Adventures · Projects · sewing

Quarantine and Me: Week 3

It’s now been three weeks of quarantine, and honestly, I’m scared and sad – mostly sad. I’m sad that this pandemic has affected SO many lives. If I think about it too long it becomes too overwhelming and too sad for me to process. I feel a constant lump in my throat and the littlest things, like seeing all the army trucks lined up outside of the hospitals in Italy, will start the tears flowing. There are parts of me that thinks that this is just a bad dream and that I’ll wake up and things will be normal again. But I know it’s real, and so this week I decided that the best way to combat this sadness was to take action:

Step 1: I mentioned last week that sewing was my therapy, and that I was working on this Blooming 9-patch quilt – I’m happy to report that this week I finished it!

I freaking love this quilt! I have wanted to make this quilt (for the 3rd time) for a long time. The pattern is from “Tradition with a Twist” – by Blanche Young – it’s seriously one of my favorite quilting books.

I used fabrics from my stash (#stashbuster) and realized that the pattern is similar to this virus in that it starts in the center and each color ‘spreads’ into the next with a 9-patch. Look close you’ll see what I mean.

Step 2: I joined my sewing sisters and brothers to make masks for those on the front-line of this pandemic. Actually, my first 50 are going to my brother and his co-workers who work in an assisted living facility. The next 50 will go to Crafters Against Covid-19 – Seattle who donates them to local hospitals. (check to see if there is a local chapter in your area) So far 4500 masks have been donated to area hospitals and clinics and that makes my heart feel better.

Pinned and ready to be sewn.
Sewn, and just needing side tucks.
finished and ready to be sent out.

Step 3: I hosted a virtual Happy Hour (thank you Zoom) and told the story of my worst date ever! It’s a pretty funny story, and it felt good to laugh with my friends, to see their faces, and to just check in to see how everyone is doing.

Step 4: Finally, I delivered cookies and an offer to help to some of my neighbors.

When I was done with that I felt a little better.

Stay safe my friends!

Adventures · sewing

Please Excuse Me While I Geek Out!

The Sewing Expo was in town this weekend and for the first time ever I decided to go!  I’ve been sewing most of my life so you would think that I would have gone to a sewing Expo at least once in 30+ years… but nope!  …. but I’ll be going again as often as I can for now on!

Vogue Fabrics – so many choices!

I took Friday off from work and drove down to Puyallup to attend my first class – which was a lesson on how to Brioche knit.  I’m glad I took a class because I would have never been able to figure it out on my own.

After class I visited the vendors and gave myself permission to stock up on fabric – AND DID I EVER!!!!  I’m working on some summer outfits and bought enough fabric to make all my outfits – and then some!

Polyester/Lycra for a pair of leggings

Cotton/Spandex border fabric for a t-shirt dress.

 

This is a poly blend, I think I will make a dress with it, at $5.99 a yard it was hard to pass up.

The next day I had an afternoon class (wax canvas tote bag), so I planned to get there in plenty of time to do more shopping.  I bought the new Oliso iron –  both the full-size and the mini since they were on sale (Expo special)  My old iron was on it’s last leg so I feel like it was past time to get a new one!



I looked at sewing machines – this Tula Pink Special Edition Bernina is high on my wish list.

I would love to host another retreat, so I picked up retreat brochures to review for when that time comes.

Finally, I fell in love with this quilt and could not leave the Expo without purchasing the kit!  It was the only quilting related item I bought and I can’t wait to get started on it!

I throughly enjoyed myself this weekend!  I was completely in my element, being around and talking with people who love knitting, sewing and quilting as much as I do. It seemed everyone was happy to be there, and I met some very nice ladies in both of my classes … I’m SO glad I decided to go and am looking forward to going again next year.

 

Adventures

Choosing To Go Gray

I’m choosing to let my hair go gray!  I have been dying it for as long as I can remember.  Initially it was to have some fun with it, a blond streak here, blond underneath and dark on top.  It was all in the name of having fun at first, but then somewhere along the line I started dying my hair to hide the grays – and that’s when the fun stopped.

