Curbing the Cute!

Right now the idea of making new clothes to wear...anywhere...feels strange.  It's not like I needed to make new clothes before the virus took off, so I'm not sure why it feels so different now.  I obviously have plenty of time and fabric, but...meh...not so much desire or inspiration.

Usually this time of the year I am consumed by the need to make something that is "too-cute-for-its-own-good."  Some pastel confection that seems like a good idea in the moment and almost as quickly gets relegated to the donation box!  (It may be a bit of a silver lining that I haven't succumbed to the usual cutsie outfit.)
If you have been around for a while you might remember some of these....



Yep!  Too cute!  What was I thinking?!!  Most of them were fun to make, but....yikes!  I'm telling you, it's a spring thing.  So the fact that I haven't been bitten by the cute bug might be OK.

Before I left for Florida I had set out a piece of fabric that I have been wanting to make into a coat.  I thought it would be a great project to come back to and hit the ground running.  In February there would still be plenty of cold weather requiring a nice wool coat.  Well, fast forward, we now know that 1.  I won't be needing a wool coat in Key West, and 2. I'm not going anywhere right now!!!!  Coat or no coat!  So the idea of making the coat kind of fell flat.  But last week I was still thinking about the plan I had for that fabric.  I decided, what the h--l, just make the coat, what else have you got going?

The fabric is very interesting.  It's a knitted wool that has a faux finish on one side that makes it look like distressed leather.  The texture is firm, but has a soft feel that makes it comfortable to wear.  I thought the knit side would be fine on the inside with no lining so I decided to bind the seams and edges to finish the coat rather than making facings.  I started with a pattern from Style Arc that I have made before...

Remember this one? (You can read about it HERE.)

I have worn this coat a lot and really like the weight and the styling.  For my new coat I swung the side seams forward and added patch pockets.  I used the reverse side of the fabric to make the collar and cuffs.  

And it was definitely spring in Michigan when I was taking these pictures...bright sun in my eyes one minute, and it started to snow in the next!


I went from 'why do I need to make another coat?' to 'Hey, this is pretty cool!'  I am glad that I went ahead and made the coat.  I may not wear it often, but, unlike my other too cute spring projects, I won't be sending this one to the thrift store...at least not this spring!

PS...If you noticed that my newly installed Instagram link is no longer there, you are very observant!  After wrestling with it for the last week or so I got a note from the "Widget Police" that "your monthly views have exceeded the limit for the free version of the app, please upgrade to a monthly plan."  First of all, thank you!  I am so glad you are tuning in occasionally and hope you are enjoying the posts. and Second, please feel free to visit my Instagram page, though you will have to get there on your own.  I decided you all are smart enough to do that without a monthly fee.  Enjoy!
The name is: Beckysewsalot


The Meaning in the Mess

Yes, I had a bit of a "moment" with my computer yesterday!!!!  I didn't get all the way to meltdown, but very, very close!  At some point I had the mental wherewithal to step away from the screen and call a 'life-line' (i.e. my bright spark son!) and he was able to talk me off the digital cliff and back to reality.  What brought this on....?  

I have been saying for a while now that I would like to have an Instagram account that would be for sewing stuff.  Sounds innocent enough.  I have an account that I have been "practicing" with for about 2 years...yes, I needed a lot of practice!  It is a private account that I have been keeping my travel pictures on.  I post a picture each day of any trips I take and it has become a virtual scrapbook of my travels.  It often reminds me of my Grandmother's scrapbooks.  She was meticulous about putting photos in albums.  I can still remember the taste of those little black sticky corners that she would use to attach the photos to the pages.  I always admired her dedication to doing this, but never could muster the time, desire, energy....whatever it takes...to keep up with photo albums.  My instagram page has worked really well.  It is easy to do, I do it each day so I don't have to remember later what the photo is about or where I was when it was taken, and I have a record of where I have been.  But I digress...

Yesterday was the day!  The plan was to spend the morning setting up a new instagram page and then connecting it to this blog page.  Again, what could be simpler!?  Well, let me say again.....

I could regale you with all of the gory details, but let's just leave at this...I spent the entire day in front of my computer, which I haven't done since retiring!  I did finally manage to get everything working, I think??????, but not without heroic efforts on the part of my husband and son!  I will now need a very long break before trying anything technology related!  I'm thinking I might schedule that root canal surgery I've been putting off!  

So, I will be trying to put some of my sewing projects on my newly created instagram page.  I haven't quite figured out how many or when so it will be a work in progress.  I hope it will become a bit like my travel page and be a running record of what I have been working on...time will tell.

The first post I did was my "Easter Bonnet."  It started as a challenge to my sewing pals, to make Easter hats to wear for our Easter Sunday zoom meeting.  Apparently it was not much of a challenge because there was only one other hat at the meeting.  A very cute and creative hat...but just the one.  (I will have to come up with more stimulating challenges!)  To be honest, after I put it out there I wasn't all the excited about it either!  But I did open my big mouth....

