If you can possibly help out….

March 31, 2016

The local no-kill animal shelter is in dire financial straits.  They’ve never been financially comfortable, but now they are in danger of closing in a few months.  If anyone stopping by could help out, it would be highly appreciated.  And donations are tax deductible.  Here’s a link to their Go Fund Me account –

Friends of the Animals – Tipton, Iowa

The staff at the shelter and all the animals thank you.


Five weeks already?!?! And the seat covers ARE now finished!

March 8, 2016

No wonder 5 years slipped by so easily without posting, these five weeks just flew by!  I may need to rethink the Sunday night posting schedule.  By the time I get the last “gotta do” tasks before work on Monday, posting seems to slip my mind.

Now, about those seat covers (sorry no new pictures, there really isn’t much to show) –

After getting in and out of the car a few times, it became apparent that a few tweaks were needed.  The seat cover fabric was just too slippery on the original seat fabric.

The seat back was pretty stable.  The holes for the head rest and the strap around the seat back worked well.

The first alteration was adding a dart to the front inside corner of the seat so it was closer to the underside of the seat.  This helps keep the cover from sliding toward the door when I get out.

Second, I added a strap to the back edges of the seat that go behind the seat to help keep the seat from sliding forward and the corners from flipping up.

Third, I stuffed a section of foam pipe insulation into where the seat and back meet.  This also keeps the seat from sliding forward.  That’s a tip I read somewhere for keeping furniture slip covers in place, I figured why not for car seat covers?

Fourth, a section of the non-slip shelf liner (the width of the seat) was placed between the seat and the cover to keep it from sliding in any direction.  I kept it toward the front of the seat, to help keep it in place as my legs are sliding under the steering wheel.

These changes have kept the seat cover in place nicely for almost 3 weeks now.

I need to remember to show them to the people at Hancock Fabrics (“my” store is closing, sniff, sniff.  WAHHHH!!!).  I know a lot of you did not like your Hancock store, I will miss the one I go to regularly.  Clean store, nice employees who knew at least a bit about sewing, some knew a LOT about sewing, and I had better luck finding garment fabrics there than at Joann.  That leaves the nearest Hancock about 90 minutes away, in a place I never go.  I guess I should be happy for my finances, I’ll probably spend much less on garment fabrics now.  And maybe patterns, as it seems like Joann has cut back on their pattern sales?  Then I wonder if Hancock would not have gone into bankruptcy again if at least now and then we all bought a pattern or fabric without waiting for a sale or coupon.  But they could have helped themselves by not having huge amounts of fleece and nasty feeling low quality polyester garment fabrics.  I also doubt the executives took any pay or bonus cuts, while paying those on the floor as little as possible, or not listening to the customers’ requests or complaints.  I haven’t gotten into buying fabrics online, I still need to see & feel it in person.  So far.  I should not be so sad, I have garment fabric and patterns to last at least several years of sewing.

I hope to get back to more sewing this weekend, the last couple of weekends have been tied up with financial tasks like getting tax forms together and double checking I have all ready for the appointment.  Add to that the normal cleaning and weekly supply run, Saturday & Sundays just fly by.  Also I think I need to rework the lighting in the sewing room, it doesn’t seem to be bright enough at night to sew during the weeknights.  The bit of light that comes in through the window during the daytime makes a big difference in my desire to do much in here.

That’s all for now, thanks for stopping by.

Possibly Finished Project – Seat Covers

January 30, 2016

Well.  The posting sort of fell off already, didn’t it.  Until today, I really didn’t have anything to show, so that would have been really boring for anyone stopping by.  I did get a bit more quilting done, but nothing photo worthy.  No more progress was made on cleaning up the sewing room.   No scratch that – I did buy a clothes rail and garment bags and moved some things out of the sewing room closet to that in the basement.  Along with all the table cloths fin the hall closet from Mom.  Two weeks ago, I was battling a cold, not the worst I’ve ever had, but that Sunday, I had no energy and slept most of the day.  Anyway, on to the big sewing news for this week…

The used car I got in July 2015 has all black interior – not my first choice of color.  But the heated steering wheel ranked higher than seat color.  My issue with the black seats is that it shows every speck of dirt or dust, and in summer is hot.  The search in local stores was futile – all black, brown or camo.  I wanted something bright and pretty.  And then, the question popped into my head – “How hard could it be to make seat covers?”.   The actual sewing wasn’t difficult, but the pattern making and figuring out how to make it was…time consuming.  I’ve had the fabric since September and have worked on this sporadically since.