I’ve realized there are SO many reasons to stop dying my hair:

  1. There are over 5,000 chemicals in hair dye, (according to the National Cancer Institute), and more than a few have been linked to cancer.
  2. Dying your hair dries it out!  I can vouch for that!!!  I hate having dry, brittle hair worse than having grays!
  3. It’s a colossal hit to the wallet!  Every time I get my hair done (cut and dyed) it costs me  $200-$300!  My last postwas about being debt free by the end of 2020, and spending $200-$300 every 6-8 weeks to dye my hair seems so insane given that goal!

Its been about 8 weeks since I last dyed my hair.  Normally I’d be itching to do a root touch-up, but I’m done!  I’m joining all those brave women of a certain age who have paved the road before me.  People like Alexandra Grant (Keanu Reeves girlfriend).  People either loved or hated her hair…  personally I love it! (and her boyfriend too)

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Truth be told, I don’t have THAT many grays given my age, but I’m done trying to hide them.  I think it helps that silver hair is the IN shade for 2020.  I’ve seriously considered taking the plunge and dying it all silver …. but I’ve been dissuaded by more than one hair dresser from doing that.  In all honesty I like the thought of going cold turkey from the dye box – it seems like a more natural way to go.

So with that said, this is what my hair looks like today:

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See my glitter???

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I’m feeling pretty good about this decision, and I’m looking forward to how my hair will look by the end of 2020.

Happy Sewing

 

Adventures

2020 Resolution: Citizenship

A few weeks ago I shared my completed 2019 resolutions, and today I’m going to share one of my 2020 goals: obtaining my Greek citizenship.

My grandfather was born in a village outside of the town of Kalamata, Greece. Kalamata is located in the southern Peloponnesus peninsula, (in the Spartan region) and is home of the Kalamata olive – and is one of my favorite places to visit in Greece.

This past summer while I was there, I obtained a copy of my grandfathers birth certificate…. the first document of many that I need to collect to prove that I am his granddaughter – because if I can do that then according to Greek citizenship laws, I am eligible to become a Greek citizen.

Over the past 6 months I obtained certified marriage and birth certificates for my grandfather, my father, and myself – which was no small task! And, to make things more interesting, up until last week I had always thought my grandparents were married in Iowa – and it took Iowa 8 weeks and $20 to tell me that they in fact, were NOT married in Iowa at all!! Thank goodness my son is a wiz at computer sleuthing and found the correct city/state for me.

So, minus the correct marriage certificate, I was able to make the connection between my grandfather and myself, so off to San Francisco (the nearest city with a Greek consulate) I went! I flew in early on New Year’s Day, and spent some time walking around the city, I found my way to Chinatown, had dinner and took lots of photos for the photo greeting cards I’m working on!

My meeting with the consulate the next day went well, and afterwards I found my way to Lombard street, Hyde street, and then onto the Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch!

My trip to SF was fun, it was my first trip of 2020 and it did not disappoint! I flew back to Seattle bright and early the next day, and I now have my work cut out for me with finalizing, translating, and certifying all my documents – and one more trip back to SF!

Hopefully by the time 2021 rolls around, my paperwork will be in Greece being reviewed by whomever makes the decisions on citizenships!

Hopefully,

Adventures · sewing

Foggy Wallets

I have not been posting as much as I would like – even though I have not slowed down in my sewing!  I’ve actually made quite a few outfits/items including a pair of shorts, a couple of summer tops and now I’m working on another pair of Ginger Jeans.  My problem is I have been pretty lazy about taking pictures.  Sometimes after I’m done making something – I am just DONE and don’t want to look at it anymore… other times I think I’ll take the picture when I wear it for real (i.e., presentable).  And then I’ll forget.  Whatever the reason/excuse I need to get better at taking the pictures.

