Tag Archives: wisdom

2021

Diaries by paperblanks – my latest now in use.

Well, it’s here and frankly, I don’t feel much difference, do you?

I mean, apart from the daily dreadful health news and (here across the pond) increasingly bizarre political news.

Is it any wonder my (and many others) have seen their sewjo gone walkabout, and in my case taken blogging with it?

But I keep thinking about blogging, and making notes of interesting-to-me things to share so at least I can collect a few of them into a post or two. Got your cuppa handy? Okay, here goes ~

Always a shot in the positive energy department is Marcy Harriell of Oonaballoona. She’s started a YouTube channel along with her husband, Rob, and I like it.

Here’s a recent interview I found particularly interesting because she explains why she and Rob are living in his hometown (Arkansas) instead of their home base in NYC’s theatre world.

While we’re on YT … I must thank whoever it was that mentioned Kate of The Last Homely House. She’s a crafting retiree living in Northumberland, and a real treasure. I’ve “passed her on” to friends & relatives, who agree.

My long-absent sewjo snuck in just long enough for me to take advantage of a few pre-holiday sales for fleece, patterns, and a couple other additions to The Collection (aka, my stash).

One major reason nothing has been touched involves my printer.

Think PDF pattern printing. A 3D face mask pattern, to be precise. I’d decided to gift myself a couple more and found a seasonal scrap. Couldn’t find the pattern I’d used, so printed off another – only a page! Fussy cut two masks plus linings and had one sewn up, the other 3/4’s sewn. Then I tried it on.

It was toooo small. 🙀 🙈 😫 Comparing it to one that fit I saw it was ¾ of what it should have been. Wrong size, I thought. But after checking I discovered it was the right size.   🤨

Sitting in front of the computer, wondering what had gone wrong and about to hit the Print key I looked at the screen. Normally I see options for printing, but (algorithm?) gremlins had changed it to a generic Print-without-options screen. I changed it back.

Then I could see the scale had been auto-set for 96% instead of 100%.  The light dawned.  A quick look at that what shoulda been a  2″square on the pattern and that was the problem. Mystery solved and 2 non-seasonal masks  made.

That reminds me of another “discovery,” but I’ll save that for another day. . . he-hee!

💕 Thanks for wading through reading! 💕

☃️ 🥂 To be continued 🥂 ☃️

Riffing . . .

. . .  on Nana Cathy’s Monday post, Morning Pages, in which she refers to Julia Cameron‘s book, The Artist’s Way.

In her post Cathy asks how people cope with their inner critic. She  also talks about a newer book (by Cameron) that I haven’t read, The Artist’s Way for Retirement: It’s Never Too Late to Discover Creativity and Meaning.

This newer book’s title is something I’ve promoted forever, so there are searches going on . . .   expect further comments anon.

Getting back to that inner critic — those are the bits I chose to write about in my older blog.

[Older blog?, I hear you ask.  Let me explain . . .

Before I started writing about sewing, I blogged about classical singing, because I’ve spent my life studying, teaching, and coaching classically-trained singers and musicians.

When I switched to sewing I decided to keep some of those earlier blog posts, and that’s how Del’s Other Stuff was created. Later, I also used it for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, which eventually ended, may it  R.I.P.  😿]

Please understand — the posts I’ve listed below were written from a classically-trained musician’s point of view; however, I think you can easily replace music with your own area of creativity.

Going back to Cathy’s query, ‘how do you deal with all the nagging negativity?’

You turn each statement around and replace it with its’ opposite, the positive. Do that firmly. Repeatedly. LOUDLY!

Stomp around and yell if you have to! Just be sure you’re being positive. That’s the only way the other leaves: It’s forced out and replaced with the truth.

Which might explain why a brisk walk can sometimes be a good thing. 😉

In no particular order, below are some of my older posts on Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I hope you find them useful.

Squidgy package ! ! ! 🤗

And just so’s you know there’s still fabric and sewing and all assorteds going on here, I’ve included a sneak peek at the next stage of my current soft furnishings project. . . . . he-he!

Hope all you lovely readers are keeping going with your own creative pursuits. Being constructive is a positive activity, with all sorts of positives attached for yourself and others.

I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts and comments!

Can you spot the third fabric hiding between those gorgeous top and bottom layers?!

