Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Budding Model

I was finally able to have my grandgirl try on the most recently finished blouse.  Looking good!  The elastic waist and the length turned out well for her.  Of course, she is a goofball :)  She has been modeling what I have made for her since she was a little girl.  She used to be spontaneous and now she is more self-conscious.  She also no longer smiles showing teeth.  She used to stand on the dining room table to model... Now she would crack her head on the 10 foot ceiling!

That's two finished items.  Now to make the dress.  This dress is super easy and very cute.  The front is form-fitting and the back of the bodice shapes a heart (Simplicity 1382).  Before I could put in the zipper, I wanted to make sure the size was right.

I made it a size larger than usual...so I didn't want it to be too large.  I basted the side seams to the bodice and basted the waist band.  I also basted the back seam on the skirt.  I didn't want to have to take out multiple seams.  So I brought it to her house in two pieces and pinned the skirt to the top while she had it on.  Too large?  NO!  I have to make the bodice side seams smaller than usual and lengthen the waste band by an inch and let out the skirt a bit.  Thank goodness I didn't make it a size smaller!  :)  

While I had it all together, I pinned up the hem for length.  Her school (junior high!  My little grandgirl is starting junior high!) has a dress code that skirts must be no shorter than finger-tips.  So we measured the tips.

I don't usually take pictures of Kaity in her clothes until they are completed but these pictures turned out so well I thought I'd give a sneak peek.  I will complete this dress tomorrow and cut out the last top.  Onward!


Monday, August 25, 2014

Cuts on My Fingers and Shards in My Toes, Oh My

Added the sun and sunbeams
I have been working diligently on my mosaic windows.  I had planned to sew more, quilt more, and when possible, spend time on the mosaic project.  But there the windows where on the dining room table, just mocking me, teasing me, calling to me to find a good piece of glass.  Guess I needed a diversion and these two windows were the perfect answer. 

I started working on this project in the dining room, on the dining room table.  I did not think this through very well.  This meant that I could not cut out the two sewing projects for my grandgirl because the table was half-full.  And this meant I could not sandwich the final unfinished quilt top.  All I could do is work on the mosaic.  Good planning!  Another problem of using the dining room table is that little tiny pieces of glass shards went sneaking around the table top, the floor, the chair.  I tried to contain then, but they are sneaky.  And of course I didn't think to Swiffer the floor often...so I ended up wearing bandaids on the bottom of my feet, Kleenex wrapped around my fingers, and hoping the dog and cats missed the shards.  Then I got smart and used the Swiffer every half hour or so.  Only took me four days to figure that out ;)

Screwed up the orange and
added the beads to the hills
 The first glass I bought for the background wasn't appealing to me, so I had to go back to the glass store to buy new.  While waiting to head out, I decided to add the sun and the sunbeams.  I liked how they turned out, except the one orange on the left.  It needed to be wider.  So I removed that piece and added more orange.  And then I realized that the one piece of orange glass on the right was just too solid.  This was mosaic, not stained glass.  So I decided to take that big hunk out and snip it in two for a good grout line.  So then for the life of me I could NOT get the piece back together right.  What happened to the time/space contingency??  So I broke it up more...still okay...and realized it was not too small with lots of smaller pieces and OH NO!  I was out of orange!  So I bits and pieced it together and I really am not happy with it.  But I kept going...added some beads along the hilltops and some little flower beads in the meadows. 

And then it became time to fill in the background.  I really liked the green--more sheer with a tiny bit of texture to it.  It filled in behind the flowers quite nicely, with bricks of glass making it a wall of grass.

Background looking good
 I wanted to finish this project by Monday so I could get started on the dress for my grandgirl.  I had promised...  So I would work for a few hours, take a break, work for a few more.  It was late evening before I was finished.  Just in time to sit an watch a short program with Doug before time for upstairs.  I will grout it on Saturday, let it dry and figure out how to install it out on the porch so the sun can shine through it and I can see it while I sew.

I like the general look of the piece with a few exceptions.  I am not happy with the sunbeams in general.  But I do like the flowers and the hills and meadow.  I like that it generally turned out as I pictured it.  I like the color combos, the texture of the beads and the glass.  I especially like my big daisy and the little yellow daisy beside it :) 

Finished, to be grouted Saturday

Next mosaic project: back to tiles.  Maybe give the concrete birdbath a pretty top.  But I will definitely make it outside rather than on the dining room table!


Friday, August 22, 2014

A Work in Progress

I have been making my grandgirl clothes since she was three months old.  When she was three and a half, I made her three outfits as Christmas gifts.  By the time she opened the third box, she looked at me and said, "I hope it not clothes again!"  Since I always hated getting clothing for a gift, I promised to never give her anything like that again as a gift (unless she asked for it).  And she hated the top that went with the pants, saying it made her look like a clown (remember this fashionista was only three!), so I promised to take her with me to buy both the patterns and fabric.  It has worked out fine.

Every year since kindergarten, I have made her five outfits in the fall for school.  As she ages, the clothes she wants have become a bit more complicated, as have our lives.  So I don't always get the tops and dresses and skirts completed in time for school.  This year is no different.  I have two of four things completed...and my sixth grader begins school the day after Labor Day.  It's a work in progress.

I also decided to start a new mosaic project.  I have been playing around with mosaics for a bit over a year now and have had lots of fun.  Each project I did was small but different from the previous one.  First one was with tiles.  Second one was a 8x10 picture frame size.  The third project I did three, all in 5x7 frames.  This time I decided to do a window.  When I went to the reuse store, I found TWO windows, six panels each, that had once been cabinet doors.  Perfect.

