Friday, March 21, 2008

Bunnies In Betsy

Well, I am finished. I just spent an hour taking apart Betsy and entering into areas I have not ventured into before. She is an older Singer machine, so there is not much to do. There is still lots of goop on the gears and I added some oil where needed. When I took the base off (something I had never done before) I realized that there was MUCH more lint hiding under there in places I was not reaching with my previous cleans. I think there was a whole bunnie in there, there was so much lint ... it was almost frightening to see how much I missed. I then removed the top and took a close look in there as well. Not as much lint, but I did give a good run through adding oil where needed. I then took a piece of scrap silk and ran it behind the tension plates and then around them. If that didn't work it was going to be dental floss next! Test run with no tension then ratcheting it up to where my normal 3 proved Betsy to be in perfect condition once more! Yippee!!

When we get back from Mass this afternoon I am going to do some fast work on some Easter clothes for Monkey Girl and I. Due to the snow amounts still on the ground up here, dresses are out of the question. So, now I need to decide what I can pull off in 2 days and what fabric to choose ... Life could be a lot worse right now, methinks!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Betsy and Bunnies ...

I have not managed to take Betsy in yet. Tuesday night was a flurry of post Report card activity here. We always take the kids out for dinner on report card day. This term, they managed to keep the arrival date a secret until they came home, so I was TOTALLY unprepared schedule wise. Going out made for a perfect solution considering I had a meeting to go to afterwards. No dishes! Yippee for Wendy's! Last night was a quiet night as the Pilot had to work late and we had planned on celebrating being able to see the deck again by having our second BBQ this week. The fact that it was snowing lightly (again/still) while we were doing it and that there is still a whack of snow is irrelevant. I. NEED. BBQ! So, I got me some BBQ. YUMMY pork chops ... but still no Betsy in the shop. Am I in denial or just afraid of what I might hear ... Tomorrow I am going to play with Betsy some more and see if I can get her working. As much as I want a new machine, it isn't in the budget yet. Betsy it is for now! I did manage to get the green T shirt done on the serger, though. I almost kissed that machine ... after I stopped cursing the wooly nylon that kept breaking on me. I think it has gone rotten on me. It was breaking as I was pulling on it straight off the spool. Not too happy about that, but I am not surprised, really. It had been sitting for a while. I just hope I can get the old gal working, I want some new Easter clothes! I really want to use up some of that Rayon knit from Ressy ... which means I can use the serger, but that I will have to hand hem. ick.

Tonight is the start of Holy Week for us. Hamster Boy served his first Holy Thursday Mass tonight. He didn't get his feet washed, but he did get to ring them bells throughout the litany of the saints. His arm is a bit sore, he says now ... but he enjoys being up on the altar. He says that being part of the Mass is easier when you get to "do stuff". I am not going to argue him on that one! He has declared that he knows that the "idea of a human sized rabbit travelling the world dropping chocolate and eggs in one night is highly unrealistic" but that he won't ruin it for Monkey Girl. Hoping he could pull it off, I hugged him and invited him to come along with me when I go get the last minute items (like the afore mentioned chocolates). He gleefully said yes. Which means he wants to pick his own chocolate, I think! Smart boy! How smart? Well, when playing on the computer the other day, he stopped his work, turned to his little sister and related the following (with a straight face I might add) WARNING: If you are drinking coffee, tea, wine or other liquids, swallow now and put the cup down! giggle alert ...
One of my friends at school brought in a really neat article from the news today in class. It was about the Easter Bunny. Last year, somebody tested the Easter Chocolate that had been left behind on Easter and guess what? They found RABBIT DNA on the eggs and candy wrappers. So that just proves that the Easter Bunny is real!
Those of you who don't know my kids won't realize that Hamster Boy is quite the science sponge. He absorbs anything paleontology related and loves history and science. Mythbusters is one of his fave shows. So, the discussions around our house are often laden with words like DNA and evolution, laws of motion and the like. So, to hear her big brother come out with a statement about Bunny DNA on Easter candy would make complete rational sense to her. After all, this is the same person who explains how birds, turtles and alligators are "actually living dinosaurs who have not needed to evolve past their present state." There, now, my friends, take a moment and breathe a bit. Laughter is great, but oxygen is also needed! :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fate or Folly?

