Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

Sounds like the name of a band. If anyone uses it I think I should get royalties.

I mostly listen to the local NPR station ( staffed primarily by volunteer programmers). There are several different types of programs, some music, and a few talk. Not too much national stuff  — the budget is very small. It seems like once a week or so I hear “we have a report of a lost lab – answers to the name of Trudy”. And if you listen long enough, you hear that Trudy made it home. It’s nice. There is the Ship Report on weekday mornings, which gives a breakdown of the comings and goings of all the big boats that make their stops along the Columbia River. It is a remarkably busy shipping  channel.

We have weather here. Real weather. Seven feet of rain, on average. Often I look out and the sea is a a mess. During the storms, the swells grow to 20 feet, easy.  Though the past few weeks has been unusually calm, dry, and cool. The air is incredibly clear.  I see a million stars at night, and occasionally even a satellite while I lie in bed in the pre-dawn hours of the morning.  And then there is the big  river.  The bridge over to Astoria is four miles across, and I never tire of the view when crossing. Last week it was so calm, it was masquerading as Lake Powell, smooth as glass, which is a rare sight this time of year.  Water skiing, anyone? Yeah, I’ve never seen it around here. That water is cold. And the sunsets here are stunning.  I took this shot looking out toward the ocean near the mouth of the river.

This time of year is special. On Monday morning I looked out to see the telltale twinkle of lights on the water, signaling the onset of Dungeness crab season.  “I’m dreaming of a crabby Christmas…”  . I got up and counted an even twenty boats making their way north along the peninsula, setting their pots for a couple days of soaking. It was clear, cold and the sea was calm; no doubt there were a lot of happy fishermen.

The locals here relish the winter (but truth be told, the talk turns to warmer climes in a wishful sort of way). Few tourists, no lines at the grocery stores, and no one on the beach to speak of. Excepting the clam digging weekends, when it gets busy for a couple of days.  And winter here brings the annual crab pot christmas tree to the port of Ilwaco. A night shot would be better, but my camera has it’s limitations.

crab pot tree

And with it nearly Christmas, I have soooo much sewing to do. The past few weeks have disappeared too quickly, and once again I feel like I lost a week or four. There were a couple of trunk shows at the coffee shop, and lots of work leading up to them. I hope to get one day to cram a ton of baking in before we leave on Friday.  And just maybe a ‘regular’ sort of post here. Some good news, sewing project / progress, or the like.

And with that, I head for the studio.

Read Full Post »

(gasp!) Air!

The last few weeks has not seen the intended updates here. There is just too much stuff going on with a senior (the high school one) right now.

I finally got some things added / listed in my etsy shop, and will do so again next week.

I’m currently in the middle of working through a long list of projects for this coming weekend’s trunk show at our local coffee roasters. Like nearly everything else lately, I get in sort of a freeze with the stuff that needs to be done. I think about it, obsess about what to do first.  Of course the list always includes more fabric  (yes, mom. more), because that piece I just saw would be perfect for ______________ .  Finally, the other day I made The List of what I wanted to have for this show. Like I seem to do with lists, I just kept adding to it until the paper was filled up. But, it helped me prioritize, I think. I spent Friday sorting and choosing fabrics for new messenger bags ( get the hardest things done first is my strategy)and doing all the cutting and fuseing. Yesterday I had four finished – one more than on my list, aka goal sheet as I’m now calling it.

I moved on to ‘mug rugs’, which are about half the size of a place mat – just big enough for a cup of coffee and a pastry. They’ll be part of some gift baskets, which will have coffee in a little gift bag, to-go cup sleeves, a and soft bin to hold it all.  It seemed like a good way to use up scraps, so…………I dumped out my scrap bin and began to color sort. I really do my best at keeping my work space pretty tidy. If everything is a jumble I just can’t seem to focus on the task at hand. So this           is sort of hard for me to take / work around. But I think it makes me go faster to get that part done, so that all those scraps can go back to their bin.  I did get eight of them pieced and quilted, now they just need the bindings on.

Then it will be on to two or three other handbags, about 40 headbands, 30 coffee sleeves, bins, maybe some baby gift stuff ( that might just get shelved until the next show in a few weeks) , some tea-towels, aprons, napkins and I don’t remember what else. At the end of the week, I’ll put up some pics of what I actually accomplished off of the goal sheet.

I took Friday night off, and went clamming with my friend. We drove the old jeep a couple miles north of here on the beach, and set out with her lantern ( I broke the glass in mine just before we left ) and the clam guns. It was dark and windy, but there was no rain, so still there were quite a few people out braving the elements in search of the wiley clam. We walked out and started hunting for the little holes; I dug the first one, and within a span of twenty minutes we both had our limits of 15 clams each. All in a space of about 15 feet square.  The only bummer is that Richard had to come and give us a jump as the jeep didn’t want to start.  We had planned on going out Saturday as well, but the driving rain that night just wasn’t attractive.

