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.

 

Projects · RV Living

A Day With Nothing To Do

Last weekend the stars all aligned in the right order and I actually had 2 days with nothing on my calendar!  Raising my boys those days came few and far between – I’m talking years!  But now it seems they come along every few months and when they do I bask in the glory of a day with nothing to do!

I started my day baking a loaf of Greek Yogurt Banana bread because I had a couple of bananas that were past the point of when I like to eat them and some Greek yogurt (of course)   Then I made a loaf of The Best EVER Chocolate Zucchini bread to use up one of the zucchinis my sister gave me out of her garden.  I found the recipe on Pinterest and let me just say – OMG!! It is SO freaking good!  It has the consistency of cake – I’m sure it’s not good for you at all even with the zucchini, but I don’t care!  I can easily eat the full loaf, which is why I took both loafs to work with me on Monday and shared them with my co-workers.

I also had a gallon bag full of huckleberries my sister had given me a few weeks ago.  I love making jam, so that gallon bag is now 6 jars of jam – some of those jars will become Christmas gifts!  (PSA:  yes, it’s time to start thinking of Christmas especially if you like to make your gifts like I do!)

But the best thing I did this weekend was sew while binging on Longmire!  I love that show and not to give anything away -but one of the main characters (Vic) is now living in a Airstream Argosy motor home!  JUST LIKE ME!!!!  (except I have a Argosy travel trailer – but STILL!!!)  I think it’s becoming a thing!

Back to sewing – I finished my shower curtain!

Really all I had to do was hem all the edges and add grommets.  I don’t know why I procrastinated so long.  My bathroom is starting to look legit.  I think it’s time to renovate!

Anyway, once I was done with the shower curtain I decided make a baby quilt using the left over fabric.  I cut a bajillion 2.5″ squares for this quilt to assemble 49   9-patches.  Once again a quilt I saw on Pinterest was my inspiration.  (I love Pinterest)

I was able to sew this quilt together fairly fast (which seems to be key with me), so next weekend I think I may start another quilt just like it using all my leftover orange and white scraps.

Before you even ask – No, I’m not pregnant and as far as I know, neither are my boys.  I’m learning that not all my quilts have to be queen size.  In fact, it might stand a better chance of getting finished if I make fewer blocks (i.e., crib size).  This quilt will probably end up in my Etsy store once I get it quilted – which is on my list of ‘to-do’s’ this weekend.

Till next week!

Nikol

Projects

Sewing a Bra – Take 2

I did it!  I made a wearable bra!  image

It might look just like the bra I made before, but this one fits!  I used the same fabric for the main part, but a different fabric for the lining.

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And I used the lining fabric from the first bra for the back pieces on this second bra.  Much better use for that fabric. I have way more stretch, which allows this bra to actually fit!

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Lessons learned with this bra:  1.  I should use different fabric for the main piece.  The fabric that I used is a little stiff.  Definitely not made for bras.  2.  The wires need to be larger.  I ended up ordering wires that were not the correct size or shape so I used the wires out of an old bra.  Even those were a little short and moves around a bit in the casing.  Not too much, but I’d rather they not move at all.  3.  I definitely like the way this bra ‘perks’ up my silhouette – I’ve worn it all week just because it feels so much nicer to have everyone in their place!

Best part:  it was a quick sew!  I made this one in about 2 hours!  Not bad, huh?  I’ll definitely be making more!

 

 

Athena · Projects

Hives, Sharks and Athena’s New Look

I spent most of my weekend painting Athena (more on that later), Saturday was absolutely beautiful out!  Not too hot, not too cold – it was just Goldilocks – except there was something in the air that caused me to constantly sneeze and made sweet Grace break out in hives! I was in and out of the trailer all day and each time I came inside I would find her scratching at one part of her body or the other.  Poor girl was just miserable.  After I saw the bumps on her face I gave her a 1/2 a Claritin and hoped it wouldn’t kill her.  It didn’t.  In fact, she started to feel better within the hour!  After that she was good and there’s been no sign of the hives since – Tis the season!

