Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year !

One last post before the new year arrives.

I've been away for a few days and haven't had access to a computer - there's a lot of reading to do to catch up with all the new blog posts I see posted.

Christmas was quiet for the most part - DH & I had the day to ourselves, til suppertime anyway. We were invited to a friend's house so someone else did all the cooking - always a good thing !
Boxing Day morning was an early one, I left for New Brunswick to visit my family - the bus departure was 6am ! Had to be up before 5am - never a good thing. LOL :-)

It was a great week at home. With 7 siblings & a multitude of nieces & nephews and not all of them living in the same city, it's hit or miss whether I see them all or not when I'm home. This trip everyone was home at the same time as me at some point. Each day it seemed someone was leaving and someone else was arriving. I hope my Dad means it when he says he loves having us all at home 'cos oh boy, we certainly descend on him at holiday time.

DH doesn't make this trip with me and if I manage to actually stay awake to midnight, then I want to be wishing in the New Year with him so I always make sure to be back home on time ! I took the overnight bus last night and arrived home this morning.

Some of you are looking back over your year of sewing accomplishments. This was what I consider my first real year of sewing and I certainly did not accomplish a great quantity of items - but I'm very happy with what I 'have' done and everything gets worn.

I started with a shirt (M4399) for DH - which he likes and wears.

I made 3 skirts for myself (only took pics of 2) from M3341 - all 3 were worn all summer - really comfortable !

I also made a pair of Ottobre capris which I do wear but one posting of the picture (sometime back in June) is quite enough - 'nuff said.

The big project of the year, of course, is my coat (V8346) - I joined Marji's coat sewalong and hope to finish it soon. Now that the holidays are over, I'll get back to it. It's taking forever, but I'm learning alot and just completing it will be a major achievement - it doesn't really matter how long it takes me.

Next year, although I won't do an actual SWAP, I'd like to try to make sure any new items 'go' with each other and/or with pieces I already own. There are also quite a few UFO's lying around that I'd like to finish.

It looks like I'm going to make it to midnight this year - the clock says 10:47 - I'm sure I can manage another hour :-)

Happy New Year everybody !!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas !

Heilige Nacht
Heilige Nacht

Merry Christmas and best wishes for a safe, happy & healthy New Year !

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Just Rambling

I spent some time this month making my gifty coasters but no other sewing - might as well post food pics.

This was the end of the Christmas leftovers - the last piece of Lemon Pie (no, it didn't last til today - I took this pic on Tuesday, I think !) - I have no idea what it tasted like...I never got a piece, LOL !

This week was as busy as expected, but on a high note, my project was finished Friday, on time and complete. I finish on Fridays as 11:30 am and hit SEND on my email at 11:25 am ! I'd made no plans for Friday afternoon, knowing I'd have to stay till it was all done so finishing on time was BONUS !!!!!

Now all I have to do is pick up and wrap the last couple of gifts for Christmas Day. That'll have to be today since they're forecasting a snowstorm all day tomorrow. My sewing table is now covered in wrapping paper, tags, etc. so sewing is still on hold. I hope to get back to 'the coat' asap.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Leftovers & more leftovers

Enough for a few meals anyway.
Dessert leftovers will last awhile. This was the end of the eggnog ice cream.

Still have some cherry pie, lemon pie and lemon pudding - everything else went home with someone at the end of the evening.

Now, after the hustle & bustle of the past month, this week I'm doing nuttin' !

Work will be crazy - we've got a big deadline for Friday - but once I'm home, 'nuttin' !!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

'Twas a Success !

I hope you all had a great weekend - ours was absolutely wonderful - we spent it with family & friends, after all :-)

It's almost bedtime and except for driving my brother home this morning, this is the first actual thing I've done today.

The party is over & a good time was had by all :-)

As a lovely, tho' unusual and unexpected, development our guests started arriving mid-afternoon. Normally, everyone only shows up about and after 5pm. This gives them the day for themselves and the evening for us. Also, just about every year there is a problem, snowstorm, ice storm, work on the bridge, closed lanes on the bridge (everyone who comes has to 'cross the bridge' to get to us), etc, etc...THIS year there was nothing ! no storms, no roadwork, no traffic !

Supper was excellent, all the desserts turned out well - we stuffed ourselves silly - that IS what Christmas dinner is all about, right ?

Now with only 2 people in my house, I bake one thing at a time, things I know we like, but when I have company, I tend to try new things out on them. They are my guinea pigs and they're ok with it - most things turn out, but this group has been first hand witnesses to many failures ! Lemon pie in bowls eaten with spoons, comes to mind :-)

This year, my pies had 'made from scratch' pastry (only my 2nd attempt at this) instead of premade pie shells. The cherry cream pie was a successful first attempt. The eggnog ice cream was a hit - there is only about 1 cup left in the container - it MAY make it til tomorrow, but I wouldn't bet on it LOL, the buttered rum sauce was great on the ice cream.

The lemon filling didn't thicken (only the 2nd time this happened to me) but a bit of gelatin to the rescue and the pie turned out great. The lemon pudding and cheesecakes are both standard desserts for this party.

