Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fabric Shopping in San Francisco

We've just returned from 4 days in San Francisco. The last time we were there, we were flying, so I was pretty restricted in what I could buy. This time, however, we drove! I hit all 4 floors of Britex fabrics first and spent $132.00. I did have my hands on some fabric that was $350.00 a yard. I wish I had thought to take a picture because that is as close to having any of it I will get. It was made from tulle yo yos which were crocheted together with a black silky thread. Mostly, I purchased from the 4th floor "bargains" (not exactly on the scale of JoAnn's sale fabrics, but oh well) The people working there are top notch, so it was fun to just visit with them and also to watch the other customers.
The second fabric place I found was in Chinatown. There was a partial wall of bolts of silk, all for $19.95 a yard. I went crazy buying one yard of 10 fabrics and 1 1/2 yards of two others. I also found a book of Chinese Knots and some cute slippers I want to copy, so got those. Except for steamed and baked buns for our dinner, that is all we bought in Chinatown, but we did look a lot.
I'm glad I did some research before leaving home for the third place. Noone at the hotel seemed to know anything about a fashion district. I ended up taking a cab ($9.40 + tip each way) down to the Jessica McClintock outlet. There was a whole room of amazing formals and wedding dresses for $5 to 100.00. Most of the $100+ gowns were on sale for 60% off that price as an end of summer event. I even looked at a long black satin skirt that would have fit me for $15.00. It was the fabric I was after though, so I started through the rolls. They were all on rolls with numbers such as 6.00 on the tape. I thought the numbers must refer to the price (the sweet lady working the floor didn't understand my question, so I went with what I assumed) I picked out a few rolls and took them to the checkout lady. Come to find out, the number referred to the yards and each roll was a set price no matter how many yards. The price per roll was --drum roll here--$3.30!!! I ended up with 12 rolls of fabric which I then had to unroll and fold to put in bags to get back to the hotel. I also got a couple of purses, some feather trim, some gloves and some lace and ribbon. Now, I have to figure out what to do with 35 yards of light pink satin with darker pink polka dots! Anyway, I spent $71.00 for the whole bunch. I might not have purchased the silk if I had gone to the outlet first, but I will have a great time making real silk goodies. They will have to be priced a bit higher or else I'll just use the silk for family gifts. Who knows? I will especially welcome suggestions for polka dot satins.

Swan Lake Outfits

The Grandparents said that they like the pictures at least of the Swan Lake outfits. I will put them in the mail tomorrow, as the grandparents have been out of town. It was a fun challenge and I certainly hope they work for the girls. Their grand daughters are two super cute 4-year-olds. I liked using horsehair braid for the bottom of the short tu tu, although it doesn't give the complete circle wire rings do. Maybe in the future, I'll experiment with boning as I had originally thought. The braid is something I could see using often if I can find it at a good price. By the yard at JoAnns, it was $1.49, but I know that has it for 26 cents in big packages. I noticed that it also came in lots of other colors when I was at Britex, so will check on that too.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Design Decisions

I love to sew my own designs. I sometimes use patterns as a guide, but often diverge a long way from the intended design. Most often though, I find I get inspired by a picture I've seen, something I've seen while out and about or the fabric "talks to me". All of this jumble of information stews in my brain and somehow comes together into a design I want to make. Now, actually getting that mental picture into something real and functional is another thing altogether! Right now, I'm making Swan Lake costumes for two little girls in California. Their grandparents have ordered them. They want them to be pretty true to the ballet and to have both the long and the short skirt. I've been researching on-line and have discovered that the short tu tus have a wire rim to keep them circular, and that in the brial scene, they sometimes wear wristlet type gloves. I've got the long skirts done, have the white sparkle leotards cut out, have feather and silver trim and am working on the short tu tus. I plan an overlay of sheer white fabric I have with silver sparkles all over it. I cut out one set and trimmed the outer circle with silver glitter fabric paint, but I'm not sure I like that. Next, I might try a self ruffle on the outer edge. As I struggle to make these outfits look wonderful, I do need to keep in mind that I'm trying to get the look of a $500.oo costume for $60.00. I'll post pictures when finished.