So remember those shark slippers I made?  Here’s a picture of the recipient wearing them!  LOL  I love the smile on her face!  Made all the frogging (rip-it, rip-it … get it?) worth while!

Okay, now onto Athena!  Here is the before picture!

And here is the after!

I’m not quite done, I still have to do the hitch, tank, bumper and a few minor details, (which I am doing in orange) but I can’t believe what a difference painting makes!  It’s like I have a whole new trailer!

The hardest part was getting up on the roof – I have a slight fear of heights, plus I had a hard time trusting that the roof wouldn’t collapse.  Once I realized it was going to hold I actually did okay.  That big box is my A/C & unit – the one that kept me cool on those hot-ass summer days!    One of these days I’ll get it replaced with a new one which are half the size and twice as quiet!

I first put on a clear coat of Kilz to seal it, then used this enable paint from Home Depot.

I had the colors picked out since I bought the trailer 3 years ago!  I’m so glad I hung onto those paint chips – if I hadn’t it would have taken me another week to decide on colors.  (I can make a decision – I just like to take my time doing so) As it was it took me all day Saturday to  put the Kilz on – then all day Sunday to paint just the top half.  I worked on the bottom half on Sunday and have been coming home after work each day to do the trim.

It’s supposed to rain this coming weekend so I may not get the chance to finish painting everything.  What I don’t finish can wait till we have a stretch of sunny days again – even if that isn’t till Spring.  Plus, it’s not like I don’t have a host of other projects I can work on.

Nikol

 

 

 

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!

 

 

Projects

Falling into September

I can’t believe it’s September already!  I see all these ‘first day of school’ photos on my Facebook feed and it makes me miss my boys!  When we moved into our house in Minneapolis I would take a picture of them in the back yard on the first day of school!  I look back at those pictures now and can’t believe how little they were!  Time flies by so fast!

So other than looking at all the back to school photo’s on Facebook I have been sewing up a storm!  (BTW – did you know September is National Sewing Month?) However, I haven’t finished anything!  I suppose if I were working on just one project I might have – but this week  had three going:  a bra, a shower curtain, and the fusion quilt.  I had to order the bra fixings on-line so I didn’t get started on that till Tuesday night – I cut out the pieces and have the cups sewn together.  I can tell already that I ordered the wrong lining fabric, but I’m not worried about it.  I am expecting to make lots of mistakes on this one – if it actually fits it will be a bonus.  I’m counting on the next one to be perfect.

Before the bra I had been working on my shower curtain I had all the rows sewn, just had to join them.  But I got so excited when the bra fixings came in that I set aside the shower curtain.  I finally picked it up again tonight and got it all sewn together.  All I need is to add grommets and hem it and then I’ll be done.  As for the fusion quilt I’ve crocheted edges to all of the squares and have started to join them – which amazingly is going pretty fast.

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My hope is that by this time next week I’ll be wearing a new bra, have a pretty shower curtain and a new lap quilt to take me into Fall!

Speaking of Fall, nothing like Pumpkin scones to transition from Summer to Fall!  I made these one day last week when it was cool enough to turn on my oven!  I thought I would be clever and try and make chocolate pumpkin scones , but I didn’t add enough chocolate powder so they ended up looking like dirt.  But they tasted SO good!  Just ask the guys I work with!  Scones tend to be on the dry side which is why I added the glaze on top.  So, so good!

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Until next week!

 

Athena · Projects · RV Living

Showers and Sharks

The temps last weekend reached into the 90s – which is hot by Seattle standards, so I planned on staying out of the heat as much as possible!  In fact, that was my plan all along after being on the go for the last few weeks, but it was nice that the weather cooperated with my plan.

Athena has a A/C unit which is 35+ years old – but still works!  Once it awhile it would trip the circuit so I’d have to go to the back and flip the switch. Honestly thought I was counting my blessing that I was flipping a switch in my 35+ year old trailer than going without A/C in my “high efficiency” apartment!

