Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Another beautiful but busy day... And no sewing again.

What a busy day! It always seems like work is busier after a holiday or vacation. I guess everyone is trying to catch up.

My day started out wonderful. I was out in the garden nice and early with my camera and the hose. The newly planted vegetable patch needs lots of water to settle in.

The African daisies just opening for the day.

The last pretty hot pink flower. For the life of me I can not remember the name of this darn plant!! If anyone knows please do tell :)

All of the other blooms have lost their petals and look like they could be straight from a Dr Seuss drawing! Very cool looking.

The Japanese honeysuckle smell so sweet across the yard. I love that the blossoms are different colors.

After my morning jaunt in the garden I spent most of the day in the office/den working. The nicest parts of the day were my lunch on the deck and then a pre-dinner glass of wine on the deck. I was hoping and planning on grabbing an hour or 2 in the sewing studio but it just did not happen. Laundry needed to get done and my bag needed to be packed for my work trip tomorrow.

Chloe girl enjoying the back yard.

Holly smelling the Japanese honeysuckle.

Blue checking for rabbits in the garden.

A little Spanish red wine and homemade roasted red pepper hummus for a pre-dinner warmup.

I'm off to northern New Jersey tomorrow for a couple meetings. Best part about this work trip.... Dinner with my dad tomorrow evening!!

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Lisle, IL

Views of my garden

Wow, time sure does seem to fly by. When I'm least paying attention it seems another week is gone! It's funny to me how our emotions can alter the perception of movement of time. At this time 2 years ago, time was absolutely crawling by. As I sat with my leg in pieces I remember thinking, amongst many other things, that my life came to crashing halt.

The sewing room has remained pretty quiet the past couple of weeks. My work travel has been extra busy, I had. A lovely summer bug all last weekend and this past long weekend was spent half in the gardens and half with friends. A perfect way to pass my holiday weekend!

My vegetable garden is finally planted! This year I am a little late which means quite late since the weather has been unseasonable warm this spring. I probably could have planted a month ago, but I was just not ready.

I did a couple new things this year. I used cardboard and straw for mulch, hope to keep the weeds at bay and will add a good mulch at the end of the season. I also repurposed some 'junk' to be used in the garden. I took an old metal frame, wrapped it in chicken wire and then cut some junk wood pieces as supports for the other side to make it into an A-frame. Then tied twine from the top to a metal rod (from the old antennae on our roof) on the ground.

The chicken wire side has cucumbers planted to climb up the side and the twine side has green beans planted. I'm excited to see how it works out!

I also reused another piece of the antennae for the winter acorn squash. I have noticed in years past that they like things to climb on and it keeps the squash nice if they are off the ground and it also helps define the garden area. Having interesting things to look at makes it interesting.

Hopefully, all the work to rabbit proof the garden has been successful. Those little buggers are cute but very, very frustrating when they decide to start eating everything in the garden! Last year we had so many that they even decimated my hosta plants.

Here are some pictures.

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Lisle, IL

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A view of Boston's South End

Spending the night in Boston in the Theater District with a view from my hotel of Boston's South End and part of the Back Bay. Boston is super busy right in the middle of graduation season. It is fun to see so many happy and proud family's gathered together to celebrate the accomplishments of their younger generation.

Had a nice bite to eat at a pub, Intermission Tavern, with a new co-worker. It was nice and relaxed, a couple of beers and fish and chips. Yummy :)

No spare time on this trip to hit any fabric or quilt shops! Maybe next time....
Meetings with customers all morning and then a flight home to go celebrate one of my very good friends 40 th birthday.

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Boston, MA

All quiet in the sewing studio and German measles scare

Coming to you from Providence, Rhode Island.

All has been quiet in the sewing room, my Symphony is in the shop for her yearly checkup and is not back yet. The garden has been calling my name, so I've spent some time this past weekend and Tuesday evening working on my veggie garden. I reprinted the fence and am now in the midst of installing a new rabbit proof fence. It is a bit slow going I can only dig the trench for the fence with my good leg so it took me several sessions to get it done.

Keeping my fingers crossed that it will be done this weekend and I can get the rototilling done and get my plants in. The herb garden is done and has been supplying us with lovely fresh herbs for the kitchen for several weeks now.

Now for an interesting story...
Early one morning I got a phone call for the Department of Health to ask me some questions.
Me: OK, what do you want to know?
DOH: Where you on AA flight xxxx going from Tampa to Miami and sitting in seat 14C?
Me: Why yes I was.
DOH: are you sure you were in that seat?
Me: Yes, what is this about? ( at this point I'm thinking horrible things like bird flu or flesh eating diseases!)
DOH: you have been exposed to the German Measles.
Me: oh, we still have that disease???

As you can imagine the rest of the conversation was about whether or not I was vaccinated, what do I do for work, symptoms and of course the good news it's just like the flu with a rash unless you are pregnant. Then it is really, really bad. Well no being pregnant for me so no problems unless of course I was infected and had contact with anyone who is pregnant.

Unfortunately they grounded me from flying until I could prove immunity. So I had to cancel my Tuesday work trip and head to the doctor for an emergency blood test.

