Tag Archives: books

it’s a 5-day week?

(After a Monday morning “off” in preparation for a long afternoon meeting, am feeling like it’s a repeat of last week: What happened to Monday?)

As you can see from the photo above, I’ve been making headway with this slubbed Italian yarn. Surprise-surprise! It’s going to be a lightweight scarf. The ruler reported 27 inches and I’ve just started in on the second ball. The range of colours continues to fascinate me even if it’s been stashed for 10-ish years. 🙈

Which brings me to this hastily whipped up elasticated-waist skirt. I’m not gonna hem it because it’s a jersey and was cut very neatly. And really – hem jersey?! The length is below knee, for more sedate wearing; hoicked up it’s still long enough to be a dress.

A Nicola Miller design for Joann from more than 4 yrs. ago, it’s one of the two pieces I found in the remnants. Whilst stitching up the casing for the elastic waist I noticed some light staining on the wrong side, which might explain why this buttery soft knit got shifted to the discount table.

I don’t see a thing wrong with the right sides of these two pieces, and they’ve both been washed several times. The jersey’s also got good 4-way stretch! Now what to do with the other piece that’s 60″ wide but under a yard . . . . . . am thinking a loose top. . . . . 🤔 Which reminds me . . .

For yonks I’ve had a couple of smallish tablecloths that just kept shrieking “Make me a top!” so I’m finally paying attention, currently experimenting with a neckline I’m not quite happy with yet.

Thinking loose and boxy so as not to waste too much fabric, and deal with the heavy heat & humidity that’s now here, probably here to stay until….. could I hope for July??? Maaaybe not.

BAH! 🥵

Let’s talk BOOKS!

On the weekend I finished an electronic copy of Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. It was sooo interesting, learning how NASA (National Air and Space Agency) came into being. . . . . . and the Black women who worked there for decades.

Before computers were created, these women were the computers. That was their title, which I found jarring every time it was used in reference to a woman instead of a machine.

Ms. Shetterly has written a superb book, focusing on both how and what several of the women endured in the 1930’s, 1940’s, 1950’s, and 1960’s in America’s South. (Unlike the movie, which consolidated events and covered a fraction of that time.)

I really cannot do justice to all she’s written, or tell you how deeply so many things in the book have affected me. The movie doesn’t even begin to do that, but this C-Span clip of the author talking about her book is a beginning. At under an hour, it’s time very well spent if you’re at all interested in America or history.

Laters!

Hello, 😲 it’s Friday!

And it’s been long time no blog! But I’ve been keeping up by reading everyone else’s, even if commenting has been minimal.

Must admit to being a bit excited about an upcoming event that’s not sewing related. My nevvie is gradating this month with his Masters. However, there’s a wee fly in the ointment, so to speak, and that’s where this sewing peep comes in…

The wrinkled post-consumer plastic bottles need ironing. Photo by Sis2 & used with permission

It’s the robe, that august symbol of graduation. But this one also has another agenda: recycle & reuse. The tag inside the gown reads, “Made in USA from 100% post-consumer plastic bottles”.

When cloth gets wrinkled it can be ironed in some fashion. But what about “… 100% post-consumer plastic bottles”? And that’s the prob.

Sis2 is at her wits’ end. She’s tried hanging it in the shower – no change. She’s repeatedly used a garment steamer, alternately spritzing with hot and cold water. Nothing. “Even dry cleaners in town won’t touch it,” she noted.

Earlier on she tried ironing what she now thinks was a similar material masquerading as a dress shirt. She said it “shredded.”

I’ve asked on IG and so far, no one’s written that they know just what to do. Any ideas you lovelies might have will be very warmly appreciated. Sis2, the one who felts & knits, sends her appreciation & thanks to all. And so do I!!

It’s been a trying last 10 days or so, attempting to get a decent bottle of milk. Sounds simple – right? But no . . .