To make the pattern, I took paper and pinned to it the seats and traced seam lines with pencil marks and holes and fingernail creases in the paper.  Hindsight tip – use non-slippery fabric (muslin or old sheet?) so it stays in place while marking.  I used outdoor fabric from Hancock Fabrics, not only because it *should* hold up to wear, but also to UV exposure.  I bought 3 yards, but I think I used just over 2 yards.  Most of the seams were double stitched using a 3.0 mm straight stitch, jeans needle, and normal polyester thread.  The thread is the reason I did double stitching on the seams, we’ll see how it holds up.

Here’s the results –

Seat Cover

Seat Cover, nice and bright. And NOT black.

Seat Cover back, strap with buckle at bottom


I may need to come up with a better way to hold the seat portion in place, right now they are just pulled down and wedged into the plastic part right beside the outer side of the seat.   I’ll see how much they slip around.  Perhaps some clips of some sort?

Would I do this again?  I don’t know.  I think I’d explore the internet for ready-made options first.  Or check with someone who does auto upholstery.  There are just too many other things I’d rather sew.

January 10, 2016

Sewing activity this week was sporadic.  I worked on hand quilting for about 1 1/2 hours one night this week.  And worked for SIX HOURS mending flannel lined jeans for DS.  Because he kept wearing them until the holes were huge.  Because it is turning nasty cold the next few days.  Because finding new ones in his size was a failure this weekend.  The 2 Thiesen’s stores I got to had sizes 38 waist and below, and 42 and above.  No size 40 in any brand or style.  You’d think store buyers would be smart enough to buy more of the sizes they run out of, and fewer of the sizes they don’t.  I will try another store Monday after work.  Thiesen’s also seems to be failing me on finding jeans for myself lately as well.  I may end up returning to ordering from Lands’ End.

Apologies about the lack of photos again this week, maybe next weekend I’ll get some photos of projects in progress.  Or something at least sewing related, like some of the pin cushions I’ve found at flea markets, or made.  I should have taken photos of mending the jeans, or at least before & after.  Maybe next time, I’m sure there will be many more to repair.

Giving the blog another shot

January 4, 2016

Wow, can it really be 5 years since posting?!

Anyway, I’m going to try posting here again, mostly about sewing.  Maybe some organizing, needlework, knitting, crochet.

What’s been happening in the last 5 years?  For 4 years, not a lot of sewing, unless you count mending jeans.  Which I don’t.  However in the last year, I’ve sewn –

– McCall 6963 3 times (fabrics from Hancock and Joann) plus 1 hack to use a bit of fabric found on the remnant table at Hancock.  I used the version with the higher neckline, the sleeves varied according to how much fabric I had.  This as a well drafted pattern, however I did to a FBA on all 3.  Sadly on the white/metalic somehow I got the dart points about 1 inch too low, so must wear it under another layer.  On the hack version, the dart is built into the seamline between lace and knit fabrics.

– McCall 6996 2 times, the black/white fabric from Joann, the red fabric has been in the stash so long, I don’t remember.  I didn’t get photos of the projects on myself or the dress form, so these will just show the fabrics.  I sewed the black/white as drafted, on this one, it seem like the shoulder keeps pulling backwards.  I shifted the shoulder seam forward about 3/4 inch on the red one, much better!  I think next time, if there is one, an FBA will be added.

McCall 6963, showing fabrics used

McCall 6963, showing fabrics used

McCall 6963, fabrics used. The one on the right is the hacked version with FBA build into the seamline

McCall 6963, fabrics used. The one on the right is the hacked version with FBA build into the seamline

fabrics used for McCall 6996

The current projects are seat covers for the car and a couple of quilts.  The car has black interior, which besides getting hot in summer, shows every speck of dirt, dust and spills.  The only ready made covers I can find are camo, black, brown, or the stuff that looks like woven rugs.  What a job, what with having to make pattern from scratch while scrunched down in the garage.  Right now, I don’t know if I’ll get both done, I certainly don’t think I’ll do it again, I’ll look on line.  One quilt is in the hand quilting stage, where it’s been for a couple of years, the other is a halloween quilt I’m doing as a take-along project.

And there’s a pair of flannel lined jeans lying there with huge rips in the denim part.  Ungh.

