Friday, January 31, 2014

Let's go back to this for a minute

Do you mind looking at this bag again? I hope not. I would like to pick your brains for some suggestions. As I said in this post, I plan to use the bag to store some sewing tools that I use only occasionally, like the ones pictured here.

As you can see, some of them are rather oddly shaped, some are pointy, some have sharp parts. I'm thinking that they need some kind of a little sheath to protect them from tangling and damaging each other in the bag. Anybody have any good ideas on what to make? I would like to have them identifiable so when I want to use one of the tools, I'll know which one to grab. The handles could stick out... or... ???

Whaddya think? Any brilliant ideas?

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Have you ever noticed eyelashes on a cat before? I don't know that I have... at least not that I remember. I checked Josie, and if I can get her to hold still long enough, I can barely make hers out. But I've been noticing lately that Annabelle has distinct eyelashes. Just look (and also notice the pale creamy orange markings on her face):

No, her nose doesn't really glow. She was on my lap in not very good lighting, so I had to enhance the photo so you could see it better, thus the weird "glow". :) But those eyelashes!

And she continues to get darker!

I love it! I also love her personality... she is a very sweet, affectionate kitty. Just purrfect!

I really have nothing to blog about... yet. I finished a sewing project yesterday, but I can't show you... yet. Soon, though! Meanwhile, if I disappear, don't worry about me. :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My entertainment on cold winter days

She LOVES the cat cubes! I find them all over the living room. What she's playing with there is the plastic ring off a milk jug... one of her very favorite toys. If I toss it for her, she'll fetch it and bring it back for me to throw over and over and over and.....

Not quite as ambitious as she was here, huh? ;)

Monday, January 27, 2014

This morning

It's COLD, folks. Like 10° below zero, 33° below zero wind chill COLD. And it's not expected to get much warmer than that today. We had a raging blizzard again yesterday. School is closed for the day today.

The good news is... the sun is out! It's created some beauty... sundogs. Here's the north side:

And the south side:

I couldn't get them both in the same shot, and I wasn't about to go outside to do it. But then after I uploaded those shots to post here, I thought I should've made them into a collage of sorts, so you could see them both at once. So I did. Just imagine the sun in between them. :) And click on any photo to enlarge it for a better effect.

Thankfully, we haven't gotten a lot of snow with our blizzards. Probably only around an inch or less at a time. It's just that the strong winds (how strong? a gust of 56 mph yesterday!!) pick it up to make for zero visibility, and then it drifts into less-open areas... like our yard. This is the view below the sundogs:

It makes for nice photos (especially enlarged), if nothing else. Nothing else... photos are all I can think of that it's good for at the moment.

Sounds like a good sewing day, to me. I already have my next project cut out!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

"Make Me Up Before You Go-Go"

I finally get to show you my latest sewing project! It's called the Make Me Up Before You Go-Go bag, and the pattern is by the very talented Erin Erickson. Here's my little bag:

The body of it measures about 6 inches high by 10 inches wide.

I took a few pics while I was working on it, just to give you an idea of what went into it. It involved a little bit of quilting! This white flower on the one end, as well as the rest of the bigger flowers are all quilted. It was fun to stitch around them!

The main reason I decided to do this bag first (rather than a different one out of that green fabric) is because it called for Soft and Stable interfacing, which I'd never tried before, and I wanted to see what it was like before I tried putting it into any other bag. It's kind of foamy:

I liked it a lot! It was easy to sew, very nice and puffy for quilting, and flexible yet gave a lot of stability to the sides of the bag. I will definitely be using it again!