So, at Sunday supper, the kids tell me Sunday night (after having a week off for Spring Break) that they need green for St Patrick's Day at school. Hamster Boy has decided that he doesn't want anything special, so I am off the hook for sewing new. "I'll just wear what is in my closet" he proclaimed. Monkey Girl, however, declared that she had no green and needed to wear green. She is so confident in my ability to do this that she kisses me good night later and asks me to leave the top and cardigan on the bed when I am done. She'll "get dressed when I get up" ... YIKES! I manage to piece out a raglan sleeve T with lettuced hems out of remnant green powerdry. I went to sleep, knowing that a simple T takes 40 mins to put together come morning.

So, Monday morning comes along, I have showered and changed and have lunches packed (I LOVE LEFTOVERS!) and I am in the Shop, staring at my machine, Betsy. The tension is so whacked that a setting of 0 allows no movement at all of the needle. Wassup????!!!! I think that the gremlins have gotten inside between projects. The problem is, I need to start working on my jacket muslin this weekend. So, I need to take it to the local shop to get repaired. I have a local vaccuum shop that is also a licensed Brother techie, so I am lucky I don't have to go far (even though it is a 20 year old Singer).

My secret fear/hope is that it will be bad news for Betsy. She is worked so hard, that it is a fear of mine that one day she will just stop and not be able to start again. So, tonight, I will take her apart as best I can and clean her up a bit. Maybe she is just having a dust bunnie induced nap? I hear that the Bunnies give off a soothing hum when they are hibernating inside a nice warm place like a sewing machine. Betsy is not the type of machine who can turn anybody away (as shown by the many last minute projects the kids ask for and get), so it wouldn't surprise me. But I must admit, that after 20 years, I am lusting for a new machine. But don't tell Betsy, she'll have a hissy fit!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

PJ Day

It is almost midnight and I am smiling! I just finished a pair of PJ's for Monkey Girl and it is almost bittersweet. You see, she loved raglan style T shirts (sound like anybody else we know?), especially since those are the basis of the nighties that her Nannie made for her in past years and since Hamster Boy practically lives in his. Today, as I was searching through the patterns, I found that the only one I had for her was too small. She now fits into the same pattern range as her big brother. Yup, no more of the little kids patterns, she is now into the big kids sizes. The baby is growing up and growing up tall!

The jammies are very cute and feminine without being over girlie, I think. The lavender powerdry (from a wazoodle grab bag) coords great with a white and lavender stripe jersey. I used the jersey to extend the legs (I ran out of PD) and for the sleeves of the night shirt. I used some FOE for the neckline and then added some lace to the bottom hemline for an added touch (OK, for added length for those nights when she will refuse to wear the matching pants). The seamline I covered with an iridescent pink ribbon. I echoed this treatment (minus the lace) on the legs where I added the striped portion. I think they look really nice ... we'll see what she thinks in the morning.

Hamster Boy didn't want new ones. He'd rather I trim up the camo knit bottoms I made before Christmas and wash them for tomorrow. When I made those up, I used an XL width and a L length in the KS pattern. Turns out he really only needed the L length in the leg, not the body. He is short waisted and long legged (for now, anyway). So, rather than trim and lose the growth room, I merely turned the elastic casing in once more and took in the crotch seam to narrow them down a bit. We'll have to see if that is enough tomorrow. If not, then he will wear his second choice ... the dragons from last year.

