School & Sewing

Can you believe it’s the end of August already? This has been a weird month for us since it has been unseasonably cool and wet. August is normally my least favorite month of the year, but this year it hasn’t been too bad.

Today was all about getting ready for and teaching my first class of the school year. I have ten students this year—my biggest class ever. Unfortunately, two of them were unable to come today. I think we got off to a pretty good start. We covered a lot of ground.

After class was over, I had to do a job I truly loathe. I had to re-hem something I had already hemmed. It was my own fault, which made it even less enjoyable!

Let me explain. When you’re tall, you learn to accept certain realities.  A garment that is described as “long-sleeved” will never be more than three-quarter-length sleeved for you. A “mini-dress” will be a tunic, and not even a very long one. And a “maxi” dress will in fact be a “midi” if you’re lucky.

Two years ago I ordered a dress that was billed as an “extra-long” maxi. I knew better than to think it would be long enough for me, so I also ordered some matching fabric. I wanted to wear the dress to the costume banquet at Realm Makers. So I dyed it a color that I preferred to the only color it came in, and I added a fabric border. (Which always looks lame because the dress wasn’t designed to have a border.) Apparently, I did not have a daughter around to help me get the length right, for when I put the dress on after adding the border, it was too long. Really, really too long.

However, I was out of time. I didn’t think it would be that big a deal. In the spare moments I had before the banquet, I sewed some beads onto the dress and hoped for the best. I had one of the most annoying nights of my life—holding up the dress, tripping on the dress, kicking the dress out of my way. By the end of the evening I was ready to rip the thing up—but I didn’t.

I have not worn it since, because I knew I was going to have to re-hem it and I knew I wouldn’t enjoy it. But this weekend I am going to a Renaissance faire, and I really want to wear that dress. I have been sewing more and more beads on it this week, knowing that my efforts would be pointless if I didn’t also tackle the hem.

So today I tackled it. I had to cut 5 inches of fabric off the bottom of the dress, and then the hem itself raised it by another inch and a half. So it is now almost 7 inches shorter than it was, but it is still plenty long. I got a tiny taste of what it’s like to be petite and have to hem stuff up all the time. I still think it beats being tall, because no matter what you do you can’t magically lengthen something and have it look the way it was intended to look.



False Alarm

After all the fear and anticipation, it looks like the hurricane will not be coming our way after all. This is good for us, but I almost wish it would head this way and give those near Houston a break. When I went to Walmart this evening, I saw a couple of guys with a pickup truck pulling a boat. They were filling both the boat and the pickup bed with emergency supplies to take south.

Today was a fairly normal school day. Little by little, we are adding to our schedule until we are fully up to speed.

This afternoon I watched a movie with Lina and got a lot of beads sewn onto a dress I hope to wear this weekend. I have time to do that now because I finished the knitting project I had been working on for the last few weeks. Now I have to think about what my next “big” knitting project will be. Last year I made hats for so many people. Maybe I should finally make a hat for myself!

A Helping Hand

Today was Friday, which meant grocery shopping at Aldi. As always, it was an interesting people-watching experience.

I got a little farther on my sewing and spent quite a bit of time revising a story that has been languishing for some time.

After lunch I received a surprise phone call from the son of my friend Robin. I don’t think I had seen him since his wedding a year and a half ago. His wife was working on a crochet project and she had run into a snag. He wondered if I might be able to help. I was willing to try, but I always worry that others think I am better at crafting than I actually am!

So they came over here and I looked at the pattern and after looking to see if there were any pattern corrections online, I realized the pattern had an error in it. This happens more often than you might think. Once we identified and corrected the error, she was good to go. She should easily finish her project before her deadline.

After that it was more sewing and revising, and going to the store to pick up a few things for an upcoming class. The store I went to was Michael’s. I was not prepared for the fact that it is mum season again. There was a whole aisle stuffed full of mummery.  Not to mention all the Halloween displays. *sigh*

I made pizza for Walter and Jasper, since Spencer is in Dallas for the day (and night) and Lucy is working. I rarely feel tempted by pizza anymore because it really does make me ill.  I do miss it though . . .

