Oh gosh, I don’t think I can do it

I went to the flea market on Saturday.  At first nothing called to me.  Then things called to me that were to big and expensive. (I can’t slip a $200 side board into the car and not have the hubby notice…).  Then I found a table cloth loaded with embroidery and Battenburg lace.  And the price was better than I expected! Yeah!


I snagged it knowing that it was too small for my table. I snagged it because I had evil plans for it…cut it up and make an Edwardian shirtwaist.  If I avoided the big patches of Battenburg lace, there would be enough to make a shirtwaist and there would be enough actual fabric that it wouldn’t be slutty.

Trouble is, it isn’t as small as I thought.  If I take the expansion leaf out of my table, the cloth would fit.  And with some ironing, it would look so lovely next to the buffet I have next to the table.


It really might be too lovely to desecrate with scissors.  But then again, the table wont be shrunk down until the kids move out and a white table cloth and food… It might get more use as a shirtwaist.

I think I will have to iron it and shrink the table just to see what it will look like.  I could use it for tea parties with dainty ladies rather than for my ravenous family in the middle of a dine and dash…okay, I don’t think I can do it.


HSF 2017: challenge 1 First and Last

Well, this is a tad late!  Three and a half weeks late!  But as you know, December and January was totally messed up for me with stress at work, two car accidents (neither my fault), dealing with the devil (ie insurance company) and car shopping. My project for this month is a total cheat so, baring any disasters, should be done on time.
The Challenge: First and Last. This is a Victorian Chemise and this would be the first thing someone would put on.


Material: cotton (possibly a blend…it has been in my stash for ages, I don’t remember its content.)

Pattern: Laughing Moons Victorian undies.


Year: The package is listed as Victorian so I will go with 1836-1901.

Notions: lace (my stash only had poly stuff and this is a stash busting year) 2 buttons.

How historically accurate is it? So-so. The definite and possible synthetic fibers are bad. The pattern is okay I believe. I machine sewed which would be bad if the goal was for the earlier end of the Victorian era. As far as the persona I costume for (upper middle class older lady who is a bit on the conservative side) the style and amount of trim would be appropriate. So I give it a grade of 60%

Hours to complete: 10 which is more than it should. I just couldn’t do the mental aerobics required to attach the yoke so that the hand stitching that covers the seam was on the inside. I had to do it 3 times! I’ve made this pattern before! So annoyed with myself!

First worn: not yet

Total cost: Nothing. I used a pattern I had used before and I used material left over from a petticoat that I way over estimated the fabric needs. The lace and buttons were also stash, either given to me or salvaged from other sources.

More modern sewing: repairs addition

This past long weekend has been a productive one.  I did quite a bit of crocheting (nothing finished yet) and sewing. I completed (finally) HSF’s January challenge and some modern sewing/repairs.

I have a shirt I really like except that it is too low cut and my bra is fully visible to the world.  This means I’ve had to wear a camisole under it.  This is fine except I work in a nursing home where the heat is set a tad high for the comfort of the seniors and I have my own personal midlife internal tropical heat waves happening.  An extra layer of clothing is not desirable!  (I stopped wearing my corset daily because of the combined reasons of the start of hot flashes and the cessation of chronic back pain.)  This weekend, I fixed the problem by sewing in a chunk of lace into the neckline of the shirt.  Easy fix.

I also have a pair of pants that I LOVE except the zipper wouldn’t stay up.  I tried to fix it by using pliers to squeeze the slide tighter but ended up breaking it right off.  This meant I had to either pitch the pants or fix the zipper.  Zippers are the devil but I am pleased to say I successfully replaced it!

