Thursday, December 31, 2015

What we've been up to

Oh, my... not much left of 2015! Let's see if I can squeeze in one last post before the year is over. 

Yes, we had Christmas!

Over our long weekend we worked on projects. Here are Jess and Grandpa working together on one of them, a reupholstery job.

I didn't have much to do with that project except to serge the edges of the fabric to keep it from fraying.

Here's the finish!

Isn't it lovely?! Have a closer look at the fabric.

It was inspected by my faithful assistant. It passed.

The good news is that it gets to stay in my house!

The fabric is from Jess's new line of barkcloth for Cloud9 Fabrics. This line is called In Theory, and here's a look at all of it.

It is supposed to be available for purchase the end of January or sometime in February. Knowing how it goes, I'm not holding my breath on that. However... lucky me... all that fabric, around a yard of each, was photographed in my house! It's our samples. More sewing projects, coming up!

We had kind of a project factory going over the weekend. I got some sewing in, but haven't quite finished it up yet. Here are a couple of sneak peeks for you.

These, of course, are made from the Typography quilting cottons.

More on that later.

The thing on Instagram at the end of the year is posting your top 9 most-'liked' photos of 2015 in a collage (made automatically on a website). Here's how mine turned out.

I guess sewing is my winner... and it doesn't seem to matter if the project is completed or not. Ha. Did you notice the duplicate project pics? Sadly, there were no cat photos in my top 9, although that's probably what I've posted the most. I'm just happy that my fawn made it in, as those 2 are my personal favorite photos. The tree scene is actually a photo I took in 2014 but posted this past fall.

So that's a little update for you. The year is coming to a close quickly, so I'll just end here by wishing you all a Happy 2016!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Scrapbusting Typography

While awaiting the release of Jess's Typography fabrics and some yardage of them, I decided to use what scraps I had left here to make what I could to go with the announcement when it was ready for sale. First I made this little Circle Zip Earbud Pouch from the Specimen print. The pattern was by Erin (Erickson) Gilbey, and it went together very quickly.

Then I had just enough of the Helvetica print to make this Essential Wristlet, paired with some more of the faux leather that I love. That pattern was also by Erin Gilbey.

Knowing the release date was getting closer but we had no yardage yet, Jess sent me the little 6"x6" samples she had so that I could make this ever-so-cute Rainbow Clutch from Anna Graham (a.k.a. Noodlehead)'s book, Handmade Style, which can be purchased from Amazon, among other places.

I haven't looked at the details of any of the other patterns in the book, but for this one I would say it'd be helpful to have a little bag-making under your belt, because I think a few things are taken for granted that you should already know. I did have a couple of issues while making it, the first being some short-lived confusion when she interchanged the terms "flap" and "tab" when telling how to make the flap. There are also zipper tabs, so thus the confusion. And she doesn't mention fusing the second piece of interfacing to the second flap piece... for a little more confusion. The biggest thing I had a problem with, though, was that the snap parts don't line up right. There just wasn't enough room on the pieced pocket to fit the snap part in the right place. The flap could've perhaps been just a bit longer. And it wasn't just my sewing... I looked at other Rainbow Clutches on Instagram, and I could see where some of them obviously had the same problem... and others may have had the problem but didn't fasten the snap for their photos, like I didn't. ;)

One more thing... the pattern calls for quilting cotton, with only Pellon SF101 woven interfacing. To me, that seemed like it would make for a somewhat wimpy clutch, so I decided to use foam interfacing in mine instead. It made for a little bit more work, basting and later trimming the foam, but I'm really glad I used it. It gave the clutch some nice body.

So things like that are the reasons I was glad I knew something about bag-making, so that I could have a better outcome (well, except for the snap).

One good thing I learned from using the pattern is paper-piecing (I hear you cheering, Kris)! I had never done it before and knew nothing about it. The pattern doesn't cover it in detail, and in fact says to google it for tutorials or videos showing how. I knew better than that, though - I texted my friend Cindy from Live a Colorful Life and asked her about it, because she is one heckuva good quilter! She gave me some tips, one of which was to go to her tutorial here where she explains how to use freezer paper to help with odd-angle paper-piecing. I found it extremely helpful, and thus I was able to end up with a lovely paper-pieced pocket on my clutch. (I even found it kind of fun, once I got the hang of it... but don't get your hopes up, Kris. Ha.)

