Monday, February 12, 2024

See Blog Two...

 I write two blogs, for a number of reasons, and most folks don't read the second one.

But, in the interest of not typing the same thing twice...here's a link...

Beer Lahai Roi 2/12/24

Hopefully sewing will happen later this week...


Saturday, January 20, 2024

Whittling the WIP Stack --- the Velvet Hippie Earth Mother Skirt

It's been too long since I actually sat down at the sewing machine and made a thing to wear, lol.  

But, as it happens, I have a stack of things I have started ...some really an embarrassingly long time ago...and I just need to clear the Work In Progress stack.

So I started with the velvet earth mother skirt. When I left it...just a little under 11 months ago, gulp, I had finished the yoke with the pockets.  I decided to cut out each tier, sew it up, and then cut the next one, to avoid mixing the pieces up (one of the previous Hippie Earth Mother Skirts may have had that problem...).  

So, today I finished cutting the first gathered tier, and sewed it on, then I cut and assembled the second tier and have it sewn on, although I do need to serge the seam to finish the edges.

I did tackle my cutting schematic to see if I could do wider, and fewer, tiers, but my fabric was 2" too narrow for that to work.  I have to use the narrow tiers to be able to use up the fabric efficiently.

Which means...5 tiers, with each tier 1.5 times the volume of the one above it...the hem is going to be something like 330" around.  Yeesh. Fortunately, for a velvet, the fabric is fairly light.

I made a casing for a drawstring, just in case it's too heavy for the elastic, just the same.

So, anyway, I shall be gathering for a bit, lol.

When doing something so bodacious and hefty, I use dental floss to gather ... Zigzag over it, 



Then pull the dental floss and secure the ends.  This is waxed, which means the gathers aren't terribly inclined to slip once I've got them arranged...but it's kinda stiff, so I do pull it out after the seaming is all done.

That's just a little tedious, lol.

Not sure when I will finish this; likely not in time to wear it this season as 1) all the fancy events are behind us and 2) even though our high was in the teens today, we'll be pushing 70 in a week.  We're likely done with winter at that point, based on historical trends.  But I'll be ready for  any holiday parties that arise in 2024, lol.





Friday, December 29, 2023

Found in a box...

 I wasn't even really aware I had kept this...

Back in 1991, I made applique'd sweatshirts for the family Christmas card photo...

(It's a good thing you can't see much of mine, it was pretty garish, lol.  I used remnants of a bit of piecing I did of some Christmas prints for another project).  Kids at this time were the Princess and the Artist.

Eight years later,  The Actor, age 5, wore the toy soldier shirt to his grandparents' house... pictured with his brother and two cousins...


A couple of weeks ago, I dug all the way to the bottom of the 'Christmas Shirts' box (which also has seasonal towels and oven mitts and such) and pulled out the toy soldier shirt.  I'd forgotten it was still here.  My Sweet Babboo still has his shirt, although he says it's  too small (hm).  Mine was put into a family reunion auction several years ago; I think the Princess's shirt got hand-me-downed to younger cousins, so I was surprised this shirt was still here.

It just happened to fit the Little Prince this year:



The only thing that these three photos have in common, besides the shirt, is the Artist.  

How fast time flies...

A little bit of the gold glitter paint that crisscrosses the soldier has broken off, but other than that it's held up pretty well.  Mayhap in two or three years Little Brother (and that nickname will change once I hit on the right thing...) will wear it as well.

Maybe I need to make a new batch of candy cane shirts.

They were complicated...I first sewed red ribbons (two different widths!) onto white fabric, then turned that into the candy cane applique's.  I have since found some candy-cane striped fabric, which works, but the ribbon looks so much nicer, lol.  I may even have a few extras in one of my scrap bins...

Yeah, that'd be crazy.  Better to just enjoy the old pictures, lol.


Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Santa Claus is coming tonight....

 ...at our house, anyway.

We have always done Christmas under our tree at an odd time; when the kids were growing up, it was always New Year's Day.  We were typically at grandparents' on Christmas Day itself, so we just made use of the whole 12 days of Christmas thing and had our traditional Christmas on January 1.  

