Thursday, June 27, 2024

Garden Update

 We have been in that 'heat dome' that you hear about on the weather reports and I have been watering every single day, since there has been no rain. UNTIL LAST NIGHT. Finally we had a wonderful downpour and it continued again this morning so I am having a day off and loving the way the flowers have perked up.

 My new plants include a gifted banana tree from my pal Patsy who has huge 10 foot trees in a clump in her front yard on the mountain. Mine is a baby and I will be planting it in the ground in the fall. Behind it are two bags of zinnias and Vista Supertunias in Bubblegum and in the picture above, Silverberry. They are going nutso. Yay!

Here are more zinnias and that neato keen red coneflower called Tres Sombreros. For some reason the leaves on these zinnias a pitiful and yet the stems are tall. I may add some fertilizer, altho it is not recommended, as they will make more leaves and fewer flowers, but geesh, they look insipid. 

 The cell block garden is starting to improve and I am no longer apologizing for it's poor performance. I think it is due to the mixture I made with coconut coir, perlite and compost. I think the compost wasn't fertile enough to counteract the other parts of the mix, so I will really augment the soil for next year. Funny tho, the lettuce and basil are happy and productive. The lettuce is all gone now, but I  have more seeds and will do another planting in September.

 Here's a big boy basil, two plants, next to the last lettuce. Sad nasturtiums. O well.

 Then the bag of Easy Wave Petunias, red Gallardia, marigolds, and three varieties of Daisy.

In the back garden bags I have abundance in sweet potatoes, French Haricot Verte, Brussel Sprouts, Beets, carrots, zucchini and Butternut squash plants, 4 tomatoes, more basil and Yukon Gold potatoes. I have five pepper plants in amongst the flower up front. Next year I won't be doing veggies in back, but will have them in front. I prefer to have them visible and then I don't neglect them as much.  
The 'in the ground' plants are doing great, but I didn't take pictures, so that update will have to come later.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Caffeine Jumpstart

 I had sworn off coffee since it often kept me awake at night, but I was making a cup for Dave and decided to finish it off with some for myself. An hour later I was so energized that I decided to 'fix' the studio arrangement. Ha! I hate stuff on the floor, which was the catalyst for this change-up. The bins of fabric and patterns were the problem, so I rolled the Alex (IKEA's name, not mine) out of the laundry room and piled the bins on it. This was in lieu of actually getting a storage cabinet*, which I had ordered three weeks ago and has yet to arrive. In the meantime I made a big empty space in the laundry room so that got reorganized too.

I won't take you through all six of my trial and error moves, and just say that this is where I ended up. The tables are against the wall, and each has its own electrical outlet, 😀 no power strips which end up collecting dog hair and threads, if I don't stay committed to sweeping at the end of the day. The remarkable thing, at least to me, is that this destroys all Feng Shui dictums. One must never have one's back to the door opening, lest an invader sneaks up on one. Ha! 
You can see me blogging in the mirror here, toes exposed. I had to find room for my red recliner, which takes up a great deal of space and is totally necessary for my frequent breaks and doing 'thinking and research' on Pinterest. That red stool is already outta here, as it is unnecessary. Under the table is a big space for stuff, but visually annoying. I have the waste bin, and another bin of dry dog food, topped with my radio which has bluetooth and allows for listening to podcasts while I work. 
 Next to the serger table are two rolling drawer units with thread and sewing accessories. There is a large space for the dog's sleeping rug and puppy pad, as he drinks and pees in sequence. And of course he has his food and water tray here too. We must make accomodations.

 And the final spot for the recliner. I have since moved the side table to the other side and the mirror is not there either. I can now open the laundry room door without hitting anything. And I've attached a heavy duty Command hook to both sides of the door to hold work in progress, or freshly ironed clothes out of the dryer. By the way, before the sewing room got back to being one, I had to drag out my ironing board if I needed to iron my shirts. Now that I have my table with its full coverage pad, I have neatly ironed clothes again. I sewed all afternoon and have to say, no invaders interrupted me.  
*About that ordered storage cabinet...I went to my original online ordering page to cancel the order. They actually gave me multiple choices to explain my return. One was that the item had been recorded as delivered and left on my porch. Yeah right. It had not. But I had paid with Paypal so I was able to cancel the order and feel smug. My credo is not to bring anymore furniture into this house, unless absolutely necessary, and this rearrangement made it clear that I didn't need a storage cabinet. When I am done with my sewing bout, I can wheel the Alex and the bins back into the empty space in the laundry room and tuck it neatly away. Sigh, so happy.

