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The center of town is busy with tourists buying souvenirs & t-shirts that no-one really wants. The go-cart track seems to have a couple people running – rain or shine- no matter what time of day or night. The beach horses are usually in their corrals. The local festivals begin: Garlic Festival, Doggie Olympics, Sandsations (sand castle weekend)  and the biggie: The Kite Festival.

Weather be damned, the kickoff is the Memorial Day weekend. An event billed as “The world’s longest yard sale” – when our peninsula turns into a huge bargain hunting mass of people for three or four days.  Which is really just the beginning to the official garage sale season. The signs go up; lots of those you see over and over again and you know after the first time that those ones are to be ignored. Who would even want to have a yard sale more than once every few years I just can’t imagine. Our Wednesday newspaper want ads increase each week when it comes out.  I tried my luck at a relative few; my goal was to go to 1000 of them ( not really). However, I made it to maybe two dozen before I gave up. Partly because I came to my senses and realized I was just wasting time when I could be sewing. Partly because I quickly got tired of seeing tables full of mismatched tupperware and old florist’s vases, and all the assorted odds and ends that no one ever buys, but the sellers clean out of their cuppboards in the hopes that someone will.

Not that I didn’t buy anything. But there were certainly no big ‘scores’ out there like I always hope for. No fabric – at least nothing good, unless piles of ugly polyester blends is your thing. Dang, I hate that. There was someone who had a boatload of beautiful old printed table linens, but no bargains to be had,  so they stayed right there. I found this pair of glasses for just a buck:

I also got a birthday present for a friend:

  These cute stacking cups looks like someone’s ceramics project from thirty years ago or so.  Short one cup, but what the heck?

I also couldn’t resist yet another lazy susan for myself  – just because of the colors ( and the fact that it was just a few dollars )  No chips or cracks, and complete with the turntable underneath. And who knows? Maybe I will have the big buffet someday and be able to put several of these lazy susans to use. I guess I could use one of them in my sewing room to put little things in…….but what?

This week I’m sewing a bunch of bags – grocery, handbags, and clutches to get stock for next weekend’s show at the coffee shop. Pictures will follow when I have amassed a pile.

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kitchen attire

I played hooky from my alterations the other day. The client is out of town right now, so…….

For weeks now ( months, maybe?) I’ve been grousing about the apron that I usually wear. Yes, I wear an apron nearly every day. I cook, and don’t like the splatters that grace my clothes if I neglect to don one, and the convenience of a place to wipe my hands is the bonus. I’ve sold a few aprons in my etsy shop, but they are the half apron variety. Cute, though not the coverage that I want when I’m at the stove.

So, off I go shopping. In my sewing room.  Surely there must be something in one of the boxes of vintage fabrics that I’ve been ‘saving’ for just the right thing. One of the things I collect is old cotton prints – lots of these are the 50’s era, 36″ width variety. If you want to make a dress, you’ll need several yards. A 50’s full-skirted dress can easily take 7 or more yards using those narrow fabrics, so you have to get creative.

Will it come from the “pinks and greys” box?

The “greens and blues ” box?   

Or the “reds, blacks, & browns” box?    Hmmm, hard to choose.  In the end I opted for making two, as I couldn’t decide:

   and, I had enough of this to make a second one to put in the shop.  And the other was a shoe-in as I had just the perfect amount to eek out what I wanted::    I think both of these came from some estate or yard sale in the past few years.  The best thing about looking at old fabrics is that each time I decide on something else that I want to make from a particular piece. Sometimes I’ll lay the pattern of choice in the box, then when I open it up again see if I still know what it was to be paired with. If not, then I put the pattern back in the cabinet.  Other times, a piece begs me to sew it up right there and then.

After the aprons, it seemed only logical to give the table a new cloth as well. I found this fabric in a box a couple weeks ago and decided that it would be better suited to go under my new (to me) dishes than shopping bags.    Um, I guess I should have given it a final pressing.

Now, back to those alterations…………

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While the rain has been happily absent for the past week,  I’ve spent most of my time at the machine, both sewing, and un-sewing.

The sewing was to put together a bunch of goods for a ‘trunk show’ that I participated in at the local coffee roasters.  It was a small group pf ‘artists’ consisting of two women who made jewelry, one newfound friend (who is an amazing baker)  along with a photographer, and a painter. And me. I brought the wine bottle candles, several handbags, headbands, make-up bags, and grocery/tote bags.  It was all day both Saturday and Sunday, and I ended up doing okay. Well, none of the grocery bags sold, but several of the other things did, and the shop owner elected to keep a few things there to sell as well.    The un-sewing was/ is a boatload of alterations that have been stacking up, and a couple of ‘urgent’ things for two new clients.  One of them was this prom dress ( from the picture I can understand why she ordered it – but it looked Nothing like the photo; it was just a limp and cheap poly silky with bad embroidery and beading) It needed a bit more modesty, and I converted it to a halter as well. Quickly. The prom here is tonight, and I’m hoping the girl, who was very sweet, has a good time.  A couple more days, and I will be completely caught up and ready to take on the next round of things that are coming up this week.

