Sunday, March 31, 2013

In Her Easter Bonnet

Not only is it Easter, but it is also Stella's THIRD birthday!

 So of course, we were visited by a very special bunny, A Birthday Easter Bunny! It's probably a good thing something like this only happens rarely......



Oh NO! A Jack Rabbit! Yikes!!!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Forbidden Fruit

Not literally, but figuratively, white, in this household has forbidden fruit status. And I love white! There is practically no one from age 4 to 94 that doesn't look great turned out in something clean and white. Nothing replaces a crisp white shirt under a suit, a bright white T elevates a simple pair of Levi's and who doesn't feel the excitement of future adventures like a pair of new white canvas sneakers cause? White in my book has it all over black. Sadly, white is not practical here, land of red clay dirt, slobbering horses and multiple paws of mud. This year I vowed, more white, more lighter, brighter colors and be damned with practicality! I sew, I'm getting better with my growing skill set and I can always make another, or something better. Bring on those whites and lights!

So I broke out that white linen cotton blend I had been saving. Saving for what I don't know, but it hit the cutting table last week for a Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt.


 The fabric is stiff and crisp and wrinkles easily. I wanted more of a tunic and I had an idea to use the way it shows things underneath through it's not quite opaque surface. I lengthened the body by an inch, I practiced my miters and I made a minor adjustment to the collar.

 I don't like the stand up-ness of it, I wanted my collar to be tame and lie where an obedient collar should! The snap is for detail only. And then I went to work on my little design feature. I had bought a yard of a Dala Horse print I saw on line. Maybe pillows or napkins or ?. Anyway, there they were, those white and charcoal horses, just waiting for something wonderful. I fused them to the wrong side of the fronts, then faced as the pattern calls for. I like my little ghost horses.

I even used the selvage in the crease of the right cuff.

If you have been following for any length of time, you know I love to use any particularly pretty selvage end as a design feature somewhere on the garment. I've paired the top here with the light lavender linen pants. Can you feel warm spring breezes?

Okay, back to reality.... In other news, the dental double whammy hits on Friday when Peter has his turn on the table. We tried keeping some dental issues in check with antibiotics but it just ain't happening. A few have got to go, and the last remaining top front canine is the catalyst. Who would have thought the little bugger would have kept that one so long?  It has made it through a number of dental procedures over the years. With luck though, Peter will hang onto those back molars for the rest of his life. Fingers crossed for the little guy as it is always a bit trickier with his heart condition. But quality of life is just as important and when your mouth hurts, there is very little joy in the world.

My cold is waning. Sunday was a lost day. I felt like death and other than staggering out of bed for a drink or to feed something, I slept over 19 hours into Monday. I had plenty of company. Nurses Stella, Robin, Charlotte and Jack stayed for the duration.
Rodger was head purrrer and Bea kept the monsters in check under the bed. Smoochie played nurse to Peter. Smoochie, you are simply the kindest dog I've ever know.

That about covers the goings on here for today!

Parting shot: What friends are for.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Scarlett O'Hara Moment

Well, in spirit at least. She was able to envision a gown out of drapes (although Mammy did all the sewing). Myself, a summer top from a tablecloth.

 Can you see me sitting at the table, eying the most recent spaghetti dinner splatters and wondering if they can be a design element? No? Good, because I bought this tablecloth in clean, barely used condition and never planned for DH to come anywhere near it with a plate of pasta.

The collar fabric is left over from the little jacket.

 The pattern, an Amy Butler one. And thrifty fabric wise. Take that Scarlett!

Over the week, I cut out the last of the trip garments. Spring in New England is a tough season to straddle. It can be cold and rainy, hot and humid and everything in between and often on the same day. Weather schizophrenia. Packing for a month stay, I want some rotation in the wardrobe at least top wise and I sure needed another pair of cargo jeans and a basic white shirt. Both of those items are in the bins waiting for their turn at the machine, plus a few others. This one was a test for a summer top pattern. Unhemmed as yet in this picture.

 Easy and wonderfully versatile. No sleeves, short sleeves, long sleeves like I cut, great on it's own and perfect for making a few closer fitting cami/tank type things for underneath. The maiden piece is done in a drapey rayon. I'm calling it my Grecian Goddess. It's long, loose and has all the earmarks of a perfect warm weather top. Some protection but very cool and easy to wear. I'm not a fan of sewing rayon and this was no different. The fabric reminds me of trying to sew limp egg noodles. The saving grace of course, is the way it feels on. Soft and light but not sheer. Quite a feminine fabric really. The pattern calls for a thin tie belt. Not my best look, but using a leftover piece of bias binding from the neck, I was able to give it a hint of a belt with a couple of tucks, set more at empire height than natural waist then two snaps for a little detail.

 The next time I make this, I heading down one size. For those who like the pattern, the V neck is nice, and not too low like some of them end up being.

It's probably a good thing I have patterns cut and ready to go. Gene kindly passed on his head cold to me. Holding up crossed fingers, silver bullets and garlic have no effect on cold germs. Dang!