 

Zooming into the Weekender

Click to go to post and see full details. It’s online this year, so anyone can attend. Proceeds from ticket sales entitle you to everything, with monies going to various charities.

 

Hello, everyone. It’s been somber, grateful, and quiet the last 2 weeks here at CnS HQ.

This is what 13 pages of patterns looks like when they arrive from the printers. (PDFPlotting.com is great!)

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and digesting, besides getting ready for this weekend’s Sewing Weekender. It’s been a busy time.

Just thought I’d do a quick update on the program being used to connect us sewers world-wide. It’s Zoom, which has a mixed reputation.

(Portions will also be available during and after this weekend on YouTube and Instagram.)

Here are a few things to help you decide whether or not to use Zoom. I hope they’re useful.

Oh, might be a good time for you to check for any updates to your operating system, just to make sure everything’s up-to-date.  Just a suggestion… 😉

❤️     ❤️     ❤️   ❤️     ❤️     ❤️

Come for Tea!

Quality Control: Everyone’s favourite spice cake

Chiming in with the North American edition of Su’s Tea Time in the Blogosphere.

Welcome! It’s good to see you! Hope you all have been keeping well and are ready for a gentle entry to your weekend.

If tea seems a bit sparse this month, flour is getting worrisome yet again, so I’ve included an unusual ingredient, and we don’t usually feature a cookie.

The South is teetering on the brink of summer heat & humidity today, but don’t worry! The air con is working, so we can talk up a storm in comfort.

What’s happening in your world? What “stage” are you currently in? How’s that being interpreted? As usual, feel free to bring your latest completed or in-progress project to show off, or work on whilst having a sit down and a bite to eat.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until pale gold.
Store in air tight container up to two weeks. Can also be frozen. Makes about 4 dozen.

A special request: Only honest opinions on the cookie, please!

Personally, I’m of two minds. Corn meal isn’t a particular favourite, but when I tried a sample of today’s cookie with tea, without thinking I dunked it.  Then another.  They didn’t disintegrate, and kept the distinctive corn meal crunch. So dunkers, please give it a go and let me know your verdict!

Made the batter Thursday, rolled into 2 logs and froze them overnight, then cut & baked this morning. Knife does need to be sharp.

I should report I didn’t have any cane sugar, so used dark brown sugar instead, and not the full amount the recipe calls for. Corn is naturally sweet, and American recipes in general tend to have more sugar than necessary, imho, so you can go scant on that if you liked these.

(That reminds me – This corn meal’s use-by date is next month, which begs two questions: 1. Are people not buying it so it sits on the shelves; and 2., Has it gone a bit stale as a result?  Am not a connoisseur, so haven’t a clue, but am keeping the remainder in the fridge just in case. )

Cookies do not spread so I loaded up the cookie sheets and let them bake a tad longer.

My recipe, used in the dim & distant past, is from an old issue of Sunset magazine, a California publication. I’ve a caveat for the link: Sunset asks you to allow all their adverts & still inserts some if you decline. BTW, the recipe is exactly the same as the one in my photo . . . 😉

Whoops! “Times winged what’s it” to quote the murderess in Christie’s Hallowe’en Party. Better get out the china, put on me tea frock & a bit of flash & glam. Early birds get to help set table and taste test!

Note: If your oven’s hotter in one spot, turn your cookie sheet round half way through baking. I forgot, and had to “dispose” of several overly browned ones. 🤣

on creativity

Was “wasting” away this Monday morning, after breakfast, reading through articles from Lizzie’s current Vintage Traveler Miscellany, and decided to read about the women weavers of the Bauhaus. Women?? Hmmm…..might be interesting . . .

Nice, I thought after reading the article, then noticed the photo of a living fibre artist from the group, surrounded by oodles of huge wonderful colour. Just the thing to brighten a dreary Monday morning!

Billed as “defiant art,” it was a fascinating journey from history into current art. What was very revealing came at the end… and spoiler alert… I’m going to leave you hanging.

The artist asks the interviewer:

“Do you cook?” she asked me.

“No,” I said.

“Do you garden?”

“No.”

“Do you sew?”

“No.” I blushed, unsure how to justify myself and suddenly reconsidering my life choices.

“Well, you see,” Hicks said, . . . . .”

