Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sew Slow

I started on these jeans THREE weeks ago, and this is as far as I’ve gotten!

I don’t know where all my time is disappearing to, but it’s not going into sewing.

Well, at least the hard part is done. When I get back to it, the back and sides should go fairly quickly.


Friday, February 22, 2013

What a Week

The week passed in a blur of busyness. I don’t have much to show for it, except this:

icy snow in the lettuce
Cold, crunchy, white stuff fell from the sky (so they say) to the earth on Wednesday. This was the same week during which we saw 70+ degree temperatures with bright sunshine, wild winds, a 2-day downpour, and an overnight freeze.

snow in the cauliflower

What could be next?


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Something New in the Garden

It’s so exciting when I’m able to grow something completely new and different in the garden!

hint: it's not a cabbage
This year I planted a package of cauliflower seeds with no real expectations. I’ve had good years and bad years with broccoli, so I didn’t know what was going to happen with this close relative.

Cauliflower is a real cold-weather crop. It won't tolerate dry soil, and if the temperature goes over 80, the flower heads will bolt. So our unusually cold winter has been good news for cauliflower.

First I got big plants. The plants grew huge leaves. The leaves drew lots of caterpillars, and soon had lots of holes.
plants in November, 2 months after planting

Finally last week (4 months after seeding!) I got my first peek at some little cauli-flowers. So far there are two white ones, two purple ones, and a yellow-green one!

Now I have to be patient and let them get a little bigger.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Blue and Gray Like the Weather

I cannot believe the East Coast folks are getting hit with another storm of the century! They just can’t get a break. I hope everyone gets their power back on very soon.

Here in the desert, we had a week of springtime sunshine, and then the temperatures dropped again. We’re looking at cloudy gray skies and hoping for rain again this week.
So my first couple of pieces in the new dusky blue wardrobe fit right in with our weather.

I made the jacket first, so I could get a feel for this stretch denim-like fabric before I embarked on the pants. It’s quite nice: heavy but not stiff, and fairly easy to sew, although the thicker twill stripes tend to send pins and needles off course occasionally.

"Marc Jacobs Cotton Double Stripe Suiting"
according to Fabric Mart.
It looks and behaves like stretch denim.
The 1975 pattern was a lot of fun. I like almost everything about it, including the oversized collar.
The yoke and pocket flaps were perfect for playing with the stripe, and I really like the way that part looks.
click to enlarge
The one part of the pattern I wasn’t thrilled with was the attachment of the “belt” tabs to the front.
I think it looks sloppy, and although part of that is my poor topstitching, I think there must be a better way of applying these. On the other hand, I do like the look of the rest of the waist, with the wide elastic casing.

It was all easy sewing, but it did take a lot of time, due to my interior finishing. The fabric was unraveling throughout the construction process, so I thought a complete binding would be best. Also, it looks so nice inside an unlined jacket!


I used the same pattern to make the bias skirt, because, hey, the pattern envelope shows that you can use a plaid.
mystery fabric, probably a rayon blend?

Ha! I immediately regretted it when I spent hours trying to match up the side seams and insert the zipper. Why are plaids so difficult to match on the bias? This is not rocket science!

In the end it all worked out, of course. In the photos, the skirt is unhemmed, still doing its bias hang to make sure it does all the stretching before I hem it.

Next I’ll work on an “easy” blouse while I mentally prepare for the jeans!

What’s on your creative agenda this week?


Monday, February 4, 2013

Fresh From The Garden

Week in and week out, I’ve tormented regaled you with tales of my struggles to grow a vegetable garden in the desert. It’s so nice that you’ve refrained from asking me why I bother with gardening at all.

In return for your patience, today I offer good news: proof that occasionally I DO successfully grow food!

In the past week, I’ve harvested:

 A pound of snow peas.
SO delicious, raw or cooked

A small bunch of carrots.
Cosmic Purple, Scarlet Nantes

A sample of the different colors of beets.
Detroit (green leaf, red root) Bull's Blood (read leaf, red root),
Chiogga (White stalk, pink root), Golden (yellow stalk, yellow root)

And some broccoli florets.

Removing the center flower is supposed to encourage the side flowers to grow larger.
If you click to enlarge this photo, you can see the tiny florets
along the sides of the main stalk.

We still have a lot more vegetables coming, as long as we don’t have a flood, a drought, a freeze, or a heat wave in the next two months.
That’s not too much to ask, is it?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Sewing? Really? When?

I have sewing plans. Big, exciting plans. The fabrics have been measured and pressed.  The buttons, zippers, linings, and interfacing are ready. The patterns have been double-checked. I’ve even cut out the first two garments.

Yet I still can’t seem to get any momentum going. It’s not like I have anything important to do, it’s just that I have one interruption after another. I don’t know how people with real jobs or kids get anything done.

But at least I can share my plans! It’s another color-coordinated group. I seem to have good luck finishing those. The fabrics are all shades of dusky blue.

It’s sometimes called slate blue, evening blue, brittany blue, steel blue, or simply grey-blue.
Natural blue slate. source

To me, it looks a lot like water reflecting the sky at dusk.
Lake Powell at dusk, Sept 2007

I’m doing a 70s theme here, which at first glance seems as though it could go very badly. Or it could be a wild success.

In my mind’s eye, the designs take on a completely different look in, say, blue cotton twill, than the kelly green polyester pictured on the pattern.  

Let’s hope that the reality of the end result resembles my vision.
All I need is an uninterrupted month or so…