Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Recyling an Old Drapery Panel . . . .

Did you every have a pair of draperies that you grew tired of, took down, but hated to part with? Well, that's what happened with this pair. I loved the color, (actually a little more blue-green than my camera shows,) but wanted to change the style of window coverings. So I packed them away, and just couldn't discard them. They are a nice washable, polyester fabric, looking very much like slubbed silk. Too good to just toss.

Well, everything old is new again, right? This color is now very hot, so I decided to make some new throw pillows for my couch. Checked through all of my embroidery designs, and came up with this one, from Anita Goodesigns. It's perfect.

Still in my embroidery hoop, I have a couple of smaller designs to add to fill it out. When that's finished, I'll show you my progress on putting it all together.

Wish me luck - it's been awhile since I've made pillows with cording!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

She's really sassy! . . . .

She's a cutie!! I've been having fun embroidering guest towels for Christmas. Actually, I've done about 50 of them so far. Some for Etsy and some for gift giving myself. They're always nice to have for those last minute little "oops I forgot" gifts.

I think her attitude perfectly depicts how we all feel during those bustling days during the Christmas Season. But heck, they really are fun, and the joy of giving always makes up for it in the end.

I've been in several stores that are already decorated for Christmas. I remember when the Christmas Season really didn't begin until after we had celebrated Thanksgiving. How did we ever get it all done in just a few weeks???!!

How did we get all the cooking and baking and cleaning and shopping and visiting, done in such a short time??!! Well, for one thing, we weren't glued to a TV or computer, and evenings were spent baking cookies, getting things ready for company, etc. Since department stores were open only two evenings a week, and not a single store was open on Sundays, we did some time management applications, and adjusted schedules to get it done on the available days. And you know what? It all got done.

I loved those Christmases . . . yes, it was hectic, but the delight and anticipation of seeing your children open their gifts, being with your family and friends and enjoying the Holiday with them all, was worth every minute spent.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My first Etsy Treasury !! . . . .

Hi everyone . . . I'm finally back after a long absence. It has been a busy few months, and will continue to be busy for another month. I hope I can keep up with the blog.

I just had a most exciting moment! My newest listing on the Baggaroos Etsy site, has been included in a Treasury. This is an auspicious occasion for me. It's my first Treasury ever, and I'm very proud. Hope you'll go take a look.

The Etsy Treasury is a showcase of handmade items, chosen at random by a fellow Etsian. It's recognition of your work by your peers and certainly nice exposure to be featured. Can't help but pop my buttons!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Today they took away my mattress . . . .

Yes, today the G-Men unceremoniously loaded up my wonderful pillow top matteress and box spring and hauled it away. It was a little traumatic, seeing my wonderfully soft and comfortable, pale blue satin pillow top be casually thrown into the back end of a huge truck, never to be seen again. I loved that mattress!

Oh well, on to bigger and better things. The carpeting seems to be drying quite nicely, only after another truck pulled up yesterday and sucked the living daylights out of the carpet and pad! The remaining water and moisture in the carpeting was removed by a "disaster" expert, and then sprayed thoroughly with a disinfectant to kill any bacteria. I hope it works. We're desperately trying to save this carpeting because it's only a year old, and was put down after the last flooding episode. (We thought last year's flood was a fluke and it would never happen again.)

Sorry these posts are not too interesting, but I thought you might like to know our progress. Below are a few pictures of my worldly possessions standing in the garage. Minus of course, my blue satin pillow top.

Severe thunderstorms are predicted for tonight, and that's all I have to say about that.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day . . . and still a little more rain!

I'm sorry I've not been posting this week, but I've been battling some major house flooding.

Yes, it happened again this year, almost to the day, when the flood waters in the back yard entered my little abode and wreaked tremendous havoc!

I live in the lower level of my Daughter's house in the suburb of Brookfield, WI. The property is perched on a hill, but there happens to be another hill behind us. Last June, around this time, we had a torrential rainstorm that dumped about 6" of rain in just about an hour. Well, the water came flowing down the hill into the back yard, settled in the lower part of the tiered yard, filled up the window wells, burst the windows, and literally poured into my little apartment.

With the quick thinking of my Daughter and some neighbors, we were able to salvage most of my things. It was declared it a Federal Disaster area, so you can imagine how it looked.

Fast forward to this past Thursday night, and the same thing happened! Another torrential downpour, flooding everywhere, even in Downtown Milwaukee, and of course it poured down the hill into my little apartment AGAIN! Excuse me for screaming. Thursday night we had more heavy rain and storms, and more water.