Finally, I have three sarongs that I wear on the beach.  I can wrap them around my chest or waist and tie them off like a bath towel but I’d like to do the style where you wrap it around yourself and tie it behind your neck.  But my sarongs don’t have enough material.img_20170220_113324807_hdr.jpg

I’m short by at least half a meter.img_20170220_113330863.jpg

When I last went fabric shopping, I was hoping to find a fabric that would suit for a sarong.  No luck.  So how to make the ones I have work?  Add ribbon along one edge.img_20170220_132104805.jpg

With this added ribbon, I can still wear the sarong in the styles I was able to before, just with an added bow decoration.img_20170220_120357463.jpg

And I discovered another way I could wear it with the added ribbon.img_20170220_130446505.jpg

All in all, a productive weekend.  I wish I had 3 day weekends every week!

Next post will be about my completed HSF January project.

Escape Rooms

My family and I tried an Escape Room last night!  What fun!  We did a pirate one (drat, none of them would dress up!)  I want to do another one RIGHT NOW!  We barely made it out alive. Truth be told, they gave us an extra 2 minutes because we almost had it but got hung up on one puzzle.  I’m telling myself the pirates stopped for a bit of grog before heading back to the ship.


Eyes blacked out to prevent Black Beard from identifying my family, finding them and making them walk the plank.

The premise was we had been held in the brig by Black Beard.  The pirates had gone to shore to do some pillaging and we had one hour to escape from the cell (which we did rather quickly), find our way to the Captains room, find the map and sail the ship away.

If you get the chance to try and escape room DO IT!

CDV: Granny with glasses

For your viewing pleasure, I give you a CDV of an older woman from New Hampshire.  img_20161211_182417741

Her hairstyle is 1850’s but I suspect that this is a style she wore in her younger years and not a reflection of the date of the carte.

The skirt on her dress seems wide not slim.  I suspect hoops not a bustle but she is sitting so it is hard to be sure.  The sleeves are quite roomy and she has a false yoke on her bodice.  If I were to date the photo based on the dress I would go with late 1860’s.

Based on the card itself I’d say it is late 1860’s.  Baring natural wear and tear, the corners are still quite square, which was the fashion until the 70’s.

Marshall’s modern shirt

I finished my modern shirt today and I will wear it to work.  It is pretty comfy! I made a pattern from a stretchy shirt that I like the fit in the body…a bit snug but better than the boxy tent most t-shirts my size.  The alterations I made were, scoop neck not turtle, 3/4 length sleeve not full length and very long with slits on the side (like tops I’ve seen from India).  I went for the long option because I hate yanking down shirts that wont cover my tummy and I wanted one that covered my butt so that my stretchy pants would be slightly more suitable outside the gym (because I never go to the gym).


Please excuse the weird white spot my camera put on my face.  I have no idea what that is!

The shirt is called the Marshall’s shirt because that is where I bought the fabric last Saturday.

The photo on the right is a more true reflection of the color.

I probably could wear some sort of tummy control with this shirt but other than that, I am pretty pleased with it.  I would do this again.  I have enough fabric left over for a tank top I think.  May be even a sleeveless mini dress.  So bang for the buck: I spent less on making this top and a future tank top than I would buying new ones. (Almost 3/4’s of the money spent was on the trim but DANG it is pretty…so worth it.)  And unlike store bought shirts it is totally to my specifications. Most store bought shirts I own have some thing I wish was different. It would still be cheaper to buy used but thrift shopping can be hit and miss.

My new heaven

Some time ago I talked about this little chunk of heaven in Minneapolis…basically a fabric store the size of a football field.

Little did I know, I have a slightly smaller version of it here at home (and only a 10 minute detour from my route to work).  The prices are not quite as good but I’m not paying for gas, a hotel stay or meals and I’m not getting murdered by a bad currency exchange.  It is called Marshall Fabrics.

My niece and I went on a little excursion there today.  I vowed to treat myself but not buy costume fabric. At this point I have enough project material for this year. I can’t afford to get drastically side tracked by a new idea or to amass more crap for the stash.  Yay me, I stuck to the plan!

I surveyed the lay out and made mental plans to come back and buy this plaid and that velvet…but mostly did my real shopping in the notions.  I bought a few things to fix some modern clothing items (a zipper and some ribbon)-boring. But while looking in that section, I saw some very pretty trim that I HAD TO HAVE!  But what was I going to sew it on to?