The weather has been so beautiful and it finally feels like spring. There was a four day clam dig, which ended today. This morning a friend and I went down to the beach to participate in the quarterly beach cleanup, then stayed to dig clams. It was so balmy out that we were without jackets  – what a treat. And, we got our limit in about fifteen minutes. A far cry from the last time a couple weeks ago when we wandered around for nearly two hours and barely got our limit of 15 between the two of us.( That time it was the first non-raining day for three weeks, and the clams had buried themselves well and deep.)  Yesterday Richard and I went and dug and it was pretty good too – I got a giant one and took it to a local restaurant to enter in their Clam Derby. Here’s a shot of the ‘big one’ which weighed in at 183 grams on my scale:

This is what a typical clam looks like on the scale:

And I took this one just because it made me think of my dad – I don’t fish, but here is part of the catch nonetheless 

Looks like chowder tonight. Poor Richard has had plenty to clean the last couple days. Lucky for him the season is nearly ended. We have a freezer full of them. If only I could walk down to the beach and get crab. There would be none in the freezer, but I would be a happy woman.

Doing a bit of research on clams I found this article which told me that what I dug up was nothing. Damn! Yeah, well, they can keep their monsters.  😉

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Progress Report

I’ve had a week (or two) of almost no sewing. I have been in the sewing room, doing lots of rearranging and moving. Getting re-familiar with fabrics that I (sort of) forgot about and putting other pieces away.

at least some of the fabric is stacked nice and pretty

is that an empty spot or two there?

Seems like that needs to happen now and again, along with a good cleaning. I do want to take my ‘wallpaper’ ( read: fabric ) off and then strip the real wallpaper off and then paint, but……………….that’s a bigger job than I want to take on right now. Maybe when the weather is a little better.

Deciding what to sew next. There is all the fabric that I bought at Expo, but the weather is still rain, rain, rain. So, a spring dress or blouse isn’t a real draw right now.     [As of this writing, we’re at 33.89 inches for the year. Boo. I want spring. I won’t be so greedy as to want summer, but a few days of dry weather would be idyllic]       I’m wanting to start on another quilt project. For months now I’ve been thinking about somehow using an image by Charley Harper as the basis for a quilt. Then today I see that Purl is now stocking needlepoint canvas with some of his images. I have done some needlepoint, a long time ago, and I’ve no desire to do any more, so a quilt it will be. Which image? That’s to decide. Or, perhaps its time for the big stash of silk duppioni to rise to the top of the heap and magically become a quilt.

I did get a bunch of headbands listed on etsy, now that I have a ‘model’.  One head + one cheap wig = __________? Maybe I should have a ‘name the model contest’. Right now I call her miss pouty-face, but I’m open to suggestions.

maybe you could smile a little?

So, this week it will be alterations. A blouse or two, and the beginnings of a quilt.

And get a cast on the grandson, who broke his arm Friday night.

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small stuff

 I’m part of a small guild, with about 55 members. Our show this past weekend ( exhibition, really ) has about 110-120 quilts featured each year, of every style and skill level. It is held at the museum in Ilwaco, and we don’t charge admission ( which helps the museum boost their visitor count ). We had over 750 people sign the guest book, and for the second consecutive year the 3000 raffle quilt tickets sold out – the proceeds of which all go to local charities. This year and last there were also a couple of glass cases with small sewn items of every variety, and there was a call for pieces to feature. I decided at the last minute to make a couple things:      plus
   plus      equals     I know I had a song version of "the Owl and the Pussycat" but I cannot remember the name of the woman who sang it, nor can I find it and it’s driving me batty. A google search was equally futile, so until I remember it will be going round in my head.
Now, I’m not sure what to do with them; possibly put them in the etsy shop. Which needs a total re-vamping ( soon, very soon ).  

I got the news on Sunday evening that I took second place in the Large category  for ‘Dressing the Part’   AND
second place in the Small category for ‘Room With a View’   This was a bit of a surprise in that this is by and large a pretty traditional guild. The voting is not judged ( thank goodness! ) but is a people’s choice ballot with spaces for small, medium, and large. I received so many compliments while there it was a little unnerving, and lots of requests for a pattern for the little dresses quilt.
Looks like I need to edit my to-do list, again.  

