Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Not just sewing. . . . .

I'm not just sewing (although that remains my first love!) but I've also returned to crochet and am so happy to be doing that again.  I started back with crochet because my DH and I cruise often and he gets real funny looks on his face when I talk about bringing a sewing machine........  There for a while I was bringing my embroidery and that was WONDERFUL (and I got a lot done) but even with embroidery there was just so much stuff to bring.

Then in February my son and Dear Daughter-in-Law (everyone should be so blessed!) joined us on a cruise and my DDIL (Juli) is a spinner AND she brought her spindle and fiber to be spun.  I just followed along the theme and brought my hooks and some yarn.  Oh, I just loved it!  Of course Juli attracted a lot of attention, but I just LOVED sitting there in the sun or enjoying an adult beverage on the ship and working with my hands.

On that cruise I started (and finished, amazingly enough) a little bag for my camera, a market bag, and an organizer for my hooks.
This is the camera bag.  I used a bobble stitch to add more protection and make it softer. 

I made this cute little makeup pouch--don't you just love that little flower?--and it's for sale on my Etsy shop. 

This is the shawl I just finished last night.  It's drapped across my mannequin in my very messy sewing room.  The yarn is a alpaca/silk blend I picked up at The Yarn Shop in League City.  I wanted a very simple pattern, since the yarn is so lovely, so I just did a series of three double crochets separated by a single chain stitch, across and back, across and back.   There are three skeins of yarn in this beauty.

So, I'm having fun--what neat and interesting things are YOU up to? 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cruising! (and other stuff)

Hi there!  Bet you thought I had fallen off the face of the earth!   Not the case, not at all.....My DH and I have discovered cruising. . . . .

Mosly we cruise aboard Carnival ships, partly because two of them (THREE now!) sail out of Galveston but mostly because the ships are simply FUN!  Everyone seems to know your name, and are always happy to see you.  The crew is super helpful--since I use an electric chair, they always seem to 'go the extra mile' to help me, whether it's reaching the peach tart on the back of the tray or pushing my chair up the ramp to get back aboard.  Here are a couple of photos:

DH and I aboard Magic.  This was the night he showed up for dinner in a tie made from toilet paper.  (Long story, that!)

This is the Carnival Magic. It's a stock photo, because none of mine turned out so good.  Magic is probably our favorite ship. 

Carnival Triumph---a wonderful, wonderful ship!

This is the Freedom.  She's the new ship sailing out of Galveston.  In February, we were on the repositioning cruise that brought her from Ft. Lauderdale to Galveston. 

Meanwhile, I've still been creating.  This is a quilted wall hanging (it reads, "My house is Your house) I've put up in our dining room.
Also, I've been doing a lot of fabric postcards.  I like to fussy-cut designs and then applique them to the card stock, adding embroidery and other embellishments.  This one is for the Day of the Day. 

This one I did for Valentine's Day

This one was for Thanksgiving, 2014.
And finally, another Day of the Dead card.  Poor little skull has on a beautiful hat, pretty earrings, and her new lace dress but there's no body to go with her!  (Pun intentional)

You can see more of my postcards (and a few other things) in my Etsy shop, RobbieSews  (not a very original name, I know, but it was late. . . . .)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tri-fold sewing organizer

I posted a review of my tri-fold sewing organizer on and totally forgot to add photos here!  Since I can only put three photos over there, I'll put more here and add links.  Anyway, this is my second tri-fold sewing organizer (third, actually, if you count my taking the first one apart and redoing it!).  I'm getting pretty happy with the design, but of course am always looking for ideas that I can incorporate.

 Closeup of button closure

Case closed!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Quick Catchup

The Anne St. Clair bra workshop was WONDERFUL!!!   I love my new bra (even though I have been making bras from her book, nothing beats having the guru giver you personalized instruction!) and can't wait to start on number two!

In the meantime, I'm working on projects for my classes at Sew Contempo.  I plan to teach a class on Techniques and Embellishments, on the Esme blouse (from Sew Liberated patterns), on the Start After Breakfast, Finsih Before Lunch Jacket  (from CNT patterns) Pattern Reading, and whatever else strikes my fancy!  (Except quilting.)