Every Christmas my Mom made each person's favorite dessert - we used to eat just enough dinner to get to the 'important' part of the meal LOL - with 8 kids, that was alot of baking. After setting everything out last night, I realized I'm carrying on this tradition ! I think there were more desserts than main meal dishes - hmm, I should have thought to take a picture of the lunch counter all laid out.

Anyway, my gift packages are now all opened so I can post pictures of what I made.

You all know about the weeks of cookie baking. Here is a box all packed and ready to be closed up (7 boxes - about 6 dozen cookies per box)

I always use knitted dishcloths for washing dishes - I haven't bought dishcloths in years. Most people I know like them but don't knit - so I decided to make everyone 2. Here are the first few, finished except for weaving in the ends.

During my blog reading, I found Angie at Quality Time's post of her version of criss-cross coasters. For the directions, she linked to the following site (check out both of these sites for gift items)

These were way too cute to NOT try. I immediately tested one with some squares of flannel I had laying around and decided that everyone had to have a set. Is a fat quarter 1 piece of 18"x22" or 4 pieces ? WalMart had sets of 4 pieces of coordinating cottons and 1 set made about 11 coasters, give or take. Each gift package had a set of 4 and I've got all the leftovers.

Here's a pic of 5 sets of discloths and coasters ready for wrapping.

Pics of our Christmas decorations - the tree:

The mantle: (yes, 4 stockings - 2 people, 2 dogs, we all get one)

The table - almost ready (those towels DID get moved of the back of the chair before people arrived LOL) - you can just see the lemon pie on the counter to the right of the table.

And finally, like so many others, I'm going to copy Summerset's 'parting shot' - this was the view from my front door this morning. It certainly looks like winter has arrived !

Thursday, December 11, 2008

1 more day to go

I've only got tomorrow to get everything together - anything not done by tomorrow bedtime - oh well.

So, far,

cookies - all done
ice cream - french vanilla, eggnog - done (I wanted to make peppermint also but can you believe I cannot find peppermint candy canes only red - the red ones are cherry flavored - peppermint is red/green & I'm afraid of what color ice cream THAT'll make !)
cheesecakes - 2 in the oven - done

cherry cream pie - to do
lemon pudding - to do - hmm should do that tonight it only takes 15 minutes - done
cranberry sauce - will do tonight - again, only 5 minutes or so - done.
apple crisp - to do on Saturday
rum sauce for the ice cream - to do
fruit puree topping for the cheescake - to do

gift sewing - all done - to be pressed - iron is heating up - done
gift knitting - have to count - I think I still have 2 more to make.

wrapping of said gifts and packing of cookies into the boxes.

tree is up and lights are on - still have to decorate it - DH is decorating the tree

Panic mode is well underway ! :-)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Eggnog Ice Cream !

Ok, the eggnog ice cream has been in the freezer for just about 24 hours.

Any of you who have been interested - TRY IT - it is excellent. I just took the tiniest spoonful to try it and ... whoa, there won't be much left over by Sunday, I'm sure.

The link to the recipe is here (along with lots more tempting recipes !) CDKitchen Eggnog_Ice_Cream_with_Hot_Buttered Rum Sauce

I did make one 'itty bitty' change. I don't use whole milk, only 1%, so instead of 1 cup milk I used 3/4 cup of 10% cream and 1/4 cup of the 1% milk.

Trena - if you like ice cream - the attachment is definitely a good buy - the homemade stuff is just so much better.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thoughts on Ice Cream

When I got the Ice Cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid I made the French Vanilla recipe that came in the book. It was a lot easier than I was expecting and it turned out Fabulous ! Even I liked it (and I don't usually like vanilla anything)...Then I found a chocolate ice cream recipe in one of my books. Worked well too. Not the greatest tho' - will try another recipe.

Any recipe I've come across calls for cooking. Marjie has also been making ice cream but she has recipes that you don't have to cook first - gotta try one of them !

This week I decided to make an Eggnog ice cream for my Christmas dinner this Saturday. The recipe I found called for 1/4 cup rum - I DON'T LIKE RUM ! But DH does and he can't drink the processed eggnog because the preservatives give him a migraine. So, I figured this could be a good substitute.

During the course of the week I also came across some comment that if you add liquor to ice cream it will prevent it from freezing so hard. TRUE ! I made the ice cream today and normally when it's ready, the Ice Cream maker will start to make a clicking noise and skip. With the rum added this ice cream was still VERY soft after the processing was done. Will soon see how hard it is once it's been in the freezer a while.

Oh, and although I really don't like rum - this ice cream will not last long - it's great - yes, of course I tasted it ! LOL

Monday, December 8, 2008

Still in the Kitchen.....

Ann asked how many cookies I have to make for my christmas tins.

Well, I made 5 kinds. Each of the 8 tins will probably have 2 dozen ribbon, 1 dozen each of shortbread, spritz & almond balls & 1/2 dozen candy canes , I didn't make enough to put in a full dozen, oops - I'm also expected to bring a container in to work sometime before Christmas AND have a full cookie jar at home - All I can say is it's a lot & thank goodness I'm done. (I 'might' still make fudge - somebody STOP me !)

