spring

Guest blogger: Steve Brooks, my dh.  Helping me out because I am still a little under the weather, although much better than last week.  Check out his web site at Buns on Mars or his book “How I met Van and Numan Future Past and Present” on amazon.com.

Roberta and I took a walk today. It was the first, since the snow had finally receded away with no trace after a long bitterly cold winter. It was warm, in the low 70s, with a slight breeze and with it came a whole bouquet of aromas. It was like a lover had returned or visiting an unfamiliar house – the strange laundry soaps, the smoky cedars, the dry bay leaf-like grasses. All the smells lingered in layers with the wind and filled a menu of earthly spices. They brought back memories of other early springs and some seem entirely new. They can’t be named or specified, but they are strong and real: the mossy leaf, spicy rich earth, the cinnamon like aroma of dirt and so many other odors, emerge in the early spring, get taken over by grass and rain in the mid-summer, but faintly return in the fall. It’s as though any warmth activates these earth smells and accompanies the hazy over-cast sunsets. This is one of the times of year that I love. Earth opens up its spice cabinet and the kitchen window for us to enjoy. It is now Easter, by the way, and for those of us living in the mid-west who endured a relentlessly sub-zero winter, it is time to open the house to the mild, fragrant, and forgiving spring.   

Published in: on April 20, 2014 at 7:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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sick

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Not much happening here. I have been sick and just moving slowly. So, no sewing. But I will show you something that gives me great joy. A few years back I bought a salad bowl pot from the farmer’s market. I spent eight dollars and enjoyed it very much. I realized I could replicate this for the cost of seeds. So a few weeks ago, I planted some herbal seeds, some radish seeds, lettuce and peas. I am happy with how quickly it is growing.

Published in: on April 13, 2014 at 9:54 am  Comments (3)  
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owl

My birthday weekend. Kind of a low birthday- mainly because it snowed one more time- 9 inches and Steve and Eliott were sick. I had a lot of time to sew, but either because of inertia, a light cold or a sympathy cold, I didn’t do much. I did some work on the city chicken quilt and I have direction on what I am planning to do next. I made two little blocks for my wilderness quilt. I have the first one done.

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I hope you can see the little owl in the grass.

I have spent a lot of time thinking and reading this weekend. One of the things I read was Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. It reminds me of my goal to make more of my clothing. She talks about how cheap fashion undermines our sense of quality, is bad for the environment and also takes advantage of people around the world.  I have been thinking of some holes in my wardrobe, and how to fill them.  I have a funky bathrobe for Steve cut, that just needs to be assembled. I also spent some time cleaning my sewing space and found some yardage that I think I can use for a skirt. More to come.

Published in: on April 6, 2014 at 9:46 am  Comments (2)  
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spring~

I do have some small sewing things, but there are some other fun things happening, too. First, it is finally sort of kind of spring. Even though there is a foot or so of snow in my yard it is 60 degrees today. Yay! I am so excited to get some warm air. Also, it is fun to dress without worrying if I will be too cold. Last weekend I had a great surprise. My boss, Victoria, gave me two beautiful scarves. The timing couldn’t have been better. I am/was so tired of my winter clothes and they were just what I needed to perk things up a bit.

The first one is a green floral and very springy. Now, several years ago I posted about a pair of green velvet shoes I bought at a garage sale. I haven’t had anything to wear with them, but this scarf is perfect:

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It tied the lighter sweater with the shoes and these forest green tights I bought.

The other one is a beautiful blue plaid, my blue, which there are few and far between. I think it has an eighties feel which I love:

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This my first and most obvious two outfits. I know there will be much more to come.

Published in: on March 30, 2014 at 3:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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new bag

Another lazy weekend.  I did make a tiny bit of progress.  I guess baby steps are fine.

I have been meaning to make a work bag for myself.  I was struggling with the idea of making it big enough to put papers in. I finally decided I rarely bring home papers and I have other bags I could use for those rare time.

The second design problem was a little more complicated. I also wanted to make sure it didn’t look too handmade.  I really wanted to use a group of fat quarters that Steve gave me for Christmas two years ago so I needed to piece the fabric. Yet I don’t want it to look too handmade.  I saw a bag at work that the palette was limited to black and white.  I will try to do that as I make as well as use large pieces.

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Here is a picture of what I have so far.  The bottom layer is just a base. This bag will be lined.  Then I have some thin cotton batting to use to create structure.  I haven’t yet sewn it together because for some reason yesterday it seemed like too much effort to change my sewing machine back to to the walking foot.  This change is my main goal for today.  That my MN taxes and watching a whole pile of Jimmy Fallon videos.  Steve says I am the target market audience for the Tonight Show now that Jimmy Fallon is hosting.  This is probably true, but if this is the case, they should show it earlier in the night.

Published in: on March 23, 2014 at 11:55 am  Comments (1)  
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new denim quilt

I don’t know if it is the springish weather or just general laziness, but I am having a hard time with motivation this weekend.  I spent way too much time this weekend laying on the couch playing Fire Emblem.  I did spend a little time yesterday working on this new quilt:

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This is a quilt that I am jointly designing with Steve, which explains the unusual color choices that somehow work.  I am also getting more use out of my template set.  They have a way to go but I do like the way they look.  This will probably be a nearly bed size quilt with a polar fleece back.