I'm also thinking of several ideas for using old jeans. currently, I have a bag made from woven jeans seams, a skirt from the leg panels and a tu tu using the waistband of the jeans. I have cut out an apron, using the back pocket and leg as a center panel. some tote bags, a little girl's skirt, and a skirt for a woman using the top part of the jeans with ruffles for the rest. I have one pair of jeans that just need patches for a 60's look and one pair I'm trying to design with bleach on cookie cutters. I NEED MORE TIME!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sewing Machines

When I worked for the Cooperative Extension Service, I learned to teach sewing machine maintenance. The first time though that I gave a demonstration on how to completely clean and oil a Featherweight, I couldn't get it back together correctly! Well, I quickly learned and really enjoyed using machines I could "fiddle" with. All of this experience was very helpful when I started teaching at the high school and found 5 brands of sewing machines in the department. We were able to keep them all working well beyond their expected life span.

At home, I regularly use three old Vikings, one new Viking, my Featherweight, an old green Elna I got at a yard sale and 4 different sergers. I also have two Singers from the 50's, a 1922 Singer, two treadle machines and a Bernette 600 I purchased recently from Craig's list. Needless to say, I've had to rearrange my sewing room so I can set up enough tables.

It is really helpful though to have a variety of machines because they all handle a little differently and I can have them set up with different color threads, needles or throat plates (sergers). I've also given away several machines to my daughter and niece over the years.

One machine I've never used is a commercial sewing machine. The neighbor lady donated one to our department and before I ever learned to use it, I retired. I in turn, donated it to another school and she has used it.

Probably the machine I treasure the most is the White treadle that was my Grandmother's. She bought it used so she could make a living as a dressmaker. She sewed on it up until she was in her 90's. I can't even get near the quality she produced, but I keep trying. I do have some of her quilt tops that I want to finish someday and I have a few other things she did, along with the sewing machine. I've never used it, but my Sister-in-law did a few years ago, and it worked fine.

My guess as to the sewing machine I would LEAST want is a Bernina. It is a wonderful machine, but in my experience it doesn't allow me enough flexibility in changing tension and such. Here are some pictures.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My scathingly brilliant idea

Whenever I use that statement with my friends, family and colleagues, they know that my idea will be off the wall and most likely unworkable, but it will have some flashes of good ideas.
Like many others, I've been sickened and disgusted over the actions of the so-called leaders of many of our corporations. Then I read two of Barbara Ehrenreich's books. they are NICKEL AND DIMED: and THIS LAND IS THEIR LAND. As I've pondered her writings, I wondered if using her experience from the first book as an idea for punishment for these criminals wouldn't be a good idea.
If we put these criminals in jail, then we all pay twice for their care and handling. In addition, they have all sorts of "rights" that most of the people they wronged do not have, including health care and leisure time, in their nicer than average prisons. Plus, when they get out, they still have all of the resources they managed to hide away.
How about taking everything away from them and putting them to work changing bedpans, mucking out sewer systems and so on for minimum wage or even less? They would have to find their own place to live, get food and health care all out of that wage they formerly fought so hard to keep low. We wouldn't be taking away any of their rights, because so much of America already lives like this on a daily basis. Of course, they would still have advantages because they got good health care and education for all the previous years, and most have had a pleasant life. Nothing else seems to work with these people. Maybe at least one or two would get a clue if they had to live the life of the people they have wronged so long.

Monday, June 8, 2009

How to Make a Tu Tu

Some people who frequent bazaars are just there to get ideas. Some are subtle about it and some just come right out and ask how to make something I'm selling. I thought that I mught get upset about their comments or questions, but I find that I'm not bothered by them. Perhaps it's just the teacher in me or the fact that most won't ever get around to making what I do. Anyway, I'm glad to tell them how to make something. Making a plain tote bag is the most simple thing I do, but after that, making a tu tu is probably next.

Here's how: supplies needed are cutting mat, rotary cutter, 3 to 6 yards of tulle, elastic, enough ribbon for both sides of the waist, and blossom petals if you want that kind. I find that I need to wait until tulle is on sale for 50% off, or I can't make anything on a $20.00 tu tu

1. Press the tulle first if it is wrinkled

2. Fold the tulle in half and then fold or roll the tulle carefully lengthwise into a bundle wide enough to fit on a cutting mat. A regular tu tu looks good with 3 yards, but a super full one could be 6 yards in each of 4 layers. That means that you will have to cut two sections . they can be the same colors or different. If you are making a rainbow tu tu, then you only want one layer of each of the 6 colors.