Now, I'm baking for dinner Saturday - ice cream was on sale this week - did I buy it ? NOooo, what a silly idea ! LOL ! I made the French Vanilla on Sunday (check), Eggnog in the fridge chillin' (check), Peppermint (or Candy Cane), have to buy candy canes tomorrow and get the ice cream cooked and into the fridge for chilling - hopefully to be processed and frozen on Wednesday.

Still need to make a cheesecake, lemon pudding & an apple crisp (only to be made on Saturday, DH request - he can help peel apples :-) ) I'm sure I'm forgetting something, hmmm...

Plus the sewing & knitting still has to be finished. Off to sew......................

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The end of the cookies

This morning's baking...I made the dough for these yesterday and baked them this morning. Should I post the recipes ?

Candy Cane cookies & Almond balls

Cookie tins will have Ribbon cookies, Candy Cane cookies, Almond balls, Spritz, & Shortbread cookies - that oughta keep all the men happy !

The balance of the afternoon was spent on the knitting projects, finished the 2 on the needles and started 2 more, hopefully to be finished or almost finished tonight.

Tomorrow during the shopping trip I'll pick up the fabric I need to continue/complete one of the sewing projects.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

More Baking

1 more batch of cookies done, that is, if you consider 16 dozen 1 batch, LOL ... Spritz won out since they are the quickest to do, especially on a weekday evening. I made these Tuesday evening.

1st tray just going into the oven:

All done and cooling.

Now this year, after making the same mistake 2 years in a row, I wrote the 'correct' baking time on my recipe. It say 10-12 minutes at 375° - well that amount of time produces the dark cookies you see at the top right corner of the 2nd picture ! Spritz cookies are NOT supposed to be dark - although they taste just fine - trust me ! LOL

In my oven, 8 minutes produces the desired result, next year I won't mess up the first tray.

Spritz Cookies

2 cups butter (MUST use butter !)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 tsp almond extract)
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour


Preheat oven to 375°F. Refrigerate UNGREASED cookie sheets until ready to use.
Note - pressing the dough out onto cool, ungreased sheets makes it possible for each application to stick on contact.

In a large bowl, mix butter until creamy.
Gradually add sugar; cream until light and fluffy.
Add egg and beat well.
Stir in vanilla extract.
Gradually add flour to mixture beating well after each addition.

If the dough is too soft to go thru the cookie press cleanly, chill the dough for 15 minutes or so.
If the dough is too firm, add 1 or 2 tsp of milk.

Pack the dough into up your cookie press fitted with your desired shape. Press cookies onto ungreased baking sheets about 1-inch apart.

Bake at 375° F, 10-12 minutes

Let cool on the sheet for a couple of minutes and use a very thin spatula to remove them to the cooling racks- they're quite fragile and will break easily !

Makes approximately 6 dozen.

The Coat's a Bust ...

No, not forever, I haven't given up on it !

BUT...Christmas is just around the corner and as I've mentioned, my big dinner is next weekend ... the to do list as it stands now is:
  • Put up Christmas Tree
  • Put up Decorations
  • Finish gifts for 13 people (5 couples, 3 singles) - everything in varying stages of completion but none done.
  1. 8 tins of cookies - still 3 kinds to make
  2. knitting - what I decided to do last month (2/3 done)
  3. sewing - what I decided to do last week (1/2 done)
  4. more sewing - what I decided to do last night (hmm, just started)
WHAT was I thinking ?! (on the bright side - on Sunday I almost added PJ pants to my sewing to do list and reined myself in - all by myself LOL)
  • Wrap said gifts (cannot post pics yet, I'm not 110% positive that no-one knows about this blog so I don't want to take any chances.)
  • Grocery shopping for dinner - I DO have the turkey
  • Baking for dinner (tentatively a couple pies, couple cheesecakes, lemon pudding w/fruit & marshmallows, ice cream (from scratch this year ?) & COOKIES)
  • Cooking dinner is a 2-man deal, after 15 years, DH & I have the assembly line down to a science now.

Plus the things I still have to do and have forgotten at the moment. 8 days and counting.....

All that adds up to absolutely no coat progress any time soon. I won't get to even touch it before Dec 15th - just about the time everyone else starts to panic in preparation for Christmas !

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ribbon Cookies are done

Here they are - 21 dozen cookies destined for the freezer.
Except the ends and the ones I cut too thin (those have been eaten already !)

Quantity always depends on how big you make your bricks - I think I made 'em smaller this year LOL - this was way more cookies than usual for 3 batches.

I started with this:

Assembly line - always 2 trays waiting for the oven

First couple of trays just out of the oven:

And the grand finale !!!

Next up - Spritz, I think, hmmm, maybe Candy Cane Cookies or Almond Sticks, I'll decide once I get back upstairs :-)

Friday, November 28, 2008

My house is gonna smell soooooo good tomorrow !

This is half of the result of my afternoon today. There are 6 of these Ribbon Cookie logs in my fridge chillin' be sliced & baked tomorrow.

These are my absolute FAVORITE Christmas cookies ! My Mom made 'em every year and both my sister and I make them now. If I don't make any others, I always make these without fail.

And can I just say I LOVE my KitchenAids (yes 2, my DH is a great one for tools, for him and for me, he bought me an Artisan a few years ago for Christmas (yes I like appliances for gifts!) and then once he saw the Pro600, he figure I needed one and that was last year's present - more power dontcha know, LOL!

