Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Fabric Flower Giveaway Results

And the Winner of the three-fabulous-fabric flowers is... kls. (You know who you are..)

It was a neck-to-neck race there, tee hee.  To any who wonder, the winning number was "32" , and kls chose "21"; therefore, was the closest to it. 

I'll think of some more little giveaways (heaven knows, I have enough fabric to share some if it, you know)...so stay tuned (even if fabric flowers wasn't quite your "thing").  Because if you're reading these musings of mine, we might as well "play" while we're at it.

Any ideas/suggestions?

Have a nice weekend.

Friday, January 28, 2011

In Between Projects


We know we're getting "old" when Hubby and I are like, "ooohh, let 's sit by the window with our coffee so we can watch the birds!!...", in the same tone that we used to say, "Let's go on a roadtrip!". 
 (Anyone relate?  Nevertheless, it does seem to be about the small pleasures, eh.)

Been puttering with little things.  Tailored a shirt for Hubby.  Made a cover for a bolster pillow (Because we all know that the cover is always easier to wash than the pillow.  Strapping Young Lad mourned that the snappy green pillow is now covered up with the sedate, in comparison, cover that I made...) 



I'm presently stalled on the Celtic Quilt, while waiting for fabric-to-arrive to make the borders, finish the applique', and put  the back on it. 

What to start next, what to start next...

What are you working on... (Besides dinner.  Dessert would be nice, however.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Third Flower


I mentioned in the previous post that there was-to-have-been a third flower to give away, but my sewing machine broke.  Well, I hauled out and dusted off my old sewing machine, and whipped up the third one.  This one has a button.  (Aren't buttons just the ticket...)

And I do need to say, that my present flower muse, went from ribbon flowers to fabric  flowers because they're a little more "grand"...and this was inspired by my dear friend Debra..who almost always wears a flower. A large flower.  I am inspired by her immense enjoyment of all large-flower-embellishments. It makes me grin, actually.

So, moving along, do comment away (and don't forget to pick your random number between 1 and 50...why up to "50" you may ask..I thought it would be more suspenseful that way... :-) ),
to enter for 3 fabric flowers.  And, yes, some things are better in three's.


 Bowl of flowers, Anyone?


Monday, January 24, 2011

Fabric Flower Giveaway


So once I got going with cutting bias strips of fabric for Baby Girl's smock, I kept cutting and made a skirt for me. (read on to get to the giveaway part)



I'm fairly picky at sewing things for myslef to wear, because sometimes it's a lot of work, and sometimes I don't really love the end product.  Take this shirt, for example.  I found it in a box of old things, a blast from the past; I had started to sew it and never finished it.  I recently  finished it.  It's nice.  Would I buy it? Probably not, because it's kind of just-another-shirt.  And for some reason, it's just not that comfortable.  And it looks.."home-made". (Hand-made and Home-made are different beasts, the latter is not so desireable.)


Back to the A-line skirt that's embellished with some bias strips based on the tutorial from No Big Dill.  I like it.  However, something about it feels vaguely ill-fitting, something with how the skirt hangs; I think I made it too much of an "A" shape (at no fault of the tutorial)....  I'm considering re-fashioning it into a little girl cape. What do you think? Should it stay a skirt, or start it's new life out as a cape?


So this brings me to the fabric-flower giveaway:

Very simple for you, merely leave a comment on this post, before Friday. 
Included in said comment, give your opinion (stay a skirt or make a cape), as well as, pick a number between 1 and 50, stating your chosen number in your comment.


I already have a number picked and the person who guesses it, or is the closest to it, will be mailed these two fabric flowers. I can put a pin backing on them, if the winner so desires. 
(There would have been a third flower, but, alas; I jammed my trusty sewing machine; it did not rally; thus, it is presently waiting to be carted off for repairs...)


"What would I do with fabric flowers?", you may ask...

Well, pin one on a lampshade, or a hat, your coat lapel, or on a scarf.  Embellish a gift with one.  Use them as a decor accent with candles for dinner with you and your sweetie.  Be daring and wear one in you hair (isn't grey so understated)...

