Friday, August 29, 2014

transformation and gratitude

gratitude-for the ability to do     hard physical labor

We are building a riverbed in our front yard, and will fill it with cobble.  This is stage 1 of our landscape plan.  The dry riverbed will provide a little bit of drainage away from the house and should pool some water in the meanders next to the "hills" you see in the photos.  The red hill next to the golden barrel cacti is gravel we scraped off in order to do this landscaping.  This gravel has since been moved-our elderly neighbors needed some in their back patio so we moved 5 wagonloads over there.  This morning we transferred most of the rest to a common area behind our back wall (shhh, don't tell the HOA).

Stage 2 will be planting cactus, flowering bushes, yucca and some ground cover.  Thankfully, the nursery provides this service as working with spiny plants is really difficult.

Stage 3 will be laying down a fresh layer of gravel.  The rock we chose is called Sonoran Gold (sounds a little like what we used to buy in the 70s) and is a light colored gravel.  We'll hire a few burly kids to do that part.

This is the long, slow part of transforming a neglected house and yard.  We like this work, and I wouldn't want to have a company come in and do it for me.  I like to plan, and to work a bit, and then change the plan to suit new ideas.  Our yard in Oregon was pretty spectacular at times, and that was done almost entirely by us.

I'm feeling better, though I still have times when I deflate quickly.  I appreciate all your care and cannot express how nurtured I feel by your friendship.  I hope that I can return the favor to each and every one of you sometime.

Thank you!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

why I am quiet

Let me take a moment to share some serious stuff with you. There is sewing going on here in Tucson, and riding, and home projects... but looming in the background is my old "friend", depression.
When Ross and I moved a few months ago, my enthusiasm was boundless.  We were here only a week at the most when one of my brothers was found dead on the side of the road, next to his bike.  The story behind this incident is long and ugly, and it really is only necessary to know that he was an older man living in a ratty motel, and drinking himself into oblivion.  Pete was unable to shake addiction out of his life...he had been through various programs, and we all rooted for him from time to time.  When he was doing well, he was a wonderful brother, and when he was using drugs or alcohol, he was mean and challenging.  I was afraid of him as a little girl and that says a lot.  His illness began early, as it does in many of us.  

Alcoholism doesn't care who you are, what your job is, how much money you make, or what god you believe in.  If it latches onto you due to the roll of the genetic dice, you are screwed.  You can avoid alcohol, you can succumb, you can work a 12 step program, you can take antabuse...but you are still an alcoholic. My brother gave up, and allowed the disease to take him.  I wish I could sit with him again, and discuss coping, and drinking, and family, and anger issues, and how we all manage this difficult life.  I will content myself with remembering our camping and fishing trips to Hat Creek in Lassen, and dinners out with the entire family. and spending time in the desert with Dad.  Rest easy now dear Pete.

I have not had a drink in 8 1/2 years, and I know that if I poured myself a glass of chardonnay, I would not stop at one.  I will not give up and allow this disease to take me.  Thank you for reading this far, and please, I didn't write this for sympathy, but to explain...and perhaps to share a deep part of the real me.




Monday, July 28, 2014

city style and day looks






Isn't this a beautiful piece of fabric?  I love paisley and this is a modernization of the design.  Deep blue, turquoise, teal, light blue, and bits of soft brown throughout.  This is a poly peachskin from JoAnn's which I will be using for a fall dress.














The B/W/grey print on the right is new too.   It is 100% cotton, has a very nice drape and is also from JoAnn's.  It reads as a leopard print from a distance, and on closer inspection looks like nuts and bolts.



Very different fabrics; very different styles.  Here are the patterns to be used.


 McCall's shirtdress M 5847

Simplicity's Amazing Fit series S 2174

Both patterns are from stash, and have been waiting for their time to shine, for the perfect fabric, and for inspiration.  I'll enjoy making both of these and wearing them here in Tucson.  While I have seen old tees and jeans occasionally here in Tucson, it is more common to see more attention to style and trend.  These two dresses are classic (especially the shirtdress) and I think I can wear either dress to many of my activities.

I love clothing with a touch of boho but I need to be careful as clothing can overwhelm me if there is too much volume.  I have made a few loose things this summer and while they are comfortable, I am only wearing them on dog walks and to the pool.  That is clear evidence that I prefer a more fitted look when I am out and about.

Can you match the pattern and the fabric?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

dog days



A little break in your Sunday sewing.  


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Kind Critique


Kind critique request: you may have noticed the badge on the right, from Bunny at La Sewista!  I support her efforts to not only emphasize kindness in the blogosphere, but also to bring technique into the discussion.  I love getting compliments, but sometimes (usually) I KNOW my work could be improved.  I'd like to invite you to add your voice to our collaboration in improving our sewing.  Thank you, Mary





Hi readers,  Here is my recent top made with B 5786 as part of PatternReview's Pattern Stash Contest.  I used stash fabric, a lovely batik from a quilt shop in San Jose, CA.  I have 
me and my adopted hibiscus
been using stash fabric for this contest...I want to move some of my inventory on so I can focus on buying for 1-2 projects at a time.  


I like this blouse and would like to improve its fit, so I am asking you to take a look at the bust, shoulders, and armscye to help me fine tune this pattern.  I am wearing a soft bra in these photos.  In a molded bra the bunching of fabric at the armscye is even more obvious.

I sewed a 10 through the shoulders and a 12 elsewhere.  Size 12 started right under my arm.  When I completed the shoulder seams, I noticed that the shoulders were still too long, so I removed 1/2 at the top of the armscye, decreasing to 0 inches halfway down.  

The armholes are quite loose and my intuition tells me that I should have cut a 10 in width under the arms, and perhaps done an FBA.  Maybe another solution is a petite adjustment in length between the bust and shoulder, and then re drawing the dart.  

CB and a machine hem (!)
I would love to hear what you think. I will wear this blouse happily, even though I know it could be better.   I put some amount of effort into the construction, and that counts for something!


The pencil marks on the left part of the hem are from a slash and burn of 3 inches of back butt hem at the back-->it was not a good look for me.     





much better length in back
collar and topstitching
oops on underside
oops fixed, just because that's nicer
on Maggie, buttons from Pam Erny  (looks like Maggie is a bit lopsided)
Thanks for the freebie buttons Pam!