3. I like to use the scollaped blade of my rotary cutter. Trim one long edge of the tulle so all edges are even.

4. Decide how long you want the tu tu to be and cut off the tulle. I make a standard tu tu 18". If you are making a tu tu with blossom petals in it, then cut in from the folded edge.

5. For a standard tu tu, carefully place all 4 layers together so the edges are even.

6. I tighten the tension and lengthen the stitch regulator on my sewing machine and sew all 4 layers together. The machine will gather as you sew. You might have to experiment a little, as each machine and each fabric is a little different. You could also zig zag over a heavy thread and pull up the gathers.

7. The pre gathered tulle should be about twice the desired waist measurement.

8. Set your machine back to standard sewing and sew a length of ribbon along the gathered edge. This ribbon will be the back of the waistband.

9. For the front of the wasit band, you will want a section of ribbon as long as the back with enough extra at each end for ties. Find the center of each ribbon and pin them together. Sew the front ribbon on to the tulle at the top edge first. Then sew along the tulle edge.

10. Cut a piece of elastic (the width will depend of what ribbon you've chosen) 1 to 2 inches shorter than what you want for a waist measurement. Using a safety pin at the end, push the elastic through the ribbon casing you've created. Be careful when you get to the end of the elastic so you don't pull it on through!

11. Sew both ends of the elastic to the ribbon, tucking in the raw edges of the back ribbon as you sew.

12. Trim the tie ends on a slant and use Fray Check to seal the edges.

If you are making a blossom tu tu, here is what you do:

1. press and fold the tulle as described above.

2. Open up the tulle to one thickness, but make sure you can see the fold line. I use a sheet of plastic over my table before placing the tulle on it so I can glue and not make a mess.

3. Use a high quality fabric glue and put a dot of glue on the back of a flower petal. Place the flower petals mostly just at or above the folded edge, but some can be scattered through out the skirt. Allow to dry.

4. Then the glue is dry, take the tulle to the machine. Fold the cut edges wrong side out and stitch a seam so the petals will stay in. Turn right side out.

5. Add some loose flower petals in also.

6. Sew the waist band as described above.

Variations: 1. Use fabric to make a "real" waistband. 2. Decorate the waistband with flowers or jewels. 3. Sew on a narrow ribbon over the wider ribbon before attaching the two layers together. 4. Add in other decorations to a tulle "pocket" instead of flower petals. 5. used the rolled hem attachment on your serger on the edges of the tulle. 6. Use a sheer fabric for the top layer that you have finished with a decorative stitch. 7. Sew roses or other decorations on the tulle. I would be glad to send you more pictures and information.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Reasons to Sew

I was told once that there are only 4 good reasons to sew:

1. To get a better fit;

2. To be more creative;

3. To get better quality and

4. To save half over the cost of a ready made. With the advent of Ross and good sales at Macy's and my extra weight( which for some reason, made it easier to find clothes that fit), I found fewer and fewer reasons to sew for myself. However, I think some reasons should be added--

5. To have fun making things others will enjoy

6. To avoid cleaning house and

7. To justify buying more fabric!

Now that I am sewing for a variety of people, I find that reasons 1-3 and 5 at least are very valid. Next, I want to take time to sew more art quality clothing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My "Formal" Learning Experience

I don't know exactly why, but I have a terrible time telling people what I will be charging. I think about it beforehand and always end up charging less than I first decided it seems. However, I don't want to be doing too much sewing for free beyond my predetermined charity work. These last few weeks, two girls (one a former student and one a neighbor) asked me to fix their formals for the prom. I didn't even think about telling them what I thought it would cost, so when I finished, the neighbor girl asked if there would be a charge (as she was going out the door). I told her $15.00, which is pretty low for what I did, and she looked shocked. Because she is a neighbor, I told her she could pay later. My husbnd reminded me that they never have had to wait for money when we asked them to watch our dogs or mow the lawn when were gone, and they NEVER have done anything for us for free.
Later, the former student tried on her dress after I had let out 18 seams and it was still too tight. She asked what else we could do, so I said I could cut it down so the zipper just came to the waist. It meant that I had to add 6 more loops, put in new facings, re sew the zipper, add a hook and eye and finish the edges. I had earlier told her that the 18 seams would cost $6.00. When I gave her the re remodeled dress, she handed me a card. I was surprised and didn't think to say that there was a new price. Soooo, I ended up making $6.00 for all of that work because I'm a WIMP! I am determined to get better at this or stop alterations completely! I guess I had become complacent because everyone I've worked with this last year has been really good about discussing price and paying promptly. The saying is Live and Learn, but shouldn't I have lived long enough by now to have learned?

