Monday, December 28, 2009


This year my table setting for dinner on Christmas Day was my favorite decoration. Grace helped me set the table and she wrote the placecards.

My favorite event was taking Grace to The Nutcracker. It is our annual event and we both love it. Jim thinks it is a bit too much dancing and I have to remind him it's a ballet! This year we weren't going until the last performance and we did not want to take a chance that they would be sold out of nutcrackers so we made a special trip on Friday after school to get her nutcracker, another tradition we have started. She couldn't decide which one she wanted so the perffect solution was to buy both. And then Papa saw another one at the mall later that evening - so three nutcrackers were added to the collection this year.

And my favorite gift was a pink 4-wheeler!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Before Jim and I married he warned me that he was so unlucky that if he bought a funeral home people would quit dying! I thought it was funny at the time but over the years I started to wonder about his "luck". It never seemed to fail that whatever Jim bought or did there was always a problem. Everything from cars and motorhomes to missing parts, something was always wrong. But we always joked that he could count on two things to work right - his '97 Ford pickup and me. We never let him down. Well, last week he sold his pickup. It had 135,000 miles on it. I don't exactly know how many miles there are on me and I admit I have slowed down a bit the last couple of years so I have to wonder what my future holds.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Each year I have a Christmas party for Grace and her friends. When Grace got here she put on her lipstick and gloves and checked out the table which I had decorated with carousels from my collection. We then discussed the proper way to greet guests, where to put their coats and a few house rules. As each girl arrived I took her picture with Grace and Mirabella, the snowgirl. They decorated a perma-coated plate and had dessert. Jim even got into the action when the girls decided he needed to wear the reindeer antlers!

Monday, December 7, 2009


Last year Grace fell in love with my Christmas stocking. It is a simple off white satin with lace trim around the top. I then put several rhinestone pins, vintage and new, on the stocking to dress it up. Jim's stocking I made from black velvet and vintage ties, along with an initialed tie tac. They look rather nice on our fireplace and Grace thought she should have one too. And of course I thought so as well and I promised her I would make her one for this year.

During the month of December we like to give her a few small gifts throughout the month. This way she can enjoy each gift and not be overwhelmed with so many things at once. Saturday after her party she spied the two packages under the tree and knew they were for her. She opened her stocking first and was so excited. She really was thrilled and kept saying it was beautiful. She especially liked the pearls and the the fluer-de-lis pin. (She is very interested in all things French! Some little girls want to go to Disney World- Grace wants to go to Paris!)

Monday, November 2, 2009


Grace told me the other day that we needed to make another jack-o-lantern and when Grace says we need to do something we don't waste any time doing it! Jim went to three places before he found the perfect pumpkin and we set to work after school. Grace was insistent that this was a girl so we changed her name from Jack to Jacqeline. So ours is not a jack-o-lantern but a jacqueline-a-lantern. Grace took her home and put a wig, a crown and earrings on her! So cute!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I was rather disappointed after my class with Sandra Betzina with the jeans I was making but decided to keep working on them. (The details about the remake are in an earlier post.) And I am so glad I didn't quit because in the end they turned out quite nice. I very happy with the overall fit and although they were a bit labor intensive I will probably make them again with a couple of minor changes. I'll lower the waist not just in the back but all the way around by 1/2" and cut the front leg slightly larger on the outer edge. I like my pants and jeans to fall straight from the largest area of the hip and not curve in at the knee. I will also skip the belt loops - I did them this time but not like the pattern instructed but as they would be done on any other pair of jeans.

For the pockets I used a cotton print, it adds a bit of fun and reduces the bulk in the stomach area. I also did not serge the seams but pinked them before topstitching. One of my favorite tips from Sandra was to use a triple stitch for topstitching. I had never paid any attention to this stitch before but am so glad I discovered it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


but it was like I was back in junior high andjust because everyone else had one I wanted one too. In junior high it was a tent dress and a bench coat, today it is a maxi dress. I don't think I'll get much wear out of a maxi dress but I loved Erica's and so I decided I'd just throw caution to the wind and live large. And the best part, I did it all for $6.00 and a few hours! I found this cute lycra knit at Joann's for $3.00 a yard and used super easy McCalls pattern 5039. I envision wearing my maxi dress at home for casual dinners on the patio or when we go to a friend's. And it will be nice to just slip on at the end of the day when I want something comfortable but I'm not ready for my pajamas. I made it by a size 12 and the only alteration was to lengthen the bodice 1 1/2".

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

AUGUST 25, 1979

at 7:00 in the evening I married the man I always dreamed about. A kind and gentle man, a man who would cherish me, pamper me, love me, treat me with respect, praise me, protect me, encourage me, provide for me, challenge me, understand me, excite me, die for me, teach me, laugh at me, listen to me, be proud of me.... me, me, me. The list goes on. This dear sweet man I married does all this and more. He's made me a better person, through his selfless ways he has shown me what it really means to love someone. I pray God gives me another 30 years with my sweetheart so I can give back to him just a little of the joy he has given me.