Needless to say, we've been cleaning up ever since. The carpeting is soaked to the max, and all of my belongings are in the garage, awaiting their return, which will be determined only by how quickly the carpet dries.

I'm already missing the whirring sound of my sewing machine, and looking for something to occupy my time until I can get my foot on the pedal again. I'm going through sewing withdrawl and hopefully, I can find a support group to carry me through these tough times.

Wish I could post something more interesting, but that's it for now. The clean up process has begun, and now it's just wait, wait, and wait some more. Maybe I'll get out the old knitting needles. . . I hear knitting is making a big comeback!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New Hobo Bag for Etsy Shop

This is the newest bag in my Etsy shop. I love this bag! Great size for a Hobo, with plenty of room, but not too much. The colors are perfect for Summer. Toasty Mocha (nice neutral), and pretty turquoise, in sort of a retro pattern. Lots of pockets inside for all of the little things you like to keep close. Check it out!

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Saga of the Blue Fleece Pullover. . . or my thrift shop makeover

I love browseing through thrift shops, and I try to schedule at least one day a week for a visit. At one of my visits, I happened across this great Eddie Bauer (pricey when it was new) Blue Sherpa fleece pullover. The price? $4.99. It was perfect! It was warm (Wisconsin winters can be brutal), a little fuzzy but not too fuzzy (sherpa is non pilling), wonderfully made (good quality), and very comfy. It appealed to me instantly and I brought it home. That was three years ago. I have worn it once.

Now, did it not meet my expectations? Yes it did, however, for me it has its drawbacks. I don't enjoy pulling it over my head, and it has no pockets! I can't live without pockets! So alas, it has been hanging in the closet for 3 years, crying for attention.

This weeked, even though the temperatures are nearing 70 degrees (finally), I decided to revamp this pullover so it would be ready for next fall and winter. I have some ideas, which have been inspired by a few of my favorite blogs, and maybe I can execute them. This project will have to be squeezed in between my Etsy shop and some other custom orders, but hopefully the process won't be too slow. I'll need your encouragement, and if you have some ideas, be sure to post them!

Stay tuned for some of the gory details, whilest I manipulate and carve away at this pullover!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What's your favorite Sewing Gadget??

I love gadgets!! I'm always looking at those new little things that may help speed up my efficiency and neatness. These are a few recent items I've added to my arsenal.
Reading from left to right: A new seam ripper . . . the seam ripper and the awl are from Fons and Porter. This seam ripper has a larger head on it, not like those little ones you get with your sewing machine, so ripping very lightweight fabric is a little touchy. Much too big. However, it's great for heavier weight fabrics and quilting cottons. What I really like about it is that the end is like a giant eraser, and picking out the leftover stitches from the seam is quick and easy.

The awl . . . In all the years I've been sewing, I've never had an awl, and boy was I missing out. This little tool is so handy for protecting your fingers when you're getting close to your machine needle. Just use the awl to manipulate the fabric before it runs under the needle. It will help you keep the seams flat, both on top and under the needle, hold your fabric when you're in a tight spot, and for whatever else you might need an extra finger for. It's great for poking holes for eyelets, or to start your grommett hole. You'll find other uses for it too.

The scissors . . . I love these little snips! With these old eyes, I often think I'm snipping threads close enough, but when I photograph my items in a closeup, I can see sometimes, that I've missed the boat. These little snips are made by Havels. They're lightweight, have a spring action and the blades are very sharp. The wonderful curve to the blades lets you get really close to the surface of your fabric for perfect thread snipping. These are great if you do a lot of embroidery too. There's always a lot of jump stitches to cut, and very close snipping is a must for a beautiful finish. I've tried other types of curved scissors, but these are the best.

Lastly . . . The tweezers. No, you can't do your eyebrows with these, but they are absolutely wonderful for picking out those tiny little stitches you can't get out any other way except with a tweezers. The very pointy little ends let you grab the tiniest of leftovers. I really love this gadget. Don't know the brand name on these, but be sure to look for them at your sewing center or your fabric or craft shop. Embroiderers, you will love these too! They're perfect for picking out the bird's nests and redos that sometimes happen. Also great for picking out those little bits of stabilizer.

Hope you enjoyed this post, and let us know what your favorite sewing tool is. Have a happy Wednesday!

Monday, June 8, 2009

New Hobo Bag for Etsy Shop

Since I've been back from my vacation, I've been working feverishly to restock my Etsy shop. This is the latest addition and, I have to say, this is a honey. I didn't think I would like such a large bag, but I'm lovin' this one! Not too big, but plenty roomy. Nice gussett on sides and bottom for extra space. Three little pockets plus a home for your cell. Fits perfectly under your arm for security.

