Thursday, September 29, 2011

My New Mantra

If working out complex problems helps keep your brain young, would you get the same benefits if you just take a simple problem and make it hard?

If so, I am on my way to brilliancy....

I decided I was tired of having bare windows in my sewing room; in actual fact I decided that a long time ago but only last week did I figure out what to do about it. I am blessed with a large corner window which lets in a ton of fabulous light. In the summer it can get pretty hot, and in the winter I was in a fishbowl if I wanted to work at night.


I wanted something that could let light in a little, a lot, or none at all... and I like things that are different.... so I decided to double the fun and put rods up at the top and bottom of the windows and have curtains that are "attached" at both ends. 
To let in the light I would cinch them in the center, and to block it, I would leave them flat....great idea - now to figure it out....
"Measure twice, cut once"  blah, blah, bleah


I measured from the top rod to the bottom rod, added 1 1/2" for the rod pocket,  1 1/2" for the ruffly part, doubled it for the top and bottom, doubled that for the fold-over, and added 1/2" twice for turning under the raw edges....checked my figures twice... and cut one piece of fabric to test it. 
I know me, and I know me and math.
Sewed one end - lovely! Slid on the rod in a perfect fit.
Measured to ensure the same numbers would work at the other end - nope. Three inches short...

Apparently my cutting board is 36", not 39"....

I finally got one done, put it on the rods, up on the brackets and it was perfect fit. Whew! 

I tested the cinching with a piece of twine to make sure it would work and it was then I realized they were going to need to be scrinched together a lot more at the top and bottom in order to cinch them in the middle. So, I went from thinking I would make five to knowing I would have to make seven...

Three hours later, they were done and hung, and all I have to do now is make the fabric bands that I'll use to cinch them around the middle. I'll use velcro for fasteners, but I'm truly not up to figuring out how big they need to be until next week sometime.....


The only downside is I've lost the use of the windowsill for storage and display so I spent a few happy hours this afternoon reorganizing things.... I found these pretty magnetic stars and while I was wondering where I should put them, I saw my lamp... and well, I wondered...


They were meant to be used in some collage or other but now I'm thinking I like them right where they are....

Even though I had all sorts of fun with the math for this project, I can't say I really learned a lot... it was frustrating, but I stuck with it... I just found myself muttering a line from one of Clint Eastwood's movies, over and over,

"A man's got to know his limitations!"

That might just prove to be a better mantra for me than "Measure twice, cut once".

Monday, September 26, 2011

Piece By Piece


 When I was a little girl I loved to read. 
I read anything, from Old English literature to Early American... I even read milk cartons if they stood still long enough...
I loved stories like Blue Willow, Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, and of course, all of Laura Ingalls Wilder's books.
I traipsed alongside all of them, through the prairies and the shanty towns and when the girls pulled out their piecing bags to work on their patchwork or handmade lace, I was wishing I could sew too...


i wanted a piecework bag in the worst way, even though I had no idea what one looked like. Or a work basket; I could just see it filled with bits of thread wound round wooden spools, silver bird scissors, a thimble, wooden darning eggs and scraps of flannel and plaid... I still want one.... still have to find a darning egg...

Today I was tidying in my sewing room after finishing up the invitations for November's Sale. 
I wanted to keep everything for making the Wishing Stars together so it would be at hand to make the Stars for all of you who so kindly left me a word that you thought signified something worthy of wishing for...


lots of bits and pieces and much easier to keep together than to try to remember everything I used, never mind trying to remember where the heck I put it all!
I found some plain muslin (in keeping with history) and sewed a simple bag; no casing for the ribbon, it's just tacked on at the seam with a very old button

 

 did a bit of decorative machine stitching at the top edge


found some of my very favourite decorative cord to tie the tag on with



and it's all done!

Labeled simply with a tea-dyed manila tag, everything I need to make my little stars is all there in that bag. I will make a proper place to hang it from as I can see several more of these in my future, but for now, the dresser drawer knob works just fine. As they are only labeled with removable tags, it will be easy to change the contents as projects come and go...


