Art Journal

Nature Ramblings ~ Past Times Time Travel ~ Romancing Daily Life

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Postcard from Disneyland

It's about 
Flower patches
Baskets of flowers
Happy, yelling children 
Moments with my daughter
Flying elephants
Elephants bathing in a river
Flying pirate ships
Talking birds
Singing birds
Dancing dolls
 Singing dolls
Mark Twain Steamboat
Well behaved, fun loving pirates
Singing ghosts
Buying souvenir socks with Mickey's face
Aladdin and Jasmine flying overhead in the Hyperion Theatre
Soaring over CA
Swimming in the Candy Cane Inn pool
Checking out the current crop of flower baskets at Candy Cane Inn

Disneyland is my home town.

Terminado! My CA Summer Skies Seersucker Shirt

You know the joys of completing another project, don't you?
Love my new blue and white checked seersucker shirt. It's just made for summer. Well in fact it is! That's what I made it for :-)
And it's perfect with that new denim, elastic waist skirt I finished a few weeks back and have been wearing all the time. No, I don't think of myself as a skirt person but this garment has changed my mind. It's both comfortable and flattering. Nothing beats being able to design for my own figure.

I drafted the skirt myself but the shirt is an altered version of B5526, that infamous pattern I've made four times now and talk about all the time in my podcast. Yup, it's the one my buddy Susan originally altered. It started out life as my No. 1 Ladys' Detective Agency shirt. It's so great having a pattern that fits well, and lets me move on creatively from there.

Alterations on B5526 this time, in addition to Susan's original alterations to fit me

- No collar band. Oh I like that!
- Cut ends of my 3/4 length sleeves straight. Then rolled them up and hand sewed them into a permanent just-above-the-elbow roll. I'm the kind of person who always rolls up a sleeve, so why not make it permanent?
- Added pockets on either side. I varied the original pocket on the pattern, taking out the tuck. Lined the inside of the pockets with silk organza. I also used silk organza for the interfacing on the front facing (not included on the pattern), and the collar.
-Less topstitching this time because of the seersucker. I just did one row on all the edges - the hem, collar, and front facing. On crisper fabrics I do 2 or 3 for more of an edge. One row on the seersucker gave it enough definition. I continued to use commercial bias tape on the inside hem, to define the hem edge. Gee that works great.

I'll be talking more about sewing this shirt in my June Enchanted by Sewing podcast.

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Web Resources

The Enchanted By Sewing Podcast

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ench By Sew-021- CA Summer Skies Sewing Summer Vacation Is a State of Mind

The latest Enchanted by Sewing Podcast has been published!

Listening Option I) You can listen to the show right on the web by clicking on this link 
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Listening Option II)  Click on this link to iTunes  to download this and other Enchanted by Sewing shows to your mobile device (iPhone, Android, etc.) free from iTunes

Did I miss any links mentioned in the show? If so, please post here and share them with everybody
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I know your June weather may not be the same as mine. Here in CA it’s time for summer skies, a little more heat, and a vacation feeling whether or not we’re able to leave town. (Hey,  feel free to post about what kind of sewing your climate inspires below!)

Sometimes I’m able to take an actual summer vacation and other years I focus on treating the summer like a vacation, even when I don’t leave the San Francisco Bay Area, where I live. This summer I was able to take a mini vacation weekend trip to Disneyland. As a matter of fact I just got back☺  I went with my beautiful, kind and funny, young adult daughter. Getting to bond with her at this age is really fun!  I took along a newly finished garment from my summer wardrobe on the trip and I’ll talk about sewing that in the show. I’m going to continue to focus on treating the rest of the summer like a vacation, no matter what I get to do. And I’m going to continue to sew for my summer vacation, no matter how far afield of home I manage to go.

Here’s what I’m talking about in this month’s show

* Primero: Planning My Summer Vacation Sewing

I may be a casual dresser, but I'm not into Normcore, anti-fashion. No, I go for an arty-romantic look, creating summer vacation outfits that make me feel special– whether I wear them on a trip across an ocean, a local museum visit, or just special tea with a buddy on my patio, is the kind of thing that keeps me Enchanted by Sewing

I’ve gotten a lot of great ideas for summer sewing, either for a vacation away from home or making a includes patterns for relaxed and beautiful garments that vacation right where I live, from this new-to-me book

* Entonces/Then Key pieces I’ve created so far for my summer vacation sewists wardrobe

