Category Archives: Sewing

That’s A Wrap

As January comes to a close I decided to write a post about my crafting projects for the month. I picked the title then when I began reviewing the projects I realized that the title, That’s A Wrap, actually seemed to be a theme for this month.

You might remember that in the beginning of the month I wrote about the first hairpin lace project I made.

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This hairpin lace scarf. That’s a wrap.

I then decided to do a second hairpin lace scarf with a different type of yarn. I didn’t make it an infinity scarf this time and I had enough yarn leftover to make a matching ear warmer.

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Hairpin lace scarf and ear warmer. That’s a wrap.

Next I decided to make a scarf using the broomstick lace method that I have done in the past. I thought it might be interesting to compare the two to find out if I preferred one method over the other or if I preferred the results of one over the other. I can honestly say I don’t have a preference. (Do you?)

I plan on finishing up this scarf later today but might make a matching ear warmer.

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Broomstick lace scarf. That’s a wrap.

The other big project that I completed this month was making my bath robe. I think it was back in November when I wrote about my plans to make this. I had purchased the fabric and thought I would get started soon. Before got I started on the bath robe reality struck and I switched my attentions to making Christmas gifts instead.

Fortunately I waited, because making the bath robe was not as easy as I expected it to be. I am not going to go into detail about all of the mistakes that I made, but I do want to share some thoughts about the fabric that I used.

My choice of fabric for this project was Luxe fleece and to be fair to the pattern designer it was this choice that lead to a lot of the difficulties I had with making the robe. What I do love about the fabric is that it is super soft and warm and even though I usually don’t wear purple I do love the color and how it looks with the contrasting trim. I did, however, find it difficult to work with this fabric while making such a large garment. There was a lot of bulk in the way while trying to sew. The fabric is not one that can be ironed. so pressing seams in place was not an option and the fabric did tend to slip so many pins were required to hold things together until the sewing was complete. The other thing I will mention is that my small straight pins tended to get lost in the fabric so I had to do several checks to make sure I removed them all. (OUCH!) The last issue that I (we) had with the fabric is that the fabric sheds when it is cut and continues to shed until it is sewn together. Each time I worked on this project I made a big mess. Fluffy stuff everywhere! My husband actually offered to bring in the snow shovel for cleaning it up, (LOL!) but the vacuum worked just fine.

 

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My wrap around bath robe. That’s a wrap.

Incidentally Ranger got in on the action as well. One day last week he seemed to be getting bored while waiting for his afternoon walk. I cooked up two beef bones (one for Ranger and one for Trooper) thinking that chewing on a bone would keep him busy while he waited. We have an old table cloth that we put on the floor when we give them bones so they don’t mess up the carpet. I placed the two bones on the table cloth and invited the boys to enjoy their treat. Trooper sniffed his but walked away apparently uninterested. Ranger was niffing the bones as I returned to the kitchen to continue what I was doing. A few minutes later I walked through the living room and noticed that one of the bones was covered with a corner of the table cloth. Ranger was sniffing the other bone. A short while after that I discovered that both bones were buried in the table cloth. Apparently Ranger was planning to save them for later. LOL!

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Bones buried in the table cloth. That’s a wrap. (I wonder if he could learn to fold clothes. LOL)

As for January 2020 – That’s a wrap. 🙂

Thanks for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

 

A Blessed Christmas Season

Welcome friends! I thought I would give you fair warning that this post turned out to be quite lengthy, so you might want to grab a cup, glass or bottle of your favorite beverage to enjoy as you share in our pre-Christmas and Christmas activities.

O Christmas Tree

I had intended to include several photos documenting the cutting of our 2019 Christmas tree as I have done in past years. Regrettably, it was not meant to be. Although I snapped many pictures as we ventured out to the farm and cut our tree, it seems they are trapped on my cameras SD card. When I put the card in the computer the photo program seems to search for them but then freezes up and refuses to retrieve any photos. Fortunately upon buying a new SD card I am able to once again take pictures and load them onto my computer, so it is only those few that I will not be able to share.

Even though I cannot access those photos, I felt it was important to document this event since part of the purpose of this blog is to journal our activities. This is our fourth year of cutting a Christmas Tree from our farm. The trees we have been cutting are either Norway Spruce or Blue Spruce that we planted as when they were 12 – 18 inch seedlings in 2012. When we planted the young trees it was not our intention to grow our own Christmas Trees but this has since become our tradition.

It was Sunday, December 15, when we headed out to the farm to cut our preselected Christmas Tree. The temperature was hovering around freezing, and though the sun was shining bright as we walked out the door, the clouds quickly moved in and produced a brief snow squall. By the time we got to the farm, about 5 minutes later, there was a thin layer of snow blanketing the driveway, and setting the Christmas-like mood. The snow subsided as quickly as it had appeared and eventually the sun reappeared and melted the snow away.

