Bias Binding, Gemma Tank, Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing

Loominous Gemma

This fabric + this pattern = totally awesome.I bought this beautiful woven fabric from the Loominous line by Anna Maria Horner last year to make something for my daughter. She has always loved pink and I knew she would love it and so when the line first came out I bought a couple of yards. It is called Big Love, obviously. (insert heart shaped emoji)I originally planned to make a dress for her but when Rae came out with the Gemma pattern, I knew this fabric would be perfect. This is the higher neck version of the Gemma in a size Medium without any modifications. I had sent Sarah a couple of muslins prior to cutting into the fabric to be sure of the fit. My front door is my new favorite place for pictures.I started this project earlier in the summer (along with several other Gemmas) when I had a couple of days off from work. img_3564The thing about this pattern is that the initial sewing goes very quickly and then there is the bias binding which is not terrible but somewhat of a challenge for me. So now I am finishing these projects one by one and today I had time to finish this.I used the method I describe in this post. It worked relatively well although the woven fabric has a bit of give to it and I wasn’t as successful in getting an even binding as I was when I used the quilting cotton. But I wanted the contrast of the visible binding and I thought Sarah would prefer to have a bit more width in the shoulder since she is a teacher and has to wear clothes that aren’t overly revealing.When I uploaded the photos from my phone, I did them in the reverse order that I intended so you are sort of getting a backward looking glance at the binding process, but you get the idea. Back of the finished tank on my front door below. It gets the best light for pictures.img_3574In addition to the details of the other binding method that I use explained in this post and which I used for the hem of this Gemma below, Rae has three fabulous binding tutorials that clearly illustrate several different approaches to the right way to do it here. I highly recommend them. img_3576#beforethebinding picture below.I have several other Gemmas with pink either in the main fabric or as the planned binding and will be sharing them over the next few weeks as I find time to #finishallthegemmas.So this one will be in the mail tomorrow on its way to the Midwest. Hopefully it is still warm enough for it to get wear this season. Who needs Stitchfix when you have Stitchmom? (just kidding, Stitchfix is awesome too!) img_3578You can link to my previous posts about the Gemma Tank here, here and here.

Standard
img_3449
Bias Binding, Gemma Tank, Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing

Gemma Tanks using Upcycled Plaid Shirts

Last winter my husband and I spent a bit of time in our local Goodwill Thrift stores buying old sweaters for an afghan project for my stepdaughters which you can see in this post and I came across a plaid men’s oxford shirt in great shape. I liked the colors and thought it would be good for binding or facings and then it sat on my shelf until about a month ago when I discovered the Gemma Tank pattern by Made By Rae and embarked on a month-long tank-making frenzy that continues to this day. When I saw this linen version by Rae’s cousin Jess, I thought I would use some leftover woven cotton that has a linen-y look to it (previously purchased at Joanne’s for a Bianca dress that I wear all the time) and use the plaid for the bias binding. But then I realized that I probably had enough of the plaid to make it into its own Gemma, so that is what I did (before binding below).Simultaneously, almost, I cut out the blue woven material to make that version of the Gemma. Although I had planned to use the plaid shirt above to bind the blue Gemma below and  some of the blue scraps to bind the plaid, I ended up with another plaid shirt in the mix.

My husband saw how much fun I was having repurposing the Goodwill plaid shirt and gave me one of his from his closet that didn’t fit him. And I liked how it went with the blue as you can see below. I ended up using a lighter blue chambray to bind shirt number one (are you confused yet?) only because I had it leftover from binding my Wood Cut Gemma seen in this post and the extra was on my sewing table and I happened to notice how nicely it went with the plaid-serendipity.My husband’s shirt below (this is the before picture.) Who knew he had such a treasure hidden among the white and blue oxford shirts? Great quality and a perfect match.I had both these tanks sewn up and had started the binding several weeks ago but then I set them aside to make some birthday tanks for my stepdaughters (twins) which I will blog about some day. (so cute-both the girls and the shirts)

So in the process of making these shirts, and although I still have quite a few that still need binding, I have had some successes and some not-so-successful results. I previously blogged about my version of the traditional binding that ends up looking like a topstitched binding. But the binding I like best is the version I used for these plaid/chambray Gemmas and for my Wood Cut Gemma and the girls’ Octopus Gemmas seen below.

