Saturday, February 6, 2016

Mary's Winter Visit: TMBC Day

Mary arrived on Thursday evening. I got a pan of halupkees out of the freezer, and John made a loaf of his crusty bread. When we got back to the house, John and Ross had supper ready -- they'd even SET THE TABLE -- napkins and all!

The next morning was our day to Clinton with the TMBC....
My best picture of us -- at Rastrelli's, a wonderful family owned Italian restaurant.  Linda, me, Lin P., Sandy and Mary...
Mary did NOT buy the quilted red footie pajamas...(but she was tempted)
This stool looked like my cousin Linda.
She passed on the stool -- but could not resist the lady picture.
Mary found this quilt -- in pristine condition -- holy cow -- what's with the red yard ties??  ugh...
At home that night, reviewing our treasures...(Mary found at least six scarves)...
MANY hankies, some aprons...
I found some purple boots for Lilly...
Some dressy flats for Maddie.
This little book was a REAL FIND...
It was ALL ABOUT LAUNDRY...omg....Mary and I both love this topic -- and reading this booklet was thrilling.  Really.  It was SO interesting.  The spot removal cures 60 years ago involved some carbolic acid, maybe lard -- lots of kerosene...
I paid $8.40 for a ten foot long rag rug.  BRAND NEW...such a bargain...

Friday, February 5, 2016

Sewing With Nancy

Last year, Mary Mulari and I were in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin for Sewing Weekend.
WE HAD SUCH A GREAT TIME...
Judy and Chris, our NW Stalkers came all the way from Portland. WHAT A SURPRISE!
It is always an exciting weekend, full of fun and classes and teaching and learning -- visiting with old friends, making new friends...

But, at this particular Sewing Weekend, we had a completely new mission...a different activity...something quite out of the scope of our usual activities...
And it involved these deep thinkers...
Here's a hint -- Mary Mulari and television cameras??
As many of you know, last Spring, Nancy was in the middle of chemotherapy. She was also right in the middle of planning the episodes for the next season of Sewing With Nancy. Because there were so many speakers/stars/teachers in Beaver Dam for Sewing Weekend (Eileen Roche, Mark Lipinski, Mary Mulari...) Nancy had the brilliant idea to bring the show to Beaver Dam to tape some segments for Sewing With Nancy.

GREAT IDEA...

...Except this television gig is A LOT OF WORK...

ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE NOT USED TO DOING IT...

I mean, first you have to come up with a worthy idea that can be explained in a few minutes.  Then, the samples??!!  Holy Cow...you need finished samples, and then a bunch of step-outs

OBVIOUSLY, Mary is completely at ease in this environment...
Me? Not so much....
But -- with the help of my cheerleaders...Mary taking this picture, Deanna telling me I was doing fine...I warmed to the task..
I taped two different segments. This one was about a flip-and-sew t-shirt flat sham...(which they did not use)
And then, OF COURSE, I presented a segment about t-shirt fringe. It was pretty easy for me to find a suitcase full of t-shirt fringe samples. I packed up several pairs of pants, a few dresses, some skirts and tops -- I even took the shower curtain out of my bathroom.

Recently, these episodes ran in many parts of the country.  Thanks for the emails...you are very kind...

THE GOOD NEWS is that Nancy is recovering from surgery and treatments. She completed the taping of the 2015 season of Sewing With Nancy and is currently working on the 2016 programs.  As a matter of fact, after Mary visited me in Iowa, she went to Wisc.  to work with Nancy on some upcoming shows.

NOW GO FRINGE SOMETHING...!! 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Floor Pillow Lounger Project

I could just show you some great pictures of our finished pillow loungers and pretend IT WAS EASY...

You know -- like all those cooking shows...where every dish comes out of the oven, magically cooked, looking delicious...
We KNEW where we were headed -- and it seemed simple enough...
But -- it didn't go quite that easily...believe me...THAT is an understatement.

The first time I saw the pillow lounger was at my friend Anne's house. She warned me that they took up a lot of room -- and, of course, buying four pillows and four pillowcase can get kind of pricey.