I also used my favorite tutorial for setting in a welt pocket zipper, found here. I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

Another thing I did, because I didn't want the lining fabric showing AT ALL around that zipper to mess up the look of the lovely linen... I swapped out that part of the pocket lining fabric for a piece of the linen (I just seamed them together). In other words, I faced it. I'm REALLY glad I did that! Some of the other clutch pics I saw had pocket lining fabric sticking out, and it looks pretty tacky like that when it's not intended to show.

The linings for all the bags in this post are the same, Lorem Ipsum from Typography. I seemed to have plenty of that left.

Here are the bags all together, for a bit of size reference.

Oh, and lest I forget... Typography has now been released and is available for purchase!! Finally. :) I know Hawthorne Threads has the whole line. You can check the Cloud9 website for where to buy from other places.

More good news that I'm even happier about... Jess's latest barkcloth fabrics are in the works, the samples are out, and some of each is being shipped to me! Woohoo! I so love the barkcloth! This line is called In Theory, and you can get a peek at it here. So over Christmas, Jess and I can plot projects. ;) It is supposed to be released for sale in January or February.

Speaking of Christmas, it's coming FAST. So much to do... so little time! So I'm out of here until after next weekend. Here's wishing you all a blessed Christmas with family and friends! I'll try to be a little more consistent with the blogging in 2016. Try. ;)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Crazy weather

I told you about our snow that began on November 30th. It ended with a total of about 10 inches. I didn't think we'd see bare ground again until spring. But what a difference a week can make! The two pics below were taken exactly a week apart, on Dec. 2nd and 9th. Quite a change, huh? Most of the rest of that snow is gone, too.

The spring-like conditions of the past week have certainly helped shorten the winter!

This morning I woke up and looked out the window and saw this:

(Side note: Look at all that green grass!)

We'd had freezing drizzle overnight, and the strong, gusty winds made the accumulated ice break off the branches in chunks.

The lilac bushes were kind of strange-looking. I don't recall ever seeing ice formed in stripes like this before:

It was still very windy when I took that photo (with the iPad), so it was hard to get a clear shot, but you can see the stripes well enough. The wind blew hard over night, so I'm just guessing that somehow the gustiness of it caused the striping effect. Interesting.

I wonder what the rest of this El Nino winter will bring!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

For women only, take 2

Well, I did it. I made a second bra. This one turned out much better, and I'm calling it a success! Here it is (and it's really hard to take a photo of a bra, just so ya know).

Here's a closeup of a little detail that I didn't even bother to add to the first bra, since I knew I wouldn't be wearing it. The hardware kits come with a little bow to sew onto the front.

If any of you missed the first post that has a lot more details, you can find it here. I had a lot of issues with trying to get answers to my questions in the class. I did get enough to make this second bra and have it fit, but I still have questions out there awaiting answers. I've also posted a photo of the bra on myself for the teacher to critique, but I've again heard nothing. Craftsy will be hearing from me soon regarding all of that.

Will I be making more bras? Absolutely! In fact, on Cyber Monday, I bought hardware kits to go with my leftover fabric, plus to reward myself, I bought a pretty turquoise w/lace kit! I'll show you that one when it's done, too... but it's low on my pile of intentions right now. Must get through Christmas first!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

So amazing when you look closely

When I was complaining about all the snow we got on Monday (about 10" total), I was told by a friend (you know who you are) that I should get out my Easy Macro lens and take some photos. So I did! I got some fun shots. Just look:

The temperature was right around freezing, and the snowflakes were not only coming down in clumps, they were melting almost as soon as they landed. In the photo below, on the far right side just above center, you can see the shape of one that had just melted. I love it!

The above ones were taken on a wooden bench seat outside our back garage door. The next ones were taken on the concrete in front of the garage.

Below is my favorite.

Aren't snowflakes amazing up close?! I'm almost looking forward to more snow so I can try taking macro pics again. Almost. Just a few flakes would be fine. Flakes that land inches apart. That's enough. Period.

Monday, November 30, 2015

It's here

I believe winter has officially arrived, even if the calendar doesn't say so yet. It's looked like this all day long.

Our local school closed at 1:00 p.m.

I took these next two when I went out to feed the cats tonight. It's hard to tell depth in the photo, but I'll just say I should've dug out my taller boots.

I'm guessing about 7" so far, but we're still under a winter storm warning until tomorrow (Tuesday) night. And then the wind picks up. Picks up the snow and rearranges it.

