Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Utter Awfulness of the Law of 3's

Freezing fog in the valley

In my life bad things usually come in 3's and the end of 2017 into the beginning of 2018 is proving to be no exception to that. I might have to resort to writing country songs! Let's get the badness out right now so you all know if I am slow to post, there are reasons.

My mother was diagnosed with cancer the weekend before Christmas.

Smoochie has been diagnosed with cancer this week.

Juno the barn cat has been missing since Wednesday night.

I'm usually a pretty optimistic person, but I have to admit the news these past 10 days has really been crappy. There will be appointments in 2018 with the oncologist, we're trying an old cancer drug that has had good outcomes for oral tumors on Smoochie and I am hoping Juno comes sauntering out of the woods in all her beautiful cross-eyed glory. It's unlikely though. Miss Priss was late and upset on the evening call in on Weds. an unusual occurrence and then only one ran into the basement for feeding. Sigh damn.

Down into the fog.

The holiday was subdued, we did try on some cheer to bolster each other and it did have some fun moments. We'll be going out for New Years Eve for my Mom's birthday and I think she is looking forward to it. I hope so.

I'm keeping this short and informative. I find it best to get all the bad news out in one fell swoop. There have been some makes, there is quite the wadder that I have pics of and of course, flashing the fiber equipment/looms on New Years Day. Hopefully a happier post.

Parting shot: All snuggled in for a long winters nap
Mandy is actually tucked into the pillow!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Santa Has Left the Building

And is already delivering packages across the world in 3D!

And here's a fun article about how it all got started...Who knew!

While I may not always be quite in the mood for decorating, and Christmas can be a bit sad remembering my Dad and not having him here, there is still a little bit of magic. It may be a quiet kind of magic but that doesn't make it any less special.

I would still hear that Polar Express silver bell ring, how about you?

For music, it's go big and beautiful or go home. Enjoy! I leave it playing on my computer while I do other things......wrapping for instance. ;-)

So Merry Christmas everyone. Joy, peace and love from all of us to all of you.

Thank you Susan for the jammies!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Today is....


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Faux Fur Fail!

As always these days, late with my post dang it! I did indeed finish my new winter coat and I'm very happy with it.

The beautiful champagne sable faux fur just didn't work out.  I would have had to cut the hood much larger than the pattern called for and frankly, with a scant 3 yards of wool, there wasn't enough to go off rails. I should have ordered 4 yards and next time I will.

The coat is exceptionally warm, comfortable and easy to wear. Maybe not as lovely as the muse coat, but for my lifestyle, it works perfectly. It is roomy and not restrictive in any way which is nice when you are layering.

The wool and fleece combination was a challenge for my machines. It isn't that they aren't powerful enough, it's that the foot doesn't go high enough. I would love an industrial straight stitch machine someday, but for a coat once every few years it hardly seems worth it.

We will have a white Christmas. The snow is spitting from the sky today, sometimes small mean pelting flakes in the wind and at other times, fluffy flakes straight out of a Disney movie, soft and light and pillowy. In any event they all need to be shoveled. Or maybe like out of a fairytale, the North Wind, all chubby and puckered up will blow the drifts from door and my stairs. This is what comes of reading Russian tales. I spent Monday in bed, absorbed in The Bear and the Nightingale by
Katherine Arden. OMG, it has been a long time since I was so lost in a book, not wanting to be dragged back into the world of the here and now. And yes, the second book of the trilogy (The Girl in the Tower) is already started on my Kindle.

The other make to finally escape the sewing salon is a holiday red Patricia Rose dress/tunic.

 This is such a happy, bright and jolly red, it just had to become something for winter festivities. Christmas eve perhaps.

I wish I had more to share but life seems to get so hectic during the holidays, big and little bumps ripple far stronger than at other times of the year so it would seem.

I might not get to another post before Christmas, but don't forget to track Santa. As always NORAD
has us all covered. We can watch Santa live along his route. I hope he's resting now though for the big night!

I'll leave you with one of my favorite holiday songs by one of my favorite singers, Joan Baez. Enjoy, it's a beautiful piece of music.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season, filled with an abundance of joy, friends, family and food!

Parting shot: A horrible, terrible, possibly crippling case of double ear flop. Oh DEAR!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Oh What the Heck...

When I first started sewing seriously I tried out a Revisions pattern and it was awful. Then recently, the bohemian artwork sucked me in again. How quickly we forget and it is a good thing I think in some instances.

This pattern allows for lots of different fabrics or patterns to be used. Such a great way to move leftover fabric pieces up creatively!

