Art Journal

Nature Ramblings ~ Past Times Time Travel ~ Romancing Daily Life

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Neighborhood Memories: Good Things Come in Threes

Over the winter holiday, mighty fine neighbor Mark,  fixed up this vintage three-wheeler for use as a Kid-Mover.

Plaid Tidings: My Husbands New Nightshirt (M8379)

In my November and December podcasts, the theme was plaids and tartans. 
I'm in the mood to sew more than one this winter season. Hope I can make that happen

My husband's nightshirts were wearing out - he usually needs one or two new ones about every two years. Since the last ones I made him, I've misplaced the pattern. I found McCalls 8379 on the web. It seems to be out of print, but there are probably still many available the same way I found this one. I liked the front tuck and simple neckline. 

I got the side seam plaids matched, but since I quilted the pocket, the flannel in the pocket tightened up quite a lot more than the flannel in the front of the garment. So the plaids didn't match up when I laid the pocket down. My husband doesn't care! He's glad to have a place to put his iPod or reading glasses when he's hanging out on a Sunday morning reading the paper.

He likes it!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Cauliflower Renaissance at the San Francisco Ferry Building, Farmer's Market

Cauliflower Romanesco is a real fantasy vegetable
Read more about this darling crucifer
Cauliflower dates back to the 1600's. It was a favorite of Louis XV mistress, the Comtesse du Barry. the  Like broccoli,bok toy, and brussels sprouts it's a member of the cabbage family - often called the crucifer family.
Brassica oleracea var. botrytis
Purple CauliflowerRead more

Friday, December 18, 2015

Ench By Sew-39: Plaid tidings’ to you and all of your kin! Part 2 of Tartans and Plaids (Winter Holidays Mini-Cast)

Newly togged out Katie Rose is an Engel-Puppen doll
Click on this link in iTunes  to download the 39th episode of the Enchanted by Sewing Audio Podcast,  recorded in December of 2015. Or listen directly on the web by clicking on this link.

Plaid tidings’ to you and all of your kin! During the winter holidays, plaids and tartans look so festive. Dolls are the perfect plaid-sewing partners, because sewing for a doll, gives me the motivation to engage in some sample sewing. And at this time of year they remind me of  dollies, and doll clothes that were sewn for me, at this special time of year – like the mini wardrobe of Barbie clothes my aunt gracie sewed and sent me one winter holiday, as well as the red courderoy jumpers and dotted slip dresses, Mama made for our Chatty Kathy dolls, as well as for me and my sister Trisha in the winter I was 4 (with matching girl jumpers).

K.R's green plaid jumper is based on an
 American Girl free doll clothes pattern in "Mollie's Pretty Clothes"

The doll featured in this sewing project is Katie Rose. K.Rose is an Engel-Puppen doll. (Engel-Puppen doll link - has history of these dolls)

Sample sewing may not sound very exciting, but sewing an 18” (think American Girl sized) plaid doll’s dress gave me a chance to – in a very limited amount of time - practice my pattern cutting out skills for plaid fabric, as well as experiment with a new-to-me technique for improved  plaid matching

This  show is all about technicos/techniques.

My goals with this doll’s dress were to work on:
Primero/First)Careful layout of multiple princess-seamed bodice pieces - definitely less nerve racking for a doll, and gives me confidence to work on the red plaid princess-seamed shirt I’m muslin’ing - as well as the plaid nightshirt I’ll plan to be making soon for my husband.
Entonces/Then)I tried Fusible Thread to decrease slippage during sewing (a new-to-me technique for enhanced/ improved  plaid matching).  Also useful /good idea for sewing on patch pockets  

I used crafster to look for help regarding my challenges with fusible thread.
Response from ~T Read more:

She calls for low heat, so I am guessing you just had the iron too hot.

She also describes another technique for using it with aluminum foil as your pressing cloth..letting that cool and peeling it off, to create a design on fabric. Like a dimensional paint overlay technique?

You Craftsters always inspire me to hunt for new ideas   

I Goggled 'Fusible Thread Instruction' for this one. There are more on there as well.

I love using succulents all over the house during the festive season.
This simple arrangement provides the perfect place for Katie Rose to hang out.

American Girl Doll Clothes Patterns - Free

More Plaid Web Resources

Monday, December 14, 2015

Windy with Rainbows: Part 4 - Off-Leash - Legal- and on to the Golden Gate Bridge

We stumbled on Crissy Field Beach  having no previous idea it's a legally off-leash dog beach! Yes, you need to pick up after the pooch, of course. This meant a delay in reaching the bridge, naturally.