BSU Earth Day

Today I participated in only my second outdoor bazaar. The etsy team was invited to be a part of the first ever craft fair and bazaar at BSU to celebrate earth day. It was really fun, and I was able to handle the heat OK because Asia, one of the team members shared her tent with me. I had a cheesy canopy that requires poles, rope and stakes, so I was really glad to not have to use it. I'm going to buy a pop up as soon as I can find one at a good price. Each time I do a bazaar I learn more about what people like to buy and meet some really interesting people too. I may not get rich, but it is fun. I came home tonight and started on some things for the next one!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Big and Little

I've just had an interesting experience today remodeling formals. The first one is for a former student to wear to the prom. It was a size 1/2 and I needed to make it a 1. I first let out all 18 seams as much as possible. Then I cut down the back and added in 6 more loops for lacing. It had zipped up to mid back and laced the rest of the way. Now, the lacing starts at the waistline. Earlier, I had added in a bra to one that laced the same way, so I felt this would work. I think this is the 6th dress I've added lacing to in order to make them bigger.

The second dress is one I bought at Savers for a woman to wear during our upcoming musical review. She needs a 16-18 and this dress was a 22. It also had a weird sheer jacket type attachment that I removed. I tried to follow proportions patterns show in size gradation, so I hope it will work. She will try it on tonight and we'll see. I think I now have all of the sewing done for the review ( 20's dress, 3 skirts, spats. hem pants, formal hem and formal alteration) so I can get to work on some things for the Wednesday Earth Day bazaar and the two outfits I need to get done for a June 6th wedding. Now, if some of the things I have listed on etsy would just sell!

Friday, April 17, 2009

A New Addiction

The other day I was researching sewing machines powerful enough to sew leather and thick upholstery fabrics. Somehow, that search turned into bidding on toy sewing machines on e-bay. I ended up with five! None really are sewing ready right now, but at least 4 could be with a little work. I even ordered an instruction book and some needles. All that for a woman who already has 12 working machines, plus one more that just needs some work. Oh well, they will look cute on the basement shelves as soon as I can get rid of some more old books and records. Eventually, I will have them working just for the fun of it. I currently have 6 of my machines that I use frequently and 3 more occasionally. Now does anyone have a suggestion for the best old machine for sewing leather and heavy fabrics? I have two treadles, two vikings from the 60's and an electric Singer fro 1925 to try out.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


As I've been trying to create original designs, I constantly try to remember something I learned years ago when I was working as a County Agent. We Home Economists attended a workshop designed to help us teach sewing skills, and we were told by the instructor to always try to avoid looking like "THEL". We didn't know if the instructor had a lisp or what! After an uncomfortable silence, she finally told us that meant to avoid "The Home Ec Look" We still didn't really know what she was talking about until she said, "You know--the woman who you can tell made everything she is wearing--not because it is not sewn well, but because it looks nothing like what people are wearing currently" She went on to tell us that any successful seamstress is first of all, a good shopper. She also keeps notes and avoids at all costs, making too many cute accessories to match the dress or coat she just made! She told us that she knew a woman who actually made matching panties from the scraps of her dresses. We didn't ask how she knew that little tidbit.
I know I have a hard time keeping myself from making everything match. It's such a temptation to create just one more item.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Corporate America, or Is Anyone Telling the Truth

We've had several experiences with negative corporate practices recently that have left us feeling disapointed in the ethics of our corporations. (I know, but I still wanted to believe in spite of Wall Street and the car companies.)