It resembles the french binding technique that Rae explains (all three of her binding tutorials are terrific) but since I just made it up as I went along, I found that I am doing something different than she teaches (I made these Gemmas before the binding tutorials were available) so I am sharing my approach in case it is helpful to others. First, I usually cut my binding strips 1.5 inches wide, although I believe the light blue chambray below is 1.25. I sew it with right sides together (a mistake I have made repeatedly as I make the Gemmas is to sew the binding to the inside instead of the outside). I don’t pin. I use the presser foot as a guide and I end up with a seam allowance that is between 1/4 and 3/8 of an inch. I initially tried the  method of overlapping the ends that Rae describes in her pattern but I was not happy with the results so I leave a tail when I start sewing so I can stop a couple inches before the end and sew the ends together. Rae shows how to do this in her french binding tutorial. By the way, when I make binding tape, I just join the pieces using straight edges, I don’t cut the 45 degree angles that the tutorials recommend. I don’t find that there is enough bulk to bother me and it is quicker. Sacrilege I know.As you can see above, I don’t iron the fold into the binding tape prior to sewing it to the garment, which is different than the tutorials. After sewing the seam, I gently press the seam and then press from the wrong side of the garment and fold the binding tape inward so the edge meets the stitching line. I will show more pictures of this below. Then I iron and then I fold again using the seam where the shirt edge meets the binding and so I have a sort of tri-fold sandwich. Then I use wonder clips to hold it in place. I try to make the width of the folded fabric even.Then I flip the garment right side out and check to make sure that the fold is even and sometimes I iron a bit but I don’t go crazy ironing if it is a neckline or arm hole so as not to stretch the curve out. Then I sew from the right side, which is the opposite of the french technique Rae explains where she sews from the inside. I do this because I like the look of the stitches and I want them to be as pretty as possible and I find that my stitches are not as pretty on the underside. I also do it because I usually like to shift the fabric fold just enough to create a bit of a an edge that ends up looking like piping. I learned to do this by mistake when I made a black lined washi dress for myself. I then did it on purpose when I made a similar dress for my sister. It is an easy thing to do and I am really happy with the little extra zing it gives the garment. This is what it looks like below. I basically hold the fabric fold and feed it into the machine so I have a sense of where the thickness is to be able to catch the whole fold and have a relatively even width between the stitching line and the edge of the garment. I don’t always have exactly the same amount of contrasting material-fake piping showing but I think it ends up looking fine.In terms of my approach to upcycling, I did the opposite from my approach to my upcycled Beatrix shirt where I used the back for the front and the front for the back. In this case, I pieced the front from the two sides of the front of the oxford shirt and cut the Gemma back from the shirt back. I had to do this because of the size of the back pattern piece and the logo which was on the front of the shirt, seen below.img_2898 Luckily there was no pocket to contend with but there was the polo player who ended up in just about the right spot. I really like the contrasting blue edge around the neck and arms.Back of shirt below. I cut the back from the back of the shirt. I needed the big piece because the Gemma tank neckline in back goes up high. I wouldn’t have had enough to piece it. Also the polo player.I did the binding for the chambray-like tank the same way. I cut 1.5 inch strips and followed exactly the steps as above except that I didn’t shift the fabric as much. In this case, I was ok with some of the plaid poking out but I wasn’t going for the look of an edge all the way around the seams since I wanted the tank to be a neutral piece I could layer with many colors. I felt a little bad about cutting into such a nice shirt but it wasn’t being worn. It is a really thin, fine dress shirt cotton poplin and was really easy to work with. I have plenty left over for more projects.Same steps.After sewing the first seam with the binding ironed up (this is the outside of the shirt) before turning garment inside out to make the fabric sandwich.Finished neckline below with binding sewn in place.Both versions.Another view so you can see the blue edging.Applying binding to the hem. You can see how the front seam doesn’t line up exactly in terms of plaid matching but it is pretty close.Another view of how I line up the edge with the seam when making the binding sandwich.So many pictures (I went a little crazy).I ended up sewing a couple of lines of stitching when I joined the front pieces in an attempt to better match the plaid. Not the neatest but this is going to be a hang out on the weekend Gemma so I wasn’t a perfectionist.More pictures showing the front seam (wonder clips are a good investment btw.)More binding close ups.Front door pictures of finished shirts.Sadly I cut a small bit of the fabric with my rotary cutter by mistake in my haste when I cut out the front. You can see a little repair I did under the arm hole with some interfacing and some zigzagging. It isn’t really noticeable when being worn.And as worn. Thanks to my daughter the photographer. Front view. Both of these are cut between the medium and small line on the pattern using the scoop neck. Perfect with jeans.Side view and back view.And  version 2. Pretty good for upcycling right? Run, do not walk, to your local Goodwill.Side view.Back view.Love these shirts and love this pattern!