Friday, June 21, 2024

McCall's 5992

The Philip Jacobs fabric from my quilting stash, is like 8 years old. This pattern is likewise an old favorite. I changed the neckline to accomodate the necklace I made from polymer clay and some glass beads. The fit of this pattern is what draws me back to it over and over again. It's slimming without the addition of darts, which never seem to be placed anywhere near where they might be effective. 
I like the longer length, and added side and back slits to make it easier for sitting. Side seam pockets with bias binding is my new fave way to have them. For the sleeves, I did an elastic gather, which works for pushing up the sleeves or leaving them long.

It's not the season for wearing this yet, but it makes sense to sew it now. I have the  fabric in magenta or teal green for coordinating slacks.

 This is Butterick B6214 and I 've made it twice. Very simple and yet it fits just perfectly. This version in handkerchief linen is so light and cool to wear but being linen, O how it wrinkles. We'll see what it feels like in cotton. Because it is so plain. it allows for something creative to make it interesting. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Hit or Miss?

 Here's where I started late yesterday afternoon. I didn't know how this would fit, so I decided to use 'scraps' on hand, I was hoping for a loose casual top with plenty of ease around the bust. (Notice how skinny the models legs are. No wonder it looks good on her.) 
 And this is where I stopped at the end of the day. No hem or pockets yet, and TBD on the sleeves. I did have to adjust the armscye a bit as it pulled, and there really is not much ease when I want to move my arms forward. Not good. I was hoping for a feminine look, kinda sweet and girly. Can I pull off girly at 76? I used three different prints, which in itself was satisfying.

The yoke is not meant to have an opening, but I thought I would give it one, and make it a feature with a couple of buttons. Meh. The gathers gave the bust area room, but also sort of emphasize the bosoms, which was definitely not my intention. Puff sleeves? Not so sure about those either. 

  But the fit around the hips is fine. So I give it 5 out of 10. I will finish it, just in case I lose 20 pounds. And I didn't ruin any of my 'good' fabric, so it was worth making in scraps.

But what is it that will make me happy? I need to be able to move my arms about without binding. Not too much to ask, and have body parts covered and diminished as a public service. I am far from throwing in the towel, as the process of sewing is rewarding in itself. And it occurs to me that I would rather not pull things over my head or struggle to get them on. So button fronts again for round two. 

Monday, June 17, 2024

Fabric Sets

The fabric I ordered showed up on Saturday, along with a vintage pattern I found on Ebay. Oooh so happy! This is all Waverly cotton from Walmart. Actually I already had big lengths of red and yellow, so I just added those to this stash. I will prewash everything before cutting out a pattern, having learned from experience. 

This pattern is no longer available, and I had wanted it for some time, and voila, just when I was ready to sew, it appeared on Pinterest and I followed the link and snatched it right up. I like the small yoke feature and while it has pleats on the bodice, I am probably going to just gather up that part. I was inspired by my fashion guru Marcia Lois Riddington, who repurposes fabrics from the past, and is just such a clever sewist. Here she is wearing her take on this pattern, from 2019. We love pockets. And necklaces.

So for fun, I have coordinated my long-saved prints and now I will have to decide which to use for what.
 Our weather has gotten ferociously steamy of late and staying indoors to sew is the perfect solution. At church yesterday I wore a summery top and nearly froze to death. So even summer wear has to provide a bit of protection from the AC. As I look at the darker colors here, I am reminded of yarn that could coordinate, especially the royal and the purples.

What I must also do is weed out the clothes that I will never again wear and donate them to my local Goodwill. That will feel like a fresh start. 

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Just sewing

OK, you've seen this story before. I use this pattern for all my 'everyday shirts'. Yup, it's a pajama pattern, McCalls 5992, but I like it because it is so straightforward and I can adjust it to my needs. This white shirt is the test garment for size. I made it in a large and ...meh. It's just OK. No biggie, it works, just not thrilled with it. 