Anyway, my husband turned 65 this year, so he has spent quite a bit of time researching the various supplemental medical insurance plans. He had a list of his medications and a list of questions he asked each company. Finally, he signed on with True Blue. Well, the first time he went to fill his prespriptions at the Wallgreen's on line site, they didn't send him his Actose (a pretty important medication for a diabetic) because the cost had gone up so much and they wanted to check with him. Under the True Blue plan, it was going to cost $200 a month. The company had told him that the costs would be very close to what he had been paying. It's taken several weeks to get in touch with them, convert to something similar, but generic, and through it all, he's missed a few weeks of medication. He's still trying to get straight answers. He also can't get them to provide any authorization for anything in a timely manner.

Our second experience was with Equitrust. We had decided to convert the money we had in those funds to another fund with another financial company. Our advisor had us fill out all of the proper forms, sat with us while we contacted the company by phone and then we waited for the money to convert. NOT. First, we got at least 3 different forms weeks apart, which HAD to be signed and returned. Then, we were told that some of the forms never got to them, when we called to see what was the problem. We still are waiting for the money from one account, and meanwhile, we lost several thousand dollars we could have made if we'd been able to convert while the market was lower. Technically, we made that money with Equitrust too, but they don't have a very good rate of return and will just charge a larger surrender fee if there is any profit. It all seems designed to let them keep the money to use for their own good.

Our third experience has been with Direct TV. We decided to switch because Dish Network hasn't been able to resolve their dispute with one of the local channels we like to watch. We researched costs and services carefully and asked lots and lots of specific questions on the phone. The date for conversion was set. The young men who came out to install the system were very professional and did a fine job, but we've had lots of problems since. First, we can't get many of the channels we were told would be available, some of the remotes don't work and then we discovered that they bill for everything at a very high rate, unlike the promotion rate. The customer has to call, get a special code and then get the bill reduced. We are still waiting to see if our friend will get his rebate check for recommending us.

Fortunately, we try to deal most often with local businesspeople, who are ethical, hard working and provide excellent service. Too bad so many big companies lost their way.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Well, I'll try to write something again now. I "lost" my password, and eventually figured out how to reset it. I hope I wrote everything down correctly now. Since I've last written something, I've purchased around 200 yards of fabric! Most of it came from a lady on e-bay who bought it at an auction of a mill going out of business. I now can most certainly make a glittery tu tu or pettislip for anyone who asks. Now, I just have to get them to ask.

My latest sewing project was to work with recycling some jeans given to me by the neighbors. I made the biker chick tu tu that I saw in Las Vegas first. Then I made a gored skirt in a woman's size with lace godets. The third thing was to use the seams from the jeans to weave panels for a tote bag. That was an interesting experience since I had to hand crank the machine fly wheel to get the needle through that much bulk. I almost fired up the old treadle machine to see if it would do the job better. I've still got fabric left, but I'm "jeaned" out for a while.

Another challenge was to finish a bag started by a friend years ago. I wanted to try it because it had a center section with a zipper pocket. There were instructions, kind of. It took hours, and I'm not really proud of the product, but I do now know how to make the center pocket.

I squeezed in 3 pair of PJs for one grandson, a T-shirt and now I'm on to a patchwork black and white bag I've been wanting to do for a while. It probably would be a good idea to vacuum or something, but that can wait I'm sure! Anyone want a tu tu or a fairy outfit?