And if none of those suggestions inspire you... just give it up, put on something flowing, and cavort and frolic with the winter-wonderland-creatures and toss them (the flowers, not the creatures) into the air and hope that, perhaps, someone is capturing your magical moment on camera....
(In case you think I'm being serious; I'm poking-fun at my fabric flowers a bit here.  One must not take theirself too seriously, I suppose.)

So, comment away and by Friday we'll have one lucky new owner of the flowers. :-)

Friday, January 21, 2011

For the Love of Trucks

Having been a truck driver (18 wheels), which is not a "career" most aspire to,  has changed me forever.  More on that later, I suppose, but allow me to go back to the beginning and the love of trucks:

It began, I believe, when I was about 12 and I was sitting with my Dad in a little restaurant in our little town.  My Dad had taken me out to lunch (sometimes he did that; he'd pick me up from school and just the two of us went out to eat.  Very affirming for me...).  One of the restaurant windows, was directly at the edge of the alley. 

Meanwhile, I watched as a "lifted" Toyota pickup truck rolled up and abruptly stopped at the stop sign.  A cute young woman was driving.  Her ponytail bounced.

That's it.  Eccentric, huh.  I guess before then, I was charmed with how Pappy drove a "big truck."  He took us for a ride.  And at our cabin, I would lay at night and hear the sad whine of trucks rolling by on Route 6 in those mountains...how I love that sound and it still fills me with nostalgia.  I didn't know either, that someday, I'd be easing up Route 6,  by the cabin, driving a "bullwagon" (tractor trailer that hauls cattle).

Well, my first vehicle was an ugly, little Mazda pickup.  My BFF and I would try to go off-roading in it, like I saw my big brother and his friends (Hubby) doing.  I remember cranking "Joyride" up (we were a joyride alright), and then shortly thereafter, getting stuck somewhere (only 2WD, what an idiot!), and walking to a phone to call Hubby (he was not Hubby, yet, then!) to come please pull us out.  Hubby gets many points, not only for coming-to-the-rescue, but because he also stopped to pick flowers for moi on the way. (What a guy...) 
Oh, and that's a painstakingly-hand-painted canoe on the Mazda, and no, we did not attempt to "offroad" with the canoe on. 

By the way,  it is always humbling when someone else is hooking a chain up to your truck.  I have had many chains hooked up to my own pickup trucks, and a few times to the tractor trailers I've driven. 

More pickup trucks followed that I all abused equally, hauling my horses 1000's of miles: after the Mazda, a Dodge Dakota, and then finally, my all-time preferred truck,  an F350.  White.  In the old Ford style.  She shines when she's going down the road.  I still have her. 


That about sums up the pickups I've owned.  The years I spent working at a farm and guiding horsback trips introduced me to diesel pickups (my initial reaction to driving a diesel was "oh my..."). 

The growl of a diesel engine still makes my heart speed up a little.  That's all I have to say about that.


 And eventually one thing led to another (a Class A CDL), and that's a story for another day.

Do we have any other truck-lovers out there?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Winter Chores With Wee Ones


We have a variety of creatures that require care about 3x a day.  I sneak in the first round of chores, before the wee ones are up, early in the morning.  The next trek out to the critters is midday.  And the last round, is around supper time, and sometimes I can "con" (ie persuade) Hubby into doing that one when he gets home from work (it helps if I'm busy cooking something especially tasty for supper).

It is the midday round of chores that I like to haul the kiddies out for.  And I love multi-tasking. And I love packing them on the sled.  I can get two grain buckets on with them as well, but pictured is only one bucket.  Oh, and look closely,  there's a magazine tucked in the baby seat with Baby Girl, to return to Mom, who-lives-on-the-other-side-of-the-trees, so we go for a little jaunt while we're at it.

The shortest leg of our small journey is downhill, which is nice because we're most heavily loaded to start.  Offload feed buckets for some greedy horses and onward we trudge (rather, I trudge, they ride).