But, I had a better plan and I decided to make Lilly a four-pillow-lounger for Christmas. The Pinterest version is simply four purchased pillowcases. AND OF COURSE I can improve on that idea! So, one night, I started with a zebra striped flat sheet. My plan was to simply fold the sheet, and sew straight lines to create four openings.

Are you already laughing at me? I had completely forgot how hard it is to sew a straight line in the middle of a large piece of fabric. Yikes...with all that large expanse of fabric hanging off both sides of my sewing machine. IMPOSSIBLE to pin enough to insure a straight line...

After fighting with the sheet for three hours -- I finally realized it was not cut on the straight of grain -- so it kept twisting more and more with each stitch...

I gave up. AFTER THREE HOURS!! Yikes. I ripped out all the stitches -- and decided to just make four crappy pillowcases out of the zebra sheet. (which I now hated).

Still determined to improve on the design, instead of having all the openings facing the same direction -- I alternated them. My logic was that if a child carries it the wrong way, all the pillows will fall out. What I didn't think through was that, by doing it my way, no matter how the child carries it, two pillows will fall out. Crap (and I am cleaning up the cursing here, for your benefit). Although I did manage to finish the project (after at least 12 hours) -- I was so unhappy with it, I decided not to give it to Lilly for Christmas.

But, when Ronda and I talked about what we'd do with the girls for the Featherweight Day -- I thought the four pillow lounger would be the perfect project. At this point, I realized that the answer to falling-out pillows was to add a fold-back pocket at the open end. DUH!!

The girls could pick out flannel fabric from Ronda's extensive stash -- and oh, yes -- PERFECT. We've got this!!

We bought four cheapo pillows from Walmart ($2.25 each) ...
We thought we could use the plastic bag they came in to make a pattern...
It seemed like such a good idea at the time...and, frankly, I thought I'd already made all the big mistakes the week before Christmas.

Even now -- looking back -- I can't really figure out how we managed to screw it up so many times. We kept making mistakes, one after another.

Ronda was waiting for me to do the math -- and I was waiting for HER to do the math. Then, we were hung up on having each pillowcase made out of the same fabric -- but many of her flannel pieces were only one yard...

I visualized each pillowcase being made out of one long piece, with the fold at the end, and two side seams....But Ronda was trying to make it work with one fold on a long side...but then, how to make the pocket at the end??
As you can see, we finally DID FIGURE IT OUT...but we nearly burned our brains up in the process...
Next week, I'm going to post ACTUAL DIRECTIONS...because I want to write it down BEFORE I FORGET HOW I DID IT!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Grant Rita/Ronda Day, Part #2

As we were starting the day, both girls in my car and we were discussing what they should call us. To Memphis, I am Aunt Rita and Ronda is Grandma. To Lilly, Ronda is Aunt Ronda and I am Grandma. We know from experience that is is confusing when one of them calls, "Grandma".

Lilly came up with the perfect solution. "For today, we could call you Grant Rita and Grant Ronda"....I just looked at her....amazed. Thinking I didn't understand the brilliance of her suggestion, she explained, "You know, we could smush together the words Grandma and Aunt...to make the word Grant..."

Such a proud moment, eh??
This would be Ronda's Featherweight debut...(left)
We were making those four-pillow floor beds that have been all the rage on Pinterest!
But, of course, we could not possibly just sew four purchased pillowcases together. WE ARE GRANT RITA AND GRANT RONDA -- sewing Goddesses!! And the flannel collection at Grant Ronda's house could cover the planet...so the first order of business was to help the girls choose their four fabrics....
The second order of business was to eat some of Dean's venison stew...
Both Memphis and Lilly LOVED, LOVED, LOVED sewing on the Featherweights...
Ronda was learning, right along with the girls...
Both girls were soon confident enough to go it on their own...
Frankly, they were so happy with their first little scrap flannel bag, we could have just quit there...
Lilly was so focused, and the little machine seemed like the perfect size...it just purred along....
Lilly was SO DELIGHTED with her finished pillow bed!!
My favorite picture of the day!!
But, honestly -- it wasn't all hearts and flowers. We had some REAL ISSUES with this project...

