Monday, May 07, 2007

Free Mother's Day Makeover

A blog makeover that is.

I don't know about you, but I wouldn't mind a blog makeover. I have a vision of what I'd like this blog to look like but lack the know how to make the it come true. So maybe I'll win a free blog design for Mother's Day!

You can too. Just click on over to Everyday Mommy to find out how. Pin It

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sewing Progress on McCalls 5330 Skirt

McCall's 5330 is a basic skirt pattern that everyone should consider adding to their sewing pattern collection. It is a good pattern to pull out when you're looking for an instant gratification sewing project.

With that said, I have to admit that I'm not quite done with the skirt. Turns out I didn't have any buttons in my stash that matched. I originally thought I'd use white buttons but uh, uh. The white was too bright against the silver gray color of the fabric. Not too much of a problem as I was able to stop into Joann's on my way home from church and found some silver gray that will work very well.

Hopefully in the next day or two I can find 30 minutes to make the buttonholes, sew on the buttons, and hang the completed skirt in my closet.

The next skirt on my list is from Simplicity 4196.

I made a border print skirt from this pattern last year and found it easy to sew and comfortable to wear. Because the bottom of the skirt pattern is a straight line it works well with fabrics that have edge details.

This version is using a rayon blend eyelet fabric that was purchased last year at Hancock Fabrics. The color is a variegated light teal with a scalloped edge that is being used along the hemline. Because of the large holes from the eyelet pattern this skirt will be lined.

commented that everyone seems to be sewing skirts this spring and that she had started a Sew What! Skirts sew along on Flickr. Umm, I tried to find it on Flickr, but didn't have much luck. If you're reading this and can direct me to the Sew What! Skirt sew along please leave a comment. I'd really like to see the cute and creative skirts that everyone sews.

Today ended up to be a good day to stay inside and sew as the wind has been fierce all day long. There are quite a few trees behind our property and many with dead limbs.

All day long we've been listening to the popping and cracking of limbs breaking free from the trees. At one point, both the dog and I jumped when we heard a very loud thud but we were unable to locate where the sound came from. When I went outside to check I see that our backyard is scattered with lots of little limbs but it doesn't appear that any large ones have hit the house.
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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Skirt Sewing for the Skirt Month Sew-Along

After a month of extremely limited sewing time I am really looking forward to spending some quality time with my sewing machine. With warm weather almost here I think I'll spend some time sewing dresses and skirts so I'll be ready.
With visions of skirts dancing in my head, I joined the Skirt Month Sew-Along posted on the Sew, Mama! Sew blog. My first skirt will be the button front skirt from McCall's 5330.

I am using a gray linen/blend with a silver metallic border print purchased from the remnant bin at Joann's. Because there was less than a yard of fabric, the border will be placed along the center front edge of the skirt. I expect the skirt will be completed by Sunday evening so check back tomorrow night for photos. Pin It

Sharon Sews meets DIY Television Host Paul Ryan (or why I love my public library)

Paul Ryan is the host of DIY Network's Kitchen Renovations and the author of a newly released book Weekend Kitchen Makeovers: Illustrated Techniques & Stylish Solutions.

When my husband and I first heard that he would be at two free kitchen remodeling seminars at our local public library we immediately marked our calendar. We have this wonderful, big country-style kitchen. It has lots and lots of cabinets and counter tops but needs to be updated. Because we are do-it-yourself kind of people, we figured this would be a good opportunity to get some ideas and ask an expert questions.

Unfortunately my husband wasn't able to make either seminar and I was sent on my own to soak up as much as information I could. I expected the seminar to be really crowded but there weren't many people in the audience. It didn't seem to matter to Paul Ryan who turned out to be a humorous and generous presenter. Full of remodeling information that he enthusiastically shared with this audience. He also stayed after the program for one-on-one questions anyone might have.

My question? How do you find the kitchens you remodel on your show? (Seriously, wouldn't that be cool to have your kitchen remodel televised? Not to mention the extra help you'd have.) Turns out the area I live in is not an area that the television production crew travels to. Oh well, can't blame a girl for trying.

So I did the next best thing. Asked him to autograph a book for my husband, and...

... had my photo taken with him.

I don't know about your local libraries, but mine is always offering a wide variety of great programs at no charge. There is so much more available at the library than books. Although books, and especially sewing books, are still my favorite.

