Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I'm signing off for the next week as we finally sit back and enjoy some holiday fun! We'll be celebrating with many family and friends in the next week and I hope y'all do the same! Be merry and bright!


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gingerbread House: check

This year was our first attempt at building a gingerbread house as a family.
The kit from Costc0: $8.99.
The amount accidentally fed to the dog: minimal.
The elated sugar high: priceless

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Sorry the link to the Etsy shop didn't work!

Try this one:

Etsy takes PayPal, which is very to use if you aren't familiar with it - and it's the best way for me to receive online credit card payments. Once you purchase the pattern, I get an immediate email and hop down to the post office to mail the pattern directly to you!

Thanks for looking!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Etsy shop is open!

It's just a small start, but at the urging of one of my students, I finally got my Farmer's Market Tote Bag pattern up for sale on Etsy! Go to to buy the pattern!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Has it really been nearly a month since my last post? Time flies!
Thanksgiving was great ~ a good holiday with lots of good family!
We traditionally spend Thanksgiving with my husband's family in Bend, and we did it again this year, ending the trip with a visit to the Polar Express train in Hood River. It was a bit much, as far as amusement for children goes, but our 3 year old LOVED it!

One of the highlights of Thanksgiving was my father in law giving me his mother's Singer Featherweight. What a dream! It is white, with an aqua case. So very, very special! I haven't had a chance to sew on it yet, but have cleaned it a bit. It's been a very long time since anyone used it, so it needs a bit of TLC, which I am very happy to deliver!
Other recent work has been washing the piles of linens and hankies that I inherited from my great-great grandmother's shop. I think there are nearly 100 of them. Most of them were really musty smelling, so got a few trips through the delicate cycle and now need to be ironed. Some (the ones on top of the pile in the photo) didn't get washed and are still in their original shape - complete with the "Made in Austria" or "Made in Switzerland" or "Made in France" sticker. So sweet.
We got the tree up last week and got some of the decorations up. Still to go are the greenery garlands around the windows. Last year we had them up for something like four months before we were tired of them!
And right before Advent, I finally got the Advent Calendar done for our son. I bought one of those kits, thinking it was the easy way to go... Then I thought it looked flimsy and that I should really interface the pockets for rigidity. Ooops. I ended up scrapping the piece that was supposed to be the back, cutting apart the strips that made up the pockets and just sewing them right on, raw edges exposed. Heirloom quality it is not, but we're making do for now.

It has a dowel and a sleeve for hanging, but we haven't gotten out the nails just yet to attach it to the wall. Inside each pocket is a slip of paper, saying what special activity we get to do. I thought about little presents or candy, but he's getting enough candy these days with what is being handed out everywhere, and it makes him CRAZY. Lucky for me, he actually dislikes chocolate!

So the things we get to do are:
1. Get a Christmas tree
2. Put up Christmas decorations
3. Make Christmas cards (1 or 2)
4. Make gift tags (his drawings or paintings run through my Xyron)
5. Bake cookies and decorate them
6. Buy a toy for charity
7. Make a cape (he's been wanting one)
8. Drive to look at Christmas lights
9. Visit Grammie and Grandpa
10. Read an extra book at naptime
11. Buy a Santa hat (written after he declared he "Had to have one!"
12. Watch a movie with Mama and Papa
13. Make ornaments with Baker's Clay
14. Make pipe cleaner wreaths
15. Go to the Children's Museum
16. Write a letter to Santa
17. Go to the zoo
18. Make a gift for your teacher
19. Have a special lunch
20. Extra book at bedtime
21. Go for ice cream
22. Have a special dinner
23. Wrap presents
24. To Be Determined -- we'll see what works best.