Something Practical, Something Pretty

I’m trying to take advantage of my crafting momentum and get as much stuff made as possible before the school year starts, because once I get busy with school, I know that there won’t be much time for sewing or knitting.

Today I cut out the straps and pockets for the aprons, and got the straps all sewn. I also did a bunch of revising, some other paperwork, and made some really good stir-fry for supper. At least I heard it was good.

So the aprons are going to be cool and all, but also very practical. Today I took a break from sewing to make something that was more on the “ornamental” side of things. I dug out a very small portion of my bead stash and made a “necklace” to hold an I.D. holder which I bought and modified:

7-27-17 ID necklace

I hate those stick-on name badges because my hair always gets stuck in them. And a chain won’t work because of my metal sensitivity. So I wanted to have a generic I.D. holder that I could use whenever I go to meetings where they want me to wear a name badge. Now I have something that doubles as a piece of jewelry. And, because I had some glow-in-the-dark beads left over, it glows in the dark too. Well, it’s really more of a glimmer, but still pretty cool.

I also worked on chording a new hymn. It is the favorite hymn of a friend of mine, but it is not included in the hymnbook we use at church, so I had to find it in another hymnbook and get the chords all figured out. Now I can’t stop humming it!

I’m trying so hard not to feel sorry for myself but I can’t say I succeed a hundred percent of the time. I really wish I was in Reno at the Realm Makers conference right now.


Back to Sewing

Well, now that those two labor-intensive cloaks are out of the way, I can start working down my very long list of stuff waiting to be made. The first step was to get the green thread out of my serger so I could serge the raw edges before washing and drying several pieces of fabric. Since I will be needing black thread next, I went to put black thread in my serger and found out I was missing a cone of black thread (it takes 4 cones). I have no memory of using up a cone of black thread, but it was gone!

So I serged the fabric with 2 black and 2 green cones and then got the fabric in the wash before making an emergency run to buy more black thread. Now my serger is ready to go, the fabric has been washed and dried, and the pattern chosen. I will be making at least 5 aprons in the next few days. A couple of them are literally years overdue!

I also did some paperwork and some housework and some writing. In fact I revised a short story and submitted it to the online magazine that published one of my stories last year. I am terrible at remembering to keep sending my work out.

In addition, I knitted some rows on my new and very boring project, did some reading, and watched most of a YouTube lecture. And worked out the chords for the hymn I posted on Sunday. I love my autoharp so much.

Relief and Recreation

What a relief it was to finish the beading on the cloak last night! I’ve had a couple people ask me to remind them what the cloak is for.

This is the fourth year in a row that I have made and contributed a cloak to the raffle at the Realm Makers conference. (The first year, there was no raffle that I remember.) The raffle is to raise money for scholarships for the conference. Each year I have made and named a cloak. The Radagast cloak came first, followed by the Sapphire cloak and then the Desert Assassin cloak. This year’s cloak, the Ethereal Enchantress cloak, will not be delivered in person as I cannot afford to go to the conference this year.

So this afternoon I drove forty-some miles to the home of a lucky writer friend who is going to the conference, and gave her the cloak to take with her. I am looking forward to finding out who wins it.

Today, since I was done beading, I went grocery shopping as usual in the morning. After lunch my friend Robin came over for a visit. I hadn’t seen her for at least two months! It was good to get caught up.

As soon as Robin left, I had to dash off to deliver the cloak, and once that was taken care of I drove to another town to visit my dear friend Sybil. We had a lovely visit and went out for supper and then back to her house to visit some more. It is hard to stop talking when you only see each other about once a year.

Now I’m back home and waiting for Lucy to text me that she’s ready to be picked up from work . .


All Beads, All Day

My original concept for the cloak featured lots of beading on all the vertical seams. Because the cloak itself took so long to construct, I had to scale back my beading plan. I have to deliver the cloak tomorrow to a friend who will take it to the conference, so I knew that whatever beading I did had to be done by tonight.

I’m actually pretty proud of how much I was able to do in two days. There are at least some beads on all the vertical seams, at the top and at the bottom. Hundreds and hundreds of beads. The cloak is much heavier now!

I did take a break to go to the gym with Jasper. I didn’t watch as much stuff because I realized it was slowing me down. I sew faster when not distracted by something to look at.