First there was the totally wrong grocery order, followed by a same-day correct order. So far, so good – phew! But then I happened to look at email after dinner and discovered there was another identical order practically on its’ way.

Frantically I got it cancelled. Running low on milk a few days later I manufactured yet another grocery order for those special things only one store carried. That bottle of milk got squished and leaked all over the bottom of the bag.

Click a pic to enlarge

By this time I had used enough pantry items to make yet another grocery order, and that large bottle of milk arrived with no intact safety seal. So it got poured down the drain.

Today I finally received bottles of milk with intact safety seals, un-squished, and no leaks in sight.

Alleluia.

books
What else have I been doing, if not sewing up a storm?

Reading!

Yep, the itch to read the latest from Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman series (The Spotted Dog) has been thoroughly scratched, and I must say I enjoyed it thoroughly. All the usual cast of characters are around, although Meroe was a bit quieter than in other volumes. (Was it you, Kate, who’s also a fan & recommended it? Thank you!)

Also tackled and enjoyed Erik Larson’s very lengthy but riveting The Splendid and the Vile — a practically minute-by-minute account of the first couple years of WW II as it unfolded for Great Britain. Must admit I hadn’t realised how quickly everything escalated against Britain, and how horribly long it took to get FDR to understand what was at stake. It reminded me of how precarious liberty still is.

I also did a second installment of Barak Obama’s Promised Land, and am about half way through the 800 pages. I borrow the version that he reads, as there’s so much nuance added by his inflections. Very enjoyable, but extremely detailed; enlightening, but with moments of dread, knowing what happened after his presidency. Am still very much in recovery mode from the last 4 years, and the gradually abating (🤞🤞) pandemic.

All for now — time to start relaxing as the weekend is here! What have you planned? I’ve already ordered pizza and salad so I don’t have to cook Sunday. Yippee! Might even have time for a stitch or two . . . 😆

Whatever your plans, be safe!

❤️ 💕 ❤️

Friday night

Friday night’s supper

Hello, Lovely Readers, and welcome to my Friday evening!

🌬 🌦 🌈 ⚡️ 🌪
We’re very much in see-saw weather so I’m flipping between fleece and cotton, with intermittent cogitations on corduroy & ponte — the season of “what to sew next?”  But more on that in another post.

Oh, our National Hurricane Center has decided to open two weeks early this year due to past increases in pre-season “activity.”    Uh-oh.

Before I forget ~
In case you’re peckish for something oaty but your recipes are calling for an oat type you’ve never heard of, have a gander at this page. It describes what American oat growers & grinders mean when they use “their” terms. Hope it sheds some light.

I always enjoy a jaunt with Joanna Lumley and was delighted one night to follow her around her own isle, Britain. You don’t have to have access to BBC’s iplayer to watch – just check out YouTube for her latest 3-part series, Home Sweet Home.

Rest In Peace, little hyacinth

On a sad note – The hyacinth I’ve been photographing committed hari kari. Yes, this last ickle bulb, the runt in Aldi’s litter, always had a disconcertingly major bend in the bud stalks. That evidently became too much to overcome Wednesday dead-of-night, and it toppled off a high shelf. 💔

📚 & 🧶
I’m actually reading a book. 🤪  A very looong book. Erik Larson’s The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz. It’s about one of my fav eras, and came highly recommended by an old friend. Being fascinating and hard to put down, I’ve had a lot of late nights, and am not keeping up with my listening-whilst-sewing books. Naughty-naughty moi . . . .   hehehee!

I haven’t done a thing on my blues blanket since pinning 2 of the 3 long rows together, preparatory to joining them. They got carefully rolled up, put away, and not looked at since.

Problem is I keep thinking I need to clear off my long cutting table. Sewing long rows together needs consistent tension everywhere, no?  And to get that, everything needs to be flat, right?  Any suggestions or hints? Am I being too cautious?? Is a monster  trying to stop my progress?!?!?!?!

🤣     😆     🤣

 

Late for Textile Tuesday 🙈

My piece of DeGama ceedee pumpkin Shewshwe ~ Thank You, Anne!

