We’re having Apfelpfannekuchen and Mimosas for breakfast – yum! Christmas dinner is at my house this year and I’ll be serving the usual fare: prime rib of beef, roasted potatoes and Yorkshire pudding seasoned with wine and good cheer. I’ll be hanging out with friends and family over the next few days but I’ll be back in the sewing room next week!
This week I have been feverishly working on a couple of shirts for Bryan for Christmas. Naturally, I procrastinated as I always do but I finally finished (except for sewing on the buttons) about an hour ago. The first one – and my favorite – is a salt and pepper linen. Notice Pam’s cigar pocket which is a really lovely touch when using a simple fabric. Now if I could just take flat photos as nicely as Pam does – mine always look so wonky.
The 2nd is a cotton batik. I’m a little nervous about this one because he doesn’t usually wear a wild print but he said he wanted Tommy Bahama-style so that’s what he’s getting. Notice that I didn’t match the pattern across the center front as I always do. I just couldn’t make it work with this print as it’s too irregular.
Tomorrow I will sew the buttons on. The linen will get charcoal mother of pearl from my stash and the batik will get coconut. Thank you again, Gail, for sending them to me! I had misplaced them last year and found them just in time.
I bought 150 coconut buttons on Ebay today. That’s what TB uses on all of their shirts, isn’t that convenient? It’s getting near impossible to find good-quality MOP buttons and I don’t want to dye them every time so I’m going with coconut from here on out. They are two-hole (I would have preferred 4-hole) but I guarantee Jess and Bryan will never notice and, if they do, will not care.
Greetings of the Season from Ricki Ricardo. Bryan bought this little kitty Santa hat for Winnie Pooh but Ricki was the only one who would wear it. She’s one of those cats who will sit still for anything so this isn’t the first time she’s been dressed up. Last month he put her in a little Santa suit. Silly, silly man.
WARNING: Rant ahead! I don’t do it often but several things have happened this week that have really upset me. This just needs to be said.
My tree’s been up since the first of November, the switch was flipped on my exterior lights before Thanksgiving and I never de-Christmas my house until after Epiphany. I have always loved Christmas and the magic of the holiday season. I wish my Christian friends a Merry Christmas and my Jewish friends a Happy Hannukah. If I’m unsure, Happy Holidays is a safe way to spread cheer, or (gasp) is it? I really do resent being reminded that it’s “Merry CHRISTmas” when I wish someone a Happy Holiday. Since when did Christians have the exlusive right to the month of December? I spent my childhood in parochial school and do not need to be reminded that we are celebrating the birth of Christ. However, apparently some “Christians” need to be reminded that they are not the center of the universe and that there are actually people out there with beliefs different from theirs. According to the dictionary, a Christian is not only a believer in Christ but also “exhibits a spirit proper to a follower of Jesus Christ”. Hmm, it sounds like some people need to dust off their bibles and really think about what this means. Let’s please remember that this country was founded on religious freedom and tolerance. And, most importantly, good manners and graciousness trump all. If someone wishes you a Happy Holiday, please just smile and accept it in the spirit with which it was intended.
Lately it seems as if every available horizontal surface in both rooms is piled with sewing “stuff” (the cutting tables being the worst). I need to get some sewing done and was at the point where I could not think or be productive with so much clutter around me.
All of you know that I am a fabric “collector”. I admit it and embrace it! But, eventually, everything has to be put away and there was no way it was going to fit in the fabric closet. Jess’ old closet to the rescue! I already had fabric hanging in one side and have my Merrow on the other side so I figured I might as well make it a full-fledged knits-only closet. A quick trip to Home Depot and $40 later I had two long shelves and the hardware necessary to give myself a lot more storage. It took me less than an hour to cut and install the shelves (the top and bottom shelves were already there). Do yourself a favor and have one of those nice people at Home Depot cut them for you. It was not so easy cutting them myself with the bolt cutters. I guess I could have had Bryan do it for me but I wanted it done right then and there – you know how it is.
Yesterday morning I put everything away, just folded for now. The closet still needs to be painted which will wait until after the holidays. Then I will measure and roll everything. The fabrics on hangers are wovens that need to go in the other closet but they haven’t been logged in yet. I suspect that’ll wait until guests are coming and I need to make room for their clothes!
I know it doesn’t look like a lot of storage but, check it out, these shelves are 83″ long!
