Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cleaning the Sewing Room

 My beautiful grandson (3) and my wonderful granddaughter (7) are coming tomorrow for a week and the sewing room is also the guest room.  Behind the book shelves holding my sewing books is a Murphy Bed that come down out of the wall for sleeping. .  .  I have put all the fabrics into plastic bins which I covered with a Hanukkah tablecloth to make a side table.   I have closed the machines, put up the ironing board and unplugged everything.   I emptied the Chest of Drawers so my son can put the clothes in it, and I've tried to make space in the closet to hang up some clothes next to my oaktag block patterns.. I  have put my hundreds of threads into storage boxes.  I have the Stabilizer in boxes and paper bags.  I have little scraps and ribbons in baskets.   I have tried to find all the pins in the rug and picked them up so there will be no pins in feet.
I hope Sydney and I will get a chance to knit and sew, and that Sean will string my empty thread spools on yarn and we can use some art supplies  to make Grandma some new refrigerator art.  I have gone through thousands of papers and shredded or tossed out many.  I didn't finish all the paperwork though.   Can one ever finish disposing of paperwork?  Tomorrow (Christmas Day) they fly in on United's Reindeer and I am so excited. 
Everyone should have company so they have an excuse to organize and clean up their sewing rooms.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Wonderful Week of Parties and Fun

This past week was really wonderful.  First on Saturday Night, we hosted the Pre-Chanukah Chanukah Party for our Chavurah.  It was a Pot Luck and I made Latkes from scratch.  I decided I didn't need the electric fry pan and returned it before the party.  I sort of followed the recipe from the Shiska in the Kitchen blog Yukon-gold-latkes/but I used regular Russet potatoes and added some additional spices.  There was not one Latke left.  We got a nice bottle of wine from the Gift Exchange.
On Sunday, I attended the Houston Chapter of the American Sewing Guild Annual Meeting.  It was a Mad Hatter Tea Party.  The hats that people wore were absolutely wonderful.  There was a $1000 challenge where the members were to find an item advertised for at least $1000 and try to recreate it.  The winner was a facinator hat and the runner up was a tote bag.  There were fur jackets, purses, and other terrific items.  There were about 100 people who came which was wonderful because the weather was very threatening. At the meeting I was elected Secretary of the Chapter Advisory Board.
On Monday, I attended the holiday party and gift exchange for the ASG Wearables Neighborhood Group in Webster.  For the gift exchange I received a little kit of embroidery tools from Sulky which I had almost purchased at the Quilt Festival.  You can see it here:
Sulky Embroidery Toolkit.
On Wednesday I had lunch with friends at Berryhill in Sugarland.  Then I went to JoAnn's to buy fabric for the back of my quilt top and batting. In the evening, the Warwick Towers had its annual party.  There were three open units to tour.  In the penthouse unit there was a centuries old Royal Chinese Robe displayed in a plexiglass case.  The owner told us that they knew it was a Royal Robe because the dragon that was embroidered on the robe had five fingers.  If it was only nobility owned and not royal it would have had four fingers.  The wall with the robe encased slid open and inside was a wide screen TV.  At one of the other units that was open, I discovered that the woman who lived in it was a quilter!  She had a whole room set up as quilting room with a design wall and a peg board for her tools.  The closet was filled with sliding baskets that held her fabric stash.  The buffet dinner had 10 appetizers,  5 main dishes, about 20 different desserts, wine, coffee with liqueurs, and each bite was absolutely delicious.  It was almost impossible to even take just one bite of everything.
On Thursday I made two Chanukah Pillowcases to be presents for the grand kids to use when they are here and then they can take them home with them.
On Friday evening we went to the Family Bingo Center with a group of friends.  It was a lot of fun, but no one in our group won anything.
On Saturday morning, we had the annual pot luck and gift exchange for the Inside the Loop Group neighborhood  group of ASG.  For my gift I received Fabric Organizers that can help me clean up my stash of Fabric.  You can see them here:Fabric Organizers.Then we went out to dinner with good friends for wonderful TexMex food at Pappasitos.  The food is always delicious but the restaurants are always very noisy. 
Today, Sunday, we went to a local Veteran's Center with people from our Synagogue and played bingo with the Vets.  I convinced Dave to donate two bags of books to the vets so we now have more room for his ever-growing book collection. Thus it was a busy and wonderful week.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Holiday Parties and Pillowcases!

