Saturday, April 12, 2014

What ever happened to my sewing blog?

So, I wish I could share some sewing project, but my sewing table is full of scrap-booking stuff I'm working on for one of my 4 kids.....then I'll start on another kid's scrapbook.  Sigh.  I won't be sewing for awhile.

It hasn't all been work.  Recently, we have been spending some time with our newest grandchild.  So, I thought I'd share a few photos with you.  At 4 months, she's smiling on her own, and she's just melting our hearts....  Here's an assortment of my favorite snapshots.

Julie and Wrenn, March 2014

Wrenn, January 2014

Julie and Wrenn, Feb 2014

Wrenn, March 22, 2014

Wrenn, March 22, 2014

Wrenn, April 2014

Wrenn, April 2014

Wrenn, April 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Suffering from an Attribute of Reaching "A Certain Age"

So, its no secret that I've recently crossed into the 60s decade.  It really hasn't been that much of a big deal...been okay with it all, but this week, I've been struggling. 

Way back when....when I was in junior high, a boy asked me to a dance.  Even though I was thrilled and said "yes", I soon began to rethink my quick response.  Heck, I didn't even know this guys name, for crying out loud!  So the next time I saw him, I told him that I had changed my mind, and tried to explain.  But he just heard "no", and walked away, obviously hurt....I felt so bad.  Thus began a beautiful friendship with Mike.  Yeah, it really ended up being a lovely lie!

As I got to know him, I really liked him, and told him over and over again how sorry I was that I handled his invitation to the dance so badly.  All he said to me was, "yeah, yeah".  So, I never felt he had forgiven me.....but he had.  All through school, we each went through minor boyfriend, girlfriend relationships that you do in high school.  We never got to the point of going out even though we both wanted to.  That is until my best friend, Hitch, decided to try to stop all this non-sense and throw us together after a cuple of years of this.  So, one night she decided to ask (pressure) Mike into taking her and me to a drive-in movie that we all wanted to see.  I've forgotten all the details, but the upshot is that he didn't have a car to drive, but his friend had an International Scout (like a jeep with a hard top) so the four of us went to the drive-in.  In the BuckMobile.  What was the movie?  Don't remember.  But I do remember the fight.

Hitch came up with some lame reason that Mike should let her sit in the front seat, and change places with her, thus placing him in the back seat with me.  So, Mike was pretending at still being mad at me, and I was pretending that I didn't notice.  Then Mike's friend, Bucky, decided to start throwing Ritz crackers at Mike and me to break the silence.  Soon, Mike and I had crushed nearly the whole box of Ritz into each others hair and dumped what we could into each others' shirts.....and Hitch's and Bucky's, too.  We just laughed and laughed, then it started to rain.  Hard.  And, Bucky had two holes in the roof of his BuckMobile, right above Mike's and my heads.  And we had a 45 minute drive back home.  Well, Bucky found a red bandana in his pocket that Mike  stuffed into the holes to keep the rain from running into the back seat, but it soon became soaked through and through, and the dripping became a steady stream instead.  Yeah, the smell of the crackers mixed with my cheap perfume and his dad's can imagine how funny we all found this, too.  I'll never forget the sound of his laughter.

Mike was one of the funniest people I've known, and everyone who has known him remembers his laugh.  That night he stopped being mad at me, and we often laughed, and yes, he did ask me to another dance.  I had no date for my Senior Prom because my boyfriend and I had broken up.  Mike's little sister was in charge of making sure all we Seniors attended their Prom.  She asked Mike to take me, and he did.  We had so much fun.  We danced and danced and afterwards we and another couple went out looking for couples parking and petting.  We went on the hunt, but only got stuck in the mud.  He and the other guy ruined their white dinner jackets pushing us out, but yet when he got back into the car, he just looked at me and started to laugh again, saying "its only mud".

That was the last of our youth.  He went onto New York after college to try to break into showbiz, and I got married, moved away and had twin boys.  My marriage was a brutal one, and we divorced.  But one night my ex-husband was so angry I feared I wouldn't make it through the night.  I decided to call the people I loved and had left behind ... to say my good-byes.  I called Mom and Dad, and I called my ex-boyfriend from high school.  Then  I called my friend, Hitch, and confided in her what my life had been like and how I feared that might be my last night to live.  I didn't know Mike was there visiting her family.  He got the jist of what I was saying to her, and he took the phone.  He talked to me for quite awhile.  He told me that he wanted me to be strong and to pack up everything and "come home where people love you" as soon as I possibly could.  I made it through the night, and the next day I packed up my kids and as much as I could carry and fled my home to stay with a co-worker the next day.  Eventually, I made it home.  It sounds odd, I know, but it took Mike's words to put everything in perspective again for me.  He saved my life that night, he truly did.

