I’m curious about this. I recently got one season of Fons And Porter’s Love of Quilting shows from the library and in one of the episodesย  one of the ladies (I have never paid attention to who is who) made some offhand remark about how seasoned quilters tend not to give nearly as much away than noobies. And the other lady snickered and said, absolutely, no way. Is that beecause after you’ve made a bunch of blankets, clothes, what not, you really appreciate all the effort that goes into it that a recipient is unlikely to get? Or that you jealously guard sewing time for yourself? What’s the thought here?

I think when I first started crocheting (because, hey, that’s where I started my textile journey), I remember thinking that I’d have to give away a bunch or end up in a house with a gajillion blankets, which would seem sort of stupid.ย  So I did–and, idiot that I am, I rarely took pix of the stuff that I gave away and didn’t track what projects/patterns I had done. So now I go to look at a pattern and think, wait, did I do that? Did I HATE making that?? Hmmm *scratches head* start making it anyway and get two days into and think “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! I have made this bloody thing before and I”m NOT putting myself through that again!” (oops–tangent!)

I think with quilty stuff too, I tended to make exactly what the pattern said instead of acknowledging–hey cool pattern, but I have GOT to make some changes because I”m simply not the table runner type. I think this came from fear of making mistakes–so I couldn’t alter the pattern or I can’t make mistakes if someone else is choosing my fabrics etc. Like the year that I joined a Thimbleberries year long quilt club and realized way, way too late that 1) it wasย  a basket theme all year (I could do a basket thing say once every ten years and be set) and 2) it was almost all table runners except for a couple of hokey wall hangings that weren’t going anywhere in my house. Sigh. I’ll never get back the hours of my life that I put into those projects that I didn’t like. Or the basket block swap where I still have a queen sized basket quilt, made with colors I don’t like, with folks who weren’t precise in their blocks. At least I learned that I’m unable to do swaps anymore–because I hated that. (Oops-another tangent!)

What’s my point here? I forget! No, just kidding. It’s just the ridiculous things that I made as a more noobie sewist/crocheter that I shouldn’t have and that I’m glad I don’t have around anymore. The flip side is that I’m no longer that noobie chick and have taken stock in the fact that I have made nothing, zero, nada, bubkiss for myself, something I really want just for me in nearly two years. It’s true. I’ve made a few baby blankets for others, halloween costumes for others (which I won’t do anymore–I can’t sew to deadlines; it makes me unhappy–uh, tangent??), and the rest of what I do is for Bunny. While she usually thinks it’s neat–I think the awe of “wow, mommy can do that” has worn off and she thinks of it more as a matter of course (wait for upcoming post on her underwhelmedness on her bedroom curtains).

So i decided this week to break the pattern in a big way and the next 5 things I made would be for me–which I already broke by agreeing to make some pumpkin things with Bunny today for the house (kind of also for me, then, right?? Not so much really). Maybe I need to make a list of what I want and then I’ll stick with it better?? Gotta give this some thought and creatively rejuvenate.

I just read about the handiest new feature from google reader (which I had already loved) here and here.ย  Turns out, google reader, in all of their “oh, we get it!” glory has made it possible for you to add a button to your browser bar that you can click at any time, without first going to google reader, and so long as you are already logged into google, it will take you to the actual web site for the unread blogs in your google reader list. How cool is that?!? All the prettiness we miss out on by reading through an aggregator is back at our fingertips.

But, wait, that’s not all. You can also get a handy dandy subscribe button to stick on your browser toolbar. I’m in love! I have a habit of cuddling up with my laptop and running through the favorite blogs some of you folks list. Invariably, I’ll have several that I want to subscribe to and it’s kind of a pain to copy that url, open google reader, paste it into the subscription area etc. Now, there’s no more need. Just click that subscribe button from whatever page you are on and voila. It’s part of your reader. ๐Ÿ™‚ Bliss. Thanks to the folks who blogged about it.

I finally got it. It’s been awhile, but I finally have it–my father in law built me a “cutting table”. I said “make it this big and this high. And I’d like it to be able to store my fabric underneath. And I already have a dozen or so clear plastic tubs about 6-7 inches high. So, ideally, it would somehow house those.ย  But I’m not married to them. And, I’d like to be able to re-arrange my sewing room with relative ease. So, it can’t be huge and heavy and super permanent.”