First off, my apologies to Sandra (Wild Daffodil) for not getting this up Tuesday.

Her Textile Tuesday is the first Tuesday of the month, and all are welcome to join in.

How are you?? I hope you’re all safe and well and bearing up under our worldwide extremities. There’s so much good going on I try to focus on that. It helps put the other junk into perspective.

This is a little long, so you might want to collect your favourite brew and settle in for a bit. Hope you enjoy. 😉

June included Sewing Weekender 2020, online for the first time this year, and available to sewers across the globe.

Close to 2,000 people bought tickets, and over £26,500 (UK) was contributed to charities.

There were numerous videos for us to watch, and a Zoom chat session at the end of both days (Saturday and Sunday).

All-in-all, it was a wonderful experience that is still benefiting many of us!

For my part, I didn’t get much sewing done, and I understand that’s not unusual.  It can be a time for making new friends, learning new techniques, listening to favourite designers or meeting new ones ~ all things sewing!

This is the heavier or the two pieces.

There was also a HUGE virtual goodie bag. How they managed to pull it all  together in such a short time I’ll never know. Mind-boggling. Seriously.

Word is the online version may continue next year, so if you’re interested keep checking English Girl at Home and The Fold Line.

Also in June I finally ordered fabric I’d been wanting since 2018, and am now the proud possessor of two additional pieces of Ankara fabric.

About the weight of quilting cotton fabric.

Yes, I ordered two pieces from AKN Fabrics in New York, each are 6 yards. That’s a lotta fabric!

Both are 100% cotton, with the orange (above)  slightly less weighty than my Shweshwe (top photo), and the red (on left) about the weight of quilting cotton.

Both have almost no differentiation between  right and wrong sides. I decided to wash each (separately) in cold water in my machine, and they came out beautifully.

The Shweshwe that Anne (Compulsive Seamstress) sent me (top photo) is in daily use as a stole when I’m sitting at the computer under an air con vent. It just doesn’t seem to want to be anything else at the moment, so I’m not arguing.

Given all the happenings here in the U.S., I’ve been doing my research to find out more about what’s appropriate usage for this fabric, and what’s not.

In case this gorgeous fabric has also caught your eye, but you’ve not had time to get your questions answered, I’ve made a little list… 😉

Here’s the very instructive video Juliet’s done —

Phew! Still with me?  I’m gonna continue with books I’ve read/am reading and current sewing projects in another post.

Thank you sooo much for sticking with me. I do hope you’ll take another look at Ankara fabrics for your wardrobe, and put some sunshine into your closet!

😘     😘     😘

 

P.S./ Yes, you can also use it for quilts!

Virtual Tea Party

Welcome, dear ones! So glad to “see” you this month!

A word before we begin . . .

I know many parts of my  country are in varying stages of reopening, but my city’s mayor, concerned about rising numbers, has mandated mask wearing. And social distancing. All of which makes it a bit diffy to eat and converse.

So let me welcome you  to this virtual feast, and let’s pretend our conversations are in person instead of in the Comments section.

What a month it’s been over here.

I thought twice about this tea party, but decided everyone might need a moment to gather together and enjoy the singular pleasure of a cup of their favourite hot or cold beverage, and a bite of something decadent to go with.

I’ve mixed up a slight variation on the Wacky Cake recipe, and I think I like it better that my family’s recipe. (It has more cocoa. 🤣)

Alas, I’ve scraped the bottom of the whole wheat barrel, and wasn’t able to do our usual bread & butter, but there’s always scones!

Had difficulty deciding what recipe to make, but in the end, since there was already a sweet, decided on a savory recipe. I’ve made these olive oil and herb scones before, and they’re delightful, especially with a hunk of cheddar on the side.

Chatter on amongst yourselves. In my little world, it’s been difficult to decide who to pay attention to. However, there’s no doubt as to what I shall ignore.  Honestly! Anyone who insists on spouting outrageous lies doesn’t deserve anyone’s time.

