Ramblings...

Welcome to my blog! I hope to make your visit worthwhile and reward you with some new inspirations, sewing and recycling, crafts tutorials and recipes. Please add yourself as a follower, so that you will automatically be updated when I post something new! Please comment, I appreciate sharing mutual interests, like sewing, crafting, cooking and of course eating well! I am a former Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher, I sub in 3 school systems and moonlight at a retail ladies clothing store. I also am a licensed realtor with my hubby's company, which sometimes allows me to indulge my creative energies. A wife, a mom through adoption, Christian, boomer and a member of the sandwich generation I hope to share my unique perspectives and help you with some of yours!


Friday, June 26, 2009

An anniversary, and a guest tutorial

July 7th marks 31 years of marriage. We toasted ourselves at a local restaurant happy hour. I have very few scanned pictures, but found this one, featuring my two favorite flowers, Daisy's and roses. My dress was made of "Quiana" a fancy name for polyester. Wash and wear, I even cut it down to make a cocktail dress that I wore some years later. I am saving the lace coverup for my daughter, on the very rare chance she will want anything I wore on her special day. Note the "mother nature" look to my very long hair, so practical!

We have so much to be thankful for, I will save my long stories for another day, I am remiss in posting recently about my guest blogging, more below.

I borrowed this text from SewMama's web site, enter and win!

"Join us for Sewing Machine Month! Enter to win this week’s prize package from our Sewing Machine Month sponsor: Husqvarna/Viking. Comment on any post this week for your chance to win the General Sewing Package (over $150 retail value), or you might win one of four $20 gift certificates to Sew,Mama,Sew!."


I am so excited to see my guest tutorial and link to my site
on SewMamaSew blog and shop. I just received a fabric gift from them to add to my stash. 1/2 yard each of Jennifer Paganelli's Dance With Me, a beautiful delicate pattern, and the much bolder, Amy Butler Kalidoscope Dots Leaf ~ Daisy Chain.
Here is the link to my contribution and others on buttonholes...

I hope you will check out their site, it seems very organized and borrow heavily from it's blog readers. I love all the great tutorials and a great resource for fabric I can't find in local stores. It is so exciting to have some of my favorite blogger/designers fabric in my hands, and to see the quality up close. Feel free to suggest what I could do with a 1/2 yard, embellish something.

A few more notes, we spent a wonderful weekend on the boat in Sandusky, 4th of July was cloudy but still memorable, and the sunsets that followed a day of clouds were supreme. Hubby seems happy... Enjoy.







Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sew Mama Sew Blog's Guest Tutorial, Bar Tack Buttonholes

Ta da!!!
I am guest teaching how to make a Bar Tack Buttonhole, make sure you visit SewMamaSew soon to learn all about sewing machines. They have had a whole month of great stuff, I always am learning something new! I taught sewing at the high school level, (former Home Ec Teacher) and have had to deal with the facts that most traditional work horse type machines have no fancy gadgets or features. And I have resigned myself to owning the very same machine all of my career. My sewing machine is just a mere 10 years younger than myself; Elna SP from the 60's.

My mom gave it a good workout in those days, sewing all of my sister's and my clothes, most of which we were dressed as twins or at least with a color variation. We were so stylish in those days, here you can see we are happy to also act like siamese twins. (I am the taller one on the right, but my sis is the taller one now!)







Making Bar Tack Buttonholes, (or low tech bar tacks if you have an older machine with no fancy buttonhole maker like I do)
You’ll need: scrap of fabric, thread, machine, seam ripper, and buttonhole friendly foot, I have one that has a picture of a buttonhole on its one side, (see first pic) but it cruelly suggests that the buttonhole makes itself with the foot. Contrare...it merely guides you as you plow ahead with zag zag/satin stitches. There is a subtle groove on it's underside that can help you go in a straight line. But there are no guarantees, you can easily wander, or go crooked, if you are not firmly in control. That said, most of you can handle this easily with any type of machine that does a zig zag.

My machine has very basic stitches, including a variety of zig zag which this buttonhole is merely a tight zig zag stitch, or also known as “satin stitch” in two widths. I refer to both in case you are more familiar with one or the other term.

Always begin by making a sample using the fabric you will be making the buttonholes on. I machine baste two lines, for the width of the buttonholes to act as a guide to starting and stopping.
My machine stitch length regulator has the numbers 1-4, and through trial and error, I find that 1.5 is the right satin stitch width to create a decent stitch. The fat lever to the left of the dial controls thespace of the zig zag, from 0-4, the higher the number the wider apart the zigs are created. I alternate from 2 for the sides of the buttonhole to the 4 for the fat, bar part.
(If your buttons are fatter or rounded, always add a bit of length to the buttonhole sides so that the buttons can slip easily in and out. )
Begin by lowering the presser foot and starting down one side just past the basting stitches. Hard to see here is that I have gone from one line of basting to the other, zigzag/satin stitch to the next basting line.

