I WENT OUTSIDE AND FOUND GREEN STUFF. AND SNOW. AND MADE A SUET HOLDER. BADLY.

Hello Everyone!

It’s been forever! Sorry about that, I have been trying to keep up with you all, but seriously, last week was tough. Long shifts, extra days, drinking excessively, wedding planning, the works!

I recently found a small family-owned grocery store* that is a hair farther away than THE BIG FLOPPY BOX STORE I normally go to. The prices are a hair higher too, but I am trying to “put my money where my mouth is” a little more and the store is absolutely awesome! They have a delightful produce section, a bunch of frozen fruit (more variety and cheaper!), a bakery (eh, I probably make better bread!) an olive bar and a ton of just fun, interesting stuff. It’s actually fun to go there! Which is nice, because I hate shopping. But this place is more…welcoming? Homey? Comfortable? No giant lights and coupons being thrown at me?** I don’t know how to say it. I’ve decided to eat more raw lately, so that means stocking up on nuts, fruits and vegetables and they have a wonderful selection! I did get a salmon filet, as my fiance is out with the boys bowling tonight, so it’s Tuesday Tub, Wine and Fish. Not necessarily in that order.

*if you click the link, read their web address. ROTFLMAO.

**I HATE excessive coupons, because if you’re product isn’t at a fair price point and you won’t stand behind it, go away. I get it, if it’s a new product or a sale, but constant coupons make me not want to shop at stores. Besides, they are mostly for crap I don’t want anyway.

More on putting my money where my mouth is, King Arthur Flour sent me a catalog, which is apparently dangerous! I literally want everything! I did splurge a while ago and buy 50# of flour from their website, so I am assuming that is why they were so kind to send me one. I’ve decided, since the mom and pop place does not sell King Arthur, to buy exclusively from their website. This may seem a little silly, but I am trying hard to avoid THE BIG FLOPPY BOX STORE. They seem to have their heart in the right place and they are employee owned.

I did start a new tunic top, I made it quite a bit smaller than the other one because frankly, I am freaking short. And I do not have the, uh, bust to fill it out as written.

wpid-20140302_145038.jpgthe last one had what i fondly refer to as “armpit pockets”*** because the bust was too big. it happens so often i have a name for it.

***when i can freely see where the bottom of the sleeve hole is hanging uselessly away from my body and looks like a giant pocket

wpid-20140302_155403.jpgi am super proud of this pretty straight top stitching.

I am working hard to make straighter stitches. I have found the best way is to line up (ok, this is a DUH for anyone who has sewn, but indulge me!) the fabric with the throat plate lines and watch those lines, not the needle, not the foot, not the fabric, not the dog. Slow and steady, eyes on the throat plate. I also added plants to my sewing area:

wpid-20140302_143450.jpgwith plants! duh! and a festive mug! I love festive mugs about as much as plants.

wpid-20140304_151422.jpgstring of pearls, weird yellow spotted plant and rhipsalis cassutha

The string of pearls has had better days. I put it in a TERRIBLE spot when I first got it and didn’t realize until it was really not doing well that it wasn’t getting enough sun. He’s better, but he’s not the happiest of campers. I’ve got a house full of complainers. The aloe vera APPARENTLY is also dissatisfied with too much sun. She started turning brown, like they do when they are sun burnt. Either that or she’s got too much water, which I SINCERELY doubt, because I haven’t watered her in months. I think it’s because of the change in the angle of the sun during the day. So I just backed her off the bay window a bit. Ugh, bunch of complainers. I’m not sure if the plants will stay there when the tree that is currently bare outside grows leaves, but we’ll see. Frankly, I can’t wait to stick the hardier, less complainer ones out on the three seasons porch. They love it.