The Holiday season is starting with a lot of parties for me this year.  It is nice NOT to be on the road and to be able to attend the parties.  Next Saturday we are sponsoring an early Hanukah party with our chavurah (group of friends) from our Synagogue.  I've been out shopping for lots of paper goods, decorations, tablecloths, etc. for the party.  I'm making latkes and realized I needed to buy an electric fry pan to cook them it, so Dave and I got one at Target today.  My major problem is where am I going to put it after the party.  We got a "grinch" gift for the Hanukah gift exchange today also.

My condo is having its annual open house and holiday buffet on the seventh. One of the units that will be open is a penthouse so that will be spectacular.  The Buffet is always gourmet delicious. As usual, my husband will be on the road so I asked my "other husband" to come with me.  No, I am not polygamous, he is just a good friend and his wife and my husband don't object.  Some year Dave will get to come to the event with me.  I know he would really enjoy it. 

My two ASG groups are also having holiday parties with gift exchanges.  I went to Joann's and found some notions to which I'll add some fabric from my stash for my gifts.  I also bought some Hanukkah fabric there.  My grand kids are coming for the end of Hanukkah (Christmas week) and I'm thinking of making them pillow cases with the  Hanukkah fabric.  At least they won't outgrow the pillowcases!     I have to think small as everything will go back with them to California. If I have time and enough fabric, I'll make some pillowcases for my New Jersey Grandkids too!  Maybe I'll make some for my Houston great niece and nephew.  Oh no!  I'll have to open a pillowcase factory in the next two weeks!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

KISS website

A reader asked for the website to buy a Kut It Sew Straight laser light.  It is

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Catching Up

I haven't posted a blog in awhile.  I have been to three ASG meetings and attended the International Quilt Festival in Houston on three separate days.  The Quilt Festival, as usual, was awesome.  On Thursday, I looked at the prize winning quilts and then walked around the vendors before doing my stint as a volunteer at the ASG booth.  On Friday I brought two friends who had never been to the Quilt Festival before.  They soon learned to believe me when I said to think" Art Show and Shopping Mall" rather than bedspreads! We spent about two hours looking at quilts, a half-hour at lunch, and an hour shopping. On Sunday I went back to continuing exploring the vendors.  Although my friends didn't sew, one bought jewelry and one got a massage!  I didn't buy much this year because I had bought fabric in NYC at Mood, and I had taken three pattern making workshops and I have an ever growing stash of fabric.  I did buy some embroidery thread, some water soluble sticky stabilizer, and a gadget call KISS which stands for Kut it Sew Straight.  It is a laser light that shine on your cutting mat so you can put a rotary cutter or scissor on top and cut a straight line.  My two ASG neighborhood groups had Show and Tells from the Quilt Festival as their meetings, so I had something to show as no one else had purchased that gadget.
Today I attended my first ASG Chapter Advisory Board meeting. I was getting to see what I have to look forward to next year.  I'm about to finish my red rayon jacket.  I have a lot of Holiday Parties coming up to wear it at.  I had to lift the shoulders, re-fit the sleeves, and shorten the bottom points.  Thank goodness for the help I got at the Wearables group or I would have just given up.
 It's almost Thanksgiving, and I'm thankful for all of my sewing friends.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Princess Blocks finally done.