After going to the barn to retrieve a saw we headed to the south-west corner of the property. The tree we had chosen was in a line of trees that were planted near the west property line to separate our property from the neighbors to the west. It is a lovey blue spruce that is slightly over four feet tall. We will plant a tree to replace this one in the spring.

 

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Christmas 2019

I won’t bore you with the details of setting up the tree and decorating it since it all went smoothly and within a couple of hours the task was complete.

Made With Love

As in past years, I spent the month before Christmas making gifts. Since I have been working on increasing my sewing skills lately I decided to make aprons for the girls. This may seem an odd gift since only one out of four of them likes to cook, but I decided to personalize them.

The first two were made from a pattern that I bought several years ago and have never used. The second two were made out of worn out blue jeans, using this  tutorial. I learned new sewing skills while making each of the patterns – the first involved hand basting a seam before sewing it in place and top stitching (that actually turned out pretty well). The second pattern involved making a ruffle and bias tape. On the last one I got very bold and changed the design from a ruffle and bias tape trim to a cut flannel, rag-type, trim. I was very pleased with the way they all turned out.

It was then time to personalize them – I wanted to capture each of the girls attitude for cooking.

 

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The first was Tina who simply does not like cooking. She laughed when she saw it and agreed that described her.

 

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This one was for Kara, who doesn’t like to cook, but calls me often with cooking questions. I’m always happy to get those calls. She too laughed when she saw the words and realized it was an apron.

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The third one was for Hanna. While she may cook occasionally she is more likely to spend time painting, so I decided to make hers a painters apron. The old blue jeans that I used already had some paint stains on them and I added some more splotches with fabric paint.

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The last one was for Lindell. She is the only one that seems to enjoy cooking and has recently told me about some of the meals she has made. When she tried on her apron she smiled and said “I love that it has pockets!”

The other big project that I made as a gift was a afghan that I crocheted. This was one of those situations where you might think “everything happens for a reason” or as I prefer to think “God was working behind the scenes”.

I started crocheting this afghan around Thanksgiving time simply because I found a stitch pattern that I wanted to try. I really had no plan for what I was making or what I would do with it. I began with alternating rows of red and blue yarn but when I ran out of the blue yarn the piece was not really big enough to be anything. I went to my yarn stash and found that I had enough of the gray and green yarn to at least double the size of this project. When I finished the gray and green section the afghan would have been a good size for a child, but since I didn’t much care for the color pattern and I didn’t have any children in mind to give it too, I decided to add a third section to make it large enough for an adult. I again went to my yarn stash and found that I had enough black and orange yarn to make a third section.

It was about this time that my husband asked me who I was making it for. “I don’t know,” was my answer, but I began to think about what to do with it. I realized that in the past I have made blankets for all of my daughters except Tina, so I thought I would give it to her. I wasn’t sure if she would like the colors but I was sure she would like wrapping herself in it as she tends to be chilly a lot.

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It was two days before Christmas that we learned that we would be having an unexpected guest for Christmas. My father-in-law accepted my husbands invitation to join us for the day. That evening as I finished crocheting and began weaving in the ends I decided to give him the afghan.

Food and Family

Our guests would start arriving around noon so I spent most of Christmas morning in the kitchen preparing our meal. The turkey went into the oven at 8:00 am, then potatoes were peeled, celery and onions were sautéed for the stuffing and frosting was made then the cake was frosted. Meanwhile my husband vacuumed and tidied things up, started a fire in the fireplace and asked if there was anything he could do to help me.

Lindell and Brycen were the first to arrive, so I recruited Brycen to decorate the birthday cake for Jesus. Despite never having decorated a cake before he was eager to help. He completed this task with enthusiasm and I was grateful for the help. I didn’t get any pictures of the cake but I will say – Great job Brycen!

Other guests arrived shortly after. Another picture I didn’t get was Aunt Donna in her Christmas Tree tiara, but in the background of the picture below you can see the comfy-looking elf slippers she put on after removing her shoes. She brought two trays of mini cheese cakes announcing that one tray was made with amaretto. My first thought was “Oh, I’ll have to try that.” My second thought was “that explains the tiara”. LOL! I’m just kidding Aunt Donna doesn’t need to be under the influence of alcohol to do fun and crazy things.

Even before we ate we got Jackson and Addy busy opening gifts. I didn’t make anything for them this year, instead my husband and I spent a few hours perusing toy isles to pick out some gifts.