And this is what I got:

It has a corian countertop and there are four white “pillars” for lack of a better word made of melamin–that make shelves that perfectly fit two stacked clear tubs at a time. And none of it is bolted together. The weight of the top and the lip going over the towers hold it in place. I can rearrange the towers to make standing space or stool space wherever I want.

I’ve rearranged my space to accommodate it, and it’s not quite right yet. But it feels really open and functional when I’m in it. My first project was to whip out some fabric and cut a bias strip to make this super cute headband for the bunny I sent to Yellowstone with her grandparents this week. Bliss. Plenty of room to move the fabric, big rulers etc.

Tonight, I didn’t have it in me to sew after work, but I did, the hard way, without geometry equations, figure out that to make that cute shirred headband, which requires 15 x 4.5 bias strip of fabric, you have to have a 14 inch square of fabric–hello fat quarters!ย  We can discuss (make fun of me) my inability, total mental block related to math of all kinds, but especially geometry some other time ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now, the only thing this room really needs (other than pictures on the wall, to hang up my thread organizer mabobs) is my beloved Bernina and serger back from their week at the Bernina spa. ๐Ÿ™‚

p.s. I *finally* got my pix to go in side by side! Thanks Beth!

p.p.s. can someone explain to me why all of a sudden the pix I take on the same settings as I always have are turning out dull instead of crisp. Poo.

I took a shirt that cost way too much money from Land’s End and spent an afternoon studying it and making a pattern from it. The bodice was fairly simple, with it being a fairly narrow swing top with a band of shirring through the middle for shape.ย  It had an interesting lining on the top of the bodice that I was never able to get to work well. I also got the shirring too, uh, shirred for lack of a better word. Oh, and the sleeves are well, let’s just say that in the original they don’t defy gravity so much ๐Ÿ˜‰ Oh, and it wanted hemming… but frankly by then, I was over it.

And I have no idea what the heck is up with my photos lately either–not crisp at all. Clearly user error. ๐Ÿ˜‰

In an effort to show you some process. Here are a few photos of my putting this together… Did I mention that I had to remove and resew the sleeves three times? And that two of those times it was because I sewed them on backward (wrong side out??).

Or how about how I ended up with little folds in the seam? Sigh. Not a total success.

The long and short of it is: it took freaking forever. I will make it again… later, much later. Like in the winter in preparation for next summer’s wardrobe. I think just lengthening the sleeves will get rid of the pippi longstocking look. And I’ve had a few tips recommending loosening my tension to get less “gathered” shirrs.

I think the other part of this project that became difficult is that the more it didn’t turn out the way I wanted, the less I wanted to work on it, and the more I felt “obligated” to finish it. So I didn’t allow myself to work on anything else. That was a mistake. I think from both creative and patience standpoints would have helped me out.ย  But I do feel proud to have done it even if I didn’t get it right. I branched out–and that is what really counts ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh, and I just received a late Christmas present last night that has changed the entire dynamic of my sewing room ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’d be giddy with excitement if I weren’t so laid up with a summer cold (which are always worse than winter ones–or at least I’m much more whiney about them). Stay tuned to salivate on my next posting.

This year we were inspired by heather bailey’s Nicey Jane line–which just happened to be fresh and new when I went a-shopping for the summer skirt making.ย  I made one skirt that was specified by dear bunny–please make it blue, really blue (meaning, something that is vibrant), with polka dots and maybe just a few stripes. Hmmm. Well. My favorite northern quilt shop did not let me down, and I made this:

It is loosely based now on Oliver+Sโ€™s Lazy Days Skirt tutorial. Although I really use it only as a starting point for measuring initial cuts of fabric. And, it seems like I won’t be getting much mileage out of this pattern at all anymore–Bunny has officially decided that while ruffles are cool–twirlability is better. And, according to her, there’s no such thing as too twirly, which, silly me, had thought last year.

These are the three skirts made with the House on Hill Roadโ€™s Twirly Skirt pattern. Like last year, I skipped the drawstring and v-opening, but unlike last year, I made the contrasting band for the elastic. She’s in love with these–can you guess which her favorite is? Yeah, the shocking blue with the hot pink vine things running up and down. You got it in one ๐Ÿ˜‰

Subsequent to picture taking day, Bunny and I were at a fabric store and she saw some yellow “bug” print as I call it in Debbie Mum’s garden line that’s out right now. It was on discount, and I had just purchased the Favorite Things Little Hip Skirts pattern–why not give it a go. I’ll be taking pictures soon and having a review of that pattern.

