Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Bounty

I am totally pissing my day away. I had grand plans to clean like I would devour a donut and that's just not happening. I'm slowing going through my to-do list and accomplishing some very needed tasks, but this is what I'm working towards.

My bounty.

I read about sewists trying to work through their stash and I didn't really have a stash. Or so I thought. Next thing I knew, I had projects calling my name with a bounty of fabric to work with. 

The three fabrics from the left are a navy wool gabardine, patterned silk and green silk, from Denver - on sale. Next is a Japanese cotton from Satin Moon in San Francisco and some "fabric content unknown" from Fabrix, also in San Francisco. Whatever that black fabric is, it feels pretty cool. It's like a cotton blend of some sort and it feels great. I want to make a Colette Sencha blouse with it. The others were intended for skirts - the first three straight skirts and the flowers for a full skirt. 

In my hoarding defense, the Denver Fabric fabrics just arrived today and the other two were purchased on Wednesday when I went to Clement to have dinner with my husband. I call Burma Superstar my "new favorite restaurant." Try the Tea Leaf Salad when you go. And go early. 

I have three other fabrics that I would like to sew from, but more about that another time. If I don't sew now, I'm never going to get to it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Corinthian White

Since we've lived here for the past five-years, I've wanted to put color on the walls. I'd been renting for so long that color seemed like a luxury you get when you're a homeowner. The white walls in the living room have been taunting me endlessly over the years and I really wanted to change things up. The house we rented before this one had white gloss on the living room walls, ostensibly for easy clean up, but it made the experience all the more ick, increasing the desire for color here. 

Painting the living room, however, was low on the priority list behind painting the girls' rooms - one first pink then lavender, and the other pink. And the bathroom - blue, the color of an over-cast sky. And new siding on one side of the house, which we painted - yellow, the color of happiness. 3/8ths of our exterior is now yellow, one side is shingled with cedar, and the rest is the original brown, the color of cat food.

I wrote about deciding on a color for the living room here.  And after almost two-months of sitting on those cans of paint, purchased for Memorial Day weekend, I finally cracked them open. Monday was spent prepping for painting, which included moving furniture, cleaning and wiping down the walls and baseboards, and procrastinating. I didn't get started until late in the day. I painted two walls and only one coat because it looked really good just like that. On Day 2, I worked and didn't do anything related to painting at all. Day 3, I painted 7/8ths of the final wall and left to go play. Last night after getting home from dinner, I cleaned up a bit and moved some furniture around while I had some help. 

That makes today Day 4. I need to finish up the project so it doesn't end up like the back deck where I painted 95% of everything and stopped. I'm ashamed to admit that when I needed my painting supplies, they were stacked back there still behind the beautiful swing that made me want the house in the first place. 

The color might be very close to the one that was there before, but I absolutely LOVE the paint-job. The house looks clean and bright and done. I'm going to need to rest from the strain of patting myself on the back, too. I did a really good job. I never paint the ceiling and I don't tape it off, either, with perfect free-hand edging. And I didn't paint it accidentally like I usually do! I think that I should become a professional painter, perhaps in my free time. (Whatever that is.) 

I love it. That's all I care about. I wonder why I didn't do it sooner since it was relatively painless. It would have taken me only a day if I had my act together better and started sooner on Day 1. Truth be told, however, that I stared at it a lot which took up much of my time. My husband can't really tell the difference, and that's too bad. It looks great and I'm happy with it. 

I used Benjamin Moore Regal Select in Corinthian White. I don't remember if it's low VOC, but it didn't smell at all, so it must have been. I recommend it. Highly.

Before on the right and after on the left.

After at corner.

Finished piano wall (aka violin holder).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

And My Dog Has A Fence

I am so happy. Nearly as happy as when the rat was, um...eliminated.

I've been wanting a fence to contain my dog for forever! This is the dog who runs away from me and tries to eat the mailman. Now I can put him outside and he won't run away. He walked the perimeter and looked at me with an expression that seemed to say, "Are you kidding me? How do I get out now?"

Too bad, so sad. For you, Dog! I'm a happy girl. :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

French Laundry is Still Laundry

I can't cook, but I love to eat. Imagine how wonderful it was to get gift certificates to French Laundry for Christmas. The restaurant's reputation for its cuisine is nearly matched by its reputation for how challenging it is to get a reservation. 

The fact that you need to book two-months out is in itself a challenge. Somehow you need to be dialed into your schedule pretty far to do something like that. I'm getting there, which is perhaps why I decided to give this task my attention. (It's only been nearly seven months since we received the gift.)