I had made a small little hat during a sewing retreat several years ago.  It sits in the corner of my work space and reminds me of the lessons I brought home with me.  Some of them born out of frustration. (see above.  😳)  I have thought about trying to use the same idea to make a larger version and now, in the midst of some major uncertainty, seemed like a good time.  

I started with several layers of different white linens.  Different shades and different textures.  I randomly stitched the layers to keep them together and then began to make darts to get it from a flat piece to more of a hat shaped piece.


At this point I thought about making some kind of sculptural brim with the corners, but everything I tried looked like a crazy tricorn hat that Bugs Bunny would have worn in a Looney Tunes version of Washington Crossing the Delaware.  (I'm sure it's out there somewhere on Youtube.)  So I ditched that idea and chose to make a simple 'bucket' hat.

When I was finished I was really glad that I had done it.  The journey from flat to hat was very satisfying when there are so few things that seem definite right now.   Starting with no real plan and ending up with an actual 'thing' felt reassuring some how.  AND...I like it!  It's actually quite comfortable and will do a bang up job of keeping the sun off my nose when summer arrives.

Being totally adrift or totally frustrated are not my first choices of ways to spend my time, but there always seem to be lessons there if I'm willing to tough it out.  As a friend of mine recently mused...

"Never waste a good crisis!"


Pink Moons and Pink Flamingos

This is a picture, granted, not a very successful picture, taken from the car window on our way home from the airport, following our trip to Britain.  The evening we arrived home was the March full moon.  (I took a picture the evening before of the 'almost' full moon over St. Pancras Station in London which I think was a bit more successful.  I love a full moon and keep trying to take a picture of one.  It's a very challenging picture to capture.) 


 At any rate, we arrived back in the US during the March full moon.  Tonight (April 7) will be the April full moon.  It is actually going to be a Supermoon, the biggest of 2020 and it is also the Pink moon.  That is because it coincides with the blooming of Pink Phlox, not because the moon will turn pink tonight.  (but wouldn't that be special!)  I will try once again to get my picture.

It would be an understatement to say "what a difference a month makes!"  Our house has actually been "locked down" since we returned last month.  With all this time on my hands I figured I would just be burning through the old stash.  But the reality has been quite different and unexpected. I have done some sewing, but not nearly as much as I thought I would.  Most of my sewing time has been devoted to some Threads Magazine assignments and I am grateful to have those as a distraction and a way to get me into my sewing room.  

So then, how have I been spending my time, what have I been up to these past 30 days, what is keeping me going and mostly sane?

WELL, of course we did the obligatory stocking up...


For those of you not familiar with British tea time, you are looking at PG Tips and Digestive Biscuits, better known as the mainstays of my husband's childhood!  Tea and cookies!

Like many of you I'm sure, I have spent time making masks.  My ASG chapter sent out the call and provided patterns and we all piled through our boxes of cotton and got to work.  I wasn't sure if I could or wanted to make masks.  I was still in the "ignore it and it will go away" phase and making masks made it seem too real.  I did finally haul out my bias binding foot and have been making ties like crazy!  The binding foot is a really slick way to finish the edges of the masks and add the ties all in one go.  


For some unexplained reason I have felt the urge to bake!  If you know me, you know that baking is not my thing.  My kids were under strict orders in grade school to never, under any circumstances, volunteer to bring cupcakes...to anything!!!!!  So why now?  Who knows?  But, for Pi Day, March 14th I made lovely chicken potpies...

I had a huge bag of lemons and 3 dozen eggs (a bit too much stocking up?) so that of course called for a lemon meringue pie.  My husband was thrilled to finally have a reason to fire up the kitchen torch he found at TJMaxx several years ago.
I didn't have any graham crackers so I used ginger snaps. That's a keeper! (if I ever make another lemon meringue pie!)


I also roasted a whole chicken! I don't know where that came from either....

In a bit more familiar territory, I finished some knitting projects.  I have been really into single row stripes.  I started an alpaca sweater using a gray yarn and a hand spun caramel colored yarn before I left for Florida.  I was running low on yarn so it ended up with 3/4 length sleeves, but I think I like it better than if I had been able to knit it with full length sleeves.


The second project was one that I started while I was in Florida.  I found two different color ways of a variegated cotton yarn at the local yarn shop.  They had gotten them as samples and were the only two balls they had.  I liked them and for some unknown reason, I liked them together.  I knew I wasn't going to make anything very big, so I started striping again and ended up with a little tank-ish top.  I like the way the colors moved up the sweater.  It was fun to knit and see it unfold.
(me trying to fold up into a selfie!)


We are now onto jigsaw puzzle number 2.  It is a really difficult one....

My London son adopted a "pandemicat" and we are getting lots of cute kitten pics....


My family participated in an online challenge to recreate famous artworks....this was my rendition of Audubon's #46 Great Flamingo...


So before we digress any farther, suffice it to say, that as the days wear on the challenge gets tougher.  I am trying to enjoy the coming of spring, and hoping that with the warmer weather and flowers comes a lift to my spirit.  Please stay safe and sane and enjoy the Pink moon tonight!