Now, I return to Crimea with my little band of freedom fighters…

 

Published in: on March 16, 2014 at 8:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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new old project

I haven’t spoken about this project for many years. I actually looked back, and I had written about I on my very first blog in 2007. Steve gave me several of his old Hawaiian shirts many years ago.  I thought that I would make a quilt out of them.  I actually pieced them, but I was never quite happy with them.  I saw a pieced tunic top on a friend at work.  I decided to make a pieced garment.  Here is where I am now:

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I always seem to work on a more summer focused project around this time of year.  It’s nice to daydream, especially when the weather here has finally started to warm a little.

Published in: on March 9, 2014 at 8:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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a winter adventure

We had a really hectic day yesterday.  It was a day where we mainly provided transportation.  Eliott had an early shift, and then between the two of us we forgot his lunch in the car.  We spent considerable time stuck in traffic at MOA to drop it off.  It seems because it was cold every Minnesotan had decided to go there.  Because, yes, the temperature was a high of 7 yesterday.  Can you sense a bit of bitterness in my voice about the weather?

Anyway, Paul was on tap to go skiing.  Now, you may wonder why we took our son skiing when the high for the day was 7.  Well, this trip was planned a month ago.  We though it would warm up a little before March. Here is what the internet says about Minneapolis in March:

The month of March is characterized by very rapidly rising daily high temperatures, with daily highs increasing from 34°F to 49°F over the course of the month, exceeding 63°F or dropping below 20°F only one day in ten.

Well, we have the first 20 days taken care of for cold, hopefully.

In any case, we dressed the boy very warmly and dropped in off at Afton Alps.  This is a beautiful ski area to southeast of Minneapolis.  There are many runs and beautiful visas.  Since we weren’t sure if he would want to stay long because of the cold, we decided to explore the area.  We drove through some lovely landscape to Afton.  I have heard of Afton before and somehow I thought the town would be larger.  The town proper is only about eight blocks long and about two blocks wide.  It is geographically blocked by some quite steep hills on one side and the river on the other.  We drove through once, not realizing this was all, then turned around and went back, charmed by the little town.  We were looking for a business district to kill some time.

Steve saw a sign for Mudslinger Pottery.  We went in and discovered a pottery studio.  There were a group of women there having a great time making pots. They were kind enough to give me a pomegranate martini, which somehow made the grey, cold day somewhat brighter. The pots they were making were lovely, and considering how much they had drunk, I believe it was the teacher’s hand guiding them to success.  The master potter’s name was Kevin  O’Hara.  He had some beautiful pieces available for purchase.  I especially liked the busts he had made.

We also met Byron Moore.  He showed us his paintings.  These were very interesting abstract pieces.  His technique for making them was very unusual.  He is using particle board made from large chunks of wood, not finely ground particles, for the structural base of his paintings.  Then he traced some of the shapes of the internal chunks of wood in the board with a wood burner.  He painted the interior of the shapes multiple times and outlined these shapes with marker. This created a surface that evokes maps and stained glass windows as an initial impression, with many other smaller impressions within the work.  Both Steve and I were struck by the use of a readymade manufactured material transformed into a beautiful painting.

On our way back to pick up the boy, we saw three deer.  I include this because usually I am not the one to pick out wildlife.  In fact, I spent a good part of my childhood squinting at where my dad was pointing and really just seeing trees. Sometimes even through binoculars. This time I thought they were statues because they were so large (this is probably not helping my overblown pride of seeing them) and they were standing in someone’s yard along the road.  But when we doubled back they moved and sure enough they were real.

When we got back to pick up the boy, he really wasn’t cold except his face.  I guess we dressed him warm enough or he had enough testosterone and bravado to make up the difference.  He had a great day, and I guess Steve and I did, too, on our little adventure.

Published in: on March 2, 2014 at 2:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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down proof

I have a problem with my down coat.  It sheds at a enormous rate.

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All those white specks are down.  The are getting all over my clothes. I had recently read an article about make down garments.  In order to make a down garment, you need to use down proof fabric, in other words fabric that down can’t get through. I didn’t have any such fabric except ticking.

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Yes, traditional ticking.  Not a match at all for my black polyester jacket.  Then I remembered this little bit of black quilting fabric I had.

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I sewed them together used them as one piece of fabric.

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I am happy with how it turned out.  When it is hanging it looks ok and the down does not come through it.

Published in: on March 2, 2014 at 7:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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Winter slowdown

The winter has stalled me a little bit. I am still doing things but at slow rate.  I finished these little blocks:

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After Paul’s criticism, I made a non-wonky tree.  The background fabric of the tree is a photo print of trees.  It will hopefully create the illusion of a forest. Also, here is another bear claw with a bear in it.  This makes me smile.

Published in: on February 16, 2014 at 8:04 am  Comments (2)  
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