Now onto making a few things for yours truly ๐Ÿ˜‰

Remember when I said after we painted it that I took pictures from all angles? And that I went down the hall so I could peek around the corner because I was giddy with excitement and just in awe of the warmth of the space? Yeah, well I had almost forgotten, so here is the peeking pic.

And my sewing corner there.

After working in this lovely space for a bit, I still had random fabric totally disorganized. I have all of these clear plastic tubs–have had since we lived in Texas, which was well, now 5 years ago. In our last two rentals there was, as you know, no time for sewing, but in the few moments there were, trying to keep track of what I had and where in the way of fabric, notions etc. was a joke. And the tubs were banished to a cubby hard to get to and nigh unto impossible to lift out all alone. My point being–I had 5 years + fabric, fabric from the past several years and no clear idea of where it was. So last weekend, I spent several hours (not just 2, I mean several) emptying every one of those blasted tubs and sorting fabric as you see below, kind of, into scraps, 1/4 or less, more than a 1/4 yard to just under a half, 1/2 yard to just under 1 yard, 1 yard, and more than 1 yard piles.

Then I went through and acknowledged that while I once loved Thimbleberries and still do enjoy some of it, I’m not the die hard that I was.

I feel like I’m slowly starting to come into my own with regard to style. I was a traditionalist before in both patter and colors mostly because I was so lacking in confidence about my sewing and personal style with it. So it was easy to do the “hospital corners” type of sewing where there was “the way” to do it. I’m still fairly attracted to traditional types of patterns, but I’m much more comfortable with lots of color. Even as I sifted through my fabric I would remember ordering something or buying something and cutting and starting to make something and feeling, well, uncomfortable the entire time–I think because I knew it wasn’t wha I *really* wanted to make.

Here are the post-org pix–see the tubs labelled with the different quantities of fabric?

This is my give away pile. An immense amount of fabric that I bought years ago. I’ve learned through this process that I can’t ever have a bunch of stash–evidently I’m fickle. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We won’t discuss how much money was in the fabric I gave away ๐Ÿ˜‰ But see the small tub and bags ?

There’s still more to come. My father-in-law is making me a custom cutting table 36 inches high (no more back pain!) and with a surface about 4 x6 feet. It will have shelves custom fit to be able to hold my bins on the sides and a “lip” on the end so I can sit with a stool for designing etc. I plan to affix those thread organizers to the wall and put up a few floating shelves once the table is there. So there’s a whole lot more to be done before it’s house beautiful, but it is completely functional and ready to sew in. Stay tuned for this year’s twirly skirts.

Yeah, that’s how I feel about it. You need to first understand that I am no cook. I don’t pretend to be one. I don’t aspire to be one. Occasionally I cook because 1) I have time (this never happens) and 2) I’m sick of take out.ย  Occasionally I bake because, hey, Oreos just aren’t as satisfying anymore. Now, while I’m no cook, I can read recipes. And even, on the occurence, follow them. This past weekend was one such weekend.

Mostly, I’d say it was out of a need to protect my sweet, luscious cherries. Dearest bunny convinced me to buy a few pounds of cherries at the store. they were delectable. they were ripe. They were going to perish in a moldy horrible way if I didn’t do something to them nearly immediately. Hmmm. Cherry ice cream? Good, but the recipes wanted 1) too many of them and 2) me to candy them. No. Pie, a definite possibility, but we didn’t have enough. So what to do with this amount of cherries?

Survey says (or at least cookbook index says) Cherry Clafouti. And, hey it’s french, so how badly could it go. Well, here:

Now, technically, I think that’s correct. But what I didn’t pay attention to is that this is a “pudding” with some “custardyness” to it. I’m not sure why I though something that is akin to crepe batter would, uh, crisp up, but well. It didn’t. Instead it was, well gummy in a chewy nasty sort of way. I don’t think the recipe was a failure so much as my palate failed to appreciate it’s gummy goodness? In any case, Clafouti, I barely knew ye. Fare thee well.