Saturday, June 27, 2009

I do apologize for not having thought of a witty post in some time.

Remember the handmade butter crock I wanted for my birthday that my dad got for me?

Butter crock

And then Mark broke it?

Butter crock, broken

Well, it was really, really hard to glue it back together, and it looks just awful. It's not fooling anybody, and a guest at our house actually was like, "what the hell happened there?"

But butter crocks (which allow you to use a seal of water to keep butter fresh while at room temperature) are not very common, and not something you can just go out and buy. You generally have to search the Internet, and they aren't all that cheap either. The one above was, I think, close to $40.

So I'm looking around Savers thrift store for some bargains, and what do I find? A butter crock! How did you guess?

butter crock

And it was $4.99. It's also a smaller size. I wanted a one-stick sized crock (the other one is a 2-stick) because I can't eat it that fast, and the lower it gets, the harder to keep it sealed.

For the record, I fully understand if I'm the only person who cares about this. I mean, what kind of boring blog is this?

Improved sewing room

My sewing room is not the kind that people ooh and aah over with a cute shabby chic decor and some old, antique hutch containing all my colorful fabrics.

My sewing room is also the computer room/office. And it also holds thousands of record albums. I previously wrote about a sewing cabinet I found on Craigslist, and we talked the people into delivering it to us, since they had a truck and we didn't. They wanted $100, and we got it for $90. It's used and has its dings and scratches, but overall I really love it. It looks so much better than the folding table I had, and there's lots of room for storage inside, which really cleans up the room.

The downside is that there is no room for my serger on this table. But as I cleaned up this room (which took hours) and moved stuff out of it, I found a spot on the filing cabinet, and I'll just have to move the serger and plug it in when I want to use it.

OK, ready? Here is the before:

sewing room

A folding table and plastic cart of drawers.

Here is the after:

sewing room

Look at all the storage! I was even able to put my sewing related books in there, clearing room on my regular bookshelf, which is jam-packed. Of course, there is not room for one more book.

sewing room

I like to use a rolling stool to sew because I found an office chair with arms to be too cumbersome and in the way. Plus, I don't ever use the back of the chair. Downside is that when the cabinet is closed, where do I put the stool? I'm just rolling it under the other side of the computer desk, the side where you don't sit.

sewing room

As I cleaned and decluttered, I thought of an excellent way to manipulate my husband into getting this stupid Mark Twain figure out of here. His sister gave me this maneki neko (lucky cat) that she brought from China several years ago. He hates it. So he agreed if I took that out of here, he'd take all this other crap out.

sewing room

Next up is getting this TV out of here, because with the digital switch, it can't be used anyway. We don't have a satellite receiver in here. At the very least, I'd like to put a flat screen in here that takes up less room and looks better.

But back to my sewing area. I took down two ugly hooks I had on either side of the window that only some of my measuring tools would hang on because many had tiny holes. I put one single nail to the side of my table and hung all my rulers there.

sewing room

You can also see my office caddy there. I keep a huge amount of my tools in that caddy. I can't believe how much stuff I have in such a tiny space. It's really convenient. Those plastic bins are what I use to collect threads. I put one on my ironing board, where I do most of my pinning and trimming and snipping, and one next to my machine.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sloppy sewing

I like matryoshkas, or Russian nesting dolls, so once upon a time when I saw this fabric, I bought some. Then it sat around for a few years while I couldn't figure out what to do with it. It's very wrinkly and sproingy.

I finally decided to make this top, using Simplicity 3750. I can't say I love it, but it's OK. I'm glad I finally used the fabric.


I pretty much hated every minute of this project. Cutting was a bitch, since the fabric won't lay flat. I stretched it out and pinned it to a cardboard cutting mat and cut it that way.
Then, I found that I couldn't mark on the fabric, so I just sort of winged things. In the end, I set the sleeves in differently, so in the front, one sleeve comes down more than the other. I'm hoping nobody notices, since I am not willing to fix it.



Look what I found! A beautiful wood sewing table on Craig's List. Unfortunately, it was way out in the South Valley, probably a good 45 minutes from my house. And we don't have a truck.
Mark haggled a bit and got them to deliver it and knock $10 off the price. They are bringing it tomorrow. It is only $90!

It closes up neatly when not in use

sewing room

And opens up to a nice workspace and storage

sewing table

It even has a place to set in your sewing machine to make it flush with the table, but this completely closes up, as well.

sewing room

It will replace this folding table setup

sewing room

although there is still no space for my ironing board. I don't know what to do to make that look better. It's so huge that it can't hand on the back of a door. I've thought about one that folds down from the wall. It wouldn't be as big, and I use my board as my primary workspace. I just don't have a place to set it up where I could get at it.

Any ideas?

