31 July 2011

Studio painting - Day One

And as we let the primer dry overnight, I put up all of the various grey paint chip samples on the original white wall, so that tomorrow when I get there with fresh eyes I can decide on my final paint color... hopefully ;-)

29 July 2011

New Studio - Before Pics

And today I picked up the keys for the new space! This is also the first I have taken photos, as it was previously occupied by a small theatre company, and therefore had a stage and counter taking up much of the space.

Next step - PAINTING PARTY!!! And thankfully the building manager has promised to leave one of those crazy A-Frame ladders for us to use for that purpose. Now starting to load the back of my car with supplies from home, but still have to decide on just the right shade of light grey or off white or whatever. It's a good thing I'll have to use a layer or two of primer first, giving me plenty of time to decide on the finished color while actually in the space...

I promise to keep posting progress.

Some Shot Cotton Love

July's been a busy month for me, which has unfortunately taken away from some of my sewing obligations. I've done my best to stay on task with some precommits, but besides that, my sewing room has been more or less dormant. But that will be changing soon....

It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how little time we have, or how little we're getting done in that time, new projects and inspirations always pique the interest. Just over a week ago, I spotted a link to a new swap on Flickr: For the Love of Solids, introduced as a joint effort by Megan, at Canoe Ridge Creations (blog) and Elizabeth, at Don't Call me Betsy (blog). My heart quite literally went "pitter-pat" as I read the description and paged through a few of the members' inspiration mosaics. But then the logic side of my brain kicked in making it abundantly clear that in NO WAY do I have the time right now to commit to another swap. It's all I can do to get my "I *Heart* the '80s" package together and in the post by deadline (which is this coming Monday, by the way!). And next month I am going to be moving my sewing studio in to a new studio space, as well as finally coming through with the place mat commission that I've struggled with since May or maybe even April, plus concentrating on inventory for an upcoming craft fair. So, I would hate to short-change an unsuspecting swap partner... I'll have to wait until Round 2 gets under way, but that doesn't mean I can't ogle some of the current entries, while salivating over this amazing spectrum of Shot Cottons at Cool Cottons...

16 July 2011

playing "tourist"

Just a few days after my brother and his partner left town, my dad arrived for a week (or so) long visit. The weather has been a little more typical Portland... more interruptions of sun by clouds, slightly cooler temps, that sort of thing. And then there was yesterday - a beautiful Friday by any gauge! My father had been saying he'd like to make a trip to Washington Park, just on the outskirts of downtown Portland, in order to stroll around The International Rose Test Gardens here. Truly a sight, especially in mid-July!

But on the way, we did have to finally stop in and introduce him to Voodoo Doughnuts. Two wonderful, fresh doughnuts each and a steaming cup of coffee just taunting us until we arrived at the gardens and got out of the car to find a bench to sit and enjoy. And enjoy we did! It's probably been a couple of years since I had made it up to the rose test gardens, certainly at least as long since I had been there on such a beautiful day. So, I went a little camera-happy. It didn't help that I have garden planning and landscaping on my brain, with a sad, very mature rose plant on its last limbs possibly needing to be put out of its misery. So I documented lots!

I loved the powdery, cool lilac of those Lagerfelds

It's hard to see, but I was happy to catch a bumble bee doing what bees do best

I learned something new about my dad - this is apparently his favorite hybrid tea rose, "Peace". And below is what was labeled as a "Peace tree", but such a vivid difference in color!

I must have really liked those European designer flowers!

After spending a nice amount of time gazing at the flowers, we exited the city, in a most lovely and circuitous way, and found our way toward Forest Grove and Gaston, OR in search of some local wineries. Since we got a little off track while wending our way through NW Portland on Skyline Blvd., we arrived in wine country later than anticipated, and so only made it to 2 wineries this trip, Montinore and Plum Hill. Both located within half a mile of one another along Hwy. 47, they had dramatically different feels to them. Montinore is much more established, with gorgeous views of their vineyards and the outlying areas, but I have to say that the ladies at Plum Hill were fabulous. They've only been in the business for about 3 years, but you can tell that they LOVE what they are doing there.

A view of one of the fields from the balcony of the Montinore tasting room.

It was a surprise to see the school bus on this rural road on a Friday afternoon in the middle of summer.

As if I hadn't seen enough roses in the day, I was intrigued by the fact that they had a rose bush planted every 3-4 rows in this part of the vineyard.

The view to the south(ish?) from the parking lot outside the Plum Hill tasting room/shop.

And honestly, that wasn't even the end of our day, but the end of the picture-worthy part. I always forget how close all of these wineries are, and am now inspired to keep it in mind for a good outing as the season progresses.

Thanks for indulging!

15 July 2011

Studio space - coming soon...

I'm in the process of securing a studio space outside of my home. The lease begins August 1st. Painting will be involved. So will IKEA. I'm excited, and a bit nervous, but very excited. Now I just need to decide on a proper name.

More to follow...

a new skirt!

A few weeks ago I posted an entry about a skirt pattern that my mom picked up for me, and the fabrics I had found to make it up. Then I got distracted.

Then I sat down and actually started looking through the pattern and reading it thoroughly.