The last time I saw Mike, he came to my mom's funeral.  He's the only one of my friends who came.  He and I remembered Mom and he made me laugh and laugh.   No doubt, those folks who were there to pay their respects to Mom must have thought it inappropriate, but until then, I had not allowed myself to grieved.  He knew that, before I ever said a thing.  He was a good friend, and a wise one.  You see, he didn't make it in showbiz, but he did make it big at the Boys Ranch as a counselor to trouble kids.  He understood the human condition, and knew how to make it better like few can do. He evened earned State recognition of his work.

Mike lost his mother a few months ago.  Last Friday, we lost Mike.  I'm one of those lucky folks that shared his laughter.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Pleated Crib Skirt - no ruffles here

This is a tutorial for a box-pleated mattress skirt. I made this one for new granddaughter's crib, but you can use the same method for any sized mattress. Quilt weight cottons or blends or any similar weight material work well.
GUIDE:  The BASE is white, the SKIRT is the pleated birdie print, the TRIM is green
The BASE.  The size of the crib mattress is 57" x 21".  I cut the base to 58" x 22" using a twin sheet that we no longer use.  (Crib mattresses come in different sizes, so measure yours and add 1/2" to each side for a seam allowance)

The Crib SKIRT.  I chose to cut the design fabric into 18" strips, joining each segment end to end, forming one really long strip. (I used a serger to join the segments and finish the edges in one step, but you can use a regular sewing machine)

All sections of skirt joined with a serged edge
After pressing the seams flat, I folded the strip into approximately 8" pleats along its entire length, pinning each pleat at the beginning and end of each pleat.  I then pinned the pleats to the base and adjusted some of the the pleats so a "pleat-opening" would fall at each corner of the mattress.  I needed to do some adjusting, which made some of the pleats meet 1/2" apart and a few meet up to 1" apart, but its not very noticeable.  (FYI - More fabric is needed for a box-pleat than is needed for a ruffled skirt.  This one ended up having 37 linear feet)

Pleating of the skirt
After all the pleats were pinned the way I wanted, I removed the strip from the base and sewed a basted running-stitch 1" down from the top along the length to hold the pleats in place while completing the remaining steps. 

This pleated strip was then pinned to the base using safety pins which are better when working with so much fabric.   

At this point, I sewed the skirt to the base 1/2" from the edges using my serger to finish the seam off; but again, you can use a regular machine and finish the seams later. 
Attach the pleats to the base, finish edges with serger
The TRIM.  I chose to add a 2" trim along the bottom in a coordinating print.  For the width of a 2" trim piece, you need to cut strips 5" wide (2" on each side, plus 1/2" seam allowance).  Measure the length of the skirt and add 1/2" for each seam allowance.  Also add 1" for the beginning and end pieces that will need to be folded over and overlapped (a total of 2").  (In my case, the length was 37.5 feet, plus 4" more for the seams, plus 2" for the ends)
Serged ends of trim pieces, press in one direction
Join all your segments making sure you trim off the white unprinted areas at the selvedges.  Press the seams to one side before attaching to the bottom of the skirt.
Attach trim to the skirt
Sew the trim to the skirt, leaving the about an inch of each end "un-sewn" until later.

Now that the trim and skirt are attached, it's important to press at this point.  Press the seam toward the trim piece.  While at the ironing board, fold over a double fold along the outer edge of the skirt and press.  Fold the trim over to cover the seam.  Pin and press.
Fold trim over the seam and pin, then press
While you're still at the board, at the point where the two end edges meet, turn over a 1/4" hem, and then another 1/2" hem, press.  Then overlap the two folded edges, placing one on top of the other.  Pin them to the skirt, and press them up and over the hemmed area and pin in place in the same way as the rest of the length. (Now that you've folded over the "un-sewn" ends, you'll need to attach them to the skirt when you get back to your machine)

Now off to your machine to hem the trim (remember to finish sewing the "un-sewn" area first).  At this point, you can hem using a your machine's blind hem stitch, or simply top-stitch a nice straight line (using a regular stitch length).  Now, if you've been serging the seams, you're done.  If you haven't, then its nice to finish the seams to prevent those nagging ravels.  You can either run a line of zig-zagging on each side of the seam edges, or turn the edges under and hem each one.

Remember to remove that basting you did earlier, and you're done.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sunday's Child is Bonny and Blithe ...

Wrenn and Julie
Here's our newest grandchild, Wrenn Aria (birdsong).  She and Momma are doing well. 

She weighs in at 8# 11oz. and 20.5 in. long.  AND she has a head full of red hair.....just like her grandma :)  Born Sunday, January 12.

Mom had to undergo an unexpected C-section, but all turned out well for her and little Wrenn.  Aunt Katie arrived in town just 3 hours before, and was able to be in surgery with Julie, and was a great support to her and Ben, too.  A truly special delivery. 

That's all for now.