Month: January 2012

A Butterfly Memory

Mr. Garment Farmer will be driving to San Diego soon, to visit his grandmother.  I received a jury summons for the week before he leaves, so I can’t be making any plans to go out of town.  Since I can’t visit her, Mr. GF suggested I paint something for him to take to her.  It wasn’t a terrible idea, but painting can be a lot of work (when you tend towards perfectionism), and he said it like it would be as simple as taking a photograph.  I’ve felt tired and short on time as of late, so I didn’t really want to add anything to my to-do list.  But I haven’t painted in months and it seemed like just the therapy I need.  So I opted for a small 8×8 canvas, and I promised myself to enjoy the process and not nit-pick every stroke.

Bernice loves butterflies–the image of butterflies are all over her apartment, in pictures and many figurines.  Her appreciation of butterflies reminds me of my grandmother who loved hot air balloons.  Both fancy brightly colored flying objects.  And my grandmother decorated with hot air balloons in the same fashion that Bernice does with butterflies–all over the home.

Of course I decided the best thing to paint for Bernice would be a butterfly because I know she will love it.

Bernice’s memory isn’t so good anymore.  My MR says she doesn’t seem to remember their previous conversations when he calls to chat with her.  The sad part is that she is lonely and thinks that nobody ever calls, but the truth is she just doesn’t remember the phone calls.  I wonder how can you show someone that you love them in a way that they will remember, when their memory is failing?  When you live many hours away and can’t visit all that often, how can you continually remind a loved one that they are loved??

I hope a painting to look at every day might serve as some sort of reminder to Bernice that she is loved and we are thinking of her often.

I finally put some paint on the canvas tonight, and even though it isn’t finished, I just wanted to share a picture (mostly to prove that I haven’t been completely idle and to keep up with at least one blog post a week).


Fabrique de Plastic Bags

I have so much to learn concerning different types of fabrics.

My red feather fabric arrived today from Gorgeous Fabrics, and I was both pleased and surprised at what I found inside the box.   Ordering fabrics online is always a bit of a challenge and ultimately a surprise for me because once they arrive I get to finally feel the fabric, and it never seems to be quite what I expected.

This one was called a “crepe de chine,” and made of “polyester/acetate.”  In my mind, crepe de chine was defined as an inexpensive version of silk/satin.  I guess I was imagining something with a tad more body, but with excellent drape.  This fabric is all drape.  AND, it is exactly the same feel as a fabric I already have.  Enter the plastic bag fabric pictured below.


This blouse is made from a fabric I purchased from my local fabric store.  I love my local fabric store.  The owner is very friendly and helpful, and her prices are excellent.  I believe I paid $5 or $6/yard for this gray fabric.  (The red feather fabric was $10/yd plus nearly $10 for shipping).  Unfortunately, a lot of the fabric in the store is not labeled, so I have to ask the proprietor what the material is and how to care for it.  I was told this gray fabric was made from recycled plastic bags, and to machine wash and dry.  I was totally intrigued and feeling so green with my “recycled” fabric choice.

After making the pussy bow blouse, I found the gray fabric doesn’t wrinkle or hold a crease, making it a bit difficult to work with but awesome to wash and wear (I tend to leave wrinkled clothes hanging in the closet for months before I get around to ironing).  It is comfortable, but I believe it to be rather delicate–pins leave visible holes, and the threads are easily distorted if stretched or pulled on.  With the arrival of the red fabric, I am quite confident the gray fabric is also polyester/acetate. And thanks to experience, I have a better idea of how to handle the red fabric. describes acetate as derived from natural sources (not plastic bags).  Acetate can react (melt) if it comes into contact with nail polish remover or alcohol!  Dry cleaning is recommended.  Polyester is made from petroleum byproducts, and it is heat sensitive.  Plastic bags can also be made from petroleum, so perhaps it is possible that my gray fabric is made from recycled plastic bags after all.

At least now I have a better idea of what I’ll get when ordering “crepe de chine” or “polyester/acetate.”

The red feather fabric is destined to be a dress sooner than later–two of my good friends got engaged last week, and me thinks I need a new dress for their wedding :)

A Cat and His House

With weather in the upper 60’s this weekend, I was out of the house and far from making any progress on a sewing project.  Sometimes you gotta seize the day and play soccer, visit with horses, and go shopping.  It’s a rough life…

The weather forecast says rain Thursday through Saturday, so I’m confident there will be much sewing progress made in the near future.  If I’m gonna finish my man’s shirt by February though, I’ve got two weekends to focus and get it done.  Plenty of time, but honestly I’m finding it hard to be motivated to sew for someone other than myself.  Well, guess I’d better hurry up and sew his shirt so I can get back to more self-centered sewing.