Friday, June 19, 2009

My first estate sale

I went to an estate sale in Corrales today. I was eating my breakfast and thumbing through the paper when I saw "estate sale" in the classifieds. I had been thinking of going to one for a while, but always forgot to. It's my day off, so I decided to check it out. Corrales is a rural village just minutes away from my home.

I felt a little bad picking over the belongings of some old widow who is now in a nursing home. I found a few pillowcases, some creepy cats and some lace other notions.

Off on a tangent, remember the Nine Pillowcase Quilt on Oh, Fransson's blog that I have been dying to make for months? Well she finally posted the tutorial (now called the Clothesline Quilt). It was supposed to be ready in March, and as I patiently (or not) waited for months, I collected my vintage linens. Today I went to select my nine fabrics and realized how overboard I went on the vintage linens purchasing. Maybe I should make a 20 Pillowcase Quilt.

Here are the two I added today:

vintage sheets

I also found some pieces of lace and ribbon, and tons of snaps and hooks and eye, even some hand sewing needles.

Lace and notionsNotions from estate sale

I spotted these antique cats, which in hindsight are a bit scary looking. What's with the eyeglasses? They need cleaning, but I'm not sure how, what with the fur glued on them.

antique cats

They are like these cats that I got from my grandmother-in-law when she died.

antique cats

Finally, for the real and not creepy cats in my life, I got this box to carry my stuff in:


OK, so once I put the stuff in the box, I went up to the man and asked how much it would cost. He said, "Well, I'll look at it and make an offer. These cats are collectibles."

Now I'm thinking he's going to charge a lot. And I only have $16 in cash with me, but I was thinking that would be fair for the lot of stuff, since it does go to feed the old lady in the nursing home, after all.

Then he says, "For the whole box of stuff, $5."

Uh, OK. And off I ran, feeling like a thief.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More Amy Butler sewing

I've been on a clothes-sewing kick lately, as opposed to quilting. Although I do have a quilt planned.

Here's a live-human picture of my Amy Butler Anna Tunic. It's better to take pictures outside, but my new neighbor was hanging out in her yard, and our walls are low. I feel silly setting up my camera on timer and posing by myself around my yard:

Amy Butler

I had wanted some cropped denim pants for a few years, and I found these on the Target clearance rack for $11 the other day. There was only one pair that I saw, and they happened to fit me perfectly.

I also finished my Favorite Things Prairie Girl dress, also made of Amy Butler fabric. I was really excited about this dress initially, but I'm not as excited about the end result. It's OK, but not quite what I expected.

Amy Butler,Prairie Girl,Favorite Things

Prairie Girl,Favorite Things

I like a closer fit, and tying it too tight doesn't really look good. But if you make a smaller size, you may have trouble getting the dress on, since there's no zipper or buttons.

Amy Butler,Prairie Girl,Favorite Things

I think maybe a thinner, drapier fabric would have looked nicer, so the skirt would fall more softly.

Mark says I need to get a tan if I'm going to wear that dress. I do look even pastier than usual, I must admit.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Amy Butler Anna Tunic

I recently splurged on this Amy Butler pattern and fabric during the sale at Hip Stitch. The fabric is less orange and more salmon in real life.

It's the Amy Butler Anna Tunic. A few things aren't perfect, such as the armholes being a bit snug. I'm not sure what went wrong there. There doesn't seem to be anything I could have messed up on in that area.

Amy Butler,sewing

Also, the big, crazy flower pin blends right in. The fabric is so busy that you can't even see it in the photos.

Amy Butler,sewing

This pattern was fun and fairly easy to make. I feel like most things came out looking nice, including the button area. Closures are usually where I mess things up.

Amy Butler,sewing

You can leave the flower pin or the belt off. Here it is without the belt:

Amy Butler,sewing

This pattern can also be made longer in a mini dress, regular dress or a bit shorter of a top.

I'll take better photos on a real person (me) tomorrow if I have time.

Speaking of which, here are people photos of my Favorite Things Prairie Girl top made from vintage linens:

Favorite Things,Prairie Girl

Favorite Things,Prairie Girl

Now I'm off to start on the dress version of this pattern.

One more thing I should consider cleaning once in awhile

My sewing machine has been acting naughty lately. The bobbin gets all messed up for no apparent reason. Finally, I unscrewed the plate and took out the bobbin holder. Dear God, there was a lot of lint in there. Like pounds of it. And it was packed into solid formation like this lint here, which I broke in half. That's right, I broke lint.

sewing room

I used a little brush and some tweezers and got most of it out. Then I used canned air to blow everything else out. No wonder the little cogs and gears couldn't turn properly.

After I put things back together and resumed sewing, it purred like a kitten. I hadn't realized that it wasn't supposed to sound so loud and clunky. I had to actually stop and check that it was really sewing because it was so smooth and quiet. Yay!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lots of sewing time

My husband's out of town, so I've had lots of sewing time. Unfortunately, he took the camera, so I can only use my cell phone. Strangely, the photos are almost better than with my camera. Can't figure that one out.