So today, I had them both going. I tripled my recipe and put 2 batches in the large mixer and 1 in the smaller mixer. Divided all of it into 3 pieces for the colors, and even let the mixers do the red coloring/cherries and the chocolate.

OMG ! up til this year 1 batch from beginning to end by hand took 1 hour to get to the fridge. Today, I did 3 batches, making 6 logs in 1hr 10min...Bonuses, my hands are not red from the food coloring and the arthritic finger joints are not bothering me from all that mixing. It's all good.

If anyone is interested in the recipe:

Christmas Ribbon Cookies

2½ cups flour
1/8 tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
1 cup margarine (it works with margarine but Christmas baking in my house is Butter!)
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup chopped candied cherries, red
1 sq. unsweetened chocolate
¼ cup chopped nuts (I don't use the nuts, but they're better with them)
red food coloring

Sift flour, salt & baking powder.
Cream margarine & sugar, add egg & vanilla.
Stir in flour, mix well.

Divide into 3 parts:
1 part – mix with chocolate & nuts
1 part – mix with cherries & red food coloring
1 part – leave as is

Cut each color into 2 pieces - this will give you 2 nice sized blocks
I roll my logs the width of a piece of waxed paper

On an approximately square piece of waxed paper...
Shape each color into a log and flatten it out a bit.
Layer each color on top of each other to form a block.

Roll the waxed paper around the block and refrigerate.
Chill til firm (or overnight)
Slice into ¼ inch slices.

Bake on ungreased sheets, 10 minutes, 350° oven

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanks...and Thanksgiving

I would like to acknowledge everyone who has been commenting on my coat. This encouragment is appreciated more than you know. You are not letting me give up on it. The accomplishment of getting it done will not be all my own - so I thank you.

I would also like to wish all of our neighbours in the U.S. a very Happy Thanksgiving !

Have a great holiday...we have much to be thankful for.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Buttons, buttons .... and more buttons

Otherwise known as 'avoiding deciding about bound buttonholes'

As I was catching up with some blog reading yesterday, I came across Cidell's post about her FabricMart buttons. I ordered a bag of these as well (way back in March). $5 for 4 lbs of buttons is great bang for your buck !

I also purchased (way back in April) a few plastic storage containers that can be subdivided to smaller sections as required. Both the containers and the buttons have since been sitting on my table ... waiting.

While avoiding the 'dreaded buttonholes' I decided this was the perfect time to sort the buttons. Good lord, the amount of buttons in a 4lb bag !!! It took a couple hours, but it's done now.

As usual, I was not thinking about the camera so don't have a 'before' picture. I do have a halfway done picture though. The bag is still almost 1/2 full.

All that's left to do is shave a few more dividers to fit for the last few buttons.

This does have some bearing on said 'avoidance of buttonholes'.

I have been looking for buttons & haven't seen anything yet I want. I don't want to wait too much longer as I actually want to finish the coat sometime in my lifetime !

So, today I decided to go with the snaps, my excuse being...(look at the left hand pic, top right hand side), I like these blue anchor buttons but don't know if I like them well enough that I won't want to change them out later. And they're HUGE, so if I make buttonholes I'm stuck with that size later.

Hmmmm, I just checked, these buttons are 1-1/4" - 'exactly' what the pattern calls for - my excuse just went down the toilet...tomorrow I'm going to make that 1st practice buttonhole (the one I was going to do Friday, LOL)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The continuing saga

First - Gry, Diana, Trena, Marjie & Ann, thanks all of you for the Birthday wishes - it WAS a good day ! :-)

SEWING - So, exactly how many ways can I say 'moving along' or 'making progress' - I'm going to have to dig out a Thesaurus - LOL

I have to remember exactly how slow I am at this. Attaching the hair canvas to the back shoulder area took 2 full evenings ! Looking at it now, I think I 'may' have overdone the catchstitching along the edges - all the pictures I've looked at show many less stitches MUCH further apart. Oh well, it won't fall apart (I hope!)

So here for your viewing pleasure are the next couple of pictures.

I'm glad this handstitching is all going to be covered up with a lining. I definitely need more practice to get my stitches even.

Now the delay tactics are all used up, I have to decide.....snaps (easy) or the dreaded bound buttonholes (NOT so easy)...I think I'll sleep on it and take a wild stab a a practice buttonhole tomorrow afternoon and see what happens.

Pretty much what I thought

A book nerd ! Mom would be so proud !

Earlier today I came across this over at Gorgeous Things and couldn't resist. Results 1 & 2 'could' have been reversed but this is what I expected. I ALWAYS have a book (or 2) on the go.

What Be Your Nerd Type?
Your Result: Literature Nerd

Does sitting by a nice cozy fire, with a cup of hot tea/chocolate, and a book you can read for hours even when your eyes grow red and dry and you look sort of scary sitting there with your insomniac appearance? Then you fit this category perfectly! You love the power of the written word and it's eloquence; and you may like to read/write poetry or novels. You contribute to the smart people of today's society, however you can probably be overly-critical of works.

It's okay. I understand.

Science/Math Nerd
Gamer/Computer Nerd
Social Nerd
Artistic Nerd
Drama Nerd
Anime Nerd
What Be Your Nerd Type?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Birthday !

