March 31, 2011

It Was A Productive Wednesday...

This is how I spent yesterday. I got out the fabrics I recently purchased from Sew Fresh Fabrics on Etsy, started cutting, and then I made the quilt top for a table quilt for the "cottage".
Nine-patch blocks, and three borders - pink, peach batik and the "On The Road" fabric with those sweet little campers. How could you look at this fabric and not be happy?
A colorful, whimsical table quilt to greet us as we enter our front door. I'll share the entire quilt when I've got it quilted and bound.

Today is the last day to sign up for my Second Blog Birthday giveaway! Entries close at 11 pm. I'll announce the winners tomorrow. Good luck, y'all!

March 30, 2011

Pillowcase Tutorial...

Thank you for all the generous comments you left about the Flying Cloud quilts and pillowcases. I headed to the studio today, and have created and uploaded a pdf tutorial for anyone interested in knowing how to make pillowcases like mine.

The tutorial is free and you are welcome to photocopy it to share with your sewing friends. I only ask that you do not kit or sell my pattern...and if you're a shopkeeper or guild member who would like to give away multiple quantities of my pattern, please contact me first for permission. I'll be glad to give permission if you ask me first. (After all, it's just the nice thing to do.)

To download the pattern, go to the top of my blog and click on the "Free Patterns and Tutorials" button under my header. (Here's a link to get you to my main page.) Once on my patterns page, scroll down to the "Free Pattern Downloads" (right under the acorn ornament photo). There is a white scroll bar on the right side of the Boxnet widget. The patterns are in alphabetical order, and the name of the tutorial is "BW Pillowcase Tutorial". (Well, of course it is!) When you click on the BW Pillowcase Tutorial, it will automatically download to your desktop.

I've made every effort to be accurate (and spell correctly), but if you find an error or have a question, please don't hesitate to contact me. If you make a pillowcase using my tutorial, I'd love to see what it looks like. I'll be opening a Flickr group called the Brynwood Pillowcase Club so we can all upload our pillowcases for others to see. Have fun! I can't wait to see what you create.

REMINDER: Tomorrow is the last day to sign up for my Second Blog Birthday giveaway. The drawings will close at 11 pm. Good Luck!

March 29, 2011

Golden Slumbers...

They're finished and "installed" in the Flying Cloud. I got the two quilts back from Kathy on Friday and I bound them over the weekend.

Flying Cloud quilt - Manly (Handsome's) is on the left and Flying Cloud quilt - Girly (mine) is on the right. Handsome's is 12" longer overall because he needed the extra length.
After I finished binding the quilts and they were ready to go to the "cottage", I realized that I needed coordinating pillow cases. I've made multiples of these, but they give you an idea of the main fabric, trim and borders I used for each pair.

These pillow cases are easy to make. I created six of them in about an hour and a half, so they're quick projects too. Sorry I didn't get photos of them on the pillows in the cottage. Let me know if you'd like a photo tutorial for the pillowcases.
One more view of the bedroom in our cottage. I wanted you to be able to see the difference on the borders, too. Handsome's (Manly) quilt is more musical and a little darker than mine. My (Girly) quilt has more flowers, but does have border and binding in the same music-themed fabric so that they "go together"...just like Handsome and I do! More cottage projects soon. I do have a question for my crafty pals out there. The photo above is from "Julry" on etsy (Here's her link) Do any of you have tutorials for safety pin button bracelets like this?

My friend, Natalie of Hungry Hippie has shared one, but Sharon of Corgis in my Garden has been looking for one that uses lots of buttons with shanks. Something on the order of the one in this photo. I told Sharon I would put the question out there and see what my readers might be able to share.
Finally, I want to remind you that my Second Blog Birthday giveaways end on the 31st. There's still time to enter. You can click on the giveaway button here to enter.

Thanks, always for visiting and leaving comments for me. Good luck to all who have already entered the drawing! See you again tomorrow.

March 28, 2011

Memory Lane Monday - Dance...

"Dancing dollies dance like this..."
Welcome to another Memory Lane Monday!