But we did make Fort Point, and back again. 

All in all, we walked 9.5 miles (not counting major romping time at the beach). You could make it much shorter by leaving out walking the other way to Ghirardelli Square, or by parking nearby the beach - where I actually saw parking.

Limited food access on a Sunday. We stopped off mid afternoon at the Marina Safeway, which was a few blocks from where we parked on Bay.

Windy with Rainbows Part 3: Along the Marina headed for Fort Point/Golden Gate Bridge

Wind and Rain as we walked along the Marina, headed for Fort Point under the Golden Gate Bridge,  got us in the festive spirit! 

Windy with Rainbows Part 2 - San Francisco Fort Mason along Marina Green

 View of the Golden Gate Bridge looking across Fort Mason - walking back from Ghirardelli Square
The Marina 

What's a Marina?

Festive Season along Marina Green

Windy with Rainbows Part 1- San Francisco Ghirardhelii Square

 Though it was a mighty wet Sunday, Jasper and I enjoyed a long day's walking. We started out, by parking on Bay above Fort Mason and walked through the park, down the hill (out on the wharf it was too rainy for photos - exciting for a pooch though!) and across the road to a festively decorated Ghirardelli Square. More trip  - next posting.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Goof! Plaids and How NOT to Match 'Em!

Hand basted the seams with fusible thread. All nicely lined up!
So back in Beginning Sewing Construction I learned about fusible thread. Apparently a great way to use it is for basting plaid pieces together to avoid fabric slipping around when you machine stitch.

You can see the stitches, because not yet fused
Thought I'd test the technique out on a sample doll's dress, as practice for upcoming plaids and tartans sewing projects.

There must be a secret to the actual fusing, because all that happened was, that when I pressed the basted seams, the thread fused onto one of the seam lines, and disappeared from the other. I would have been better off, simply basting with regular thread, before doing my machine stitching.
My lovely fusible basting thread melted into the fabric, but didn't meld the seams!

Onward and upward. This is the reason we do sample sewing!

Posted in Crafter....

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Holiday Planting and Beyond! Kalanchoe blossfeldiana Packs a Red Punch

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is giving my succulent ball just the punch it needs for the holiday season - and beyond.

I got this lovely stuff - and quite a lot of the other succulents - at Succulent Gardens in nearby Castroville. It's a fantastic nursery - and right now they have free shipping. So guess who just ordered more of these darling little red guys?

Care and Prep - This time through I soaked my moss ball in fish emulsion (I think Braun makes these balls). Will see how that works out. Going to water between the plants with a spray bottle once or twice a week, once it dries out.

No, I'm not done yet!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Pismo Beach - Fall Camping with Cousin Martha

Cousin Martha and I camped for two nights at Pismo Beach in San Luis Obispo county, the week before Thanksgiving. Overwinter Monarch Butterflies, a very happy dog, and a heavenly beach,  made it a trip we're dreaming about repeating as soon as possible.

Jasper-The-New-Pooch had never seen a tent before. He's a little uncertain

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Pattern Work - Working For My Plaid - M6076 Princess Seamed - With Sleeves

Can't you just envision these pattern pieces and muslins as a red-plaid princess-seamed shirt?
In the November episode of the Enchanted by Sewing audio/pocast, I talked about sewing tartans and plaids. I also mentioned I have plans for a new red plaid, princess-seamed shirt, using M6076. As you may have noticed in my recent postings, Jasper-the-new-pooch has been sewing my slow sewing down even more. Still, I have gotten in some pattern work!

All four pattern pieces have a muslin attached. My next step is to transfer the seam lines onto the muslin, before I begin basting.

 I drew those seam lines  onto the pattern, based on the measurements I took from the sleeveless Western Winds shirt, which I created from this same pattern (altering to create a sleeved version as well as getting a good fit for me). I've really enjoyed wearing Western Winds and got quite a lot of late summer/early fall use out of that shirt - of course here in California it stays warm longer than much of the U.S.

For Western Winds, I cut back the top of the shoulder towards the neck, but I've dropped that back in place for this sleeved version. My new pattern includes lines for both sleeved and sleeveless versions. I  cut with room for either version, then use my clover wheel to lay down the armscye lines, then cut away what I don't need for the particular version I'm making. 

For more description, see my previous post- Sleeved to Sleeveless.

There's a good chance I'll be making a few more changes to the muslin, and therefore pattern, before I snip into that red plaid. I also plan to re-test the new pattern on another sleeveless version, sometime over the next few months. Tried and true patterns take a while to get just so, but they sure are worth their weight in gold.
I store in-progress muslins and pattern pieces clipped onto binder clips  hanging off cup hooks. That way they don't get wrinkles in between sewing sessions, and they all stay together.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Slow Sewing: Jasper Helps Out (Dog Fun!)