Leaving it there to point out she included sewing.

SEWING!

Speaking of which, ahem, about those buttons in the top photo. They’ve just been reclaimed from a never-worn blouse which I found whilst going through packed away wardrobe. Now that winter weather is definitely here… at least this week and last… I’ve just about completed that phase of my dream wardrobe makeover.

And since it’s also Macro Monday, here’s one more piccie. Enjoy!

creative permissions

discovered kit

I remember learning to sew in the dim, far distant past. In those Dark Ages one did not vary from the pattern. It Was Not Done.

As independent pattern designers began trickling onto the scene, there was one who included a permission slip inside each pattern, giving the sewer permission to make changes. Fast forward to now, with everyone hacking up patterns right and left.

But a concept can linger on in dark corners . . . Follow me into last weekend.

I was on a search amongst my two rather large and thoroughly tangled boxes of fasteners, zips, embroidery threads, ribbons, laces, felt squares, and other crafty bits & bobs.

Having a 13-disc mystery to listen to whilst sorting made it much more enjoyable. . . 😉

mending

Remember my linen top mending project? I have a hazy idea for a solution, and that was the impetus for the sort out.

Then I discovered the above little kit, picked up several years ago even though I didn’t like the colours or the method – punch needle. (Lime green??? 😱)

But what have I been learning from blogging friends’ embroidery posts? You’re allowed to make changes. So-o-o . . .

I’ve been giving myself permission to do just that, and left lime green & turquoise on a lime background, for a russet butterfly on mossy green background using satin stitch. And maybe a touch of blue somewhere.

What do you think? Have I gone too far? I’m not trying to copy nature, it’s just what I was drawn to.

If creativity is about freeing one’s soul and spirit, it’s interesting to realise there are still plenty of boundaries to overcome.

a bit of a mix

Enjoying your weekend?! I’m spending it crocheting because my squidgy package arrived Saturday. Yeah!

I’ve also been reviving my listing on Ravelry, so stop by at CurlsnSkirls and say hello if you’re a member. Long ago Chicago efforts are listed, but I’m working on getting things updated.

Valentine’s Day is Thursday and the appropriate cotton cloth (top) is gracing a bedside table. When my voice studio was open I made seasonal table toppers (any excuse to buy fabric) and I still enjoy seeing them each year.

Curvy Sewing Collective had two great posts this week. Both inclusive sizing and inclusive language are extremely important, so do take a look.

And speaking of inclusive sizing, Grainline Studios (Chicago) is increasing their size range and has a questionnaire open to anyone who would like to make suggestions.

For anyone looking for podcasts about sewing, you cannot beat Love to Sew (Canadian) and The Fold Line (London).

Here’s that finished skirt topped with a gorgeous suede jacket from a closing consignment store in Chicago. (Yes, the skirt’s been that long in the making.) Anyone have suggestions for how to clean the suede without going to a cleaner who will charge multiple times my original cost and use icky chemicals?

Here’s one last suggestion for those of us struggling to get better at, or just get back into sewing – Lucie wrote a great post last week about her own experience. Much food for thought!

Meanwhile, hope everyone can hunker down and get to creating something. Creativity is positive! There’s nothing better for overcoming negatives.

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

personal identity & what to wear . . .

Really, how important are our clothes? What do they say about us? What are they saying to others?  Could changing our clothes really change our lives??

If you didn’t see this on Hila’s blog , grab a cuppa, take a break and watch it now.

AUTUMN ! ! ! And just in time for any chilling winds, the crocheted hat & scarf are tasselled & done!

My wooly news from last week was finishing my green acrylic hat & scarf set. Yeah!  And just about completing the 8th of my blankey rectangles. Many more to go. Also continuing to slow knit my autumnal scarf. (All my knitting is slow.)

The teal shorts continue to sit, whilst I decide what to do with a nice bit of leftover rayon…

this will make more sense after you’ve seen the last video – promise!

just another saturday
Having survived a side swipe from the latest  hurricane, it was going to be regular Saturday laundry & maybe cooking a meat loaf. Plus doing a bit of sewing whilst  listening to “Good Neighbors,” a 1970’s BBC series.

If you’d like a peek at the program, click here and here.  Margo’s outfits are so 1970’s I’m putting together a small collection to be aired after I’ve finished watching the 3rd season.

