Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Berni will be faster?

Berni, when she first arrived
Berni, my beloved vintage Bernina 830,  has been at the sewing machine spa for three weeks now. I miss her.
She is an older gal, built in 1979. She was given to me by a dear friend whose aunt had died. The machine had been well cared for and I used it for a few months before deciding it might be time for Berni to have some time off  and a tune up. Turns out that mechanically, she is doing great. Her electronics, however, need a bit of help. I called to check on her this morning. They are waiting for a couple of parts. Soon she will be back home.
"So, I was just wondering when my Bernina will be ready," I said.
"We are expecting the part in at the end of this week," said Fred, the sewing machine guru. "This is the best machine ever made. Ever. They were at their peak when this was made. Mechanically, it is perfect. It needs a bit of work in the electronics."
A few of her fancy stitches
"I am just wondering if it will be a bit faster when all this is done," I asked.
"Oh, yeah! Right now you were only working on half power," said Fred.
"Whaaaat? It goes faster than my new machine!"
"Yeah, I know, crazy, right?"
I really miss Berni, and I can't wait until we are creating together again. I just hope she will be patient with me as I struggle to catch up. After all, I am 18 years older than she is.
In the meantime, I am working on some presents, so I can't take photos. But, I will take them as they are completed and the post them after they are gifted.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hello, my name is Nancy and I sew stuff...

In April, I will be part of the Creativ Festival in Toronto.
I will be hosting a make and take at A Needle Pulling Thread magazine's booth.
Presenters are allowed to bring three projects to illustrate what we do. Hmmm, just three? I do LOTS of things. How to combine all of them...
So I decided to use my GIANT Tilda Jewellery mannequin from Sew Sunny Homestyle.
I did this for FNSI in February -- and I finally got it to sit squarely on its candlestick/wooden plaque stand. Then, I gathered some objects to create a sort of talisman pin as a way to express myself. I made a ragged fabric flower, and used a scrap booking sentiment charm to tell the world I cherish the things I do -- even when they sometimes frustrate me.
I have a Tilda angel sewn and cutout, just not turned and stuffed -- yet. She will come along to the Festival. I think I will also bring along my little froggy.
I have no idea if these things will help people understand what I do, but I will have a great time talking about them.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Manni-keen part deux

Isn't she finally lovely?
I finished the dress form pin cushion that I seriously messed up on FNSI. I learned my mistake was quite simply not taking enough time to watch the ENTIRE video tutorial.
Had I done so, I would have been reminded of my Aunt Rita's sewing lessons regarding setting in a sleeve to a shoulder seam. One must sew in the sleeve from one dot on the shoulder in the front, stop, back stitch, and then sew the sleeve in the other direction. This way, the fabric doesn't pull out of shape or get caught up in the ease created when joining a curve to a relatively straight seam. It's been too long since I sewed clothing...
This poor little dress form was so messed up that I took it completely apart, pressed it with some spray starch, transferred the markings, and started afresh. I am finally happy with it. It is going to be a gift soon.
It was a good lesson for me. The Internet can educate and inspire. There are a wealth of talented people willing to teach us new things. All we have to do is pay attention and watch until the very end of the presentation -- and hey -- maybe even take notes.
Here's the next little pincushion I am going to try: it's by Joel Dewberry and the tutorial and pattern are here.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Manni-keen, and other FNSI tales

I invited myself over to Sandra's for Friday Night Sew In.
Our pal Amanda joined us for the fun. She and I made mannequin pin cushions, as presented on DYI Dish.
Amanda's pretty project
This a very easy, and very cute project. I love dress forms, and so does Amanda. It all looked so promising. I even found lovely fabrics and some thrift store finds to complete the mannequins.
Amanda did an amazing job. I did not.
After completely messing up the seam allowances, I produced a chunky chica instead of the shapely lady presented on the DIY Dish tutorial. SIGH!!!!!
Fixing fluffy
I am re-doing it. Yes, I will post it when I am satisfied.
On the up side, we had a wonderful time. I fixed Sandra's rusty scissors, a fluffy dinosaur she wasn't happy with, and I found her a template she needed for another project.
To paraphrase John Milton, "They also serve, who only sit and rip out seams..."
Thank you Sandra for lots of fun, and for taking the photos.
Check out the DIY Dish if you haven't already seen the great tutorials. It wasn't their fault. I didn't do 1/4 inch seams, and if you ignore the 1/4 inch seam, nothing good can happen.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Keeping your cool

One of the things we have discovered around here is that we are not getting any younger, and that working on the computer can produce some weird aches and pains.
Last summer, my daughter developed a problem with her shoulder which was classed a repetitive strain injury. She needed physiotherapy and part of her healing involved having to ice her shoulder for 20 minutes at a time all day long. It's not so easy to do. The ice pack kept slipping. So, Mamma to the rescue.
Measure the flannel
I made her a cold quilt. I also made her college room mate a cold quilt. Then, I developed an RSI from sewing :-( Then I made myself a cold quilt.It's easy. Here's how:
Find some reusable hot/cold gel packs.
Mine are from Shoppers Drug Mart and measure 5" wide by 10" tall. The long cold quilt (for shoulders/back) uses four of these. The smaller headache version uses two or three.
Measure some good-quality flannel two accommodate your cold packs.
Make a pocket
You will need two pieces.
With right sides together, sew the two short, and one long sides together. Turn right side out. pressing out corners.
Measure the width of the cold pack, and the top stitch a pocket for each one.
Slip the cold pack into the pocket. Slip stitch the pocket closed, encasing the cold pack.
Place in the freezer.
I store ours in a plastic bin so I know where they are.

The big challenge is making sure they go back in the freezer so they are ready to soothe aches and pains. The flannel is soft and feels weirdly comfortable, even when cold.
If you need to wash your cold quilt, you can do so by hand in warm soapy water, and allow to dry outside completely on the line or clothes drying rack.
    Slip the gel packs into the pockets

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    Holy guacamole! It's actually warm outside...

    Summer in a bowl!
    It's a fine fair day here in Southern Ontario, and avacadoes are three for $5 at my local supermarket. This means two things: I am making guacamole and dreaming about warmer weather on the back deck at the cottage. That where I like to sit and stitch, watching the lake go by.
    Until then, there's guacamole. I like to use this as a dip or as a filling for soft flour taco wrap sandwiches.
    I use a modified version of Eva Longoria's recipe -- her version has a lot of cilantro in it and I am not a fan. Make sure you mix this up in a plastic bowl because the tomatoes can react to metals.

    Good Golly Guacamole

    1 tbsp lemon juice
    1 tsp sea salt
    1 jalepeno pepper, minced and seeded
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 medium onions, finely minced
    2 tomatoes seeded and diced
    2-3 avacadoes, diced
    1 tbsp cilantro, finely minced

    In a large plastic mixing bowl, dissolve the sea salt in the lemon juice. Add the minced pepper, the chopped garlic, the onions, the tomatoes. Stir it up, and then add the avacadoes. I don't bother with mashing them up, the guacamole looks prettier chunky. Stir the mixture up and add the cilantro. Transfer it to a large plastic lidded container and refrigerate for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to blend. This will keep for about a week. Scoop it up with taco chips, or pile it onto rice cakes for lunch. Yum!