Friday, October 30, 2009

Don't you hate it when

babies get stuck in the spider webs?


And yes, here in Louisiana, we have a bigger pest problem with crawfish than spiders.



(Pretty sure I spied this interloper before.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How to watch those sewing shows

Oh Fuh Gawd.

Every single Saturday morning I record and watch sewing shows on television. Our local PBS station airs "Sewing with Nancy (Zieman)" and "Martha's (Pullen) Sewing Room". They no longer air "America Quilts Creatively" and "America Sews" with Sue Hausmann. My friend Elizabeth tried to view them after she purchased her fancy schmancy embroidery machine and decided it wasn't worth sitting through. "How do you watch that? It's horrible!" she asked.


And I'll tell ya how:
  • Record ahead of time. Do NOT watch live!
  • Have your remote control handy
  • Fast forward through the countless sponsors
  • Fast forward through the theme music
  • Shoo all small children from the room because you will curse at some point during the next 25 minutes or at the very minimum, roll your eyes and sigh heavily.
  • Fast forward through small talk with guests
  • Stop when actual demonstrations begin
  • Decide if you will ever need or use that particular demonstration technique. Example: I don't quilt but will use bias tape binding on other projects. Hand embroidery, yes. Ribbon embroidery, no.
  • Watch demonstrations you need, fast forward through others. The more you watch, the more you learn how to adapt the techniques to other projects.
  • Understand that the entire show is funded by a sewing machine manufacturer and they will demonstrate specific features on the newest/highest priced machines on the market. Features your sewing machine doesn't have.


  • Martha Pullen wears the most God-awful homemade crap and repeats the same stoopid shit on every show. If it sparkles, it's "diamonds". She has rhymes for ironing. She loves dupioni silk (She seems to feel that she is the first person to discover the fabric.) Glass heads pins are the only kind she uses. Heirloom sewing is her specialty. Doll clothing, too. You heard me. Dolls! Creeps me out. If you are an old lady sewing tiny heirloom dresses from silk dupioni for a doll - you need some new meds. And her voice goes up, up, up when doll or baby clothing is shown. Your neighbor's dogs will begin barking. Hurry, grab the remote. Fast forward through the antique heirloom apparel demonstration at the end. Same for the viewer letter. There, you have watched exactly 7 minutes of her show.


  • Nancy Zieman has an entire empire based on sewing and everything she demonstrates can be purchased. No free downloads on her site, unless it is truly horrible. Nancy opines about "what is hot in fashion" and presents her version of it but I'd bet she's never attended a designer runway show nor picked up a fashion magazine. A sewing convention is probably her only exposure to the outside world. She isn't nearly as corny as Martha, typically dresses better unless it is an embellished jacket. All those sewing ladies love a heinous embellished jacket. If the ugly jacket looks like you would put it on your great grandmother at the nursing home because you're sure the staff wouldn't steal it, these ladies would love it. The older the lady, the shinier the jacket. Fast forward through the introduction, watch the demos and fast forward through to the end. End-of-show Nancy segments included recipes, viewer letters and exercise tips. Cancel.


  • Watch anything with Sue Hausmann first to get it out of your way. Make sure you hit that button the very second the show begins to avoid the fake cheerful greeting and smile of the mentally challenged. Fast forward through the chatter. Decide that Sue's jacket is the ugliest of all. She will wear anything a guest brings her. Play your own Saturday morning drinking game and have a sip every time Sue snatches something out of a guest's hands or interrupts. You will be soused in 20 minutes. She is rude, I tell ya! Watch how many times Sue tilts her head back to view out of her bi-focals.

By now, you are wondering WHY the hell I watch these shows and must admit I've learned a few sewing tips and techniques but geez Louise, I had to earn it! Hopefully, a new generation of sewing show ladies are working their way through the ranks and will bring some youth and style to the moth-ball smelling current offerings.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sewing lesson from Rikki Tikki Tavi

My mom can sew anything and made practically everything for my sis Rikki Tikki Tavi and me. Cute little girl dresses, dance recital costumes, Halloween costumes, cheerleader uniforms, formal gowns, you name it. Suffice to say, Rikki Tikki Tavi and I spent a good deal of our childhood time in fabric stores. I still love a fabric store. Rikki Tikki Tavi, not so much. She gets the monkey nerves, itching and scratching her skin and eyeing the closest exit.

About 10 years ago, I requested and received a sewing machine from my mom as a Christmas gift. Pillows and simple curtains were my goal. I had no idea that I would get past straight lines and box shapes.

So when mom and I discuss sewing techniques in Rikki Tikki Tavi's company, I can sense her disinterest and restlessness. Having enough of our conversation, she finally asked, "What's the big deal? How hard can sewing be? I know how to sew!"

"You do?" I had no idea.

