Friday, November 30, 2007
And here it is nearly December. Are we all ready to embrace the holidays?? Here's a little nudge in that direction. Anyone still without a holiday sweater (or two) can remedy that situation here.
And with that, I'm out of here. I'll be back with a full report on the Sue Spargo class and on Yellow Bird Art.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
But I'm going to go minimal. I haven't done a lot of appliqué and I think I'll concentrate on doing the basics. I can always add the embellishments later. Seems like sensible thinking to me.
Then there are the auxiliary projects. I'm not taking a sewing machine, so it will be appliqué during the days and knitting back at the house in the evenings.
And there is food to consider. I'm packing up a few essentials, like wine. And we plan to stop in Spring Green and Richland Center and stock up on provisions.
And finally, there is THIS. Just perfect.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Is this not a cool wool quilt?
I'm gearing up for my long awaited trek to to take a class taught by Sue Spargo at Yellow Bird Art in Lansing, Iowa. This quilt above is the class project. There are eight of us going for the weekend; we'll be staying in the Steamboat House in De Soto, Wisconsin, just a stone's throw from the Mississippi River.
Four of us are taking the class, the others will just sew at the house and hang out. That doesn't sound so bad either.
And this will be an adventure for me. Applique has never appealed to me very much. It sounds really strange to say it, but I just don't like flowers that much. They don't interest me, artistically. But Sue Spargo has such a funky, folksy approach to appliqué, and especially to floral appliqué, that I decided that now would be the time to take the plunge. Soon I'll be talking freezer paper and straw needles with the best of them.
Of course, this necessitates the purchase of a whole new stash of stuff--mainly wool, of which I don't really have much. And it's EXPENSIVE. And the kit for this class is fairly pricey. But does that stop me? Not in the least.
And I hear that Yellow Bird Art is one very cool shop, with lots of other temptations.
And of course, what's the weather prediction for the weekend? Snow, sleet, ice storm. Of course.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
And I spent some time organizing. HOW the piles of stuff grow and grow. And it never gets completely, definitively DONE. Magazine renewals, checkbook balancing, weeding through catalogs--all that fun stuff.
Pay It Forward: I have one most gracious participant lined up. I need two more... I guess I'll let this ride till after the holidays. Maybe then two more bloggers will feel motivated to sign on. I will make you something nice, you know--I promise no plastic canvas needlepoint or macramé owls.
Argh--three more days of this daily posting. Will any of us survive?
Monday, November 26, 2007
The tree is trimmed but otherwise, chaos reigns as we wrestle with the increasingly attractive notion of simplifying a bit and getting rid of some items. So this week I'll be gradually finding places for Santas, red candles, snowmen and other assorted stuff that are massed on tabletops right now. And filling a box with what I can live without.
But not tonight. This was a loooong day at the library--I was there an extra hour dealing with all the inter-system transit, and I've pretty much kicked back tonight. Not even knitting.
A couple weeks ago I was whining about Harry Potter. I have now finished all seven books and have to say I just loved them all, with the possible exception of book five, which was pretty introspective and dark. But I'm happy to be one of the Harry fanatics now, checking out the authoritative websites and boring my friends to tears with my incisive opinions. LOL
I followed up Harry Potter with Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice by Janet Malcolm, which pretty much convinced me that I don't need to EVER read any Gertrude Stein or Alice B. Toklas. Thoroughly unlikable people IMHO.
Now I'm into the much recommended The Glass Castle: a Memoir by Jeannette Walls.
I have to say that the silence has been deafening on the topic of Pay It Forward. I'm thinking that maybe I left the impression that the gifts were intended to be Christmas gifts. No, no, no. Gerrie said she would get gifts to her recipients sometime in the next 365 days, and that's my timetable too. C'mon you guys--doesn't anyone want to play?
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Inside: my Christmas cactus--a victim of benign neglect most of the year--chose to sing its song just in time to grace the holiday most prettily.
And following on the theme of gratuitous grace and generosity:
I was one of the first three commenters over at Crazy for Fiber and will be a beneficiary of Gerrie's Pay it Forward promise. Gerrie has promised to make me a gift, with the agreement that I too Pay It Forward. So, I hereby promise a handmade gift to the first three commenters here who specifically ask to be a part of this exchange. In turn, each participant pays it forward by making the same promise on her blog. Or his blog.
