shelf again and not scattered around.

 I spent yesterday admiring all of my closets and planning how to better utilize the shelf space.

In sewing news, I managed to finish 3 pairs of curtains complete with tie-backs, wrinkled though they are after all being washed.

Everything will get a nice press and starch before going up in the windows.  The red plaid fabric did indeed get cut out into a jacket. I have to construct a lining pattern from the jacket pieces and get that cut out too.

 Weaving was sadly neglected all week, but we'll fix that this weekend for sure.

In farm news, it wasn't a completely bleak week. Mary from biblioblog traveled on over from Klamath Falls to go riding with me. It was a wonderful time. Dandy so appreciated an accomplished equestrian at the other end of the reins and I was beside myself having such an interesting and fun riding partner. We have so much in common, terriers, horses, and of course, sewing. Mary brought along some cute red fabric and a delicious loaf of fresh bread from a local K-Falls bakery. It beat anything I can get in Ashland that's for sure! It didn't last more than a day either. We'll be doing it again soon too.

Using the new trailer and round pen set up I got Nick loading nicely and allowing the door to be closed. He stood quietly while closing and opening and it marked a milestone for us. The big news was Cooper though. Wednesday morning I decided we were going to get him in the trailer, and get the gate closed however long it took. It didn't take long, about 20-30 minutes. The deal with both horses was simple, in the trailer you get treats and you get to rest, if you want to come out, you can but you're going to have to work. Nothing mean about it, just when you're on the ground you're either trotting or cantering around in circles. We've struggled for years with loading issues, bought and sold trailers and had to have others with big 4 horse open trailers do any moving of him. I have fingers crossed that time and trust has worked a little magic and we'll continue to build on this nice start.

Parting shot: Look who's behind this door!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


 Lately television has been taken over by "reality" shows, few good, many bad and some bordering on the absolute ridiculous. Often posts recommend a more literary list, but hey, I grew up watching TV and I still do and I'd be a bald faced liar if I said it was just for the news! Since  interesting and well produced dramas are an endangered species on TV, here's a good one for you. "Treme", which is set in post Katrina New Orleans. It's co-produced by David Simon, who also produced "The Wire" (and if you haven't seen that 5 year series, you're missing something really special!). This is an HBO production, so if you don't have HBO, you'll have to rent the DVD's. I use Netflix but since they are trying to make the world sign up for video streaming and such, the quality of their DVD by mail rentals has been steadily declining. The cast is an assemblage of character actors and New Orleans locals and if you like music, mostly jazz and blues, you'll get your fix of the some of the finest. This is not fantasy television, this is gritty, true to life and for gosh sakes don't watch it with the kids. This is not Disney does New Orleans.

So when I wasn't spending the weekend sacked out in the comfy chair with a quorum of my favorite furry friends watching season 2 of Treme, I was busy outside. Horses got ridden, donkeys got brushed

 and finally Gene and I hauled the two stray round pen panels up to expand the existing pen. We had been using these panels for years to make a hardship stall where Bob the tractor is usually parked. With the addition of the stalled shelter last fall it meant I didn't need to keep those two panels stacked in the barn, so we loaded them into the newly cleaned and scrubbed horse trailer and hauled them up to the round pen. It took a fair amount of tugging and pulling to open the pen up for accepting them but they're in and it's made it a lot bigger. The panels are 12 or 14 feet long. Plus we left an opening and backed the horse trailer up to it. It means I have a nice set-up for working on trailer loading and boy, do my guys need it! I'm hoping to have some wonderful pictures of horses standing calmly in said trailer soon! ;)

In sewing and weaving news, not much going on. I worked on a Tina Given Mia Dress pattern. I really did do it up in plain muslin.

 It's not finished yet, but I will be giving a full review of the pattern soon.  I did some curtain sewing..UGH! The warp is ready to go on the Murphy loom.

That about wraps up my weekend. The latest read on the Kindle is "Queen of the Conqueror: The Life of Matilda, Wife of William I". It's a bit dry, but well researched.
If you like this period in time, it's a must read. It goes into depth the significance of the Bayeux Tapestry.  French legend believes it was commissioned by Matilda, which of course, is subject to differing theories of exactly who (and why), commissioned it. Matilda herself was an amazing women in her time and that alone makes the read worthwhile.

Parting shot: Cooper showing off the latest in face wear .