But about that meat loaf. Remember the meat loaf??

About half way through the bake I went out to check it. As I put my hand on the stove top it almost raised a blister. Uh-oh. Something was wrong.

Seems the thermostat had baked it’s last bake and was registering its’ displeasure by refusing to turn off.  Grr… Not an option.

Maintenance came to the rescue, and the dead thermostat was replaced once everything had cooled off.

The glass pan did scrub up fairly easily, and the meat loaf is edible, thank goodness!

But the meat loaf, once I got it out of the cooker, appeared to be more than done, registering well above the appropriate internal temp.

So while I didn’t get any sewing done, the meat loaf is edible.   😳

a life without books is…
Death in the Tunnel.  Despite the fact of the train’s not “com(ing) to a screeching halt” in the middle of the  2½ mile tunnel, I found Miles Burton’s book both challenging and boring; however, the layers of detail kept me interested.

Sergeant Cluff Stands Firm, and taciturn, as reflected by the author’s prose style. I don’t know if I like this one or not. It’s currently feeling ominous. Maybe that’s intentional, and I’ve decided its’ not best to read it before bedtime!

Rather than leaving you with the image of burnt beef and an iffy thriller,  here’s something many of us will find interesting.  And it explains my hand in the middle of the teal fabric…

❤        ❤        ❤

a bit of a catch-up

Things are happening, so grab a cuppa  and let’s start!

my favourite baking book since the 90’s (or ’80’s??)

First, a dive into Muffin-land. After hurricane Flo visited, and slightly more normalcy appeared,  the grocers seemed to be almost giving away berries.

I do love berries – strawberries, raspberries (my fav), blackberries (second fav) and all the rest, but I was receiving more than my greediness could eat. What to do . .  .   .    .

I considered making jam, but lacking the accoutrement and experience, I demurred.  Enter muffins, with a recipe for basic berry muffins (below). Ah! I’d much rather be baking than stirring a boiling pot.

the basic recipe, which I haven’t tried varying yet!

We’re not talking  industrial-scale amounts, but for someone who hadn’t baked in four or five months, anything was major.  Then a few low temp and humidity days magically appeared.

I started baking.

if you’ve never made muffins American-style, do read this carefully.

For those who might not realise, American store-bought muffins are more like sweet cake than a true  muffin.

All muffin  batter is lumpy because the flour is not mixed until it is lump-less.

If you don’t believe there’s a reason why, just try mixing a batch of these one way, and then the other. I know which ones will get binned!

It’s the chemistry/alchemy of the baking process, which I shan’t explain because I don’t know what it is!

(I always use those little paper baking cups in my muffin pans because I hate scrubbing out the pan.)

 

Have I convinced anyone to take a quick break and mix up a batch? (Before we go on, special thanks to taste-testers at h-t #136 & others. You know who you are!)

A large leftover bit of rayon from Vogue Fabric, Chicago, purchased at least 8 years ago!

This fabric has been on my cutting table for weeks because it kept telling me IT DID NOT WANT TO BE A SKIRT.

Oh. I finally listened, and realised how much more I’d wear some shorts, so the shorts pattern is now out and will fit after judicious finagling.

Sometimes, procrastination thinking is a good idea. Tereza, over at Sew for Me, just wrote an interesting post on that, amongst other things (including a look at some Brazilian  fabrics).

Christmas crochet

Thanks to Sheila at Sewchet I spent last weekend, in-between batches of muffins, doing some more work towards Christmas.

Just yesterday I finished my latest adventure in the British Library’s Crime ClassicsThe Lake District Murder by John Bude kept me trying to solve the mystery and was definitely enjoyable!

The three books by Hay ( Death on the Cherwell & Murder Underground here, The Santa Klaus Murder here) were my intro to the series (known amongst aficionados as BLCC).  Since then, I’ve branched out a bit, but only into books written with some humour.

click to go to book on the British Library site

A bit of escape via an entertaining book is part of my regime for staying (somewhat 😉) balanced.

There are limits to what I need in my wardrobe, which is something more and more of us are realising.

Some form of creativity, be it cooking or crochet, is a basic necessity. But more about those another time .

❤       ❤      ❤  Thank you all for stopping by!  ❤       ❤      ❤