And here’s the state of my sewing room, and this is AFTER taking out 3 totes of linen items (embroidered towels & dresser scarves, plain toweling and sacks) I got from Mom’s items.  These are going to the basement, there is absolutely no room in here for them.  Also not in the photos are 2 sewing machine boxes, a bunch of tins and other containers (“could be useful someday” items).  Since I got Mom’s Necchi (hidden behind the pile in the 2nd photo), I don’t know what to do with the 15-91 and 201-2 in the cabinets.  Maybe to the basement with those also?  Move 1 to the living room?  Sell at least one of them?  They both need scary wiring replaced.  What I’d really like to do is find the treadle/hand crank version of the 15-91.   I took the sling off the cutting table and am trying the little totes of fat quarters there.  The interfacing, tracing paper and other items that were in the sling are now in other containers, which I hope are easier to move than the stacks of fat quarters.



Cutting Table Modification, and Happy New Year!

December 31, 2011

Here’s how I resolved the question of adding storage to my drop leaf cutting table.

I kept my tracing paper, interfacing and odd fabrics like the vinyl and insul-brite rolled standing in end in boxes in the closet.  I kept eyeing the cutting table, and thinking “that’s a lot of wasted space”.  I had moved a stack of plastic drawers to the closet when I put the “new” sewing machine at the window, and wanted to minimize the amount of stuff to move when accessing the drawers.

I got some interesting ideas from PR and Stitchers Guild, but I should have been more specific in my requirements –
1. must still be able to move the table
2. must still be able to put the leaves down.

So unfortunately that left out putting plastic drawers and such underneath.  Think, think, ponder, think!  How to get shelves under it?
Wood – easy to work with, but too heavy.
PVC pipe – might be easy, but need a lot of pieces.  How messy is the goop to work with?

AHA!  What about the shoe bags where you slide the shoes in from the end?  Rats!  Too small, and wouldn’t hold up to much use.

Hmmm – what about shelves and brackets usually for walls?  Curses foiled again!  One depth of shelves is too small, the other too big so the table leaves wouldn’t drop.  And things would fall off when the table got moved.  And again, might be too heavy.

More thinking.  I wonder… what about a fabric sling?  with something to keep the shelves solid?  More like those hanging clothing shelves?
YES!  I have fabric, and would just need a few inexpensive bits.  So now to plan the dimensions….I ended up making the sling 12″x30″, with 8″ between the shelves.  And at the bottom are 2 6″ shelves notched to fit the upright.  They keep the legs from folding in too far when the leaves are dropped.  It’s fastened to the table by some cording wrapped around the legs.  I had the fabric, so I bought 2 dowels, 2 6″ shelves, and 1/4″ foam core for the shelf stiffening.

And here’s the results –

closer view of top


 It’s not pretty, but it does work.  If this version ever wears out, my planned changes are to find some larger and thicker foam core for the shelf stiffeners, and to come up with a better way to keep things on the bottom shelves.  Right now it’s just some cording pinned to the sling, run under the shelves and pinned on the other side.

 and here’s to a Happy New Year.  No new resolutions for me, just recommitting to some things from last year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2011

Wow.  Not since February!?!?  The jacket is still in progress, the sewing room needs cleaning (again)…..in other words – not much change over the last months.  So I guess that is something to be thankful for – no big bad problems.

So – I’m thankful for family, pets, job, being healthy, all the normal things.  We’re keeping it pretty quiet around here today.  I plan on working on a few projects – tweak the cutting table, hopefully get a throw finished up, maybe the jacket.

Hope your Thanksgiving is great!

An Actual Project Completed!

February 6, 2011

OK, it’s not sewing.  It’s knitting – my 2nd ever completed project.  Made with Patons Classic Wool, color number 77436.  I used #11 bamboo needles, cast on 15 stitches and knit every row until the yarn was gone.  It ended up 4 1/4″ wide by 64″ long unstretched.  I got it done just in time, as we are expecting another round of below zero lows and single digit highs this week.  YUCK!

Next up – remake the dog bed that Miss Piddles chewed up.  I got the Cordura (internet order) last week.  Working yesterday put a crimp on getting much done here at home this weekend.  Of course it didn’t help that I went to an antique show today, instead of staying home.  But I did add to my collection of pincushions, and pincushions-to-be.

New Sewing Room Photos

January 9, 2011

OK, I dropped the “15 minutes in the sewing room” thing big time this week.  I think it lasted all of 2 days.

Here’s the photos of my sewing room after I did a bit of clean-out and reorganizing.