Using the flywheel, bring your sewing needle down on the right side. Lift the presser foot, turning the sample all the way around with the needle still in the down position in the fabric. Turn your stitch length dial to the largest stitch (4 for my Elna) and hold the sample firmly as you take 5 or 8 stitches in place, creating a fatter bar, (thus the name bar tack). Leave the needle in the sample, but be sure you are starting down on the other side of the bar. Turn your dial back to the smaller width, 1.5, and stitch back to the other basting line.
Go slow, and keep the other edge you created apart from the side you are working on. Make another bar tack at the end of this row of stitching, turning the dial again to the larger stitch width; without turning, just firmly holding on so it makes a nice fat bar to finish off.
If you like what you did, simply take a seam ripper and carefully rip open the slot you created. If the sides seem a little too narrow, repeat all the steps with the slot opened up, I often go over my stitching more than once to create a nice firm edge.
If it looks ok, you can proceed to working with your garment or project. If not, go back and practice, practice, practice, till you are satisfied. One important note, for you perfectionists out there, your buttons will be covering most of your buttonhole, so perfection is not necessary! Be sure to trim any excess threads on both sides, and remove basting. Sew your buttons on the opposite opening, if any holes are too tight, simply make them bigger with your seam ripper. If you break any threads, go back and repeat the steps to finish them off.

Pictured here are some vintage buttons, that are here for show. These buttons would need a longer hole, at least 1/8 to 1/4 inch longer to compensate for their cirumference.
Making buttonholes are easy, and a necessary skill. With practice, you'll be a pro, and if you already know what you are doing, and this is review, hug a Home Ec Teacher. Skills that are important for life are taught by the fearless Family and Consumer Science Teachers, (as they are now called). Thanks for reading, and stop by my The4Rs.Etsy.com site for some examples of simple loop and button closure hanging towels.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Doesn't this face make you think summer?

Summertime....
Doesn't this adorable child look like the face of summer? My niece Zora here chillin on her dad's lap. She is gracing my desk top screen background, just too cute! Only 2 days into summer vacation and I am pooped! 12 year old Kate has had several sleep overs, a trip through Cedar Point and 2 shopping trips. We spent the earlier part of the day fine tuning a brochure for her new baby sitting business she hopes to do with a girlfriend. She will need to find money for all the things she wants to do and own before we go back to school! She already had a call from her sign in our church nursery, so maybe she will start to pay her own way, who knows? All I know, is that I need a vacation from our vacation! Meanwhile, 22 year old son moved in for a couple of weeks taking over my sewing area, and has abruptly moved again into an apartment, so I spent this evening re-discovering my unfinished projects. The weather is cool and beautiful, perfect for sitting in an upstairs bedroom enjoying the night air as is blows the pattern pieces. I have to get going on some of these tops, if I hope to wear them this summer.
I am still selling some of my vintage furniture and accessories on Craig's list, I hope to start saving towards a new sewing machine. My old Elna feed dogs are giving out, and I have had it repaired many times. I cannot live without a sewing machine, so I would love some suggestions from my followers. I would like to do a little embroidery, general sewing and free motion quilting some day. I already own a serger that I do basics with, but my next machine has got to be versatile. There are some great suggestions over at SewMamaSew, a link in my previous post. I will be doing a bartack buttonhole technique. Hopefully I will pick up some ideas over there, since they are featuring all about sewing machines this month. Check it out!
I have stayed away from baking lately, as the prospect of wearing a bathing suit is looming. Rice Krispie squares are about all I have been able to do, but I bought some blueberries today, watch next post for some of my favorite cobbler and coffeecake recipes using fruit. Till then, goodnight.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Time has flown, but no idle hands here!

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaack! Took a little breather, seems like life has just been moving too fast lately, mostly good stuff happening. We are starting to get our groove back on selling real estate, and we are finally beginning to pay bills again. This past year has been the most trying of our 30 year marriage and the most challenging so far to date. The economy, played a major role, and continues to, but there is more hope now. And the changes we made to meet the challenges will continue, cutting back on everything, using coupons, turning off lights, hanging laundry outside, car pooling, or riding bikes, thrifting and garage sale bargaining, craigs list selling, on and on. Though I have to say we did all of these things without thinking, but now we have a reason and a cause. How about you? Have you made changes in the way you live, or is that something others do? I don't know anyone that has gone unscathed by the recession, but there are levels that is for sure. Like how we drive older cars, but they run, and we own a boat, but it is 25 years old and sits at a dock most of the summer. But we don't miss out on what we feel is important, family time, outdoors every minute we can, since the nice weather is so fleeting. Ok, off the soap box, I get preachy, but there is no voice to stop my rambling.

Have been doing a bit of sewing for myself, bought a number of patterns to make summer tops, every time I shop for clothes, I say, to myself, I can do that, and then it waits for me to do that! Always seem to gravitate towards turquoise or teal.




I posted a top on etsy today I made my 12 year old daughter; after picking out this cheerful rainbow fabric, she decides she says it looks like an apron? Well, she didn't grow up in the 60's with me, but I made these type of tops by the dozens and wore them everywhere. She will want them next year, but for today, it is going for sale in my shop. Probably a size 8-10 if you are interested. I completely lined it in her fav color, yellow, and it has a cute grosgrain ribbon all the way around with a double button treatment with a heart on the front. It is so bright, and cheerful, it glows in the dark!

One last topic, I was asked by Sew Mama Sew to post a button tutorial. I hope to whip out my aging movie camera and create a video. It will help me for my teaching career so it won't be a waste of time. I offered to talk about Bar tack style button holes, my Elna and Lotus do not have separate button hole attachments, so I thought it might be educational to talk about how to do these. Stay tuned, I will post links here too when I get it done. I have taught many kids how to do them, I am sure I can share this with you all too!

Last 4 days of school, I am ready to do some sleeping in; aaaah summer! Here we come!

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