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Cool and Affordable Luxury

 Linen. For summer there is nothing like it!  I think of all my linen clothing as an investment and I wear them year round. With minimal care, they will last for years too, just like linen handwoven's.  While linen sheets for a king sized bed can be cost prohibitive, a pair (or more) of linen pillowcases isn't.

 These mint green beauties took about an hour and half in time and  $35.00 for 2.5 +- yards of good quality European linen. I utilized the pretty pale periwinkle blue selvage edge as the decorative band between the deep folded hem and the pillow case body and matched my thread to it for some simple top stitching. Pillow cases are one of the few home decorating type projects I like. I used a tutorial from Fabric of Visions blog here. I liked it better than the one I had previously followed and like the size and very generous hem this one calls for.

In sewing news, one top (Burda 7220) in voile has been completed

and another (Simplicity 2191) is in the works with a wonderful shirt weight Italian cotton.

I had to do some adjustments to Rhonda. It meant taking everything off of her and the two of us standing around in our skivvies while I measured and adjusted. Time consuming, but worth it since she's in service for most of my sewing. For those that are curious, we had to go down a bit in some places, not up.  ;) Lastly in sewing, I am finally going to cut into my treasured tomato red plaid for a jacket. It's been in the petting stash long enough!

Around the farm, the horses and donkeys had their feet trimmed yesterday. The new farrier Steve is now just Steve the farrier. Everyone has become accustomed to his way of working and it's all good. I need to get pics of the donkeys, they are finally looking pretty svelte.

Notable sightings around the farm have included a big Red Tailed Hawk, a fully mature Bald Eagle and of course, the usual residents, Chickadees, Nuthatches, wood peckers, wrens, sparrows and robins. The deer are out and about all over the mountain. Does and fawns are constantly crossing the roads now that the fawns are getting older. This is probably the most dangerous time for both drivers and deer. These two cuties were grazing with their Mommas last night while we watched them from our front porch.

 They finally got suspicious of the camera clicking (what hearing they've got!), and took off.

 I've spied my favorite little grey fox once or twice this week too. Gratefully, no raccoons or skunks.

The new warp for Murphy is in process. I'll work on it some more over the weekend along with writing out the prayers on the silks.

Parting shot: Comfort in closeness. These two are almost always touching at rest.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Second String

That's not a bad thing. It means the Murphy loom is free and ready for a new flag warp. It means every single hand written prayer line has been woven into a flag and is now blowing in the wind. (Possible earworm!).

 And it means I better attend to my squeaky beater and get a new warp started on the reel. Over time I have simplified these flags and I am happy with the changes. Less really is more especially when it means more flags get done and they are more fun to do.

I guess I could have also titled this the second coming post, because there are a fair number of seconds here. Second of the seconds, Mouse #2. Caught the day after Mouse #1 and also channeled into the release program. Complete with picture.

 So far after 2 nights of resetting the trap, no third mouse. I do want to say, in Robin's defense (he's probably the most game of my crew for mousing), he alerted me last week by barking and digging around the crates there in the laundry room. I thought he was whining for a dropped kibble that might have rolled behind a crate, but in retrospect, I think he was probably on to those mice. Certainly deserving of an appropriate picture showing just what he can do where rodents are concerned. ;)

Third of the seconds, is another visit up to Howard Prairie to see a man about a boat. I had questions about what kind of boat one of them in my last post was, so, being up for a drive I tootled over yesterday morning for a look see. While I was there I couldn't resist taking some more pics of this lovely resort. It has a long, long jetty that made for a perfect picture taking stroll, and yes, I did get the boat info that was requested.

Flock of seagulls ( BTW, anybody remember that band?). These pictures should all enlarge. That's Mt. McLoughlin in the background, still holding some snow.

Boats at the dock. I was thrilled with how nice these came out. I do love my new camera!

A Pelican!

In farm news, Sunday evening was dang perfect. I grabbed Cooper and we went out for an evening ride. Left at 7:30p.m. and got home just a bit before 9:00p.m. A lovely relaxing finish to a wonderful day. He got to poke along and graze and I just enjoyed doing what I've loved doing since I was about 4 years old. There is nothing for me as magical as riding a horse.

Surprisingly for July in Southern Oregon, yesterday evening marked the start of two days of  rain and very cool temps. As I write this it's 48 F out and I'll be grabbing my rain coat and hat to go feed this morning. A welcome relief.