I thought that would be a good preparation for the inevitable day when we had kids who needed to visit inlaws on Dec. 25; we could do our celebrating later on and it wouldn't feel like we were changing tradition.  Much, anyway.  Now, with kids who live out of state and have to be back to work on January 2, New Year's Day doesn't work for celebrating anymore...they need travel time.  But, no matter, we have almost a whole week to work with; this year we are gathering on the 28th.

And we needed three new stockings this year...two weddings and a new baby meant I needed to get crafting again. I have posted before about making stockings to match the original set we got in 1985, but this year was different because one of the stockings had NOTHING for me to trace/ copy...I was on my own.

And I realized I don't have a moniker for the newest grandson, the Little Prince's Little Brother.  I'm going to have to puzzle on that one for a bit; he's a corker of a kid at 10 months already.  But, meantime, his was the easiest since it was just another Teddy Bear stocking...and I'd already made two of those. 



I was a bit perplexed over the Dancer's stocking...she's The Artist's new wife...but when I took a really good look at his stocking I realized it wasn't going to be any harder to replicate than the teddy bears.  I just tweaked it a little...giving her horse blonde mane and tail and batty eyelashes, lol.

 But the Actor's stocking was the Jolly Old Elf himself...so his Little Redheaded Girl needed a legit Mrs. Claus on her stocking and I was stumped.

I took an applique pattern I'd used before to make stockings for my inlaws and also for My Sweet Babboo and me...Snowman/Snowlady...and adapted the Snowlady pattern but I wasn't happy with it.  I did the other two first while I stewed about Mrs Claus.  Last week, as I was finishing up the blonde rocking horse, The Princess was over looking at my handwork and I lamented to her about my lack of inspiration for the last one.  So she did what I should have done...hit up Pinterest and found a felt applique (for sale, of course, not a pattern).  It was quite different from my snowlady adaptation and I wasn't sure I was up to it, but she sent me the link to the picture just the same.

When I fnally couldn't put it off any longer, I pulled up the pinterest picture and decided it was worth a shot.

I think it turned out looking better than the modified snow lady would have...but it's still far from perfect.  I had problems with the sewing order...the arms  are UNDER the dress bodice but ON TOP OF the apron.  And, yes, I messed it up and had to do a plan B but if I don't tell you what I did you probably can't tell, lol.

It'll do.  If they have any kids, I will find a pattern for applique elves, lol.

So, here are the three stockings I made, pretty much since the first of the month, lol.  Nothing like waiting till the last minute...again...

And I kept the stockings out of storage last year so I could work on them before the last minute...oy, the best laid plans...Then, I had a minor accident with the Actor's stocking and an uncapped marker...sigh.  I managed to get the spot, which is fortunately on the back side, down to a rather large shadowy spot, but I'm not posting that, lol.

As a note, this year I actually noticed a manufacturer's tag in the stockings.  Facepalm; I hadn't paid any attention to it at all in the past.  They were made by Russ; I did a quick google search and actually found Ebay listings for the three original stockings ...Used Santa and Teddy Bears, selling for about $8 each, and New Rocking Horses (3 of those!). Selling for about $16 each.  So they are not particularly valuable collector's items, lol.

The Flute Player chuckled that I had no idea what I was getting myself into when we got those first three stockings...

ETA...and here's a picture of the whole lot of them with their stockings.  Prince Charming's is just barely visible behind the Princess....


Left to right: The Little Redhaired Girl (who is married to) The Actor: The Flute Player and her hubby The Jokester; The Artist and his wife The Dancer; The Little Prince, Prince Charming, The Princess and ...The Little Prince's Little Brother, who shall have a nickname before long....

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

That was not the plan....

 It has been an ...interesting...couple of weeks in these parts.  I typed up a whole backstory and deleted it; it's tedious, lol.  The upshot is that my hubby went to Indiana to help his mom, came down with covid after he arrived, and I tested positive for it myself after I found out he had it; I was on meds for a sinus infection after a negative covid test earlier.  

So I spent last week at home with the cat.  I didn't really feel bad, and I never developed the bad cough and sore throat that other folks have had, but I had zero stamina.  Just walking up the stairs pooped me out.  I did manage to get some of the Christmas decor up, around working from home, but the sewing stuff I intended to do last week just didn't happen.