I’ve been doing lots of research-style reading, and will write a bit more about that later this month. Su (Zimmerbitch) sent interesting links to a New Zealand virtual film festival! But everything I wanted to see is not available in this country. Pooh! I understand why, but am still disappointed.

There is a short about one of the films that I found fascinating. If you’re feeling sad and would like a change of perspective, take a look.

Oh! Lynn (Tialys) mentioned The Clangers this week. Anybody  heard of them? Adorable episodes are available on YouTube!

Su will be out of town next month, but I plan on being here, so everyone is invited up here. I warn you, it’ll probably be hot! And might be rainy. But we shall let the good times and conversations roll on!

Cheers, everyone! Please go gently with all, especially your own lovely selves.

xx

Sunday Sevens 2020 #3

Courtesy of BBC One. Please click to go to web site.

(aka, Great British Sewing Bee Season 6)

Frequently referred to simply as GBSB, most every sewer across the pond (and a few of us over here and elsewhere) have been waiting with bated breath for this year’s season to arrive. Next Wednesday, 22 April, it will.

I’m pleased to know one of this year’s participants, Ali, over at Thimberlina.  (She’s front row, second from left, sporting her usual big smile.) We’ve been sewing buddies for a few years and I’m sooo delighted for her.

Now, a question for anyone who might know the answer: How can I (in the U.S.) watch GBSB??? Puh-leeeese, I hope there’s some way.

Anybody wanna hold their phone up to their telly for an hour with  me on t’other end watching?!  (If Ali isn’t working she’ll be doing that with her family.)

The official announcement came at 12:02 Tuesday morning, and has eclipsed whatever else happened—or didn’t—last week.

(Except I’m still trying to get a roll or two of t.p.  I’m down to my last one, and trying not to use it up.) 😬

Wednesday (tomorrow) is our monthly Virtual Tea Party and I hope you’ll all drop by for a cuppa and some of my spicy Moosehead Gingerbread, from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book (by Cunningham).

I usually heap up the spices, adding whatever’s in the spice cupboard, so it should be an eye-opener. 😉

Lest I forget, reading has continued. Am finding myself really enjoying Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Am quite surprised to rather be reading it than Jane Austen’s Emma. Both are available for free from Project Gutenberg because they’re out of copyright.

Very scenic, ain’t it? Not!

A special thanks to everyone who posts lovely photos of their walks. I don’t have scenic spaces here and really appreciate your photos. For anyone like myself, here’s an article with additional suggestions (in the “Deep Read” selection) of ways to get our Nature fix each day.

Those who would like to participate in Natalie’s Sunday Sevens should take a peek at her blog, Threads and Bobbins, for details. It’s very simple, and you don’t even have to post on Sunday. Which in my case is a good thing. 😆

Lots of retaining walls to hold back the hills around here. This is the other side of the walkway and the parked cars.

Hope everyone is staying (somewhat) sane and safely inside.

its thursday alreaaady?

If you notice any difference, I’ve been playing with piccies since publishing this.

 

Firstly, here’s the recipe for making your own version of Monday’s photo —

War, Raisin Spice, or Depression Cake

  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (I always use dark brown as it has more flavour)
  • 1 cup seedless raisins
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I use whatever spices I like and am apt to double them.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Place all of the above in a pot, bring to a boil, and boil gently whilst stirring, for 5 minutes.
  • Make sure your pot is large enough to add the flour, and you’ve saved a bit of washing up. 😉
  • When above wet mixture is thoroughly cool it will slightly resemble glue. That’s a good thing.
  • SIFT and measure out 2 cups of flour.
  • Mix in 1 teaspoon EACH of baking powder AND baking soda.
  • Thoroughly incorporate these into your 2 cups of SIFTED flour.
  • Add dry mixture to the wet mixture and thoroughly mix together.
  • Turn out this still slightly gluey mixture into a thoroughly greased loaf pan approx. 9x5x3.
  • Bake about 60 minutes at 350 degrees F., until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. A crack along the top of the cake is normal.
  • Cool in the pan, then turn out onto a plate, slice, and enjoy.

