Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas in Asia

Christmas in Asia is a little bit different--in good ways and bad.  Asians tend to use all the Christmas trappings to celebrate the new year.  In very over-the-top ways.  On the other hand, it is left to the Christians to celebrate; in intentional ways.  That, I think, is good.

Here's some pics of our 9th Christmas in the East!

Hotel Lobby in Macau.  Rather tasteful.  Despite Randy wanting to sneak chocolate covered almonds behind the reindeer.  ...wherever you go, there you are...

Kowloon in front of the historic Peninsula Hotel.  Rather tame in daylight.  Stay tuned.

Kowloon in front of Peninsula by night.  Dazzling (blinding).  Yes, that IS a giant cupid hovering over the photo op!

See that cupid now?  Yes?

The beautiful, crazy-old tree above the lighted one pales in comparison.
Christmas lights on Hong Kong shore seen from the ferry from Kowloon.
 Back to some reality in UB.  Whew!  

A few cuties from our church fellowship

Amazing Beverly and a few of her Boys

Wrapping tends to be creative here.  Fabric works!

As do pages from Popular Mechanics
 Isn't this little guy TOO cute?  Randy grabbed a champagne cork and it just gave him a whole new look from the box.  Found this in a Hong Kong book store.

View from the living room window in our apartment.
We had a marvelous Christmas Day--beginning and ending with Jesus and all in between.  We Skype called family all morning, and enjoyed a gorgeous Christmas dinner at a nearby restaurant.  Randy took the day off (Christmas is a working day here) and it was just perfect.  I hope your Christmas was wonderful and Christ filled, too!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Jacket From the Recent Past

Well, The Coat is still in progress.  I got a bit stalled as I needed shoulder pads and one doesn't just swing by the sewing store here, so had to wait until of last week.  Then, I was down with some flu bug this weekend and that slowed things down more.  Whole new meaning to slow sewing.

So, I want to blog about a jacket that I made this past summer that I am so pleased with!

Here's my Butterick 5616!  Even though I knew in the spring I wanted a white denim jacket for summer, I didn't get it done until almost the end of summer--mainly because I kept searching for just the right denim.  A denim with just the right feel and weight--and that was actually white, not off white or cream.

 I made my usual 10 through the neck and shoulders and a 12 on the sides.  I actually added a bit to the side seams that I really didn't need in the end as it's a bit boxy, but I'm OK with that.

I ended up using Hong Kong finishes and binding many of the edges with this pretty gray & white cotton print.

I learned to hammer thick denim seam junctions--and it really works to flatten them.  Who knew?  Well, me, now.

Oh, and I faced the collar in the same pretty print 
...And a big news flash (for me, anyway).  I found the Dritz snaps unusable.  Despite having the application tool thing.  The silly thing comes with no directions!  I went online, too; scarce.  I tried winging it.  Grr.

Then.  I found a wonderful product called SnapSetter.  The selection of snaps is large, the prices & shipping are great and!  The little attaching tool is so easy to use!   Here's the SnapSetter link  

I got quite a bit of wear out of it at the end of summer, before I left for frostier fall climes.  I'm glad I refreshed my memory with this jacket--refreshment is needed while working on The Coat ;)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Burda Coat & Aussie Fascinators

Well, I've made progress on The Coat.  S l o w l y.  The first day of sewing was delightful--fabric wonderful to work with--then basted up the side seams…it was too big.  This  being my first try with a Burda Style pattern, I wasn't sure whether to go with the upper bust or full bust measurement.  Should have been the upper.  So…back to the L.A. freeway map original pattern
to grade the pattern pieces down a size.  Makes my head hurt.  Lots of un-sewing.

A good week later and it's coming together!  Today I hope to get the sleeves in and then on to hems and fasteners.  One time suck has been the Hong Kong seams--that wonderful satin bias tape turned out to be a bit wonkey, going from wide to narrow and back again.  I think it was the end of a roll because I went back on Saturday to get more (15 meters and counting!!! --some due to all the un-sewing) and it was off a new roll and much better to work with.

