Friday, November 28, 2014

Tights And Toothpaste

Yesterday was beyond busy. Thankfully, I'd arranged to spend the afternoon knitting with a friend. We both enjoyed the move slow, sit still, and chat time. It was ten in the evening before I could have had any sewing time. NOT. That's my most likely to make a mistake time and I definite want to do my best with the dress so I left it until today.

When I cut out the front pieces, I tried to pay attention to where the dark spots on the fabric were hoping they wouldn't end up in a less than flattering position on my body. The truth will show eventually but so far, it looks good.

Even before the fabric arrived, my intention was to sew with exposed serger seams. Above the sample pieces are wrong sides together with the seam on the right side. It looks like I imagined. YES YES.

The plan is for the exposed seam to run at an angle where the front folds of the dress are with a black inset on the inside portion and the Smuggler fabric on the outside edges.

With my purple version of this dress - Vogue 1410 - I changed the fold from the pleats Lynn had designed to two buttons tied together. It works so well that I'll do it again.

Here's the front of the new dress pinned over the purple version. No back, no sleeves, no neckline and yet you can see how it's coming together.. well... IMHO... and...

... where the buttons will go. I have several options including one large sparkly button, several small black buttons, or a triangle/button combination that could be interesting. I won't decide until the rest of the dress is finished. I plan to use exposed serger seams on all the seams although some will be stitched in place rather than free standing like the diagonal front ones.

This morning, I'm having a very early breakfast with my oldest son and then journal time at Starbucks and then I'll paint the first coat of clear on the island counter-top before heading out to run errands. Right now, work in the kitchen involves small burst of painting separated by long periods of watching paint dry. Believe me, it is NOT at all exciting. When I get back from my trip, I'll paint in the grey grout lines and then post a picture of the completed space. I like how it's developing. It's definitely different and far brighter.

I've checked my lists and I have a few things to do today to finish up Christmas shopping plus I need to pick up some small things - like tights and toothpaste - for my trip. After that, I'll finish the dress, do the laundry, and start packing my suitcase. I want to be mostly organized by tonight and have a slow day tomorrow before leaving early Sunday. So far, the weather looks like it'll co-operate with my plan. I'll post the finished dress on Monday. Meanwhile, don't forget about the notwalmart sale at The Smuggler's Daughter. LOVELY fabrics - 20% off through to Sunday the 30th.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - almost the end of painting

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.
- Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Screenplay 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

My Smuggler's Dress

Yesterday was the perfect stay-at-home day only I didn't... stay-at-home that is. In the morning, I went to Starbucks to journal and probably shouldn't have. The roads were a nightmare. It was tricky driving. Thankfully, I made it safely there and back and after that, I stayed home.

Once I'd finished the day's painting chores, I - finally - opened the package that arrived yesterday. I knew as soon as I did that I'd want to sew so I made myself wait. When I was in Ashland in September, I had dinner with Susan, the owner of The Smuggler's Daughter and enjoyed hearing how her business came about. She literally has her own fabric shop. Imagine.

A couple of weeks ago, Susan asked if I'd be willing to sew a garment using some of her fabric and share it on the blog. YES YES YES YES YES... The fabric arrived in record time especially considering our slow as a turtle Canadian mail system. It was wrapped in pattern tissue and tied with a bow. So pretty and like a present inside a present.

I chose Sunny Day in Seattle. The fabric is a 58" wide rayon polyester blend novelty knit with slits revealing black behind it.  It is more blue grey like the picture below than the one above. Aren't the slits fabulous?

Here I'm modeling it to see what I think. When I chose the fabric, I had Lynn Mizono's Vogue 1410 in mind. After sewing a purple version in August, I've been wanting another with sleeves for winter. Susan's offer was the perfect opportunity to do that since this pattern is a quick and easy dress to sew and I wanted to get it on the blog before all of the fabric sold out. Which is very yummy. And totally a must have. .

GREAT TIMING -. through to Sunday the 30th, The Smuggler's Daughter is having a 20% off sale. All you have to do is pick your fabric, click on the links, and enter the discount code - notwalmart. The piece I received is definitely not what I think of as WalMart fabric. It has a quality feel with soft drape and a lovely hand and is not quite - but almost-  tissue-like. The slits are fairly see-through. I'll need a slip.