The fabric, from Joann's, on sale, is metallic silver on white, which when I washed it to preshrink, lost most of its sparkle. I expected that. I used another gray/white cotton for the details, inside color, pocket and side seam pocket binding. Mother of pearl buttons. A big white shirt is useful but I don't look great in this one.
So I made it again in medium, much shorter, collarless and curved hem. I only had two yards of fabric so the sleeves had to be pieced. Not happy with those sleeves and I may make them slimmer and/or add a gathered band at the bottom. No pockets on this top, because of the curved hem. But I do have a necklace that is exactly the same pink and green of this Kaffe Fassett print. 
I looked it up, I've had this fabric for 8 years! It has taken me this long to use this because I didn't have anything to wear it with. Until now. I ordered a bunch of Waverly cotton in 2 yard lengths from Walmart. I really like the weight of this cotton, which works for pants, shirts or as a dress.

Sixteen of these pieces, in oodles of colors. If the color doesn't work, I can return it to my local store. As if. 
The issue is size. My size.

My Michelin Man body means I have to find a style that flatters and that is quite a challenge. Good thing I can sew. A pair of pants or blouse made from this fabric cost $6.27. I'll keep trying until I find the pattern that I love. 

Friday, June 14, 2024

Update on Everything

 Dearest Reader,    Well, so much has happened since last we spoke. I was at my wits ends with Dave and mentioned it all to my doctor when I went in for a checkup (I'm fine, so nothing there to speak of). She had mentioned Hospice months earlier and I was just not ready to hear this advice, until now. I called Hospice and they said we needed a doctor's referral. so I called for that but it was Memorial Day weekend, so it was the Tuesday after that Hospice called and set up an appointment for an evaluation. 
We passed of course. It turns out that Hospice is not just for the end of life folks. Dave is healthy in every way except for his long term Parkinson's and now dementia and paranoid psychosis. Phew! But I learned that hospice can take care of all his and my needs, FOR FREE through Medicare. We have a nurse come in twice a week to take his vitals, another nurse comes in twice a week to bathe and shave him, and we also have a social worker and chaplain once a month. A volunteer comes in and sits with Dave for a couple of hours while I am at bible study. And if I need a few days away,  they will bring Dave to a place where he can be cared for and I can have a vacation. Amazing. There are doctors and pharmacies involved if we need them, and a hospital bed, walker, cane, bath chair, etc. if we request.  Who knew? And there is no time limit on this care. 
So naturally I am floating on waves of relief and have already begun to get my life back in bits and pieces. 

 I've moved my rooms around again, so that I once more have a sewing room. O my how wonderful it is to have this haven for creativity. I have saved (for 8 years!) a bunch of beautiful Kaffe Fassett fabrics for tops and ordered some coordinating Waverly cottons for pants and shorts. I made a really cute dress from New Look 6414

but it turned out too small. Darn. So I gave it to my pal Patsy who fits it perfectly. 

Undaunted, I redrafted the pattern, made it again and now it fits me. It's not quite a dress in this length, more of a tunic, which I wear with crisp white pants. 

I spent a large part of a day searching for all my sewing supplies which got stored in closets and boxes, etc. and have ordered a cabinet to keep them all centrally located in the studio. In doing that search, of course I found other things which had 'gone missing' since I put everything away to focus on just caring for Dave. My reasoning was that if I paid attention to him all day, everyday, things would improve. It did work, but of course I was denying the need to have me-time. Resentment set in, under the surface, and it was a nasty thing. But let's just forget all that and concentrate on how wonderful things are now. Yay!

 I am loving this new coneflower, Tres Sombreros, which is going nuts in the front garden.

 And the lettuces I started in March in egg shells have grown huge, and I am harvesting the heads and have enjoyed them in salads regularly. 
Things around the house have improved too. My wonderful brother in law, John, has painted my front door, and it happens to match my blue flower pots. I am so coordinated!
  The electrician returned after a four month hiatus and finished rewiring the whole house, adding two much needed outlets and changing out the ceiling lights in the living room. So happy. There had been plans to build a front deck like I had in my previous house, but I opted for the flower bed instead and since that is going gangbusters, I am so glad I made that choice. Turns out that our carport is the perfect spot for a couple of chaise lounges, a dining table and even a planter table. I love having the breezey shade while I enjoy an iced tea and read a library book. 
I'll be keeping you up to date on things more regularly now, as I have the mental space to do so. Hurray!