The sticky dots are the only way I can mark notches, etc. as tailor's chalk a just disappears.  

I'm still loving this Darth Vader collar

I think these clip fasteners are going to be perfect!
Now about the Aussie fascinators.  Apparently, it is Melbourne Cup tradition for ladies to wear a fascinator (headpiece) to the event, parties for the event, and even watching the event on TV.  So, our Blue Sky Quilt Club set about making our own under the tutelage of our Aussie member, Kathy.  The more bling and the more flamboyant, the better.

I really don't think this is my medium.  But it was fun and my table pumpkin enjoyed wearing the end product (until I roasted it tonight, that is--the pumpkin not the Fascinator).  Randy has plans to wear it to the office on Halloween (the Fascinator, not the pumpkin).  As he is known to say, "sometimes a guy just wants to feel pretty."  This is a man secure in his manhood.

My creation.  Think I'll stick with sewing ;)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Back At It

I've been tempted to leave off blogging--but I SO enjoy the online sewing blogging community!  ...and, frankly, I enjoy blogging--the whole creative and sharing process.   After reading about the whole online quandry of much younger bloggers on Sew Well, I feel so validated and inspired to get back to my blog.  Just for the joy of it.

My daughter Nikki, at Fancy That, always says "just pick up where you're at."  So, I'm going to take her advice and do just that.  

I've been back in UB for--wowzers!  About a month!  I was thinking a few weeks.  That explains a lot.

Anyway.  The fabric shopping here has become even more incredible.  I have to shop by feel for the most part, but man, the selection here is crazy.  I even stumble on a small shop selling amazing Italian ponte knits for about $7-$8 a meter.  

What's on the sewing table today:  A coat from this crazy wool/ fleece piece that actually caught my husband's eye last winter (yes, he's rare and special and I'm keeping him :)  
The wooly side has this crazy 3-dimensional thread scroll

The underside is super soft with a fleece-y feel.  But no stretch

Now, any patterns I use I have to bring.  Or download (not first choice).  Then there are Burda Style Magazines.  They have them here.  All in Russian which was a bit daunting.  So, I subscribed to the US.  I scooped up the lot and said husband offered to take them back in his carry on.  See?  A keeper indeed.  

Oh.  My.  Goodness.
Navigating LA freeways comes to mind

It took me A WEEK to trace the pattern pieces, add the seam allowances, etc.  A bit of insanity, no?  Hats off to women who grow up with these things.  And continue to sew.

...but look what I scored for about $3:  7 METERS of satin bias for the Hong Kong seam finish I want to do and these very intriguing sew-on clasp thingies in blue & black.  

Stay tuned!  I started sewing today and things are looking good ;)

I end with yet another tribute to The Man:
Just because.  sigh. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Winners & Wadders

I have been sewing.  Lots!  Anne on The Great British Sewing Bee claims to have sewed every day for  70 years or so--and I have attempted to do just that!  Ann was rather validating.

More sewing, but less blogging.  So, some catch up is in order.  A few mornings ago I grabbed my camera, wrapped my little bend-y tripod around the umbrella stand and got caught up :)


Simplicity 1806 in a cotton lawn from Fabric Mart.  

I made this in a 10 on top and a 12 on the sides, with a FBA in the princess seams.  Worn here with a black denim Magic Pencil Skirt.  The skirt was a little on the big side, so I put it into the dryer for a few washes.  Now perfect.

Now, I found the collar to be a bit fiddly--frankly, I think it's odd.  The lawn fabric is very soft, yet the collar still sticks up and out.

So, I tacked it down in the center front and pressed it into submission.  Sort of.  I'm thinking of taking it off completely and binding it instead.  Still, it's a nice cool top for hot days.

My moo moo!  Or is it mu mu?  Hmm.  Anyway, McCalls 6080 fit the bill perfectly sewn up in a nice soft rayon challis from Denver Fabrics.  It's perfect for early mornings and warm evenings and now I can open and close the blinds without shocking the neighbor walking his dog.

