Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Happy Birthday

I had a wonderful day with my daughter,Coleen who went out of her way to make it a special day.

She topped it off by making dinner for me... ham sandwiches! which were brought to me at the table while she sang 'Happy Birthday!'

They were the best! Especially with a juicy, ripe tomato from the farmer's market.

She then humored me and let me spend the evening sewing while she traced out a pattern and cut it out. She wants to make me a special birthday skirt, so it was appropriate that we got to spend some time on it today. Hopefully, we'll have time to get it sewn in the next couple of weeks.

Here's wishing the next year brings me more patience and more focus... and the wisdom to know I am in control of both.

Monday, July 28, 2008

mmm mmm... summertime

I love all the fresh food of summer. Even though grocery stores try to rob us of a sense of season by having everything all of the time, there are times when things are going to taste better because it is their season.

And for a lot of fruits and vegetables that is high summer. We grow a garden and there is always anticipation for the first of the season and then there is the point of gluttony where you wonder what you will do with one more zucchini.

Welcome summer eating in a northern clime. This week was our first zucchini and our first cherry tomatoes. We can see the peppers and eggplant getting bigger and anticipate eating them in a couple of weeks along with tomatoes if they hold out against the wilt.

We were able to get corn for the first time a couple of weeks ago. It is one thing we don't grow. It is so abundant in Wisconsin, you can go any direction out of town and run into a roadside stand selling it. It is so delicious! We usually just boil it and slather it with butter and salt and pepper.
This year, though, because I was feeling a little bit homesick for where I grew up,the first corn and zucchini went to calabacitas! This is comfort food from New Mexico. Saute corn and zucchini with onions and green chiles. Season with salt and pepper and top with cheddar cheese.

But the best part about summer is the fruit. It starts with strawberries in June, moves into sour cherries and blueberries in July and continues with apples and grapes in September.

There are several pick your own places in the area, so we'll go out on a weekend and pick enough to enjoy fresh, make jam and freeze some for treats later in the year.

Strawberries were ready at the end of June and we were able to find rhubarb at the farmer's market at the same time so we made strawberry-rhubarb jam and William made the most delicious pie.

Next were cherries. We drive a couple of hours south of our home for these. These are sour cherries, make great pies and jam, but not necessarily an eating cherry - the crop wasn't very good this year, but we got enough to make jam and froze enough for about 10 pies.

We will be picking blueberries next weekend. We went last year and they are fun to pick (ie. no prickly thorns or scratchy branches to attack you) and were very abundant. I love to go to the freezer and grab a handful for a snack and then the pies...

If you hadn't guessed we make lots of pies, but that is the subject for another post.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pattern Review for Ottobre Women 2-2007-08

From www.PatternReview.com
Pattern Description: The stylish trumpet skirt is made up of ten equal-shaped gores that flare widely toward the bottom hem.
Pattern Sizing: 34-52. I made a 40.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Ottobre's directions are always short and sweet - great to remind you of steps if you know what you are doing. I pulled out Sandra Betzina's Power Sewing
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love how light and airy it feels when you wear it and though I had thought myself too old for this, I find myself wanting to twirl as I walk down the hallway.
Fabric Used: This is my muslin. It was a $1 yard at Hancock's a couple of years ago.
Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: This pattern has you make a separate lining skirt with a straight skirt pattern from the same issue. Instead of doing this, I cut the lining from the same gored pattern pieces (except 1" shorter) and attached it to the skirt before I added the petersham ribbon for the waist.
When I tried the skirt on before putting the zipper in, I felt it was too big so sewed the side seam allowances with an extra 1/4". I then inserted the zipper and tried it on again. It gapped at the back and slightly in the front, so I basically added darts to the seam lines for the panels. The only ones I left alone were the two front seams. On the front side I made a 1/4" dart that tapered to the seam allowance about 4" down. On all 4 seams on the back, I made 1/2" darts that taper out about 5" down.
This is what I love about this skirt - with all the seams it is very adjustable to whatever your figure might be.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes. As I stated before this was just my muslin and I have another floral cotton print that I bought to make this skirt.
Conclusion: A very summery skirt that is fun to wear!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Welcome to the journal I will be keeping on sewing projects and the rest of my life. Hopefully, I can offer some inspiration.

To start things off, I would like to offer this picture from our flower garden. Gardens are always a work in progress, but I thought this combination was particularly fortuitous - especially since the Echinacea was not the color we had picked out at the nursery! Both William and I spend quite a bit of time out in the garden. In fact the gardens, both flower and vegetable, sort of take over our lives in the summer. I find I get frustrated with the lack of time to sew and knit, but when I look outside and see the flowers or am able to cook a whole meal with produce from our garden - I know it's worth it!