Standard
img_2516
Bias Binding, Gemma Tank, Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing, Washi Dress Pattern

Bias Binding my Gemma Tanks: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly-Part 1 of many

The first Gemma Tank I made was this one. Pictures of it as worn by me here.img_2532 I cut a Medium with the higher neck option, although I shaved a small bit off the front of the neck. You can see approximately how much I took off below although the picture below is a different Gemma (made the same way). I just slid the pattern down and cut a bit lower using the same curve so that the edge would be below the collarbones.img_2401I also lengthened it by approximately two inches. img_2400I mostly followed the directions for the bias binding using the traditional method with two changes: I cut my bias strips 1.5 inches instead of 1.25 since I sometimes find I don’t catch the whole edge with the narrower strip and I sewed from the front side on the edge of the binding rather than in the ditch. I find I can line things up better that way and I like the look of the stitching. You can see the position of the needle below. When I initially sew the binding to the edge, I use my presser foot as a visual seam guide and it is about 3/8 inch so my whole binding ends up being a bit wider. img_2516I used this beautiful cream colored Art Gallery quilting cotton by April Rhodes. I love this line and had previously made a Washi Dress  with the same fabric in the green colorway, seen below.img_0416I was so happy with the feel of the fabric-it is soft and works beautifully for sewing garments. It is more like a lawn than quilting cotton. In fact, I bought another 3 yards of the green as a back up plan. I have done that only a few times but I was so happy with my Washi that I wanted to have extra to be able to make it again when I wear it out which I will since I wear it all the time. I often make little changes as I sew and then forget what I changed (I do the same thing when I cook) so I have learned to take pictures. I actually had to look at my picture below to remember that my bias strips were 1.5 inches. img_2522I don’t pin before I sew, I just hold the edges together and it generally works pretty well. Then I iron the stitching line and press the edge to the other side and use wonder clips to hold the bias binding in place before I sew the second seam which, as seen below in the finished version, is just to the inside of the ditch. It actually looks like it was sewn on the inside and flipped to the front using the topstitch method, the way Rae shows you here in this great tutorial.  Fellow blogger Teri used this  method beautifully when she made this great checked Gemma.  I am not sure if I would find the topstitch method easier than what I currently do because I have never tried it but I am really happy with this sort of fake topstitch method I developed by mistake. I actually started doing it this way because I couldn’t sew as straight a seam in the ditch as I liked and had better results sewing just over a bit on the side of the seam. I am really happy with how it turns out when everything cooperates. The picture below was taken after several washings and I am still very happy with how this shirt turned out.img_2518I like using the wonder clips because I turn the blouse inside out and iron the binding to the wrong side and whereas I used to pin it in place on the wrong side and then flip it and have to move all the pins to the outside before sewing, the side doesn’t matter with the wonder clips and it saves a step. This is what the outside looks like before sewing the second seam.img_2524I also sewed a facing onto the hem of this Gemma using more of the binding tape. For some reason, I get a much neater hem doing this than just turning up the fabric. Although it might seem like more work, the seam line gives a visual place to turn up the edge, I iron like crazy and everything just turns out neater. I also like a slightly wider hem than the pattern calls for because I find it lies flatter and doesn’t curl up.img_2528I do a lot of ironing when I make the hems this way. I have described this in several previous blogs. I often use contrasting fabric for fun. You can see other examples here, here, here and here.  Pictures of the hem facing process below.img_2529