This past weekend I also put sealant on the cracks in my tub so that I can take a shower in my trailer and not worry about water seeping down to the sub-floor.  (Not something you want at all)

The shower is a little small, but it works and beats hiking over to the KOA showers!   I have one of those shower heads where you can switch the water on or off.  My water heater does not hold a lot of hot water – so being able to switch it off is important if I want hot water for the full shower!  On my list of upgrades is to replace it with a tankless water heater. Then I can shower without turning the water on & off OR going outside to light the water heater!   Ahhhh the luxuries!

So now that the shower is up and running I started working on a shower curtain to match the rest of the curtains in the trailer – and was promptly side tracked with starting a Fusion quilt!  This is just the first block – I only have 48 moe to go.

Fusion Quilt

I had seen these on Pinterest and thought they were so pretty.  Then, when I was out in Minneapolis my friends mom mentioned she had started one – and really that’s all it took to get me motivated.  The fact that I just so happened to be cutting 5″ squares for the curtain also helped.
I have been on a roll with crocheting  lately – that super secret project I mentioned here, are these Shark Slippers!

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I get a kick out of these things!

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I have to admit there was a lot of frustration in making these – mainly because I am not a proficient crocheter.  I have to look up the abbreviations over and over, but I got it and if they fit my hella big foot they are sure to fit the recipients  size 7 foot!  The pattern is from Penelope vt on Ravelry.   If you make them follow the directions no matter how crazy they seem and save yourself a lot of frustration at the end!

Till next week!

 

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?

Athena · Projects

A Powwow and Raspberry Jelly

Hello!  What a week I’ve had -so far.  As you know I’ve been staying at the KOA for the past few weeks.  The good news is I love it… the bad news is, they are SO PACKED this time of year that I had to leave for 11 days!  Long story, but when I went to extend my stay they had already booked up and had no room at the inn until Aug 10th.  So I will be staying with family and friends for the next 2 weeks.  Yay for family and friends! 

First stop:  Spokane!  I dropped my trailer off at the Spokane Airstream dealer to have them figure out why there is water leakage under the trailer when I hookup to city water.  Hopefully it will be as simple as tightening a few hoses and won’t cost an arm or leg. 

I stayed with my sister for the weekend and while there she, her friend Shirley and I went to a Powwow in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho – which was so much fun!!  All I can say was WOW at all the color!!  There were so many people that I could not get close enough to take pictures of all the dancers in main arena.  This is the best I could do – sorry – it does nothing to show off how beautiful and elaborate all the outfits were!

  
But I managed to put my brave pants on (pun intended) and ask a couple of dancers if I could take my picture with them.  The one on the left looks all mean without a smile, but he was super nice and was all smiles before and after the picture.  Same with the hottie on the right.

  
My sister and Shirley were giving me a hard time about missing my chance to grab a husband.  So to get back at them, I asked another dancer, who was dressed up in a gorgeous outfit if he would take a picture with my sister.  We nicknamed this guy “Chief I’m Single” because his friend was trying to set him up!  So many missed opportunities! LOL

  
Now onto the creative stuff – In my last post I teased that I would show you how I make Raspberry jam – well, here it goes:  

 Step 1: go for a long walk along the Green River trail where raspberries grow wild along the river!! 

 step 2:  Pick about a gallon of berries!  You will need the extra for your yogurt parfait or smoothies. 

Step 3: enjoy how beautiful the trail is!  

   

   

 Step4:  get down to jam making business!  I used about 1/2 gallon of berries and the juice of one lemon.  I love experimenting with different flavors and since I am planning on giving these jars of jelly away I though lemon would be a safe and refreshing option.  I washed the berries off real good – (I was more concerned with critters than chemicals spray). I then put them in a pot over medium heat with about 2.5 cups of sugar and let it boil for about 10 min stirring constantly!  

  I did not use pectin in my jelly – instead I boiled the mixture until it had the consistency of a thick syrup and then boiled a few minutes more.  Then I laddeled it into sterilized canning jars, covered with a lid and canning ring then boiled in a canning pot for about 10 min.  I found with Jellies you don’t have to boil very long before you hear the lid seal.  Sometimes it will seal even before I put it in the pot! All good signs! 

   

I did all of this in the comfort of my own trailer!  It makes me happy that so far I haven’t had to give up anything but debt by downsizing to a 27′ trailer.