Parting shot: A true original. Peter enjoyed the trip to Howard Prairie too.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Deer Herders

Not quite, but close. Maybe "Panic in the Forest" might be more appropriate, or "The Deer Stalkers"! It wasn't funky plaid hats floating through the forest, just Cooper and I on a long enjoyable ride. At 9:00 yesterday morning, I put down my sewing, grabbed my mount of choice and hit the trails. We've had a cool down the past few days (I guess buying an A/C it was almost a given I wouldn't need it.), and the weather was perfect. Cooper had obviously been daydreaming about Seabiscuit or Seattle Slew and was awfully perky. I let him have his way with the speed control and just enjoyed whatever pace he set. He self settled into his usual mosey after a few good long steep hills. No matter what the speed, everywhere we went we rousted deer from resting or grazing spots. Bucks, does with fawns and those without. I don't think we went 50 yards without someone bounding away in front of us or to the side. The ride was packed with excitement and beauty and we enjoyed two hours on both deer trails and our regular routes. Gene said 6 deer raced across our driveway about a minute or so before we pranced onto it. He knew we were coming even before he heard the bells or saw us in the trees. We had finished the last 30 minutes on the halter only. Good old Mr. Reliable!

One of the hot nights earlier in the week we had gone out to dinner up at Howard Prairie.

The meal was unremarkable, but the views spectacular.

 It's a big, beautiful mountain lake, full of fish, eagles and plenty of other wildlife. The lake itself is man made, part of the irrigation project for the valley and was built the same year I was. 1958!

It's 6 miles long and a mile wide in parts. There are about 250 camp sites but the majority of the area surrounding the lake is untouched except for trails and is a magnet for wildlife. If I rode the irrigation road the 12 plus miles from my house, I would end up on the far (south) end of Howard Prairie.

There has been some stash building over the last couple of weeks.

 Obviously the cooler colors and hues have been popular, but still a pop of something warm and fallish. This Tina Givens cotton print was on sale and with an eye towards cooler weather I snatched it up.

 Besides, I'm not one to shy away from whimsical prints, and I loved the fox floating on the kites in it. The printed pale Robin's Egg blue fabric is a rayon crepe.

 I've visited with it often and when the roll started to get low I figured I better not tarry if I wanted some. Three yards came home with me (along with a yard piece of linen in the same lovely shade of blue). Enough to make whatever I decide and maybe then some. The rest are all cottons, the grey a nice bodied organic.

Dog walks in the woods are out for now. The fox tails are out with a vengeance so all walks are now on the true paths or roads and on leash only. It's just as well, the wild life around the house is active and I don't need to go chasing after a dog chasing after a deer or turkey. Late afternoon yesterday I was sitting on the back deck, sipping a beer. In 20 minutes I saw does, fawns, our grey fox and a hen turkey with a whole pack of chicks, peeping and cheeping through the woods. I really should remember to bring the camera out with me but I'll leave you with these as parting shots. I AM loving my zoom lens.

Fawn: Unaware

Fawn: Aware

Friday, July 13, 2012


Six, count them (Robin, Stella, Charlotte, Miss Bea, Smoochie, Jack), SIX terriers and not a one of them could catch this little imp hiding under the washer or dryer.

 And lets not forget the one house cat. Sheesh, it took me, worlds dinkiest Hav-A-Hart trap and some peanut butter to do the job. It was a catch and release of course. Little Minnie or Mickey went into the Peromyscus relocation program and ended up on a woodsy rock outcropping about 75 yards from the house. I am sure the local mouse population is being regaled with stories about the horde of lazy critters. Maybe the mouse version of a big fish story?

The terriers are adept at finding the errant scorpion though. He was not so lucky. Enough said.

Now I know you are all probably impressed with how magnanimous I am, not to mention sheer bravery, but I need to come clean. In the face of another Southern Oregon summer, (which by the way, finally arrived), I am a griping, grouchy wimp. I just can't stand high heat and I know that many of you, in most parts of the country, are experiencing MUCH worse than we have on average up here in the Cascade-Siskiyou Mountain range.  Kudos to you, and to all those fire fighters on the front lines in Colorado too! Anyway, I cried "Uncle"( a few other things too), and broke down and bought a cheap small window air conditioner for the bedroom. $99.00 between me and a good nights sleep. It was a no brainer. DH wisely installed it with very little comment, but I did notice he brought in the ice scraper from his truck. If only it could get the room cold enough for frost on the windows.....

