Tag Archives: summer

end of a short week

Friday noonish and I’m remembering Agatha Raisin‘s deep freezer that housed (houses?) her frozen ready meals (Americans say tv dinners), along with casseroles from Mrs. Bloxby & assorted offerings from other Carsely friends.

Considering the small (by American standards) size of U.K. fridge/freezers, do they still have deep freezers?

Remembering my own experience here across the pond, there was a time when folk could purchase half a side of beef and get a freezer to put it in — cut up and portioned into neat freezer-paper wrapped packages, of course! In some places — I’d guess cattle country — you probably still can.

What looks like chaos is actually order.
Floppy bags don’t help.
😖

Over here most everyone has a combo fridge/freezer, with no room for half a side of beef. We apartment dwellers are on a stricter regime: See mine at left. Of course, there are plenty of old fridges in house basements, chock full of extras, both frozen and un-.

So why the pretty pear picture? I ordered a bag of organic pears from Aldi’s, and when it arrived they were all green. I was in a bit of a quandary: What to do with green pears?

Time to do a little searching on the ol’ web… where I discovered that pears are shipped unripened. They’ll hold in that condition in a fridge for some weeks.

If left sitting on a counter, they’ll ripen in company with other pears, as they all exude the same gas-whose-name-I-don’t-recall.

Or you can put an apple or a banana in with ’em to hasten ripening. (They exude the same gas). Plus — you can also let them ripen in a brown bag on the kitchen counter. With or without the extra fruit.

Living in a southern section of the country where bugs are rampant year-round, I wasn’t about to leave anything around that might attract ‘visitors.’ 😱

I used the brown bag method, and yesterday and today have enjoyed a lovely, ripe pear, with two more ripe ones in the fridge for the weekend.

Unripe pears-in-waiting

Another four green ones are being cosseted in the fridge ~ Autumn’s on it’s way.

Hope whatever your next season is, it’s a good one!

❤️ 🍁 🎃 🍁 ❤️

Tea-Dyeing

It’s been a while since our last catch-up. What can I say? The weather’s been rotten triple digit heat & humidity . . . typing took too much effort . . . so did thinking . . . 🥵 . . . blehhhhhhh.

But September is almost here. We’re being promised lower temps on Thursday. On the strength of that, and despite the horrid effects of Ida, I decided to pen a quick update.

Now, of all times, why did I start tea-dyeing fabric? I’m pleading insanity. A luscious pair of cotton lawn shorts-turned top wasn’t getting worn. WHAAAA??? Then it hit me: I could fix the starkers white background my subconscious hates. Just do it. I did. (The undyed is on the left, the tea-dyed is below, on right.)

Coincidentally, Sis#2 was doing a batch of eco-dyeing. We compared notes. She suggested I try coffee for dyeing. Enter The Next Project.

I’ve been needing new night gowns, going back-and-forth trying to decide what pattern to use. I finally decided to stick with my TNT pattern – an OOP NewLook 6871. (Check etsy.com if you want one.)

am already planning how to use this pattern, view b first!

For the gown, I always cut a couple sizes larger & longer, and use the sleeveless version. This time I decided to reeeally widen the front and back pattern pieces as well as lengthen them.

The fabric? A blue & white floral cotton bought at a going-out-of-business sale. Did you catch it — the starkers white I don’t like?

(Please ignore the pattern photo’s caption. Despite all the “improvements,” WP hasn’t learned how to separate captions from photos used in previous posts. This one’s at least 6 years previous!)

When I discovered an old jar of instant coffee on a back shelf I decided it was Fate. Time to test again.

Check out the photos below. What do you think? Can you see any difference? Have you done any coffee-dyeing?

Note: Click any pic to enlarge all of them. The ONLY coffee-dyed piece is the one labeled “Coffee.” All the rest are either tea-dyed or plain. The bottom photo shows all 3 – plain, tea-dyed, and coffee-dyed.

Right now I’m leaning towards using the coffee, but that could change. Will sew up the fabric, then dye it in the kitchen sink with really hot water and half the jar of instant coffee. Or umpteen tea bags.

A quick update on Agatha Raisin, Season 3: This time the episodes are about 90 minutes each, and there are 4 on 2 disks. (There’s a whole 3rd disk of various cast members answering questions from fans. If that sounds boring, you’re right, except when Ms. Chesney is there. She’s great!)

Given current horrendous world events I’m reading escapist lit at the mo’. . . Got one of the newer Louise Penny audiobooks from my local library (via Libby app) and enjoyed catching up with the Quebec characters, especially Ruth.

Also decided to finish up the Agatha books I hadn’t read. Beating About the Bush (2019) and Hot to Trot (2020) are good, light reads. Judging by M.C. Beaton’s Introduction to the 2020 volume, we might not have heard the last of Ms. Agatha . . . . . .

😳

the unwelcome visitor

Elsa, the hurricane/tropical storm/depression raced through my area today. Yesterday was spent prepping for a worst case scenario: boiling eggs, washing & dicing fruits and veg, making sure my bottled water supply was topped up. You probably have your version of the drill.