A lot of my ideas came from various places on the internet. The basic idea of doing activities instead of presents came from somewhere that I can't find now. There are also great ideas here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Project Barbie

For all of you who love Pr0ject Runway, check out Project Barbie! No joke, this is for everyone who wants to sew along with the talented artists of Project Runway but on a small scale. So you follow the rules and challenges of the show, but make your project doll-size! Very, very cool!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Greatness comes clothed in pajamas

I just got a CD of photos from my Aunt, sharing more great memories of the Sisters Retreat. What I love most about this picture is the clock. I think that was the day that we all stayed in our jammies. All day. That might also have been the night when dinner got so wild I almost peed my pants, laughing so hard. I was so afraid I would miss something if I got up from the table. It was like being at a slumber party in the 6th grade. But with all the fun and none of the anxiety.

Now that I've been home for six weeks, I finally unpacked my trunk this afternoon. It felt good, but was sad to go through all the projects that I didn't get to finish. With tremendous help from my mom (she's the best!), my sewing room is all spanky clean and organized.


For those of you who missed the Amy Karol book signing at Bolt last night, I have to say, she's GREAT. Totally sweet, very fun, and incredibly enthusiastic! I was able to say a few words about teaching at bolt and she said she'd heard of me - the greatest flattery! I was all twitterpated to be meeting such a celebrity, and then that she KNEW of me?! It was great.
Even better was the fact that the early afternoon was spent at The Pine Needle in Lake Oswego, where they were celebrating their 15th anniversary and having a big, big sale! They were awesome with the little man (who was a total trooper being dragged along for the ride), and we were able to pick up the Amy Karol book. We got home in time to put the little one down for a nap and then whip up one of the dish towel aprons from the Bend-The-Rules book. That meant I was able to get a little prize when I went to the book signing, since I brought a completed project!

There's nothing as good as being recognized. For being a teacher. And for being a "sewing person" as Amy puts it.

Cheers and happy sewing!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Is it Christmas yet?

I am one of those people for whom it is never too early for the stores to start stocking Christmas goodies. I love the anticipation, the decoration, the parties. All of it! This year I'll have a bit more decoration at my own house. And on my own self.

These projects were all started at the Sisters Gig. The table runner still needs to be quilted and bound. The back of it has red and green chili peppers for when we either need a bit less wild of a table runner or have already spilled candle wax on that side. The pillow in the center still needs to be stuffed.

And the apron is miraculously finished! Ready to wear! Now I just need my kitchen remodel to get wrapped up so I can start cooking! For the past six weeks we've been without our kitchen and bathroom. It's been nuts! But we're getting close! Next week the floor coverings and countertops go in, then it's just plumbing and putting the finishing touches on everything! Can you tell from all those exclamation points just how excited I am about the whole thing?!

It was a year ago (November 15th) that we discovered the water damage that started this whole remodel/repair. And we'd only lived in the house two weeks when it happened. So when this is all done, it will finally feel like we've moved in!

Some photos finally

I finally got around to uploading the last photos from the OLD camera. Now the learning curve will begin as I navigate the NEW camera. Of course, now there is so little natural light, I'll blame my questionable photo quality on that (versus, say, my unimaginative choice of backdrops...)

The hood and body of a jacket for the little man's upcoming birthday! The pattern calls for a 1" hem, but I think I'll hem it all the way to the bottom of the zipper. It will still fall well below his hips, so I may add a bit of elastic to keep it from getting drafty.

One space left!

Due to some cancellations, there is still one space open in the Apron class at bolt fabric boutique! Class will be held Tuesdays, November 20th and 27th, from 7pm-9pm! There are two apron choices: Flea Market Fancy (a tiered half apron) and Flirty Skirty (a very cute bib apron). Come join the fun!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Good Things

Good things come in handcrafted packages!
Check out the 30 Days of Handmade Projects over at Sew, Mama, Sew!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Remodel Mayhem

In the midst of this crazy remodel, I managed to crank through a whole load of sewing! I got a baby blanket started AND finished (sorry no photo, it's a gift not yet given. To a baby, not yet born...). And I got some small Christmas gifts finished. Yes, the F-word. I haven't used it much around here lately, as I've gotten very good at starting, and not so good at finishing things. And I got a darling coat cut out for my little one. Photo of that soon.