"Sure, I made Barbie clothes. Everything is made the same exact way. Shirts, skirts, pillows. It's easy. Sew, sew, turn inside out." She stared back at us.

Mom agreed. "She's right. That's pretty much it."

Rikki Tikki Tavi shut down the conversation and now when we catch ourselves boring her again, we repeat the mantra.

Sew.

Sew.

Turn inside out.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Regrets

Someone once wisely said that you don't regret what you have bought* but what you haven't bought.
I try to remember that when at estate sales and flea markets because now, with eBay, I find comfort in the knowledge that I can always sell my "mistakes".
But I can't always gain what I never had.


When living in a really cool New Orleans apartment, the landlady let me borrow a large "farm" type table for a party buffet. It fit perfectly in my vintage yellow and black tiled kitchen after the party but the table was painted and chipped "Clinique" green. She wanted $35 for it and I passed because it was the wrong color and did not appreciate "shabby chic" in 1991. It would have looked great in the living room or even bedroom but I was only thinking kitchen at the time. Every single place I lived after that could've used that table and I have been kicking myself ever since.


When I was a newbie to the roadside grab or pseudo dumpster dive, I spied an antique metal sewing machine base on the side of the street.


"Stop, I want that!" I shouted to my boyfriend.

"What do you want with someone else's trash? No way."

I explained to him that those bases are highly collectible and a perfect table base. Convinced, he drove around the block and as we approached the same spot, a wizened old black guy had it on his shoulder, riding away on a bicycle. Those things are heavy! Boyfriend said, "Well, you know you live in a good neighborhood when folks pick up your trash before the dump trucks arrive." I stayed pissed for at least 10 years. Long after I kicked him to the curb.

For the last 7 years or so, I have been on the search for the iconic Emeco 1006 Navy chairs to replace my wiggly and rickety antique dining chairs.


I have 2 vintage models but need 10 more. eBay sometimes offers them but at astronomical prices. Brand new from Emeco: $412 each. They can be spied in every dang commercial and cop show you see on television! (For $1120, you can get the highly polished version.)


Can I even express my adoration when I gaze upon those shiny chairs? When I say I like
shiny stuff, don't think cheap glitter or tawdry lame'. NO! Imagine aluminum, stainless steel, sterling silver, chrome, and mercury glass. I long for these chairs like some women long for children.

(Should I regret not purchasing the cheap Kmart knock-off when they were available?)

Good things come to those that wait

Several years ago, I spied a guy carrying a wood table with ecru chipping paint to the curb. Not at all embarrassed, I slammed on the brakes, ran around the truck to lower the tailgate. The guy turned around the look at me like I was crazy. "You are getting rid of this, right?" Yep. Mine now. Two neighbors approached me in the next 2 days when they spied it in my garage. "What are you going to do with that table?" Doggone buzzards, tryin' to get my pickins'! It almost fit in between my bathroom niche. Dad sawed an inch off each side of the top and it looks great. So many folks have asked where I found such a perfect table. One street over and it was free!

Last year, when I helped organize our local museum's "attic sale", I spied a really cool table base made from, you guessed it, an antique sewing machine pedestal. It was topped by a ginormous, heavy and super thick slab of glass. At the end of the day, the director said she would call an early shopper that offered to haul off the glass if no one bought it. What about the base? Did he want that? No. ((swoon)) That is the only thing I wanted. Take it, she said. WoooooHoooooo! Mine now. (It is not in my house yet but I have a home for it, as soon as I re-do my bedroom.)

So, several months ago my sis Rikki Tikki Tavi attended a mutual friend's party and reported that they have "my chairs". Huh? They have the very chairs you keep moaning about. Husband salvaged them from New Orleans office after hurricane Katrina, cleaned them up and brought them home. Wife hates them. Rikki Tikki, being a truly fabulous sister, told them that I would gladly take them off their hands. Wife says she would love to trade my antique wooden chairs for their cold and uncomfortable metal perches. Husband declined.

Still waiting on those or some other chairs to find me. I'm waiting!!

*(Still regret the $290 Donna Karan wrap around skirt that was slit up to there that I wore exactly once.)

What do you regret NOT buying?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My just awards FINALLY arrive


and then I forget to acknowledge!
My sewing buddy Michelle over at Cheap and Picky nominated me for a blog award in JUNE and then I totally blew it by not passing it on.
My bad, Michelle!
I check Michelle's blog every day for amazement of her sewing skills and awesome finishing techniques. She is a sewing machine, I tell ya!
Thanks for the kudos and now I am fulfilling my award duties.
Nominating a few favorite blogs:
A Corgi House LOTS of sewing, a recipe every once in a while and Corgi sightings! Cute puppy photos are worth the price of admission.
Mr Peacock is a fellow lover of plaid, checks and all things tartan, a fashion encyclopedia and a rockin' crafter. I am kind of embarrassed to send him the blog award graphic because it's kind lame and he could design something SO much better.
Posie Gets Cozy has embroidery, baking and oh yeah, semi-regular Corgi features!
Sardana Creations doesn't post often enough for my liking but she is running a business and documenting her new location and orders online.
Nain de Jardin is a French blog with all kinds of little goodies. Click on every freaking link for inspiration and way cool stuff. It doesn't matter if you can read French, you will enjoy the inspiration of beautiful things.