Ann wants to hang ornaments on a real palm tree. Well, here you go, darling, a bit of Christmas cheer from the tropics! But, seriously, it’s 9 p.m. and 85F outside (in the middle of December!) – I’d happily trade it for a few snowflakes. Come to think of it, maybe we should swap house for a week every winter.
For years, I have been obsessed with zippers. Let’s face it, the right zipper can make the difference between “homemade” and “designer”. I am not ashamed to admit that I own hundreds of zippers. Whenever I see good ones I buy them and buy them LONG because I can always shorten them, after all.
Purse and separating zippers have been a particular thorn in my side because they are so hard to find in the colors I want. I had so many nice comments about the cool RiRi zipper I used in my orange clutch. When RiRi first started selling in the States, they had quite a few interesting finishes and styles. Now, I can’t find anything but the ones with multi-colored teeth, grrr. Anyway, I was searching online and came across these YKK Excella rainbow zips so I ordered two, a 22″ and a 7″. They looked nice and were less expensive than the RiRi. Well, they arrived today and I. LOVE. THEM. The quality is very, very good and I actually prefer a plain metal pull to one that’s painted because it will stay nice looking for much longer.
I also bought a YKK brown separating zip with a nice pull because I thought it would come in handy sometime. I have the same zip in black and red and really like it. Zippers don’t go bad, ya know?
You can get these Excella zips in closed-bottom or separating styles from ZipperStop on Etsy. The prices are reasonable and the shipping is fast. For some odd reason, they do not have these particular zips on their regular website.
Well, it’s official – I’m in love with my new iron! I was so excited when it arrived today that I wanted to kiss the UPS man. Eight days from Canada is pretty quick, don’t you think? I had the chance to use it a tonight as I’m in the middle of a sample-making job. I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful the steam is. My old Naomoto pales in comparison, poor little thing. If you’ve been looking at these Reliable boiler irons wondering whether or not you should buy one, I heartily recommend it.
Here is the boiler unit on it’s stand:
And the iron on the silicone rest. It can also rest on the silicone nubs on the boiler unit as shown above.
I hope to get the vacuum board with sleeve board later on.
I’ve been busy this week finishing up my exterior lights and working on my wardrobe basics. I woke up today and just felt like making a purse so I pulled out the Hot Patterns’ Envelope Clutch pattern and got to work. I knew that an 11″ x 17″ bag would be way too big for me so I scaled the pattern down to 9″ x 13″. I also scaled down the inside zipper pocket but left the small pocket/cell phone pocket as it was. Since I made the bag so much smaller, I didn’t feel the need for the back strap.
When I first read through the directions I just couldn’t wrap my head around them. Then I remembered that Ann made the bag last year. Her blog post really helped. Once I understood how the bag was constructed, it all made sense to me.
I had this orange faux suede left from another project. I rarely make fabric bags but thought this color would be fun since it’s very out of the ordinary for me. I used thin cotton batting and quilted the pieces first, then backed them with canvas for more stiffness. I bought this quilting set for my industrial machine awhile ago. I usually don’t buy attachments until I need them but was so happy I had this on hand!
I added piping as well because it gives a nice crisp edge that I wouldn’t have been able to get otherwise with these bulky layers. I didn’t have any cording on hand so I used some black drawcord instead (which I have many, many yards of!).
The zip was a bit of a problem. I didn’t want to use a dress zipper so I went to JoAnn’s this morning to see if I could find something more suitable. Of course, I had forgotten how dire the zipper situation is there. I then remembered a couple of Riri zippers with multi-colored teeth that I’d purchased awhile ago. They turned out to be separating zippers but that’s what I ended up using anyway. I had intended to stitch through the plastic piece at the bottom but ended up stitching between the teeth instead. I’m really happy with the way that turned out as this zipper lends an air of quality to the bag.
I know the stitching looks a bit crooked but I swear it looks straight on the right side of the bag!
The flap of the bag is held closed with two magnetic snaps. Because my bag is pretty stiff, I changed the placement a little to allow for the bulk. I also had to shorten the inside layer (where the zipper is) by 5/8″ to allow for turn of the cloth.
I chose a grape-colored Ultrasuede from my stash for the lining. I like the surprise of an unusually colored lining!
It still needs a little pressing but I’m really happy with the way it turned out.
UPDATE 12/10/09: Freshly pressed with the Iron Maiden (thanks for the name, Mary Beth!). Gosh, I love this color, it’s so juicy!