Sunday, November 13, 2011

The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women: A Portable Mentor by Gail McMeekin

Bloggers and blog readers are creative people. They just have to be.  Bloggers share their thoughts and ideas and readers are looking for inspiration. Often readers are bloggers or would be if they had more time.   Time.  Therein lies the creative dilemma for most of us.  Finding time, using it effectively, overcoming the guilt we often feel for doing something creative when we think we should be doing more "useful" things. Who hasn't had this problem?

Gail McMeekin's book, The 12 Secrets of  Highly Creative Women, is filled with explanations of how we can nourish our creativity effectively.  McMeekin looks at many things that affect our ability to unleash our creativity including the innate differences in male/female thinking and cultural influences that are so ingrained we may well not realize how they are affecting our decision-making.  Through the lives, thoughts, and experiences of many women who have succeeded in creative endeavors, McMeekin offers countless ideas for setting up our lives to encourage our creative talents.

I don't know how I missed this book before!  The one I just got is the tenth anniversary edition.  There is so much inspiring, profound, and just plain useful information in this book.  I'm getting copies for all the females in my family for Christmas. How great if the young ones begin their adult lives knowing they deserve to take the time to nurture their creativity.  What great things might come of expanding our views of  women's roles in society and what great new cultural traditions we might pass down for future generations.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Review of Uptown Coat Pattern from Favorite Things

I have a beautiful jacket almost completed.  I'm right down to the buttons and hemming.  Unfortunately, I just cannot make it fit well.  I used my measurements to decide on the size which turned out to be too big on the muslin piece.  I made the next size down, and it still does not look right in the chest area.  It looks great on the hanger--just not on ME.
I do need a better camera.  These fabric look so much richer in person.
 I have no idea why those white spots are there in the photo either!
Other reviewers said it was not for beginners, but I've had luck with a few clothing pieces before.  I am not skilled enough, however, to know how to make the shoulders narrower without changing the rest of the fit down through the chest area. I also think I would also need to put in darts to get rid of the slight bunching in the front armpit area.  Again, I don't know how to do this.  I could probably start playing with it, but I really don't want to put this much time and effort into altering patterns.  

I'm going to finish it and give it to the Goodwill shop.  Someone out there may have the figure for it!  For now I need to get back to my other sewing.  I owe someone an apron and still have lots of dish towels and cloth napkins to get ready for holiday gifts.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hand Washing Dishes is Dangerous

Who knew washing dishes was a dangerous job! My dishwasher died, and I was a tad too zealous handwashing one of my glasses. It broke in my hand leaving a gash requiring seven stitches.   Everything is taking at least twice as long to do including typing this.

There were some news shows a while ago saying that the "so-called poor" had luxuries including refrigerators, stoves, and air conditioners. Some even had automatic dishwashers!  I'm not sure when stoves and refrigerators became luxury items, nor am I sure an air conditioner could necessarily be considered a luxury for the very young or old in a southern city in the summer months. Now I'm thinking I'm going to have to tell those news guys that automatic dishwashers not only save water, but may also prevent injuries.  That dishwasher is looking less and less like a luxury to me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Do Your Kids Ever Amaze You?

Each of my kids has done things that have left me wondering how on earth this bright, creative, inspiring being came from me.  With my son Kyle, it is often his writing.  I know I said I would not post until my jacket was finished, but I have to share my son's short piece of poetry that author Claudia Ricci put up on her blog here.

Kyle sometimes shows me his work and sometimes not.  This is one I had not seen before.   It's the kind of writing that makes you stop and think about how you respond in certain situations, how you feel when you are in those situations.  I don't think I will ever look at a dropped glove the same again.   Stop and take a look.  If you, too, can empathize, feel free to leave him a comment!
Sadly this is the ONLY picture I could find of Kyle where he wasn't posing in some outrageous way.
Now back to that jacket.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Good Reason to Keep a Fabric Stash

Most of the time I feel a bit of guilt when buying fabric that I really don't have a specific use for like this one.

My stash does tend to get out of control cuz while I'm often short of sewing time, I always manage to have shopping time.  However, there was no way I was passing up this beautiful lining fabric at $1 a yard.  There were two pieces of the same fabric, both marked "as is" $1 for 3 yards. I've checked the fabric over several times and have not found any flaws, though.