But I'm sticking my head in here to say that there are two spots open for the upcoming Apron Class at Bolt. You will have your choice of a very cute and feminine apron with a bib OR a waist apron. There have been some amazing apron patterns coming out, and we've grabbed TWO of them to play with!

The apron could be made to be worn at the holidays, so you look super cute in the kitchen OR it would make a fantastic gift - one size fits most!

Happy sewing and I hope to see you in class!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New Classes at Bolt

I am so grateful to teach at Bolt. It is, by far, the coolest shop I've ever shopped, has the greatest owner/person I've ever worked for, and has the most wonderful clients that sign up for classes in the most record time ever! I've wanted to post the class list for a couple of days, but the classes are all nearly full. If you aren't on the Bolt mailing list, you can sign up in the store. That way you'll get the email notice of the new classes as we add them.

For those of you patient enough to be on a waiting list, it's worth a try to get into:

Zipper Clinic Sunday Nov 18th, 4:30-6:30pm
Cute Skirts Tuesdays, Nov 6th and 13th, 7-9pm
Aprons Tuesdays Nov 20th and 27th, 7-9pm
Learn to Sew: Swing Bag Sundays Dec 2nd, 9th, and 16th 4:30-6:30pm

Call Bolt at 503-287-BOLT. If the class is full, you can ask to be added to the wait list. That way, if we add another session, you'll be the first to know. But each time we send out a new class list, the wait lists start over from scratch. Basically, if you still want in the Cute Skirts class, get on the waiting list. At some point you'll get in!

And if it all just makes you crazy and you want the class r.i.g.h.t.n.o.w. , I am resuming giving private lessons in Portland. Right now I am limiting it to Sundays, prior to teaching class at Bolt.

Happy sewing!
-- and that photo up top is an apron I made for a friend for her birthday! It's roughly the apron pattern from Amy Butler In Stitches. I like her method for the waistband and ties. Instead of handstitching, I just did stitch in the ditch from the front, and it worked nicely.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sister's Retreat 2007

I've been back from the Sister's Retreat for about a week now, and am finally recovered from the sore abdominal muscles! Wow, we had some serious laughs! I have such a great family, and when the women get together, we have SO MUCH FUN!

We got a lot of sewing done, and I'll post some snippets for you. None are all the way finished (except maybe one), but you'll get the idea. ;)

We worked on fabric postcards, and mine was originally going to be that project that you just jump into, thinking you'll toss it in the trash and move on to an attractive version of what you started... It might still get replaced by a better version, but I was aiming to a) play with my new machine (eeeeeek! yay! it's so gorgeous and wonderful. More about that later!) and b) sew myself a reminder of the view from my sewing machine for the weekend. I could look out the window, and beyond the deck rail was a beautiful view of Hood River, the Columbia River, the railroad on the Washington side of the river, and Mt. Adams.

First I backed the fabrics with Wonder Under (or maybe Steam a Seam?) and fused them all together. You'll notice I forgot to add the mountain. The day I worked on this, it was cloudy and I couldn't see the mountain. Out of sight, out of mind!
Then I sewed some fancy stitches to be the "train" and played with thread colors to make the muddy embankment on the far side of the river.
I spent way too much time trying to get the deck rail just right. I played with the paper backing on the fabric and using my ruler, drew the rails. But after I cut out the deck rail, it was way too big. And the scraps left over from the cutting looked better. So now I still need to sew it all together.

Oops, gotta run, more photos tomorrow!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Off I go...

To the 2007 Sisters Retreat! I'll be gone until Tuesday and then will have all sorts of delectable photos to share, hopefully one of my solid color quilt! So far it looks like this. Have a good weekend!

p.s. Be sure to keep your eyes out for the November/December class list from Bolt! We'll be offering another slew of great classes!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Don't miss out!

There is one spot left in the Cute Skirts class!

Class will be held Tuesdays, September 25th and October 2nd, 7pm-9pm.

Call Bolt Fabric Boutique at 503-287-BOLT (2658) to sign up.