And of course I am immune. I got every vaccine required and thank goodness. Otherwise I would have had to stay home for like three weeks. My boss would have loved that!!

And to finish out my non-sewing blog post.... A picture from my garden.

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Loving me some leather!

Late last week while I was in NYC I had a total of 2 hours to hit the garment district. In between a conference call and a webex meeting I power walked the 8 streets up to fabric and notion store heaven. One could get completely lost in the garment district for hours and maybe even days. Every store holding infinite possibilities, the sight, the feel and even the smell of the fabric is enough to drive you to distraction.

I had no time whatsoever for distraction. I was a woman on a mission! A mission to find a great skin of leather. I have been secretly envisioning wonderfully self made leather accessories. From a simply elegant business card holder, a clutch, maybe a belt and a great cover for my iPad. Plus all the great gift ideas that come to mind. The only problem was where to get the leather... No way I was ordering it online! Leather needs to be touched and smelled before purchasing.

I headed to Leather Impact on West 38th Street. I've been in this store 2 other times but have never bought anything until now. The staff were very helpful, nice and took an interest enough to make suggestions and answer questions. They were not overbearing and did not stalk you as you walked around feeling the skins. I hate when sales people are stalkers, it's a complete turnoff to me. I ended up with a 21.3 square feet 3 oz cow skin in a beautiful chestnut brown color. After I bought my skin I headed over to Botani Trims on 36th street and bought a selection of hardware to go with my new leather.

I did not get a chance to do much browsing, the only store I got to stop in for browsing was Parons new store front. Luckily for my bank account I had little time to do much more than a quick browse through.

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Lisle, IL

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Various musings

Busy, busy, busy life. Last week I spent in Tampa followed by a lovely, super fun and super busy weekend!

Friday was Rammstein concert. Saturday was a bridal shower party thing that ran well past midnight, Sunday was a graduation luncheon for one of my very good friends that graduated with her accounting masters.

Monday evening I had a serger feet class on my evolution. That was so much fun! A group of about 20 ladies, all Evolution owners, half of us brought our machines and we played with three speciality feet. This class was the ruffler, cording and beading feet. It is a technique class and it's great to get together with a bunch of other ladies.

I dropped my Symphony off while I was at the shop for her yearly Tension, Oil and adjustment so my sewing table looks quite empty. The Symphony at the shop and the Evolution still in her travel case. And now I am back on the road to NYC for a couple days. Keeping my fingers crossed to have some time to hit the garment district for a couple hours. I want to get some leather and try my hand at making some leather accessories.

I never did sign up for Me Made May. However, I have been playing along anyway and so far every day this month I have worn some garment that I have either mad work refashioned. Super fun! I don't know that I have enough to make it the entire month but I'll try!

Picture from the bridal shower/girls night out. I'm in the aqua top.

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:O'Hare airport

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Simplicity 1945 wardrobe, Khaliah Ali Collection and a purple sweater

The past couple of days were pretty productive in the sewing room. Sunday I cut out 3 tops and yesterday i sewed them up.The cowl shirt and waterfall cardigan from Simplicity 1945 and a basic short sleeve summer sweater from Silhouette sweater set.

The Simplicity 1945 is a new pattern for me and I am pretty happy with it. Easy to put together, great wardrobe builder and I will be able to wear it for business casual meetings and events. It isa.so a great crossover piece that I can wear for non-work stuff too. I love versatility!

The orange cowl top is from a knit that I bought at a new fabric store in Indianapolis called The French Seam. It is beautiful, and a delight to work with. The brown alligator tone on tone fabric is a ponte knit that I bought at a Hancock fabrics in North West of Chicago. I think up near Woodstock, IL. There used to be tons of Hancock Fabrics around but most of them have closed.

I also learned that my cover stitch feature is a little temperamental if I do not have a full spools of thread for the needles. I was trying to match the orange and had only just enough thread (literally just enough) and the darn thing just misbehaved and misbehaved. When I finally had enough and loaded it with full spools of brown to do a contrasting stitch instead, it worked perfectly!

I do think if I make the cowl top again I will either make the cowl smaller or use a lighter weight knit. I may also add in a bust dart if I make it again. I'll have to wear the top a couple times before deciding.

One could hide from the paparazzi with that cowl!

This purple sparkle sweater knit was a remnant that I picked up at JoAnns last year. I think it cost me like $5 and I had been wanting to play with a lightweight sweater knit without spending to much money. The first picture makes it look blue... Not sure why, maybe something to do with the flash. The second picture is closer to the real color.

What's next? Well I am still working out the closures for my sweater set cardigan. Buttonholes are a no-go on that knit. I tried several types on a practice piece and they were disastrous. I am looking at some clasp closures, I bought a set of 2 from JoAnns and had to spray paint them the color I wanted with some rustoleum to get them even usable. Still deciding on what to do.

I have a couple more knits to play with and then I think I will move on to structured jackets. I have a nice stash of wools that will make some great work jackets with enough fabric left over for pants.

On my way to Tampa for work for a couple of days.
Happy Sewing!

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Lisle, IL