Now that it’s all over, it’s time to get back to some client work.  But this weekend of inspiration has me wanting to start a new quilt. 

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Edited -scroll down for a picture of the special tape.

Last week I made a quick trip into Seattle ( Puyallup, really) to go to the Sewing and Stitchery Expo. Billed as the largest in the country, though somehow I don’t really think that’s the case, it’s pretty big. However if you’re not in the market for a big ticket embroidery machine, then you can easily move fairly quickly through the booths. 
That is, if you don’t look for fabric, either. 
Which means that of course I need to look through any and all booths that have fabric. Not just quilting cottons, but wools, silks, linens, and beautiful cotton shirtings and lawn. And I always peruse any notions. I leave out any of the trendy customizing items, like the rhinestones, paintsticks, and the embroidery. 
There is a vendor that has trims – vintage, imported, beautiful buttons, in every color and style. All organized by color and displayed on pretty shelves and tables. I dream of bringing the entire booth home with me.  But this year I left it all there. I also left behind some amazing wools – both cashmere and vicuna – the softest wool ever and the most expensive (which sells for upwards of $2000 per yard, though the salesperson told me I could have it for a steal of about $95). Well, no.
I did buy some fabric – two pieces of lightweight cotton lawn
 and    Also a cute piece of  semi-sheer dobby type shirting: .
I bought one piece of Kokka linen 

All of these are destined to become blouses. Now to decide on patterns; here are some of the candidates. I think it’s really funny that in three of these patterns, the one I’m liking is the version in yellow.     
      Yes, I know that two of them are dresses; I’m just thinking ahead a little.  

The other big score was a tape measure that I’ve been looking for for at least thirty years: it has one inch markings at each end. This is such a simple thing that I’ve been stumped as to why no one made one until now. That alone was worth the trip.  

ETA: here is a pic of the old tape ( white one ) and the new one –    because I’m a garment sewer, I wear a tape around my neck all day. I invariably grab the wrong end – the one with the blank / 60" and have to fumble to quickly grab the correct end -with the one inch. Now, either end that I put my hands on is the right one!

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18 and counting

 We celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary on Monday. Not a lot of celebration with a teenager in the house, but we gave it our best.
A couple of good steaks, perfectly done, artichokes, beautifully roasted potatoes, champagne, chocolates.
We spent some time wandering through a few antique shops during the day; doing nothing really, but looking for a couple of items on my current ‘want  list’: an aluminum cake safe/carrier, or one like mom used to have; some silk-screened everyday drinking glasses, just the ‘perfect’ cookie jar . I did find an old knitting basket that I can recover to keep a project in for a song. 

I made my sweetie a new pair of pj’s that he was needing, and a couple of pillows for our bed:   and this one        
This drafted version of Love is so pretty, without being too fussy.
Well enough that I just might make a couple to put up on etsy, since the company that I got it from encourages people to make and sell things with their designs. Now that I think about it, everything that I’ve embroidered in the past year has come from Urban Threads.

I’m happy with the fact that I can download a design (sometimes free, no less! ) and pull out the linen, the pillows and stitch it out, and put it all together without leaving the house. That must be why I have the huge stash of fabric. Actually, I don’t have many options since I live somewhere in the middle of nowhere, so it works out well.  

But I digress; my husband is living proof that sometime it takes more than once to get it right. Here’s to another 18 years.

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 That is the beginning of the process – lots and lots of selvages I asked friends and guild members to save selvages for me, and they just keep coming. Still. I have a much bigger box stuffed full of them than when I began these selvage projects. I keep thinking that maybe I should call off the saving of them, but just maybe I’ll attempt another ‘something’. 
This  is what became of all those bits. And a pic of the back  
It measures about 70 x 60 inches.
I had one block of the border leftover, and made it into the label. I’m calling it "Mrs Spider Served Up Leftovers". The top of the back looks a little off, but it’s just an illusion; I used the cut off from the backing and sewed it on to make the hanging sleeve. I used a stripey fabric for the pieced inset on the back and for the binding. 

I gotta say, I love me some bias stripey binding.

I marked out the quilting lines with one of those magical Pilot Frixion pens. I can’t even begin to explain how much I love these pens.I’m somewhat of a marking item and notions geek. I used those blue felt type pens for years, and usually a little spritz with water makes the marks go away. But these,  you draw or write, and when you want  the lines to go away, a warm iron will magically make them disappear! Really. I tried drawing out a few different designs for the stitching lines, and settled on one, and when I was finished – poof! All of those red ink lines were gone. All of the working the quilt through the machine was tiring, but the walking foot worked well. 

