Category Archives: sewing

silly saturday ~ soft furnishings

The fronts

A minor achievement this week: 2 small pillows stuffed, sewn up and completed.

Ta-dah ! ! !

These are the fronts.

Love that hat, but ain’t too keen on the corset. But it’s red, so that’s okay.

A bit of searching round t’internet and I found this panel is actually part of an entire quilting series.   Hmmm .   .   .    .     .       🤔

A bit more thinking about it, as we know we do with something we really want to enjoy to its’ fullest potential  .   .   .    .     .       🤨

Taking a deep breath, ignoring my fierce promise-to-self not to buy any more fabric, I decided to acquire just a teeny bit more.

But only so’s the whole rest of the original purchase could be used and enjoyed to the full, instead of always regretting I hadn’t used x or y instead — y’know what I mean?   🙄

Next week a small squidgy package is due .   .   .    .     .

 There’s more to come, Lovelies!  🤣   😆   🤣

October’s Virtual Tea Party

Nothing beats a hot cuppa & a bickie on a rainy morning!

Tautimai! (Welcome!)

Today may be dark & dank outside, but inside it’s bright and cheerful, with the kettle steaming quietly in the background as friends drop by virtually for a cuppa, a nibble and a natter.

After visiting Su’s glorious tea party yesterday down in New Zealand, it’s nice to share some of that conversation with friends up here, and catch my breath, so to speak. 😉

Toast & apricot puree ~ yummy, if I say it meself. 🤣

We seem to have a “normalising” in the whole wheat flour production industry up here, so I’ve splurged a bit and made an extra wholemeal loaf for everyone to enjoy. Also on hand is an apricot spread I pureed as part of an experiment. 🤫

The homemade digestives are in the tin, and there’s also a plate of oatmeal chews for those with a sweet tooth (the recipe is here.)

Yummy, chewy, with almost a caramel flavour.

Visiting with Su (Zimmerbitch) creator of our virtual tea parties, I learnt Americans aren’t the only peeps worried about elections.

The NZ election for their Prime Minister is this Saturday (our Friday, so today), and they’re sounding a great deal like many of us up here.

But we’ve got three more weeks before our official election day. (Although several million of us voted early).

How’m I coping? By almost totally not watching telly. I do check several online newspapers each day (headlines only), local online news (mostly for weather), etc. And for entertainment, I’m leaning more and more on BritBox shows with absolutely no mention of anything political.

For example: Has anyone seen a current program, Shakespeare and Hathaway? If you haven’t you can read about it on Wiki here, and do a bit of watching over here. I like the actor playing Hathaway and that led me to watch the first episode.

Then I became intrigued with the other main cast members, not the least of which is the town (city?) of Stratford. I haven’t seen much architecture from Shakespeare’s time, so I’m watching more than just imaginative costuming. (Why do the British love dressing up so much?!)

On another note, somewhere around late Spring I discovered, from one of my lovely blogging mates whose name I don’t remember (sorry, luv!), Kate from The Last Homely House. Do you know her? She’s a crafty, gardeny, cooking sort of person living up on a Northumberland farm.

I find her YouTube videos calming, humourous. and thoroughly addictive. If you don’t know Kate, sit yourself down, click over to her YT channel, pick out a subject and begin watching. (I’d recommend this one , which is a charming introduction to herself and her videos.)

Thank you for coming round today for our little tea party. Sit yourselves down, have a hot cuppa, we’ll toast you some bread and pass down the digestive tin and the oatmeal chews. They’re virtual, so no calories or allergies, and no worries about indulging yourself at the end of the week.

#virtualteaparty2020 for anyone on Instagram who wants to post images over there.

And so, on with the conversations! Any good programs to suggest? What do you think about the ones I watch? D’you think the chews are too sweet? I shorted the sugar, but don’t trust my un-sweet tooth which thinks they’re still too sweet. (Remember, I drink my cocoa without sugar, so . . . 🙄)

Thank you all for coming and being such delightful guests! Until next month, everyone please be safe, take care, and come back soon! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

(not so) Silent Sunday

It’s been one of those weeks.
Again…

Hello, Lovely Readers!