I decided I could use some more tops for work and I have frequently thought that I have a few shirts that fit very well and it would be smart to use them as patterns for others.  When buying shirts, it is hit and miss.  Most of my shirts fit one part well but miss the mark in other areas (too baggy, too shear, too short, too clingy, too low cut, too high cut, empire waist line to high….).  But some do fit well and would make good patterns.  If I could find the perfect material for that trim, I would buy it and that would be my treat.  And I did!img_20170211_173927678.jpg

When I get caught up on the HSF challenges for this year, I will make time to sew this up into a t-shirt.  There might even be enough left over for a camisole as well.

The vacation had some sunny moments

My last post was a “trials and tribulations while on vacation” post.  But the truth is, it was still nice to get away from the cold, see another place in this world and to meet new people.

Though the weather was not perfect, it was warmer than home.img_20170203_124735998_hdr

And there were plenty of lovely views.

The hubby and I did leave the hotel on one excursion.  The first stop was a sugar cane plantation.  Now a days, the plantations are mechanized but they had a demonstration of how it used to be done.  They also explained the planting and growth cycle for sugar cane.

The next stage of the tour was to a former sugar cane processing plant.  They explained how that worked which I always like.  There used to be a show on TV about how things are made.  I find that fascinating for some reason.

The plant no longer functions but it houses a train museum.


This was my primary reason for wanting to take this tour.  I’m always working.  Some of the old fellows that I work with in my job worked on the railroad and I thought they’d appreciate pictures of old steam trains in another country.  I took more pictures of that than anything else!  As we speak, I am waiting for the guy who is going to print the pictures up in a large easy to see format.sam_3854

The numbers on the train have a meaning.  The first number is how the train is powered.  1 means “steam”.  The second is how strong the train is.  When we tried ask if it was measured in horse power, the Spanish tour guides looked at us blankly so I’m not sure.  But, some trains had a second number of 1 and others had a 6 or a 7 so the above train is stronger than some and weaker than some.  The last two numbers are its personal number.  So the above train is the 18th in the 5 horse power (?) steam train group.  The box immediately behind the engine has the name of the plantation it came from.sam_3839

This 1 horse power (?) steam train is #5 and it comes from Central Orozeo plantation.  Poor little weak train…the little engine that could….

Anyway, my train guys are gonna eat this stuff up!

We then had a short ride on one of the old steam trains.  It was a nice way to see some of the country side.  We stopped at a shabby old station.sam_3867

From there, our bus picked us up and took us into the city of Cardenas.

In Cardenas, we had a quick tour of a museum.  To quick tour in my opinion!


There was some lovely items in there.  And if you paid a fee, you could take photos.  I didn’t because we weren’t going to be in there long enough.  If I were to go again, I’d definitely find away to spend more time in there and I’d take pictures!


Across the street from the Museum was this lovely tree with the red leaves or flowers.

Cuba has wonderful people living there.  They know how to make you feel special with just little things.  Our maid was sweet!  She kept leaving us notes and rearranging our bed sheets in cute ways.  The first day she made two peacocks cuddling.  She dressed the male in one of my scarves.sam_3794

I called him the male because he seemed to have the tail.  The next day, those dang peacocks really made themselves at home!sam_3800

We found them reading in our bed!sam_3801

I laughed my head off!  This was actually one of the highlights for me!

So this concludes my vacation posts.  I’m back in my Winter Wonderland and I’m back at work.  Time to get back to my sewing projects and to get back on the HSF band wagon! Late with my entry…as usual.

Mildly sucky vacation equals interesting stories

Before I left for vacation, I did a little reading program with the seniors where I work.  I found some amusing stories about vacation mishaps.  I used my announcement that I was going on vacation as my lead into the program.  Next year, I can use this blog post instead.