I was nine years old in this photograph, taken in the Fond du Lac, Wisconsin studio of my dance instructor, Cleo Smith. His middle initial was "P", and he always told us it stood for "patra". (narf) He really was quite the character. I don't remember much detail about those days now, but I do remember the way I felt. Happy. I was happy taking lessons and learning to dance from this man.

One whole wall of his studio (located above the bank) was mirrored, and had a barre that measured at least twenty feet long. The studio was huge, and double doors separated his teaching area from where he lived across the hall. Cleo's sister played the piano for us while we danced, and his multiple Pekinese dogs frequently tumbled - barking - into his studio while we danced and learned our steps.

I now know that nine year olds should never dance "on-pointe" (in toe shoes), as their bones aren't yet fully developed at that age, and it could do long-term damage. I only remember, that I wanted to be good at what I did, and always tried my hardest. (It's a trait I possess to this day.)
Although this one is blurry, I keep it because it is the only representation of a recital my sister and I performed in 1963. It was taken at the park in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. I remember that I danced in both ballet and tap dance ensembles. I wish I had a picture of me in my tap outfit. It was memorable, at least to me. A cute, short costume, with lots of sequins, and rows of rayon fringe for a 1920's-style dance.

I only remember dancing for a couple of years, which is a blessing. I suspect am certain I was not meant to be a dancer. (I know that my mum wanted me to learn to be graceful and walk with poise.) I do know it is fun for me to look back on the images of dancing as a child.

Did you take lessons as a child? I took piano lessons, too, but we can chat about that another time. For now, I'll just smile remembering those dance lessons, rehearsals and performances.

Hope you'll join me by sharing your memories on your own blog - on any subject - and then linking back to Memory Lane Mondays, right here. You can link up through midnight tonight.

March 26, 2011

You Can Join The Birthday Party, Too...

Somebunny special is having a Birthday this weekend!
To celebrate, my friend, Jillayne of A Fine Seam
and
I
are hosting a special online, virtual Birthday party!
There is nothing quite like the friendships that are developed in our blogging community. I have found women with whom I know I will share lifelong friendships, whether or not we ever meet in person. Then, there are the women whom I have already met in person.

Our birthday celebrity is just one of those people. I instantly connected with her online, and then was blessed to meet her in person last fall.
She's the petite, sweet, bunny-loving, talented
Shell May of The Raspberry Rabbits!
If you already know her, then you love her and will want to wish her the Best Birthday ever. Her birthday is Sunday, March 27th, and we hope you'll all want to add your special wishes to the party.

Jillayne and I are hosting a link-up party so that everyone can send Birthday wishes to Shell. To participate, Jillayne and I have only asked that you use a rabbit image in your post. It can be ceramic, needlework, sewn, painted, photographed, anything...you can choose. The bunny will be your virtual Birthday gift to Shell. (Of course, you're welcome to send actual gifts to her - and if that is your desire, contact me privately and I'll make arrangements to get your gifts to her.) You'll be able to add your Birthday wishes blog post to this party until midnight Sunday.

She reads my blog every day, so the cat's out of the bag now. As I've already exposed Jillayne's and my plot, this will be the location for the linky party.

Shell, my dear friend. I wish you a wonderful Birthday, filled with all the wonderful things you love. I wish I could knock on your door this weekend to surprise you in person, but know that I'll see you again soon enough.

Love and Best Wishes from me, Kes and Fezzik. I hope you have fun visiting all the linked blogs to see all the affection and virtual gifts awaiting you.


Hugs and smooches,

PS. This post will remain up all weekend so that other bloggers can join the party. I'll be back with a new post on Monday.

PLEASE READ MY REMINDERS RIGHT BELOW THIS POST...MONDAY IS MEMORY LANE MONDAY so you can post and join the Memory Lane Party.

REMINDERS...

Monday, March 28th - Memory Lane Monday. I'd love to read your stories from your past. All you have to do is link to my Monday post. You can take my button off the sidebar for your post, too.