However, the neckline is a Plan B.  I messed up the neckline facing and ended up binding it.  Then, the neckline gaped and was way too revealing.  So, I inserted a pleated placket thing-y in the same fabric as the binding and closed it with a button.  Done.

Moo moo #2!  Simplicity 2852 (actually a favorite top pattern--I just made it super long) in a super soft, full bodied knot from Denver Fabrics.  I initially made it as a swim cover but like to wear it in the evenings so much--and don't want chlorine to get to it.  Silly?

Vogue 8534 has been a summer favorite for sure.  Love the pleats and the shaped hemline.

White top #1.  
Simplicity 2188 sewed up fine in  a cotton crinkle gauze.   I like everything about this top, the pleats, the cap sleeves, the fit.  However.  The shoulders pull forward.  ??  I'm not aware of having rounded shoulders.  It doesn't pull anywhere.  Does the weight of the pleats pull it forward?  Mystery.  

White Top #2.  
McCalls 5890, a Nancy Zieman pattern sewn in a cotton knit from Joannes.  This is a keeper.  Pattern reviews mentioned the fiddly hem, so I added an inch and squared them off.  Next time I'll add the inch at the lengthen/shorten line to avoid the hem flaring out.  But really like the fit with the princess seams and the cap sleeves.  


New Look 6936, View B.  The church lady dress.  After this pic, I shortened it quite a bit to wear as a pool dress in Thailand.  Still didn't work for me.

So, I cut it off into a shirt with a varied hem.  Still....  Then I took the elastic out.'s OK to wear with skinny jeans.  Around the house.  The knit, which I found in UB and bought gobs of, is so crazy soft.  Still...
Add caption
Vogue 1250.  Yuk!  I think I must be the ONLY negative review on PR.  Gazillions of glowing reviews.  

Besides looking like heck on me, I am simply not willing to wear the required foundational wear to even begin to make this dress work.  Oh, and a cami is required to compensate for the low arm syncs and neckline--both of which are impossible to adjust due to the convoluted puzzle-like pattern pieces. 
Bleck.  Enough said.  

All in all, most all my summer sewing projects have been winners and I pretty much am wearing sewn garments every day as I now have a few years of winners!  Learning fit is ongoing, but I feel I'm really making progress.

So much for catching up--as I said, I've been doing lots more sewing than blogging, so I have more to share.  

Next time! :)

I couldn't end with that other blue dress.  This is New Look 6045 from last summer.  It's in a cotton that has tiny white dots in it. Cool and comfortable.  Spanx not required ;)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

These Are the Days

There's a really great song by Van Morrison, These Are the Days--you can find it at :

These Are The Days

Beautiful.  So fitting for our family get together during Randy's recent home leave.  See for yourself:

Lots & lots of ice cream, frozen yogurt, etc.

Male bonding....

Gerald & Josh at church

Andreas with Army S.W.A.G.  (Stuff We All Get--seriously)

Tea parties:

Swimming  (Natalie armed with killer boots, her killer smile--and a Noodle Soaker.  Yes.  Armed & Dangerous):

Kick ball--US Army style :)  Our Casey is in the striped socks.  Of course.  (what we love about him :)

I could so do this.  Just let me in.
Yes.  Well.  What's needed in kick ball, no?

Monopoly!  Yes, into the night--long after I'd thrown up the white flag, the newest generation took over with vigor.  Elijah, the guy fingering his money, is ruthless.  Game on.  

Ben's birthday (ladies never ask & gentlemen never tell :) :

Just spending time together:

Chic trip to Denver Fabrics, Super Jo-Annes' & lunch.  Pictured:  newest obsessionist, Hannah, obsessing over patterns

Family pics--out takes ;)

A shocking amount of food & drink & paper products were consumed--Costco-sized no less!  But laughs and love flowed in equal amounts.

After all.  These are the days.