I've also been working on items to sell on my Etsy shop.  I've got vintage patterns, fabric postcards, fabric bowls, sewing organizers, purses, and anti-tarnish pouches for jewelry, so go take a look.

Now, however, it's time for my granddaughter's birthday party!

Friday, August 8, 2014

I'm so excited!!!! Our Anne St. Claire Bra workshop begins today!

I am so proud of my little ASG (that's American Sewing Guild) Neighborhood Group You Sew Girl--thanks to the efforts of one of our members (Margarita), we are bringing in Anne St. Claire (aka The Bra Lady) from NeedleNook Fabrics in Wichita, Kansas for a three-day bra workshop!!!  That's quite an accomplishment for a smallish NG!!!   We were able to pull it off because one of our members wrote us up for a grant a few years ago so we had some money in the bank for Anne's up-front expenses.  Then Margarita knew Anne from when she lived in Wichita so we had that going for us, too.  Margarita is a gung-ho organizer and she got this thing from a comment at our Holiday Party last December ("I'd like to have a bra workshop") to the kick-off this evening!!!!   I'm so excited!!!

Thanks also to the Galveston County Extension Office for the use of their facilities this evening, all day Saturday, and all day Sunday.  They have a superb setup for events like this, and we are blessed to have several people who work there who are also members of You Sew Girl.

So now I'm checking out my machine, making sure it's cleaned and oiled and I have all the right pressure feet, needles, and thread.  My "take-to-class" machine is a Bernina 330 and this will be the first time I've used my walking foot on her.  Everything is in the case by the front door (I must have checked three times this morning, making sure the bobbin box was there, then I had to check the accessory box, and did I remember the manual?)

Anyway, events on this level are usually Chapter-level, but kudos to my swell little NG for pulling it off!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Etsy revisited

After my email to Etsy yesterday, I got a very sweet email from a different Customer Service Rep this morning.  She understood exactly what my issue was and exactly what I needed Etsy to do.  I gave her the 'go-ahead' and she fixed everything!  Took less than 10 minutes from the time I responded to her email to get her response back that everything had been corrected.  Two minutes later (I had to reset my password), I'm in Etsy and catching up on things!!

Now, THAT is service--Judith, you ROCK BIG TIME!!!!

So I'm still on Etsy. Still at RobbieSews.  And now, I'm very, very happy......

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Man, today is my day to RANT!  (And I swear I did not get up on the wrong side of the bed!)

I've always been a big fan of Etsy; it's fun to see what wonderful creative folks are out there and I like being a part of that creative community.  I have (had) a small Etsy shop (RobbieSews) with some things listed--not many, but a few and I was working on other items that a few Etsy customers had suggested to me.

Then one day I try to sign in to my Etsy account, and get a response that my password is wrong.  Excuse me? I've been in my little shop every day for months, and now my password doesn't work????  So I try again (same result) and again (same result) so I send in a request to reset my password. I get the response, reset the password, and  (drum roll, please). . . .am told my password is wrong.  So I contact Etsy customer support.

I found out that I am in fact the owner of 3 Etsy accounts--and the RobbieSews account is NOT associated with my normal email.  It's associated with (here the story gets weird) an email address that doesn't exist.  Huh?


My normal email is associated with an account I started to set up years ago and never finished.  HUH?

And--there's apparently nothing Etsy can do about it.   They can't tell me why I was suddenly unable to get into my shop.  They can't modify my shop with my normal email.  They don't seem to be able to do anything about it at all.

And I haven't heard back from them in two days.   Meanwhile, I have an active shop and a couple of ongoing conversations with customers that I can't contact.  Frustrated?  Just a little.

So I emailed Etsy (again) and told them to shut everything down.  Close RobbieSews and the other two (never opened) shops.  I wonder what response that will get. . . . .

I love the top, but the instructions. . . . .

If you've had a chance to look at my previous post, you see that I just love the Esme top that Sew Liberated published.  I'm getting ready to cut out Esme #3.