Altogether it wasn’t the time to do a What’s On Your Plate post, but I did sneak in a quick post over on insta, to #whatsonyourplateblogchallenge.

My Weekend Special is scrambled eggs and whatever else in the fridge is leftover. Last weekend it was tomatoes, blackberries, and half a baked potato. I fried potato slices before scrambling the eggs, and left the tomatoes and berries raw.

I love potatoes done this way – golden and crunchy on the outside, with a good tangy tomato ketchup for contrast with the creamy inside – but rarely treat myself to the little extra time it takes.

(In case you’re wondering about pudding – no, I didn’t consider the berries as my afters. There’s a raisin spice cake in the freezer that’s slowly diminishing. 😉 Hehehee)!

A day late, I’m chiming in with Deb and Donna’s What’s On Your Plate Blog Challenge. Do click over and enjoy their recipes for cool meals on very hot days!

macro monday chat

This might be an “official” holiday weekend here in the U.S., but having the real holiday on Sunday sorta throws me off, if you know what I mean. There were fireworks displays in some places on Saturday night, and other places Sunday night. I wonder if tonight will also be punctuated with pops . . .

But life goes on, and with it came this morning’s overdue walk up to the recycle center, right past a huge hydrangea bush. I couldn’t resist the photo op!

Seems about time for a knitting update, too.

I ripped everything out and started over, using the same 12 stitches cast on. I played with the alternating k2p2, p2k2 and didn’t like the effect at all! This yarn is so slubby and has different colours running in slubs as well as tiny bits of bright colours — totally obliterating everything else.

I found it very frustrating, and definitely not restful knitting. So I am back to the basic stockinette stitch of knit one row, purl the next, and am using where the tail of the yarn is to remind myself which row I’m on. Curling will have to be handled after I’m done. That’s the extend of my definition of relaxing knitting!

Now I might guess someone is gonna spy with their little eye that the felted piece above is attached to a large hair pin. Yes, an extra large plastic hairpin.

But no, I haven’t started felting – it was included in the package Sis#2 sent around the hols. She’s the master crafty person, dabbling in felting, eco dyeing, and a major knitter, far as I can tell. One difference between us is she has a house. With a back porch. And lives farther north, where it’s (generally) cooler than my apartment complex/state.

She also recommended a new author to me (Tony Hillerman), and although technical/electronic bits are outdated, the stories include correct info on various Southwestern areas and peoples.

The main character in the majority of the series is Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, a member of the Navajo Tribal Police. “Hillerman is considered one of New Mexico’s foremost novelists.” Wikipedia. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, The Blessing Way, and learned a lot!

Have I already raved about Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club? In case I haven’t, let me report I literally couldn’t put it down. Finished it in 2 days, and sincerely hope there’s a sequel already in the works.

As this is fast becoming too long a post for Macro Monday, I’ll love you & leave you, to report on sewing projects another time . . . hehehee!

Ciao, Lovelies! 💕 💕

I framed the felted picture & hung it above my sewing table.
It deserves a better mat, but that’ll have to wait for a proper store visit.

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!

thread chicken & pockets

For those who don’t know what the heck the title means, let me explain.

Among sewing. knitting and crocheting enthusiasts, playing thread chicken involves wondering whether you’ve enough thread to complete a specific task or project.

In the case of the above, it was a pocket. Or two…

There appears to be a difference between the colour of the pockets and the shorts in the second photo, which is an error I couldn’t sort out with the lighting. (More about those shorts here.)

The pockets really are the same fabric as the shorts – a heavy stretch denim fabric from my Chicago Collection (a.k.a., Vogue Fabrics). It’s the lining in the first photo that’s different – a lightweight rayon that in it’s former life was the top of a well-loved rayon denim dress (DKNY V1236) that might become a skirt, but the jury’s still out on that.

Speaking of pockets, I ran into some interesting history whilst reading one of Lizzie’s (The Vintage Traveler) blog posts. In the pockets article she lists The Wall Street Journal had this to say:

“Yet for women, pockets are still a privilege, and not just in evening wear. In her 2017 doctoral dissertation, “The Gendered Pocket: Fashion and Patriarchal Anxieties about the Female Consumer in Select Victorian Literature,” Samantha Fitch made the case that a sexist history of oppression is behind the dearth of pockets. Without pockets, women were traditionally dependent on men for essentials—like money. Ms. Fitch wrote, “Women’s pockets, in general, are smaller than men’s pockets, less numerous, or simply non-existent. Possibly worst of all, many times women find that their pockets are actually faux pockets.”

Think about it for a minute: “Yet for women, pockets are still a privilege…”

Might that have had something to do with my adding pockets to this pair of shorts, something I’d been procrastinating doing for months . . . . .

😉

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! 🤣

(not so) wordless Wednesday 😉

In looking over my spare summer wardrobe before MeMadeMay I remembered a red Renfrew almost never worn.

Neatly-removed sleeves revealed where I’d cut to the seam line when easing in the sleeves.

