Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ironing board - in Action!

Here's my new ironing board, installed firmly on the wall.  The thrills, the chills!  Life is certainly good here. The Roommate is so great for projects like this--he remembers to measure & can also hold up the very heavy ironing board & run the drill properly so no one gets hurt & it looks great when the project is finished.

So what is my next project?!  Well, I'll be doing a smallish (52" x 36") wallhanging/quilt for my mother.  It's called Twisted Pinwheels & there are many variations.  This particular picture (left) is not quite right either.  I guess you'll just have to stay tuned?! I think I've figured out how to do it; I just need to get started.  We're having friends for dinner tonight & last night was a flurry of straightening/cleaning up, so maybe tomorrow?  But we want to see "Attack the Block" before it closes--and it's a bit of a commute to get to Silver Spring, where it's playing.  Does this sound like a bunch of excuses?  I hope not...it's just that life & work & new house are definitely getting in the way of sewing. 

Appropriate music?  The Action! of course! 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Update! Quake + Hurricane + Ikea = New Sewing Room!

5.9 - Test #1 for the new place
Okay, well, with the 50th birthday celebrations (including a trip to ABQ to see family and stock up on green chiles & tamales & turquoise jewelry) + a 5.9 earthquake + Hurricane Irene, it's been a while since I've posted.  Apologies if you missed me (or even noticed I was gone?!).

Our new house, obscured by Irene
A little background: Right after the Roommate & I moved to the DC area, Snowmageddon  & Snowpocalypse arrived.  I'm very much into being prepared, so we did okay in terms of food, gas, etc. And it just so happened we were moving, so we had a ton of furniture to move + Ikea stuff to put together...which meant that when everyone else was bored due to lack of power & internet & trapped inside because of the bad roads, we were moving boxes & assembling furniture. Boredom for some was extra days off for us to fix up our new place!

To the right is the not-yet-installed
wall-mounted ironing board
Cabinet + shelves, 20"
So I figured, hey, if Irene is headed our way, let's go get a cabinet & shelves for my sewing room so we'll have something to work on while we're trapped inside.  We also stocked up on milk, soy milk, gasoline, eggs & bought another can opener (the old one is missing since the move).  We also filled many gallon jugs with water. And with all the New Mexican food in the freezer, we were ready for anything!

If you've been following this blog at all you know that I was trying to figure out a non-Ikea solution for my tiny sewing room.

Moved this table closer to window;
need a bird-feeder outside to entertain
both Bella & me!
However, I finally gave in.  We already had a very sturdy table (I used it for my sewing table in Abu Dhabi), and an extra gate-leg kitchen table with 6 deep drawers, which is a great size for a cutting board, but folds down to 9" wide when I don't need it.  So I just couldn't see buying a fancy sewing desk/cabinet.  Instead, I went w/ an Ivar cabinet + shelves.  I wanted to get something cool from CB2 or Pottery Barn, but they only have bookshelves--which are 8-12" wide.  I wanted at least 18-19" wide, and the Ivar shelves, at 20" are an economical way to do that.  I needed a cabinet, too, so I can store unfinished projects, along with knitting and beading supplies; it's necessary to keep a few things safe from Miss Bella, who isn't really destructive, but she is curious & helpful--even when you don't need help!  ;-)

Boxes from Ikea for storage;
I need to think of cool labels for them
The Roommate & I work quite well together--he can't read instructions & turn them into action & I can't do any of the heavy lifting, so I give orders & he does the manhandling and shows off his muscles.  I hope you'll agree the room is coming together.

The wall-mounted ironing board arrived & we'll try to get that up today.  I also plan to move the printer/file cabinet once the ironing board is up--I think that will leave just enough room for the mannequin in that corner...I have a piece of felt somewhere that I plan to tack up as a design board.  I also have a bulletin board that used to live in the kitchen but may end up in here.  There is plenty of wall space left--just not much floor space.

The printer & file cabinet will be moved
& you can see the gate-leg table,
folded up.
On my wish-list?  I'd like a mannequin/dress form and a sleeve ironing board.  Those may have to wait--we are about to start a "master suite" addition to the house. Which isn't as ridiculous as it sounds--the sewing room, which is 6' x 10' is supposed to be the 2nd bedroom. But since I've colonized it, we are down to one bed/one bath.  The basement ceiling is too low to put a finished bed & bath down there, so a new addition is almost necessary.  We live in a great area with lots to do & see, so want to make our place amenable to guests.

Appropriate music?  Neil Young, unplugged, 1993 "Hurricane," of course!

