Thursday, December 29, 2011

For the New Year

My resolution for this coming year has always been to organize what I affectionately call "The Black Hole" or... my sewing closet.  It's a smallish walk-in closet.  It's barely big enough to turn around in it, but it's fairly deep.  And just the right size for storing away fabric and supplies.  Now I'm 6'0, and the closet is almost piled willy-nilly up to my shoulders.  At least at the front.  There's about 20 years of bits and pieces of fabric in there.  Once something goes in there, there's no guarantee that I'll ever find it again.  And I've had enough with not being able to find anything.  And since apparently after Christmas sales are really plastic storage bin sales, now is the time to do it!  I'm going to need a bit more for my ever-growing pattern collection, and I need one more for flannels... and maybe some smaller ones for miscellaneous notions.  But I think this is a good start! 

Yeah, it's only 10 bins... and medium sized-ones at that.  And I accidentally got the wrong size lid for two of them, so I'll be going back to Target to exchange them.  Each bin is labeled with either a color or a material.  I mean, I have lots and lots of flannel, fleece, and denim, so they get their own bins.  Most of what I sew with otherwise is cotton or cotton/poly.  I should also have one for knits (sigh)  and one for lace and one for elastic.  The latter two don't need to be as big, though.  I already have a button box a scrap bin, and ribbon racks, so perhaps I should get a bias tape/piping bin, too.  And maybe a small one for zippers.  I am going to be able to find things when I need them this year!  And since we're doing a bit of moving--I'll still be on Granny Lane, but we have a pest problem that requires moving a lot of our stuff out so it can be taken care of, I have to pack it all anyway.  I might as well use the opportunity to make it so I can find things later!

I guess separating it into colors is a quilters' thing, but I do make quilts upon occasion, and I tend to dress the girls in bright colors, so it'll make locating the fabric I want a lot easier.  I don't have a dedicated sewing room.  The closet and my bedroom is as close as I get, and I do most of my actual sewing in the living room for the company.

Happy New Years', y'all.  And here's to a better organized new year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Georgia Tech nightgown AKA. Obsession!

We are a Tech family.  My sister, my brother-in-law, and my two younger brothers went there.  Sarah and Jared both have bachelors from there, while Geoff and Shane have Masters... and both of them are in process of working towards doctorates.  All from Tech.  Perhaps it shouldn't have been a surprise when I was asked by my SIL for help in making Jared a present--a Tech nightgown for her.  Apparently, for years, he's been annoying her by telling her she needed one--but the RTW ones don't come in plus sizes.

I can get my hands on collegiate cotton-

Which was fine with her.  I warned her that it would require ironing, but she's a little used to it by now because of the dresses I make for the girls... which are mostly in cotton because it's washable.

And then she picked out the pattern, which due to the large disparity in sizing between RTW women's clothing and patterns, required heavy altering using the slash and spread method.

We settled on view D, which since there's a 10 inch difference between her chest and waist (two pregnancies!) was probably the easiest to alter.  I also lengthened it to around knee length (another 10 inches) and changed the straps to tie-at-the-shoulder straps.    All-in-all, I added 14 inches around.

It fits, and it's what she wanted, so I'm fairly sure  it's a success.  I think, though, I'll have to insist on Butterick plus sizes if she wants anything more complicated.  They're closer to RTW sizing than McCalls, Vogue, or Simplicity, and come in more sizes!

And to think (Oh, my eyes!) that this might be responsible for my next niece or nephew!  *sigh* Men and football!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Fourteen for Christmas

I come from a large family.  No, not Duggar sized, but I'm the third of six children.  So we started with Christmas for eight.  Dad died in 2007, but by then, we'd added two spouses, making it Christmas for nine... and my paternal grandmother couldn't be left out, so that's Christmas for ten.  By 2009, Ricky and Gracie joined the family, making it Christmas for twelve.  2010 came, with Lizzy, making it Christmas for thirteen, and Nikki came this year, making it Christmas for fourteen.  While Jared and Joanna and Sarah and Shane have their own family celebrations with the kids, everybody turns up here for dinner and presents.  This year was no exception.  Well, except for Shane and my grandmother... their loot will be delivered.  (Grandma hasn't wanted to come for the past couple years, and Shane was apparently needed to assist with a tree removal at his parents' house.... on both Sunday and Christmas.)

I should have taken pictures of the tree and the fourteen stockings hanging from the mantle, but I was too enamored of helping Bit and Boo open their presents and stockings.  :) See, since Christmas fell on Sunday this year, we got up for Church and didn't open presents until afterwards when Jared and Joanna and the girls showed up.  I swear, looking at what was stacked under and around the tree, you'd think really greedy people lived here, but it's more a case of a fourteen-way present exchange!  Once everybody gets two or three gifts (and the kids more than that!) it looks like a wrapping paper bomb exploded!

I got the best gift ever--a very versatile piece of furniture.  It's really a padded storage bench, but I'll be using it to elevate my swollen legs, store sewing supplies in, let Bit sit on it, change Boo.  Yep, yep, yep!  Awesome gift!  And the second best gift ever--a thread rack!  Just what I needed!  I swear I'm organizing my sewing collection this year!

