Completing Something

Sadie is such a helper when it comes to whatever I am doing on this table. Here she is all over my unfinished carry all bag and sorting the bits to make my own needles and pins case.

I wanted to make one using some cloth from friends in Australia. Aujke Boonstra had some lovely eco dyed wool blanket bits that I got several years ago. Scraps from Beautiful Silks looked promising. The inspiration for this little needle book was the ones made for me by Australians who seem to have a knack for putting things together with stitch and practicality. Jude Walker was the first one who said, “You can’t put your needles in that! I will make you a proper book for them.” And she did from an old blanket. Then there is the inspiring stitchwork and patching of Nonie Sudcliffe that I bought a small sample of years ago and used on the cover of a sketchbook. Another inspiring needle case I bought from Anne Newton to give as a gift but then couldn’t part with. Mine is pitiful by comparison…..but I like it.

Here it is closed.

First page opened to show pins and tapestry needles.

Some sharper needles and smaller tapestry ones.

Pocket sewn in to the back cover.

Sadie’s approval.

The scraps of heavy cotton canvas type material is what I used to make the outside of the carry all. That was really not such a good choice as it was so heavy. Then after I sewed all the zippers in I realized they were to heavy and long. They stuck out of the ends of what I thought was the right size bag. So I added more length to keep them inside more.

Here you can see that I did not follow the step that clearly states that the bag must be pinned in the center as well as the zipper so that things come out evenly. Also note that the longer zipper I was waiting for is olive green…..not the khaki of the ones inside. My excuse is the picture looked the same color so I ordered it.

I must say that refusing to go to Walmart for ethical reasons comes at a cost. And that is constant ordering from Amazon and taking what I can see on a computer screen.

Also when I added the extra length with these new ends I thought it should be “puffy”. My solution was to use some of the white felt from the trump pincushions and place a panel between the two layers of the outer bag and fold strips in half to shove into these added end panels. Looked like a great idea until I tried to shove it all under a zipper foot for this final stage of closing the whole thing off with the new zipper.

It was an amazing amount of work for something that looks pedestrian at best, don’t you think?

So I filled up  all the pockets with bits and pieces that I might just need to have handy. Today the UPS man brought the fading marker for cloth that I learned about watching those you tubes instructions over and over. And also the really clever little “wonder clips”…..tiny plastic clips for holding wads of cloth, felt, zipper and binding  all in one place while you locate the pins. I stuffed a bunch in that cane toad case.

Remember how I wanted to make this one bigger than the pattern because then I could put a 12 inch ruler inside? By the time I shoved seams into seams it became only 11” long at best. So I am using one of my favorite folding wooden rulers bought at a market in St. Andrews near Baldessin Press north of Melbourne.

Here is everything outside the carry all.

That’s a lot of things and I can still put a pair of scissors in as soon as I get a new medium size one from Amazon. I made those canvas tabs  to add to the zipper pulls because they frankly cover the section where the zipper does not make it to the end of the pocket….something to do with making the pockets fit into the end pieces used up more length. But it is a handy little thing.

And other than finishing this carry all I started back to work on the little Australian journals. Here is a few of the pages, etc.

I love this possum, goanna, kangaroo paw and yellow tailed cockatoo. I even sketched my latest sketchbook.

And some more urban things like gelato, the pedestrian walk sign of men’s legs and the sign for the “ladies” toilet. The hot pad is what I look for at the airports for Lee. He always wants kangaroos on brown backgrounds. They are not so easy to find any more. Mostly now it is oven mitts. Who uses those??!!

Enough for now….so glad that bag is finished. If you ever try to make one read the instructions very carefully, then go on you tube to watch the many, many episodes to get to the finish. Buy practical material and zippers and keep spare sewing machine needles handy along with very strong thread for hand sewing. You might want to make sure you have a zipper foot. Without that, there is no bag.

Til later.


Back on Track – Sort Of

I talked Lee into returning to our walks out at Chatuge Dam. Yesterday it was sunny at eight o’clock in the morning and I could make the foot go 2500 steps.

Today it was further in the fog.

And tomorrow we will go up this path through the woods before turning back.

We have not done this for about twelve years. We loved starting our day out here and walking at least 2.5 miles. Today I got more than 3000 steps in.

And that is after one half hour on my favorite bike here at the gym at 5:30 am.

No one is there that early…just me and some walkers out back.

I do some heavy lifting or pulling or pushing in here.

And wrap it up with a good punching on this…..500 hard jabs.

It is pretty beat up but still tries to wear me down before I give it a final whack.

Lee no longer goes to the gym. Keeping track of how many sets on different machines became too hard for him to keep track of…and he has a hard time getting the words for a conversation with the ones we worked out with. So I go off good and early while he showers, gets his breakfast and feeds the deer.

At home in the studio I have been spending days trying to figure out the pattern and following instructions on you tube to get this carry all sewn together.

Of course I chose my own fabrics from my stash, and I did not like the size so made it all bigger, and ordered the wrong kind of zippers (these seem to be some sort of industrial strength, but I liked the color), I broke a needle on the machine and because I do not know where I put the manual that goes with the sewing machine, I had to go online to see which of all those attachments was for sewing zippers. Now I am waiting for Amazon to send me another longer zipper to do the final steps. Anyone who makes these with the ease of the lady on you tube has my admiration. It was brutal getting this far.

The goal here is to have this cute bag made up of three lined and zippered pockets with additional storage between each pocket…then it all zips closed and you get to carry all your bits and pieces to workshops or at least find the things you need in one place. The problem in putting it together is that it is all sewn together…nothing is added later….each piece of the bloody thing has to go under the sewing machine needle and connect to a zipper and a lining piece and then a pocket lining piece, and so on. then once you have this length of pieces, you close off the pockets and hope the zippers still run along while you cram it into end pieces and the outer case piece. I would never, ever, want to do this again. Once is enough.

Also in the studio I am back at those little books. Two more of the fourteen finished so only five more to go.

An emu, May Gibbs’ little Cuddle Pie and Snuggle Pot and more Eucalyptus, etc. These are really fun and I will be sad to finish.

The Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize show is about to close and I need to contact a friend over there to pick up my artwork. I will try to find a place to donate it before heading home next March.

Lee and I are going to the brewery for lunch today and watch a bit more of the Tour de France while there.

Tomorrow a hair cut after our walk then laundry and a bug guy coming and a repair guy coming and then more kindle time.

I look forward to a weekend of just working on the little books and wondering what to do next.

Til later.

PS My physical therapist called and loved the pop up card with vaginal floor muscles moving. She’d like me to consider making her several to have on hand. I said, “no”.

Just Thinking

These are the tai chi figures that stay on one wall in the studio. They are supposed to remind me that with practice, repetition, meditation and focus, things will improve. And it is true. Just do it. But sometimes it is like force feeding yourself brussel sprouts.

Anyway the sewing spree is over. Nothing in the fabric stash left but some horrible blue that was bought only because it was on sale and fabrics that were rusted and have limited value on wearability. That’s twice so far. Spell check disputes the spelling of “brussel” and now “wearability”. I have added them both to their “dictionary”. They need to just start checking these words before jumping to conclusions.

This week my second catalog from the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Exhibit came. There were only fifty-four pieces chosen for the open entries and twenty-nine for the emerging artist category. I feel lucky indeed to have been chosen.

And here is my work among some very stellar pieces in the catalogue.

So now there are two more books, even though small, that I won’t be able to part with. Where does all this stuff go when you slowly realize that either you or it has left the other behind?

This is the opposite wall of the tai chi figures over a day bed. I need to get rid of these books. I don’t use them anymore. Most are art related. Some are beautiful blank journals that I made with the intention of filling with word and/or image. I don’t need them. What I need is a way to get rid of them. I need to throw other things away. My energy is lacking for that right now. Maybe when fall comes and I get busy just for the sake of getting busy again. But now it is summer here, hot humid summer. It is a boring hot humid summer as well.

What I would like is to pare it all down to just the presses, papers, watercolors and brushes. And nothing over five by seven inches. If I want bigger, then piece them all together. I have done it before.

Easy to do and easy to control….and easy to toss on a burn pile.

I wonder sometimes if it is just that I might have lost the passion for doing something. I don’t care so much about some things enough to do work about it. Well, Australia would be the exception. I wonder if it is since the election of such an obvious ass that not only mine but other’s energies have waned. We get sucked into the hope that maybe today is the day his incompetent party will grow some spine and say “Enough!” But it doesn’t happen. Even today when most of us are wondering if we need lessons in speaking Russian. I feel the need to get the sewing machine back out and make more of these pincushions.

So maybe the sewing spree is not over. I do want to thank two friends from Australia who read my blog and assured me that “we are who we are” and “you look just like Michelle Pfeiffer.”  Such kindness from so far away. I think I will take them each a present from the studio when I go back down under next March. At the very least it would be two less things in the studio.

And then there is this. A special glass for white wine made by our son while he visited a couple of weeks ago. made from a pinot grigio bottle. (Spell check did not like those two words either…geesh!)

Another hour or so and I can head to the porch for one of these….probably two.

That is it for now. I am going back to my little sketch books….only seven more to complete.

I did have a bit of a break this morning while the cleaning lady was here. I made a thank you card for my physical therapist who has been working with me on strengthening vaginal muscles. It was a pop up card with a scientific drawing of that particular area with the vaginal floor muscle rigged to move up and down. How many of us get an opportunity to do something like that? My therapy is over. I know what to do. And like the tai chi figures remind me…..just do it!

Til next week….or whenever I have the urge to talk about something.

Finishing The Sewing – Maybe

I finished the soft grey linen shirt….it really is loose.

I popped the berry vest over it….and it was big too…..too big.

Too loose on the shoulders, etc.

So after cutting the shoulders on a slope I rolled under all the exposed bias edges to make it come in more. And did the same with the green one.

I always have to go over to the guest room and find the only full length mirror behind the door and then face reality. My niece is right. I look like my grandmother….her great grandmother. I look like my oldest sister, now departed. Where is that other Sandy that was there the last time I visited this mirror and was equally disappointed. This does not look like a woman who goes to the gym five days a week, a woman who punches a bag and gets 10,000 steps in a day….well most days.

This looks like an older woman getting comfortable. I might need to start believing in the purpose of darts again….even though I never did like those pinchy little devils.

The good news is that the next time I sneak a peek in here I will be wishing that I was looking like this. Pitiful.

Anyway I looked over these three pieces and took them to the washing machine and then the dryer. Next I googled the question, “Should linen be pressed or left wrinkled?” It seems that that is a personal choice. And really whether I press it or not, which I will do because I love ironing, the clothes will be wrinkly in no time.

Maybe the next fabric will be some synthetic wrinkle free thing….maybe not.

And to tell the truth, I do not look like that cute little grey haired woman who models linen layered clothes and is often posted on Pinterest. I am going to quit looking at her and wait for fall when I can drape more long bits down my front to cover those spills and look thinner at the same time.

Til later. I need to put that machine away! And stay away from the guest room.