img_2530As those of you who follow me on instagram know, I have been in the midst of sewing quite a few Gemmas. One might even call it Gemma madness. I have another binding method that I like even better that I will post about soon (also non-traditional.) Stay tuned!

Standard
Uncategorized

Nursebean Reads: Summer Reading 2016

I had planned to spend August reading the classics. I started out with the best of intentions and as luck would have it, Audible had this amazing version of Anna Karenina on $2 sale right at the beginning of August so I snatched it up and started listening.  img_3414And I am still listening 5 weeks later. I am definitely enjoying it but am still only about 60% of the way through. What I found as I listened was that I needed something other than a classic to read when I wasn’t listening to Anna Karenina. And I also found that I needed something a bit lighter to alternate with Anna Karenina in my listening queue. So much for power reading the classics! I have read more this year than any before (94 books to date) and I think one of the reasons why I have been able to read so much is that I alternate different types of books so I don’t get bored. So while I have been working my way through AK, here are the other books I read in August. These newer books by some favorite authors:

Truly Madly Guilty was a bit tough going in the beginning. There is a lengthy foreshadowing of something that you don’t find out until well into the book and many of the characters were not initially very likable. I was becoming quite impatient with the author but eventually did like the book and the way the author resolved the story and was glad I stuck with it. The new Louise Penny was a fast read. I love her books for the setting and the characters as much as for the stories. She doesn’t disappoint. I started reading the Lucy Burdette light and fluffy murder mysteries set in Key West when my daughter lived briefly in Florida. They are fun to read, the protagonist is likable, the setting is fun and they don’t require any major thinking on my part. Just the thing! I also read two more books that are over 50 years old so I would count those as classics.

Although not fiction, I loved Travels with Charley which takes place in 1961, the year I was born, and is the story of a trip Steinbeck took across America accompanied by his poodle. It was eerie how Steinbeck’s reflections predict the future-his musings on the ways that the telephone is changing life as he knows it-amazing. Also interesting to read his first hand accounts on tensions in the South at that time and hard to think about how many things have not changed given all the tension in our country now. I also really liked reading this just after reading this book and this book which were also set in the early 1960’s. Both are set in small mill towns in Maine so it was interesting to read about Steinbeck traveling though mill towns that had been described in both the fictionalized world depicted by Stephen King and the wonderful memoir of Mexico, Maine by Monica Wood.  I really enjoyed both of those books this year and highly recommend them. I had never read The House of Mirth and I am glad I did although I was a bit disappointed by some aspects of the story. I won’t say more so as not to spoil it for those of you who may be planning to read it. It was a relatively fast read. The story and the writing were engaging. I alternated my listening with these two children’s classics.

Both were fabulous. The Wind in the Willows narrated by Michael Holdern is Sooo good. Again, I managed to get it for $2 I believe. Very much worth a listen if you have a chance. I had forgotten how wonderful the writing is and the narrator is wonderful. I have been slowly working my way through Harry Potter on audio and the third book came up in my library queue so I made time for it. Very fun. Finally, I read this sci-fi book. I enjoyed it but not as much as this one which I have recommended to everyone. I am not sure if I will go on to read the next books in the series but it was entertaining. and different from my typical reads. img_3407

Lastly, I finished this book of essays by Annie Dillard whose work I had never read prior to this year. I loved some of the essays and found others hard going but will return to her writing. Beautiful descriptions of the natural world.img_3409

I am going to plan to continue to alternate classics and contemporary fiction which seems to work better for me than a diet of all classics but right now I am loving this work of non-fiction by an amazing author. It will definitely keep me occupied for a while. What did you love this summer?