The funniest reaction was Bit to the panties we gave her--after what she told her Elf on the Shelf, Jingle Bells, (Jingle, my panties are too tight, tell Santa) we laughed ourselves sick and bought her more--she squealed and exclaimed over her new Care Bears and My Little Pony panties.  (To make it more ironic, she'd just gotten new ones a couple weeks back from her Mommy because she'd grown out of the old ones.)  And here I thought that underwear was a kiss of death gift! ;) At least, I remember it that way when I was little!  After we ploughed through the presents, leaving out Sarah's, Shane's, Ricky's and Lizzy's because they weren't coming until around 6, and Grandma's which won't be delivered until tomorrow, Jared and Joanna took the girls home for a nap and I started dinner.

We had roast beef, fried mushrooms, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, broccoli with cheese sauce (on the side so I can use the leftovers for mac and cheese tomorrow), rolls, various appetizers, three kinds of pie, and spice cake.  We let the kids play for a bit, and then they went home with their parents while we tackled a mountain of dishes.  And it only took three hours to clean up afterwards!

Am I weird to be grateful that Christmas is over?

New Year's Eve is next.  I'm thankful that it's just a ham!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Well, y'all, as I frantically clean the house because with a baby here, I'm behind, I hope y'all get to relax and have a nice holiday.  (And yes, I'm aware I sound like a grumpy housewife)  I still have to do the mopping and scrub down the bathroom, and I'm sure Bit won't be happy tomorrow when she sees that I moved almost all of the toys out of the living room so we can cram 14 people in here on Sunday.   I still need to gather the scattered DVDs and VHS tapes and put them away and then reorganize Bit's book collection so that it won't fall out of the cubby and attack people.

So from everybody here on Granny Lane, have a Merry Christmas or a happy holiday for whatever you celebrate!  :)   Now to go put the DVDs away so that I can see the top of the TV, cable box, and tables like I can now see my floor!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

8 presents in 3 hours

Or how to do down and dirty fast and easy handmade gifts.  My original thought this year was to do matching sets of hats, scarves, and gloves all around, plus toys for the kiddos and the Christmas dresses.  It didn't happen.  Between illness and rescuing presents from the baby, I haven't managed much this year.  I managed to get my SIL's request done, do all the Christmas shopping, cut out Bit's set of undies for her dress, make up Boo's, get the embroidery done for the dresses, wrap everything...  But as for handmade presents, well it's a stretch this year.  Until I decided to do something easy.  I made 8 scarves for 8 adults in three hours.  Yep.  Easy.  Minimal sewing.  Mostly measuring and cutting.  And I forgot to take a picture before I wrapped them up during my wrapping marathon.  When you're wrapping for three people, and it's Christmas for 14, that's a heck of a lot of gifts!

This can probably be done with 1/4 yard of fleece, but I'd allow a bit extra for straightening the edges.  Which was the first thing I did--using my rotary cutter, mat, and ruler, I straightened up the edge, and then cut an 8 inch strip the width of the fabric.  Next, I cut off the selvedge edges, and measured four inches back for the fringe and marked it on the wrong side of the fabric.  Then, from the end, I measured 1/4 inch increments and marked them for the fringe.  I sewed down the horizontal line to mark the end of the fringe for reinforcement, and hand tied off the thread ends.  Then I cut the tails of the thread off and followed my fring marks to cut fringe.  Voila!  A scarf.  Now to repeat!

We're a Georgia Tech family--my sister, two brothers, and a brother-in-law all graduated from there.  And honestly, the idea originated from the fact that I can currently buy Tech fleece.  Since large heads run in our family, I thought it'd be a fantastic idea to make them Tech hats that actually fit.  But lack of time and they got scarves instead!  I'll be talking about my SIL's project for me... After Christmas because my brother knows where this blog is, and I don't want him to know since it's sort of for him. 

Oh!  He wants a Georgia Tech bowtie.  I told him that if he found silk, I'd make it.  So if anybody knows if there is such a thing....  ;) Cotton and fleece both make crappy ties!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas sewing.

I've put the coats temporarily on hold.  I'm so far behind this year it's not even funny!  This time last year, we were picking up the Christmas pictures.  This year, well...  I'm nowhere close.  I think I can manage what my SIL asked me to do, the toys for the kids, and the Christmas outfits for Bit and Boo.  Everything else will be IOUs for after Christmas--IOUs with fabric scraps pinned on them.  I was planning on scarves, hats, and mittens all around, but I doubt I'll manage them.  Maybe the scarves, seeing as there's no real sewing involved, and I can hand them over to my mom to do the fringe.  Three cut on the rotary cutting mat, two lines of stitching, and I hand it over to Mom and have at least one present.  Heck, the pictures may be an IOU this year!  All I have done is Boo's fluffy undies, and we've just got the collar embroidery left.  Wish me luck--I'll need it.  As soon as Bit's undies are done, I'll post pictures. And then the dresses after that.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


This is primarily a sewing blog, but at times, I may post other things.  Like this--

Like most kids of the late 70s and early 80s, I grew up with the Muppets.  I can't sing even an eighth of the cartoon theme songs, but I can still sing the entire Muppet theme.  I cried when Jim Henson died.  I still love Sesame Street--though stopped watching it until I got a kid the right age.  I saw all the Muppet movies up until Treasure Island.  Heck, I even learned how to work Muppet-type puppets in high school. 

We just went to see the new Muppet Movie.

Totally. Awesome.

Bit actually watched the whole thing in the theatre with us. I swear they could make a new TV series work after that movie. And I know I'd watch it.    And honestly, I wish they would.  In this era of King Reality TV, I think there's room for the Muppets.  I think we could use the laughter back.