My Smuggler's Dress will be slightly different than the previous purple version. Besides adding sleeves, I'm piecing it together with a black fabric that is the same - only black - as the purple used previously. To start, I've created a seam 4 3/4" from center front. I'll show you why in tomorrow's posting. .

I'm sewing and I'm packing. I'm doing whatever I can to keep myself busy while attempting to wait patiently for Howard's next doctor's appointment and - hopefully - some answers as to what our future will look like so that we can start making the decisions that need to be made however... waiting patiently when is not my forte especially when the answers will have such huge impact. The kitchen distracted me this week. On Sunday, I'm off on a ten day road trip to visit several  friends and spend time sewing in their studios.

I rarely travel any distance at this time of year since winter driving can be as treacherous as it is beautiful. I had a horrendous trip about ten years ago that completely turned me off driving in winter for longest time. The "bad weather" section of this trip will be short as I'm heading more south. Hopefully all this snow will have found a resting place off the road by the time I leave. That's the forecast.

Isn't this tree just outside my studio just beautiful with its garment of white? I took this picture early yesterday morning. By the end of the day, it had an even thicker coat.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - an invitation to sew with The Smuggler's Daughter fabric.

Sewing Truths: Fabric is so addictive that it should be a controlled substance. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Softer Look At

This morning, we are getting our first heavy snowfall. Cotton balls are falling from the sky and the trees are dressed in fluffy white.There's a quiet hush over everything.

The first coat of black went on the countertops yesterday and I snuck a light dusting of lime onto the stripe section just so I could envision where things are going. In the right direction. When I add grey grout lines, it'll all come together.

This is the view of the kitchen from "my" chair across the room. When the island was black, I was looking at a blob. This way, it'll be white with black stools in front and a softer look at. Today, I'll put a second coat of white on the island, a second coat of black on the countertops, and then wait for Howard to come home and help me screw the countertop to the island - which will require clamps - before I start painting the top of it. I'm eager to see what the metallic paint will do.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - second coats

If you're feeling blue, try painting yourself a different color.
- Hannah Cheatem, age 8

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

When Is It A Good Time To Change Your Mind?

Yesterday afternoon, my friend came to knit for a few hours and now I am three button holes and seven rows away from completing the scarf, however... with all my jars of buttons... and as it so typically goes... I don't have the right buttons. Sometime today I need to fit a visit to Fabricland into my schedule to find the "perfect" buttons and finish. I could just finish it like a without buttons only I want to be able to wear it as an eternity scarf and loop and drape it in whatever way I want without those bulky twists that can happen. I could change my mind but I don't have to and I don't want to so I won't.

When is it a good time to change your mind? IMHO right when you have that niggling that something isn't right and before you do a whole heck of a lot of work heading in the wrong direction. Knowing when this - whatever this may be - isn't going the way you want it to is a skill I developed creating textile art and one that has been completely transferable to other parts of life. It's far more often possible and way less work to stop right at that moment, pay attention, and change directions. Like above. I wanted the original lime of the wall to remain on the fireplace and then didn't like the way it looked so...

... I painted on a coat of purple to give it power and punch and it sure did - too much - so...

... I painted over it with the same grey as the other walls and like the continuous line that is created and the way the grey color showcases the painting and doesn't overwhelm the fireplace. The picture above was taken with a flash and the one below was...

... taken one picture later without the flash. Isn't that color change amazing? In some lights, the grey looks blue and in others purple. Above, it looks like shades of green. LOVE that... except my furniture doesn't always go as well with the "current" shade as I'd like. The brown armoire will be moving to a new room. I really don't like the way it loos against grey and I'm not painting it.

Above is the island with a coat of white primer and below is the island with a coat of black paint. I'm so glad I took a picture at each stage so I could compare the look because even though the island looks fabulous in black instead of opening up the kitchen, it looks like...