And now, a little moment of nature. These guys were just sort of hanging in the sunshine on Friday morning across the street.  Mama and her two young ones. She stood there over them for nearly an hour before she laid down as well.  After fifteen minutes or so, dad showed up:  and moved everyone along.

Read Full Post »

the big surprise

A month ago I took a big chance and entered a couple of quilts in the NW Quilt Expo in Portland. When the acceptance letter came, I got all excited: “We are pleased to announce that your quilt has been accepted into the show!” Whoopee! Wait – which one???   I called, gave my name and the woman in charge called back and said gleefully ‘both of them’ .  Not at all what I had expected.  Wow. So I get them dropped off via a friend who was making the trip to the big city.

Then,  a couple weeks ago the phone rings: “Hi, it’s Shelly from the NW Quilt Expo, and I was calling to invite you to our awards ceremony. We hope you can make it.”  “Uh, okay, sure, I’ll try to be there.” (The whole time I’m thinking that they are calling everyone who entered so that they can get an audience for the awards/ sell me something/ or who knows what.) Shelly then says ( because I sound so nonplussed) “I’m calling because you won! If you’re at the ceremony, I’ll hand you your certificate and an envelope with the cash.”   Did she say cash? Won? Wait – does she have the right person? I’ve been to that show, and truly the things I’ve seen there are nothing remotely like the work that I do. Incredible quilting, stunning design. I might get points for creativity, but the technical skills, well, lets just say I have a long ways to go.

So, last week I set out for Portland to go to the NW Quilt Expo. I picked up mom in Kelso ( she rode the train from Seattle) then we were on our way.  Of course a stop at Fabric Depot is somewhere in the unwritten rules of going anywhere near Portland, and we both found a few things – well, how can you not?

The next day we hit the Expo Center for the big show. They should have renamed it the explosion of all things glittery. I was sort of taken aback by the amount of metallic threads, crystals, and overall embellishment on the majority of the quilts.  This quilt won Best in Show with a mere 40,000!!! crystals added on: A close-up of the stitching and some of the crystals  and a small representation of the dense quilting from the back side      We walked around, visiting the vendors ( boosting the economy) and looking at the stunning quilts on display. There was indeed some amazing quilting on most of the entries. Like this:     and a close up shot: 

I found the first of my two entries    ‘Room with a View’ and no ribbon attached to it, so I knew that it was the little dresses that got the prize. When we found  ‘Dressing the Part’     I could barely contain my excitement.  There was a pretty pair of ribbons pinned to it ( why there were two on each of the winners, I don’t know???) that read “Judges Choice”.  Really? I must have hit a soft spot with another lover of vintage fabrics.  This quilt was certainly the plainest jane of all the quilts at the show. The only embellishment being the little embroidered hangers on each of the ninety-nine blocks.  And just a minimal amount of quilting.  Mom insisted on taking my picture with both quilts – it’s so cool to be a grownup and see your mom so proud of you.  And I was there for the award ceremony, and received my certificate and a sweet check.

We walked and shopped and looked and took pictures pretty much the whole day. I saw so many inspiring quilts, lots of really beautiful patterns and some awesome fabrics. There were notions that sort of made my head spin . Now truth be told, I am a notions junkie (just ask my friend Julie) – I love a new tool or gadget in my sewing room, in the kitchen or something to make painting just a little neater/easier. But this thing – I just stood there while the nice lady demonstrated it, my mouth open and dumbstruck for words. I started laughing a bit, then just stared at it for a few minutes trying to figure out who would spend the equivalent of five or more yards of fabric  on such a silly thing ( that you have to put batteries into!!!). I sort of thought my head would explode if I kept contemplating it. So we left.

Then it was north to Seattle for a few days.  I think I drove there on a cloud.                                                                                               With my proud mom.


Read Full Post »

How I spent my summer

More aptly – what I did while I was waiting for summer to arrive.

What happens when you don’t blog for a bit? You get out of the habit. Things happen, too many things to even begin to get caught up on, and you get too overwhelmed to post.

No surprise – I spent my summer sewing.    (and thanks to spellcheck – this is not full of the typos that might be there because apparently I also forgot how to use a keyboard )         I did three – or was it four?- trunk shows at the coffee shop.  Now that fall is here, I’ll be missing that for awhile.  I sold lots (somewhere in the neighborhood of 200??)of headbands, coffee sleeves, baby quilts, napkins, and bags.

Here’s a shot of the space sort of set up in the coffee shop:


       And a sampling of messenger bags.