I took Lorianne Reeves princess-block workshop last week.  I didn't finish and worked on the blocks on Monday at the ASG meeting.  Then I worked on them more this week and today I finally finished putting the last pattern on the tag board and cutting  it out.  I'll have to do another sleeve sometime, but I think I'll let it go for a while.  Now I need to get back to sewing again.  I haven't even turned on my machines this week. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Wool Fabric and Modeling your fashions

When I was in NYC I purchased some wool fabric at Moods.  Yesterday at my ASG wearable group meeting we were given free wool fabric that someone had donated to ASG.  I also have some wool fabric that I bought at the Pendleton outlet in Vermont on a trip Dave and I took years ago.  I have decided that since the temperature has finally dipped below 90 degrees in Houston, fall is only a few months away and I want to sew with all of this beautiful fabric.  So I have been researching what to do with it.  Today I found information on how to preshrink the wool without sending it to the dry cleaner that I will try on Pamela Erny's blog  Basically she says to serge or finish the edges of the wool so it doesn't ravel.  Then wet some towels with hot water until very wet but not dripping and put the fabric and towels in a hot dryer for 40 minutes.  Then pull out the fabric and lay flat to cool.   Other ideas I am looking for are what kind of interfacing to use, and what kind of lining to use.  On her blog Pamela Erny recommends Pro-Weft Fusible available at  Fashion Sewing Supply.

Peggy Sexton gave our ASG group pointers on how to walk when modeling your garments at a fashion show.  Peggy said hold your thumb to your third finger, walk straight while twisting your shoulders a bit, and sing to yourself "Isn't she beautiful".  Many of the ladies in our group are showing off their creations at the Stitches in Time Fashion Luncheon at the International Quilt Festival.  I don't think I am up to doing this yet, but I hope by next year my sewing will have progressed enough for me to enter an outfit.

Travels and a few stitches

Last week we flew to Irvine, California, drove to Las Vegas, drove back to Irvine, drove to and from San Diego and flew back to Houston, TX.  In Irvine we visited our son and his wife and my two gorgeous grandchildren.  It was the Sean's 3rd birthday party.  He has beautiful strawberry blond curls and doesn't speak too clearly yet, but he is absolutely adorable.   In Vegas we visited Dave's cousins and saw the  Freemont Experience and the Terry Fator show.  He is a terrific ventriloquist/singer comedian.  We also had a wonderful lunch at an Inn on Charleston Mountain. 

We drove back to Irvine for Rosh Hashanah with Gabi's folks and the South African extended Family.  I took a trip with Sydney (age 7) to our favorite store, Joann Fabric and Crafts,  to buy shiny red fabric for her devil cape for a Halloween costume.  Her Mom found a "devil kit" at Target with a red horn headband and a red tail which matched the fabric really well.  Sydney said she wants to be a devil because it is really scary and kids with scary costumes get more candy when they trick or treat.  I don't think it will work because Sydney really is a little angel.  We had only a little bit of time to practice her sewing on her sewing machine this trip.   

On Saturday, we drove down to the Marine Air Station at Miramar in San Diego for the air show with the Blue Angels.  Wow is all I can say. Dave got some really great pictures.  He says he took 800 so some were destined to be fabulous and they are.  Some day I will learn to make a quilt from one of Dave's wonderful photos.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Creative Edges

At the Wearables Group this week, Lorianne gave suggestions for embellishing the edges of your garments.  She showed pictures she collected from various fashion magazines and told how we might incorporate the suggestions into our garments.  Some of the suggestions included: piping in the seams, buttons without buttonholes, fringe made by inserting a 1" strip of fabric into the seam and then fringing it up to the seam line, beading (she recommends bigger beads as seed beads are not large enough to show), ribbons butted together and mitered, fringe on the bottom of skirts, and zippers as embellishments.  Penny M-J wasn't there this week but she sent along a jacket for us to see with moss stitching along the edges.  Penny recommends a book called "Edges and Finishes in Machine Embroidery " by Valerie Campbell-Harding.  Lorianne brought a book called "1000 Artisan Textiles" by Sandra Salamony and Gina M. Brown that she uses for inspiration.  She also recommends the website Click on the classes tab and look at the Ribbon Trims with Candace Kling classes for pictures of how you can manipulate ribbon to use as trims.