I just have the sleeve and the label to sew on the dresses quilt, and then I’ll be done with all three and ready for the show.


Next up – some piece of clothing maybe. 


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the accidental queen

Many years ago I got my first sewing machine. It was a Singer Futura II. It was in the era where Singer started going downhill, in the mid seventies. A friend at the time had one, and I used it to make her husband a suit ( to try it out, I guess). Hers had a few issues, but not long after I found one used at a sewing shop for a bargain and put it on layaway. By and large it was problem free for me, but the fact that they had begun to use nylon gears and parts gave it a somewhat shortened life span. Especially for someone who sewed as much as I did ( even back then, with three small kids ). When at last it gave up (maybe ten years later), and parts were not available, I bought a new machine.      A Bernette 200, which was the first machine that I had that had a free arm. It was a work horse,  sewing countless bridesmaids, prom, and wedding gowns. Ultimately it just got really slow and stopped. I took it in, and to the repairman’s surprise, I had worn the motor out. Not wanting to give up on something that had served me so well, I had a new motor put in ( which never had the oomph of the original ). Later on, it became my machine to take to the studio or on set. Next was my first overlock, a sweet little Viking, then the first embroidery machine, a Brother 8500.  I was working 10-12 hours a day plus, and bought a second embroidery machine, a Viking Designer 1( it took floppy disks). That one got traded in for my Viking SE, which is the machine I love and use daily. About seven years ago I bought a new Elna overlock in order to be able to do a cover hem. It’s a great serger, but making the switch to the cover hem stitch is a PIA.  Within a year the show I was working on needed a few hundred t-shirts shortened, and I bought a dedicated cover-hem machine ( which has been relegated to the idle shelf ).
Somewhere along the way, I picked up my first yard sale machine, a Kenmore from the late seventies. It was just after we bought this house, and I thought it would be sweet to have a machine here for when we were visiting. During one trip here, I bought another older, late 50’s singer in a odd corner type cabinet cabinet for 10 bucks ( it currently serves as a plant stand in my living room ).Then after we moved here I thought I might do some sewing teaching, and picked up yet another machine at a yard sale – that one is a late sixties / early seventies Brother. I am revisiting the idea of teaching, now that there are two shops here on the peninsula. 

A year ago I bought a nice old little Singer 99K    from the guy across the street. It is sweet, shiny, in it’s case and it works well ( it was his mom’s).
And a week or so ago, I got it’s little sister – a Singer 221 Featherweight  complete, with all the attachments ( minus the optional buttonholer, but the one that my sister gave me a year ago might just fit ) in it’s hard case. From a friend of a friend, for free. It was her mother’s and no one in her family wanted it. She just wanted it to go to a good home.
It has plenty of company here.  

Today I plan to finish the spider web quilt. There’s just the border quilting to do, then bind, label, and sleeve it for hanging in the show. Pictures will follow.

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Last week I was in one of those moods. Sort of like this: 
Maybe you have no idea about this. But the above picture is damn close to describing it for me. I sort of want one of these to crawl into, but that would not be a good idea for lots of reasons.
I’ve been up and down before, and I know that it will pass, but while I’m there…………not good. I’ve also learned to just do something to move forward, which for me is sewing. I’m so grateful that I have that to pour myself into – both good times and bad. 
I got a lot done – more items for the salon, work for a couple of clients, and got the three quilts done enough to get my entry forms filled out for the upcoming show. Thank goodness last week and it’s ‘bleh’ is history. 

One of the highlights of the week for me was finding this:  in a jar of buttons while searching for something else. I swear I know the hundreds ( thousands?) of buttons that I have, at least the unique ones anyway. But where did this come from? It is plastic, and less than 3/4 inch high. I pinned it to the edge of my design wall, which causes me to smile each time my eyes land on it. 
I also made this baby quilt as my contribution to the WIC program that the guild collects for a few times a year.
  All of the fabrics and batting came from my stash, and I sort of made it up as I went along. It was going to be a nine-patch, but instead I did a sort of a flip and sew with each row that quilted it to the backing as I sewed it together. I ‘almost’ decided to put it on etsy to sell, but thought I should stick with my original intent (and I didn’t want to come up with something else ).  This time there were a a total of twenty-two, which was the best collection to date. Pretty nice for our small guild of 55 members. 

Now I’m on to finishing the wall hanging – I got nearly done yesterday but we had a power outage late in the afternoon. Then it’ll be on to the spider web quilting, and, and, and……….

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