Our garden is a sad reminder that the last days of summer are here. We are still getting a few squash and some tomatoes and the peppers are turning red but the vines are staring to die and I know it won't be long until I come home with an empty basket. This city girl is proud of our well stocked freezer since this is only my second year for a garden. Next year I hope to add a few more things to the mix and go totally organic. The only thing I don't like about the garden is that it shows no respect for my schedule - if I'm busy or traveling it still grows! And when it grows there is food that will spoil if I don't do something with it, Right Then! I don't know why I didn't grasp that concept sooner.

The last days of summer also mean it's time to wind up summer sewing and make a few transitional items. This dress, Vogue 8555, is the last garment I'll make for warm weather. It is an easy feminine dress that suits my style and I will definitely use the pattern again. The fabric is a loosely woven cotton rayon blend so it was necessary to underline the bodice and midriff inset for stability. I eliminated the side pockets, shortened the skirt 2 inches and added 3/4" to the bodice lenghth over the bust area to adjust for a full and low bust. I cut a size 12 except at the shoulder and there I cut a size 8. I needed the length over the bust but not from the shoulder to the bustline. I have a wonderful gray and coral floral that I got at Textile Fabrics last month in Nashville that would be perfect in this style but...
I also have piles yes, piles of fabric in the floor of my sewing room begging me to bring them to life. I have decisions to make.

Monday, August 24, 2009


My jeans are almost finished- all I have to do is sew on the pockets. When I pinned the original pocket on the jeans to determine the placement I realized how big the pockets were. So I started looking at my other jeans and saw that those pockets were a good inch shorter and instead of being a rectangle they tapered 1/2 inch in on each side. So I decided to remake them using the pockets of the ready made jeans as a quide. This was a good reminder to be more observant of garment details and save myself a little time by not remaking things.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Last month I had an opprtunity to take a jeans/pants class with Sandra Betzina. At first I was undecided as to wheather or not it would be to my advantage since I had spent several months working to make a pants sloper that I was pleased with. I wasn't sure I wanted to invest the time or money involved to make a pair of jeans that might never be to my satisfaction. But in the end I decided to give it try.

One great thing about the class was that Sandra had her jeans and pants made in every size so that the students could try them on. She measured and fitted each one of us and then showed us the necessary alterations. The major adjustment she had me to make was to add 1" to the crotch depth. In all my many years of sewing I have never found it necessary to add to this measurement! But hey, she's the expert so I did as I was told. I also tapered in the back yolk at the center back and tapered from the side seams to the center back taking off 3/8 of an inch. These are adjustments I've always made.

I prefer to make my test garments in fashion fabric so they are wearable and I don't usually find that muslin will duplicate many of the same qualities of the fabric, consequently there are still adjustments to be made to the final garment. So why not just make it fabric similar to the final garment to begin with. So for my jeans I used denim that I purchased from The class was from 8am to 3pm and it was about 11 before I could actually start sewing. I don't know about anyone else but for me that is not alot of time to make jeans so after I constructed the pockets I just machine basted everything else together for a fitting. I was not happy with the fit but Sandra thought it was great. The waist was half way between my waist and bust-- this is not generally the way I wear my jeans so I left the class rather disappointed.

I felt there was potential and I didn't want to give up so I took the jeans apart and
recut the back piece and cut a new fronts, thankfully I had lots of fabric. I took out the 1" Sandra had me add to the crotch and magic happened! All that remains to be done is sewing on the pockets and hemming. I am so excited and can't wait to get them finished and take a picture! So in the end I made only a small adjustment that I would have made anyway and I have perfect fitting jeans.

Monday, August 10, 2009

SUMMER - The Beginning or the End

Today Grace started back to school so my 10 wonderful weeks of babysitting have come to an end. I already miss the little darling and actually considered going to school with her but thought better of the idea. First, I would be hard to explain to the other kids and even though she is only 6 I have learned that when her friends are around I drop to the "B list." So I took a look around my house at all the things that need to be done and checked my many lists of all the things I want to do and made a plan.

After the laundry and ironing clothes I haven't worn since June I moved to the kitchen and cleaned and reorganized the fridge and the pantry. Next up the pickles. One little vine that Grace planted has produced enough cucumbers for 8 quarts of pickles. I've never made pickles before so I'm not sure but I think this is alot of pickles. I have jars sitting all over my kitchen - there are jars that have to be shaken daily, oh so exhausting, and jars of pickles that are waiting to be sliced, sugared and shaken.