Love my new denim skirt - It flatters my figure type!
And how about that CA Summer Skies Shirt?
You bet I'm happy with my latest rendition of B5526
Of course I had to get some new red sandals to enhance my blue and white summer wardrobe theme :-)
a. Straight denim skirt
b. Summer Skies shirt
c. I refurbished two pair of shorts and and a pair of pants by adding thread belt loops. Guess who feels like she got three new garments? This posting from my regular blog includes a how-to link for those belt loops

d. Closet Shopping turned up a couple of pretty, arty shirts I’ve made in past that work well with my refurbished pants

These garments together give a slightly dressy edge to my summer vacation and make me stand up a little straighter and really feel good about myself. -

* I followup with Technicos: Focusing on seersucker sewing  with my CA Summer skies shirt

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Postcard from Casa De Fruta (Field Trip San Francisco Bay Area)

The United States Interstate Highway System was the pride of the country in the late 1950's.   The U.S. put a ton of money into paving highways after the war. Kids that remembered the Great Depression came of age during the great international conflict. After folks came back home they began shuttling around the country on the new highway system burning cheap gas, and enjoying modern access to intercontinental travel.

Casa De Fruta evokes a past era of post-WWII agricultural-centered roadside breaks. Most of these low-key recreational stopovers have gone the way of twenty five cent a gallon gas, Burma Shave signs, and the lack of perceived need for seat belts, but Casa de Fruta remains a roadside rest success. It's got lovely spacious grounds, clean bathrooms, plenty of parking, a place to park your trailer, a playground, a lovely pond complete with ducks, a wonderful little puffer billy train and plenty of fruit, wine, sandwiches and souvenirs. We always stop there on the way to and from trips, like Disneyland, on Interstate Highway 5.

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Web Resources

Postcard from Highway 152 - Field Trip San Francisco Bay Area

A Hundred Years of History at Casa de Fruta

The U.S. Interstate Highway System

Wardrobe Refurbishing: A Sewist Loves to Rework her Wardrobe

Yeah! So much better with a well-fastened
waistband and belt loops
 When I daydream about sewing, it's the new stuff I focus on. Bet you too have a lot of goodies stashed away in your fabric inventory for which you have great plans. I don't, however, very often think about how to improve on garments I've made in the past. Refurbishing doesn't have the same ├ęclat as creating. But when I think about it, it's often more satisfying to rework a garment that I've worn a bit and studied the value of for my lifestyle.

Recently I cleaned my closet, not really out of choice mind you! My husband needed access to the under-the-house zone. Access to the furnace and water heater in our little pre-war (that's WWII) cottage is only possible by crawling beneath the floors. Boy, do I appreciate him doing that work.  You better believe I don't complain that my only part in this project is to take everything out of my rather small 1939 closet, so that he can pull-up the trap door and slither through the opening.

When I shovel the contents of my wardrobe out, I often pause to sort through my clothes to clean out the inventory of garments I've got hanging in there. You know how it goes I bet - have I worn this in the last year? Am I likely to? Do I really like this piece? What's flattering? What needs replacing? Which things are just a waste of space?

Some decisions are hard to make, but there's an element of shopping my closet that makes the whole thing a bit more fun.

This eyelet peasant blouse I already had, is
 nice arty romantic look that really suits my wardrobe style
I wore these shorts (a green home dec print) a fair amount last summer, having finished them late in the summer of 2012. But they weren't a huge favorite.

Why was that? I wondered when I reviewed them against some of my other clothes?

1) The original waist closure wasn't well worked
2) The waistband, interfacing notwithstanding, doesn't give a crisp look at the waist.
3) I didn't feel like they went well with any of the tops in my closet or drawers.

So despite my latest June sewing goal, I stopped to do some refurbishing.

1) I sewed a new waistband hook  on either side of the waistband bits.

2) I sewed thread belt loops along the waistline.

3) I identified two white shirts that I already have, that look great with these shorts. (One of which I'd photographed in my original completion photo, but never actually worn with them!) In fact, when I biked over to the Sunset Open House last weekend, two different people unexpectedly complimented me on my outfit. At the time I was wearing the cap I made that matches the shorts and I think that makes it clear that the outfit is something I created. I have worn cap more than the shorts, because I'm pretty regular about skin protection, but it's even more fun to wear it with the matching shorts.

In fact, though I tend to think of tee shirts as being the appropriate garment for shorts, these white shirts give the garment a dressier more arty-romantic look than the tee-and-shorts style.

My cleanout work not only made my closet tidier, the resulting refurbishment project gave me one more reason to be ...
Enchanted by Sewing!