In an earlier post, I showed you the Prairie Girl dress from Favorite Things that I am going to make with pretty Amy Butler fabric. Because of my recent mishaps, I was definitely going to make a muslin first.
Last night I realized there's a shirt version in the same pattern, which is just the dress cut shorter. I spied a pretty white/orange/blue/green vintage sheet in my collection and decided to go for it. This killed two birds with one stone: It basically served as my muslin (only change is the dress is longer) and allowed me to make something with all these sheets I've been buying. It was bugging me that I wasn't making use of them fast enough.

sewing,vintage sheets,Favorite Things

For the dress, I'll be doing the ruffled cap sleeve. I like this top a lot, but from the back, it sort of looks like a scrub top a nurse would wear. I think a lot of it's the sleeves.

sewing,vintage sheets,Favorite Things

I was going to make the dickey out of this sheet here, which sort of matched, but then when I tried the top on, I happened to be wearing this green tank that matched well. It brought out the colors better than the second sheet.

vintage sheets

Next up is a gathered empire waist top made from this matryoshka print fabric that I bought some time ago. I didn't have much and couldn't figure out what to do with it since it's so wrinkly and doesn't lay flat. I am going to use Simplicity 3750, and I have it all cut out. That was no easy task. I decided the best thing to do was to lay it out on a cardboard cutting mat and pin the fabric stretched out. Then I cut to my best ability and let it shrink back up.

matryoshka fabric

Simplicity 3750

Friday, June 5, 2009

Time machine

Oh, man. Did I ever hit vintage sheet paydirt at my mother-in-law's house! I don't know why I didn't think to ask earlier. Maybe because I have enough damn vintage sheets, and I've yet to use them for much.

I was over there today to help with a garage sale. I got there late because I'm no early bird. It was slow all afternoon, save a few lonely people who talked our ears off. Mark and I made less than $20, and I've already spent it all. I bought lunch at Blake's Lotaburger up the street, and then I stopped in at a nearby thrift store while I was on that side of town. I needed more vintage sheets, see. And I found a set of canisters still in the box that looked unused for $10.

OK, so I'm figuring my MIL is in her 80s AND she is a packrat holds onto stuff. They all like to hold onto stuff, that family. I ask her if she has any vintage sheets she doesn't need anymore, stuff older than the 1980s. And she finds all these perfect pillowcases! Some of them are a bit bland, but some are fantabulous!

Warning: if you think my normal photography is bad, I used my phone for this here.

vintage sheets

Would you like to see them up close?

The top one is a set of two pillowcases, and I think I'll use on my bed. They're pretty:

vintage sheets

These two have three each, and they are so vivid! I love them. Actually, the second one also has a pair still in the package.

vintage sheets
vintage sheets

These are thrift store finds:

vintage sheets
vintage sheets

These are from MIL, but a bit bland:

vintage sheets
vintage sheets
vintage sheets

And this one looks just like a pink version I found at a thrift store. I've also seen it on eBay a lot. It must have been popular:

vintage sheets

I guess this means I need to start making a quilt out of this great collection. But who to make it for? That's the question.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I started my new position at work yesterday. I'm still a copy editor, but they broke up our copy editor serfdom and integrated many of us into different departments. I'm with the metro desk now.

I had to move across the room, but I welcomed that. I like change, and on the plus side, I now have light. I used to sit in an area where there were a few people that hated the light.

I started trying to move on Saturday night at the end of my shift. I started cleaning out the desk, which had previously belonged to someone who was let go during the layoffs. I guess I don't blame him for not sticking around and cleaning out his desk, but I do blame him for saving every last paper that he's ever come in contact with. It took me a good hour and a half to get all the drawers emptied and the top of the desk cleaned. I also had to vacuum and deal with mouse poop. Helllooooo hantavirus!

Sunday night, I moved all my stuff over and I started my new shift yesterday. It went really well on our side, though the area I moved from looked a bit overwhelmed. I suspect we'll have to change things as we go.

My mouth feels good nearly two weeks after my gum graft surgery. It's healing well, so far. I had a bit of a scare because the surgery site was really puffy, but I went in yesterday and was told that it looked totally normal. I was told I could exercise moderately, but I went on the elliptical today and my mouth was throbbing at the surgery site, so I'll have to lay off a bit longer.

I'm anxious to get sewing and finish up my Eiffel Tower outfit! After that, I'll get going on my Prairie Girl dress.

At the Santa Fe bureau of my work, the editor often puts a note on the top of a story saying "efforting art." Translated, that means she's looking for a photo to accompany it. I'm not sure if there's a more jargony way to say it.

Anyway, I apologize for not "efforting art" for this blog post, but all I can think of is a picture of my wounded mouth or mouse poop, so you can thank me later.