Ok, so anyway, what was I originally supposed to yell about? Oh yeah, my badly made suet holder. So I can’t find the metal one (SQUIRRELS!!!! JERKS!!!) so I rigged up one out of crochet and put it closer to the window. The squirrels don’t come that close, well except Bertha, who is actually kind of tame. She’s okay, because she amuses me with her begging and paw waving when I am out feeding the birds. We also have Humphrey and Henry, our resident chipmunks who I haven’t seen yet. They’ll be around.

wpid-20140304_141338.jpgi have way too much sage green yarn.

wpid-20140304_142358.jpgjust wow. get people on the phone. it’s fancy!

I literally made this while standing at the counter mumbling curses at squirrels.

LET’S GO OUTSIDE!

wpid-20140304_142651.jpgpoop. i found poop.

wpid-20140304_142620.jpg2 of our neighborhood murder of crows. they’ve only stopped by the feeder to poke at the suet once or twice.

wpid-20140304_142825.jpgour sad garden. p.s. my seedlings are all complainers too. i had to move them to get them warmer and NOW they’re like oh, i guess i’ll live and stuff. a house full of teenagers or something, i swear.

wpid-20140304_142955.jpgWHAT THE HELL IS THAT???????? WHY IS THE GROUND TURNING GREEN?????

OMG MAYBE WINTER IS GOING TO END EVENTUALLY!!!

Let’s celebrate with some Roy Orbison. I like him more than Elvis. I mean, I like Elvis, duh, but man, Roy is pretty awesome. Try not to chair dance. I dare you. I turn this up so loud, it’s stupid.

A REAL BOOK!

GUESS WHAT CAME IN THE MAIL! GUESS!

wpid-20140225_184728.jpga “real” book. does this idiot read her own blog titles?

I got the Dress Maker’s Technique Bible by Lorna Knight! And it is fabulous!

wpid-20140225_184740.jpgis this the king james version? or new international?

I basically got it for free with points from my credit cards, which can be used on Amazon.com! I am a credit-card-aholic, but not in the way some people are. I use my cards as cash (as in I pay the balance in full every month without exception) that way I get free points! I’ll even friend atm to get points! So after a while I get enough points to go on a little shopping spree. I’ve gotten, oh geeze, about $300 plus dollars worth of books this way. Hardcover. I can splurge. Anyway, back to the book!

wpid-20140225_184804.jpgADMIRE THE EASY TO FOLLOW CONTENTS!

wpid-20140225_184812.jpgTHE EXPLANATION OF DIAGRAMS!

wpid-20140225_184824.jpgTHE OVERLOAD OF PICTURES! HELPFUL PICTURES!

I love it already! I’ve paged through it cover to cover and it is SO MUCH more helpful than certain other books that I have been quarreling with. I already have the Crochet Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden, which is also AMAZING. If you crochet, I totally, totally recommend it. If you do something else, see if they have a “bible” version. They are spiral bound and just beyond useful.

wpid-20140225_184859.jpgseriously, i love this book.

wpid-20140225_184923.jpghere’s just a taste, stitch diagrams, written pattern and a key on every page.

I can’t wait to put it to good use! I’ve already seen some fantastic tips that certain other books did not bother to mention and it literally explains every single possible thing. It goes over patterns, fabrics, tools, notions, probably explains how to build a nuclear reactor. I didn’t get to that page yet. Anyway, like I said, I totally recommend both of these books!

Tunic Tantrums

I made a tunic! Whoot!

wpid-20140223_203848.jpgthis is a representation of how annoyed I was by the end of it.

Ok, truth time. I really, really like it. It fits great, it’s adorable, but the pattern and the instructions gave me fits! I did learn a few things, which I am going to share with you guys of course.

wpid-20140223_163313.jpgit did not include a pattern. so i had to cut my own. freestyle!

This set of instructions did not include a pattern, but as it was basically squares and rectangles, I managed all right. I just drew a few lines in the appropriate areas and cut it out. Thankfully, the bust was measured out so I knew, for sure, I was a small. The only sewing tip I ever apparently picked up from my grandmother was MAKE IT TEN SIZES TOO BIG JUST IN CASE. I was able to argue myself out of upping it a size.

wpid-20140223_165425.jpgI need to rename the sewing machine. it’s name is Rachel. No offense to Rachel’s.