The hardest part of the whole project (other than my usual decision-making on fabrics, etc.) was putting the binding around the corners on the ends. This is what I was dealing with, lotsa layers:

The Wonder Clips were a Wonder-ful help. I think the best part of using them was that I wasn't repeatedly running my hand into the ends of pins and trying to keep from bleeding on the fabric. :)

Here's a closeup of some more of the quilting:

The bag opens nice and wide, so you can see what you've got in there. It has a zippered top, a divided pocket on one side of the inside,

and a zippered pocket on the other side:

Here's how the other end (my best one) turned out:

I made this cute little bag to keep for myself! I plan to use it to store some of the helpful little tools I've collected along the way that are now cluttering a table top but don't get used very often. This will be the perfect place for them.

In case anyone's wondering about the wicked-looking tools, that's my applique scissors, my sixth-finger-stiletto, and a hemostat that I used for stuffing dolls. The fabric I used is called Wildflower, and it's from the Dusk line of Jess's Outside Oslo collection.

I did a bit more of a pattern review for Jess's blog, so if you're interested, head on over there to read it.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Stay tuned!

A quick note for those of you who stop by early... I finished my sewing project and it will be posted later today (like late afternoon, probably) with a pattern review. So if you're interested, do come back!

Meanwhile, we're having yet ANOTHER BLIZZARD!!! *sigh*

Update: Sorry to keep you in suspense! I'm coordinating posts with Jess for the pattern review on her blog, but she's had guests and hasn't had time to get her part ready. Hopefully it'll happen tomorrow (Sat.).

As for the above-mentioned blizzard, it fizzled, thank goodness. School happened and was even on time today, and it got above freezing. That's the good news. The bad news is that we have another 'blizzard watch' for Sunday, and temps are going to crash again. Ugh.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

From the sewing room window

It did it again. It wasn't predicted, but it did it anyway. We had another blizzard yesterday. The forecast said it was going to snow a little and blow some... but it got to rip roaring a lot stronger than they'd said it was going to, so they upgraded it to a 'blizzard warning'. It didn't start early enough to cancel school, so the kids went... and then left for home again at 9:00 a.m. Aargh. And it's now well below zero again.

Meanwhile, I've been getting some sewing done. Heaven knows, it's better than looking out the window. Here's what I see from my sewing room, and I had to scrunch down a little to get the trees in there. 

It's a pretty gloomy view, isn't it?

BUT... look closer! There's a garden growing up from the bottom of the window!

(Click to enlarge... they're much prettier that way!)

Hey, a person has to look for the bright side, right?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Art project with Courtney

Courtney was able to spend the whole day with me on Monday, because there was no school due to the MLK holiday. She brought some of her Christmas things along and we played with them, but she was hoping I had an "art project" for her to do, and luckily I did! Just the week before, my friend, LiEr, had posted some things that her youngest daughter had worked on, and she'd made up printable sheets that anyone could download from her blog and use for themselves. Courtney was thrilled with what they were, so we downloaded and printed our own pages and went to work. Courtney did all the cutting. 

Fortunately, she happened to bring along a little purse (one that I'd made a long time ago, which you can see by her elbow), and all the pieces fit into it very nicely for taking home!

We both worked on the coloring. Here's one of her pages:

This is the page I did all by myself (she made me!):

We both worked on the third page, and since she was ready to cut before I was done coloring my part, I had to take photos in stages. Here's the first part:

And the rest:

We had a great time coloring everything (we used mostly colored pencils, but some crayons, too). We spent so much time working on them that there was no time left for playing with them, but she took them all home, and I'm sure she and her dolls will have a lot of fun, too!

If any of you would like to print the pages for your kids (or grandkids), you can find them here.

Thank you, LiEr, for the fun day!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Spring sunrise

"Spring" lasted just a little bit longer after yesterday's post. It was still very pleasant yesterday morning, and we had this beautiful sunrise:

I was out taking pics as my girl arrived!

Courtney didn't have school yesterday because of the MLK holiday, so Mommy dropped her off here on her way to work. We had a busy, fun day, making up for the fact that she hadn't been here since Christmas Eve! She's had extra dance classes on 'MY' Tuesdays, so it didn't work out for her to come here the last couple of weeks. We played a game, she made me a bracelet, and we spent several hours working on an "art project". I'll show you that later.