Thursday, March 31st - The last day to enter my Second Blog Birthday Giveaway.



March 25, 2011

Fezzik Friday - 40 Weeks...

Hi, everybody!
Welcome to this week's Fezzik Friday.


You know that so far, I've had some pretty exciting adventures to share with you. Today is no exception. This week, I got to meet some of our new neighbors, which leads me to my newest career aspiration.

Do you think you could envision me as a goat herd? I know some of you might be giggling right about now, but I'm serious. Let me explain...
When Mom walked me past one of the neighbor's houses, I really had to use my Super Corgi Vision to see across their yard and pond. I knew there was something interesting, but at this point, I wasn't sure what it was. I was certainly curious.
Apparently, they'd never seen a Super Hero before either, because before I knew it, they were all coming over to check me out!
Goats, large and small, were trotting over to me. The big goats were much larger than I am, so I might have barked at them a little. I wasn't afraid, but I wanted them to know who the boss was.

I might have been glad that there was a fence between us for our first meeting, too. That big one in front was certainly an interesting chap and wanted to get to know me better!
I just quietly stood my ground as they all got closer and closer. I think I had them all mesmerized with my corgi-ness.

I'm hoping that Mom might talk with these neighbors to see if I could visit them on their side of the fence some time. (Mom said I'd have to stay on a leash so that I don't scare the little ones.)
At one point, I thought they might be impressed with my Show Dog pose. I know Mom was impressed, 'cuz she said so. Frankly, I think she's easily impressed. It doesn't take much to make her giggle. I guess it's another of my Super Hero talents, but I digress...
I stood still for quite a while as I contemplated this career choice. Hmmm. A lifetime of chasing and herding goats?
Mom. Can we go home now? I need to think about this some more. It was my first exposure to these critters, after all. I think I might take a little time before I make a final decision. I'm looking forward to visiting them again in the future. Maybe that will help.

What do you think? You know how much I appreciate hearing from you every Friday. Thanks for visiting again. 'til next week...

"More wagging and less barking."
Fezzik Inconceivable

March 24, 2011

I Couldn't Resist...

No apologies. No excuses. I bought them. I couldn't resist them. I'm glad I have them. I love them! You can't make me feel guilty, so don't even try!

The main fabric is from Robert Kaufman and it's called "On The Road". A collection of sweet, colorful campers to be sewn into something beautiful for the coach. I'm not sure what I'll make yet, but you know I'll share it with you when I do.

I purchased the fabrics (including the Kona cottons and the Patty Young "Sanctuary Citrus Scrub" fabric) from an etsy shop called "Sew Fresh Fabrics". (Here's their link) I just love all their colorful fabric choices - and Becca and Peg offer fast, friendly service.
I also visited Anna's shop,lillalotta, when I saw that she was offering a wider printed twill tape. It's approximately two inches wide.

My order arrived from her yesterday, too. When I pulled out the tapes and put them on top of the fabrics, I got excited.
Wouldn't these be great on a patchwork pillow for the camper? I know! That's what I was thinking, too!

Plans fell through for the ballgame, but it was alright. I spent the afternoon in the studio instead. I started and finished my Margarita green/white outfit - except for hemming the skirt - which I'll do first thing today. Then, I'll ask Handsome to snap a photo of me wearing it so I can show you.

I also ran down to Harbor Heights first thing yesterday because Kathy had called to let me know that the Flying Cloud quilts were ready for me to pick up. The design she chose to stitch on my quilts is just perfect for them! (Thank you, Kathy! I love them both!)

I'll bind them today (the other garment projects are on hold til I bind these quilts), and then you'll get to see those finished, too.

I hope you have something fun or creative (better yet, both!) planned for today. More project debuts tomorrow.

March 23, 2011

The Lutterloh System...

Are you familiar with the Lutterloh System? If you make your own clothing (or have in the past, or would like to in the future) this is a wonderful way for you to be sure that your clothes fit every time. The system provides patterns sized exactly to your body, without the need for a body double or duct tape dress form!