But I got the lights swtiched around on the porch rail garland.  That was a PAIN.  Because, stupid me, I made assumptions.... I ASSUMED that the white lights I bought from Hobby Lobby were the equivalent of the colored lights I'd bought from Hobby Lobby and switched out all the purple lights with the white ones, only to find that it didn't work when I plugged them in (why didn't I check after switching one light?  Well...it matched visually; I thought it was the same....bonehead  move...).  So I had to take all the white lights back off and put them back on their original string.  Then I got a couple of the multi-color light strings that had been on the bushes two years ago and pulled red, green and yellow lights off and stuck them in the spots where the purple ones had been on the garland lights.  I even switched out about 1/3 of the blue lights.  Once I verified everything was working (I learn slowly but I do learn), I put the colored lights back on the garland, then I wrapped the white lights around the garland also.

More than one way to skin a cat, right?

The photo still looks a little blue but in real life the white makes it sparkle...I like it, even though it's a cooler white than I have on the bushes.  My thumbnails have pretty much recovered.

We put the tree up before my Sweet Babboo left town, but it took me a while to  get  the needles it shed  vacuumed up so I could put down the tree skirt and the traditional Christmas book selection (a tree's gotta have something under it, lol).  The teardrop lights that failed utterly as outdoor lights last year look really nice on the tree, although I do have some mini incandescents on it too, so I can run the 4 ornament spinners...  It is an artificial tree this year since it went up so early.

We got a new tree-topper this year...I liked it when I got it but when we got it out of the box we found that it is one sided; the back is just lights and wrapped cord, lol.  

Later on I managed to get the rather pitiful throw-back tree up on the porch...

My grandmother had an aluminum tree with a rotating light when I was little enough to believe in magic, lol.  This one came from a hoarder's stash about 10 years ago.  I don't know how long it will hold up but it is fun and nostalgic on the sun porch.  About half the ornaments on it were some that my grandmother bought late in her life. 

I had to move furniture around in the family room to get what we call the 'stocking tree' up.  We used a little tree by the fireplace to put the stockings around before My Sweet Babbo added the mantle; now we can hang the stockings but the tree is a tradition.

Putting up the tree only takes about 45 minutes...and most of that is fussing with the multi function lights. But moving the furniture about did me in.

Each one of those tasks took a separate day.  So, while I did putter around in the sewing room a couple of times, I don't really have much to show for it yet.  

But at least the house is mostly festive; I have a few household decorations that I opted to forgo this year.

I totally missed the church Christmas production this year.  I wasn't able to be in it or really do much,  due to the craziness of the fall, (koff two weddings and three out of town trips koff) but I did intend to hang out in the dressing room with safety pins and such if anyone needed costume help.  But, nope, couldn't make it work.  It has felt WEIRD, let me tell you....

But the retest was negative Sunday evening so I have been back at work this week.  It was nice to hear an actual human voice, lol.

Now I just need to finish getting the Christmas Epistles out and sew up the stockings that are hanging over my head yet...I have two weeks...


(Postscript:  My dear MIL had apparently already had this particular variant or was protected by her booster or both as she did not contract it whilst My Sweet Babboo was holed up in the bedroom.  He did wear a mask when he came out, but they did eat together, so I can't help but think she was exposed.  So glad she is still healthy)

Monday, November 13, 2023

Making Lemonade from Lemons: A non-sewing project...

 Two years ago I looked at my Christmas lights...cheap ones from Hobby Lobby...and realized there's way too much purple in them.  It kinda made the whole house look bluish/purple...we had snow on Jan 2 (following the high of 70 degrees then storms with tornado warnings on Jan 1), so I actually have a real, Christmas-looking picture here (This is RARE in Alabama...):




So last year I went in search of some nice red, white and green lights.  I found some that were recommended by a friend...pretty, tear-drop shaped lights.  Ordered 7 strings to begin the switchover processes; can't afford to buy all the lights at once, lol.   I put them on the bushes and left the Hobby Lobby lights on the railing.