 

Standard
img_3331
About Me, Maine, unplugged

Maine Minibreak

 

img_3119I have written here before about Maine and how much summers there meant to me and my kids as they were growing up.

Time and finances are in much shorter supply now and so trips to Maine have been less frequent and much shorter but I still try to make the time count. In a funny way, even the short trips end up being very powerful emotionally because of all the memories.

Last week, my daughter and I took a quick two and a half day trip to some of our old haunts. We left Connecticut feeling grateful to have missed a big storm since Hurricane Hermine turned out to be much less of a storm than anticipated. We got to the island around 5:30 on the Tuesday after Labor Day and headed straight to my favorite watering hole.img_3238 Amazingly, I was the only person there. I dove right in. After not having swum in fresh water for over a year, it felt like a baptism of sorts.  My daughter captured it in her photos. I want to hold onto this feeling all winter. The best.img_3185We had lobsters on the pier that evening and did a brief drive around the island to some of our favorite spots the next day. A beautiful spot where we used to go to watch the sun set:img_3249The big rock that we would walk to along a huge pond/lake and swim off of (I swam there this trip too. Delightful!)img_3303

img_3304

img_3307I love the late afternoon light through the trees.img_3301You don’t really get a sense for how big this rock is unless you see it from the water. All of the stone formations were created by glaciers.img_3308Walking back along the lakeside path.img_3309At the pond’s end, the water framed by the mountains. In previous summers, my kids and I climbed all of these. Such wonderful memories. We didn’t have time to hike this trip but hopefully next year.img_3310We made time for ice-cream. Bay of figs = awesome. My first experience eating fig ice-cream but hopefully not my last.img_3268We ate our ice-cream peering out from behind a wall made of several rows of long window boxes. A really beautiful idea for framing a small patio. I loved seeing the sunlight through the leaves.img_3277The next day we got sandwiches from our favorite bakery and ate them at a beautiful butterfly garden. Despite many trips to this place, I had never gone to this spot. It was just lovely and we had it all to ourselves. One of our traditions with the kids was to try something new each trip and this short trip, we managed to do several new-to-us things. Really fun.img_3294The garden looks out over the water to the peninsula where there is a pool club that we belonged to when the kids were small. img_3297Many wonderful afternoons were spent there swimming in the salt water pool. The water above is cut off from the ocean by a bridge/ causeway and my kids used to jump off the bridge to the ocean side when the tide was coming in and be whooshed under the bridge carried by the incoming tide. You had to time it just right. Thrilling!

The next day I had a wonderful visit with a good friend who took me to a private garden (she had tickets). So beautiful. I loved these feathery flowers in the woodland setting.img_3315And the pattern that these stems make. Like a ladder or a braid.img_3320My absolute favorite flowers were the Japanese anemones. The bees agreed with me. There were so many buzzing around these flowers. I love the little round globes that are the buds. Such beautiful shapes. Zoom in to see the bees!img_3331

img_3332

img_3333After about two and half days, it was time to head back to reality. The morning we left was a bit foggy and so beautiful. That sky!img_3356Until the next visit!img_3178

 

Standard
Gemma Tank, Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing, Uncategorized