It was like having a paycheck again. Pretty swell. Its an amazing thing that is the feeling that people are willing to spend their hard earned cash to own something that you made. I feel worthwhile. Contributing.

All the alterations are really nothing to write about. Seems like that part keeps growing and growing.  And I’ve done exactly zero personal sewing. How can I have gone a whole summer without sewing a new skirt, at least? Maybe I’ll have to keep one of the bags that I have left (though I guess I could count wearing one of my headbands every day  as wearing something handmade).

Summer came ’round here sometime in August. We had lots of company – three rounds of people from San Diego, lots more from Seattle. It sort of goes along with living at the beach. Some of the California company got really beautiful weather, others didn’t. Summer can be a fickle thing – sunshine one day, fog for the next three.  We planned on going on vacation, just the two of us, while the grandson was visiting his parents in SD, but it didn’t happen.  In there was another show or two, then labor day, then school started, then rod run.

I’ll get caught up here, sort of, and get back to the keyboard sooner rather than later………to be continued….


Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

side trip

After a month break from posting ( life here is days full of teenager-ing and sewing – seems like about a 50/50 split ) and I only have a little to say. Sort of sad, don’t you think?

I made a trip to the big city to surprise my sister on her birthday. She ( and my other sis and my mom ) did it to me, so returning the kindness seemed the thing to do. I was successful, showing up with mom at her house while she was gone. We set the table for lunch and when she and her husband drove in we hid.  Mom had baked a strawberry-rhubarb pie, and we had deli sandwiches and champagne.  It was great to sit and talk for hours.  There should be a pic of us here, but it came out the usual (bad) way.   I do have one of an inanimate object which does not have it’s eyes closed and an expression which looks like I could be drooling.        I made her this wine bag:      It started out as a project I began years ago of silk tubes that I sewed, and ribbon and yarn, then hand wove into a vest a long time ago; after finishing one front I gave up and put it away. I found it a while back, and decided it needed a purpose rather than languishing in a drawer for eternity. Combined with some black silk and quilted lining it came out beautiful.

I also made a bag for my Mom for Mother’s day.

 Can you have too many bags? I’m beginning to wonder. I thought this would make a nice tote for her to take to quilting. It is bright and colorful and it was fun to do.

I spent time with my other sister talking with someone about a ‘real’ website. And a facebook business page for redclothespin. So much to think about and with a big ‘to-do’ list to go home with.

It was a nice break from all the duties of home, which gave me a bit of a recharging that I needed.

Read Full Post »

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…………

Read Full Post »

breaking the cycle

I’m sad to say, that these days I live in jeans. There was a time, a few years back that days were spent in summer dresses. Skirts. Cotton blouses. Sigh.  What glamor is there in a pair of jeans? Okay, I don’t want to be ‘glamorous’, really, but the options seem slim for a cool, damp weather climate. And I’ve never spent $$$ on denim anyway. ( Do people still do that, I wonder?)

I find myself looking in the closet as though something new will be there, ( sort of like when you look in the fridge for that dream treat that doesn’t exist )  or that item that I had long forgot about will reappear. I see dresses, lots of skirts, and several pair of jeans. Summer before last? I made a couple pair of pants that came out okay. I’ve given a lot of thought to sewing my own jeans, but right about now I have no interest in doing so. It would just be more jeans. A friend on facebook made a simple post yesterday:  “pants are evil”.  Right now I’m in total agreement.  But then I’ll go to get dressed, and what do you think I’ll wear?

I bought a new pair of boots a year or so ago, and then felt the need to buy a whole ‘lot’ of sweater tights on ebay. I think I’ve worn one pair. I was never very comfortable wearing boots with skirts, except when I was a teenager. I don’t know what to wear all those sweater tights with; pairing them with summer skirts is a no-go.  Ditto with vintage dresses.  And besides, it is supposed to be spring! I’ve long since quit subscribing to ‘fashion magazines’ and sometimes fear that I might join the ranks of the “I give up” tribe. Maybe I have already? No,  I can’t have done that as I don’t own or wear any sweats.  But I think the jeans and t-shirts are just a step or two away from that.

I did find a pair of shoes recently – at an antique store of all places – for a song.  New and never worn, in my size no less!

Hello, Dr Martens!       (I don’t know when these were made – I can find no info on them online. But I like them lots! )  I can now retire my ‘Simple’ brand mary janes which are old and comfy but too worn.  I ‘think’ these will work with skirts ( when I finish breaking them in ).

I will spend today and tomorrow finishing up alterations, all the while thinking about clothing that I can actually wear in this cool climate. I’d love some suggestions. I never went any farther than cutting out the red corduroy coat last fall, so I might get to work on it later this week.

Happy sewing!

Read Full Post »

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.  😉

Read Full Post »

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. 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »