Monday, August 10, 2009


I made this today!!! I envisioned it last Tuesday, bought the fabric for the body (AMH) on Thursday and drafted the pattern and made muslins on Sunday. It's a clutch made on something called a Facile Frame. Facile is French for easy. It's kind of an old-fashioned, mid-century kind of a thing. As you may remember, my husband and his dad own and operate a shoe store of sorts, with a full-scale shoe, boot and leather repair operation in addition to the retail. There are drawers and drawers full of rivets, snaps, handles, fasteners, closures, buckles and other interesting and useful bits. So when I asked J.R. for a Facile Frame, he asked, "What size?" I went with a 12" long frame. The frame comes in two pieces which are fed through a channel in the top of the purse. The ends are fastened together with pins. It works on tension. Here is the clutch open:

The lining fabric is leftover from the soon-to-be Owl Embellished Tunic. This bag went together really well. I graduated the seam allowances of the lining, batting and outer fabric so the pieces all fit together. For the final version of the pattern, I need to very slightly rework how the channels are finished on the inside. This is fine, but it could be better. Sew and learn, I always say. I love imagining something, working out the dance of making it on paper and then realizing the thing in three-dimensions. The hardest part for me is being honest with myself about when I need to rip parts out and resew them. It's a matter of whether I want it done NOW and WRONG or LATER and RIGHT.

Here's another bit of productivity. This is where our garage used to be. We're getting a new one, along with 22 new windows, 5 new doors and new siding on the house to match the new garage. Our house is kind of free-style Tudor, built in 1980 by a contractor for his own home. Slightly idiosyncratic to say the least. The lower part of the exterior is field stone and the upper part of the house and the whole of our former garage are the stucco-and-board-frame business. I have never loved this house. We bought the land - 3 acres in town - and the location - the right school district for where we wanted the girls to go. We have lived with the house. We've been here 11 years and it's just flat time to redo things. The siding I picked (J.R. let me do whatever I wanted) is a sage green called Cypress. We're getting white windows and dark brown doors. We're also knocking the foyer off the house and rebuilding twice the size. The entire entry of the house is getting a redesign. We have a contractor who does excellent work and is very committed to doing the job right. Hoping for dry weather! Projected finish date - September 30.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Whooo, whooo?

Or is it Why? I have been thinking about retro owls lately. Not sure when it started. I have another week of summer vacation and I'm working on some shall we say, wearable creations. Yes, clothes. I'm making myself some clothes. How nerdy is that? I made a skirt a couple of weeks ago and bought the fabric to make another one from my favorite fabric store, Shiisa Quilts in Bloomington. When I bought the skirt fabric - I think it's Amy Butler - I bought 3 yards of a funky orange and brown floral from the clearance rack. I only wanted 2 yards, but you get a yard free when you buy 2. I used Simplicity pattern 3535, one of the Project Runway patterns, and made a top from the orange and brown. It was harder than beginner, but not too difficult. I did a bit of unsewing here and there to make sure it looked nice. The sleeves have a tie that was a little tricky, but it was fun to see it turn out right. I picked out a bit of the sleeves last night; need to resew. Some of the gathers at the shoulder didn't look clean and straight. The owl? Oh yeah...I was thinking that an owl applique on the lower left of the top would look cute and interesting for school. The print is kinda 70s and so is the owl. I don't want it to be too fussy or too weird.
But does that really matter anymore? Looking weird? I'm old enough to be a little eccentric AND I'm an art maker and art teacher. I think that's license to look a little different.
I was home alone yesterday afternoon. That's been happening a lot lately and I don't like it. I did something I haven't done all summer - I watched Oprah. Hated it. When she raises something besides a cocker spaniel, I'll take her parenting advice. Anywhoo - while she droned on and on, I worked on some owls in my art book, trying to figure out a simple pattern for my applique. Why didn't I change the channel?
I like the one in the upper right corner best. I think I'll make the owl then try it on the top before I applique it on there. About 6" tall? All prints, no solids? The little V feathers will be embroidered I think.
Should I bother to read The Time Traveler's Wife? I already read my one book for this summer - My Sisters Keeper - Painful. Jody Picoult is the female Nicholas Sparks. Somebody please tell her that Nicholas Sparks has got it covered. I HATED that book. I read it because the girls wanted to see the movie and I told them they had to read the book first. It was sitting there, so I picked it up. I skipped ahead to the end after about 6 chapters and was STUNNED at the lengths to which this so-called writer would go to tie up all the loose ends in a neat little bow around a great big shiny package of Are You Kidding Me. I am not unpleasable, but I do like books that show the messiness, the conflictedness of it all without the aforementioned bow-tying.
Some books I have read and liked:
Ethan Fromme by Edith Wharton
What Maisie Knew by Henry James
Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan - ANYTHING by Amy Tan
March by Geraldine Brooks - Go read this today
Valley of the Dolls by Jaqueline Suzann
Water for Elephants was ok, but Wally Lamb does opposite gender better than anybody. Whenever I read an author writing in the voice of the opposite gender, I always compare it to She's Come Undone. Picoult fails miserably in speaking in the attorney's voice in MSK. No man describes his own apartment as "sleek and modern". How did that even get past and editor?
So I am wary of movie books. I looked on Wikipedia to see the plot of the Time Traveler's Wife and it seemed a little Sparksy. Any thoughts?