Gemma Tank Five Ways

Version #1 of the Gemma Tank Pattern by Made By Rae. Size medium. Higher neckline version which I cut a bit lower. No other adjustments except adding 2 inches to the length. Fabric is from the Bound Collection by April Rhodes. Front view:img_2700Back view:img_2677Version number 2: Size medium. Same adjustments as version #1 but decided after cutting out the pattern to use contrasting fabric left over from my Luna Pants for bias binding.  I deliberately sewed it in a way that lets it be seen (fake piping method which I describe in my Washi Madness and Washi Details posts). Because I didn’t add a seam allowance, the shoulders are a little narrow. But I love this tank because I love the fabric from the Lucky Strikes collection from Cotton and Steel. This tank falls into the very rare category of garments I love so much that I went out and bought the fabric again as a back up to make a second version if anything happens to the first. This is one of four garments that fit that category and yes, I bought another 2 yards of the fabric the other day (thank you Alewives Fabric where it is still available.) Front view:img_2732Back view:img_2703Side view:img_2713Version number 3. I made a muslin in size Small for my stepdaughters to try since they have a birthday coming up and there is some Octopus fabric just crying out to be a tank top. I tried it on and I liked the closer fit for the lower scooped neck so I made this version with Wood Block fabric from the Mesa collection of Cotton and Steel. Still available in green at Fabric.com and in both colorways at Hawthorne Threads. I am seriously contemplating buying the blue version because I love how well this fabric suits the pattern. I love how the fit feels on but I think I need to try another version cutting between the Small and Medium lines. The Medium is a little more blousy than I like. I didn’t realize it until I wore it all day. And the Small gets a little tight in the upper bust and I think the smaller size is a little less flattering to the bust. The drape of the medium is prettier than the tighter fit for those of us who are small busted but I like them both. It is sort of like having two patterns making the two versions (high neck vs scoop neck) in different sizes. I lengthened this one by 1 inch and used facing for the hem. Front view.img_2781 I used chambray left over from several previous projects that I purchased over 20 years ago in Brooklyn for the bias binding which I used on the neck, armholes and as a facing for the hem.img_2556 I swear that this fabric regenerates itself while I sleep. There is always a bit more for one more project. One of my children’s favorite childhood books was this one which this reminds me of. A wonderful book which we discovered through Chinaberry Books which is an amazing parenting resource for all you parents out there. img_2547 Gemma hanging on front door. #goodlightimg_2554Gemma hanging in a window. img_2550More pictures of my woodblock Gemma below. It might be my favorite. It is hard to choose. img_2757The Gemma tank is perfect with a cardigan:img_2793Side view:img_2773with Sadie the wonder dog who is not enjoying the Dog Days of Summer img_2740action shot with dog below, (note to self: add bra-strap holders) but the fit is really good as you can see.img_2747All of these tops have already been washed and worn. Even though the Dog Days of Summer are supposed to have been over August 11th-at least according to the internet- they are in full force in Connecticut. It has been unbearable. These tanks are perfect for these hot days. Sadie the wonder dog is not feeling so wonderful d/t the heat. #summerinconnecticutimg_2582I have two more Gemmas in the works. This teal version in Cotton and Steel lawn from the Cookie Book collection just needs binding. I haven’t yet decided whether to bind it with matching binding on the outside like my April Rhodes Gemma or with contrasting pink binding on the inside like my other two Gemmas. I may split the difference and use the pink for a hem facing and do the bindings in the traditional way called for by the pattern a la version 1. Still deciding and still #toohottosew in CT so it will have to wait.img_2663You may not be able to see it in the photo but I stay-stitched all my seams. Rae taught me well!img_2649This final version is Art Gallery voile purchased on sale from the always awesome The Cloth Pocket, my neighborhood store in Austin, Texas. I love buying fabric there online and in person. I feel as though I have a whole group of sewing friends cheering me on, which I do. I lined it with organic cotton batiste from Fabric.com which I have used successfully for several projects. It just needs hemming. This was sort of an action shot. I was turning from back to front. But it gives you a good idea of the fit. I did add a bit of a seam allowance to the armholes but used more than I added. I lined it using the good old MBR sausage method which I have posted about many times. I will do a more detailed how-to blog soon.img_2627Back:img_2623So clearly I am enjoying this pattern. It is quick and easy sew and it allows you to get a little crazy with fabric because while you might not make a whole dress of a funky fabric, a tank top is a small enough commitment (and everything goes with jeans) so I am now looking at my stash in a new way and seeing so many possibilities. I will post again later this week with details and how-too info. Next up will be to try a Small-Medium version to see if that is the perfect Goldilocks fit solution and to get going on many tanks in size Small for the birthday girls. Action shot below. #jumpingforjoy because the heat is lifting:) img_2625

Please note that that my blog is not monetized and has no sponsors. I provide links to share online resources that I enjoy using. I do not derive any financial benefit if you click on links in my blog. 