Tomorrow night, I am going to take in those cords a bit. Then, on the weekend, I will prep the pattern for the jacket. This is one project where I will post progress step by step. Not a tutorial by any means, but a way of welcoming you all into my class with Darrell. Now if only you all could hear what goes on in that work room when we are all there at once! You'll just have to come north for a visit, is all. Just make sure to bring snow gear ... March came in like a lion and is determined to stay that way!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Sunnier Side of life

For those of you who are also in Ontario's snow belt, you'll be thinking I am about to say I am off for Spring Break to sunnier climes. Not so ... I am enjoying the fact that I now have more time on my hands to sew. I no longer have to stress out about the Scout event. A variety of events have all conjoined to result in me leaving the committee. I am much happier for it and slept well last night for the first time in a month.

I now have the pattern for the jacket. This weekend will see me starting the muslin. First off, I know I will have to do my standard FBA and some back work. I will probably end up shortening the sleeves a mite. I usually have to for my shirts, so I won't be surprised if Darrell will tell me to lop them off a bit.

Tomorrow, I will have some fast projects to do. It is winter carnival at their school and Friday is PJ and Teddy Bear day. I always make them up new PJ's for this event. This year, I didn't get them new PJ's at Christmas, so I am going to make sure I get them done for Friday. I have some nice camo flannel with glow in the dark dino skeletons for Hamster Boy and will use some lavender powerdry for Monkey Girl. Silky and smooth, she'll love it!

Until later ... sleep well and rest up: more snow coming on the weekend!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Breaking Blog Silence

For those who have been sending me the subtle (and the not so subtle) hints, I am taking a scant moment or two to update the silliness in my life at the moment.

First and foremost: I am back sewing again! Granted it is only a pair of pants, but it is a new garment in the closet! I took the HP Everyday pant and made them in some stretch cord, so I have to take them in a bit more than originally planned. Even with the darts in, the lycra gives too much room at the waist. Granted, in the name of speed, I omitted a stay at the waistband seams, so it is a deserved looseness, so to speak. Also, I finally took apart those HP Chilled Out Sweat Suit pants that I threw together a ways back. I have to do a simple alteration to the HP pants. I simply drop the joint part of the L curve a certain amount and then voila ... I Have a nice butt! I think that the rayon knit was a bit too lightweight for them, but they are super comfy around the house and they look good, too!

In order for me to have the time to sew, I have to be out of the house with major motivation. So, I signed up for a class at Darrell's. He is offering a Tailored jacket class using some couture finishes and some industrial techniques (meaning no pad stitching, but bound buttonholes and welt pockets). I have been meaning to try my hand at this but have been a bit intimidated by the whole prospect of the interlining, lining and so on. Darrell's is the place to get over that, for sure! We are using Burda 8300 for the jacket. I am hoping to use a back and royal blue wool from the Wool House that I bought a few years ago. I have some nice wool flannel that will coord well with it for a skirt or pants, depending on shrinkage amounts. I can't wait ... I have to prep the muslin for the 26th of this month and then every Wed I go to Darrell's for some fun and relaxation!

Work wise, I am very busy ... so much so that despite working in a gym, I haven't been able to work out! Part of that is due to the fact that I only work the same hours as my kids school day, so I can't stay late or go in early. So, I bought into a specialty training sessions done by one of the trainers. One hour each Saturday afternoon. That will get me some time exercising.

What is keeping me from all that I love to do? Planning a regional day event for the Beavers in May. It takes a lot of time reading all the e-mails and playing phone tag with the powers that be for our chosen location. Then there is the normal Beaver stuff, like the Spring sleepover we always do and our normal weekly meetings.

On top of that is the occasional research into what may quite possibly be a posting for us next year. Yup, we may be hitting the road over summer 09 ... for those of you who know, keep them fingers crossed and know that you'll always be welcome during ski or hiking season! We will have a spare room ready as long as you bring some sewing stuff for us to do together!

I am off for now ... I have supper to prep for and then a family chore meeting. Not gonna be fun, no way no how.