Do any of us have time to do this sort of thing? Probably not. But maybe that's why it struck me as a good idea. I would rather make time for this than for the myriad of other silly demands on my time at this time of year. I won't guarantee pre-Christmas delivery. But I will keep the promise.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Dress Fitting #1!
It was with fear and trepidation (on my part) that Caroline tried on the muslin of the wedding dress this weekend. We thought we had the right size, but those numbers can be slippery and evasive.
Wonder of wonders, the fit is pretty good.
This is Vogue V2965, which is entirely cut on the bias, and which will make a sleek and slinky dress in the creamy silk charmeuse we've chosen for the finished gown.
We haven't yet decided if we'll use the detachable train, or for that matter, if the back of the dress will be cut with the slight train, shown here,
or just as a long dress, without any train at all. There are a couple fitting tweaks to be done, but on the whole I think we're on the right track. Much relief!
The tweaks will be in the back:
I'm going to slightly alter the curve of the back waist seam.
And see where I've taken pintucks in the back? There will be stays, made from seam tape, sewn in to ease in that fullness throughout the length of the back bodice. That will have the effect of molding the back bodice to Caroline's back, so there's no gapping, and so that there's no sensation of slipping straps.
In the pictures, the bodice fabric appears different from the skirt. That's because I decided to pre-wash the rest of the muslin AFTER I had the bodice constructed--I was afraid the fabric might be pretty stiff. It ended up not really being an issue. Despite the stiff muslin, you get an idea of the drape of that front neckline.
So, we're on our way. We still have no date firmed up, so there's no panic. I'm hoping it goes together reasonably easily. Ha--famous last words?
And yes, that's Eric looking on. Caroline doesn't hold with a lot of superstition: "Of COURSE he can see the dress!"
And Lucy was looking on too.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
The children's table:
The grownup's table:
Another Thanksgiving is over. The guests are gone, everything is cleaned up and put away. Lovely day with family and friends.
Tomorrow: some spectacular photos of Lucy, courtesy of Eric and his fabu camera.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
But the best part of all is that Caroline and Eric are here. You can see how enthused Lucy is.
Family time tonight.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
A full day at the library today and then home and into full-throttle Thanksgiving prep. Cleaning mode tonight!
Mr. Kathie obliged by doing about 90% of it, giving me time to finish the wedding dress muslin. The bride-to-be will be arriving tomorrow (I say this optimistically, given the nature of air travel these days + holiday crush + a forecast of bad weather...) and we'll see where we stand, fitting-wise.
No pictures tonight. Maybe it's good to rest your eyes after the unrelenting horror of my kitschy nun collection. They ARE a definitive image of .....something...., aren't they?
Tomorrow--library and then, god help us, Caro wants to go shopping. I'm thinking better Wednesday night than Friday.
Monday, November 19, 2007
My friends seem to think I need little nun figurines and they keep gifting me with them. I guess they figure I haven't yet looked at enough nuns. There should be two of the tiny ones. We think the other one was carried off by a cat. The tree quilt was made by Melody Johnson.
Caro and Eric brought me the table runner from Ecuador. Perfect colors.
I like things with lettering or writing on them.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
No fiber content to speak of today but it was an excellent day.
I met my college gang for brunch at a great little spot in Elm Grove. I've written about them before. There are about a dozen of us--we have been through absolutely everything together since we all met at a freshman picnic at our college in the late 60s. They are the best thing I got from my higher education. I have no blood sisters, but these are without a doubt My Sisters. One mom and one aunt joined us, making it all even better.
As our kids have all grown up and left, and as careers have gone off in different directions, it seems that it gets harder and harder for us to get together. But the majority could make it today. It was a blast, as always.
Mary, Joanne, and Annie--we missed you.
After brunch I squeezed in some shopping. It's Friends and Family weekend at The Gap and I had my discount card, courtesy of Caro. I also hit the bead store and found some beads for fringe for the scarf I posted about a few days back. That will be an in-front-of-the-TV project.
And I think I scored a good one at Half Price Books. A 1927 edition of To the Lighthouse WITH dustjacket...???
I need to research this a bit more but I see no covers like this at LibraryThing.