Here's your last chance to get a fall skirt started! These skirts look great with tall boots or with tights and the cute shoe of your choice! They also look fantastic in light wool, which would last you through the winter in this area!

Have I mentioned that I can even ride my bike in this skirt? It's just the right length for decency and just full enough to allow me to easily pedal! This skirt is awesome!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Which sewing machine to purchase?

I was just over at Whip-Up where they allow readers to submit questions and someone asked what machine to purchase. After typing up my comment in reply, I realized it's a question I answer frequently. So I'm re-posting my comment here.

My advice is to buy from a sewing machine dealer!

You can find all sorts of cheap, unreliable, and unpredictable machines from Target or Sears or Jo-Ann Fabrics or Costco. That's not to say that all of them are bad, but most of the machines under $250 simply aren't worth buying.

I see a lot of different machines when I teach, and the least expensive machines I endorse are the Huskystar machines made for Viking. They are made in China, so not the highest overall quality (compared to machines made in Europe), but they are good machines. They currently have four models of regular sewing machines, of which two are mechanical and two computerized. The mechanical models are fine, but have very few features. The computerized ones have speed control, a drop-in bobbin (making them quieter), and are very simple and easy to use.

By purchasing a machine from a dealer, you can take the classes they offer. I really recommend these, so that you learn the ins and outs of how to care for your machine properly and you can develop a relationship with the dealership so you can fearlessly have your machine serviced there when needed. Those folks will know your machine really well and can teach you all the tricks!

If you buy a Bernina, the dealer will likely offer Bernina Club, which is an amazing resource of monthly classes, each month teaching a new use of the machine. My mom has been sewing for 45 of her 55 years, has taught sewing and fiber arts classes for close to 30 years and attends Bernina Club down in Eugene and still learns new things (and has a lot of fun!)

Once I have daytime child care (aka preschool), I will totally go to Bernina Club!

I have a Bernina 1080 that I have mixed feelings about and a 1970s Elna that I also sew on. Both have great features. You just have to find the machine that you like and can afford!

Things to consider shopping for:

-Speed control (especially handy when doing small work quilting)
-One-step buttonhole (see the demo to confirm it really is one-step)
-Walking foot attachment (for quilting and for working on specialty fabrics)
-Symmetrical zipper foot (most machines have these, but low-end ones don't always and an asymmetrical zipper foot makes zipper application much more difficult)
-Portability (if you'll be taking a lot of classes)
-Large work surface or a table that fits your machine to increase the work surface.

Locally, the places where I have had (or witnessed) good service are:

Montavilla Sewing Center (NE Portland)
Sewing Center West (Beaverton)

Aloha Vac and Sew (Aloha)
27th Street Fabrics (Eugene)

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

More Cute Skirts!

If you are one of the many on the waiting list for the Cute Skirts class at Bolt, rejoice at the addition of two more sections of the class!!!

The Cute Skirts class will be held:

TUESDAYS September 25th and October 2nd, 7pm-9pm


WEDNESDAYS October 10th and 17th, 7pm-9pm

Call Bolt Fabric Boutique to sign up: 503-287-BOLT

This is a bit later than other weeknight classes I've offered at Bolt. We've changed the time to make it easier for me to get to class on time without causing crazy stress at our house at the changing of the guard... If I have to be in Portland at 6:30pm, my sweet husband has to hurryhurryhurry home and then we barely say hello as I dash out the door. The last time we did this, the little one was bawling at the front steps. So this should make it much easier. And if it works for everyone involved, I may be back in business for weeknight classes!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's not that I don't have things lately that I've made, but this fort that I made today for my son is the most interesting this afternoon! This is a quilt my mom made for me for my birthday this year (if you zoom in, you can see how old I am!) and my son has just discovered the fun of building a fort and hiding in it!

Here's a little "then and now" on our garden also... The first photo was taken in May. The second one today while little O was playing with our friends who were visiting from Norway (!!!). It was so good to see them. And good to take a break from the never-ending processing of the harvest from the very bountiful garden!!!