No sewing today - it's my birthday !!!

We don't usually make a fuss, birthdays are pretty quiet around here. But last week DH asked me if I wanted to go out to dinner on Monday. With my brain being not quite awake, my answer was 'what's Monday ?' LOL

This morning on the way to work he says 'call Sue & invite her to come with us' - ok, not unusual Sue & I have been friends since I moved to Montreal - OMG 22 years ago !, so I called & invited her. We arrived at the restaurant (a very good Chinese buffet which we both like alot and which we haven't been to in a long time) to find another couple of friends waiting for us. DH called to invite them and didn't tell me - I haven't had any kind of surprise birthday since I was a kid, so it was a really nice evening.

Now, my boss at work is something else, he emails our whole department (14 people) as soon as he comes in, in order to give them lots of time to send birthday wishes. He will also tell everyone he sees throughout the day if you're around. Your age is not a safe number for him to know (mine increased by 5 years today as he was telling people ). It's not a good department if you want your birthday secret or low-key ! LOL! Every month he also brings bagels & cream cheese one Friday for all of us to celebrate whichever birthdays fall in that month. He and I are this month (me today, him on the 23rd) - BAGELS ON FRIDAY !!!

All in all - a great day !

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Weekend update

Only sewing on Sunday this weekend. Yesterday I started my Christmas baking. I've got to make enough cookies for 8 tins for gifts, plus the required batch for work (a large batch - once they know you can bake, there's no escape ! :-) ) plus cookies for the house - 11 dozen shortbread cookies now in the freezer - 5 more kinds to go ........ (yes, I forgot to take a picture, once I remembered, they were packed for the freezer & the filled plastic container is nowhere near as impressive as my kitchen table full of cookies).

SEWING - I'm waffling between the snaps that my coat calls for and learning yet another new thing - bound buttonholes. Since I can't put the interfacing on the front until I decide, I started on the back pieces today. The hair canvas piece is cut out and ready to be attached. The back and the side back pieces are sewn together.

I thought the seam allowances needed to be finished. Although I don't think the wool will fray, the flannel underlining needed something. I checked around the sewalong blog and found someone who'd catch-stitched her S.A's down. That sounded like a good plan, so here I am - Almost done but not quite ! LOL. I'm starting to understand some of the ladies who start a simple project and end up with hours of changes, adjustments, tweaks, etc.

You'd think I'd be happy just to get this thing done, but noooo, already I'm making choices that add lots of time to this project. I suspect that probably means by the time I'm done, there will be buttonholes and not snaps on this coat !

I'll post a pic of the completed back once I've got the last seam catch-stitched and the interfacing added.
Probably only Tuesday. Tomorrow's my birthday and DH is taking me out to no sewing tomorrow.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Movin' Right Along...

I just want to start by saying Thank You to Summerset of Pins and Needles ! She was giving away some of her old patterns recently and on Friday this arrived for me :-). All I have to do is decide which one I want to make. I like 'em all, LOL.

And the underlining of my coat is done...doing a bit here and there, it took all week. I just finished. These are all the pieces, each showing the underlining side and the wool.

On to the interfacing................

Monday, November 3, 2008

The proof is in the pictures

I absolutely could not figure out how come the first pic is so blurry - but it is definitely a photographer error - I couldn't take a decent pic to save my life...LOL

Anyway, blurry or not, these are the 2 under sleeve pieces with the underlining tacked to the wool fabric. The pin cushion held 10 or so pre-threaded needles before I started (THAT was a good plan !) The top of the pic shows the stack of coat pieces waiting their's actually not that bad, if I do a couple each night, I could be done by the weekend.

Couldn't you just kick yourself after you see a potential problem AFTER the fact ?

1) Seam lines are basted in white - just lovely against the wool...not so much against the white flannel background which is what will be showing when I sew these RS together - DUH - I will manage with it though. This exercise is going to take a LOT of thread, I have a large spool of the white cotton and that rayon thread was NOT cheap !

2) I just ran the the black inner basting threads from top to bottom. No knots at either end, VERY slippery rayon thread. Hello ? What did I think would stop this from just slipping out ? DUH No. 2

So, before I move on to the next piece, I'll knot each end of the black thread - better to figure it out now rather than later.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I'm working on it

No company, no migraine, no flu, energy is coming back ('tho slowly) and I'm working on my coat. Life is good !

I'd already cut out the wool and the flannel underlining and have just started tacking them all together per Ann's (I think) instructions on the coat sewalong blog.

I've started one sleeve and have figured out that by the time I'm done all the pieces it will be 2010 ! LOL really though, it's going to take quite a bit longer than I thought - so I will just plug away til it's done. Multiple threaded needles, ready to go, will be a great timesaver, I think.

And once I do have a few pieces done, I'll post a picture - at this stage I figure I probably need to show some proof that I'm actually working on this...I last real coat post was Sep 21 when I cut the muslin apart. Last actual pic was on Sep 14 -- time to get a move on.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Coat fabric all cut out

On Monday, Lisa of Sew Random made mention of how much you can get done when you're not spending time (lots of it !) on the internet. Sooooo true !