If you have to have icing, go for it. Your choice. My family didn’t.

Hope you enjoy it!

On to some sewing!

Wrong side of fabric is showing

Oddly, speaking about food, I’ve another quick project in mind involving rather a large amount of rice. I’ve done some preliminary tests and know the project needs to be larger than first assumed, and I dug up some cotton to recycle for the project. More in a few days. 😉 (No, it not a door stop, although I should be making one.)

I also have an old, very solid cotton twill shower curtain that’s about to get chopped up and made into 2 curtains, whenever I can get to the store for another curtain rod and more of those sets of clips I can never remember the name of. You know–the ones that clip to the top of the fabric with a ring attached that then goes onto the curtain rod.

That fabric is from Chicago days, and was slightly dyed to offset the bright white background. If I can locate that post  . . .  Well, here’s one with a nice photo, and showing some additional fabric. Wonder where it is . . . .

Aren’t we glad fabric lasts and lasts and lasts?

🤣     😂     🤣

books

As part of my holiday prezzies, I ordered the three new D. E. Stevenson books reprinted by Furrowed Middlebrow, Vittoria Cottage, Music in the Hills, and Winter and Rough Weather, and have finished them.

Together they comprise the lives of several members of a single family. The variety of characters and situations are interesting to me, being set in Scotland’s Lowlands just as World War II is over.

Next on my To Be Read list is another from F.M., a rare early book from Miss Read, Fresh from the Country. I downloaded the preview the other night, and it sounds like a great story for any Miss Read fan.

thanksgiving–cont’d.

 

For some reason I always think of this passage at this time of year…

“November 1978

“Before the days of James the First, a group of English farmers disagreed with the Church of England. “They will conform,” said King James, “or I will harry them out of the kingdom.” They didn’t confirm, and he harried them out of the kingdom. They got on a ship called the Mayflower and sailed to the New World, and landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts, and established a colony. And since they called themselves “pilgrims” they became known to American history as the Pilgrim Fathers…

“…the Pilgrims were befriended by the native Americans… who taught them how to fertilize the land with eels, how to grow Indian corn and eat it off the cob, and how to cook and eat an American bird called a turkey. And the next autumn, when the Pilgrims reaped a bountiful harvest, they invited the Indians to a feast where everyone gave thanks to God for the harvest. That feast was the first American Thanksgiving…

“…the real hallmark of Thanksgiving is the homecoming of family members… So every Thursday in November, I lift a martini glass in salute to Samoset and the Pilgrims, who gave us the warmest homecoming holiday ever Made in America.”

Letter from New York: BBC Woman’s Hour Broadcasts by Helene Hanff, 1992.

🍂 it’s friday ❣️ 🍂

Lots of reading/listening and a bit of sewing going on here at Chez CnS, with colder weather (YEAH!!!) ushering in last weekend’s time change, and again this weekend.

Results of my thimble experiments are in and not good. The Medium is too big for my finger. Whaaaaaaaa! 😣 However, I’m hoping they will not be unused for long. . . .

FYI: A Size Medium thimble may fly off your finger if a tape measure wrapped snuggly around your thimble finger’s digit is smaller than my 1-7/8″ digit. Not written in stone, because fingers are different with different amounts of taper, and differing styles in hand sewing. Just saying Mediums flew off my finger. 😉

The new “ergonomic” seam ripper is fine, but I’ll probably wrap something around its’ too-slippery handle as my hand slides down it towards the metal. I keep having to move it back up into my hand. The handle is longer and thicker than others, but other than that, ergonomic it ain’t.

An updating project to change the pockets on my only denim skirt was completed. The skirt got lots of winter wear when I lived farther north. (Be aware that if you’re out and about in snow in a skirt this long, the bottom of your skirt may get wet.)