Standard
About Me, Made By Rae Patterns, Reading and Books, Ruby Dress Pattern, Sewing, unplugged

Nursebean Takes a Minibreak

 

Getting ready to sew on day 1 of my mini-break.img_2259Summer can sometimes be a challenging time for me. Social media is flooded with vacation photos of beaches and mountains and faraway places (the pictures of Norway and Sweden are amazing) but probably the hardest pictures to see are pictures of cabins in the woods on beautiful clean lakes. It makes me want to just jump into the picture. This one is from a real estate listing is exactly the kind that gives me pangs.maine lake imageBut it turns out that being at home can also be wonderful. I used to spend summers in Maine. I was incredibly lucky and I will always treasure those summers. But that is just not my life right now. I work two jobs and I don’t have the money or time off to travel. But one benefit to not having a lot of time off is that when you finally do take a break, you appreciate it so much. I recently had 5 days off in a row. I didn’t go anywhere and I didn’t really do anything fancy or extravagant but I had a great time. Here is what I did.

I read several books-all of which were engaging summer reads that did not require much from me. The stories drew me in and carried me along. I got most of the book suggestions from Anne Bogel. The graphic novel was a book club read. Sort of Roz Chast on steroids. Weird but funny. I particularly enjoyed reading in early morning. Here’s what I read:

I spent a lot of time on my front porch-reading and eating simple meals both alone and with some of my kids who were home for part of the weekend. Lunch on the porch below:img_2279I made a nice breakfast with home made berry muffins for my family, most of whom were with us. It was great to have a big group around the table. I used the pretty china and picked wild flowers from the garden. I love big family gatherings centered around a nice meal and my kids live far away so this was a treat for me. We also had a taco night with part of the group the night before and a dinner out at a favorite restaurant with my two daughters and son in law. It is a place we had gone to many times when they were younger so that was a special evening.

Staying on the topic of food, I ate a lot of tomato and fried egg sandwiches-both separately and together. If I had to pick one favorite food it would probably be fresh summer tomatoes. I remember reading this book as a child and not really getting why the main character ate tomato sandwiches every day for lunch but I get it now. I could be perfectly happy doing that. Or alternating with a fried egg sandwich with avocado on good bread. These are my new favorite meals. Quick, inexpensive, delicious. My husband bought this mayonnaise by mistake one day and it turns out to be the secret ingredient.

img_2261I sewed, sewed, sewed. But I didn’t treat the sewing as a chore. I did a couple of hours of sewing every day. I listened to music while I sewed.  When it started to feel like a chore, I switched gears and read or did yoga. I completed three garments:  a Ruby Dress for myself and a Ruby Blouse for a friend:

and a new pair of Luna pants for me in a fun print.img_2350and I started work on a baby quilt for a friend. img_2386I decided to make a whole cloth quilt and hand quilt it. It was fun to make and not having to piece the top ended up making it less stressful. It also made the hand quilting much easier since there were no seam allowances. While I quilted, I listened to this audio book which is really terrific. Each of the sewing projects were things I had made before and which weren’t super complicated. This meant that I was able to complete a new garment in a day which was really fun. While I love trying new patterns, there is nothing like the tried and true pattern that you know by heart and which fits you well. Cut, sew, wear, repeat. Boom! 

I went to a great yoga class with my daughter and I did yoga on the porch the rest of the days. I am loving  30 days of yoga with Adrienneimg_2291I had a diner breakfast with my daughter and son in law and then my daughter and I got our toenails painted in summer colors before they flew back home to the mid-west. I miss her already. New Luna pants in the wild below. And then it was back to reality.img_2196At least I had a new dress to wear my first day back.img_2408

Standard