Next comes the research into exactly what tricks you need to pull off something so grand. One tip included logging onto Open Table at midnight when the 61st-day-out becomes available at French Laundry. Perhaps because 61-days out is a Friday or Saturday night, I'm sure I had some extra competition through cyberspace. I was deliriously watching my computer time change when I thought of all the other poor souls that were probably doing the same exact thing I was. 

Not only was I unsuccessful in getting the table last night, but I'm very tired today. My stupid dog ran off on me as I let him out to pee before going downstairs to sleep.

I have this feeling that getting reservations are going to feel like work. And what work don't I like to do? Laundry! You can see where I'm going with this, right? All I can say is that I hope the food is good. ;)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What's Black and White and...

When not having a couple of glasses of wine and buying vintage shoes off Etsy, I've been reading about other sewists who actually sew. In my perusals, I came across this tutorial and thought: I can do that!

In the meantime, my two adorably annoying little girls have been wanting me to whip them up something on my machine. No, wait, they want to sew. No, wait, they want me to sew. And so on and on. My youngest daughter, with a memory like a steal trap said I said I would sew her a dress this weekend (or last?) and never did. She reminded me of my failure several times.

And then we made a trip to Jo-Ann Fabric. The one by me is fine, but the one I went to tonight with my mom, step-dad and two kids was out of this world. It was clean and the selection was much, much bigger. I think. It seemed that way, at least. I don't recall seeing shirting or suiting fabric at the one close to me, but it's possible that I've lost patience while wandering around. The home decor section was definitely larger.

Anyway, my kids 7 and 10, were bound and determined to get me to do or get for them. I looked them in the eyes and said, "I'm a selfish seamstress. I don't want to make a bunch of stuff for you because I want to make a bunch of stuff for me." I let them pick out one fabric each, while I picked out a couple for myself. I picked out one regular cotton and then hit the clearance section and remnants. I found a pretty green double knit and an embroidered cotton.

My oldest was so excited when we got home that she didn't give me a moment's peace from the second we walked through the door until I sat down with her. She has her own machine, a little purple Janome Blossom. When I found my patience floating around in a cold beer, I got her manual out and taught her how to wind her bobbin and thread her machine before setting her up to run practice stitches. Then I sent her to bed so I could sew my own thing. (Cue devious laugh.)

Following the tutorial mentioned above, I whipped up my own skirt. I cheated by not pre-washing the fabric, but my mom told me she skips this step occasionally and if she can do it, I think I can too. I just didn't want to wait. The style and print of the skirt are pretty forgiving, so any shrinkage shouldn't be a problem anyway. The only changes I made were use French seams on the side seams because I think they're pretty cool and to take a bit more than the recommended 2-3 inches from the waist length of elastic. I probably took about six off so it was tighter. I think it looks much better this way. I also sewed a hem. I was going to leave the selvages on, but there was stuff printed on them so I went ahead and hemmed. I didn't cut them off, which is a cheat in itself, though.

I don't know if it took me only 20-minutes, probably an hour, but it really didn't matter because it wasn't too long, it was easy and very rewarding to have a finished skirt so quickly.

I'll sew for my kids tomorrow. Probably...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Delays

Why is it that the fun things to do get relegated to the bottom of the priority list? For the last two weeks, since we first had that blast of summer weather (currently preempted by rain showers) I've been wanting to sew that Burda summer dress and it's taking forever!

That, and it's almost done and looks horrible.

A dress that should have taken about a day for me has taken much longer than that because it keeps getting pushed aside for "more important" stuff. Meanwhile, I'm not entirely certain what is wrong with it. It poofs funny on one side. I think I'm going to take the bodice off the skirt and sew it in again. We'll see.

I'm hoping that by the time summer is back to its regularly scheduled program that the dress is done and ready to wear.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Left Behind With The Girl I Left Behind Me

We belong to the neighborhood pool in the summers and my kids love to swim. I would prefer not to swim in chlorinated water, so I'm always relieved when my husband takes the kids so don't have to go. Yesterday when he took them, I practiced my violin. 

I'm working on the G-major scale and a tune called Girl I Left Behind Me. It's fun and I've made it more difficult by not writing in the fingerings. I'm trying to learn to sight-read better and it's been painful to muddle through tunes that I don't know. (My teacher is a saint!)

Somehow, I made a breakthrough while everyone was out of the house. I was so proud of myself and I got through the whole tune. It's funny how the little things buoy you up quite a bit.