Snow isn’t a problem down here so I left the length for now, but those pockets bothered me. I took them off, adjusted the linings so the white didn’t outline them, removed the cute buttons, and discovered my phone fits with room to spare. Unfortunately, boots won’t get worn with this skirt in this climate. Not cold enough. 😪

A huge Thank You to whomever recommended the Louise Penny books, and my apologies for not remembering who it was. I’ve listened to the first, Still Life, and the 13th, Glass Houses. I listened to the third, The Cruelest Month, the week of Hallowe’en. Perfect timing. 👻 🙀

It is wise to start with the first book, as a Lovely Reader suggested—whose name I also don’t recall so please forgive me. Although I was fascinated and horrified by the subject of the more recent Glass Houses, there were a few things I didn’t understand because I didn’t know past history; however, that did not detract as far as I could tell.

The 13th, Glass Houses, includes an interview with Ms. Penny and the voice and stage actor Robert Bathurst, who took over reading after voice and stage actor Ralph Cosham’s death. More on their creative approaches to writing and acting in another post.

Any Elizabeth Peters fans amongst you, Lovely Readers? Does famed Egyptologist Amelia Peabody Emerson ring any bells? The last of that series, The Painted Queen, read by the incomparable Barbara Rosenblat, also came home for a rollicking listen. (click the pic to link to site)

Author Barbara Mertz has herself gone to that Great Pyramid in the Sky, so this story was completed by Joan Hess, as mentioned at the start of the audio book. As Ms. Rosenblat came to the end, I must admit regretting there will be no more.

The first recorded book I ever listened to was read by Ms. Rosenblatt, and she’s thoroughly spoilt me for anyone not up to her standards. If you like to listen whilst you sew/crochet/whatever, you can’t go wrong with something she’s done.

Today’s Friday and I hope everyone has great things planned for their weekend. I know I do… fingers crossed… 🍂 🤣 😂 🤣 🍂

a winter purge ?

We left off with crossed appendages and plans for non-electricity-needing projects. My neck of the woods fared well—many thank-you’s for everyone’s good thoughts. 😘😘

Not so for other folk, and if any of you spot organizations accepting clothing for them, please let me know. I’d be delighted to send things along to those who need literally everything.

Have spend time both increasing and working on The Mend/Refashion Pile whilst listening to P.D. James’ Murder Room on cd. Excellent story, and am so impressed with the author!

I seem to remember Adam Dalgleish being on TV years ago, but cannot remember the name of the series. Does anyone else remember? Roy Marsden in “The Sandbaggers” comes to mind, but I’m not sure that was P.D. James.

Going back to the M/R Pile… Finally decided to add the second pocket to these, and only had to rip one side out once. An improvement!

Am having a heck of a time with my wardrobe planning, chiefly because I cannot figure out what descriptive words to use. As I am no longer office-bound that professional suit stuff can finally be ditched… except for maybe one navy pants suit. Just in case. 😉

The rest of my Dream Wardrobe is nebulous. The heat down here lasts about nine months of the twelve, so I’m trying to accomodate that. But my heart has always belonged to “a good piece if wool” as mum used to say.

Deep sigh…

I think more trousers are needed, but weight and style is very undecided, as are tops to go with. And dresses, for some reason, which I am finding difficult to even consider. Veddy strange for moi.

Am considering trying a pattern with different cup sizing, just to see if there’s a difference, as I seem to be on the lower edge of all that. Just to try something different.

Above A.L.L., everything has to be comfortable. After spending too many years in offices wearing things a little too tight and heels with pointy toes, have had it with anything not totally comfortable.

So, how to express that in two or three words eludes me at the mo. But am trying not to allow that to stop me from going through the three rather large containers of cold weather clothes.

A good sort out is definitely in order. Give me strength! And maybe additional dark chocolate rations… hehehee! 🤣 🥰 🤪