Mind you, we’d already had several days flirting entirely too closely with 90℉ when this Renfrew came to light. But would I wear it?

NO!

I doubt I’ve worn it more than once or twice since completion several years ago.  😱

Why? It’s a solid medium weight cotton knit and the fit is snug. But in heat & humidity anything even slightly heavy or snug doesn’t get worn. It was forgotten during cooler weather.

Enter some Snug Hug rayon bias tape, stitched to those neatly trimmed seams where short sleeves used to be.

Would that be enough to put this back on the wearable list?

Happily, it was! And it’s been in constant rotation along with some stretch denim shorts made from leftovers of my (2014!) denim winter maxi skirt.

This is why we keep a fabric stash!

 

friday, sweet friday…

It’s that time again

Oops… wrong day. I’m thinking “Sunday, sweet Sunday with nothing to do” from the musical “Flower Drum Song.”

Just looked it up on YT, and the song’s setting is not what I think of when that line comes to mind. I’m quite happy having Sundays to meself, thank you!

Those for whom self-isolation is more torturous have my sincere condolences.

I hope you’re reaching out via phone and internet, contacting and being contacted by loads of people, perhaps learning a new hobby with online help, or just catching up on your rest.

Ready & waiting!

As you see (right), my sewing table finally got cleared off for last Tuesday’s Virtual Tea Party, and this morning I got the vacuum out.

Not implying the immaculate guests left crumbs!

I got it out mostly to get rid of the dust I swept off the ceiling fan blades today. Summer is here and the AC had to go on, which meant the fan needed to be on as well, which meant… you get the picture. 🤪

Now for a nice nap, so I’ll be ready to tackle that pattern

Hope wherever you are, dear readers, you’re staying safe and healthy!

❤️   ❤️   ❤️   ❤️   ❤️

unpicking pockets (aka, refashioning)

This has become a somewhat muddled accumulation of maybe too many things, and if I ever get all the old links linked properly it will be a minor miracle, which is why I’ve been putting off writing, but here goes . . .

Sewing terminology:
  • Refashion – To make changes to an existing garment, such as cutting a dress to make a skirt, or blouse; or combining pieces of fabric from several different garments to make a new garment.
  • Seam ripper – A small tool used to remove stitches.
  • Unpick – To unpick is to carefully remove stitching, frequently, a seam or seams.

This summer—still considering it’s summer as we’re still having some 80 degree days— I’ve been doing more refashioning than new fashion.

Must say its felt like an obstacle, like an unending pile of repairs to be completed before going on to the fun of sewing something new.

Thus, it’s been surprising to read online that refashioning is so current. What? I’m on-trend?! 😳

What’s being/been chopped up? Basically, dresses made roughly five years ago. I hadn’t been inclined to wear them at all this summer, and needed more tops, so . . .

Also several hems were raised from the waist instead of re-hemming as there were hem features I didn’t want to disturb. Oh, and several pockets got added to existing items. Plus two pockets removed from a dress-that’s-now-a-blouse.

Then along came Love to Sew’s Refashioning podcast, including great suggestions I can use for a certain very holey linen knit. (Intentionally misspelt because it’s faaar from “holy.” 🥴)

Do popover and at least scroll through all the wonderful examples listed. Just looking at them should give you ideas. It did for me.

Then The Fold Line included a very intriguing BBC programme about forecasting trends…

“When the distinguished trends forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort provides her vision of the future in her General Trends Books, her pronouncements are eagerly awaited by those working in the worlds of fashion and design. She talks to Mary about the reasons behind the one forecast she’s made that the fashion world hasn’t wanted to hear – Fashion is dead. However it’s not all bad news as she shares her thoughts about the trends she thinks will be influencing what we’ll be wearing in the very near future…”

Her web site mentions concepts of forgiveness, understanding, comprehension, and compassion.

Li Edelkoort: “We need to trust our instincts to build a better future, full with genuine love towards ourselves and others, even those at fault. . . Desire needs to be embedded in empathy.”

In keeping with her thoughts, I do feel good about my summer’s very different kind of sewing, partly because some old favourites are “new” again, and combine with other pieces for more use.

Now for the refashioning thus far . . .

The rayon top (used to be a dress) works well with the cut offs made several summers ago. I’d like to make another set or two like these, as they are in constant rotation. (Click pic to go to 2013 dress.)

This green cotton print was originally made in 2013 and got a lot of wear. When I decided to cut it off I cut it a bit longer, because of the neckline gathers. They make the waist wider.

That meant I needed to cut into the two side seam pockets. That meant I needed to unpick those pockets. (Now the title makes sense. 😉) However, that wider waist is making me a tad nervous because it can get windy here… we shall see how it works.

The black linen skirt I’ve paired with this is one of the skirts shortened from the waist to save the skirt vent. It was originally a full length RTW dress I cut into a skirt and blouse. (Click pic to see original green dress; no photo of original RTW dress.)

Phew. If you’ve made it all the way you deserve a treat. Your choice! I’m opting for dark chocolate… 🍫