I do have pictures of my latest make!  WALLETS!!  I’ve got a $hit ton of fabric leftover from my store and I’m bound and determined to use it – so I’ve been making items for the Holiday craft shows that are just around the corner!  Here are all that I’ve made.  I most likely won’t make anymore until I see how well they sell.  I listed a few on my Etsy site – but I need to take more pictures and get the rest up.

Here are also pictures of the road trip I took last weekend down into Mt. Hood and then up along the Oregon coast.  I have had Cape Disappointment on my ‘must see’ list for a long time (30+ years?)  Even though it was foggy – it was worth the wait!

Adventures · sewing

Starting with the last thing I made…

I tend to go in and out of this blogging thing.  For years I used to keep a journal, and even with that there were times I was more consistent than others.  Now that I’ve challenged myself to sew my clothes for 2018, I thought I would blog my makes as a way to remind myself of what I did and any modifications etc. End of June seems like a good time to start doing that!  HA!!

So, this top isn’t the last thing I made… but it’s the thing I’ve been the most happy with and that’s saying a lot since I’ve been really happy with my makes lately.  (finally!)

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I think this makes me so happy is because it reminds me of my Memorial Day weekend in  Victoria, B.C. with my friend Jennifer.  We had to much fun!

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While in Victoria we did our own walking tour of the downtown area, stopping in to see the Empress Hotel, Totum poles and even walking along the waters edge – before heading out for a whale watching tour.

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Whale watching was amazing!  We saw 3 humpback whales, two adults and one younger.  They bobbed along and once in a while we would see a tail come up out of the water – which was very exciting – but not as exciting as seeing them breach!  (photo taken using my iPhone7+)

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The next day we walked around Buchart Gardens (amazingly beautiful) and visted the China town district.

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And afterwards did a little shopping at Fabric Land where I purchased this beautiful aqua and black  polyester crepe fabric.

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Of course I had no idea what I would make with it, but it was just too pretty to pass up.  I purchased  two meters of it thinking it would be enough to make a top of some sort.

After I got back I decided to make Simplicity 8138,  mainly because I already had the pattern in my stash, and I really wanted to sew something I could wear during the warmer weather we were having at the time.

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I combined view B and view C.  I liked the ties, but not the slit on the sides of view B.  And I liked the flare of view C.  I’m really happy with the way it turned out and I didn’t have any modifications other than my standard lengthening.  I’ve worn it a couple of times in the past few weeks and each time it reminds me of that weekend in Victoria.  Good times,  Good times.

Till next time!

N

 

Adventures · Projects

Fifty Years and a Jacket

This past week I flew out to Minneapolis to celebrate my 50th birthday with my friends.  I normally don’t care to celebrate my birthdays. Not that I’m against them, but they are a reminder to me that time flies way to fast…. and I’m kind of obsessed with the concept of time.  (don’t get me started).

I wanted to celebrate this birthday because I was in a new city and I wanted to ward off those sad feelings of turning older and not celebrating in some way.  I haven’t met too many people here – so, I flew to Minneapolis where I knew enough people who I knew would celebrate with me.

I stayed with my friend Jennifer and on Saturday Jennifer, her mom, and I spent the day in Stillwater, MN at their Fall Festival (which would not be a big deal were it not for the biggest pumpkin contest!)

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We couldn’t have asked for a better crisp Fall day!  We walked the vendor catwalk -I bought a pillow made with bamboo fibers and let me just say – YES!!   We stopped in at Darn Knit Anyway and had lunch overlooking the St. Croix River. It was such an enjoyable day with two of my favorite people!

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My party was held in a small Irish Pub near my old neighborhood.  The party was small, but my friends who were there laughed and talked and had a good time…. and that’s all I ever want for my friends. I was amazed that friends who had never met – had other friends in common.  Everyone sews or quilts so I guess that makes the connections even easier.

