Saturday, February 27, 2016

thinking in color

I suppose you could call it therapy sewing redux. Sewing strips; an activity that requires a minimum of thinking.  Whatever you pick up next, you add. No cheating. All this color cheers me right up!
Once I sew enough strips, I decide what to do with them.  Once I know what to do with them, I cut them -- which leavesme with a bunch of smidgen-y offcuts. At first, I was throwing them away. Now I am sewing them to each other. 

So this morning, when I should have been doing something sensible, I sewed these bits together.The color combinations are random and fun.
That's all I have so far. No idea what I will do with them, or when I will do it. But they will go into my inventory.  And I suspect I will add more.  See what happens when you don't plan?

Yesterday morning, early, I hot-footed it over to Bed, Bath, & Beyond.  It's very nice at 9:30 am when they have just opened and have nothing to do.  About 5 different people waltzed over to me and asked what I needed to find.  Uh - paper towel holders?  Over there.
With the new backsplash up,ugly red and white flower print one that I picked up for a song, needed to be replaced with a stainless steel one.  Done!  And then I remembered that I needed a new garlic press; I was still using the terrible one my mother had.  

Oh, joy!  I bought one like this in stainless steel when I was in London in 2013.  My friend Marlene Cohen has one and I thought it was terrific. I have one in NJ. Now I can find them here -- and besides the steel one, they had this beauty!  Just perfect - how could I resist this wonderful color??
It is more of a garlic smasher - I think they call it a rocker.  You put it on top of the garlic clove and rock it back and forth and the garlic comes through those little holes (or not).
More color when I am more awake.  That would be tomorrow, I hope.  xo

where to start??

With the new sewing machine?  I finally got it set up and after having read the manual 40 times to figure out how to thread it, got it up and running.  For the price, it is a very nice little machine. 

There is a lot to like about it. 

- It has an automatic threader.
- You can set it to stop with the needle down.
- It has a nice little sewing table.
- The fast-bobbin winder feature is very nice (once you realize that there is such a feature)
- It has a reverse button, which I forget to use.
- The feed dogs work and I can get a nice straight seem if I choose to.

- The automatic threader is fiddly. It took me so long to figure out and then to actually make it work, that it would have been faster to thread the needle myself. Except that I can't see, even with my reading glasses on.
- The nice little sewing table is a little flimsy.
- There is nowhere to store your accessories when the sewing table is attached.
- It didn't come with a ¼" foot. I ordered two of them (don't ask me why two)  
- The default needle position is left (why?????) so you have to move the needle every time        you turn the machine on again because it has no memory.
- It is somewhat noisy.
- The lever to raise and lower the foot is on the right.  Every other machine on earth has the lever on the left.  Some kind of zipper foot lever is on the left where the foot lever should be and one of these days I am bound to break it because I keep trying to raise the foot with it.

But I am not complaining.  Just saying.  The best news is that it works and I have been sewing!

Now I am off to meet Bev Snow and Sandy Donabed at the Palm Beach Fine Craft Show.
To be continued...

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

things are looking up!

So, I went to bed at 9:00 last night to make up for the 1 hour of sleep from the night before, and slept for 12 hours. I was actually alert today.

Did I mention that my vintage sewing machine, which I love dearly, ended up in the shop yesterday?  Threads keep getting tangled in the bobbin case; I spent an hour getting out the mess of thread, only to have it happen again when I started sewing.  Off I went to the fixit man, who has to take the thing apart and won't have it for me till next week. Bah.

I have two other machines down here; one of which has problems. The second one has been adequate, but today it became inadequate.  I think the feed dogs are crooked and the stitch length thing must be broken. Even for me, this is unacceptable.
Naturally, I am having a sewing machine emergency: I am frantically sewing samples for my online class -- or I should say I WAS sewing....  Faced with the prospect of disaster, I did what any sane person would do: I went onto Amazon Prime and ordered a sewing machine, which should arrive on Thursday. 

 Since I had already done tons of research when I was buying a machine for Miss Emma's 6th birthday, I didn't have to do it again.  I just ordered the same machine I had bought for her. Thank you, peeps, for all your advice.  Good enough for a six year old, good enough for her Nanny.

Emma loves the machine and has already sewn pillows for her dolls. Notice the fancy doll house; on the right, several doll-sized pillows.  My favorite is the neck pillow for her bird doll. 

Emma on her 2nd birthday 2012                                Happy Birthday, Emma 2016

Where does the time go??

Monday, February 22, 2016

It was one of those days...

First, I was up all night. Finally fell asleep for an hour, from 6:am-7:am and that was that.  I ran one errand this morning to pay for  my backsplash tile. It only took me a year to decide on it.  I hope it will be installed in the next week or two. 

Then came back to make plane reservations for my May travels.   I am teaching at the
Virginia Quilt Celebration early in May and then spending a week on the Outer Banks lounging around with my friends from college.  A REAL vacation.  Finally, teaching at the Woodland Ridge Retreat in Downsville, WI. from May 24-28.  This place is gorgeous! You have to click and take a look at the photos. I can't wait! 