The instructions included diagrams, which I found largely unhelpful.

wpid-20140223_170357.jpgyou can tell my skill level by the completely not straight seam.

wpid-20140223_185757.jpg“mom? did the book poop on the rug? is that why you are so mad?”

But I did learn things! Yeah! For one, I learned why there was a paint can opener included in my grandmother’s sewing cabinet.

wpid-20140223_180922.jpgJune Dorothy was way too practical to have put this here for no reason…

wpid-20140223_180844.jpgohhhhhh, that, that just makes too much sense.

wpid-20140223_180907.jpgeasy as pie way to turn things inside right. I knew my instinct to take “anything near the sewing machine” was the best bet.

When I first got the machine, I found a walnut picker thing. I’m sorry, I don’t know exactly what they are called, but I know you use them to pick walnuts out of shells.

wpid-20140223_180939.jpgone of these. ya’ll know it wasn’t there to pick walnuts.

wpid-20140223_180956.jpgBOOM! goes right through the sticker on thread spools.

So that is just fantastic right there. Anyway, more on the Tunic Tantrum…

wpid-20140223_171823.jpgthe back. this is how i really felt.

wpid-20140223_181522.jpgwhy would grandma have a million small weights and a 6″ ruler…oh…oooohhhhhh…

Finally, I stopped taking pictures and got to work. All in all, it took about 5 hours of tantrums, but I finished it! And it looks cute as pie!

wpid-20140223_203848.jpgsorry, angry face. long night.

I would post some close ups on the details, but I really, really did not do that neat of a job. It looks really cute, but if you get up close you can see where I should have hid some stitches there, or sewn a little straighter here. I might go back and fiddle with it, but I AM NOT DETERRED!

wpid-20140224_175035.jpgummm, yeah, I bought two more fabrics for two more tops…

I did forget thread. D’oh!

Reuseable Produce Bags!

Yesterday, I sewed up some reusable produce bags. I’ve moved to bringing tote bags for groceries and stores for years (before it was cool, like when I was 7 and went shopping with grandma) but it always annoyed me that I still used those stupid little plastic produce bags. I’ve read about making your own from tulle and until very recently, did not have a sewing machine to make them. But I did it!

wpid-20140120_134816.jpgthey cost me 99 cents.

Many of the tips for making the bags suggested using yarn as a drawstring. I wasn’t sure about that, I’m a quick drop and go shopper and I don’t like to dawdle. The tulle sort of clings to itself enough that I feel this was the right decision, for sure. I  don’t usually make huge grocery trips. About once a month we stock up the freezer for meat and get bulk olive oil or toilet paper, but mostly I buy produce, nuts, beans and flour. We don’t use milk, or fruit juices or other bulky items typically. That’s just us. I make almond milk straight from almonds. All our bread is homemade. If I have totes, usually I won’t even use a cart or a basket, instead I throw my items right in the bag and then pull them back out at checkout.

Here’s with 5# of weight:

wpid-20140120_131205.jpgOr for more realistic people, bananas,

wpid-20140120_134639.jpgonly terrorists don’t like bananas

And here’s my haul today:

wpid-20140121_094130.jpgsnow peas, onion, romaine, bananas and oranges. oh, i also got frozen blueberries. 

If you make these, I would suggest to bring a small tote just for the little bags so you can get at them easily. Also I removed the produce from the bags when I got home. I landed the snow peas in a bowl with a damp cloth napkin and the romaine is loosely wrapped in a cotton towel. Everybody else can live on the counter.

So, PLAN PLAN PLAN and let’s stop wasting plastic bags!