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I want to thank my friend Jennifer for all that she did to make my day so enjoyable!  I love you girlfriend!

Okay, onto what I’ve been working on.  First, let me say, so sorry for the very poor lighting.  I had no way to take pictures of myself outside so I bought a small tripod… and since I received it it’s been raining when I want to go out and take pictures.

Anyway, here is the jacket!

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The pattern is McCalls 7199, I started out making version C with the toggle closure, but when I tried it on for toggle placement, I decided I liked it better without the toggle. The fabric is a sturdy ponte knit which I love, but the front is self facing so having 4 layers (6 if you count the pockets) makes it a little front heavy.  I obviously don’t care – there’s so many other things I like about this jacket: it’s longer in the back and almost covers my bumm, it’s comfortable, it has pockets, and it’s versatile!  I’ll definitely be making this jacket again.

 

Adventures · Projects

Hiking the Clackamas and a Bra

I did it!  Actually my sister and I did it!  We hiked the Clackamas River trail from end to end – a full 8 miles and it was beautiful!

At the trailhead getting ready for our adventure.
At the trailhead getting ready for our adventure.

We decided to start on the end of the trail that had the highest elevation so that most of our hike was on a downhill slope.  Not that it was easy, but there was one part in the trail that we both agreed would have been a bitch to hike up!

There is a beautiful waterfall right at the 4 mile mark where we decided to stop and have lunch.  Besides the main waterfall there were 3-4 other smaller waterfalls – even one where you could walk behind.

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And everything was SO green!  It was just beautiful!

 

Grace found a nice mossy rock to scratch her chin on… until Leo showed up.

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At the end of the trail there was a bench that had a bunch of trinkets imbedded in it.  My guess is that the items were found on the trail at one point or another.

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If you are ever in the Mt. Hood area and are looking for a beautiful hike to do, I highly recommend the Clackamas River trail.  It’s beautiful and even though it was rated ‘difficult’ it wasn’t too difficult.  We were exhausted afterwards, and pretty sore the next day – but still glad we did it!

Okay, now onto project news.  As you know I have been working on three projects simultaneously:  A bra, a fusion quilt and a shower curtain for Athena.  Well, I finished the bra!

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I knew going in that this was a practice bra so I allowed myself to make plenty of mistakes.  I did ‘unsew’ some parts, but not too much – I didn’t want to waste too much time picking out stitches knowing this was just a practice piece.

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Before I cut out the pieces, I took my measurements as instructed… and made the recommended size based off of those measurements even though it was MUCH larger than the ‘ready-to-wear’ size I normally wear.  Turns out – it was too small.  But now I know I can increase the band measurement AND the cup size for the next one.

I used some scrap fabric I had left over from a top I’m working on for the main fabric.  I still have enough left over for another bra.  I’m not too thrilled with the lining fabric and will probably try to find something with more substance to it.

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and I really don’t like the ‘super mesh’ so think I’ll try to find something else to use.  (the Super Mesh is used for the back piece – it’s hard to see in the picture because it’s so thin).

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As you can see I didn’t get the elastic on right so the piece is a little large for the ‘hook & eyes’.  Overall it was a good learning experience and I did print off the next size up so I can get started on the next bra right away.  However, I’m not sure how much sewing I’ll get done this weekend.  My goal is to try to paint Athena while the weather is still nice.  Water somehow seeped in last winter and I want to make sure it doesn’t seep in again this winter.  I did put some sealant on the seams, but I’m thinking a coat a paint can only help.

Happy sewing!

 

 

Adventures · Projects · RV Living

My Succulent Garden

I’m exhausted!!! For the past 2 1/2 weeks I have been living out of my suitcase – literally!  Long story but the lesson is to ALWAYS talk to the KOA manager if you want to confirm your reservation!  There was no room at the Inn for the first part of August so I had to leave the KOA for a couple of weeks until a spot opened up.  I took the opportunity to have some work done on Athena and managed to stay with my sister in Spokane, my brother and a friend of mine… and of course a vacation in Minneapolis.  It was kind of fun until the last day – and then I was just anxious to be settled again and surrounded by my own things.