As a brief recap, the pattern itself is called "Fashion Formula Skirts" from Serendipity Studios. It actually includes 3 distinctly different skirts, with at least 2 or 3 variations of each featured. I chose to do the Penelope Panel Skirt, the one fabric, shirred version. And though I bought the fabric requirements for the middle of the 3 lengths, when I actually measured myself, I decided to go with the shortest one, being that I am pretty short anyhow. It still hangs a couple of inches below my knee, which is perfect!

Then I started cutting into the fabrics...

... and piecing the panels

Then there was the waistband channel, with buttonholes for the drawstring. This was actually my first attempt at buttonholes on the Bernina my mom handed down to me last fall. Though many other aspects of this machine are taking me a while to adjust to (and in several cases I do still prefer my lovely little Viking Lily!), once I took a look at the manual, the buttonhole feature went like a DREAM!! Granted, it helped that she had an automatic buttonhole foot already for the machine, but oh my goodness!! I've always struggled with keeping those things even on my other machine, but after just 2 initial test runs on extra fabric I was able to get the lovely set of buttonholes you see pictured above!

Then came the gathering stitches, pulling on the bobbin threads and evening the whole thing out (as best I could!). Add the hem fabric and the drawstring and *voila*!
Now, this photo was taken before putting the whole thing through the washer, which did help to relax the gathers a bit and it seems to fall a little more naturally now.

All in all, a fun little skirt. I'm thinking the Fiona Faux-Wrap skirt is next...

(P.S. I absolutely LOVED working with the Robert Kaufman Pure Organics fabric. Yay!)

09 July 2011

adding to the '80s

Ever have one of those weeks (or months) when you seem to be pulled in several directions at once, but then you look back and can't figure out why, or what might have gotten accomplished? The last few weeks has been kind of like that for me. One of the things to end up on the back burner here was my project for the I *heart* the '80s Swap. But a few days ago a "check-in" discussion thread was posted, to assess who was still actively involved in the swap, and make sure people are on schedule for the August 1st mailing deadline. That was kind of a wake-up call for me.

I've been working on a rainbow sampler, each block an icon or imagery associated with that decade, or our experience of that decade. I've now got all the blocks EXCEPT orange (though I have had in mind what I will do for that one since the beginning - just a matter of getting the right materials for it). Here's where I'm at:

imagine this without the pom-poms along the top... just the ones by the "laces"

words to follow

a little Frogger

this one needs no explanation, I hope ;-)

and though this isn't specifically an '80s icon, most of us (my secret swap partner included) were still relatively young during that decade, and what little kid didn't love seeing this face??

The Pacman and Kool-Aid blocks were my first attempts at using Wonder Under. Might be one of my last, too. I've had a little experience with Steam-a-Seam, but tend to stay away from the fusible webs in general. However, at this scale, the applique bits needed it. I should have stuck with what I know, though - the Wonder Under was nearly impossible to separate from the paper backing once I had fused it to the applique piece, even after I had tried to separate the two in advance. That's why my little ghostie is looking worse for wear (and he was not the first ghost I cut out, either). Lesson learned.

I've started playing with settings and layout, but I'll have to wait until I do ORANGE before I settle on anything. So far, this is where I'm leaning:

Now for the extras!!
I'm keeping it a secret what this will become, but I hope she likes it, and won't be too embarrassed to carry it around. I found the adorable pink and green elephant fabric at Jackman's Fabrics on my last visit back to St. Louis, and it screamed out to me for this project! And just yesterday I picked up the coordinating dots when I went in to work at Cool Cottons, with the help of Marie. Just need a couple more things to get this piece under way....

and then there are just the fun little goodies. We'll see if I come across any others before the package is ready to go out. I'm glad to say I feel a little bit more on track than I did just a week ago. I'll be cutting it close with my dad's visit coming up and some of my other obligations, but August 1st is a doable date now.

08 July 2011

July Visits begin!

For the last few weeks I've been amping up for some family visits during this month. Nothing stressful, just a great excuse to do a more thorough house cleaning than I tend to do just for myself and J. The first of those visits was brief, but extremely enjoyable! My brother, Lee, and his beau, Glenn, flew out here from NYC the night of July 4th, arriving a little after midnight. I wish I had a link to some video that Glenn took during the flight - a solid minute or two of constant lightning flashes (which apparently was actually going on for a good duration of their 6 hour flight!) They also got to see a couple of east coast fireworks displays from an uncommon vantage point! Again, I don't have access to any photos that they took, but thought I would link to some great fireworks photos my friend Connie captured from the Hudson in NY/NJ at her Flickr page here and here.

Day one of their visit found us tooling around Portland, doing some "must dos," like visiting Powell's Books and Music Millenium, walking around the Pearl District, and of course trying some home-brewed beer! Day two, on the hottest day so far this year, we drove just 30-40 minutes outside of town to do a day hike in the Columbia River Gorge. We chose to go up to Triple Falls, part of the Oneonta Trail, just a bit further east from Multnomah Falls. There were definitely people on the trail, but nothing compared with what I imagine Multnomah Falls would have been following a holiday weekend!
Lee, Glenn and J at the trailhead
getting an idea of how wet the spring has been... water levels are HIGH on the Columbia!

The three of Triple Falls

We spent about 3 -3 1/2 hours out there, then made our way back to town for a relaxing afternoon and evening at home. J made one of his fabulous spinach lasagnas and a couple of bottles of wine were opened, some Science Network on the TV, and there were 4 happy campers.