Monday, August 15, 2011

My new ironing board is on its way...pure excitement!

I won't even mention the composter, also en route, because then you'd be so jealous you'd stop visiting, huh?!  We have a composter, but decided we need 2...if you know about composting you'll understand.

Anyway, take a look at this beauty...it's weird (house not ironing board) because our new house has almost no doors!  Certainly none to the sewing room (2 bi-fold doors instead, given away thru Freecycle last weekend).  So I'm giving away my over the door ironing board to a co-worker and I just ordered this wall-mount fold-away ironing board from Amazon!  I cannot wait until it gets here because rigging up another bi-fold door for ironing right now is a bit crazy--the board moves radically because I can't shut the door it's attached to!  And I need to iron.  I don't like it that much, but I love how our clothes look & I love it when it's finished--sort of like exercise & yoga.

Hope you checked out Tilly, featured seamstress on the Collette Patterns site today!  

p.s. On a much different topic, if you've ever wondered about washing your Ikea pillows--give it a try!  Ours were quite un-fluffy after 18-24 months of usage.  I washed them (the instructions said I could) and though they took forever to dry (only do this with a good dryer), they look amazing & are super-puff fluffy now.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Yes, I'm still here; sewing room fix-up is underway

Polinesia, the Sky
We have now cleaned out most of the paintings, photos, posters that were stacked against all the walls in my new sewing studio. Tomorrow I'll put all 3 of our Matisse prints up because they make me very happy. And then we'll get the extra dining table out of the basement & I'll start arranging. I've got most of my sewing stuff in there, even if there is no place to store it all. I have an ironing board that goes on a door, but there are actually very few doors in this place, so I can't figure out where it will go. I could put it on the back of a door to our coat closet, but then it would show (can't go on the inside because there are already hooks there). I have a feeling the ironing board might be going the way of freecycle soon & I'll have to get another that perhaps mounts to a wall? I don't have the floor space to have it up all the time (ahhhh, I've had the luxury before & it makes life grand).

An update, I found my Japanese-English kanji dictionary. So the yukata may get underway soon. However, next week I'll be at my parents' & my mom wants me to make a quilt wall-hanging for her new living room. And my mother doesn't know what the word patience means!

Finally, a twitter friend, @saraicat, just wrote a book about sewing! It's on Amazon, or in your local bookstore. It's not out yet, but will be soon (November). The Collette Sewing Handbook by Sarai Mitnick. I can't wait to get my copy.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sewing, & other skills kids don't learn in school anymore

There was an interesting article in the Washington Post this weekend, about specialized classes in sewing, cooking, wood-working, among others, skills that used to be taught in school but aren't now.

Back in the paleolithic, I learned sewing & cooking when I was about 12, along with all the other girls in my public school. The boys went to wood-working. (I don't even know if they had 2 classes, or just one.) I was lucky because my mother cooked & sewed and so I already knew most of what was being taught, which were quite basic skills. So when I wanted to make something at home, I had my mom's advice & know-how to back me up.

It's interesting that parents find such classes worth paying for, perhaps to ensure their children are more creative or learn some hands-on problem-solving skills? I also liked seeing the co-ed classes; I definitely would have enjoyed a wood-working class back when I was 12...if nothing else it might help a bit with shelving in our tiny closets!!

What do you think? Should public schools include this type of class? Do you wish you'd learned to sew at an earlier age? Why/Why not?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Making my own yukata (cotton kimono) or Lost in Translation?!

Remember this link? Of an old Japanese pattern book?  Of course you do!  So, I'm thinking of doing some translating...Japanese into English (if I can find my Japanese-English dictionary!) and miniature doll-sized pattern into human sized. 

And why am I thinking about doing this?  Because I think I mentioned that my hapi coat, which I got in Japan in 1994 is worn thru.  And because we've just moved...and I don't want to scare the neighbors.  In our previous house, the bathroom was upstairs & the windows weren't so display-like!  Here, I could cause some heart attacks running between the bathroom & bedroom.  Now the big decision--use some cool Japanese-print fabric or some of my West African?  Or both?  I need to modify the pattern a bit...I want a yukata (cotton kimono), but shorter.  Hapi coats are shorter (almost too short--above the knee), but voluminous--I would like a kimono/yukata because it will be more flattering...but below the knee--not to my ankles as most kimono are.  I may change the sleeve length a bit too.  

Of course this is all well & good sitting here at my computer with Bella nearby for some ear-scratching.  We'll see how soon I get my yukata; we haven't finished unpacking yet!