Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New Beginnings

As I was perusing the blogs this morning someone pointed out that Back-to-School time is much like New Year's Eve for making resolutions and clearing out clutter.
I have found, over the years, that I never have been able to get over the sense of new beginnings this time of year.
Nearly every job I have ever had has either begun or ended in late August/Early September, something in my body tells me it's time.
Last week I worked my last shift at Treadle Yard Goods (my favorite fabric shop), and yesterday I taught my final class at The Yarnery.
It occurred to me the other day that with the completion of my time there I am ending a 20 year run of retail work.
This weekend also marks the end of the 7th job I have had on Grand Ave, which is a shopping/restaurant destination here in Saint Paul.
I am pretty conflicted about it, I loved the work and the people, but this will give me more time to teach piano and spend time with my family.
For my last class one of my students brought a box of strawberries, and another brought a bottle of wine to share.
And then, as I was walking out of the door, I bumped into a former student who thanked me for teaching her to knit (it was probably about 10 years ago, and she's kept it up beautifully), that was a perfect way to close out my time there.
Now it's time for the Herculean task of knitting and sewing through the stash that I have accumulated over the past dozen years of working in fibers.
I have so many plans, over a decade-worth.
I think it's going to be prudent to set aside one night a week for sewing.
The big kids are in Disney World right now with my parents, and Sunday morning I was able to make them each a couple of pairs of pajama shorts for the trip.
Super fast and easy, and a nice gateway into sewing again.
Also, I have a birthday party coming so I am super excited to do some dolly sewing.
Here's to new beginnings out there.






Monday, July 28, 2014

Howdy

Do you ever get a bee in your bonnet and just have to make something silly?
I have always been a huge fan of William Joyce's work. Santa Calls, and Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo are both mainstays in our book rotation.
He has a distinctive style that evokes a simpler and more beautiful time, and that just makes me happy.
A few weeks ago we added Rolie Polie Olie to the bedtime story list, and The Youngest took a liking to that really swell guy.
It seemed to me that it wouldn't be too difficult to make a hugable Olie Polie to have at home, so I took out Stuffed Animals from Concept to Construction, and my copy of RPO and went to work.
Abby has a pattern for a bee in her book, and part of the pattern are different sized spheres.
I sewed up a couple and though they were the right size I wasn't really pleased with all of the seams; both in number and quality. I had a mishap last week with a leaky faucet and a ruined sewing table along with all of my sewing machines, so I sewed the spheres by hand. Also, I wasn't too careful with the direction of the fabric when I cut out the pieces, and the light hit the fabric in such a way that each piece looked like a different color even though they were cut from the same cloth.
I decided that the only way to make it work for me was to needle felt over the surface to give it a nice smooth finish.
I used pipe cleaners for the arms, legs and antenna, and needled the other details from scraps of roving and yarn I had around the house.
He's not perfect, but I think he came out pretty well. The Youngest loves him, and that's the only thing that really matters.
For those of you unfamiliar with Rolie Polie Olie, there was a tv show about 10-15 years ago as well. There are only a few episodes on You Tube but they're worth a watch.


Friday, July 18, 2014

{this moment}

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

In the Garden

Amanda does a weekly series about what's happening in her gardens and (though I am hardly what you would call a green thumbed individual) I decided to join her today.
This has been the summer of the backyard. We started in June with our hosta patch. This was a two-fold problem area. Since this part of the yard is under our beautiful maple tree no grass would grow here and every time it rained it would turn into a giant mud hole. Then there was the problem of water running from there, directly into the basement.
The erosion problem is much improved, and the hostas are so hardy that they have thrived, even that one on the lower left looks nice now.
That was the warm-up for a couple of other projects, a new patio area and the big, looming project - painting the garage.
At the beginning of June I started the patio project
and it wasn't long before we had a lovely spot for outside enjoyment.
This garage was charming in its way, but was also covered in lead paint and sat listing at a 10% angle. I didn't feel confident that I could bring the walls back to plumb, but painting was doable.
We also realized that if we tore down the attached lean-to shed, that was falling down anyway, it would infinitely improve matters.
The tear-down took about 3 hours, including clean-up, and then I was wracked with guilt because we had procrastinated about this for 10 years. The painting took about a week, though there are still a few finishing touches to come.
The best part of tearing down the overhang is that we have a new space for gardening, and my delightful neighbor across the street (who has a wild and wonderful front yard full of flowers) donated a couple of wheelbarrows full of phlox. Now, I couldn't be happier with the fruits of our labors.
Also, the best part was that the Hubby and I did these projects together and never got snippy with each other.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Yarn Along

I do a lot of knitting that never makes it here to this virtual space.
I knit for customers, making sweaters, scarves and Christmas stockings.
I enjoy the work, but often there is little time left to make things for my family.
This project is for The Youngest. It was a combination of businesses and pleasure.
I have been teaching a class on light sweaters/vests and one of the patterns is Boardwalk from Brooklyn Tweed.

I knew I wouldn't have time to knit a sweater for myself as an example for the class, but I could absolutely make one in a two-year-old size.
I took a few measurements from a top that she already owned and followed the spirit of the pattern from there. I enjoyed the knitting, enough interesting details to keep my interest. while still having lots of nice, easy stockinette so I could watch tv. I added buttons at the shoulder, because of big baby heads, but the rest is pretty much as it happens in the pattern.
I have been having a little reading drought, though I picked up Telegraph Avenue, our book club selection, and tried to slog through the first chapter. It's dense reading. I can't get into Michael Chabon's style. Hopefully it'll come, it's interesting subject matter so far.
What's on your needles today?
Joining Ginny for Yarn Along.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Some Sewing for Me

After the flurry of toddler-sewing last week, I realized that I could squeeze in something for myself.
A couple of years ago my friend met me and a very brand new Youngest for coffee, and she had on the cutest skirt. It was striped, and the stripes went every which way.
I thought it wouldn't be too hard to make one for myself, so I bought a couple of yards of fabric.
Well, it only took me two years to actually get it done.
I perused the blogs for a pattern, and found this tutorial  which basically states that you can take a skirt pattern, cut the piece in two and lay it crazy ways on your fabric, then reassemble it and you have a cutie skirt.
Easy Peasy Lemon Squ-
 Crap.
Well, it was pretty easy after I took out that seam and re-re-assembled it.

I forgot how satisfying a quick yoga-pants waistband skirt can be. 
My mom gave me a gift certificate to my favorite fabric store last week for my birthday, and I think it's time to peruse the knit section.
Joining Nicole this morning for KCCO.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Crafting On

So, the resident 2-year-old is growing taller (how dare she?) and, since her sister and brother are both winter babies, the hand-me-downs are all the wrong season.
So I took a few hours yesterday and today to make her some new outfits.
This one is a super simple t-shirt dress: Hand-me-down t-shirt, with a gathered skirt.
I took an image from the fabric and embroidered it on the bodice.

                  

(This one is terrible.)
On Sunday I did a shift at the world's best fabric shop (Treadle Yard Goods in Saint Paul) and was powerless against the new Burda Kids magazine. 
The next two came from the mag, and I think I may make lots more.
This one is made from fabric I had in the stash, I think I bought it for The Youngest about a year ago. Even though I did some disastrous topstitching that had to be removed, this one didn't take too long. 

I don't think I'll ever tire of trying to take photos of this sweet lady.


This romper came out a little small, because I spaced about Burda not publishing seam allowances.
So, I may have to make another one.
Joining Nicole this morning for KCCO. What's on your creative to do list today?