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Jackson

For Jackson, who has a mechanical mind and is always trying to figure out how things work, we bought this truck/racetrack set. The truck has a horn that blows and a key, that when turned, makes the sound of an engine starting and the headlights come on. It also came with race cars and tools to take the truck part. Once the truck is taken apart the race track is stored inside but we didn’t get it taken apart to see the race track while they were here.

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Addy

For Addy I picked out a stuffed kitty. I remembered how much she loved Peanut the cat when she met him at our Halloween party, and since her mom said I could not get her a real kitty a stuffed on would have to do.

By far the best gift we received was having the family all together. When the girls were growing up we spent so much time together and never realized how much we would miss each other when they went their separate ways. Nowadays though they keep in close contact through a “sister chat” having them all together happens but once or twice a year.

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The Sister Picture

I am not sure which one of them mentioned having a “sister photo” taken but when they were ready to pose I was ready with my camera. I snapped several photos and when I looked at this picture I wondered what they were all looking at to my left. Then I remembered that Brycen was standing next to me and after I took several photos he said. “now it’s my turn.” Apparently they all looked at him while I stole another photo.

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The Next Two Generations

I had the girls put on their aprons and pose again.

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Me and My Gang

Then I handed over my camera and joined the girls. After this picture was taken I said, “now that you are all dressed for doing dishes…” and we all had a good laugh. Actually by this time my husband had many of the dishes already washed up.

Having both of our fathers there was such a blessing. Just like with the girls, the time spent with my dad has become less as the years go by, and the time the girls get to spend with their grandfather is even more rare.  Isn’t it true that the more rare something is the more we value it? This was a day to cherish!

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My dad and My Father-In-Law

Having my Father-In-Law with us to celebrate was truely an amazing gift. This is the first time since we have been together that we have spent a Christmas with him, and I felt honored that at 86 years old he would make the two and a half hour drive from Ohio to celebrate this day with the family.

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It had been many years since he had seen the girls and this was the first time he met Jackson and Addy.

When I gave dad his Christmas gift he told me I didn’t have to give him anything. “I wanted to,” I replied. When he said he would open it later, I had to insist that he open it now. He was pleased when he realized that it was an afghan and said he would use it to cover up with in his easy chair. I could relate to this as I have an afghan, that my mom made for me about 30 years ago, that I use to cover up with when I kick back in my recliner for a nap. Dad also marveled that I had made the afghan and asked how long it took. As he was leaving our house to travel home he told me “I can’t wait to use it.” 🙂

Christmas 2019 was a blessed day. As we celebrated the gift of the Christ Child our home was fill with laughter and love.

If you have stayed with me to the end of this very wordy post I thank you, and we wish you many blessings in the New Year.

Did you have a Merry Christmas?

My Do-Over

Earlier this week I finished my “do-over” project that I told you about in my “Sisters Day” Post and thought it only fair that I show you the results.

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                                                               TA DA!

No, it wasn’t really magic. In fact it took me at least eight hours over the course of two days to complete, but I am so pleased with the way this shirt turned out. It is the same pattern as the ones from my previous post, but since the pattern has three different options for lengths of the shirt I opted to make the longer “shirt length” version rather than the “crop length” that I had made before.

This time around I also went with a different type of fabric. This fabric is a performance knit, a type of fabric commonly used for making sportswear. I was a little nervous about using it but found it to be very easy to work with. It is also comfortable to wear.

My next sewing project will be a fleece bath robe, and if life goes as planned (does it ever?)  I will get it started sometime next week.

Thank for stopping by and until next time – be well. 🙂

 

Sisters Day

Before I begin I want to apologize for being away so long. It was a couple of days ago when my most loyal reader, who also happens to be my husband and my editor, mentioned that I needed to get another post up, that I realized that it has been almost three weeks since my last post. I could come up with a whole bunch of excuses but that’s all they would be – excuses. Instead I will beg your forgiveness and hope you enjoy this post. 🙂

“Sister. She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities. She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark. She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink. Some days, she’s the reason you wish you were an only child.”
― Barbara Alpert

I love the above quote as it accurately describes my relationship with my sisters. Honestly there were not many days of “wishing I was an only child” and those days are long gone, but the rest of this quote describes us.

Last Friday was sisters day. What is sisters day??? It’s simply spending time with my sisters. There are no rules for sisters day because we would probably break them anyway. Sisters day might be two, three, or four of us getting together, but it is not exclusive to us sisters. There might be aunts, cousins, daughters, grandkids or friends involved. Husbands, sons, son-in-laws are also welcome if they want to put up with our shenanigan’s. 🙂

Our activities also vary but since they often include some type of crafting it should come as no surprise that last Friday we spent time shopping at Joanne Fabrics. I came home with fabric to make two sewing projects that I have planned; several skeins of yarn that I have no immediate plans for (but if you knit or crochet you’ll understand that you can never have too much yarn); and a hairpin lace loom. Hairpin lace is a method of crochet that I recently learned of and now that I have the required tools I am looking forward experimenting with new creations.  (Watch for this in future posts.)