It doesn't look like it in the pic above, but it was still snowing. The driveway was solid white... very hard to tell where the edges were. Our mail carrier made it through on the roads, though. Of course. That's what mail carriers do, right? Well, 'almost' all the time. Grandpa made it home and up the driveway, too.

There were already deer tracks wandering through the yard. I saw a deer out in the field watching me, but when I bent down to get the camera out of my jacket and looked up again, it was gone. Too far away, anyway, but it sure looked pretty against all the white.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Evening sky

After feeding the cats last night, I couldn't help but go back for the camera and capture the evening views.

To the east, there was a beautiful full moon over the neighbors' place.

I liked how it reflected off the grain bin.

To the west, there was a lovely colorful sky.

You can see in the photo above that there were only little strips of snow left... only in shaded areas. Our current 40° is taking care of that pretty well, too.

Did you notice the baltimore oriole nest in the tree on the right above? That's the one that was decorated in ribbons over a year ago. Still hanging tight!

It was a beautiful evening. Peaceful.

In case I don't get back before Thanksgiving... here's wishing all you fellow Americans a joyous one filled with lots of good food and especially with thankful hearts!

Monday, November 23, 2015

What happened here

We got this on Friday. 

Rainbow wasn't too thrilled about the hard water...

... not to mention the snow.

Most of the snow is still here because it's been so cold, like down to 15° overnight. It's back up to 40° right now, though, so melting's happening. Yay! I'd better get at my window washing. Ugh.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Names, finally

I know you've all been holding your collective breaths waiting to hear what we've decided to name Patches' kittens that were born... er... last May. Ha. It's hard to pin names on cats that are wild and rarely seen. However, now that winter's getting nearer and the cats have been hanging out in the machine shed most of the time, I think it's time. They're also getting tamer, and one of them I can pet easily while she eats, plus I've at least touched the other three. I talk to them, too, when I feed them, so it's nice to have something to call them.

Plus, we have a couple of newbies! Mama kitty had her last ones across the road at the neighbors', as usual, and she brought them over, as usual, for me to feed for the winter. First she brought three, but then the mean tom cat showed up and she took them away for a week or so. When she returned them, there were only two. They've tamed down pretty easily, and I can hold each one. They're both toms.

Courtney and I worked on naming them when she was here this week. I have to confess we borrowed heavily from Shopkins names. Shopkins (if you're not familiar with them, just google) are the rage right now, and Courtney has begun her collection. She also had a list of the names of all the Season 3 ones, so that's where we searched for kitten names. It was actually pretty helpful, and we found some good names.

So here's a not-so-great photo (because it's always dark in there) of my entire machine shed crew, minus Snuggles, the resident tom, who was still outside when I took the picture. Starting with the calico at the top and going clockwise, we have: Chelsea, Lizzy, Autumn, Jasper, Peachy, Casper, Patches, Kelly, and Mama.

Jasper and Casper are Mama's little guys. Casper's not all black - he's a tuxedo (much like Oreo but minus the skunky-striped nose). Jasper is adorable, the orange/white little one below. On his right is Autumn, who is looking quite huge in her long-haired winter coat!

Peachy, the all-orange one above (and is the one I can pet) is one of Patches', as are Chelsea, Lizzy and Kelly. Lizzy and Kelly look very much alike, mostly tabby-striped with bits of orange and white, but Lizzy is lighter, so I can tell the difference.


Kind of a tough-looking dude, isn't he? He is tough. Defends his girls well. He's a good cat. And he lives up to his name, too - still likes to snuggle.

While I'm at it, I might as well show you the other crew. Here they all are, minus one who is a bit more shy. Starting with the calico and going clockwise, we have Cinnamon, Buffy, Smoke, Tuffy, Oreo, Mia, and Clementine.

Below is the missing one, Snowy. She has lovely orange seal point markings, meaning she is white with orange ears, tail and face.

Here's just a fun shot of most of them as they're patiently(?) waiting for me to feed them their breakfast instead of taking photos of them.

Anybody been counting? With Rainbow, who hates all other cats, including her own kids, and eats in the garage... I have a total of 19 (not to mention Josie and Annabelle in the house). Unless you count the other tom who comes to eat but that I don't claim as mine. Come to think of it, I haven't seen him lately. Wrong time of year for his "business", I guess, so maybe he went home for the winter. Wherever that is.

Yeah, that means lotsa cat food, especially when considering it's shared with raccoons and skunks. Well, one less skunk now.  Before and after: