Thursday, February 28, 2013

Creativity Takes a Turn

Followers are well aware of my sewing mania manifested by our Empty Nest experience.  Two years have passed and the sewing has been kept alive, in part, by a friend who has provided some wonderful quilting remnants.

Projects are chosen through a recycle/reuse philosophy.  I like to reconstruct and the materials at hand have driven most ideas.  R. is a quilting friend, who has other quilting friends and on more than one occasion has blessed me with some outstanding remnants.

Her gift of minkee remnants provided three child blankets for the family reunion auction.  Her second gift of coordinating yellow pieces made this raw edge quilt.  Her third gift arrived in D.s trunk this past weekend and is a wonderful array of mixed patterns.

My excursion into the world of re-upholstery is semi-complete (finished the chair, haven't started the ottoman).  I squeezed in another t-shirt quilt (a collection of youth group shirts from church) having just finished the binding I wasn't looking to start another quilt.

With quilting remnants the pieces are not large but the fabrics are so pretty....what pretty thing could I make that takes a small amount of fabric?

It is hard to pinpoint what exactly brought the idea to mind but I was off to Goodwill where I found a cute dress that looked easy to replicate.

 I pulled it apart to use as pattern pieces.

Three days later and ... ta da!

The only change made was putting snaps on the shoulders instead of three buttons on the back.  Interestingly, the snaps were the most difficult part of the process!  I am very pleased with this first effort and already have the second project in mind.  There are still plenty of
t-shirts left to use and Pinterest is a gold mine of cute clothing ideas.

This is a new turn in my sewing journey, one I'm excited to follow.
What new places has your journey taken you?

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Shift in the Shopping Paradigm

Shopping, of any kind for me, is a chore.  I like to know what I need, have a list if possible, get in then get out with minimal fuss.

My niece is getting married next weekend and the hunt for the right outfit has been 'on' for some time.  Family from all over will be coming in and although we are no fashionistas we are having great fun sharing each other's hunt for the perfect outfit.

In the last two weeks I've been to more clothing stores than in the past year.  There are two discount, 'go-to' stores that I drop into periodically which will usually meet my clothing and shoe needs.  I branched beyond these (stopped twice at each with no success) to the mall for Sears and Penny's as well as Kohls and TJ Maxx and a couple of boutiques.

What has happened in the world of department store shopping?  Has a cultural shopping shift occurred?  This comic has an funny take on what I experienced at the all these department stores.

Where were the floor clerks?  I don't require anyone to carry my selections or bring different sizes to the dressing room yet, where are the department clerks that are available to help if you need it?

What happened to the dressing rooms?  There was no employee present to count the garments and provide a card with the appropriate number or to take those items you didn't want.  The area was a mess with discarded clothing crammed on every wall hook overflowing into piles on the floor.

What happened to merchandising?  It is end-of-season sale time and the discounts are down 50% and more.  It's a hunt with the victory going to the shopper willing to dig deepest.  Racks are tightly stuffed with last season's hot items now gone cold.  With no room to browse the clothes they are pulled out, along with three additional garments, that fall off their hanger onto the floor.  What cannot be put back on the rack is thrown on top.

Is the economy causing customer service to exist only at the cash register?  Are there not enough applicants to fill these service positions?  Is the department store dying and this their last gasp?

I realize my purchasing methods are adding to the downfall of these once, shopping meccas.  Online shopping is my first stop and often my last and yet, after my experience of the past weeks there is no compelling reason to change.

Am I alone in this thinking?  I'd like to know your thoughts.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Upholstery Project Complete

In January I shared the post 2013 Kickoff, highlighting my efforts to reupholster a chair and ottoman.

We bought this chair almost 10 years ago with the intention of having it recovered.  It was always in the back of my mind to try making a slipcover.

Like many good intentions the chair remained in it's original, ratty state but became a favorite down in L.'s Man Cave as his commander chair.

Before L. left for the spring semester he helped me open up the bottom and retie the springs plus calculate and pick out the new fabric.

 Since, I have worked steadily on cutting, pinning, sewing and recycling all piping and the zipper for the re-do.

Here, two months later, is the completed chair.  It has come together better than I anticipated.

The cushion gave me the most trouble with several seams ripped out and resewn but that was to get a better fit.  And, as in most projects I can sit and see all the problem areas, but for my first upholstery project I am quite pleased.
The ottoman has yet to be done falling to #2 on the sewing list.  There's a t-shirt quilt on the cutting table.

My new year list of minor home repairs is slowly being accomplished but the call of the sewing machine was too loud to ignore.

There isn't another furniture project in the near future, I'm still gauging how much I enjoyed the process, but the possibility exists.

What are you working on?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Healing Kindness

The regular weekly schedule was disrupted on Wednesday.  I met three new people who were required to share an intimate experience with me.  It could have been a terribly embarrassing and tense situation except that these three treated me with kindness, compassion and professionalism.

My annual mammogram came back with microscopic calcium deposits in my left breast that were not there the year before.  The new digital mammography is excellent for seeing the smallest things but they also require that all the smallest things be investigated.  A biopsy was ordered.

A breast biopsy is a awkward ordeal.  The machine is an uncomfortable table where the patient lays on their stomach and their breast hangs through a cut out.  A mammography machine compresses the breast and film is made of the affected area. The breast stays compressed through the procedure leaving the patient in an uncomfortable and awkward position for about 40 minutes.

A Valium and pain pill was given to ease the process and the area was locally numbed before the needle was inserted and the biopsy performed.

I am not a modest person by nature so stripping to the waist with the female nurse and x-ray tech was not difficult.  The unfamiliar procedure and possible results had me on edge.

The nurse took her time in explaining the process, what would happen, where everyone would be and what I was expected to do.  Once I was informed and comfortable these two women pulled me into a companionable conversation, asking about me and my family as preparations were made.

I was loaded onto the table, my head and arms locked in position, then the nurse stepped into my line of sight where she would be throughout the procedure providing a running commentary on what was happening.

The doctor arrived, stepping into view to introduce himself as the ladies provided him with some information they gleaned about me so he seamlessly entered the easy chatter keeping the atmosphere casual and relaxed.

These three have done this same procedure many times and even though I was one on that road of many I want to thank them for seeing only me at my turn; for caring that I was comfortable and taking measures to see to my peace of mind.

I want to particularly thank N., my nurse, for holding my hand through the poking, prodding and cutting.  It was a gesture of compassion and a warm and welcomed comfort.

Footnote: The results were back on Thursday and all was clear and benign.

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Sunday Holiday?

D. and I have been enjoying the Superbowl pregame shows, we've taped, because they started at 9 this morning.  You don't have to like football to enjoy the stories of: players, coaches, the stadium. the host city and people in the host city plus those who are nationally noteworthy, i.e. The Sandy Hook Elementary School choir.

Super Bowl Sunday is just a presidential distinction away from being a national holiday.  Given the lack of traffic on the streets and the crowds gathered at sports bars, friend's houses and even churches it may be appropriate to say Super Bowl Sunday is a holiday recognized by the citizenry.

I don't necessarily see this as a bad thing. This event is full of patriotism, nationalism, volunteerism, love for our teams, love for the fans, teamwork not to mention the substantial amount of money pumped into the local and national economies.  

Sitting here watching the coin toss I hope for a good game.  It's more entertaining to watch evenly matched teams battle for field position and scoring opportunities than be bored at the half by a blow out.  The commercials will keep us watching through the end no matter the score.  Product saturation is a holiday requisite.

Super Bowl Sunday is an American celebration of a national pastime.  It may not be your thing or your sport but I like that anyone who wants can be a part of the entertainment and fun.

What would you grant holiday status?

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