Today’s hi-light was a shopping trip to Petsmart.  Mr. Jay has shredded the window ledge in our dining area by clawing his way up to perch.  We decided the best way to eliminate this behavior would be to add some cat furniture beneath the window, allowing Mr. Jay to gingerly step onto the ledge sans claws.

He seemed quite thrilled with his new house and has ignored the window thus far.


A little catnip might have contributed to his distraction and delight.


The leather tassel provided several minutes of fun too.  Unfortunately Lucy is completely jealous of Jay’s fun, so it’s only a matter of time before she destroys those little leather strips in a fit of jealousy.  Just like she destroyed the cat’s mouse and the feathery toy thingy…  Jay has taken to playing with less attractive toys, like twisty wire ties, the strip from Netflix mailing envelopes, and my sewing pins when he can find one!  Of course I try to keep those tucked safely out of sight.


Lucy is way too big for this cat house, so I think it’s safe to say Jay won’t have to share his new room at least.

Loop Scarf

I’m a complete beginner at crochet.  After several youtube demos, I think I’ve mastered something that resembles the most basic pattern.  I’m not confident that I’m doing it correctly, but I did manage to make a scarf!  and it’s holding together just fine.

My first attempt involved the thickest yarn I’ve ever seen, in a beautiful green color dubbed “cilantro.”  I made it too short and tight though–it wore like a neck brace.  A very warm, lovely colored neck brace.

My second attempt was this thinner teal colored yarn.  I tried to keep it loose, and I made it longer and wider.  I’m much happier with this scarf–it actually drapes and hangs a little.  Plus it didn’t make my neck itch–score.

Time to put up the crochet hook and start cutting out the negroni pattern.

Sometimes I think I just need a week or two between sewing projects to rest and relax before tackling the next adventure.  Although I love to sew, I get caught up in the work and stay up too late.  It’s not exactly a relaxing hobby for me.  Crochet has been my “relax and watch tv” activity.  Sewing is more like reading Harry Potter–it draws me in and keeps me up past my bedtime.  Which hobbies help you to relax?

Project Planning

Until now I have not given too much thought to my wardrobe and project planning.  I’ve jumped from one project to the next, making up whichever pattern and fabric were the most interesting in the moment.  This method has resulted in a number of wearable garments, including two dresses I love but have only worn once or twice each.

When I consider what I wear the most, the items I go back to day after day, I must admit I can’t give up my blue jeans and a top.  Try as I might to add skirts and dresses to the lineup, my jeans and shirts get the most wear.  So with that in mind, I have added a couple of blouses to my project list.

Negroni shirt for Mr. Garment Farmer  

The first item to be done however, will be a shirt for Mr. Garment Farmer.  He is 6’5″ and nearly impossible to find RTW clothes for.  My ultimate goal is to make him the best shirts he’s ever had.  This will be my first men’s shirt, so I’m not expecting perfection, and I’m also using a very inexpensive fabric.  Colette’s Negroni pattern was an easy pick for this project since the directions to her patterns are always awesome.


Slouchy Blouse  

Rumor has it the slouchy blouse pattern from Burda Style is quick and easy.  With no sleeves to set in or collar to attach, I’m hoping to add a blouse to my wardrobe in no time.

Shirt fabric

Reversible Gathered Skirt  

Although another skirt is not high on my priority list, a navy blue skirt was something I wanted last summer.  Unfortunately I could not find any navy blue fabric the weekend that I set out to make the skirt, so I ended up with something else entirely.  Well my last trip to my favorite local fabric store, Crossroad Fabrics in Watsonville, turned up the perfect blue fabric.  It is a bit sheer, so I was looking for a lining fabric and settled upon the aqua color pictured below.  I like both colors so well that I decided the skirt ought to be reversible.  I’m not quite sure how to work this out with the zipper situation, but I have at least a month or two to figure it out.

Skirt fabric

A Shirt Dress of Separates  

I’ve been wanting a shirt dress for some time, and this fabric just feels right for it.  I think I’d prefer a gathered rectangle skirt though.  In my quest for more blouses, I think I shall make this fabric into a collared shirt first, and then make a coordinating gathered skirt.  Worn together with a wide belt, I think the outfit will have the shirt dress look but the wardrobe flexibility of separates.

Shirt dress

The above shirt dress pattern is also from Burda Style and may serve as the pattern for the shirt.