Anyway, I spent just about 3 days of sewing this one up. This is a very fussy precise pattern. None of the steps are hard, there is a just a lot of them and truly, it is best they are followed as written.
I actually love this one, against all odds. I'm not fond of overly fussy patterns, I certainly have had bad experiences with the drafting on the previous pattern and oh, I hate doing button loops almost as much as button holes, but the sleeve is sublime.

You basically make a vest, (a fully lined vest), finish with a bound armhole and then attache the sleeve which is also bound on the underarm section.

Pretty and airy.

I will make this pattern again with just a couple of changes. I would like the neck higher and I might add a hood, the sides on the back to mimic the front side curves and go down a size on top but still grade out to the larger size over the hips. I did not do the pockets as loose bags. I've done those before and they are just kind of a pain getting caught on everything.

I'm also getting ready to start a new winter coat. This is my muse but it won't be exactly like this coat of course. The shape and the hood appealed to me but I wanted my coat to be a raglan sleeve and I'm changing the pockets I think. A lot of design choices will happen on the cutting table for this one.

I have assembled some lovely dark green wool, a taupe organic cotton fleece interlining and some "like the real thing" faux fur. It's champagne sable and it is soft as any mink or sheared sable I've ever felt and it will be the hood lining. It will be hitting the cutting table this weekend and on to the sewing machine next week.

We had some snow here last weekend and it certainly put a damper on our super moon.

 It was rather super but my camera skills are not. This is what it looked like as it rose with the fog around it.

For all my animal loving friends and followers, I give you this amazing bit of advocacy reminding us that pets aren't just for the holidays but for life.

I'm leaving you with Gary Jules doing Mad World. It is isn't it?

Parting shot: Smoochie recuperating after major dental surgery this past Tuesday.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Babbitty Bumble

The Bumblebee warp is weaving up beautifully. The goldenrod yellow and white is so elegant I think and I love the touch of black.

I thought it might be too gaudy or garish but it is not. I'm glad I did an 8 yard warp instead of a 6!
Oh and Babbitty Bumble is a character from The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse by Beatrix Potter

And while the shuttle has been going back and forth, the wheel has been spinning round and round.

The Louet Shetland is a beautifully prepared fiber and the light grey so wintry and soothing to spin.
I'm going to use this lovely fiber for Fisherman's mittens, knitted huge and felted to size providing denseness and warmth even when wet. In the really cold there are no gloves that keep my hands warm and dry, so I'm going to give these a whirl. The end yarn will be a three ply with the last single being a bright Hunter's Orange wool/silk blend. It's just been started so pics next go round....pun intended.

The sewing machine and serger have been happily stitching along with a couple of fun creations.
Way back in the summer of 2016 I bought some appliqued fabric that was handmade in India. Then I spent a year and a half trying to decide how best to use it. Too delicate for pants, I wasn't keen on a jacket for it but then I decided to use it as a simple smock.

 I could preserve most of the appliqu├ęs that way.

I sort of made up my own pattern using an Indigo Junction smock pattern as a guide for the armholes. It's a simple garment, oversized and comfy, perfect for slipping on as I weave or spin or sew.

The second make was a pattern I've had for years and am finally getting to it.

These Khaliah Ali designed patterns have always been so nicely drafted. This was no exception. My only adjustment was to shorten the waist. For curvy gals these patterns are graded with a little more room at the hip and usually princess seams for ease in bust adjustment.

The shoulders are usually spot on. So many patterns mistakenly grade shoulders up to linebacker proportions since we might be a bit fluffy in other areas.

This fabric was purchased super cheap at the closing sale and it wasn't until I opened it up I realized how pretty the print was. Duck Feathers it's called.

What a flipping week it has been in the news! The #MeToo movement promises some change. There will be many casualties, some well deserved, some maybe not so much. I was joking with Gene that extreme vetting might be more appropriate for powerful men than for many immigrants.  I never said my jokes were funny. People in power, be they poor or rich, over a corporation and legions of people
or just a couple of kids or an animal, who come from a place of hate and fear are aways a danger.
So I'm leaving you with this beautiful song by Natalie Merchant, one of my all time favorite artists.
And an admonishment that if you see something, say something. Please.

Parting shot: A mug only a Mother could love and I do!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday, such a simple, beautiful concept.

This campaign was started in 2012 and frankly, amidst all the hype about spending money and shopping this one stands out for it's sheer audacity to be about generosity, kindness and sharing.
Heaven knows there is some real need this holiday season. Our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are still without power and reliable clean drinking water. There is need far and wide. You can look in your community or you can go global. Humane societies, conservation movements, homeless kids, women's shelters, famines, suppression and sadly another genocide happening in Myanmar. The point is, it is easy to give a little or a lot this Tuesday to any cause you feel near and dear and all of them worthy. It'll make you feel good!