My vacation started out fine.  We had an afternoon flight to Cuba so we had plenty of time to pack and leave instructions for the boys (aka dog sitters) in the morning.

The boys drove us to the airport and we arrived with plenty of time.  Good thing too.  The hubby borrowed the older boy’s suitcase and did not properly heed the warning that the zipper was somewhat damaged.  He unzipped it to far when packing so by the time we unloaded it from the trunk of the car, it had begun to fall apart.  We thought we could fix it but by the time the boys had driven away, the suitcase has completely ruptured and was never going to make it to Cuba.  So we had to buy new luggage at the airport and try to get rid of the old one without getting detained for leaving suspicious bags behind.


Hubby is in the check in line with the new suit case. He is texting our boy, telling him we had to pitch the one he lent us.

Ten seconds after repacking his luggage, the hubby remembered that he forgot his sunglasses.  Back to the airport shop for sunglasses.  Luckily, there was a sale in the store so it wasn’t a total robbery.

But just wait…a half hour into the flight the hubby remembered that he forgot his bathing suit.  I think next year I will have to check his bag before he zips it.

So we arrive in Cuba, get through Customs and wait with all the other folks on our flight for our luggage.  An hour later, everyone from our flight is gone but no sign of our luggage.  There is luggage from the next flight on the belt but no sign of ours.  I was convinced our airport screwed up but the hubby was convinced we had been robbed-he always assumes the worst.  We are just about resigned to the idea of going to the hotel with no luggage when we decided to look one more time.  The hubby picked up a bag that was similar to our new one and low an behold it was ours.  It was just so beat up that it no longer looked new.  Yippy! He had his bag.  There now was nearly no one left in the baggage claim area. I turned around to look for the lost and found office and there was my bag standing in the middle of the room.  Someone must have taken it off the belt and then realized it wasn’t theirs and left it where it stood.  I only saw it after the room emptied out.  We had our luggage but missed our shuttle to the hotel.  Luckily, the next shuttle was able to accommodate us.

It was late when we were finally in our hotel but hubby had to do a midnight walk on the beach.  And thus I started my collection of sand flea bites.  Lucky me.  I am one of the chosen few who has a rather nasty reaction to the bites. I learned about this tendency of mine last year and had been taking allergy pills to combat this.  They didn’t prevent the reaction but did make me horribly tired.  Near the end of the trip and several bites later a beautiful angel/staff person told me about putting vinegar on the bites.  I grabbed a cup of balsamic vinegar at the near by restaurant and dabbed it on the bites.  I have never felt such quick relief!  The itching stopped instantly and the redness and swelling was visibly better with in hours.  I slathered it on a few more times but I really didn’t need too!  I don’t know if it works with white vinegar but guess who is now travelling with her own personal bottle of balsamic vinegar.


Some of my bites and a glass of balsamic vinegar.

Anyway, back to the forgotten bathing suit.  It was raining our first day in Cuba so we decided that it was a good day to go shopping for a new suit for the hubby and to play ALL of the games we brought with us.

The following day was reasonable so hubby trotted off to the beach in his new suit and sun glasses and I hung out by the pool….fewer bugs.  We did this for a day or two and one day hubby comes back.  No sunglasses.  The new ones he bought at the airport got swept off his face by an ocean wave.  Sigh. We didn’t replace those because the price in Cuba for cheap glasses worked out to be $150 Canadian dollars.  Nope.  Not gonna do it.

At least we had our lovely 5th floor view.  img_20170203_103617374

At least it was lovely until 5 out of the 6 elevators stopped working (one by one over the week) and the one that was working opened up on the wrong side of a locked 5th floor gate.  Five flights of stairs with crappy knees are not a great pleasure.


Some good moments in Cuba but as you can see on my face, I wasn’t feeling like it was the trip of a lifetime.

The long dress in the above photo, was my final attempt to fend off the sand fleas.  All the while I was thinking I might have to make myself a pair of 1950’s beach pants.

My next post will be a vacation post but of some of the more positive moments.