An unexpected hardware glitch last Monday took me off-line for the rest of the week. . . and I’m not talking about any “conversion” by WordPress to their new editor, either. Speaking of which . . .

(The Widow BadAss has written an encouraging post all about that.)

Anyhoo, I’m back today with a tardy invitation to our monthly Tea Party this coming Friday, 16th October.  EVERY ONE of you wonderful peeps are invited!

I’ve tried keeping in touch visually with as many of you as possible, and IG has been usable. But this is scooping even IG.  It will be loverly getting back in touch, dear friends!

Yummy, chewy, with almost a caramel flavour.

I’ve been trying out new recipes, and think you might like this one, from Marion Cunningham’s The Fannie Farmer Baking Book.

Pardon my brevity ~  will try to return later today.

Until then, toddle pip and Cheerio!  💋  💋

PS/ Here’s the recipe:

🍂🍁 weekend remnants 🍁🍂

Found this hand towel ages ago in Chicago and it certainly fits the weather we’ve been having lately.

Hello. Lovelies!

Autumn has officially arrived up here in the Northern Hemisphere, although temps and humidity are resisting. It’s not as severe as last year’s 90-100℉ September-October revolt, for which I’m most grateful!

All last week telly peeps kept talking about “remnants” of Hurricane this-or-that, and I kept thinking, That’s a fabric term! Use another word, like ‘dying’ or ‘remains of.’

It was like salt in a wound… but maybe that’s because it’s been so long since I’ve been anywhere near a remnants bin. Wonder if that’s why I’ve been diving into my scrap drawer so often. 🤭 Hmmm . . .

Speaking of which, I’ve been favouring a free multi-sized 3-dimensional pattern from Japanese Sewing Books.

You might want to watch her video. Where to fold & sew wasn’t intuitive for me, but easy once you’ve done one it’s easy-peasy.

Speaking of scraps, I’ve given myself permission to use some old cotton fat quarters. I’m definitely not a quilter, but I can whip up a pillow or a bag, so am taking a little break from refashioning to play around with “soft furnishings,” as posh folk might say.

Reminds me! P.O.S.H. is a shop in Chicago I used to pop into regularly. Wonder if they’re surviving . . . Well, I’ve just had a mooch through their website, they’re definitely still there, and online is as cheerful as the store. 😉 Almost.

Have stopped watching telly for several reasons, primarily because the picture blacks out as soon as it turns on and cable comes up.  Or doesn’t right now.  Maybe the set has something against cable. Someone’s coming out in a few days to check everything out.

I set the schedule because I wanted a week to detox. Admittedly, I wasn’t watching much telly anyway, as local, state and national political parties’ adverts are non-stop. Mind you, some of them only slowed down after the last election a couple years ago.

Clock the remnant underneath the scarf, did’ja? 😉

Meanwhile, I’ve rummaged through my crochet bag and finished a red washable wool scarf, and resurrected that turquoise acrylic blanket I started a couple of years ago. Putting all those pieces together is going slowly — I’m half way through the first two. 🙄

A second chance on that remnant… he-he-hee!

Am quite a fan of Lucy at Attic 24, but haven’t tried any of her blankets— can’t figure out how to substitute colours.  Do I order the pack plus my substitutions? This could be a mote point if Wool Warehouse again stops shipping internationally. Deep sigh. . . . .

Hate to leave you on that note, but the shower and my BritBox subscription are calling. I’m having fun catching up on all the “Midsomer Murders” and “Vera” episodes, and have already watched every “Jonathan Creek”.

Thursday will start October and Hallowe’en, so I’ll start diving into everything with Autumn colours or appropriate holiday mentions. Any recommendations?