Monday I cut the wool for my coat and had plans to cut the flannel underlining last night. BUT, I got online and started my usual blog reading, surfing, etc. I must learn to pass by the computer and go right to the sewing table.

The night was going to get away from me...until, my mouse died :-(

DH was out bowling last night and I had 3 hours to myself. I had planned to cut fabric, so I didn't worry about the mouse, just got on with the cutting. Once he came home, I mentioned the mouse (he was surprised to see me 'not' online LOL). His verdict------------new batteries - well, duh. Of course, overall it was a very good thing, I made up, sewing the underlining to the wool.

Soon there should be something worth taking a picture of.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I CUT THE WOOL !!!!...

except the collar pieces and the facing, but everything else is cut out. Tomorrow night will set up the flannel underlining for cutting out.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Still sick

Starting week 3 of the flu - seems it's a 3-6 week ordeal around here, if I listen to everyone around whose been sick recently. Hoping for improvement though, I have a Dr. whose really big on follow-up appointments and I saw him yesterday for the 3rd time. I'm now on antibiotics and have had a chest x-ray (no pneumonia !) so maybe this will start to clear up...hmmm this sewing blog has become a whiny 'I'm sick' blog this month - definitely time to get better :-)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Not much happening here

I thought I'd post a 'catch-up'. Thanks to those of you who expressed concern about my migraine - the darn thing lasted 3 weeks. I've been getting them since I was a teenager and I know there's nothing to do but wait them out.

Anyway, after that, my Dad came for a week's visit and just went back home this past Saturday. We had a great week (he loved the bread !). It's really nice to have him all to myself. When I go home, most of my siblings (there are 8 of us) are around and quality time is at a premium. I don't think I'd even call it 'controlled' chaos ... you should see us all around a supper table, LOL!

So, now, it's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and I figured/planned to cut out my coat yesterday and today. NOT !!!!! Now I have a flu bug knocking me for a loop - is it just me, or are the gods conspiring against me getting this coat done ??? At the rate I'm going, it will be a jacket for NEXT year...oh well, I will post pictures of some progress SOON.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Busy Weekend - but no sewing

Well, as suspected, life had different plans than I did.

The migraine was NOT manageable so I didn't get anything done on Tuesday, or Wednesday, or Thursday - you get the picture.

We had a funeral on Wednesday and DBIL is in town for the week so we had a few people for supper on Wednesday and the big family dinner yesterday. Both at our place...we don't get to do this very often so I really enjoy it.

Now, my Dad's coming this Saturday and so I needed to make some bread for him; that was yesterday too since the planned supper was spaghetti and I was either going to make bread or buy it, sooooo, the results of the baking

Turned out really well, 7 loaves - 5 are now in the freezer waiting for Dad.

My coat -

Today I checked my wool flannel and just as I thought - it's not straight. Before I did the London Shrink on it, I did pull threads on either end, but forgot to check if it was square.

I roped DH into helping me pull it to square it up, but it didn't work - at all.

So now I'm going to try dampening it a bit to see if I can straighten it while wet then press it. I have no idea if this will work or not, but it's worth a try - I've checked thru the blogs and searched the 'Net and have seen this as an option a couple times.

Update - wool wet, 1 spin in the washer and pressed with a damp press cloth all the while straightening it out. Hopefully it will stay square. Time to lay it out for cutting. Tomorrow ... ???

Sunday, September 21, 2008

V8346 - Time to start the coat

After fighting a migraine for 2 weeks (yes, weeks :-( ) and losing, I think it's finally on the way out. It's there, but less, maybe just a few more days.

So, on to the next batch of new things to learn ....

My muslin was done last week and I hadn't done a thing on it all week. Never mind the headache, it was pretty stressful to think of cutting apart all that work !

I took the scissors to it today and pressed each piece, now it's ready and waiting. The wool and the cotton flannel are ready to go (I think I need to check the wool, I don't remember straightening it ).

I was trying to decide if the flannel is to be underlining or interlining. Since I am using it more for warmth, I was leaning towards interlining, but I've read a comment on the sewalong blog where it was suggested that cotton flannel could be underlining since it's not so thick or bulky. I like the idea of basting the flannel to the wool and treating them as one piece. Guess that 's the next step, I'd like to work on it through the week and have both the wool and the flannel cut out by next weekend...that's the plan, anyway.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I do Believe the Muslin's Done !

That is, of course, unless someone looks at these pics and cringes because something is REALLY wrong.

Today's adjustment was the left armhole, had to take in the back at the bottom of the armhole - same adjustment I did last week on the right side. Both adjusted shoulders/armholes...

Front & Back

I started to fiddle with the waist line again, but on this pic, the waisline and the hemline are 'almost' straight.

The waist is comfortable as it is, so I'm going to hope that the weight of the wool flannel, the cotton flannel and the lining will all help this hang evenly. I think now feels like the right time to just 'go for it' and move on to the next step.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I love comments :-)

Since I'm relatively new to this whole blog environment I am having some trouble believing that anyone would be interested in checking out my ramblings. But, my counter is going up and I'm getting comments so I'm definitely 'out there'.