Then on to my next project, ME! You might think I would be just too tired but NO! It may have taken many years but I have learned to practice the art of living my life rather than just maintaining it. First up was a trip to my favorite second-hand book store and a stop at Borders with a 40% off coupon resulting in 7 new reads. Although I have been reading alot this summer I am excited about reading something other than Pinkalicious and Fancy Nancy! At Borders I picked up Lisa See's Shanghai Girls (I loved Snow Flower and the Secret Fan). Two of the books I got at the used bookstore are Raising Lambs Among Wolves, about your children and spiritual warfare and Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. I still can't get enough of Russia. And a wonderful find there was the Bobbsey Twins! Oh my gosh! I had forgotten all about Bert, Nan, Freddie and Flossie and I am so excited that they are still around! It makes me wonder about The Boxcar Children.

And it seems I never go to town without a stop at the infamous Joann's. This time it was for patterns, I mean they are on sale so it just makes sense to buy them, right?and other notions to either complete existing projects or start new ones.

It is now 2pm and all I have to do is shut up and go play!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


That's right. Had it not been for Erica B. I never would have looked twice at Simplicity 2756 but when I saw her version I knew I had to have it. For me, actually seeing a garment made and on a real body is a big incentive for reading sewing blogs. This fabric has been in my fabric closet for many years. It is a cotton blend of some kind. It is soft and loosely woven with a nice drape. It is like an eyelet except that there is a sheer weave inside the flowers. I like the casual ease of this blouse and what I can I say except that I'm a girl that likes a belt. This one belonged to my mother, is at least 20 years old but I think it has a modern feel. So thank you Erica for your inspiration and if you don't mind I'd like to call this my Erica blouse.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


There are many ways I enjoy spending my free time, reading, hiking, playing with Grace, scrapbooking but nothing satisfies my creative spirit like sewing. The problem was that I didn't need a single thing. I would make some wonderful new item and it would hang in my closet with all the rest of my seldom worn creations. One day a friend was talking about needing to go through her fabric stash. I have no idea why but I blurted out that I would take anything she had that was suitable for childrens clothes AND that I would make clothes for the children in a small inner city church in the Nashville area. But I'm so glad that I did because I can honestly say that I don't know when I have enjoyed a sewing project more than these little clothes made from donated fabric. It feels so good to do something for someone else and I'm thinking I may have just found the perfect way to use my talents to serve others. I'll be back in Nashville in December and plan to have lots more made by then.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Yesterday I took Grace and her friend Gabe to the Discovery Center, a great hands-on, interactive science center for kids. I always enjoy time with Grace and her friends and like to watch how they play together and interact. As we pulled out of Gabe's driveway Grace said to Gabe "I can say all my ABC's now." And Gabe replied, "I can burp my ABC's." And thus I discovered the difference between boys and girls! Throughout the day their behaviors continued to remind me of the ABC's.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Back in Feb I was on the ASG site and noticed the contest info for 2009. I have never entered a sewing contest but I thought, why not. I decided to enter the category Most Interesting Wardrobe Concept. My wardrobe consisted of seven pieces for a my perfect travel wardrobe. I also wanted it to be economical and eco-friendly, which meant I would use fabrics from the stash and remake some existing pieces. My total cost was less tha $50.00. ( I don't know why I think there is no cost involved when the fabric comes off the shelf in my sewing room as opposed to the shelf in the store!?) My wardobe was not chosen for final judging byt that's okay. I love the pieces I made, they will serve me well and I enjoyed the process. It was interesting to look at the completed pieces and try to see what they would say about me to someone who did not know me. I sent in photos, fabric swatches and my concept info. My project was not chosen for the next round of judging but that's okay - I'm happy with it anyway. And I want to share it here.

The jacket is Simplicity 2977. I lengthened it, added a back pleat and made the front edge straight instead of curved. I added a lining in lime green silk and applied it by hand. The leather trim is from an old pair of leather pants and instead of buttons I used magnetic snaps which are inside the fabric.

I used view A of Simp 2938 which is a dress to make 2 skirts, one in denim and one in a wool knit. I used an invisible zipper in the denim and a hand picked embellished zipper in the knit. In the knit I did a petersham waist and a facing in the denim. I also used this pattern for black wool crepe pants.

The cream wool knit top, Simp 2977, was fabric from a cape. I love this top and will definitely make it again. It is a very flattering style and a great fit. I did not make any changes to this design.

The cotton lace top is Simp 2925. The lace is over a balck cotton batiste and the neck bank is satin. The lace and the batiste were made separatly to create more movement in the fabrics. I used french seams and a hand picked zipper.

View B of Simp 2988 is a white cotton top. I moved the zipper to the front trimmed it and the neckline in the green silk. I also added sleeves. This piece is a more seasonal piece whereas the others adapt easily to different seasons with accessory changes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Caviar, blini, herring and pickles were served at the vodka tasting. The other well know drink of Russia, tea, was also served.