I've hardly had time to sew for all the canning I've been doing! I've put up another peck of pickles (we don't have a scale large enough for the pickles, so all I know is that I filled five 2-quart jars of pickles. This is in addition to the 20 or so quarts already in the fridge! We are in pickle heaven around here!!!

I've also made a few preserves from this book:
It has a really varied selection of recipes, which I especially needed in dealing with the zillion pounds of plums from my parent's tree! I've made Amaretto Plum jam, Orange Plum Marmalade (with Cointreau in it!), Orange-Blueberry Jam, Plum-Raspberry Jam, in addition to spaghetti sauce from our tomatoes/leeks/peppers/herbs and today we're working on harvesting our grapes and turning them into grape jelly. The juice is so good I'm tempted to just drink it, but I bet it will make superb (if a bit cloudy) jelly!

Eventually I'll get back to that solid color quilt I'm supposed to have done at the end of the month!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What's that, you have more time to spend at the computer?

Here it is folks:

It's like Etsy, but out of Europe. Germany or the UK, as far as I can tell.
You can read it all in German if you like... ;)

Zippered Coin Purse

There has been a lot of blogging about zipper pouches lately, and I wanted to add my two cents about how I teach my coin purse! This is the pattern that comes with my Farmer's Market Tote Bag pattern!

I interface the fabric, to make it a bit more rigid, and I make mine about the size of my driver's license and debit card, since that's what I carry. You could make it just about any size. And if you wanted, you could fuse two fabrics together (or quilt them together) and then treat the finished fabric like one piece. Because of how I install the zipper, you have limited scraggly edges, especially if you serge the side seams!

Place the zipper face down on the fabric. The zipper should be slightly longer than the fabric is wide. Here I've used a 7" zipper and the fabric is about 5" wide. Center the zipper on the fabric, aligning the edge of the zipper tape with the raw edge of the fabric. Sew down the center of the zipper tape, using a zipper foot.

Bring the other raw edge of the fabric up to the other side of the zipper tape. The right side of the zipper should be touching the right side (not the interfaced side) of the fabric.

Sew the zipper to the fabric, again aligning the zipper tape with the raw edge of the fabric. Make sure the side seams will line up for the next step!

Here's where my zippered coin purse is different.
Instead of having the zipper at the TOP of the purse, align the side seams so that the zipper tape can be completely flat! This means the zipper will lie on the FRONT of the purse.

In the picture you can see I've already sewn one side seam. I had the zipper mostly closed to sew that side, just to make it easier.

Be sure you OPEN THE ZIPPER before you sew the second side seam!

I sew across the zipper teeth a few times, to be sure it is secure!

Once you've sewn both side seams, cut off the excess zipper tape, using sharp scissors. It's important that you've used a nylon zipper, not a metal zipper or you could really trash your scissors. In the picture I'm using applique/embroidery scissors, but only because they were closest to the sewing machine that day!

Trimming the corners before you turn the coin purse right side out removes the excess fabric (and zipper tape) that causes rounded corners.

Here it is finished!

The photos don't show the ribbon being inserted, because it is put in the side seams. But here's how to do it:

On the side with the zipper stop, take 1 1/2" ribbon and fold it in half. Tuck the ribbon under the zipper teeth, with the raw edges of the ribbon lined up with the raw edge of the fabric. At this point, the zipper tape will be extended beyond the raw edge of the fabric, thus hiding the ribbon. Pin the ribbon in place and sew the side seam.

On the side with the zipper pull, take 6" of ribbon and fold it in half. Tuck the folded ribbon under the zipper teeth with the raw edges of the ribbon lined up with the raw edge of fabric. This side is trickier, because the zipper has to be open. Pin the ribbon in place and then place each side of the zipper teeth on top of the ribbon, holding the zipper teeth as close together as possible.