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Web Resources

Suzanne Beaubien - How to Sew Thread Belt Loops

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Technicos: Sewing and Showing My Bias (Cutting and Sewing Bias Strips) (Seam Finish and More)

How I make bias strips

1) After straightening the fabric. I fold it (so I get more strips). Then I lay it square along my cutting grid and draw a straight line that runs carefully through the 45 degree angle line. 

2) Then I lay a gridded ruler carefully and precisely along that line. I move the ruler up however many inches I want the width of my bias strip to be.

3) The farthest edges come out with a little triangular bulge. If it's important to have the print in the same direction, then I'll snip the two ends off after I seam these two together.

4) But if I don't care how the print comes out. I can match up the two ends, by flipping one strip the other way. After I sew that seam, I'll snip the ends off to the right of the seam line.

Western Gardens Field Trip: Sunset Open House

In late spring Sunset Magazine opens it's doors for it's open house, or Celebration Weekend. It's in my own neighborhood and I love to go.

This year I biked over and plunked down my twenty bucks first thing on Sunday morning. Good thing I got there early as I found that one of the talks I wanted to hear was already starting. It was about planting meadows (from turf) to replace lawns. I went back later for my very favorite talk by succulent author Debra Lee Baldwin and the owner and creator of Succulent Gardens. I love their succulents. Spent all my cash in their booth (made a trip to the ATM for more!) on more echeveria for my garden. I highly recommend taking a field trip to the Succulent Gardens fall open house. I'll be back there this year for more beauties. The Santa Cruz county area is gorgeous too.

There are always a lot of good talks at the Sunset Open House. I go for the garden talks but the food and wine are extremely popular as well. In between talks I moseyed on over to check out the tiny houses and demo garden. There's always some kind of vacation house or something similar and it's like touring a playhouse. This years tiny houses were really tiny mobile homes that work like a cottage - though I urge caution in assuming that you could really downsize as most building and safety departments won't permit this type of house for temporary or permanent living. Special situations do allow for them though, so check them out. They cost around $60,000.

Because I live in the area I've walked through the Sunset demonstration gardens many times, but for those who don't come often, just walking the beautiful western style grounds is a pleasure. The celebration includes lots of wine (tasting also I think and maybe beer too - you can tell that's not my thing but it's a big part of the do) and delicious artisinal type food, but seating is really limited. You want to eat early if you want a table - or duck out (return later) and walk over to roomy, green Burgess Park about a mile away and picnic there. There are also representatives from many vacation areas, outdoor and garden products with lots of samples. If you're looking for ideas for your home or yard you'll get plenty.

Current Clip from Succulent Gardens re: their open house. They have lots of activities and classes there but this one is a blowout event and really fun.
"September 26-27, 2014
Succulent Extravaganza!!! Our Fourth Annual at our nursery! Check back for line up of speakers and all the details. "

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Postcard from HI 152 (Field Trip San Francisco Bay Area)

The natives are friendly on CA HI 152

Highway 152  leads out of Gilroy, self-claimed Garlic Capital of the World, then meanders gently through quintessential CA farm land before rising up Pacheco Pass and out to Interstate Highway 5. HI 5 is a powerhouse interstate, filled with big trucks and small speeding cars. It's famous for talking folks, livestock and products there - in a hurry wherever it is that we need to get to, that's far away. It's the speediest route from the southernmost point of the west coast, up through the low lying, central, predominantly agricultural valleys in California, Oregon, and Washington.

Highway 152 reminds us of our agricultural heritage, 
moving San Francisco Bay Area dwellers on a multitude of western adventures. It's takes us out of Silicon Valley and onto Disneyland, San Diego, or even the Cascades. 

Then it leads us back home again.

HI 152 Farmlands
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Web Resources

Terminado! Sewing a Simple Denim Skirt Is Good Medicine

Things that make me proud of this simple elastic waist denim skirt?

* Got it done!
* Draped the pattern myself!
* Love the figure flattering fit!

BTW there are side seam slits too, from the knee part way up the outside of my leg. Haven't tried it on a bike yet, but I think that will work will. The slits make slipping in an out of a car quite easy.

I made the skirt originally to go with my denim bustier, but you know I'm a sewist with a plan (SWAP). This garment goes really well with several of my basic shirts and is a great wardrobe builder

I got more pleasure finishing this simple denim skirt than any sewing project I can remember. As I mentioned in my most recent podcast, Mind of the Maker, I'm having some health challenges that are putting a bit of a crimp in my recreational sewing time. Completing this project, slowly but surely, did a lot for my sense of mental as well as physical well being.

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Web Resources
Audio Podcast Enchanted By Sewing Episode 20: Mind of the Maker