Saturday, March 7, 2009


One of the reasons we had to sandwich in two trips to help our daughter is because we live in Weiser. Years ago when we first moved here, we thought we might stay two years before we moved on to some place bigger and better. Well, we quickly learned that there are bigger places, but there couldn't possibly be any place better. For a town of a little over 5000, we put on the National Old Time Fiddle Contest every year, have 4 theater type stages in town, with two of them home to professional quality theater groups, have an event center that is new, super well equiped and wonderful, feature one of the most active Chambers in the region, have many still active service groups, and the best fly fishing club in the area (according to the fly shop owners) They are fund raising to build a community pond on the old sale lot grounds. Our hospital is in good economic shape and provides awesome service. Our library is wonderful, we have an active recreation department, many churches who work together to provide for the community and we hosted the Japanese delegation during the recent Special Olympics. ANYWAY, we've found that to continue to have such a wonderful place to live, we need to be involved in keeping it vital. Therefore, we first were working on the recent little theater production--me as a board member and my husband as one of the fly fishing club members who built the set and hosted dessert night(see picture)--then we "had" to be here for several other meetings and the annual chamber crab feed. We also had a committment to attend one of the fund raisers for the local domestic violene shelter. We visit often with several couples who have moved here fairly recently and one of the aspects of Weiser they like is that they are accepted quickly. If they want to be involved in the community, they are welcomed with open arms. Weiser is also a pretty diverse community. When we first moved here, I was interested in learning about other cultures. I got to know Jewish, Greek, Russian, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese and Basque heritage families. Our local high school has had student body presidents who were Japanese-American, African-American, Gay, Mexican-American and Native-American. Thogh there are some who are intolerant, we've shown ourselves to do pretty well as a group. Not every small town is like that. It's fun for us to live "where everyone knows your name". (although it does take quite a while to get through the grocery store)

Our Big Adventure

We've just returned from round one of helping our daughter and family get their house ready to sell. It's a big job for two old folks, but we really didn't do too badiy. The boys were a little disapointed that Grandma and Grandpa didn't come just to play with them, but they adjusted and we got to work. We thought we would go a little faster than we did, but we did manage to pretty much get the upstairs done and some work done downstairs in 4 1/2 days. We're going back week after next to finish. We did punch a hole in the master bath shower when the ladder slipped when my husband was painting the ceiling. Fortunately, we found a reasonable price for the repair. We also found a great plumbing company to fix the shower head which had been broken for quite some time. We "camped" out at the house using the cots we found at Sierra Trading Post. They are rated for us larger types and are much more comfortable than any sleeper sofa I'm sure.

On the way back home, we had to stay overnight in LaGrande because the freeway was closed. We might have made it through if we hadn't stopped to eat dinner at Hamley's in Pendleton. It was worth it though. If you ever get a chance to go to Pendleton, DO NOT MISS HAMLEYS. It is an old building that two cowboys from southern Idaho remodeled into a steak house of the old western type. There is enough oak, leather and western memorabilia to satisfy anyone. The food is wonderful, although if you are on a budget, go for lunch. There is an art gallery/western store and a coffee shop attached. We picked the first motel we came to to check for rooms because there were a ton of cars behind us. It looked like one of the old ones from the 50's, but turned out to be super clean and pretty nice. The beds were a little hard, but it was lots better than sleeping in the car.

This week, I have 7 special orders to get out. I, of course, had to go to JoAnns to get some more tulle. Not matter how much I have on hand, I always need OneMoreThing! I also need to get camouflage fabric for the oldest grandson. He knows that if he wears camouflage, that no one will be able to see him. The middle grandson also "knows" that the pants I get him with stripes on the sides make him run faster. See, clothes do make the man! Anyway, I've stalled enough--back to the sewing machine(s).

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Collection or Addiction?

For those of us on the verge of being overwhelmed by our "stuff", we have to find ways to justify our need to have a bunch of things we'll never have time to use or maybe even look at much. I learned a long time ago that calling it a collection often works fairly well. However, when I say that one of the things I collect is fabric, the jig is up. I also don't think many are buying into me calling the basement a production facility in order to justify the mess. I do sort, organize, sample and redo the collection quite often. How to sort and organize it all is problematic though. Over the years, I've sorted by fabric type, projected use, color and care. Nothing works all of the time when I am searching for just the "right" piece. I resorted at least 4 times just in the last two years and still would like to find a better system.

When people see my collection for the first time, they are often overwhelmed. I try to warn them, but perhaps there is no way to be adequately prepared. It is nice to almost always have the right piece of fabric or trim for any project. Right now, at our Little Theater I have furnished the fabric for 3 sets of curtains, the tie backs for the drapes in the dining area, the "water", "dirt" and "grass" for the dining room stage decorations, and I have over 20 table cloths in the storage area. When I get a special request on etsy, I rarely have to go to the store (although I often do, just in case I find an even better treasure)

Within the last few years though, my collecting mania has spilled over into other items. I finally made myself quit at 13 sewing machines, and I'm trying to be strong when I see a great tea cup. The tea cup collection started because about 4 years ago, I decided to host a tea tasting baby shower for my daughter-in-law. It was so much fun, that I kept going. I've hosted several more tea tastings and have ended up with a whole cupboard full of tea pots and tea cups. I'll never be able to stop now unless I post the whole set on Craig's list !