... a dark blob and closes the space. This morning, I will paint it back to white. It's one extra coat of paint. I can live with that to get the look I want and to prevent wishing I had paid attention and changed the color when my intuition started nudging. Intuition is an amazing gift - one to pay attention to - even though right now mine is saying how about white grout on those tiles and I'm saying let's wait to see until the counter top is painted and the lime stripe is on. I am not talking to myself. I am talking to my intuition - LOL.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - Intuition

I believe in intuitions and inspirations... I sometimes FEEL that I am right. I do not KNOW that I am.
- Albert Einstein

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Thing Of Beauty

It was a busy weekend of painting... and more painting... and more painting... and progress is being made. This is good. I like it. My son doesn't. I had asked him a while back to tell me one thing that he appreciated about me and he said color. He's finding the switch from green to grey a switch from color to colorless and says it'll look like we're living in a jail cell. I told him to hang in there and wait for the finished project. There's more than one way to go about being colorful.

Some friends stayed over Saturday night. They're in the process of moving back to Kamloops and will be house hunting for the next week. While they are looking forward to retiring here, they are not looking forward to the time and energy it takes to make a new home your own. It does take time but after the initial rush it is - thankfully - a evolutionary process. We've lived here two and a half years now and have done a fair amount of work to make it ours. I'm glad it's the kitchen's turn.

When we first bought this place, the kitchen had fixed and open shelving in the corner above the sink. I couldn't even reach to get something off the second shelf never mind to dust it so we...

... replaced it with two new cabinets with glass doors. We have our dishes in those cabinets with nothing on the top shelf and it works quite well especially as the dishwasher is just to the left.

There wasn't a lot of counter space in the original layout. I wanted a bigger working area and more drawers. After pricing out different options from an island, I purchased this one from Ikea. It works great.

Right from the start there were two things I hated about the kitchen - two not me things - the brown tile and the white sink... which I thought was porcelain... and was really cast iron... as in three men and we could have used a fourth were needed to get it out of the kitchen and into the car cast iron heavy. My new sink is a thing of beauty. The hole from the previous sink was big and irregular. It didn't fit the first option we bought so I went back to the store to find the biggest one. Luckily, it was also the one I really liked and - unfortunately - a lot more expensive which is why we hadn't bought it first. The tubs are 9" deep and there's a spot for the soap dispenser which I've never had before. I think it will be great.

Here the kitchen is with the first coat of primer. YES YES - the brown is gone. I'll put another coat of primer on this morning and then start with the paint colors. It's going to be a process - weeks - because the paint needs to cure at each stage. LOL - I can be patient. I think the primer is a 100% better already especially as....

... we also got rid of the other thing that drove me crazy - the microwave shelf. I prefer an over the stove microwave rather than a sitting on a shelf and jutting out in your face one. Yesterday afternoon, after this picture was taken, Howard cut the shelf off flush with the cabinetry. Once it's painted, I'll add another shelf inside and decide what to store there. Not cook books. Probably glass jars of some kind.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - no brown

Remember color is not just color, but mood, temperature, and structure. 
- van day truex

Friday, November 21, 2014

Too Much HGTV

On Tuesday, after lunch together, my friend Sharon and I popped in to Winners. How is it that in the past I could never find anything in that store that I liked and now suddenly I like "everything"? It's a lot like shopping at a thrift store. You have to go frequently to find the diamonds.

Who knew they had pet products? Not me but apparently they've had them forever. I guess if you don't have a pet you don't notice but now that I do, I did, especially this Baxter & Belle pillow. How crazy is it that I'm now recognizing designer dog labels and what's worse... a good deal on a designer dog label. At the pet store, this would have been at least fifty dollars more. It's 24" x 36" and at $29.98, I couldn't sew it for that price. I know. I calculated it out PLUS... where would I find that fabric? It's FABULOUS. In fact...

... I love it so much that it has sparked redecorating thoughts. Or perhaps I've been watching too much HGTV. After my trip to Oregon in September, we added the cooking channel to our cable package only I didn't like all those cook-offs - they weren't teaching me what I wanted to know or inspiring cooking - so we changed our choice to HGTV. That may have been a bad move. This channel is right up my alley. My son came home the other day and I was knitting and watching and he stopped, looked at me, and said this is all wrong. This apparently was me watching TV because I "never" watch TV. Guess I just needed the right channel. It's perfect while knitting.