It's been sitting in the stash for over a year.  Yesterday I found the most beautiful corduroy that would work perfectly for a jacket pattern that had been sitting here for about two years.   Even better, the lining matches the corduroy!  Yes!  It was a great idea to buy it--not feeling any guilt now. Keeping a stash does pay off.   These two were made for each other.
And the paisley and blue cords HAVE to be together in this jacket.
The paisley will just be on the bodice.  No more computer until this jacket is finished. That should give me some incentive to git-er-done.
The pattern is still out there if you want to see it:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sweatshirt Redo

I'm loving this "new" sweatshirt!  I need to get a dress form.  This looks much better on, but I can't take my own pic without getting that annoying flash in the mirror.

I had one sweatshirt that was too tight on the bottom with rough, scratchy cuffs and one that had bleach marks on the arms.  Being cheap frugal, I used the best of both to make one nice sweatshirt.

 How to get an unusual sweatshirt with lettuce edged finish?

I took one sweatshirt and cut it off just above the point where it started getting tight.  I also removed the cuffs on this one that were too rough and did a lettuce edge on the sleeves.  I used my serger to get a slight lettuce edge effect on the sleeves,  bottom edge of the top piece, and bottom of the added band.  However, you can also do this with a regular machine by using a close, wide zigzag as you would when appliqueing.  You MUST pull the fabric taut from the front and back  while sewing this on a regular machine to get the effect and to keep the material from being pulled into the machine.  Practice first!
Section cut off bottom of one sweatshirt
The 8" band added to the bottom was from the mid-section of the bleach-stained shirt that just happened to be the same shade of navy blue as the lettering on the first shirt and a good 4" wider.  I cut this band so that it would flair out slightly toward the bottom.  The band is the same width as the top piece where they meet and gets wider toward the bottom.  I slanted  my line out an inch on each side.  It doesn't show well in the next photo but you get the idea, right?  Gotta remember those hips.  In fact you might want to have the back hang slightly longer if you are blessed with butt.

 Just because I find it easier, I used Stitch Witchery ironed about an inch down from the top of the right side of the added band to hold the two pieces together rather than pinning.  The Stitch Witchery goes on the outside of the added bottom band so that when you iron the two pieces together the right sides of each piece will be facing you.  I hope this part isn't confusing.  Let me know.  Really, you are just sandwiching the edge of the added band with the adhesive ironed on inside the top shirt, straightening it out as you would like it and pressing according to the Stitch Witchery directions.   Then you can sew the two pieces together.  I  doubt that Stitch Witchery is up to permanently holding the pieces together.

 If you try this, you will have to determine how long you want the band to be based on the length of the top piece after you cut it and where you prefer the bottom to fall.  Remember the band needs to be about 2 inches under the upper piece.  You will sew about  1/2" down from the top of the added band.  That way, you will not be sewing on the Stitch Witchery which could gum up your needle.  It will also leave you with 1" of fabric that will be loose on top section so that the lettuce edge has room to "ruffle."

That's it!  I might try something similar on some of my slightly shrunken  t-shirts.  Taking out the existing hems and ruffling the edge should be just enough to make some of them wearable again.


Monday, September 12, 2011

That Baby Dress Really Needed this Hat, Didn't It?

The finished dress from my last post was screaming that it needed a matching hat.  I found a free pattern for this one on Prudent Baby.

 Did I make changes?  Of course I did.  The pattern is designed so that the hat can be reversible, but I decided I wanted something at the top of the hat when it was finished.  It needed more cuteness.  My fabrics on each side were so similar that I decided to go for it.  I put a fabric yo-yo on top:

I also wanted ties which the pattern didn't have.  Since I originally planned for this to be reversible, I decided on buttonholes with knotted silky cording.  You can see in the photo below that you can pull the cord to have the knot on either side.  Does that make sense?  You knot both ends of the cording.  Then you can pull the ties so that one of the cord's knots will be on the outside when you reverse it and one will be at the loose end.

Make sure the buttonholes are tiny--big enough for the cording to get through, but not for the knot.  I made a few practice ones and tried it out.  You all know that you need to put some tape on the ends when you cut it to keep it from fraying, right?  The stiffness of the tape is really helpful in getting the cording into that little buttonhole, too.  I'm going to try thin fabric ties with knotted ends on the next one.  I think that would look great, too.

In retrospect,  I think I should have put the buttonholes up a bit higher.  That would allow the sides to flare out a bit more for sun protection.

All in all this is a great pattern--soooo easy and cute even without the yo-yo really.  If you read through the comments on the Prudent Baby post, you will get some idea on sizing.  The pattern can be enlarged or reduced to fit your needs.

Now don't they look just perfect together?