But before we took those lights down, about 3 strings of those lights on the bushes had half the string dark.  And when we did take them down, a number of the pretty bulbs HAD WATER IN THEM. And, the teardrops were glass...pretty fragile glass...and a few were broken.  A few more broke because they tapped each other as we were moving the lights around. Yes, the lights were rated for indoor/ outdoor use.  Obviously, though, they weren't up to the elements.  We spent a day plugging and unplugging lights and managed to get all but two of the strings working again but I can't put them outside and, TBH, I'm not sure they will work if we plug them in this year.

So I began another search for red/green/white LED lights for the front of the house.  I have been looking since, oh, I dunno, July or August, for said lights.  And have found nothing.    Or at least, nothing I wanted; there were some that had, like, lime-green lights....nope.

With time running out, we went to Lowe's.  Where I bought two strings of white, two strings of red, and two strings of green LED lights with the intention of just switching the dadgum lights around and make my own red/white/green light strings.

So, instead of doing the Christmas sewing that needs doing on my day off (since Veteran's Day was Saturday) today...I switched lightbulbs in half the string sets.


That was way more complicated than it should have been.  Turns out each string has five light sockets/ bulb bases that are larger than the other 95, so I had to be careful to NOT put a regular bulb into one of the larger ones; it doesn't make contact and the string won't light.  I finally wised up and started marking the off-sized sockets and the bulb bases with a sharpie marker.  I have a LED light repair kit, which includes a 'bulb puller'... a skinny little rounded fork thing to pop off the lights.  It helped quite a lot, actually, but my fingers are still sore.  I'll probably do the rest of them later this week, but now that I'm onto the peculiarities it should go faster than it did today.

I'm even thinking about buying some white lights from Hobby Lobby, to match the multicolored lights, and just switching out the purple lightbulbs; I think that will help warm up the garland.  Might even be good enough that I won't have to switch the lightstrings on the garland.

Then I can decide what to do about the holly bushes in front of the porch...lol.

A PS....I went to add the labels and realized I had typed the whole post ON THE WRONG BLOG.  

Copied all the HTML and pasted it in here, then deleted the other one...

Yup.  It's Monday...

Saturday, November 04, 2023

A Quick? Favor for a Friend...

 Not linking this post to social media, lol, since part of the deal of doing favors is that NO ONE ELSE hears about it.... 

Anyway, I had a friend who had some bibbed insulated outerwear pants that were just a little too short in the torso.  She's a tiny lady, and I'm not sure what size range these pants actually are, but she gave them to me last spring asking if I could add a bit to the shoulder straps so she had a bit more wearing ease.  

I figured I would just add length to the adjustable strap so it would have more room but I wasn't in a hurry...after all, we were heading into summer, this is Alabama...in my midwest-raised brain, these were pants to be worn on a snow day.  I told her I would do them the next time I had black thread in the machine.

Which was, of course, the MOTG lace dress.  Got past the wedding, didn't sew anything because I had a mess to clean up.

The day before I left to go to Florida, she texted me wanting to know if her pants were done yet.  It was going to be a bit chilly (read: lower 50's - upper 40's) for the fall festival outing at the local corn maze and she wanted to wear them.

Never occurred to me that someone would want to wear snow pants with the temps above freezing.   The midwest is still strong in me at times, even after 40+ years in the South...

Well, I clearly couldn't do them before we left, so I told her it would be the first thing I did when we got back.

Looked at them Sunday night...literally the day we got home...and realized it wasn't going to be as easy as I thought.  The adjustable straps were sewn in a loop around the buckle, like a bra strap.  I couldn't do the modification the way I thought.  I couldn't recreate that loop if I took it apart; no way my sewing machine could get in that tight spot to sew the end down.

What to do what to do what to do...

Wednesday it hit me...what if I lengthened the other side?  Where the buckle comes up from the front?

Took a look and that was just a simple loop. So I got some black grosgrain ribbon on the way home from work Thursday, and yesterday it took me all of about 20 minutes to add 4" to the front of those straps.


She had told me she didn't care what it looked like; but I don't think this looks too bad....

Next up:  Christmas stocking for the three people who were added to the family this year...gonna hafta get creative for those, too...