My husband and I both have a true addiction to books and he has accumulated an amazing collection of Native American books, videos and art.

Our children are both nagging us to downsize so they don't have to do it for us! I've noticed though that they like it when we can come up with something they need though.

Maybe we should join a 12 step program, but I'm having too much fun right now to consider it! Happy "collecting" to you all.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Craig's List

I LOVE Craig's list! Not only have I managed to get several good deals (more on that later) and sell some items, I really enjoy reading the postings. The typos, funny misuse of grammer and misspellings are the most fun. One person wanted a two year old teacher. I wondered what would happen when the child turned three. Many people want to sell scrapebooking supplies. I've never seen a scraped book, so would like to know more about them. I can't even count the different ways to spell armoire. Of course, I had to look up the spelling myself. I also like to read the posts from those who want to report abuse by another, those who are trying to sell the spouse's things, and those who think their junk is worth a lot of money. Many also seem to enjoy breaking the rules by putting in lots of little do dads and using caps. Oh well, it makes it more interesting for the rest of us. It seems to me that those who do best are the ones who don't overvalue their product, explain it well and include pictures. Humor seems to help too. Just recently I noticed that junque costs more than does junk and there is a big difference in what I consider vintage and antique and what others think those terms mean.
As for the deals, I found a huge supply of purse and bag fabric from Craig's list. I read that there was fabric for sale for $10.00 a box. By the time I drove away from the woman's house, I had 6 boxes of fabric and 5 large rolls of fabric which I had traded for two purses made from vintage fabric. There went my plan to cut down on my supply. I am currently in contact with two other ladies to buy some costume type fabric and a large supply of rip stop nylon. Oh, and there was the wonderful free standing oak mirror I got for $25.00 for my bazaar booth.

I suppose if I were to spend more time sewing and less time on Craig's list, I'd be better off!

Here is a picture of a diaper bag I made from the large stash of bag fabric.

Monday, February 23, 2009

What I learned in Las Vegas

My husband and I just returned from a last minute trip to Las Vegas. We were going to lose a time share week and decided to escape the cold weather. I, of course, used the time there to check out what's happening in the upper end stores.

I learned :

that I'm not skinny, rich or young enough, but then I didn't need to go to Vegas to learn that!

that the pettiskirts I've been making and selling for 40 to 50 dollars go for $191.00 in the Betsy Johnson botique, and they don't even have a very nice finish.

that I wish I'd taken a draping class along with my flat pattern classes because everything is draped.

that mixtures of fabrics are still being used a lot.

that there are STILL more ideas for using demin. One is to use the waistband of a pair of jeans for the waistband of a tu tu. It also had a chain. Can't wait to try it.

that lace is very popular and is often mixed with that mesh type sheer I bought yards of at Wal Mart.

that it seems everything has a flower trim

that the fairy and princess look doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon

that I LOVE to shop and get new ideas!

I DIDN'T learn how to make any money gambling, so will have to continue to try to make some with my sewing.

Why I sew

I have loved to sew, or rather design something and sew it, forever it seems. I used to love to design clothes for my paper dolls, made clothes for all of my nieces dolls and sewed for others all through high school and college. There were a couple of higher end clothing stores in Boise when I was in junior high and high school. I used to check them out and try to copy what I saw with the fabric my Mom and I bought from Sears and Penneys for 4 yards for $1.00. I was sure they looked just like the originals. Some of my designs worked and a lot didn't. Of course, when I got to college and took Home Economics clothing classes, I learned about all of the mistakes I'd been making!

I believe that everyone needs to have something they can do well enough to be able to use it for therapy. For me, that is designing and sewing.

As a result of my love for design and sewing (and because I needed to pare down my fabric and trim stash) I started a sewing business as a retirement job. Well, with the first blush of success, I proceeded to quaddrupple my supply, so now I'll have to sew until I'm 100 at least. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I have 13 sewing machines and I'm hating to give up the serger I just bought for my daughter from Craig's list!