night photos at the winery

A couple more from the winery. The photo above was definitely influenced by 3191 evenings since I was thinking about what I could see, even though the light was low. The photo below is the kind of lucky shot you get when people are moving and the shutter is open forever and instead of a tripod you balance your camera on a bench.

Today was my first day having to go to the office and leave the puppy at home- figures that since I had someone to come let him out my meeting ended early and I was home in 3 hours. Tomorrow and Thursday I have to go in, too- fingers crossed the boss and the puppy behave.


Just a few pictures…


…from the “trying to be arty” category. I’ll try to get a few more posted throughout the week.

These  were all taken before dinner at Chateau Morrisette off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Floyd, VA, where some friends and I were surprising a friend for her 30th birthday.

The lens I had with me didn’t do too well with the far distances in the low light and it was pretty cloudy, but it was fun to play with what I could get good shots of.


Favorite Potholder

Is it odd that I have a favorite potholder? And that it’s old, with plenty of stains? Probably not among crafty bloggers, since this reminds me of something that might be in a Japanese book, with faded text, natural colors, and gingham bias binding. What’s even better to me is that this was probably handed out in the 1950’s as a promotional reminder from this company of their services (it’s from my husband’s grandmother), and that it has a useful purpose so many years later unlike the plastic knick-knacks that clutter our junk drawers now.  So that’s why when I could easily and cheaply have a newer potholder, I’ll still reach for this one.


Bend the Rules Lap Quilt

It was funny to see Blair‘s post this week recommending first quilts, one of them being the lap quilt from Bend the Rules Sewing, since I just finally put the binding on my Bend the Rules Lap Quilt, which has been sitting unfinished in my sewing pile for almost two years. I guess I didn’t really have any reason to finish it, but it’s done now!The maroon fabric is definitely unlike anything else in my collection right now. I think I found it by searching ebay for “dandelion”. I quilted in concentric squares inside each rectangle. But what was important was that I really wanted to see if I could make a quilt. Not a project that would stretch over months or years (um, oops on that one, but now I’m better about that!), not a project that would require any special equipment (on my list at the time was rotary cutter, self-healing mat, and walking foot, all of which I have now but wasn’t going to invest in before I knew if I liked quilting). This quilt was a perfect first project – minimal measuring, no lining up corners, and a forgiving design that you make by looking at the layout. The top went together in one evening, including cutting. The quilting probably took me a little longer, and I remember breaking quite a few needles because I was pulling too much on the fabric to move it through the machine. There are puckers and wrinkles on the back (but I still have some of those!)

Lap Quilt Back

Lap Quilt Back

The downside about it is that it’s really a lap quilt for kids – it covers my lap when I’m sitting on the couch, but it’s not big enough to sit and cuddle with. That’s all right, though, really, for a first quilt…a test project if you will. And with the two baby quilts completed and at least four in various stages of completion, I’m glad I got started on this hobby.


Summer Tops (& Some Thoughts on Fitting)

I guess it’s time to get around to talking about some of the fashion sewing I’ve done this summer, at least that which I’ve taken photos of. A couple of the projects I’ve completed are almost too simple to be worth discussing – there are three projects (two tops and a skirt) that were only two pattern pieces, not even facings.

Wrap Top Front

This one is the Wrap Top from Chic & Simple Sewing from Christine Hayes. I made it out of a vintage bed sheet I got at a thrift store to test the fit. It turns out that I don’t think the pattern is worth tweaking to get a better fit. I’m not sure if I needed to make a smaller size, do a SBA, or just keep it tied tighter for it to fit better. I’ve worn it, but it takes effort to keep it looking decent through the day.

Wrap Top Back

So I decided after the unspectacular fit there that I was ready to try a Burda magazine pattern. I forget that I know as much about sewing as I do and get stuck reviewing the instructions countless times for things that I already know how to do.

Burda 2009-05-115A Front

It turned out I didn’t need to worry, since this one was no problem at all. I even changed the way to do the armhole binding, because their instructions didn’t really make sense to me.

Burda 2009-05-115A Side

The problem is that when I finished it and tried it on there were a few fit issues. Nothing to prevent me from wearing this top, since it’s a fairly casual look (though since I made it from a linen/rayon it works for the office too). I’m not sure yet if it’s a narrow back, narrow shoulder, needs a petite adjustment, or all three. The first time I tried it on the zipper stuck out like a triangle at the top, but that seems to have been a temporary problem.

Burda 2009-05-115A

This photo shows the obvious drag lines toward the bottom of the back. I’ve been working on my confidence in trying new patterns and sewing them quickly so I don’t have time to get stuck on minor issues, but it looks like it’s time to start figuring out my fit issues and what alterations I need to make. I tried on blazers this week and realized that my size on top is far different than on the bottom, but I’d like to be able to sew more than casual tops, which will take some serious consideration of fit.


Google Map Quilting

Wouldn’t these satellite images of the midwest make the coolest quilts? They look like something you’d see at a Japanese Quilt Festival.

You hear people talk about the “patchwork” of fields & agriculture, but it’s different to see it this way.

I think some of it is because the images are taken in different seasons.

I don’t know if I have the patience it would take to actually make a quilt from one – I think I’d get tired of the color scheme, but I guess there’s some artistic license that could be taken to make it visually stimulating in a different way. Interesting that while I was thinking about this today Skinny La Minx posted about this artist.