These little stars are just so darn cute though, I think they may be on my stitching list for a long time to come....
I am only to up to about 11, so if you would like one, and haven't left me a word, please do so...

In the meanwhile, I 'm thinking up new projects, and of course, piecing bags to corral them all in...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Seeing Stars


I can't believe how far between my posts have gotten to be - work really does cut into a person's day!

And it has been a busy summer on the work front.... since getting home from my trip way back in mid-June I have only had two weeks where I did not work a full five days, and a few where I worked six! 

One more to go and then I am back to working "jobette" hours and you'll see me posting again about all my doings in the sewing room.
In the meanwhile, in the evenings, when I am too tired for most anything else, I have been making these....


fourty little stars for my Sale invitations!


now all I have to do is finish coffee-dying and stamping the tags


They look so cute all jumbled together, and now I am thinking I will make some for the little tree...tiny stitched ornaments with a heartfelt sentiment on the back - things you might wish on a star for.

Love, Peace, Joy, etc. are the obvious ones, but what would you want on your Wishing Star?

If you're a Follower of my blog and care to leave me a comment, give me your word and when the craziness settles I'll make a star for each of you and send it to you by Christmas.

Have a lovely weekend! 

PS:  Contrary to popular opinion in the comments I won't have to make a hundred as I don't really have that many Followers - so please, leave a word and let me share!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Still


 Still...

still feeling a little overdone, a little stretched, but now finally, on the home stretch....
Thanks to all of you for your kind words
Making time, finding time, taking time - it's always all about time, and I have never pretended to be good at time management

I think sometimes part of my problem is an insatiable, incurable desire to try so many different things- it would be so easy if I was passionate about only one craft
But I have been blessed (cursed??) with a curious mind and all the creative world's my oyster....


but all these crafts take a lot of time
and just when I think I have given myself a good talking to, I go and get inspired all over again... and find new things that whisper all manner of creative seductions in my ear
stretchy lace is just such a thing... oohhh the things I could make...
add to that a fine brass chain and a drapery hanger and off I go again
more supplies, more ideas, more of everything except for time to execute all these great ideas that rattle around my head


on the upside - I did a little drawing the other day and this fun fellow is the centrepiece of a wallhanging I am working on

I am loving it, but most of all, I am loving that I am doing something!
other than housework that is... dusting chairs, mopping floors....

Monday, September 5, 2011

Overwhelmed


 Overwhelmed....

A good word for today as that's how I'm feeling right about now.... and not just in a bad way either...
A few months back I posted about our little girl-cat, Miss Josie, and how she was suffering from renal failure... today I am happy to say that diagnosis just may have been wrong. The blood work certainly showed her kidneys weren't working properly but two months later, after a whole lot of pampering, she is a completely different cat.

Miss Josy-phine has gained almost a whole pound! And judging by the photo below, doing so seems to have worn her out...



Thank you to all of you who wished her well - so far so good!

A month or so ago Angela from The English Romantic did a post about some little pouches she was making for an upcoming workshop. I thought they were adorable and told her so and she generously offered to send me one.... and this is what she sent me!
A bundle of little packages, all tied up with pretty blue lace and flowers....


and inside one was this...





this is the inside of the flap - the most charming couched flower, all a-sparkle with hints of gold metallic thread... simple beautiful, in all it's simplicity....


and she also included some of her hand-dyed, hand-cut silk ribbons


adorned on the front of the card with a beautiful flower and beads


a lavender scented silk hear, complete with a velvet rose


and a package of these velvety hydrangea blossoms, perfect for my own crafting pleasure

If you've never been to Angela's blog, you must visit soon!

And finally, I am feeling overwhelmed because once again, yet again, as usual, I have taken on far too much. I don't seem to ever learn, not even the hard way... and as a result of my own folly, I have had almost no creative time in the past two months - I hardly know what the inside of my sewing room looks like anymore and have no idea where anything is as it's been so long since I looked. But out of every bad thing, comes something good - and this is no exception...

at least it's neat!