So, here are the rules for accepting the award:

Rules:

  1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.

  2. Pass the award on to 5 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I talk a good game but

in the end, I am a wuss.
Back when I didn't know how to sew anything but straight lines, folks were wanting to bring over their pants for hemming. (I still don't hem my own pants because I don't want to "learn" on my stuff and ruin them!) It was easy to tell folks I didn't know how to sew their stuff but meanwhile, I was plying all my friends with my latest sewing projects. Plastic bag dispensers, tote bags, pillows, tissue cozies - you name it.
It finally became clear what that Victorian lady meant when she said ladies shouldn't reveal if they can sew. I get it now. I made the rule that if you want me to sew for you, then be prepared to sit right alongside of me and keep me company. That rule has not been followed and it is all my fault because I have no concept of how long a sewing task will take.
Elizabeth's valances, Kay's curtains and RikkiTikkiTavi's red tulle tutu - my big mouth volunteered to help and then later, sitting all by myself in the Skitzo Leezra Studio, I wonder why I get myself into these messes.
Take a big old gander at the latest mess I landed in. I offered to sew pillowcases for my volunteer organization's committee that provides items to foster children. Easy, right? Fold over one long side, sew 2 seams, fold under and top stitch the open edge.
Prototype delivered. Committee approved. Materials purchased.
Look what I found on my front porch last week.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Yes please


My buddy Kay spied some really fun chairs at Hotel Zaza in Houston and I SOOoo want!!!



Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What to do with shiny bits


Broken brooch, charm and an old button
+
fabric remnant
+
foam core
+
brain cell depleting glue
=
shiny stuff for me!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Placemat tote bag


Seems like every crafter in the world has sewn a tote bag made with two placemats and I finally joined the ranks last week. The fabric strap is a cast-off belt. Super easy and super fast!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Flowers for BARoness

BARoness gave me some craft supplies so I made a little something for her. Foam core and little frame and paint ~~ crafting is fun!




Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Linen closet spay


What cat doesn't love to wallow in clean, pressed and organized linens?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Corgi pillow



Check out this Pembroke Welsh Corgi pillow! (Corgis are the cutest and bestest dogs in the world.)

This Irish linen treasure came from my grandmother's stash. The colors are vibrant and the towel is in perfect condition.


Someone (possibly my grandmother or my great grandmother) pieced the back with fabric scraps in order to stuff it with filling for a dimensional effect.

This is what it looked like when I received it. It became a pillow cover by adding two linen panels to the back for an envelope closing.

Check out the dimensional detail.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Skitzo Leezra's Open Letter To Bloggers

I am a blog freak, have many bookmarks and wander all over the intra'net so feel qualified to compose this missive to the blogger world:

  • please don't include music on your site. I am watching this stuff at work and you are gonna get me in trouble! Provide a link, if you must, but no automatic downloads. Not once have I dug or wanted to hear more than the first 10 seconds.
  • please set your blog to show limited photos per page so I don't have to wait 30 minutes for the page to download. I know how to page back and would rather hit the "previous" or "older" button 4 times than wait forever for one page.
  • please use tags! If I am looking for that awesome post from a week ago, tags would be helpful. Categories are good too. Plus, I wouldn't have to look at every dang cutesy photo of your spawn.
  • which brings me to, enough with the pictures of your spawn. Are none of you concerned with predators, pedophiles, perverts or just plain old weirdos?
  • please, no obscure links. Read one last week. "I like this". No reference, no nothing. Did I click on the link? No. I don't have time to care if you don't have time to explain or describe.

Bloggers out there:

Love checking out your blogs. You inspire me to post more or sometimes, just by jogging my memory. Keep on keepin' on with your bad selves.
Many thanks for reading my missive. Feel free to share it. I don't even care if you don't give me credit for it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

File under: She's Got Too Much Time On Her Hands


While doing laundry, I examine the white wash cloths* and insure that I am not washing and folding them with the cleaning rags** (the old white wash cloths).

Anywho, being anally retentive and all, I stacked the rags next to my sewing machine last week and ran a stitch over the edge for easy reference. (See below, stitched over washcloth and butted the next one right behind it, then clipped the threads to separate.)


All better now, bet I saved 4 whopping minutes off my monthly laundry time!
Oh well, it makes me happy.

*According to my aunt, if used on your body, properly called wash cloths.

** For household use, designation is cleaning rags. (Cloths and rags should not be laundered together because of the various chemicals and solutions used on rags.)