View to left from doorway


View to right from doorway




The biggest changes were getting rid of the 6 foot table and cleaning out the closet.  I started from this https://justgail.wordpress.com/2009/09/19/sewing-room/  (sorry for the ugly link – yet another thing I need to learn).   I got another Singer 15-91, this one in a Queen Anne cabinet (no bench unfortunately).  It would work just to put my cutting board/mat on it if folded out.  But then I’d still be bending over.  Joann Fabrics had the cutting tables on sale, so I got one.  This one has the 2 legs on each side to avoid the sagging corners issue.  It’s hard to believe how much different the room *feels* with room to move around in.  I re-stacked the plastic drawers under the bookshelf.  That’s one thing I love about the Iris brand – they can be changed as needed.  I will say that I wish I had gotten a few more of the deeper drawers though. 

As for the closet, most of the change was taking out and folding the fabric.  I got a bunch of cardboard bolts from Hancock Fabrics and wound the longer cuts of fabric on those.  They take up more room, but I can get to the fabrics behind without creating a big mess.  While going through the fabrics and folding them, I measured and pinned a note with sizes and whether it had been washed.  I didn’t get rid of much yardage, as I had done that a while back, but I did get rid of a bunch of little bits and pieces.

I keep looking at the cutting table, and thinking how I can use the underside to add a bit of storage for interfacing.  I plan on ordering some from Sew Exciting and I think the rolls might fit under the table.  But how to keep the kitties off??

Other clear-out items have been 2 small old TV sets & a non-working printer to be recycled.  I have another monitor and 2 more old printers in the trunk to take in tomorrow, depending on the weather when I get off work, they WILL be gone this week.  I still have a PC that I’d like to sell, if I can just get it’s hard drive wiped clean.  Even if no one wants it, I’d rather not have the hard drive lying around with who-knows-what data on it.  It won’t boot to Windows any more (missing files) and won’t boot to the repair CD either.  My DOS disks are either the wrong version for the tools I have, or won’t recognize the hard drive.  I’ll need to consult with PC wizards at work.  Or I will pull the drive  and offer it for sale like that, and let the Dear Sweet Child rip it apart, and destroy the platters and recycle the rest.

I missed 3 days last week on the treadmill.  I’ve been sticking to the bottom 2 pre-programmed workouts until today.  I tried going up another level and got my behind kicked.  I could. not. finish.  Thirty degree inclines totally did me in.  I had to quit with less than .2 miles left to go.  So it’s back to the lower 2 levels for a bit longer.  I’ve also caught myself hitting the snacks, I need to get back on track with that also.

Thanks to the dog, I now have yet another mending project.  She decided to return to puppyhood and chewed a big hole in her new bed.  ARRRGH.  It’s been a few years since she’s chewed anything.

Have a good week!

Happy New Year…..

January 1, 2011

Hmmmm…May Your New Year Be…   What would you put?  I think I’ll put in “more relaxed” for my year, both internally and externally.  Other things I’d put – happy, healthy, prosperous, calm, wonderful…

I’ve just about gotten all the clippings put away, tossed a few.  I’m pretty sure that information from 1997 about using Windows 95 isn’t of much use to me any more.   Now if I could just convince myself that I really do not need a gazillion recipes or the thousands of odd bits I’ve clipped from magazines and newspapers.  I’m working on that.  I started a list of older but still working computer items to post at work to sell.  I need to get model numbers, etc.  I’ve given up on any thoughts of putting linux on the old desktop to play with.  Wow – I just gave up on some projects and tossed some clippings, and I haven’t been struck by lightning!  I also need to put some old TVs in the car to turn in for recycling, they haven’t been used in a few years (old small CRTs that don’t do digital).

Nope, no sewing, I’m not really planning to either.  Right now there are too many things I wanted to clear out or clean up this weekend yet.

One good thing since I last wrote – so far I haven’t gained a bunch of weight since my running came to an end when it got cold.  Running in the dark was OK, but I don’t have the clothing or desire to run in the cold!  I got a treadmill, it finally came yesterday.  WooHoo!

My sewing/needlework resolution?  The only thing I can think of that is do-able is “spend 15 minutes in this room NOT on the computer”.  Even if just looking at my stuff and cleaning up.  It doesn’t sound like a lot, but with the upcoming events at work, that may be about all I can handle.    I’ll be back with pictures of the cleaned-out closet, and my “new” sewing machine needle container.


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