Every Fashionista website will tell you that the Black and White color combo is really hot for Spring and Summer. Make sure your next purchase is a black and white combo, and you'll be ready for the red carpet! Have a fun day, and keep me busy by posting a comment. It's appreciated.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Congratulations Alex . . . .

This is Alex. My first Grandchild. I guess first Grandchildren are always a little special. Alex surely was and is. He was a delightful child, full of curiosity and energy; just about the sweetest little boy you could ever imagine. (I hope I don't sound too prejudiced!) The top picture is Alex at 17 years of age, all grown up and dressed in his first tux, going to his first big prom. Saturday, he graduates from High School in Greensboro, NC. That's where I'll be all week, bursting with pride and enjoying my visit with my Son and his family.
Congratulations, Alex! Well done! Now it's off to the University of North Carolina and Engineering School. I keep wondering . . . where has the time gone?! It went much too fast. See you all next week.

Monday, May 18, 2009

How Big is YOUR stash??! Question of the week

A few weeks ago I was talking with Trisch, the sweet lady at my local sewing center, where I hang out a lot. She was telling me about the garage sale she had last spring. She needed to make space in her sewing room, and garage. Well, after she had gone through everything she wound up with 60 bags of fabric for her sale! Boy, am I sorry I missed that garage sale!

The question of the week is, how big is your stash? Small, big, on the moderate side, or absolutely enormous? How old is some of this fabric? I have some pieces that are over 20 years old and, most likely, will never part with them. Do you, like me, have a co-dependant relationship with your fabric? I must face the fact that I will probably never live long enough to use it all.

Well, how big is your stash?? We'd love to know!

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

My First Custom Order for Etsy

How exciting! My first custom order for my Etsy Shop. Glad it's finished. You know Murphy's Law can take over at any time during a project. Fortunately for me, it all went without too much trouble. (Well, not too much anyway.) The customer liked the shape of the bag, but preferred a different fabric. So she chose this great Amy Butler "Lotus" fabric. I can see why Little Amy is so hot right now. It's lovely.

It's a great feeling when someone thinks your work is something special. Keeps you keepin' on! That's what sewing does for me. It always makes me feel good when I finish a project I can take pride in. Don't get me wrong, I've had my share of bloopers, but with each disaster you learn something new. You get a different perspective, a new idea, pick up a new trick, and lo and behold, you've got a winner. I almost hate to see this one go. I learned a lot about inserting grommets. Always a pain in the neck before, I've found a slick little gadget that makes it a snap. I'll post a little blog about this gadget on another day, so stay tuned.

I'd like to know what you think, so please comment. Have a happy Sunday.

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

So You Want to Buy A New Sewing Machine

Believe it or not, my Mother had one of these beauties. This little hand crank model was used for about 4 years, until she could afford a "real" sewing machine. I learned how to sew on this little cutie. We sewed garments, mended clothes, and produced some of the loveliest doll dresses you could imagine. This purchase was made in the early 1940's, and we considered it a real treasure. (I told you I've been around for a long time!). Mom purchased it from the Salvation Army Resale Shop, and it probably cost all of $2.00. Our machine didn't have a fancy case like this one, it just had tiny little legs and it sat on the tabletop. My guess is it weighed in at about 20 lbs. Boy, we've come a long way Baby!

The I'm taking this little jaunt down memory lane, because I want to give you some hints that I think will help you in your quest for a new sewing machine. I don't want you to get stuck with something like the rare old Singer pictured above; a machine that's antiquated, and with very little else to offer except a straight stitch, and a zig-zag.

So you've decided to go shopping and purchase a new sewing machine! Whoa! Let's just do a few things before we head out the door. Let me tell you that your research will require a few trips, maybe several, until you find the right machine for you. Before you head out, talk to your sewing friends. Ask them what brand of machine they have and why they like or don't like it. Do they do the same type of sewing you're going to be doing etc.,etc.,? Write out a list of questions you may want to ask the Dealer/Salesperson about the machine.

This is an important point. You will need to determine how much of a sewing machine you should buy. Are you just going to do the basic stuff, like fixing ripped seams and hemming jeans? Or do you want to go further, and maybe start garment sewing, or quilting, or draperies or bridal wear, maybe machine embroidery? Your answers to these questions will help you determine how many of the bells and whistles you'll want on your machine. Not only is it important for you to buy what you need, and maybe even a little beyond, but it's also good for your pocket book.