Sat down to sew after lunch and my trusty new/old machine got so much thread caught behind the bobbin thingie that I had to take it in to be untangled.  Now I have to sew on one of two doddering Vikings for a week.  Oh, well.

Will continue tomorrow. My lack of sleep is catching up with me and I'm off to bed early tonight. Brain totally fuzzy.

Wide awake at 2:am

Blogger is not behaving tonight.  This is about the 10th time I have tried to post and it is finally letting me type without deleting my words.  So by this time, I have forgotten what I wanted to blog about.

Some time ago I was looking for upholstery fabrics because I need to recover a chair in my living room in NJ.  I didn't find what I was looking for, but I did see a lot of beautiful patterns that I found very inspiring.  Here are just a few...

I imagine I am not the only one who is so wired after having worked all day at something creative, that I can't get to sleep.  Hot cocoa - except that I don't have cocoa, so I had to melt a bittersweet piece or two of a Swiss chocolate bar I have been hoarding.  Seems to have done the trick! I am off to bed.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

8 terrific teachers, one online community!

I am really excited to be part of the online teaching community of 8 amazing fiber artists who will be teaching classes.  But this is not just classes: it is a true community you can join that enables you to take classes with all of us!  Our skills and approaches are all different; we complement each other, and you connect not only with us, but with each other.

The Fiber Art Connection is a new concept in online classes. Each of us will take charge for a week and you'll be taking classes with all of us! Our varied skills complement each other and you're bound to discover something new each week.  You can take them as they are released, or whenever you have time, on your own schedule. And you'll have access to the material forever so you can retake them or check something out that you may have forgotten.

We'll be sharing ideas, webinars, live calls, and videos which you'll also have access to from all of the classes. And a private Facebook page where we can all share with each other.
Furthermore, we're available on email for one-to-one conversations.
There's also a bonus week for everybody!  

Here's the lineup of teachers in order of their appearance, and their websites, so you can read about them and see their work.

  1. Desiree Habicht –
  2. Candy Glendening –
  3. Liz Kettle –
  4. Roxane Leesa –
  5. Ruth Chandler –
  6. Cecile Whatman -
  7. Deborah Babin – and - ahem -last but not least
  8. ME!! –
Stay tuned for our planned blog hop, some giveaways, and a lot of fun.  
Registration is open and the first class kicks off March 15th.  Follow this link to read more: to read what each of us is teaching.
Any questions for me, holler! 

Thursday, February 04, 2016

B is for...

Book review -- as promised

This is the most beautifully written book I have read in eons. It is a vivid picture of wartime London from 1939 on, of the battlefield, and the interpersonal relationships -- on both a deeply personal and cultural/historical level. Best of all, the characters are so strong and well developed that I really cared about them. Poignant, heartbreaking, and wryly funny at points. Couldn't put it down: read it in two nights. This is a can't miss book and I highly recommend it.

Full disclosure: this was a review copy and it will be released May 3, 2016. I have read a lot of pre-release review copies -- many of them, uncorrected galleys, over the last couple of years. Some were so badly written or inane that I couldn't even finish them. Others were quite good. But this is by far, the most outstanding on every level.

On a more banal note - I spent the morning paying bills and the afternoon trying to book a flight. Don't ask! Right now, I have it on hold for three days and am breathing a sigh of relief. I also cleaned off my kitchen island, except for the cutting mat.

Tomorrow, I expect to actually SEW. How exciting! 

Monday, February 01, 2016

Never say "never!"

Ok, I take it back. I said I would never teach online, but there are so many people who have emailed me to ask whether I gave online classes that I began to think about it. And then I stopped thinking about it --until The Fiber Art Connection  approached me with their teaching model.  

I found it so exciting that I said "yes."  It's not cookie-cutter (if you know me, you understand I don't follow rules very happily - LOL).  There are eight different fiber artists, all teaching something different -- each of us in our own style.  So you get to take eight classes for ten weeks, and along the way, discoveries, interactive sessions, community, connections, and personal interactions.  It'll be the closest thing to being in the classroom and we are all very pumped about this different way of teaching! 

 Once you enroll, you'll be notified when each teacher's class begins and the classrooms are open  to you indefinitely. If you don't have time just then, you can take the classes when it's convenient -- and go back as many times as you want to.  All the class materials - handouts, recordings, videos -- stay there so you can always access them.  

So...I've been sewing, making videos, taking pictures, and generally making as much of an embarrassing mess here in the Fla apt as I do at home. I was going to do a video tour, but decided to take pictures instead.

The kitchen island

dining room floor
 dining room table (yes, this is another sewing machine)
 living room chair
 living room floor

And we haven't gotten to the guest room yet!  But that's for another day.  Now I am going to sit down and read more of the most wonderful book I have read in eons.  More about that another day, too. bb

soup weather in June and a little more

DISCLAIMER: Blogger is giving me grief tonight, which you will see by the varying sizes of the type. Ye p, soup weather and it's ...