Friday, March 27, 2009

I'm sewing, I swear I am... but...

Hi folks!
This is the world's most boring post, but I'll update in a couple days. I'm sewing stuff, but there's a lot going on around here this week! Doesn't help that I can't find the camera when I need it...

On the sewing table is a new nightgown for Little Miss Princess. I got some flannel-backed silky Winnie the Pooh fabric for $1/yd, and I'm using Butterick 4910, as usual. Cut and ready to sew. In the assembly phase is my new spring jacket, from the December 2008 Burda. I think it's #106, and just got through the darts and pockets, so I think the rest should be easy!

It's either allergies or a cold, but my sinuses are going nuts! I'm slightly under the weather, and chose to nap this afternoon instead of sew. That was definitely 2 hours well spent, I'm feeling a little better now.

Tomorrow I'll be traveling to Northwood University, where a former student has chosen to recognize me as one of her most influential teachers. Since she's an academic honors student, she was allowed to invite me to this luncheon as a recognition for both of us. I'm looking forward to visiting with her (she graduated 3 years ago), but the hour drive is a bummer. I might squeeze a little sewing time tomorrow night.

Sunday it's supposed to snow?! We spent a couple hours outside today enjoying the park and playground, but it happens every year here in Michigan. It's winter... it's spring! Oh, wait... it's winter again... now we skip to summer... no, wait it's winter again...

Monday is the most exciting news of all. I have the day off from work and we're picking up our new camper. I'm so excited! I know this has absolutely nothing to do with sewing, but we're all looking forward to spending some quality family time together this summer.

So, the next post will have sewing pictures, I swear! And if you made it this far, I have a question for you... anyone interested in swapping some fabric? Dawn and I did this and it seems to be really fun way to mix up the stash (for just the cost of postage). I have some leftover (at least a yard) that I know I won't use, and if anyone is interested in trading the same amount, I'm game. Post a comment, and let me know!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Back on Track!

Well, I'm not quite sure what it was that brought the old guy home, but Mr. Mojo has returned! I really think I had what Melissa called "Analysis Paralysis" and felt so overwhelmed I didn't even know where to begin. I handed the deposit back to the 2nd Prom Dress girl, cleaned off my sewing workspace (I found a table underneath!), and turned off the TV (which is really hard for me to do on Thursday!). I could see the light at the end of the tunnel when the caps and valances were done, and now with about 20 shirts left, I'm about 7 hours away from "Home Free" (aka Sewing Fun Stuff for Me!).

I was thinking about how much (embroidery work) I'm able to turn over, and thought I'd share with all of you how I manage to make that happen. First and foremost, I have an amazing machine, the Brother PR-600II. It's a six-thread workhorse, and with 2 sets of hoops, I can really have something stitching out constantly.
I have an assembly line of sorts when I embroider. I pre-cut all my stabilizers, exactly how many I need (as the pile shrinks, I know I'm heading in the right direction!), and keep the right tools nearby. While one hoop is occupied in the machine, the other is ready and waiting, and "on-deck" is the neck item marked and ready for the next available hoop. This reduced the time lost between garments, so I can make the most of the stitching time doing other things. Like sewing another item nearby...
Usually it's all the other household duties that have to get done while the embroidery machine is running. The old baby monitor (cordless!) lets me run the house, and still know exactly what the machine is doing. I just clip it on my back pocket, and when I hear the machine stop and beep, I know that it either needs a new bobbin or the thread broke, so I run downstairs, take care of business, and get it going again. If it just stops, I know that item is finished, and it's time to switch hoops and get the next one ready. Today, I was able to do 2 loads of laundry, take a shower, get dressed, and pack lunches while it was turning out these great golf shirts.

So, if you were wondering how I get so much stuff done (when Mr. Mojo's around), this is how!
(I've never loaded video before, so we'll see how this trial run goes...)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sewing Mojo, Where Did You Go?

Dear Sewing Mojo,
I'm not sure what I did to offend you, but will you please come back? I know it was frustrating when the embroidery machine "seemed" broken and nothing fun could even be considered until it was fixed. How was I supposed to know that cap brims are strong enough to bend metal attachments all by themselves? I did my best to fix the problem quickly, calling dealer after dealer, and even emailing Brother (who didn't fix the problem either). Thank God for Gene at Leabu Sewing Center in Ann Arbor, who always has the right answer and the time to help! 20 caps done, 40 shirts to go... (oops, that didn't help, did it?)

Is it the prom dresses? I decided to turn the second one down, if that helps. She looked at me funny when I showed her the patterns, and I just knew in the pit of my belly, she's gonna be a tough client to please. And all the kinks are worked out on the muslin of the first dress, and I can't finish that gown without you. Yes, I wish I got to wear such a pretty dress, too.

I promise not to take anymore "home dec" jobs, how's that? Turning a window panel into 2 valances isn't fun (in my opinion) but it's easy money, and can be taken care of in no time (if you'd get your butt back here and help me!).

I know it sucks cutting out the pattern size I require. I don't like those numbers, either. I'm jealous while reading reviews of single digit sizes, but I wasn't that size before the kids either! Are you waiting to return until the 20 pounds (Wii Fit Goal) is shed? That might be awhile...

I'm bummed that the NYC trip is off, too. I was really hoping that enough girls from school would make the trip a reality, but the economy sucks and no one wants to spend money. We'll get there soon, I'm sure, hopefully...

It's the weather, isn't it? It's starting to feel like Spring outside, letting me play outside with the kids instead of stay inside and sew. It's a tough time of year to want to be inside, but when the sun goes down, there's no reason not to work on something! Speaking of Spring, thanks for making a brief appearance on Saturday to help me trace and cut a BWOF spring jacket. But I need you to return so I can actually sew the darn thing together before Summer hits!