SO.... HGTV plus the pillow inspiration had me thinking about shades of grey for the walls. I've been painting samples and pinning them to the walls to decide what I want. Right now, it's a blend between the lightest and the middle grey. One is too light; the other is too dark, and the middle seems like it might be just perfect. I'll get a sample of that today to see.

From the moment we moved into this home, I've been wanting to change the counter-top and back-splash tile only they were new and in good condition but definitely NOT my color.When I visited my friend Francine's new house a few months back, she had painted the multicolored tile in the kitchen a gloss white and not only did it look fabulous, it was standing up well even with the heat and steam from the stove. When I went into Benjamin Moore to inquire about the paint, Mandy told me that not only was it great on tile, it was fabulous on countertops too. We have two cutting boards in the same material as our counter so I painted one yesterday and I love the color, the feel, and the way the previous texture still shows up. If it looks more grey than black in your monitor, it's onyx, very black, the first paint I've used that dries darker.

The tiles and countertop will be primed first with a product called Aqua Lock and then painted with a water based oil enamel called Advance. Both are fabulous products. I'm a huge Benjamin Moore fan. I've never had a problem with their products and when I take the time to paint, I don't want to have a problem afterward.

Originally, I thought I wanted grey tile and then decided that was too much grey and that I'd really like to add turquoise and lime to the color scheme. Our home is open concept and right now the entrance and the feature wall in the living room are lime and I'd like to keep them that way. The dining room wall is turquoise which I wanted to change without totally eliminating the color since lime and turquoise go well together and both go well with grey. PERFECT. When I showed him these samples, Howard liked the turquoise with the lime stripe and so do I so that worked out great.

This was the view from my bedroom door this morning. I'm going to paint the island the same onyx black with a colorful counter-top, probably lime with a black edging. I'm not sure yet. I need to paint more samples and lay them out and see what I think first. Painting posterboard takes a bit more time but it saves a lot of frustration.

Doing the kitchen was somewhat spurred on by Christmas. When Howard and I discussed what we each wanted, I wanted something to enjoy all year round and suggested a new sink since the white porcelain one that came with the house drives me crazy. We decided something small under the tree to unwrap and a sink was a good idea so we're going shopping for one on Saturday - which led to the thought that if we're pulling out the sink, why not figure out if the counter-top is actually paintable - which led to sampling - and the countertop is paintable - and that's exciting. It opens up endless possibilities.

A new look for the kitchen is a fabulous Chrismas present. It'll be way more Myrna for not a lot of money and every morning when I wake up and come out of my room, I'll definitely enjoy the change. Along with the sink, we'll - finally - install the garburator I bought Howard back in September when I came home from Oregon. I know, who buys their husband a garburator as a gift, but he's been missing the one from our other house a lot and had mentioned it several times so while practical, it's also something he wants and will enjoy and having a garburator means a lot less trips to the garbage. YES YES

SO... there's no need to run an intervention. I am well aware that I'm shopping too much but I also know that I'm buying things I really like and mostly need when I find them on sale. I've returned items that didn't work out and I'm not bankrupting us at this point and several friends have let me know they are on alert. This is good. In the past when I've wanted to run away from whatever was going on, my drug of choice was to move so a few cans of paint and a designer dog bed are a come down and a relief to many. At this rate, by the time we finally know what's up with Howard's health, I may have all those chores around the house done

AND... Miss Chloe LOVES her new pillow.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - paint

When you're safe at home, you wish you were having an adventure; when you're having an adventure you wish you were safe at home. 
- Thornton Wilder

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Skirt For Millicent

It's snowing. Very gently. As in hardly noticeable. I had to look right at the street light to see the flakes falling but they are definitely there. It's quite light. Something to be thankful for with what Buffalo is experiencing. It'll be interesting to see how deep it is when it's time to walk Ms. Chloe.

A couple weeks ago - when I went to Fabricland looking for buckles for the purse - I found this black with white curlicues, very stable, knit fabric on the bargain table. There was just two meters which was enough to make another...

... Marcy Tilton Vogue 9060 skirt. This is the third time this month that I've sewn this pattern and it's a fabulous lesson in the fabric factor.