On the Bea front we have seen improvements by leaps and bounds. She is eating her usual kibble now, not softened with hot water, crunching slowly on her evening biscuit and perkier than she was pre-surgery. We are keeping her on a low dose of anti-inflammatory for her arthritis but I am hoping to drop her off of that once we get into the warmer weather of summer. She'll be a little more active and won't have to contend with the cold and damp winter and spring offer. Some winter days we are both two creaky old ladies together.

The fox pair have been seen regularly, either early evening or during my dark morning feeding time. In fact some mornings are like Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom ( I loved that show as a kid.), I see so many "extra" sets of eyeballs flashing from the woods and down the driveway. One morning alone garnered the foxes and a pair of fighting feral cats, another skunks on the move and what I am assuming was an owl, whose eyes glowed at me from a perch in a tree on the woods edge. I'm alert on my stroll out there though. And noisy. And if my barn kitty escort is jumpy, so am I.

Parting shot: Beanie babies

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Yep, you've all managed to plow through 500 blog posts here at Runamuck. Honorary Cyber Medals of Tolerance to each and every one of you who come to visit me. And those medals come a with a big hug too. Thank you.

So today calls for something special, a little out of the ordinary and I have JUST the thing.
Yesterday it became apparent to me that I had not been feeding the boys hay all winter, but low grade rocket fuel. I took out my camera to try and get some stills but instead, they put on a show for me. 15 minutes of tearing up and down their roomy paddock. I took over 200 photos. Here are some of the best (some great details if you bigify!), and I justify so many because I rarely include horse photos. I'm making up for my camera ready neglect of the most amazing two horses ever.  Dandy is the red rocket, Cooper the spotted one. Enjoy! This is about as close to wordless as I get! ;)

Dad, Thanks again for the awesome camera.

Monday, March 18, 2013

It Was a Good Day to Be Irish

Aren't eating and drinking holidays just the best? Like many people I can claim a wee bit of Irish in my background, but even if I couldn't, wearing green, toasting the Emerald Isle with good stout or a wee dram of your favorite whiskey makes for a fine day. Corned beef and cabbage is not a favorite of mine, but plenty of people love it and I've done my fair share of New England Boiled Dinners on March 17th. If I had to list some of the things I miss about New England, in the top 10 would be the wonderful ethnic holidays that are celebrated in many small ( and large) villages and towns.The foodstuffs are varied and interesting. French Canadians with their poutine, the Polish with pierogi, kapusniak (kapusta), and golabki (stuffed cabbage leaves), and Finnish with amazing chewy rye breads and sweet tasty pulla. You really wanted to get to their church bake sales fast. The line was usually at the door waiting for them to open. None of that here that I have found.
It would seem on the westward travels, with few exceptions, those close heritage oriented enclaves have disappeared. For good or bad, I can't say.

In honor of the holiday, I finished up the green capelet/jacket. And what a PITA it was!
Basically you are instructed to complete a shaped sleeveless blouse with armholes and neckline finished with bias binding, which the cape is sewn onto in the front and rides loose over the shoulders and back. Then, the torturing begins. You apply in drips and drabs, a continuous facing around the fronts, bottom blouse hem and neck of the cape part.

 It's messy and awkward on that funnel neck. Do you catch the finished binding edge of the blouse part? How best to do that? It causes pulls in the shaping and because of the cape being attached there is no nice way to turn it inside out for draping on Rhonda to see how it all sits. The cape bulks it up too much. If I were to do it again, I would ditch the back facing, cut the under blouse to match the back of the funnel neck and seam it together providing that back facing as one with the back blouse. Then I would adjust the two side/front facings to make a clean edge all around. And I might make it again. It is surprisingly comfortable. I wore it all day yesterday over a green turtleneck and it provided just the right amount of layers for inside on our cold blustery St. Paddy's Day. The bonus, I snagged Gene to take some pics of it and a couple of other recent finished projects while I was getting ready to walk our lobster. And the capelet doesn't pull at the underarm like it looks in this pic. It caught strangely under the arm in these. Oh well.

 Michelle, these are for you and best of luck to your Dad. Safe journey!
Here is the coat and yesterday was really cold enough to wear it.

 And the cute Indygo Junction jacket.

Along with lobster walking, I took the big hairy beastie (AKA Cooper), out. Finally the gate area has melted down allowing for easy entering and exiting. We took a stroll down the driveway and across the street for a bit. Cooper as always, was calm and easy, on the lookout for any spring grass growing right beside large mounds of shaded snow.
Dandy spent the 15 minutes hollering for his buddy. Not surprising, they are both probably a bit herd bound. I'll get the roly poly red one out for a jaunt today. I'm also cutting back on their hay. The really cold stuff is behind us and as usual, it appears I have over fed a little....

Parting shot: Quick, snap it!

Charlotte and Pogo refused to participate, but they did get treats too.