*****Dog Bone Recall Alert! You can read about it HERE. ********

Smooches between pooches.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Forget About Frost on the Pumpkin

We've got a new one..... Snow on the Gnome!

That was last Friday morning in the wee feeding hours. We got a good 5 inches. Low rider Mandy was not a very happy camper but I have practiced my dog out the door shoving techniques for years with Pogo (and he growls), so she was a piece of snausage to slide out in her little coat. It did sound rather pitiful for a bit though and then she was off playing and sniffing with her BFF's. Just wait until the big snows come....

Friday was also the start of the annual Clayfolk show.

This show is just awesome with potters from everywhere Oregon, mostly southern but some from Eugene and parts out that way. This year was particularly good with some unusual pieces and surprisingly affordable. There is such talent in this area and not just in this medium! I spent too much but found items I loved, each and every one of them.

 I often keep my purchases to wall items since they are less likely to get broken.

Julia Janeaway

This is the assortment this year. The Insectology piece was a one of and could possibly be my all time favorite Clayfolk find.

Bigify to see the googlie eyes

It is by Carole Paquin from Central Point.

The two table top items are a small dogwood bowl to add to my little collection of dogwood items from Faith Rahill Pottery.

Her stuff is so unique and so beautifully glazed.

Speaking of glazes, the green on this beehive water/beverage cooler is so rich in depth and feel.

You can't resist touching it and it works perfectly of course.

Jack, photo bombing, of course!
 I'm thinking Arnold Palmer's for summer! It was the last thing to settle into my overloaded basket and was created by Don Clarke. This was also a  girls night out and after we all paid up for our goodies it was out to dinner at a newish place in Talent called the Pump House. They served up one of the best Philly Cheese steak sandwiches I've had in a long time.

I haven't sewn a flipping thing. I've been cutting out new patterns and planning what I want to do next, what fabrics to use etc.

I did get a band started on the Cendrel for the eyeglass leash but still haven't investigated findings for it. This weekend will be time enough.

Gene and I are taking my Mom out for turkey dinner today and over the weekend I'll roast a bird and throw a couple of casseroles full of stuffing together. We'll have the leftovers we actually eat with none of the fuss of a big multi dish meal. Works for me! I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving
full of blessings and joy. We could all use a yummy meal and some kindness.

And that brings me to the song of the day, one that is close to my heart with sweet memories of home in Massachusetts. A James Taylor classic. Enjoy

Parting shot: Stranger Things.

Friday, November 17, 2017

In Which She Realizes the Holidays are Looming

Holidays are sneaky. Seems like it was Labor Day like 2 weeks ago and I had all the time in the world to get things done.  Father Time is messing with me again. I must have two days work of hemming to do on gifts and a few things still on Fiona the Wolf Pup.

 Time to engage rear into gear and since there is nothing in process in the sewing salon, I can thread up the machine for the various hemming jobs.

There were a couple of fun things that went from cloth to clothing. I am in love with the Style Arc Patricia Rose dress/tunic pattern. Many of the patterns are one size, so you need to carefully look over their sizing chart. I hit it correctly for once! I lengthened the bodice an inch for the blue tunic

 but cut that to a half inch with the green number.

It preserves the proportion better and once the bunnies are strapped into their hutch it is perfect.

I flirted with the looms, started threading on the Mac

and wound on the bumblebee warp and made a start on it.

I have to be honest, while for some things I like the built in raddle on the Louet looms, but mostly I still use my old loop raddle to wind on. It is smooth and allows for a little play with delicate  or grabby yarns like the unmercerized 8/2 cotton can be. Along with the warping valet and some weights on the warp bundles, I made fast work of the 8 yards Sunday morning.

Monday was beautification day, so I picked up my Mom and we went off to the hairdressers. Melinda hit me with another Mermaid Blue streak. Here it is, first thing in the morning.

 Those twizzlers of white and grey hair are making quite the halo!

Way back in September I ordered a Jonathan Seidel tape loom, the new Scandinavian style.

 It's a beauty and we are just getting to know each other. I was able to repurpose this bench to accommodate the loom

 since I sold the Baby Wolf. It can go back to being an adjustable bench easily and the loom can rest on a table too.

The Cedric floor inkle is soon to receive a new warp too.

 I'm going to weave myself a some "leashes" to hold my specs around my neck. The beaded ones break all too easily.

I'm offering up a Joni Mitchell song, appropriate given that this present gawd awful administration is going to open up the arctic to drilling, allowing elephant trophies into the country (thus effectively making the ivory trade stronger), and and finally, allowing the killing of bears & wolf pups while they hibernate or den in Alaska. Really? Mercy, Mercy Me.

Parting shots: Don't touch that!