My “fit model” had offered to come back for a photo shoot when the cloak was done, but unfortunately she wasn’t feeling well today and it had to be today or never. So I pressed Janet into service and made her put on a pretty dress and meet me on campus shortly before sunset because I wanted to get that lovely light.  I actually wasn’t quite done beading yet, but I had to take the photos while I had the light!

This is only the second full circle cloak I’ve ever made, and the last one was smaller and the body was made of only 2 pieces instead of 15. And, not that I’m keeping track or anything, but this is cloak #47. I have at least 3 more planned.

Parting Shot:

EE 3

You can see that there are some white beads mixed in with the coordinating green beads. The white beads glow in the dark!

EE 4 hood

The front edge of the hood is also beaded.

EE 6

The Heat is On

You may or may not have noticed that when I am trying to make a deadline, my blog tends to suffer. So, rather than give a detailed account of the last few days, I’ll hit the highlights. Since I last posted on Saturday, I have:

-Gone to church

-Said goodbye to our weekend house guest

-Gone with my husband to the Texas Shakespeare Festival’s production of Cyrano de Bergerac

-Prepared for and taught a creative writing class

-Sewed and sewed and sewed

-Celebrated our 36th anniversary by going to an Indian restaurant for dinner, where I had to watch my husband eat all my naan because of course I can’t have either naan or rice.

-Waited in a parking lot for an hour for Lucy to get off work

-Stayed up till 2:00 a.m. sewing and then washing all the stabilizer out so the cloak could be drying overnight

-Worked out at the gym twice.

-Finished the last of the machine sewing and started sewing on beads. Hundreds of beads so far.

-Watched one movie and three videos to pass the time while beading.

Guess what I’m doing tomorrow? More beading . . .

Sewing and Writing

I figure I’d better post something tonight before my mother gets worried about me. This is kind of an intense time for me.

*I am still working on the cloak for Realm Makers, when not tied up with other stuff. Soon it will be all in one very voluminous piece. Every seam has to be stabilized with stabilizer. I went to the “fancy” fabric store yesterday to get more stabilizer, and they tried to tell me that I wouldn’t need it if I used smaller needles on my serger. They were wrong, a phenomenon that doesn’t happen often.

I know what you’re thinking. Cloaks are pretty simple. Normally they consist of four of five pieces, including the hood. So what’s taking so long? Well, having to pin stabilizer into each seam is one thing. And the body of this cloak consists of 15 pieces instead of four. *sigh* I have no one to blame but myself. It’s a design I’ve been wanting to try for a while. However, I think once will be enough!

*We have a house guest. Spencer’s friend Jayme is spending the weekend to celebrate his birthday, so no sewing got done last night. Instead I made pizza and iced a birthday cake. We are so glad Jayme was able to come.

*Today was the local writers’ conference I signed up for many weeks ago. This is the same conference at which I taught last year, and I was so impressed with this group that I wanted to attend as a student this year, especially since I can’t afford to go to either one of my favorite “big” conferences for the foreseeable future. It was a very enjoyable day. On the way home, just thinking and daydreaming about writing and all my stories, I had a lightbulb moment when I realized there is a common theme that runs through most of my stories. Huh.

So, I’m taking a break from sewing to dash off this blog entry and figure out what music I’m playing tomorrow. Don’t expect to hear much from me until Monday or even Tuesday!

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow

Mercy is all set to go to Russia! Her plane ticket is paid for and she is fully supported too! Even though I expected this to happen, I am just so thrilled. We can’t wait to see what God will do through her in the months that she is there.

I finished my sewing project today—my forty-sixth cloak. I will show you some photos of it tomorrow, I hope. Meanwhile, I have cut out number forty-seven and have been busy researching how to get the seams to look the way I want, as the fabric is rather tricky. I have a horrible feeling I know what I will have to do, and I’m not thrilled.

This morning Jasper and I got called into a spur-of-the-moment meeting with the 4-H agent, who wanted to discuss some ideas for getting more participation in 4-H. Jasper is going to have to put forth a lot of effort into getting his SET (Science, Engineering, Technology) project off the ground.

Excuse me while I go verify that my sewing experience tomorrow is going to be even less enjoyable than I had hoped . . . .