This blog was started partially to give myself a kick in the pants to get onto my projects ('if I write it down, I have to do it') ... that's sort of working, my sewing is very slow, but I do now have 3 new skirts and a coat muslin done since about March. I will NOT think about those of you who could do all that in one weekend :-)

NOW I have a whole other motivation - if people are reading then I need to post, therefore I need to sew - also, I'm buying fabric, & patterns, & fabric & notions, & fabric & Burdas, etc... so I have to sew.

Keeping up with everyone else's projects is very inspiring and is helping me start to think outside the box - the patterns are not written in stone - cut the size that fits, where it fits. The variety of projects to come from one pattern is just amazing.

When I've gottten comments previously, I've been responding in the comment section, but tonight I thought I'd make a post instead.

Liana, aren't subscriptions a great thing, 'especially' when you can't get something locally. 'Threads' is getting the better of me though, my magazine shop has had the new issue on the shelf since last week - but I'm waiting for my subscription. (I almost bought it before I remembered I subscribed - that would be two issues in a row if I did - sometimes I don't know where my brain is LOL). I started your string bag last night - hopefully it comes out as nicely as yours did.

Marjie, it's hard to find such places in Montreal, it's such a big place that generally people don't remember you. We do have a regular corner store though, it's 15 km away now since we moved in 2000 but it's still the one we go to if we have to stop on the way home from work. We've known the owner and his family for more than 20 years now. I don't have kids but they know our dogs LOL. We take them in for a visit every once in a while.

Ann, nice in-laws ! I hope your subscription renewal rumor is true ! Like you, in NB, I do most of my local shopping at Fabricville. My first experience with a 'garment district' was this summer ... in Toronto.
Montreal has a garment district but I'm not very familiar with it - 'yet' :-). Do you know Montreal at all ? There is St Hubert Street, which I know of but have never been and apparently some shops on St Laurent Blvd. I've seen a few people blog about them, but again, have never been. Do you know when you'll be up - I could meet up with you, if you'd like - It would be lovely to go with someone who sews and knows what they're doing (that, of course, would not be me !).

Thanks for reading everyone !

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Customer Service !

Don't you just love to deal with local merchants ?

We spend a lot of time complaining about customer service these days - it's just not what it used to be - BUT there are certainly some places that do go out of their way to provide good service.

Today's example...

I found online sewing info last December...I found my first Burda in Feb 2008 (a 40 minute drive away). Then I spent 4 months trying to locate a shop a 'bit' closer, to no avail. During which time I did manage to get all but March 2008 & May 2008 from the first shop. A special trip to a fabric store being not a real hardship, after all. LOL :-)

In July, my brain actually started to function.....Hellooooo.....I work 1 block (yes, 1 block !) from a small, local dressmaker/craft store !!!!!!!!!! Now, I've been in there many times, for cross stitch supplies, zippers, etc. So, one day at lunch, over I go - THEY CARRY BWOF !!! EVERY MONTH !!

The young gentleman also told me, "by the way, we keep a list of people who want BWOF and put one aside for them each month - and if they don't come right away, we call them & after a month or two, if they haven't come in, we put it on the shelf for sale to the regular public."

So, is it just me, or is this AMAZING service ? You bet, I'm on the list and in August, they had a BWOF with a post-it with my name on it, just as promised.

And today, I strolled over on my lunch break and picked up the September issue - AND he remembered me - not my name but enough to know what I was there for. Reading for tonight's bus ride.

Life is good (so now I just have to actually make up one of these, a one dot skirt should be a safe start)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

V8346 - Am I Close ?

I redrew the seam line on the back armhole to take up some of the bunching on the back. Then I reset the right sleeve with the shoulder dot back in the original spot.

The new pic is on the left, the mess from the last post is on the right.

The armhole now looks like a smoother line. There is still a bit of bunching just at the bottom but do I try to get rid if it ? At what point am I overfitting ?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Coat - V8346 - What am I doing wrong ?

Here we go again - Sleeves had diagonal wrinkles - after checking instructions on the coat sewalong blog, I unpicked the sleeves and moved the shoulder dot forward about 1/2"

The pics show tonight's change first - compared against the same view(s) from my last post.


Right side...

Left Side...

Ideas, anyone ?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

They came !

Last week, Ann, of Gorgeous Things posted patterns she wanted to find new homes for. I asked for 2 and yesterday, there they were in the mailbox :-) Thanks, Ann !!!

Simplicity 4044 - 1940's Retro, Simplicity 4500 - Threads Collection

My sewing ability and time now need to catch up with my plans, I like all of these pieces, and can see trying most of them. I had the instructions out, reading at supper last night LOL

Having just had the enjoyment of getting a package in the mail, I hope Marjie soon gets the Threads mag and the pattern I sent her.

And speaking of Marjie, I just took her 'milk bread' out of the oven and tasted the first piece. Fabulous !

No sewing before Tuesday...I'm traveling tomorrow night for a VERY quick trip to New Brunswick - the bus ride between Montreal and Saint John is 14 hours each way. My Dad will be 80 on Sunday and there is an open house Saturday afternoon for him. He drove a city bus for almost his entire career and knows practically everyone in the city (it seems like it, anyway) - my sister placed an announcement in the paper for this so her place could be a zoo on Saturday.

