Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Bag

I made a zipper pouch for Halloween. I was trying a product called Screen Ink Discharge. It's mixed with screen printing ink and bleaches out the dark fabric and replaces it with the color of the ink. I wanted a nice white so I used white ink and I think the skull & cross bones came out nice. I have used soft scrub in the past but I have had some problems with the image not completely bleaching out. The other thing about his Ink Discharge is I can add a color like yellow or pink and it should stand out. I will do some more tests and let you know how that turns out. As for this product as I used it, it worked. I would use it in an area that has ventilation as the label suggests, the stuff stinks. You have to iron the product to make it react, which is fine but it stinks. So be prepared. I would also suggest that you wash the item because it stinks. I did not wash this item and I wish I did. It doesn't smell  any more now but it did for about a week. I also added a leather handle on the side as I receives some nice leather scraps from a friend and I thought this was a nice place to use some of that gift. I want to make some more of these as I have some more of the skull & crossbones, as well as the skeleton heads. The red fabric on the inside is a lining that I bought at Scrap in Portland. I bought a used bolt of abut 15 yards for $25 a couple years ago. I have used a lot and still have a lot left. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Alabama Chanin Dresses

I have several Alabama Chanin Dresses. The top photo shows off my favorite and likely the one I'm most proud...the Turquoise and Silver Paisley Fitted Tank Dress. This pattern is from Natalie's last book "Alabama Studio Sewing + Design". The pattern has 4 panels, making it really hard to mess up. The pattern is called the Fitted Dress/Skirt/Tunic you can make a skirt, a tunic or a dress all from the same pattern, just cut off the top or the bottom of the pattern piece. It's very simple and flattering pattern, the nature of knit fabric helps it fit to your own body. "Alabama Studio Sewing + Design" includes more stitches which compliment the simple lines of the patterns in this book. 

I have made 5 of the Tank Dress from Natalie's 2nd book "Alabama Studio Style". This is a 6 panel dress that flairs out quite a bit on the bottom. A fitted top with a nice swing to the skirt of the dress. The tank dresses were made with one layer of fabric except for the Burgundy Merino Wool with a mauve cotton layer under it. This dress is a very warm dress, last winter I wore it when we went sledding with the neighbor kids in the snow.  This dress has perfect panels for interesting and fun details. I reverse screen printed a chandelier then beaded the image on one of the dresses. Reverse screen printing uses a bleach to bleach out the color of the fabric. Sometimes you find wonderful colors under a dark color. You can use soft contains bleach and works on most 100% cotton knit fabric. On the Merino Wool Dress I did some simple Eyelet stitches along the bottom of the dress. It adds a little interest and is something that I work on when I have time, it's a work in progress. 

I'm really looking froward to Natalie's next book due out in spring of 2015. She is taking pre-orders starting thursday October 30th.  She is also having a 24 hour sale at the factory and on line...25% off...for 24 hours on thursday October 30th. Get yourself a DIY kit so you have a new skirt or dress for Christmas, or give one of her DIY kits to the sewer in your life. 

I wear these dresses on a regular basis, they are comfortable and some of the easiest pieces of clothing I have ever made. When I think back to how afraid I was of knit fabric I laugh because in a lot of ways it's much easier then woven material. You can make clothes a little snug and the knit fabric will hug you and fit to your body. Very flattering! Of course there are some items that I have made that were WAY too big but that was mostly because I had chosen a 4 way stretch knit. I still have a lot to learn about knit fabric but I'm getting better with each garment I make. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

This year was a good year for me and tomatoes. I grew a lot and was able to put up about 13 quarts and several pints of tomatoes. I also found a quick way to make tomato sauce and when I had too many tomatoes I would take the ones getting too soft and cook them up in a sauce pan with about 1/4 cup of water and some garlic. When the tomatoes were mostly liquid I would pour the sauce into a food mill removing all the seeds and getting a nice thick sauce. Last week was the last of the tomatoes and I was able to get about 4 pints of sauce. 

I drove up to Brightwood to put my car away last weekend, I kept looking for fall colors. A lot of the trees are still quite green except for this bright red tree, when I saw it, it was almost like it was on fire…the tree really stood out against all the green. 

I also made a couple more zipper bags from the free class on Craftsy with Kristin Link from SewMamaSew. It takes me about 45 minutes from start to finish. They are really handy for pens and pencils, sewing supplies or just a small zipper case for all those things that roll around in the bottom of a purse. The pattern uses a 13"x10" piece of fabric for the outside and the same for the lining. So it's very  easy to use up scrap from other projects. 

It's very windy here today….so far we have had a branch from the walnut tree drop in the back yard and our car port blow over landing on our truck in the driveway. Thank goodness there is no real damage. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Key West

Last April we took a vacation to Key West. I tried to explain to my husband that through Key West was in Florida it was not Florida. We flew into Fort Lauderdale…DON'T DO THAT. A friend said "it will save you $100 per ticket"….well yes it will but then you are in Fort Lauderdale and if you were like us you were farther away from your destination. We rented a car to drive to Key West because I though my husband would like beautiful drive from Miami to Key West. He did not. 

We arrived on Easter (4/20) in Miami and drank at a lovely little place called Clandestino Pub. The owners wife made the empanadas. The Trail Blazers were in the finals and beat Huston in overtime (the game was on at the bar). We had a wonderful time till we got back to our Air B&B place and realized we did not have keys to get into our room. We could not get a hold of the guy we rented the room from from and ended up having to get another room at a motel at 3am…where it took 45 minuted to check us in only for us to go to the room and find other people in the room. That was how the vacation started. It sucked!