In general farm news, Bob got an oil change. It was a real pain locating the proper oil filter. He's about 21 years old and the parts books no longer cross reference his old part number, so we and by "we" I mean Gene, had to take out the old filter, go to town and get a new one. That current part number is written on the front of the manual we have for him. I was a little insulted when one of the tractor parts places asked if he was a mower when I gave them his model number. Bob is NOT a big lawn mower, he's a small tractor, complete with front end loader and could take other normal tractor attachments if we wanted. He may be small, but he is mighty and I told them so.

Sewing has been steady but slow. Monday I cut out 4 summer blouse patterns. There is something perverse about spending all morning vacuuming and cleaning, only to make a mess cutting up fabrics an hour after I'm done, but that's what happens.  I made up a repeat of Burda pattern 7398.

 I had bought this pattern and some fabric I liked when I was in MA and gave my folks sewing machine a good cleaning and little workout on it while there. I liked version one a lot. It took a while constructing pockets on this second version. I just love the practicality and fun that adding a pocket offers so when I saw a little 5" zipper at the "craft store masquerading as a fabric store", I had to give it a whirl.

 This shirt got a little breast pocket too because I loved being able to use the interesting selvage edge from some left over grey Swiss Dot fabric.

Weaving has been steady but slow too. The end of the Murphy warp is in sight.

Riding has been out of the question. Along with the heat these last few days, we have stayed pretty humid for us, over 50% most evenings and overnight, dropping to around 30% during the day.  The boys did get out for a day of grazing rotation, the grass is drying up quickly, so it was probably one of their last. I may hand walk them all over to one area
and keep watch since it is nearer the road than I would like. Basically, we're hitting the dog days of summer. Fire danger is rising to "High" today, we're watching the skies for thunder storms and hoping all the visitors to our lovely mountain are as careful as we are during fire season.

Parting shot: Rodent specialists? I think not!

Monday, July 9, 2012


The weekend was devoted to doing a series of unrelated tasks that, while not glamorous, just needed doing. The sort of stuff that starts with looking for something, then before you know it, you're reorganizing a drawer or a closet. Piddly stuff that eats up more time than you would think.
Then of course, horses behaving badly was another time sink. Actually, only Dandy behaving badly. Every horse has their thing that just brings out the worst in them. Nick's is small white plastic bags, Cooper hates to be hard tied, Dandy...the dreaded water hose. Mr. D needed a bath, so we danced and pranced for over an hour in the hot sun on Friday. All politeness goes out the window when the water hits mid back. Needless to say, both of us were dripping at the end and both just as aggravated with the other over it. I did manage to avoid the "let's roll in the dust and make myself muddy" period by letting him go graze around the property. After a couple of hours grazing, he was full, dry and back to his usual sweet self, as was I. All was forgiven and even the foot he stepped on felt better. Neither of us holds grudges. Baths are business. 

In the sewing room, I finished up the second bath rode/housecoat I had cut ages ago.  I went from giant fruit to giant fungi! BTW, Matango is an old Japanese grade B horror flick, in English known as "The Attack of the Mushroom People".

Can't say why this languished for so long, but I'm in love with it now that it's done. I made some changes from the blue corduroy one. I hated the in-seam side pockets. They are comfortable enough but I have ripped (and repaired) both of them since they catch quite often on things. I went with patch pockets on this one; lengthened and narrowed the sleeves and decided last minute to use snaps instead of buttons.

 I had bought some pretty wooden buttons painted with matching toadstools, but cute as they were, they just didn't show up on this big, bold and busy pattern. Simple silver snaps worked well and I'll save my cute buttons for something that will showcase them. I wish I had had enough fabric to match things, but this was expensive fabric and the waste would have been substantial with the large repeats. As it was, I'm amazed I got what I needed from the yardage since it was a half yard shy after looking at the pattern. But it is, after all, a bath robe.

The roll of done prayer flags is growing. I hope to finish off this warp mid week. I need to get after a squeak in the beater assembly once the warp is off. I know just where it's coming from and a little dry lubrication should do the trick.

Around the farm we have our first truly aggressive doe. I heard a commotion and went out to investigate. Juno came running from the woods with her tail and back puffed up. There was the doe (probably the same one who challenged the grey fox) with her fawn. The fawn took off, the doe stood her ground, stomping one front hoof then the other in a very deliberate way and accompanied by a threatening snort. Hey, no problem. I can take a hint. While I didn't puff up like Juno, I did clear out PDQ. We consoled each other on the back deck. Don't mess with the wildlife in general and this Momma deer in particular!

Parting shot: Why Robin! What a little fat head you've got.