One of the sewing projects that I have planned is a do-over. If you are a long time reader you probably remember that despite not being skilled at sewing I usually dust off my sewing machine and attempt to sew something at least once or twice a year. My sister, Kathy, on the other hand is very skilled at sewing and has been teaching my other sister, Jamie and my cousin Abbey for a while now. In September I decided to get in on the action.

Below are wo of Kathy’s recent projects.

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A perfect fit and the dogs name is Daisy. 🙂

 

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This shirt is a pattern she would like us all to try. I really like the style but making button holes is scary.

 

September Sewing

We selected a pattern for a hooded shirt that we all liked and decided that we would each make our own. Kathy had made one for herself and when I tried it on I really liked the look and the way it fit. I was very encouraged when she said it was an easy pattern to make. We then went fabric shopping and each selected our own fabrics. There were so many options and as you will see in the photos below we all had different ideas.

It was a week later when we got together to begin making them. Kathy helped us with laying out the pattern on the fabric, telling and showing us things about the salvage and the stretch of the different fabrics. She also helped with making sure that my fabric was cut properly so I could line up the squares and that the flowers on Jamie’s fabric would all be right-side-up. We also talked about what type of stitch we should use, machine settings, seam allowances, and I assured her I had a ball point needle that she told me I would need.

Before we parted that day Kathy gave us the directions for the first few steps, sewing the front and back together, attaching the sleeves then sewing up both sides of the shirt. If we had time we could complete those steps before we met again. We could also line the hood and attach it if we thought we could do it on our own. If we had questions just give her a call.

By the time we met, a week later, I had completed many of the steps. The body and sleeves were assembled and the hood was lined. I had decided to wait for guidance when attaching the hood. I was glad I waited because I ran into some snags but by the time we parted that day the hood was properly attached and the band around the bottom was pinned in place – ready to be sewn. After that all I would have to do is sew the cuffs on and it would be finished. WOO HOO!

The next day, after I had successfully attached the band on the bottom of the shirt I pinned the first cuff in place and was feeling really excited as I was sewing it in place. I was almost finished! Once I had that cuff finished I held up the shirt and realized I had sewn the cuff on inside-out. Ugh! The seam was on the outside of the sleeve. I wanted to cry.

Instead I got out my seam ripper only to discover that instead of ripping out the stiches I was ripping the fabric, so taking that cuff off and redoing it was not the answer. I talked to my sister Jamie and she said she would probably sew the other on the same way and wear it like it was intentionally done that way. LOL. Since I had quite a bit of fabric leftover from the cuffs I decided to redesign them. It was already messed up so what harm could I do?

Nervously I cut about six inches off both sleeves. I then cut pieces of the cuff fabric that would fit the area that I had cut off.  I pinned them to the sleeves so that the seam would be on the inside and sewed them on. I was actually quite pleased with the results. You will see it in the photo below. In fact I liked every thing about the way the shirt turned out – except the way it fit me. 😦

Before you see the results I want to tell you that the photo of me is not very complimentary (it’s a horrible photo of me). Not only does the shirt not fit well I seem to have a Frankenstein thing going on with my hair. I was hesitant to even include it but I didn’t think it was fair to write about it all but not show the end results. So please don’t judge me on this photo.

 

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Abbey and Kathy
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Jamie and Ruth (Me)

I really learned a lot from this project. Not only about the sewing process but about the way different fabrics act. We all made the same pattern in the same size (Abbey decided not to add the band on the bottom), but each of the shirts fit differently. When I tried on Kathy’s shirt and Jamie’s shirt (it’s a sister thing you know – we grew up wearing each other’s clothes) they both fit me well. My shirt was a better fit on each of them as they are a bit shorter then I am.

Jamie, who had said several times while we were making our shirts how much she liked mine, made me and offer. If I gave her my shirt she would buy me fabric to make a new one, hence the “do-over”. Even though Jamie had mentioned liking my shirt previously, I tend to think her offer had a lot to do with encouraging me not to give up.

It is said that “practice makes perfect” and “if at first you don’t succeed try, try again” so that’s how I will be spending some of my time over the next week or so. Keep your fingers crossed that you will see an updated post revealing great results (and a better hairdo LOL).  🙂

Thanks for reading.

Have you ever tried sewing?

Do you prefer to wear prints or solids?