So, I’m back now and I will give the KOA kudos for putting me in a much better spot!  I have huge shade trees on both sides of me and I’m even closer to the walking trail!!  All is good in my world.

I have to talk about my latest obsession:  succulents!  Yes, those little cacti looking plants!  I saw some starter succulents at the farmers market not too long ago and regretted not picking up a few.  I don’t know what triggered it, but I just thought they were the coolest looking plants!  I guess I didn’t pick them up because I’m really not a plant person and was afraid I would kill them.  But after reading about how easy they are to care for I started to give them a second thought.

My sister has a bird bath in her back yard which is filled with Hens & chicks.  A friend had given her one a few years ago and she said she “stuck it in the bird bath” and forgot about it.  I wish I had a picture because the bird bath is now overflowing with Hens and chicks succulents  I mentioned my obsession to my brother-in-law while I was staying at his house and even he has a succulent garden!

To start my succulent garden I took a few hens & chicks and planted them, along with some other succulents I found at a local nursery in these orphaned sugar and creamer holders that I’ve been unintentionally collecting.  I pick them up for their color (I love all things aqua) and use them to hold various things like paperclips, etc.  Then the other day I found this orange teapot at the Goodwill store and voila – instant succulent garden for Athena!

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I got a little carried away and bought too many succulents for my little containers, so I put the rest in a bigger pot and, if I can keep them alive, I’ll try to swap a few with my brother-in-law and sister.  (the blooming looking plant on the far left is the Hens & Chicks from my sister’s bird bath).

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If you are curious about these plants I have started a Succulent Garden Pinterest Board here.  I dare you to scroll through and not think these plants are gorgeous!

 

Adventures · Projects

Floating Down the River

This past weekend I flew out to Minneapolis to spend a few days glamping with my friends.  I won’t get into the fiasco with the missed flight because it all ended well and I was able to get to where I needed to be – just a few hours later.

I arrived in Minneapolis early Friday morning and had breakfast with son #2.  We ended up going to Waffles and Black Coffee in the U-District.  I highly recommend this place for the waffles!  I ordered the Strawberry Shortcake Waffle and OMG it was so freaking good!  I didn’t think I would be able to eat the whole thing – but I was wrong!  I ate the WHOLE thing and didn’t regret a single morsel of it!  Sorry no pictures of the waffle – but I took one of the Chai Lattee they gave me!  How cute it that?


Glamping was in Lanesboro which is about 2 hours south of the Twin Cities.  It’s a cute little town, rolls up during the winter, but during the summer there is people all over the place enjoying tubing on the Root River, biking along the trails, camping, shopping and even a theater group that is actually really good!

The picture below is of son #2, my BFF, her daughter and her mom and step-dad!  When I talk about my Minnesota family – this is who I’m talking about!


One of the gals in our Glamping groups lent me a trailer for the weekend and let me just say – if I ever sell Athena, I might just consider getting a trailer with a pop-out!  Wow!  There was SO MUCH room – it was like staying in a mobile home!  I love how she made it all homey for us!  She even put out a scency candle and linens!


We drove back into Minneapolis early on Sunday so I could have lunch with both my boys before I had to catch my flight back to Seattle (I wasn’t about to miss another flight!).  I won’t get into the slobbery cry session when I left or  how much I miss them  – if you are a mom – you get it!  Even though they are men now, they will always be my boys.


I can’t yet show you the hand project I took with me to work on.  It is a ‘commissioned’ piece and because it’s not finished I don’t want to ruin the surprise for anyone.  I will say though that it is a crochet piece – and was super easy to tuck in my bag and work on during the flight to and from Minneapolis.  I’m curious, if you are a quilter what type of projects to you bring to work on when you can’t bring a sewing machine?