Friday, March 15, 2013

16 is the Magic Number


Miss Bea, who just happens to be 16, spent her Tuesday in dental surgery. That means I spent my day in town and distracted until the bundle of strawberry blond joy was out of anesthesia. Strong of heart and constitution she handled the almost 2 hour surgery just fine. She lost 16 teeth out of 42.  OUCH! A few of those were marginal. Dr. Gurney made the decision on the table to take them rather than waiting a year and having her back on the table. A smart move. Today is the first day Miss Bea is feeling more herself and I'm sure  much better since those pesky abscessed back molars are gone. She was given a hearty breakfast. Medication and all consumed and the bowl licked clean. That is what the road to recovery looks like. A shiny bowl.

Needless to say, there hasn't been a lot else going on. Wednesday was eaten up with Bea watching. Surveillance is specialty around here. No drones needed. Yesterday was the standard farm relief day and off to town for groceries and some socializing. Even humans need to be properly socialized! ;)

A pair of my custom pant pattern was thrown together Weds. morning. These in a summer weight linen rayon blend. The color is interesting, it has an almost lavender hue to the beige. Pretty and will blend well with many things. The cute jacket was completed with bright yellow pearl snaps. I have two Decades of Style patterns cut out that are next in line to be tackled. The salon pants I've done once

 but the shaped 1930's capelet is first timer. I have no clue if it will look good on me, but I love the interesting construction and lines.

 I picked an inexpensive Brussels Washer for it in a lovely dark olive green oxford cloth look. The pants are in the same fabric just a different color

We have a couple of new patterns to try out by the Tilton clan, Marcy and Katherine.

Marcy's line is still with Vogue but Katherine has moved over to Butterick. I run hot and cold on many of their designs. Some details I love but often find the patterns ridiculously fussy or drafted for some other body than mine. The  numerous pieced details can make pattern adjustments difficult and I am never so much in love with them to want to spend the time fitting and refitting them if they are far off. Just lazy I guess. If these work though, both will be fun to wear. The dress of course will be shortened to tunic length.

Parting shot: Grit Nose...Are there truffles out there?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Legions of Latches

If you are ever looking for interesting and unique closures have I got the place for you! I stumbled across them while doing a search for coat closures. Patterns of Time has a huge array of neat pewter and other metal buttons, closures and buckles, along with all sorts of historical patterns and clothing. The website itself is kind of bland and hard to navigate, but the products wonderful and the shipping pretty darn fast. What all this means is that I finished up on the coat. And of course having done that, spring has also arrived.

 Yesterday was topping 60 and we are expecting like weather all week. Rhonda is happy to model in any weather so here you go.


The final finishing was not without struggle. That was a kind way of putting it. Making the tabs and getting the machine over all those thick concentrated layers of wool and horsehair interfacing, was in a nutshell, a bugger. I found the limits of my Pfaff, but we got it done.  And here is a final photo of the lining complete.

 The coat is itself is heavy and luxurious feeling. The cashmere blend soft and warm. I couldn't be happier with this coat and hope to get many years of hard wear out of it. One thing is for sure, I know how to replace the lining should that wear out before the shell does. The other thing is that Michelle is waiting for a picture of me in it, and I'll get soon as it's cold again and I'm not schlepping around in old sweatpants and a sweater that is more dog hair than anything else at this point.

After all that coat work I wanted something simple, fast and fun.

 I find Indygo Junction patterns to be nicely drafted and not requiring too much thought or prep work to complete. The TV dinner of the sewing world! They keep markings and such to a minimum. Put the pieces together and just sew. This one is their Retro Raglan Jacket.

It still needs a few buttons and to be hemmed but from pattern to garment was about 5 hours, counting multiple interruptions. And check out the vintage tablecloth piece used for the collar lining. Dogwoods!

Remember that last awaited gift I alluded to? It is not a puppy, but if it was, it would be a something big and strong with a lot of bite! There is a back story to this. Last summer a friend who was embarking on a new journey in her life found herself without a decent working sewing machine. I had not been using my old Singer 401A since doing upholstery work on the love seats. It just seemed like a match and off the two of them went happily together. Fast forward to the mid-century modern furniture invasion we had here. There will be a need for a heavy duty sewing machine again. You just know it, and so do I. The Pfaffs will handle it, but not anchored in a table makes it difficult, and I don't want to tie up my free arm machines in one. The need has been fulfilled perfectly.

 This is a vintage mid-seventies Kenmore 158.14301. He has a big Japanese made motor and a huge lift for the presser foot. He came too late for the coat work and honestly, until he is set in a table, it is hard to use.

 This model was meant for a case or cabinet only. It doesn't have the 4 little legs (only 2 on the motor end), to just set it on a table top. It is in pristine condition. It was bought and never used. All metal.

 Put away for years. It has been gone through, oiled, tuned up and ready to go once a cabinet is found. I do so love the hunt! :)

And now, it's off to clean house. Oh joy, oh happy day....

Parting shot: Peter,  I love your beautiful little funny face.