When you purchase the system, you receive a binder with starter patterns, a tape measure, a special marking gauge, pins, double stick tape and marking pen. I can't remember if I purchased the plastic designer's curve (not shown) with my kit, or if I purchased it separately, but you want to have one of those, too. A smaller cardboard one does come inside the binder.
Each 5 x 7 pattern page in the binder has the garment piece(es) shown on the front...
and the actual pattern printed is on the back.
The system includes complete instructions on how to create your pattern, but the simple explanation is that you start with your own specific measurements. Then, using the special gauge and measuring tape, transfer the measurements (shown as dots) from the small pattern onto Swedish pattern paper, creating an upsized version in your own size. Genius!
There is a pamphlet that gives basic information for pattern making, and the company also has a video on its website that gives an overview. (Click this link to watch the short version of the video.) There is also a longer instruction video, showing step-by-step directions. In addition, you can order more seasonal or special supplement patterns (in sets) from their website.

If you're a novice seamstress, you might be a bit overwhelmed with the process. Especially if you aren't sure about the "order of assembly" on a regular pattern. But that doesn't mean that you can't learn this system. Each pattern actually tells you the order of assembly in the form of matching alphabet references. All the information a person needs to make each garment is coded onto the pattern pieces. Who knows? Perhaps it would actually be easier for a novice to learn with this system over conventional patterns!

I've been using conventional patterns for over forty years, so I came to this process "prewired". I let you know after I make my first garment via Lutterloh whether or not that was an advantage or disadvantage.

Here's the link to Lutterloh's main page in case you're just itching to know more.

I'm really looking forward to creating my first garments, and I promise to actually model the results for you. (As my friend, Kate at Chronicles of a Country Girll says in her blog header, "Try not to get to excited." giggle)

A few of you left comments yesterday, expecting that I'd have everything made by today. I really appreciate your vote of confidence, but Tuesdays are full of music rehearsals and evening Books a Million gatherings with girlfriends. So there was no sewing yesterday.

Today, Handsome and I are heading to a ball game (Tampa Bay Rays vs. Philly) with friends. That means I won't get a shot at making anything before tomorrow. I have prewashed the knit fabrics, so they're waiting for me in the studio. I'm going to prewash the linen fabric I showed you yesterday, and that's the fabric I'll be using for my Lutterloh pattern. I'm really chomping at the bit to get to it, but I'm going to enjoy the day and think about those new projects later.

Cue the music, bring in the cute dog and the little red-haired girl with no eye pupils. "Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow..." (Sorry. I just couldn't resist.)

March 22, 2011

Think Spring; Think New Wardrobe...

Spring is in the air, and an ol' girl's thoughts turn to new clothes for the new season. But seamstresses don't head to the store. No. They head to their stash!

I started by opening the top drawer of my pattern cabinet and choosing the outfits I'd like to make. I want to wear more dresses and skirts this year, so I started there. My first choice is this New Look pattern (sorry, it's discontinued and no longer available for purchase). I have never made anything from this pattern before, even though I've had it for a loooonnnng time. I'm going to make the outfit that's second from the left.

After the first pattern was chosen, I went into my clothing fabric stash and chose these white and light (Margarita) green knit fabrics.
I also have the red knit fabric, so I'll do it in this colorway as well. I have enough of the white to make both tops, and then make the skirts to match them. Right from the start, I'll have two complete new outfits for spring and summer. Well, actually, they'll work nearly year-round in Florida, but if I head North, they'll be perfect for spring and summer.
After I'd decided on the first two outfits, I pulled out my Lutterloh pattern book and chose this ensemble. I'll be making it in the more - ahem - modest length. I've had these two linen fabrics for over twenty years! I loved them so much, I couldn't bring myself to cut them. The fabrics are in perfect condition but I'll launder them first, just to be sure they're stable before I layout, cut and sew the dress and jacket.