Winter returned with a vengeance while Courtney was here. It started snowing and then BLOWING like crazy. Daddy came to get her with the pickup later in the afternoon, and driving was nasty, but they (and Mommy) made it home safely. Ahh, Minnesota... land of infinite variety! As they say around here, "If you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes."

Monday, January 20, 2014

Spring sunset

Spring. Yeah, right... I WISH! It did feel like spring yesterday, though... it got up to 40°! Some melting occurred, and hopefully it glued down all the old snow, as the winds will be picking up again and bringing winter and below zero temperatures back.

Well, it was pretty while it lasted! As shot from the Canon (ha... get it?):

(Click any photo to enlarge.)

Friday, January 17, 2014

We had a blizzard

We got our predicted blizzard yesterday, but it wasn't quite as bad as we thought it was going to be. We got a little new snow, and winds gusted to over 40 mph at times, which had the new snow and any loose old snow up in the air. Thankfully, we'd had just a bit of rain one night, which glued most of the old snow down.

The temperature dropped pretty fast, and it left us with some frost designs on our windows again. I did a little more practicing with the new Canon camera. These photos are pretty, but not as crisply focused as I'd like them to be. I don't know if the problem is me or the camera. Probably me. I'll keep practicing. :)

I also tried taking movies for the first time with this camera, to show you the blizzard. They turned out okay, but they were in HD (high definition), and the files were HUGE! They'd have taken forever for you to load to play, and much longer for me to upload to Blogger. So I deleted them. I'm not sure if there's a setting to lessen their quality and make future files smaller... I don't think so, but I'll look into it. The Panasonic, my old-new camera, isn't too great with videos, plus it leaves too much background noise on the video clips (kinda like someone's cranking the film reel by hand or something!). So I'm hanging onto my old-old camera, the Kodak, which does blog-quality videos very nicely.

Even though it was blizzarding yesterday, our faithful mail carrier still made it through. Look what she brought me!

Now I have no excuse for not getting those bag projects made! At least not a zipper excuse. ;) Zipit is the best, and I love how she always includes a free zipper pull (designed by her husband) with every order!

(How many zippers did YOU order, Annie Dee? ;) )

Thursday, January 16, 2014

New tools and a sneak peek

I'm sewing! And waiting for a blizzard. The blizzard is supposed to be happening, but so far it's not. School is closed. Lotsa things are cancelled. It'd be just like Ma Nature to laugh and say "I changed my mind." But we don't dare take chances, what with the prediction of some new snow and 50-60 mph winds to blow it around.

Anyway, I'm thoroughly enjoying being back at the sewing machine again! It's the first I've sewn anything since before Christmas. I'm also enjoying some new tools I bought for myself a while back. Have you ever heard of Wonder Clips? Here's what they look like (the pen is just for size comparison):

They take the place of pins, particularly when sewing on thick layers of fabrics. Below are a couple of pics of them in use, which also give you a sneak peek at what I'm working on.

The Wonder Clips are great. I've used regular office binder clips before, but these work better. They're easier to handle, and they have little grippers to hold onto the fabric. I highly recommend!

Also (listen up, Annie Dee!), this sewing project has given me a chance to use my new applique scissors. I love it! It made cutting the thickness out of the seam allowance a breeze! Another high recommendation from me!

Update - 12:45 p.m.: The blizzard has arrived. It's snowing, blowing, and the temperature has dropped about 14° so far. Good call, school admin.!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Portraits in pretty

I snapped these pics really quickly while I was playing with the lenses on Saturday.

I just love the silvery-blue color of Annabelle's eyes. If you look closely, you can see some of the creamy orange bits that are starting to show up on her face:

'Pretty' goofy:

I'm out of pics! BUT, I have my sewing project all cut out and ready to start sewing!