I came home to cook, as Will and his girlfriend were here. It was great to see them this weekend--he'll be spending Thanksgiving meeting her family at her home in eastern Ohio.
Will was always our bug guy and that's still the case--after some roughhouse with Lucy and Boris, we discovered a gigantic tick on Lucy and spent much of the evening examining it under a magnifying glass. Guess there will be a vet trip tomorrow. The tick is off and seems to be intact, which is a good thing. This has been one heck of a year for those nasty little creatures. This will be at least Lucy's 3rd trip to the vet with tick issues since we got her.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
I hit the ground running this morning and actually got some things accomplished.
Grocery shopping, spending an OBSCENE amount of money. I stood there with my mouth open when the checker gave me the total. Holy &%$#.
Started Thanksgiving prep. Squash is prepared, my favorite uncooked cranberry sauce is steeping in the fridge, dessert--pumpkin bars--is made and in the freezer.
A pot of carrot-spinach soup (lunches for this coming week) is simmering on the stove.
AND the muslin of the wedding dress is just about all basted together.
This project is going to make for some real monotone photography, isn't it? Nothing like unbleached muslin to make for a color riot. Not.
So we'll spark things up with a picture of what looks like a disembodied cat head. Boris like to hang out in a basket up on top of my kitchen cabinets, which we refer to as his office. He's a climber and he likes those high perches. This is Boris looking down from The Office.
I'm about to hit the couch with a sleeve to sew on the back of a quilt. I predict I won't get it all done tonight--I'm about wiped out.
P.S. Thanks for all the birthday wishes for Caroline. Here's a shot of Caro and Eric dancing last night. Can't say much about the decor of the place, but they look pretty happy.
Friday, November 16, 2007
What a ride it's been.
She was a Thursday's child with far to go, and in those years she's covered a fair amount of territory.
In her 29 years she's had experiences her mom could never have dreamed of. She's attended a high school prom at the Waldorf Astoria, ridden on top of a train car chugging through the Andes, survived a volcanic eruption and a coup in Ecuador, socialized with tortoises in the Galapagos Islands,
served her country as a Peace Corps volunteer,
climbed a Piton, and visited more than a dozen nations of the world. So far.
From day 1, it was always abundantly clear that Caroline was her own person, full of joie de vivre,
and always eager to do her own thing.
And I know the best is yet to be. Great days are ahead...
I can't imagine my life without you. Happy birthday, Caroline!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
OK, I've procrastinated long enough. The bride-to-be will be here for Thanksgiving. I HAVE to get the muslin of the wedding dress together for a fitting. I've stocked up on carbon paper to use with the tracing wheel (don't know if I'll actually use this, but I'm ready). I have yards and yards of muslin, and yards and yards of pattern tracing fabric.
I'm ready to go.
The first problem is deciding which pattern size to start with. The pattern sizes are out of whack with today's retail clothing sizes, or maybe it's the other way around. At any rate, the measurements of a girl who wears size 4 and 6 jeans comes out to between a 12 and a 14 in pattern-size. I decided to start with a 12 and a generous seam allowance, and we'll go from there. If something needs to be recut, well, it's only muslin at this point.
We're using a Vogue multi-size pattern. I want to preserve all the sizes, so I am beginning by tracing the pattern pieces onto the pattern tracing fabric. So in essence I'm cutting the garment out twice. Three times, if you count the GOOD fabric. And we WILL get there eventually.
Pattern pieces are ready; I'll cut out the muslin tomorrow night and (I hope) baste it together over the weekend.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I'm an omnivore fiber person and have in my time worked my way across a good deal of the fiber spectrum--garment sewing, tailoring, macrame (actually took a for-credit class in this!), crewel, counted cross stitch, quilting, knitting, yada, yada. So I get excited about just about any fiber-related book that comes across my desk at the library.
It all puts me in mind of the tempting little baggies of kimono scraps available from quilt show vendors. I find it very hard to pass these up and have the overflowing scrap box to prove it. Then what do you do with them?
Even though it's all silks and is in wonderful mellow colors, it just never seemed to have the right weight and drape.
Love the idea of the beaded edgings and other unusual embellishments shown in Scarves to Make. I may tinker with this scarf just a bit more and see if I can really make it come to life. I think some beaded fringe might just make the whole thing pop.