Anyway, we try to have fun.  We really try.  "Having fun" usually entails alot more work, than if you simply just "got the job done", but it's worth it.  And I'd like to encourage you to seek to turn your mundane tasks into a good time somehow, today

 I don't know what that looks like for you...
 but this time for us it's an overloaded sled. :-)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wolf-Baby


Regal.  Noble and elegant.  Gentle and Loyal.  These define Wolfy.

"Wolf-Baby" joined our happy home less than a year ago.  She's going on 12 years old now, a Husky/German Shepherd mix.


She is in overall decent health for her age, minus an initial $500 vet bill to care for a rotten tooth, when we first got her.  Of all the dogs, she appreciates a good time as much as anyone.  And she would play harder, if her arthritic hips would allow it.  When, we're outside, this old girl knows the meaning of "frolic."

It looks like she's "putting the smack down" in this picture, but she just likes to give our French Brittany  "love bites", when they play.  He does not seem to think that it is all that loving, eh.

We accepted her from a family that had "outgrown" having a dog, and couldn't easily provide for her well-being anymore.  She fit into our family seamlessly.  She had been a bit subdued when we got her; now she blossomed.  We  frequently comment that we wish we'd had her all along. 

We watched her hanging out on my parent's porch a summer day, as our whole family picnicked, and I was saying how we hope that she has at least one good year of life with us... And my brother looked at this happy dog and commented something to the affect that, it doesn't matter if it takes your whole life to get where you're supposed to be, just as long as you get there.


And here she is.  Isn't she a baby doll.


She's wonderful with babies and kids.  If there are kids around, she's with them, keeping an eye on things.  Overseeing, perhaps.


She's loyal and protective.  Now, because she's old, when she gets up from lying down, she totters and shakes a bit until she gets her bearings. But if she feels that we and/or she are being violated... we all watch with glee, as she gets up and threatens to get out the can of whoop*ss, in between shakes, towards whatever is bothering her.

On the other hand, some interesting bad habits include that she likes to get in the garbage and also rip into and eat miscellaneous, but only if we leave her behind at the house without us.  We love to say (croon, is more like it) with the highest affection: "You are a bad, baaaad, girl...", and accordingly she lays her ears back and looks repentant.

This is what I see peering in if I've waited too long to let her back inside, after I put her out-to-pee. See the-mask-in-the-window?




Now, who can resist this face?



This is One of my Favorite Things.

She is One of my Favorite Things.





Friday, January 14, 2011

Ruffly (Bias Strip) Shirt for Baby Girl

I've been wanting to try embellishing something with this bias strip method I read about at no big dill...check it out here.

So I consulted with my basement store stash, and chose an arcadia gold silk with a bit of shine,
pure white starlite satin, and an antique-style satin.

I decided to add some color with coffee....
(Hubby was slightly dismayed that this freshly brewed pot of java was not for him...)

I let the fabric soak for a few hours; and the end result was a creamy, warm color (not brown!), which is more or less, what I was going for.


I started  with this simple smock-like shirt that I made from the antique-style fabric (pre-coffee-soak), loosely patterned off of a shirt that presently fits Baby Girl.  It's a trifle boring at this point, and certainly nothing to write home about.  But next is the fun part: embellishing.


And throw in a little gathering (by sewing with elastic thread) at the neckline, a huge (functioning, not just for looks!) button, that rivals the size of Baby Girl's head, on the back, and...


Who knew...that tacking on a few bias-cut fabric strips could be so fancy-schmancy. This looks like Baby Girl should be meeting girlfriends for brunch in this...

 but really she'll be hangin' out in her baby-chair, chewing on her favorite toy while her big bro slays dragons around her....



And there They are.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Going to the Bathroom and Privacy When You're a Mom

This is a typical scenario at any given time during the day when I decide to use the "loo":
I go into our bathroom holding Baby Girl, followed by my constant black shadow (my first dog).  I shut the door, lay Baby Girl on a blanket, and start to "take care of business." 
Present Bathroom Occupancy: 3

In what is only a moment, polite knocking can be heard on the door.  I say, "Yes?", knowing of course, who-it-is-and-what-he-wants.  Strapping Young Lad asks, "May I come in?"  I think, "Whatever...", sigh, and say, "Of course, do come in..." (if I don't, he will insist on having an annoyingly muffled, as well as, detailed conversation through the door).