But I do have a problem with their instructions and wanted to let everyone know, so if you plan to make the blouse, you'll be prepared.  The instructions included with the pattern are "basic" (so says their guide sheet). "Basic" has to take the understatement of the year award!

Instead of proper instructions, the pattern designers offer a link to an on-line video, and of course they have email addresses and phone numbers for anyone who gets stuck and has a question.

On-line video?  NO THANK YOU!!!!!  I don't like watching on-line instructional videos, not even when Craftsy does them.  Guess I'm old-fashioned (but then so are a lot of sewers these days) but when I buy a pattern, I expect it to include full and complete instructions.  If the company wants to make a video available, then great--but this should never take the place of full and complete written instructions.

Part of my issue is that I don't like on-line instruction of any kind (guess I'll never be a Phoenix, huh?).  I want to look my instructor in the eye.  That's the best kind of instruction.  Second best is a well-written, complete set of instructions.  Written instructions, that I can hold in my hand, draw pictures on, and underline the important parts.Then if I have a question, it's going to be a pretty important one.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents worth.  Anyone agree?  Disagree?  Think I've got rocks in my head?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Esme Top

I fell in love with this top when I saw it at Sew Contempo--so much so that I plan to teach it soon!!  Here's a picture of the pattern:

Isn't it just darling!

This is the first one I made (sorry for the tee shirt on Miss Susie Singer).  I cut the bib yoke on the cross grain to add some interest.  (More on the two little birds below.)

(My model is Miss Suzy Singer, dress form extraordinaire.She thought the tee shirt would be ok, but I'm not sold on it.)

I added a bit of decorative stitches at the hem:

As an interesting touch, the sleeve is cut on the bias,  It's a dream to ease in and I really like how it fits:

 (Sorry this shot isn't as good as it could be). 

Ok--the bit about the little birds. For one thing, the top needed some color.  Desperately needed some color (other than green).  In retrospect, I should have done the bib yoke in a contrasting color, but I didn't.  For the other thing--well, I tried to get fancy-smachy with my serger, trying to finish the raw edges of the yoke after they were sewn in. Bad idea, you say?  TERRIBLE idea, says I.  The serger bit a nice little V-shaped hole into the bodice before I could react.  So, after stomping around for a few minutes, I decided this was The Lady's way of saying my top needed a design elements just there, to cover it up. And these two colorful little birds solved both prob. . .er, challenges, yes, challenges, with my top.  

I love this top so much that the next day I made version #2: 

This time I used a heavy, loosely-woven cotton for the bodice and sleeves, and a contrasting quilting cotton for the bib yoke, the back facing, and for the bias bindings on the sleeves.  I'm much happier with these colors.  I also replaced the sleeve cuff with a flounce by sewing elastic about 2 1/2" from the sleeve edge. Another thing I did was re cut the hem so it isn't straight but comes up on the sides: 

In the above picture you can see the re cut hem as well as the flounced sleeve.  I think both changes make the top more relaxed and casual.  Finally, instead of sewing the buttons so they come up to the neckline, I left the top ones off to open up the neckline a little bit:

If I don't like this, I can always go back and add the top button.

There are so many ways this pattern can be modified!!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Saying goodbye to Eleanor, my Elgin treadle

All good things must come to an end.  Today I sold Eleanor, my elegant Elgin treadle sewing machine (see blog entry dated April 6 2010 for photos).  She went to a lovely lady who lives in Arkansas and is just as excited as can be about learning to stitch on a treadle machine!   I wish her the best and hope that Eleanor makes her happy.

Selling my treadle is part of my downsizing effort.  I'll also be selling my other antique and vintage sewing machines (except NOT the Featherweight!) because I can either mess about with old sewing machines or I can sew.  I love the old machines, but I'd rather sew--and I don't have enough room to use the old machines as decoration.  Besides, they aren't decoration--they are functional machines that need to be used.  I'm not using them and that's a real shame, but better they find homes where they will be used.

Among the vintage and antique machines that will be going to new homes are a Singer model 66 (electric), a Singer model 66 treadle, a Singer model 66 hand crank, and two Italian made Necchi Miras (one in a cabinet).  

Ah.  I'll miss them.