Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Painter and the Project

Before we painted, this room was the brightest blue you'd ever seen, and the ceiling was the same color!!

The AFTER color is sage green.  The closet will be green and will have a new organizer with poles and shelves.

I can hardly wait for the blue to be gone!!

'Tis the Season -- for Graduations!

Last week the preschoolers in the four year old class where my youngest grand went to school had a graduation ceremony.  These are children who are attending a local private preschool affiliated with the church our family attends, so they'll be going off to kindergarten in other places next year.  The teachers wanted to make it a memorable occasion. 

And they did!

I had taken the day off work to attend.  The two classes marched into the sanctuary of the church in lines, to a recording of Pomp and Circumstance, just like you're supposed to at a graduation.  They had risers set up, and there was more than one set of eyes filling up and more than one throat with a lump in it when they entered. 

They had made mortarboard hats with those Styrofoam plastic bowls and some kind of square cardboard, and each little graduate had a red tassel hanging from the center.

The Graduates!
There were songs instead of a commencement address.  There were no valedictorians.  But there was an actual reading of names and each graduate got a certificate of completion.  They moved their tassel from whatever side it was hanging on to the 'other side' and shook hands with their teacher.  There was not a dry eye in the house when they were done.

Then the winners of the Q is for Quilt raffle were announced.  A's best friend won the quilt that I made for the other class, and a girl in her class won the one that "Andy's mom" made for A's class.

Of course we had cake!  And punch and lemonade. 

This week E graduates from elementary school.  Next year it's on to Middle School.

Congratulations, ladies!  Good job.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sow Along - May 28 Progress!!

I have to admit, I'm not really sewing ALONG with anyone, I'm just sewing along, making progress once in a while and getting behind at other times.  But I counted some progress this memorial day weekend.

I hemmed five pairs of pants for DD, fixed some pants for the eldest grand and did some minor sewing to a blouse and a swimsuit.  I cut a pair of my own slacks too short, and now I guess I'm making a pair of capris out of them.  And a couple of evenings I let myself be seduced by the bin of green fabrics and a couple of pattern books!

Remember back to our first basket block, how some of us didn't really LOOK at the templates and decided this basket didn't have a handle?  Clearly there WAS a handle, but without instructions some of us missed it.

Well, I decided to go back and put the handle on.

This is the result:

The handle is straighter than it looks.  And the color of this picture is actually more true.  I'm not sure what was wrong with the first picture... it could be that it was the camera or phone or whatever I took that picture with. 

I have 45 blocks done, but my design wall holds less than that.  Here's a photo of the current wall-full.

Six rows and seven columns... I think I'm going to do sashing and corner stones as a setting.

They look more restful with white space between, don't you think?
I started out with 2 1/2 inch strips, which will finish at 2 inches.  But I could just decide to cut that down to 1.5 inches finished.  It just depends on how many I have when I stop.  Although these things are like potato chips... you can't stop making 'em!

The three above, with the no-longer-handle-less basket, are Waterwheel, Tall Pine Tree, and a variation of Flying Geese that I saw in the book 501 Rotary Cut Quilt Blocks.

I hope you're having fun with your blocks!

Sew on!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The List....

Remember the list from a few blogs ago?

  • Mrs. D sewed a suit for Gail
  • Mrs. W's gray wool skirt
  • Mrs. H's blouse
  • White wool coat
  • Fabric shopping
  • Jean jacket/batik remake
I wrote about the suit and the skirt and the blouse, with a segue into the white wool coat.  So this is the story of that coat!

After Mrs. H bought me the gorgeous white wool and all the accessories to make a dress coat, I went into whatever it is that's the sewist's equivalent to writer's block!  I was so undecided on what to do next... imagine what it's like to stare at beautiful, pristine, NEW fabric, after working on fabric salvaged from recycled items all the time.  Somehow having the freedom to choose the pattern myself and make anything I wanted seemed too hard.

But my mom did not suffer fools lightly, and she said, basically, "get your rear in gear and get it done".  So I cleared off the kitchen table, laid out the fabric and started cutting.  I cut lining and interfacing, because by this time I had learned to read the pattern directions all the way through before starting anything.  I marked with old fashioned tailor's tacks because anything else might have left permanent marks.  And I started to assemble the coat.

Working after school and around my part-time job, it took me almost a month to get it done.  I never spent a lot of time on homework because school was pretty easy for me, but that had to come first.  That was the first question we were asked at the dinner table, and a no meant you were going to be back at the kitchen table with books right after the dishes were done.

So that was probably the longest period of time I ever worked on a garment continuously, that is without working on some other project in between.  But I spent a lot of time reading my source material (the pattern guide sheet) to make sure I did it right.  And I had to set up anew each time I worked, which also meant cleaning up after -- machine, materials, iron and ironing board.  Each time I think of this project I give thanks that now I have a big dedicated space in which to work!

I learned the use of a press cloth working on this coat.  I learned how to press lightly so as not to get the impression of your hem showing on the right side of your garment.  I finally perfected that button hole attachment... and I was impressed at how much the texture and loft of wool can hide some of the imperfections of a beginner sewist.

The first day that I put that coat on over my church dress, I felt like the princess going to the ball.  And when I showed it to Mrs. H, she was very liberal in her praise of my skills. 

I wore that coat for 'dress up' occasions until about 10 years after I graduated from high school.  Somewhere I have a photo of me wearing that and holding my DD as a baby in about 1976 or 77.  It still looked really good! 

Sadly, having two small children and a white coat didn't really go together.  Wearing the same coat every spring and fall for a number of years, and sending to the dry cleaners regularly, made it kind of an expensive item of clothing.  It really didn't make sense to hang on to it, and the fabric became so worn that it couldn't be recycled.  One sad spring day it was put into the donation box and that was that!

I never made another coat for myself.  I used those skills to make a number of coats and outerwear jackets for my children over the years.  Now I make other items of clothing for myself and the family.  But I will always have warm memories of the years with my white wool coat!

Thanks, Mrs. H, for lovely memories.

Sew on!