That's it for now - next week, I'll adjust the sleeves on the coat muslin and hopefully be ready to cut the wool.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

More on the Coat - Sleeves...Again.

I've made it through another attempt at sleeves.

The McCalls sleeve was giving me trouble and I was still fighting with it (it was winning...) when I saw the instructions for converting 1-pc sleeves. I psyched myself up and spent 2 evenings tracing and redrafting the 1-pc Vogue sleeve into a 2-pc sleeve and here are the results...

Front & Back :

There are 2 right sides here, the one taken in the shade looked pretty good till I saw how the sun really showed up the wrinkles.

I've just seen the post on the diagonal wrinkle problem and I guess I'm going to have to move the notch forward a bit on the right sleeve. I don't think I have to do anything to the left sleeve, do I ?

The last time I asked about resetting a sleeve I was told to take the whole thing out and set it in from it the same now ? Would I be able to unpick the basting on the back of the armhole seam and just ease it all forward a bit ? I didn't gather the ease between the notches, I pretty much eased most of the armhole - just left the underarm with no easing, about 4-5" or so.

Looking at the whole body shot again from the side, I see the waistline is not actually level yet...CF is still higher than CB. I think I'll adjust this yet again, CB needs to come up at least another 1/2".
So, any thoughts, re: the sleeves or anything else you may see ?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thinking, Again - Is that a good thing ?

I tell you, I'm spending more time thinking and reading than I am sewing...EVERYTHING I want to do must be learned ! LOL

Today's quandary ? How to Line an unlined skirt.

So, I've never made a lined skirt, I've yet to make a BWOF either, but this, of course, doesn't stop me.

I really like the skirt in BWOF 08-2008, the one with the pleat in the front - sorry don't remember the number #106A. I've read the instructions and it 'seems' easy enough...BUT..It's not lined and I don't know how to go about making a lining pattern for it (I want to use the wools I bought in Toronto, and they'll definitely need lining)

The questions are,
1. do I cut the skirt pieces exactly and make the lining w/the pleat and the darts, or
2. do I fold up the darts & pleat on the pattern to make a lining piece without that extra bulk, or
3. do I make the lining with darts but without the pleat?

Advice anyone ?

Re: the Coat - well, last night I read (again) the instructions for redrafting a 1-piece sleeve to make a 2-piece sleeve and started to rework the V8346 1-pc sleeve. I'm almost done, just a few more lines to adjust and I'll hopefully have sleeves set into the muslin by (or on) the weekend).

I was worried to be so far behind with the sewalong but it seems as though I'm not the only one still working on and finalizing the muslin - I really want to finish this coat, so the longer I can post the muslin to the blog the better !

Sunday, August 10, 2008

M3341, No. 2


Here is the finished skirt I mentioned in the last post.
It's the same pattern and view ("C") I used for the black&white houndstooth skirt I posted on in June.

It's a peachy/orange stretch cotton that is VERY comfortable, the A-line skirt is better at work than a straight skirt - much easier to access bottom drawers of filing cabinets !

In June I made a size 16 which is pretty loose fitting. This time I made a 14 and it fits alot better. I'm very happy with it but see the wrinkles in the back now - I guess they are in the first skirt as well, but we didn't take pictures of that one on me. Since I've replaced the broken zipper maybe it's time for a pic.

Anyway, I've been paying close attention to the adjustments on the coat sewalong and in the blogs I read and, unless someone tells me otherwise, will pinch out that bit of extra fabric in a fish-eye dart on my pattern. Hmm, this is the fix I see people do on their muslins, since I'm working on my actual pattern pieces, could I just lower the CB the amount I need, tapering to nothing at the side seams ? Is this a swayback adjustment?

I traced the pattern out onto tracing paper for this skirt since I suspect I will make it a few times more - my first TNT ? After the holiday trip, I now have lots of skirt fabric to use up.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Vacation's Over

We were away this past week on holidays. Generally our vacations are very low key. Either visiting family in New Brunswick or in Toronto...this week it was Toronto.

I had no access to the internet til Thursday so, no blogging, reading blogs, reading emails AND no sewing either ! But, on Wednesday our hosts pointed DH and I in the direction of Queen & Spadina and I spent 3 hours dragging him through all the fabric & notion shops in the fasion district. I had a couple of notions I was looking for but I was NOT going to buy any fabric.....I didn't, hubby did ;-). Saturday Aug 2 was our 11th anniversary after all, what better present ?

I picked up a few skirt pieces at The Wool House - they had their end of roll pieces cut to approx 1 yd lengths and I will use these for skirts for work.

A couple of doors over, at Downtown Fabrics, I got :

a rayon knit print (the fact that I haven't yet got up the nerve to try knits didn't stop me),

a red stretch cotton w/embroidery,

blue cotton w/embroidery,

and 2 pieces of linen, the same print - one blue, one red, DH liked the blue, I liked the red, therefore I had to have both ! No ?

All of these pieces are quite a bit darker than these pics show.
I really liked every piece I bought and would like to sew them up rather than stash them. Tomorrow shortly, I'll start prewashing them.

Now I have to make another attempt at the sleeves for my coat and I've got a skirt almost finished (M3341) in an orange stretch cotton with a woven stripe in it. It only needs the waistband facing and the hem.