Whatever the reason for your absence, I miss you and hope you'll consider returning for good. That new Threads issue arrived today, and it looked like a good one! C'mon... I signed us up for the Jeans Sew Along at PR, and I'm sure Little Miss Princess would appreciate your help. Surely, you wouldn't let a little girl down...

I really hope you come to your senses and come home. I have some great Spring dresses planned, the kids need new jammies, and there are some gorgeous fabrics in the stash just begging to become short sleeve tops. Please?

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Different Kind of Productive

Saturday was an odds and ends sewing day. Nothing big, but lots of stuff knocked off the "to-do" list!
  • Altered the prom dress muslin. Had to rip out the zipper and lower the center back. We have our second fitting tomorrow, and then I should be able to rip the whole thing apart and cut into the real fabric.

  • Hemmed a pair of corduroy pants Little Miss Princess got for Christmas. Yes, they've been sitting here that long (how embarassing!).

  • Made a carrying case for my Kindle. Amazingly enough, it doesn't come with one, and I was afraid the screen was going to get scratched by something in my purse. Picked up a remnant of black faux suede, and lined it with a red cotton print. My first plan was to make a case that would open like a book, but I changed my mind. In debate about adding a closure. Currently reading "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell, and it is fascinating!

  • Embroidered 3 shirts and added zippers to 4 shirts for a firefighter. During the summer, the guys wear short-sleeve button down shirts when they're on shift, but sometimes it gets hot, and they take off that layer to wear just their t-shirts. The zipper insertion allows them to quickly put the shirt back on, without messing with all those buttons. The zipper insertion is easy enough, but reatttaching all those buttons to the outer placket is a little bit of a pain in the...
With the wonderful time change (Thank You, Daylight Savings Time!?), I lost an hour of sleep after all this work and am still trying to find it somewhere. If any of you should find it, please email it back to me, I'm missing it terribly!

I have another prom job to prepare for after all this. She wants the dress below, with braided halter straps, minus the drape/train. I've found some resources online (M&J Trimming) for the beaded center embellishment, and made her try on a bias cut gown to make sure she understood how clingy the cut is. I'll keep you posted.
I picked up the necessary patterns at the last Vogue $3.99 sale, along with a little something for myself. Don't know when that will happen, hopefully soon! I plan on doing hte middle black/white version and trying some hand beading with embroidery for the embellishment. Also giving some consideration to one of the trenches in the March BWOF...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Part of the 'Hood

The Sisterhood, that is...Thanks to Bunny and Lindsay for the Sisterhood Award! Let me take a brief break from the embroidery machine long enough "Pay it Forward"! Here are the rules:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received your award.

I nominate...

1. Dawn at Two On, Two Off.
2. Angie at Quality Time.
(These are my top 2 just because we actually do email back and forth, finding we not only share a love of sewing, but are full-time teachers, love BWOF, and sew for our kids!)
3. Amanda at Amanda's Adventures in Sewing inspires me with her attention to detail.
4. Summerset at Pins and Needles always has the best advice when I pose a question.
5. Lisa at The Hem Line is generous enough to do a giveway every Friday.
6. Ann at Gorgeous Things amazes me with her ability to run a successful business and have time to make so many beautiful garments.
7. Michelle at Cheap and Picky Dress Magic makes me laugh and inspires me to learn new techniques.
8. Erica B at Erica Bs DIY Style makes the most stylish clothes and does an amazing job photographing her projects.
9. Linda at Danvillegirl Sewing Diary reminds me to plan and that fit makes all the difference in the world.
10. Anyone who has ever taken the time to comment on any of my posts. Your feedback has always been helpful, even just to know that others appreciate my creations, and I appreciate the time you take to let me know you're there!
The March BWOF came this week, and I quickly flipped through to see if it would meet the standards that the January and February isses set... nope. Maybe it's just me, maybe it was the colors (grey, black, and khaki), maybe it was the distracting prints, but it something didn't "WOW" me the way the last 2 issues did. I did find some stuff I liked (like Dress 116, Skirt 104, Dress 102, and any of the trenchcoats!) but I'm super eager to see the April issue and the bridal fashions!
Which of the following is a sure sign that SPRING IS COMING?
a) I walked out of work today without a coat on and didn't freeze halfway to the car.
b) The talk of baseball practice starting next week at school.
c) Seeing motorcycles (4 to be exact) on the road today.
d) The kids played outside at school today without their snowpants on.
Answer: All of the above! Wasn't sure if we'd ever thaw out, but it looks like we made it. Of course, there is always one last big snow in April...
Oh, and if you're in the mood for a great book, take a look at "Second Glance" by Jodi Picoult. Great ghost story (not the scary kind!). Currently reading "Outliers" and I'm fascinated.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Daddy-Daughter Dance

Here they are, all dressed-up and ready to boogie!
They had a fantastic time, and I'm really happy with the end result.
You probably won't hear much from me in the next week or two, I'm slammed with embroidery jobs. I did 10 pieces yesterday for the local police department, and I have 60 pieces to do for the high school golf team (20 hats and 40 shirts)! I also took a deposit for another prom dress, so that'll be two to finish by mid-May! Don't get me wrong... I'm definitely not complaining! Just busy, and if I get anything interesting to post, I'll update if I can!

I'm also really enjoying my new Kindle, and reading "Second Chance" by Jodi Picoult on it. It's probably the coolest techno-gadget I've ever owned, and makes reading easier. If you need large print, it does that. Want it to read out loud to you? It can do that, too. Come across a word you don't recognize? A definition pops up if you want. Find a great quote and want to save it for later? No problem. I highly recommend the Amazon Kindle2. Very, very neat!