I managed to get in some pattern work over the last couple of days, but when it comes to machine work, Jasper-The-New-Pooch has other plans for my time!

Maybe he just wants to learn how to baste. No - my foot was not on the pedal, and yes - he does climb up on my lap to help out.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Pismo Beach Monarchs

Monarch Butterflies clustering in a grove of Eucalyptus in Pismo Beach
Monarch Butterflies
Overwinter along West Coast

* Pismo Beach - famous for clams - is in San Luis Obispo County
* This Monarch grove is right on HI 1
*During the year, these butterflies only live about six weeks, but the fall generation overwinter in clusters - entering into diapause, not eating and flying very little. When the weather warms up, about six months later, they'll fly off and live a normal six week life

Where to See Overwintering Monarchs

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ench By Sew-38: Tartans and Plaids

Myrna Loy begarbed in plaid - "The Thin Man"
At this time of year, I particularly love to sew plaids. No matter what other plans new pooch, Jasper, has for me, I’ve also got plans - for some seasonal sewing, with some of my favorite plaid fabricsOK, maybe with our dear new pooch-kid it will go extra slow, but I’m determined to get one or two plaid garments going over the next few months

BTW if you know anybody looking for the perfect pooch, I’d highly recommend the  group where we found Jasper.
 They’re called Tiramisou Dog Rescue and they foster dogs all over – even in other countries.
 Administrator Lou ( )  was really great about reading my list of needs for the right dog for us  and suggesting dogs for me to check out. (Those needs included not hassling our ancient little blind dog, not chasing kitties, and being super affectionate – all of which she found for us in Jasper).
In this month’s show
* Primero (First): Tartans and Plaids – What’s the difference?

* Entonces (Then): Tartans – Who’s got the rights to wear them? A Famous Historical Myth

Delightful Historical Fiction - DIANA GABALDON Time Travel Adventures- A Wonderful fast paced historical series, for plaid-loving romantics. Claire travels unexpectedly back to the time of the Jacobite rising in the highlands of Scotland and finds a place for herself that suits her even better than her life in post war Britain. Meeting a gentle, handsome and funny over six foot highland Scot doesn't hurt.

* Y Tambien (And Also):   A Visit to the Edinburgh Tartan Weaving Mill – recorded on my trip to the U.K. early this last summer
* Pensamiientos Finales (Final Thoughts): Why I love plaid

NEXT MONTH – Technicos for - Tartan and Plaid Matching - It's not only about how you lay out your pattern
~ ~ ~
Web Resources

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sleeveless to Sleeved - Pattern Work - M6076

The purple line shows the cutting lines I used for altering the original pattern to be  sleeveless
The red lines are my new adjustment lines
Earlier this fall, I first began working with the princess-seamed pattern M6076. The first result was my sleeveless Western Winds Shirt. I really liked the fit, fabric and buttons on this shirt and I wore it quite a lot.  The pattern doesn't actually come in a sleeveless version - I raised the underarm point and then graded the top of the underarm seam to create a well fitting sleeveless version.

My next goal is to create a sleeved version. So far (Jasper is encouraging slow sewing!)  To date, I've just worked on one of the four pattern pieces - the Side Front. 

Once I get all four pattern pieces reworked, and since I made alterations right on Western Winds, I'll probably make another sleeveless version just to test this version of the pattern. Also I have enough clover green linen left from my Irish Laurel dress to make it!

Then I'll be testing the sleeved version in muslin. The main changes I'm making are
1) Taking the end-of-shoulder point back out about 1"
2) Taking the underarm point out 1"
3) Dropping the underarm seam point 1.5"

I went back to Western Winds and noted where I actually sewed my princess-seams
Then I added a new seam allowance, using a Clover tracing wheel
, 1" out from those seams. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

My California Garden - Fuyu Persimmons (Eating and Recipe suggestions)

Fuyu Persimmon
Make prime smoothies and salads

Persimmons started out in China, but now they call themselves California natives - having lived here since the mid 1800's. This year we've had a prime crop. I'm partial to non-astingent Fuyu type, since they taste good either crispy - we eat them out-of-hand like apples or add chunks of them to our main dish salads. Then again, if they soften we scoop them out, freeze them, and make them into delicious smoothies - I throw the frozen pulp together with some pieces of frozen bananas, a little non fat milk and some vanilla - better than ice cream!

Do delicious persimmons grow where you live?