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Post-Iowa-Caucus Day

Yesterday, our home phone rang 27 times.

For almost two years now, we have been visiting with Hillary and Bernie, as well as the 50 various Republican candidates.  The last year has been non-stop, and the final month ramps up to unbearable pressure. 

But, the MINUTE it's over -- they all pull out.  Like rats off a sinking ship...

After all that activity, all that noise...the incredible pressure...today this is what we get.

Crickets. 

Dead crickets.

Silent, quiet, dead crickets...

Monday, February 1, 2016

Copper Pot Cleaning Magic

It was the last day of Mary's visit, and we had a slow start to what was going to be a very busy day. But then -- during our oatmeal breakfast, Mary looked at the bottom of my saucepan. A classic Revere Ware, she was telling me about what the engraving meant...

And I told her how Martha Stewart taught me to clean the copper bottoms...
Make a paste out of lemon juice and salt...Martha rubbed the salt with a cut lemon. Much more elegant -- but the bottle juice worked fine.

You simply rub it around with your fingers and let it do it's work...
It happens pretty quickly...no more than five minutes...
  WOW!!  This is a Rita's Sew Fun blog first.  (The first picture I've posted of adults in their pajamas..).
Look at the BEFORE (on the right) and the AFTER. Amazing, eh??
Thanks, Mary, for helping me to clean two of my copper bottom pots!! :

I still can't believe I threw you out of the car at 5:00 AM...and YOU NEVER CALLED when they cancelled your flight!!
Such a fashion statement...your dufflebags match your coat!!
********************

P.S. February 1st -- TODAY -- is the Iowa Caucuses. Finally.

I HAVE NOT ANSWERED MY HOME PHONE IN SIX MONTHS. Yesterday, we got 37 phone calls. Yikes. It is an awful thing...

Mary snapped this picture with her I-phone...can you see what it says?.
NOTRUMP
Fingers crossed...

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Lilly, Memphis and the Featherweights

Last year, I discovered the Singer Featherweight. Like millions of women before me -- I fell in love. The more I learned about the Featherweight, the more I wanted one. My enthusiasm was helpful in convincing Rhonda Pierce to devote an entire issue of the Schmetz digital magazine, Inspired To Sew (click on the link below) to the Fabulous Featherweight!!

Thanks to Ritaluck -- one month later, I found my own Featherweight at an estate sale ($150). I gave it to Lilly for Christmas last year. She was kind of under-whelmed. But I hoped it would be a gift she'd grow into....and one that could still be part of her life when she's my age.


This is my Featherweight...
This is my sister Ronda, who is giving me a Master Class on ragged edge flannel quilts.
Ronda WANTED A FEATHERWEIGHT. She does more sewing than anybody I know..(and I know some serious sewing types, people.) But Ronda sews every single day...for hours....she is obsessed and addicted to flannel, ragged edge blankets. WHICH REQUIRES A TON OF STRAIGHT STITCHING.

She wanted a Singer Featherweight...and as soon as her wish was clear to me, RITALUCK dropped a 1956 Model, in perfect condition -- with the book and extra bobbins. SHE WAS SO EXCITED..($250).

The week between Christmas and New Year's -- Ronda and I always do a day with our girls.
My Lilly and Ronda's Memphis...

Last year, they each made their own ragged edge flannel blankets.
Lilly picked out all the fabrics, but I did most of the sewing.

THIS YEAR, the big difference was we wanted the girls to do most of the actual sewing...
Ronda is giving the girls a tutorial. Their warm-up project was a little flannel bag...
This day was so special....but the project we picked just about whipped us. It seemed so simple in the beginning....ugh.  I could pretend it all went perfectly...but, then again -- THAT WOULD BE WRONG...

Next week, you'll see how it all turned out!!