Meanwhile, puh-leeese be safe and take good care ’cause you’re worth it. You’re special!

❣️     😘     😘     😘     ❣️

A Scraphappy Virtual Tea Party

(In an earlier post’s comments, someone mentioned tea & sewing, which I thought would be a great idea, so I’m combining them. Tea first!)

Kia ora whānau! (Welcome, friends!)  He kapu tī māu? (Would you like a cup of tea?)

Visiting New Zealand for originator Su’s virtual tea party earlier in the week, I learnt it was Maori Language Week. So I had a special treat, seeing Su and enjoying her delicious tea whilst learning a bit of Maori.

Su is the originator of these monthly teas, but had been a bit poorly, so some of us brought along contributions for all to enjoy. I brought some of my crispy digestives as Su is a dunker, and I wanted her opinion.

Su’s crispy crackers with cheese were fabulous! (I love crisps & cheese and these were sooo delicious!) I’m not much for sweets, but I know Su’s brownie isn’t too sweet, so had to enjoy a bit of that, too. Rich, dark chocolate & beetroot = a chocky lover’s heaven on earth! 😇

Back on my home turf to welcome my Northern Hemisphere friends, I’d made a coconut cake to go underneath fresh strawberries and blueberries.

Using the Foundation Cake recipe, I added about half a cup of desiccated coconut. Will do this again, as I think the chewiness of the coconut lifts the combination above a traditional shortcake.

I also have my latest bake of digestives biscuits (cookies). This batch is crunchy, and perfect for dunking. As I have no cookie cutters,  these are in a different shape, but I’m sure they taste the same. 😉

Here’s the recipe I use, from King Arthur Flour.  King Arthur uses both American and British measurements, so you don’t have to convert.

My variation:  I skimp on the sugar.  After rolling out the dough to about 3 mm (¼”) I left them to cook a good 6-7 minutes longer. They definitely didn’t burn, just got wonderfully crisp after thorough cooling.

And now to Scraphappy sewing ~

Chiming in rather tardily with Kate’s band of scrap happy peeps, I finally got several large-ish pieces of cotton fabric out of stash and onto hangers this month. Everything can be worn with either fabric to the front, providing versatility.

You might think making tops from different fabrics is totally bonkers, and you’d be well within your rights to do so! However, in this wacko country I’m considering myself in quarantine, so am not out except for very local walk abouts.  When I’m out I’m always wearing a duster over whatever top I’m wearing, so nobody sees my back anyway.

The vintage red that I thought would become a bag refused, and has become a top instead.  Ditto the blue combination. I’ve worn each over top of my scrap denim shorts.

Good news has been that Hurricane Sally came & went without doing tremendous damage to this little part of the world. My rellies on both coasts are in good shape, but for the horrible air out West.

Still, there’s lots to be thankful for as everyone is safe. Hope all you lovely peeps are in good shape, being well in yourselves, and able to enjoy your weekend safely.

Haere tū atu, hoki tū mai.

(Go safely and return in good health.)

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

 

 

☕️ 18 Sept~Time for A Virtual Tea Party !

How about next Friday, 18 September or virtually anytime?

I know this is a bit past the 15th.  😉It gives me time  to travel down under to say a quick G’day to  Su (of Zimmerbitch, in New Zealand),  and wish her well. It would be grand to meet her, and perhaps a few of her lovely tea party friends.

As these events are virtual, anyone is welcome to join in with us on the 18th, or any other day that suits. So, fancy a cuppa another day? The virtual kettle will always be on the hob, and the scones will always be fresh. 😘

Sewing — belatedly

I managed to make up a piece of quilting cotton purchased during long ago California years, which means a seriously long sojourn in stash.

With only 1 yard of 45″ rather heavy cotton, I didn’t have a clue what to do with it. But . . .

Something kept reminding me of it in June (so this is really late). It’s almost the weight of my shweshwe (see shweshwe posts of 2016  here & 2020 here).