V-neck dress  

I immediately fell in love with this pattern when Burda Style recently released it.  Although I presently have no need for such a dress, there will surely be an event in my future that calls for it.  As such, it is at the bottom of my sewing priority list.  I purchased the red feather fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics, but I’m wondering if the print is a poor choice to go with the pleated neckline of the dress.  I’m currently undecided… The colors are simple and the print isn’t too busy, but I fear it may detract from the pattern details.  A solid fabric may be the safe choice for this pattern.



I also have a blazer type coat on my to-do list, however, I’m anxiously awaiting Gertie’s next Craftsy class.  Why do I think it’s a coat class?!  Well Gertie has made some fine coats, and I would be most interested in her teaching a coat class.  So here’s to wishful thinking and planning out projects with the intention of dropping everything should Gertie indeed offer a coat class.  Gertie, if you’re out there, please, a coat class.

Leg of Mutton Sleeve

My intention was to post about my future sewing plans tonight, cataloging my fabric and pattern choices.

However, after a long day of work and a delightfully tiring walk with my dog, I think I shall rest and catch up on Naruto instead.

I would like to share a page from my Sunburst Pattern System in the meantime:

The leg of mutton sleeve caught my attention, and I had to share.  Is that term still in use?  I hadn’t heard it before and found it curious.  My fashion/style vocabulary isn’t very broad, so I found the charts in the book interesting.  But the book was published in 1972, so I question its accuracy with regards to current styles.  Maybe it’s time to expand my reference book collection to include some current sewing books :)

Here’s my walking partner, Lucy:

She’s a lucky dog, she doesn’t suffer from exercise anxiety like I do.  She’s always ready to go and needs no encouragement.

But she also lacks any sense of properness and enjoys rolling around in the grass…

New Additions

I asked for an ironing board for Christmas.  A full size stand-up ironing board.  Even though she said it was a terrible gift, my mother came through and got me a board (as well as a few other more exciting (by her standards) gifts.)

Up till now I have used a table-top ironing board.  Every seamstress knows how very important ironing is to the success of a garment.  Now I can stand-up straight and iron long seams all in one go.  Thank you mom!

Although I’ve had a thread rack for several months now, it has more recently become a problem.  Or should I say the cat has become a problem for the thread rack.  Even though I’ve moved it up higher on the wall, Mr. Jay Catsby still finds a way to knock down bobbins and spools of thread.

Tonight I came home to a booby trapped house!  Jay had strung thread from the upstairs spare room, across the hall, down the stairs and into the living room.  I saw the spools first, laying on the floor, but the thread was nearly invisible till it had trapped my feet.  I cut my losses and put the thread back on the rack, but I wonder how I can keep Mr. Jay from spoiling the entire collection?  I’m considering a hutch or armoire to help organize my growing stash of fabric and patterns.  Maybe the thread will have to be put away in a cabinet or drawer too.

Mr. Jay Catsby, pretending to be sweet and innocent.

Also a recent addition to my sewing room, my manager at work gave me the Sunburst pattern drafting system and hem marker.  I will certainly use the hem marker, just as soon as I can train Mr. GF (Garment Farmer) how to use it while I model the dress/skirt.

As for the Sunburst pattern system, I intend to look it over and study it, but I’m not sure how soon I’ll get to that.  Nevertheless, I’m quite excited to be gifted with such lovely treasures!!

I’ve completely outgrown my current shelves for my sewing supplies, so I’m on the lookout for the right piece of furniture to help organize my spare room/sewing studio.  Once I find it, I’ll report back with a clean and organized sewing room to share.

Have you gotten any exciting gifts or new hobby supplies lately?

Just Getting Started

Welcome to my blog.

I have never been one to journal or keep a diary, and I am a terrible pen pal.  The only extensive writing I have done was essays for school, and I began to detest writing essays so much that I finally quit school.

So it is with some apprehension that I begin this blog, wondering if I really even want to write it.

When it comes to writing e-mails or the occasional comment on Facebook, I am truly a prolific writer.

It is my hope that I will love writing my blog and find it to be a tool for communication and interaction.

I also love photos.  Lovely blogs always have lovely photos.  Until I can purchase a Nikon d90 (or win one from Pioneer Woman) I will be bringing you fantastic snapshots from my iphone4.  I will make up for the lack of photo quality with interesting filters.

Stay tuned readers, for amazing photos of really cute animals, my latest sewing project and words about nothing will soon follow.

black horse

spent some time with my favorite large four-legged critter this afternoon