With the long bit of ribbon, you can wear the purse around your wrist or you can attach it to your Farmer's Market Tote Bag! That way your money is close by and doesn't fall to the bottom of the bag!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Summer sewing

Wow. What an absence. Sorry 'bout that!
Between hosting three different sets of family this week (including dinner for 12 one night) and having the contractor no-show on us to schedule the kitchen remodel, it's been a crazy busy week!

But that's not to say I haven't been sewing and teaching!
I'm wrapping up my teaching at Jo-Ann Fabrics for now. This shirt above is from Sewing II. I'm taking a break from teaching there during the fall and winter. For the student who called the store and specifically asked for a class from me, I'm so sorry to disappoint!

This week was full of birthdays, including a dear friend of mine who got this apron. The fabric has been in my stash for a long time, and I was worried that I didn't have enough of the blue to make an apron, but with a little Amy Butler inspiration, I was off to the races!

Little feet wanted to join me on my perch on the chair for photos.

Another birthday was for a little boy and it crossed my mind to make him a little hoodie like this one. It didn't get done quite in time, and then I figured that it was too cute and too much my son's size for us to give it away.

I did a little trick with the tails of the serger threads on this. I'd serged the hood to the body of the jacket and had long serger tails at the top of the zipper. The pattern called for twill tape to cover that seam, but I figured I could just top stitch the seam down. When I did, I tucked in the serger tails. That way there aren't any scraggly edges by his face. They wouldn't have been scratchy, just unsightly. And we don't want any of that!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Keep checking in

In other news, the class schedule for September/October classes at Bolt will be ready soon! Check the Bolt website at for details. As soon as the list is finalized, I'll have my classes listed in the sidebar!

Not much

Anyone else tired of seeing the same old post?
I don't have much for you, seeing as how I've apparently forgotten how to use our camera and haven't captured much at all lately, much less something blog worthy.

But I will share this photo of my son at my brother's wedding. Pretty cute, eh? In the corner you can see I'm wearing the skirt I made for the wedding. The green shirt didn't get finished in time, and still only has one sleeve cap, but the flower skirt and the green skirt got done, along with a ton of household-y things at my parents house (where the wedding was held!)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Just peeking in say hello.
I didn't mean to be so absent.
My brother's wedding was amazing.
For all of you who attended mine: this one was better!
My new sister-in-law's family is fantastic beyond words!
There were clearly all the prayers in all the family that we had sun while the rest of the state got rained on!

More later, including some photos!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Zoo.

Sigh. If I ever ask y'all if I should get one of these adorable Corgi puppies, please, please, please remind me that they are as much work as a very small child and never really grow out of it. Right now, sweet little Alistair is curled at my feet and mercifully quiet. I never really thought of us having a lot of animals at our house, but in regular attendance here is one 75 lb cattle dog/german shepard mutt (my dog), one crazy calico (my husband's cat), 7 or 8 fish, 4 chickens, and now on loan: one darling 8 month old Corgi puppy. He's even cuter than that picture there!

And this morning, it felt like an actual zoo, trying to get everyone fed.

The cat wanted to be let in at 5 am, something I usually would have slept thru, but for the puppy barking at her thru the sliding glass door. Funny, right?

So we've been up and at 'em since way earlier than I even knew it was light out.

So the puppy is on a raw food diet, which I'm supposed to enforce as a not-just-the-cat's-food diet. It also seemed like a good idea to keep the big dog away from the raw chicken the puppy had for breakfast (am I the only one who thinks that's gross?). So I juggled them all. Pretty successfully, I might add, getting the puppy in the backyard to eat his raw chicken while the cat was inside getting a bite to eat (portioned out to the amount I thought she could finish off on her own before the puppy came back in!) and the big dog was eating/inhaling his normal kibble while the 2 yr old was working on a fruit smoothie.

Yep, call me wonder woman! ;)
Because, did I mention the mister is away?
And he has the camera, so no pics for another day or two while we get all his photos downloaded.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My attention has been wandering

To these, the beets and onions, the blueberrries, the still green tomatoes, the pickling cucumbers ripening on the vine. Aaaaaah, Summer!
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