Emboldened by all I’d seen, read, and heard during June’s virtual Sewing Weekender, I cut the piece in half and made a simple gathered skirt (sans pockets).

One of my favoured skirt lengths is about 21″ and this really came too close for comfort. So I fudged both the waist band (which I would normally turn under for a casing) and the hem.

I used cotton hem tape to extend things a bit around the bottom hem. Searching through my odds of bindings I discovered some wide santiny blanket binding. Using narrower than usual elastic, I just had room. But no pockets for this skirt.

(Ooooo . . . I just remembered where I put my rayon lining yardage, so there’s hope yet!)

I like the body of the fabric! Barely knee length, it stands away from the body as a shweshwe fabric might. By some miracle the width reacts well to the gathers of the elasticated waist so it’s cool during these humid summers.

Discovering I couldn’t get black or beigy knits for tank tops, I forgave myself and  ordered them from L.L. Bean.  I suspect mask production and slowed importing are responsible for the shortages, so I was grateful to find these!

The tanks were too long for my torso, so I immediately shortened their lengths — an easy fix. Both of them work well with this skirt and have been worn.

To illustrate why I’ve kept this cotton fabric for so long, you might should know I’ve specialised in teaching vocal technique of the classical kind for over 40 years.

So you can see how close the skirt art is to the iconic Puccini poster art of yore, I’ve chosen the above three as examples. Via Amazon, here are reproductions of the originals for Madama Butterfly, Tosca, and Turandot.

Hope to see you Friday-ish!

PS/ For those of you on IG, find us at #virtualteaparty2020

PPS/Just linking the bottom half of this post with Wild Daffodil’s Textile Tuesday series. Even though I know today’s Friday. 🤣

macro Monday

You’ll never guess what this is . . .

. . . so I’ll put it down the bottom of this.

Lots has been happening over here, but not much sewing. With rellies close to some of the California fires (more & more contained every day now), and others receiving Laura’s heavy rains, it’s been eventful.

I shan’t mention what else’s been going on as there’s already too much repetition. Suffice to say just reading headlines is enough to set one back.

Got it glued together and cut out. The pattern, that is. Still debating the fabric . . . but the cutting table got cleared off so it can proceed!

How some ever, Helen (of Helen’s Closet Patterns) just put out a free pattern for joining (or rejoining) her mailing list.

It’s the Luna blouse pattern, and is super fast to whip up.

Depending on the size & fabric width, it can take less than a yard of knit fabric, and looks cool and breezy. Perfect for our hot & humid summers (typically well into October).

Received my first issue of Sewn magazine, a U.S. publication (they ship internationally!), and am thoroughly amazed by all it contained.

my SEWN magazine – LOVE these hats!

The cover story is about a pair of independent Black men who make bespoke unisex hats up in Washington, D.C. I want one soooooooooo bad!!!

Lots still to do so this will be short. Hope everyone is perking up a bit – maybe with cooler weather. Sigh… at least we’ve got lower humidity for of couple days.

 . . . . . Top’s a photo taken of a NEW box of ice cream just delivered from a local store. . . No, I didn’t eat any. 😱

ScrapHappy Saturday, August

Wonder of wonders! For once I’m working with scraps and remembering to get something posted. Am joining up with Kate, Cathy, and other scrap-happy folk.

Back in June I made a pair of stretch denim shorts from leftover denim. As I started wearing them around the apartment and sitting down, I realized they were the exactly perfect length for the hem to fold up whenever I sat down.

I tried ironing. Nope. Then I remembered I still had scrappy strips of the denim in my stash drawer. He-he-hee . . .

Last month I dug said scraps out and measured them all to the same height. Then I sewed the pieces together, and added them to the bottom of the shorts.

Now they’re just above the knee, and I still have enough for a patch pocket or two. Maybe even one large enough for a phone…

Success is sweet! 🤣