Goodbye Athena 2000.

wpid-20140117_094309.jpg

I’m listening to a sad song today:

ohhhhhhh say goodbye

ohhhhhhhhh say goodbye

Unfortunately, Athena 2000, my late grandmother June’s sewing machine had to be retired. May she rest in piece in the basement. I collected her manuals, tools and accessories and wrapped them up neatly in a box labeled June Dorothy Glaser’s Athena 2000. I’m a sucker for nostalgia. In my grandmother’s honor I left notes for whomever would reopen the box, including dates and reasons.

wpid-20140112_192640.jpg

   do it for the best

wpid-20140112_181420.jpgin grandma’s craft room

wpid-20140112_194348.jpgfirst brought home

wpid-FB_IMG_13895793210931458.jpgso excited that she lit up for me

wpid-20140112_201448.jpgshe still turned on and tried to sew

wpid-20140112_191805.jpgher cabinet

wpid-20140112_200753.jpgher pedal, of course grandma labeled it with the company name

wpid-20140113_090315.jpgher manuals

wpid-20140113_090523.jpgher bill of sale, December 20, 1976

wpid-20140112_202154.jpgoh, say goodbye

wpid-20140112_194437.jpgi’m sorry 😦

The repair shop informed me that her SPACE AGE TECHNOLOGY

wpid-storageemulated0DCIMCamera2014-01-17-10.57.00.jpg.jpgas seen here

was no longer in production and was dreadfully out of date. It would take piles of money to maybe get her up and running and I would be forever in troubles. Oh, I tried. I fiddled and fussed and stomped and begged for her to work. But alas, may she rest in piece. Her cabinet will stay in my craft room and hold my new sewing machine, Rachel

wpid-20140117_145837.jpgrachel? we go from greek goddesses to the chick from friends. ‘MERICA

whom my fiance has promised to make a label that says June Dorothy so she can be renamed.

I forgot to tell you that you’re just not good

I forgot to tell you that you’re just not good

not good

do it for the rest

do it for the best

do it for the rest

do it for the the best

I forgot to tell you that you’re just not good

You’re not good

She forgot

She forgot

Dear Athena 2000:

wpid-20140117_094309.jpgmy baby is sick 😦

You’re awesome, just the way you are, but you aren’t working properly. I can’t get you to thread a bobbin and I’ve poured and paced over the directions. You seem gummy. You seem like you need at the very least a good cleaning. I promise to take you in to nice people and hopefully get you running properly. If not, I promise to keep you in a safe place until your SPACE AGE TECHNOLOGY can be fixed.

wpid-storageemulated0DCIMCamera2014-01-17-10.57.00.jpg.jpgSPACE AGE TECHNOLOGY MY FRIENDS WITH A ‘BRAIN’ SMALLER THAN A THIMBLE OMGBBQLOLXYZWTFBYOBASAP #CRAYCRAY

Love, BMG

IT LIVES!

Meet my grandmother’s Singer Athena 2000:

20140112_191805[1]

first brought into the house.

wpid-20140112_192640.jpg

wpid-20140112_194348.jpgall pictures must include a greyhound

She is a beauty, isn’t she? I intended to bring her home with me a long time ago, as my grandmother, June, passed 6 years ago and my brother has been living in her house, but as I have only moved out of my apartment into my home with my fiance for a only a few years, this was the first opportunity to bring her home.

Of course, I discovered the original bill of sale, December 20th, 1976:

wpid-20140113_090523.jpg

Complete with her immaculate cursive handwriting at the bottom, in case she needed to remember the exact name of the machine.

And, surely, Grandma June kept the manual!:

wpid-20140113_090315.jpgThree cocktails later:

wpid-20140112_194437.jpgagain, there’s a greyhound. also, i’m wearing my ancient aliens shirt. duh.

Finally got brave enough to turn it on. Plug it in, flip the power switch, and…

wpid-20140112_201448.jpg

it’s got a little light blub. oh, and we found at least 15 extra bulbs. ya know, just in case. i don’t even want to tell you how many sewing needles we found…

wpid-FB_IMG_13895793210931458.jpg

it even does…puppy stitches…so, puppies…

IT LIVES!! IT SEWS!!!!

So this morning I get to clean her up (sans cocktail) and get it somewhat positioned in the room. I can’t wait to take it for it’s first spin, but there’s a lot of noodling around I need to do first. For now, she’s all tidied up at put away:

wpid-20140113_093044.jpgyes…sleep while you can…