In case you haven't heard of the Lutterloh system, I'll tell you all about it tomorrow. This will be my first project using the system and I'm quite excited at the prospect of having a pattern custom-fit to my mature - and currently zaftig - figure. I have enough of the printed linen to make an additional skirt and jacket ensemble in matching fabric. If I do that, I'll have at least two more coordinating new looks!

So now you know what I have planned for this week. What have you planned? The weather is absolutely perfect around here. Mum told me that they're expecting another snowstorm in Michigan. I couldn't help but groan when she told me. Really? More snow? So much for "global warming", I say. I hope that it's a false alarm and that wherever you live, your weather will be perfect for you, too.
Don't forget that there's still time to enter my Second Blog Birthday Giveaway. There are lots of ways to add entries, but you can only enter on the giveaway post. Click here to learn more. As they say here in the South, "Good luck, y'all!"

March 21, 2011

A Prize and a Present...

Just imagine how tickled I was when I learned that I won Sharon's wonderful giveaway recently. Sharon's blog is Corgis In My Garden, and I've really been enjoying getting to know her, as well as her three corgi girls, Hanna, Arabelle and Heidi. (Need I say that Fezzik was immediately smitten when he saw their pretty faces?)

Sharon had a giveaway of eight of her handcrafted cards, and I entered the drawing. I was so happy when I found out that I won! The cards arrived last week and I can tell you that Sharon is a meticulous paper artist. Her cards are beautiful and well-made. The corgi cards captured my heart!

Thank you, Sharon. I'm so lucky to have won your giveaway and appreciate every second of your time (to say nothing of your talent), that went into creating these cards. I'm a lucky, lucky girl!
Remember, when I introduced you to my non-blogging friend, Ann? She made the beautiful Miss Sweet Mouse pincushion for me? You can read about it here, if you missed the post. Well, she surprised me with another package last week!

Ann made a small wall hanging for me...and a musical mug mat for Handsome! We were both so surprised!
She put so many personalized details into the wall hanging for me. I sat for quite a while, just taking in all the little bits and bobs that she had used to embellish the panel. The panel is a great "Needlework Diva" piece designed by Alma Lynne.

What Ann has no way of knowing is that I met and became friends with Alma Lynne (Hayden) years ago and, although I haven't seen her in years (heck! She might not even remember me now!), we used to have dinner together with a few other designers when I went to trade shows in North Carolina.

I love Alma Lynne's whimsical style, and Ann's eye for embellishing is a perfect match for Alma Lynne's artwork!
I mean...just look at some of the pieces Ann added! You'll see two little dogs, scissors, thimble, floss, sparkle, seashells and more. Everything chosen with me in mind.

Ann, my friend. You've done it again! I love your sense of whimsy and your generosity in sharing it with me. Your hanging is in my studio and I smile every time I look at it!

But, wait. There was more!
Ann also made a mug mat with a musical theme - for Handsome! She doesn't use a sewing machine, so she made this mat using only hand stitching! I'm impressed, girlfriend! You're talented with a needle and thread, too. Your mug mat is beautiful, and has a place of honor on Handsome's desk.

Thank you, Ann, for your thoughtful gifts. They're perfect. Now, I'm going to spend a little time thinking of something to make for you. Give me a little time, and then you'll have a surprise in the mail, too!

My Second Blog Birthday Giveaway is still open until the 31st. If you haven't entered yet, click here to check it out. You don't have to be a follower, but you get more chances to win if you are!

Thanks for visiting again. I love reading your comments and try to respond to all of you. If you're set as a "No Comment Blogger", I'm sorry that I haven't written back. I will always try to respond to bloggers whose messages display a return address. I just want you to know that whether or not I can respond to your notes, I always read your remarks - and I appreciate each and every one of them. And, if you don't comment, please know that I appreciate you visiting, too!

I'll be sharing projects, joyful life stories and more fun with you in the upcoming months. Of course, Fezzik will continue to share his adventures with you, too. I treasure all of you and hope to hear from you again soon. Whether you're a seamstress, crafter, cook, wife. mom or grandmom (or any or all of the aforementioned), I hope you have a creative and happy week doing something you love. See you tomorrow.

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