O.K. So, we've talked to our friends, we're armed with our wish list and questions, we put on our coats and comfy shoes, and head for the door. We Leave our Credit Card at Home! Hello! Impulse buying is not an acceptable behavior here. Next, we head to A Dealer/Sewing Center! We Do Not go to a big box store! Why? Because the big box stores haven't a clue about sewing machines. The clerk just sells what's stocked on the shelves. If you had a question or a problem with the machine, you wouldn't be able to ask a soul. There is no servicing. Need a repair? Forget it. You'll have to pack it up and send it to some service center in New Delhi! You'll be frustrated with the machine, and it will wind up on a shelf or in your next garage sale. Money down the drain.

So, you go to the Dealer/Sewing Center and you talk to the owner/salesperson and explain the type of machine you want. (You did remember to bring your wish list and questions didn't you?) After listening to your wishlist, the owner/salesperson will gently direct you to a machine that will suit your needs and maybe have a few extras. Sit down, relax, and get a demonstration. Watch how the machine performs, the steps it takes to get a particular stitch or technique done. Now, you tell the owner/salesperson you want to try it. They'll be happy to let you play. Don't be embarrassed or timid. It's your money, and you want to spend it wisely. Sit behind the wheel and test drive it! Test the stitches, test the button holes, refer to your questions, and see if it all feels comfortable to you! If it doesn't, say thank you and leave. Repeat this step as many times as necessary.

Stitch quality and ease of operation is very important. The learning curve shouldn't be confusing and time consuming. The dealer should provide you with free lessons, regardless of how much the machine costs. Ask the dealer if they do their own repairs, or if they farm them out to a third party. The fact that you can talk to the in-house service person and discuss the issues you may be having, is a definite plus. When repairs are sent out to a third party, you rarely can speak with the person who did the repairs, and you may wind up bringing the machine back several times. Nothing is more frustrating than a machine that has mechanical issues. The "issues" always seem to happen when you're in the middle of a deadline project, like your daughter's wedding gown! A good quality, reliable sewing machine, makes any project you tackle easier, and the end result so much better. Last, but not least, make sure you get a warranty. Even if you buy a good used or refurbished sewing machine, the dealership should give you some kind of a warranty. Be sure you get one and that you understand it.

I'm a firm believer in buying the best sewing machine you can afford. Even if you wind up with more bells and whistles than you feel you'll ever need, you'll never regret it. You'll enjoy your sewing adventures more, and feel encouraged and excited to go on to more challenging projects.

Hooray! Your research has paid off! You've found the perfect sewing machine! Congratulations! I've babbled on I know, but I sincerely want you to be happy with your purchase. I want you to enjoy your sewing experience, and expand your sewing knowledge. I want you to enjoy the creative process and revel in the accomplishments, and the compliments. And lastly, I want you to pat yourself on the back for being a very savvy shopper!

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Dream Machine . . . .

Since I posed the question in my first blog, I thought I'd better let you all know about my dream machine~ My Pfaff 2170, which I purchased last January. I'm really thrilled with it. I've been a Pfaff user since the early 1970's (o.k. so I've been around for a long time). In 1986 I purchased the Pfaff 1471 which was Pfaff's first real "computerized" machine. I've used this machine consistently, until I purchased the new Pfaff last year. The 1471 was (and still is) an amazing machine, and a real work horse. Seekers on Ebay snatch them up like crazy. I'll probably never part with it, and will keep it as a backup.

The 2170 has all of the bells and whistles that anyone could ask for, including machine embroidery which I love. The stitch quality is excellent, and of course the wonderful IDT foot helps with any task. Pfaff was the originator of the IDT technology, and the reason I purchased the Pfaff way back in the 70's. One capability I wish the 2170 had, is to be able to upload my machine embroidery designs directly to the Pfaff with a memory stick. This feature is now available on the new Creative Vision, which costs several thousand dollars more than my budget would allow. I guess it will have to be a feature I learn to live without.

I love this machine, and it's a joy to use. It has many wonderful features, far too many to list here. If I piqued your interest, you can go to the Pfaff website and read about this machine, and many other models they manufacture.

Even though my 2170 is a great machine I'll admit sometimes, when I look at those higher priced machines, I'm still shamelessly guilty of sewing machine envy.

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

And what do you drive??

Hi everyone and welcome. I thought to get us started it might be fun to have some comments on the types of sewing machines we all use. Since most of us sit behind the "wheel" every day, we've certainly made a list of our likes and dislikes, and "if onlys". If you're like me, your sewing machine is like your right arm, and you go through "withdrawl" if you just can't get to it for a few days. So get the ball rolling, and give us a "review" of that great, or not so great machine!

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