Did you know if the library doesn't have a book in its collection you can request an Inter Library Loan (ILL) or ask them to consider purchasing it? I have used the ILL service quite a few times to get my hands on copies of old sewing books and recently I placed a request to purchase Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style . I was quite pleased when I received notification yesterday that the book had been ordered and was waiting for me to pick it up at the library. I've only skimmed through it so far, but if you're a Tim Gunn fan you'll enjoy the book.

One other sewing note before I go help my husband with a (non-kitchen) home improvement project. One of my favorite reviewers on Patternreview now has a blog! Check it out - Stitch Me Up. If her blog is as great as her reviews it is sure to become a favorite read of many, many people. Pin It

Friday, May 04, 2007

Flashback Friday - Spring 1985

In the early to mid '80s I was a clerical worker at a company that was kind of a good ole boys club. It was a very, very successful, privately held organization that didn't always treat its employees all that well. Some things I remember from that job (besides the mind-numbing work):
  • If you were not sitting at your desk within three minutes of your starting time you were docked pay.
  • You were only allowed to talk on breaks and at lunch.
  • No phone calls were allowed unless extreme emergencies. This was a hard one for moms who wanted kids to check in with them after school.
  • No job transfers within the company were allowed. If you had the misfortune of being hired into a lousy department, well that was your tough luck.
  • You were not allowed to clean up your workspace until the bell had rung announcing the end of the day.
  • No sick time was given to you until after your five year anniversary and then with the warning that usage of the sick time would be monitored very closely.
  • And my all time favorite - you were not allowed to leave your work floor during your break. However there were no break areas provided so people sat on the bathroom floor and talked for fifteen minutes. Cross my heart, hope to die this is not a lie. Besides you know I couldn't have thought that one up if I tried.
I know, I know. You're thinking "why in the world would you work for a company like that?" Well, let me tell ya. Because I had two young children to support, had no child support coming in, and times were tough and jobs were hard to find. As lousy as it was I was thankful to have a regular paycheck and benefits.

The company did do some positive things.
  • Free fruit, coffee and milk during the lunch break.
  • Free car starting service for those bitter cold winter days when the car battery just didn't have enough oomph to get the car engine going.
  • Free shuttle service from parking lots to the building. (But I lost pounds by walking instead of riding the shuttle, so in a way they offered a free health club membership!)
  • A great family oriented Christmas party for the kids with lots of costumed characters, refreshments, Santa and toys. All free.
  • A fantastic company picnic held at a local zoo with lots of food, door prizes, and carnival rides for the kids. All free.
  • A wide variety of after hours activities scheduled through out the year offered at no cost to employees.
That brings me to today's Flashback Friday photo. One of the activities was a women's party held every year in early May. It was a catered sit-down dinner with entertainment and lots of great door prizes. All free. Plus it was an excuse to get all dolled up.

So here I am. 1985. Big hair, heavily made up eyes, frilly, fluffy purple satin dress, dangly earrings, and a great pair of purple polka dot shoes.

And to keep this sewing related. Yes, I sewed the dress. It was a Brooke Shields pattern - McCall's 8950 - and I loved wearing it. Actually I never wore it again, because, really, how many times does a working gal need to wear a frilly, fluffy purple satin dress?

But those shoes? Well, I wore those purple with white polka dot shoes until the soles wore out.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Photos of my gallery items in the Low-Sew Boutique book

Thank you, thank you, thank you! For all of your kind comments regarding my projects that will be in the gallery section of the Low-Sew Boutique book. And those of you who know me know that I was jumping up and down when I first discovered these would be included in the book. Sometimes I let my excitement get the best of me!

Sure hope I didn't toot my horn a little too loud if you know what I mean. I'm excited but at the same time I can hear my mother saying "pride goes before a fall." (One of the other sayings I heard a few times growing up. The other is here.)

Cheryl sent me an electronic advance copy of the book to review, but I haven't had a chance to do more than look at the photos of her projects. I'll promise to give you a sneak preview of some of those too.

I have to admit that it's exciting to see something I made in print. And honestly, you know you have a true friend when they invite you to have a place in their book. Let's face it, Cheryl didn't have to have a gallery section in her book...she could have chosen to add another one of her own designs, but she invited all of her friends, family and students to submit a project. I really am blessed to count her as one of my friends.

In the meantime these are my humble project submissions that made it into the gallery section of the book.

Two place mat purses and a summer outfit (above) and one more place mat purse (below, with the beaded handle).

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