Next was finding the image/scene I wanted to create.  I found several I loved but one was seemingly great for this project.  I wanted the scene to span the two doors/windows.  Doug took it to work and increased the size so that it was split in quarters across and thirds down.

I decided to use glass and beads to create the scene.  I like lots of sensual texture--visual and touch.  When finished, this will hang outside from the porch.  I want the sun to catch it as well as just giving me visual pleasure while I sew.

First day on the project, I was able to complete the flowers at the bottom of the panels.  Except for the stems, I used beads.  I love a simple flower, but these I wanted to make rich and complicated.  So I made some simple, some complicated.  I used buttons for one.  And the large daisy will be made from glass. It's a work in progress.

When I returned home from southern California, I immediately completed two small quilts that only needed binding.  They will be going to children in the Portland Community College Adopt-a-Family program.  Each year some of my quilting friends and I make quilts for each child registered in the program.  Last year we gave away nearly 60 quilts and pillowcases.  So I try to start early in the year making quilts. It's a work in progress.  The quilt on the left was made from blocks donated to me from my friend Myra.  The quilt on the right was simple made from 9" blocks I wanted to play with and when I made enough, I put them together :)

Physically I have not been doing well.  I have had multiple flair-ups of fibromyalgia.  Perhaps someday I will find the perfect thing that will help when this happens.  And my toes have had multiple flair-ups from the neuropathy.  Perhaps someday I will find the perfect thing that will help when this happens.  But I discovered rosewood essential oil and the scent of this makes me happy :)  It's all just a work in progress.


Monday, August 11, 2014

The Cool Spot

I have a little cool spot in the house.  It is my desk & sewing area, a bit of an alcove with two windows.  But those windows are closed and the portable air conditioner is sitting in the entryway, venting...warming up...the kitchen while I am cool cool cool in this 100+ degree weather :)

Life is good~~~

Sunday, August 10, 2014

We Get By With a Little Help From Our Friends

A young woman who belongs to my Weight Watcher's group has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.  So, a couple of the women have started putting together a care package of things she might like at the hospital.  When I heard about it, I volunteered to give her a lap quilt.  When my son was in the hospital for chemotherapy, he would at times get very chilly and wanted his quilt to curl up with.  And then he would get hot...chilly...hot from the cancer fevers.  Unfortunately I have been away for close to three months tending to family things and have not been able to sew...

Every winter I host a Adopt-a-Family Project (AAF) for the kids of students at my college who are part of a giving tree.  Many friends from an online quilting forum help by sending me quilts for the kids. It started slowly but after two years we were able to give every child (up to age 19) a quilt. Last year we had gathered nearly 60 quilts.  I am able to accomplish this by making quilts all year long and packing them away.  For every three charity quilts I make, two go to the AAF project (the third goes to Project Linus).  That stash for next Christmas is where I found a good-sized lap quilt for my Weight Watcher's friend.

It seemed to be a cheerful quilt, with lovely flowered backing.  Not too young and yet young enough.  I hope it brings her a bit of joy and warmth.

Now that I am home, it is time to rebuild the children's stash of quilts.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Sandwiched In

On June 1 my mother had a stroke. I took the first flight south and have been staying in her home since that date. At first when she was in the hospital, my sister and I took turns staying with her for hours. I would come to the hospital at about 10 and stay until five; my sister would arrive around three and stay until eight. We would then go to dinner and debrief. After she was moved to the nursing center, I come daily at about 10:30 and leave at 1:00 while my sister would come about four and leave around 6:00. And then we would have dinner and debrief.

Her stroke affected her left side but not her voice. She is slowly gaining use of her left hand, but still can not sit, move to the edge of the bed, stand, transfer to a chair, walk without maximum assistance. She has severe pain from osteoporosis, so she is receiving regular doses of dilaudid. The nursing center doctor wanted something more steady and prescribed a pain medicine that came in a patch. She used it for 10 days before she went completely irrational and mean. The center had to send her back to the hospital because she was screaming and trying to escape and would not allow them to touch her. We asked that the patch be removed and her back on dilaudid. The next day she was once again rational and "normal." Her new normal, anyway.

I had been renting a car for the first two weeks when my brother-in-law said he would fly up to my home in Oregon and drive my car down to Los Angeles. It worked out perfectly.

I had been planning a family reunion since February that was to happen the third week of June, so I needed to deal with that event along with Mom. It was a success with 50 family members coming to town from Washington, Utah, Northern California, as well as nearby cities in southern California. I became the taxi driver, bringing groups of three at a time to visit Mom. She is the oldest and only one left of her generation in the family.

On the 18th of July my husband's father was to be placed to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. So I drove back to Portland on the 15th, did laundry, repacked and we flew to Washington DC.  It was a wonderful, full military honors ceremony, complete with an Army band, white horse-drawn casket, and a 21-gun salute.  I returned home on the 21st, my birthday.  No one really remembered my birthday.  Felt kinda like Samantha in Sixteen Candles.

After doing laundry, I drove back south, this trip with both my sons and my grandgirl.  They stayed a few days in order to spend time with their gramma.

At this point I visit Mom every day for a couple of hours.  Everything is up in the air regarding her stuff.  We started packing things up to be put in storage--she won't be returning to her independent-living home.  We don't know if she will recover enough to move into assisted-living.  Until then, we need to store her things.

At this point I am tired and ready to spend a bit of time with my fella and my pup.  We'll see when that will happen.