He comes in, followed immediately by the other two dogs.  He turns to me and asks, "Do you need privacy?" I affirm that, yes, some privacy would be nice; so he turns and firmly shuts the door.  "We're safe in here," he states. (It is a jungle out there!) 

Present Bathroom Occupancy: 6
(3 dogs, 3 people)
In a matter of moments, the bathroom head count has doubled and every living being in the house has joined me in the loo.


But according to Strapping Young Lad "we're safe" in there and I guess the more the merrier.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pintucking Tutorial


Pin tucking rocks.  It adds interest and texture.  It is simple to do.  Slightly tedious, but simple. 


Enter: 
A selection of fabric that is in my Ebay store...a woolly, coarse light blue fabric manufactured specifically for office cubicle-divider covers.  I have approximately 100 yards of this stuff. :-) I've been wanting to try using it for a garment of some type.
(If you get a hankering for some cubicle-fabric after you read this post, just mention that you read my blog post, and receive 50% off the fabric.)

Enter:
Strapping Young Lad and his gypsy/cowboy vest.
It has stains from breakfast, lunch, and supper. It is a fiasco to get it off of him to wash it. He wears it Everywhere. He goes to the mall, Sunday School, and holiday parties in it. He really could use a back-up vest...


On with the how-to of pin tucking:
Mark on your fabric (before you cut it out for a pattern piece, because the pin tucking reduces the span of the fabric), lines 1/2" apart, for the desired length of your fabric.  A pencil will work fine, but pencils/pens specifically for marking fabrics will do even better.


Now, simply fold the fabric at each line and sew as closely to the line, as evenly as you can.  Repeat until you've sewn a tiny fold at each line. 


I generally sew in the wee early AM hours or late at night, and the lighting is poor, so I typically "lose my way" and lose track of the lines and end up winging it.  This is OK.  Unlike my Hubby, we are not designing bridges here. 

You can continue sewing your folds with a casual reference to the lines on your sewing machine/pressure foot, if you've gotten off the track of what you penciled in on your fabric.  No need to be uptight.  I have never had a pin tucking process that did not turn out beautifully, winging it or not.


Once you have finished this sometimes-lengthy process, you'll need to iron the pin tucks down; all facing the same direction.

Proceed with pinning and cutting out the fabric according to your pattern.


The fabric is very rustic and I will definitely use it for more projects.

So, the fabric-intended-for-cubicles and throw in some pin tucking, and you've got a darn-tootin' cute get-up for a cowboy/pirate/gypsy vest.

PS I'm slowly catching on..the first thing Strapping Young Lad said when he saw it was, "Oh, it has pockets!!".  And he promptly wished to don it for his afternoon nap.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Winter Day

On this day, it was heavy and quiet with snow.  There was an excess of effervescing, as I went out in the dark to do the morning chores, with my entourage.

I lost count of the number of times our old, arthritic husky-mix dog, Wolfy, went down for a good roll in the powdery stuff.  It looks like her ecstatic version of snow-angels.
Can you spot, below, the two, slinky, black creatures skulking about?

I checked out the chickens when I scattered their corn, and was met with the sight of some puffy-chicken-heinys still roosting. "We're not coming out," they said. ;)

I decided, "Today it is more important to play... (than the others things I wanted to 'get done')..." And we did.

Strapping Young Lad was overjoyed, and Baby Girl was merely stoic and tolerant of the ensuing activities (after of course, her obligatory screaming, while I stuffed her into her winter-wear).


While pausing to rest from dragging my two heavyweights around on various sleds, I watched the snow blow across the mountain and the moment kind of took what-was-left-of-my -breath away too.
 


These are some tired doggy paws at the front door, waiting to go in and snooze by the cozy coal stove.