This paisley version is a medium. After I sewed it, I realized that my hips would have to be near to invisible for this to sit smoothly over them so I gave the skirt to my teeny tiny friend even though I absolutely LOVE this fabric. Note the drape. The fabric is stable but has a lot more stretch than the curlicue knit and it falls nicely with shape and definition.

This black rib knit version is much Much MUCH softer. It's pretty but doesn't have the same definition as the earlier fabric. With this skirt, I sewed a larger size and it fits me better through the upper hip but it's almost too drapey - droopy and dragging - although it's a comfortable piece to wear - which is why I tried again.

Right now, this is a skirt for Millicent. It'll go in the when I get there box of clothes to look forward to as I lose weight. With the elastic waist, it's not super fitted which provides a wider wearing range. This time, I cut the waistband the finished width of 4" plus the 5/8" seam allowance for joining to the main body of the skirt plus 1 1/4" for a casing for 3/4" elastic and rounded that measurement up 6". The seam is pressed toward the waistband and away from the bulk of other seams. After seeing these pictures, I'm going to top-stitch this seam to keep the bulk sitting flat and in the right direction.

I committed with the elastic. I finished both it and the casing to what my waist will be when my hips fit this skirt so now, the waistband is what it is and I need to be what it is if I want to wear this skirt - VBG.

What I found really interesting is how visible the fabric factor is. The first skirt and this white curlicue one are the exact same size, sewn in an identical manner, and the pictures look like this last one is smaller and closer fitted. If I sew this pattern again, I'd think about going down a size for a fabric with more stretch and about either sewing smaller seam allowances or going up a size for a very stable knit.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a dialed down dress form

Before you put on clothes, slide into heels, spray perfume, or accessorize to step into the world; there is a wardrobe that every woman must first put on. bathe in forgiveness, dress in self-esteem, adorn yourself with praise and slip into joy. When you are fully clothed in self love, you are always in fashion. 
- Sharon Rainey

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The F Words

 It's only Tuesday and it already seems like we've had a slew of back-to-back ugly days that are making the start of this week rather tough slugging. At Friday's doctor's appointment, it was decided that Howard does not have what they thought he had and he's now doing another round of specialists and tests while they make a new diagnosis. The current consensus is that this level of pain - and all that goes with it - may be his life, that it may be associated with a genetic condition. You can imagine that neither of us received that too well - and then - yesterday, when he went to the GP for something minor, she sent him for an X-ray on his lungs. It seems like the blows just keep coming which makes me very thankful for the F words - faith, family, friends, and fabric.

Yesterday, I played with the challenge fabric. The brown is along the lines of milk chocolate, neither light nor dark. Since brown is a color I rarely use, there were only three thread possibilities and of those, the two best choices were the upper and the lower ones. I experimented with the lower one because it's available in town and the other would have to be ordered.

I wasn't sure if I wanted matching or contrast. In the end, I decided to try to find a better match in town. Above is a basic seam. The thread is quite visible against the fabric making it a potential design element only it doesn't go-with as well as I'd like.If I decide on visible thread, I'll look for something else, perhaps purple Below are the variations I played with.

- top stitched seam

- exposed seam with edge stitching

- exposed seam with zig-zag edge stitching

- wide serged seam with four spools of darker brown serger thread

 - wide serged seam pressed to one side and zigzagged
 in place with the lighter brown thread

- narrow serged seam with three spools of thread

- narrow serged seam held in place with wide zigzag stitching

- curved and straight tucks with a wide double needle
 and tight bobbin tension

 - curved and straight tucks with a narrow double needle
and tight bobbin tension

With all the different pieces and many seams in this design - Vogue 1408 - there's room to utilize more than one option. I'm not going to cut out all the pieces first. I'll do them invidivudally  and embellish and build to size creating the garment as I go.... which means I really have no idea what the finished dress will look like but... LOL... gorgeous I'm sure. I plan to start soon but may sew a skirt today while I debate how, what, and where just a little bit longer.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - family, friends, faith & fabric

Answered prayers are scary. They imply responsibility. You asked for it. Now that you've got it, what are you going to do?
 - Julia Cameron

 ... as in now that you've discovered a way of eating that resonates with you, are you going to stay the course. This and other things. The quote made me laugh.