We left the next day for Key Largo and spent 2 night in Key Largo. I would suggest getting lunch in Key Largo but otherwise keep going. There are some interesting places but they were all hiking things and that is not a vacation for my husband. He does not like to hike. We had a couple of nice dinners but other then that Key Largo if full of tourist traps and is kind of depressing. 

When we arrived in Key West we found the place we were staying to be on a road that was under construction for the last 2 years. The place was called Banana Bay, it was really nice. Our room over looked the pool and you could walk from the pool to the gulf ocean. Only problem is the Tiki Bar at the pool was never open. My husband had packed our blender and at that point I realized how smart he was. A bottle of rum, some cans of Kern's juice and ice. We were set. We rented a scooter and rode the mile into town on several times a day. We would get breakfast, some groceries and go back to swim or nap, head back into town for dinner and a few drinks…then back to the hotel for a dip in the pool. Wake up the next day get some cuban coffee and start all over again. 

We went to the Hemingway house and met several of the polydactyl cats. The place was beautiful, I can see why he like staying in Key West. Hemingway had HUGE balconies on the 2nd floor of his house with fans. A breeze ran through the house which was just perfect in Key West. 

We watched the sunset like everyone else does, we ate lobster roll's and lots of seafood, we watched the Conch Republic Parade that that went from coast to coast. The CIA (cuties in action) were in the parade drinking Cupcake Wine. It was a nice vacation but next time we fly into Key West and start our vacation right away.  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Alabama Chanin

The recent interest in Slow Sewing is interesting to me. I started hand sewing knit skirts after taking a workshop with Natalie Chanin in Portland Oregon several years back. She did an show in the gallery I was managing of her quilts (they are beautiful if you ever get a chance to see them in person). She offered the class to me for hosting her at the bookstore and having the show. I was hooked!! Sewing knit fabric by hand took all the fear out of sewing with knit fabric. Earlier this summer I bought another kit from Alabama Chanin because they were having a sale. It was the Facet Pattern. Now that is slow sewing…it has taken me all summer to complete the stitching on the 4 panels of the skirt…now I have to cut out the centers for the reverse appliqué  I also want to add some beading detail to the skirt. I hope to get it completed by Thanksgiving. 

 The top photo is of the 10 skirts I have made over the years (the most recent Facet skirt makes 11). I added beading detail to some skirts when I got a chance, I look at some of these skirts as a work in progress. I can keep adding detail when I have time. 

I have not even talked about the dresses I have made from the Alabama Chanin books. That is another post. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Quilt Talk


I went to a another author event this afternoon with Sam Hunter, her book is called "Quilt Talk". It's an entire book of quilts using text, her alphabets are used in several fun and interesting quilts in the book where text is the central image. The book includes an entire alphabet of upper and lower case letters, it's all paper piecing which is actually very easy once you get the hang of it. She showed us the quilt that started the whole book idea. It says…eat, sleep, poop, giggle….what a fun quilt. 
I fell in love with the idea of text in quilts long ago but never went as far as to figure out how to sew letters. Her book was just want I needed. In fact I came home and created letters A-L. I can't wait to make the quilt I really want to create using text and imagery. 

Sam was very inspirational, talking about making what you want, have fun, use text and words as a design element. The book includes some pointers on colors and contrasts, how to combine some simple patterns with solids to really make a statement, GO GET THIS BOOK NOW, you will not be sorry. 

Cleaning Out My Mother's Storage

Last week I went up to my mothers house in Brightwood to help her with some cleaning. She was going thought my fathers files, my father kept everything, and found all the receipts and instructions for tools that my father had bought to build their house in Brightwood. The top image is the receipt and instructions for a floor jack. The receipt is from 1988. When I put it in the  recycle pile my mother said "we still have that jack…we should keep the instructions & maybe the receipt". I told her I know how to use the jack and I really don't think we need a 25 year old receipt as we really can not return the jack anymore. 
The bottom image is from the Colony Club in San Louis Obispo, my father was about 21 years old. This was right before he went into the army. My father is the second one from the right.

More kitty photos on top my pile of rugs. They love the pile and often sleep on top of the pile, there are about 15 rugs in the pile now.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Keeping busy

I mentioned that a friend passed away in a car accident last week. His passenger was also a very good friend and I recently learned that the odds of her survival are not good. She had a terrible brain injury and is currently on life support. So I find myself looking for ways to stay busy and try to forget the tragedy, but it's never easy. We cope, we find things to keep us busy, we look the other way. Right now I'm thinking of all the good things that I did with my friends. One fun event was in 2004 we went up to Lind Washington for the Combine Demolition Derby. Art cars we are often in the parade. This image is of Cary Fairchild in the Trophy Wife, Steve Fritz took the photos. Look at that smile!!! Cary was know as the Queen of Hearts. 

Another project of mine is to come up with some images for book bags. I know I need to clean up the text on the bag with the typewriter, but these are just prototypes for now…I wanted to get a feel for how they would look and if I needed the images any larger. The bag with the typewriter is a flat bag, the one with the skeleton has gussets.  

Today is also the one year anniversary of the death of my father in law….Roman Boos. I miss him.