Family reunion

This week I worked on a quilt for my son’s wedding. I made good progress but not worth sharing yet.

The neck tie pencil cases for my seniors are still sitting next to my sewing machine. The silk neck ties destined to be a quilted silk pillowcase (?) bag (?) are still laying on the floor of my sewing room in various stages of deconstruction.

This weekend was busy so not much time for high concentration crafting. My father’s side of the family organized a virtual family reunion and we had a great time reconnecting with some family and meeting some for the first time!

In between reunion sessions, I decided to have what could be called a pallet cleanser. As you might guess, costume making produces a lot of scraps. The pieces were to small for another dress but to big to toss out so I stuffed them into a bag just in case I ever needed small bits. To my credit, I did on occasion need small bits but not very often. This is my bag of scraps…

Hot mess!

My pallet cleanser was ironing some of the scraps and then cutting them down to commonly needed square sizes for quilting. The bits get sorted by size and then color.

Ideally, when I am ready to make a quilt I can just go to my stash and select the sizes and colors I want.

I wonder at what I will make with all that fabric once it is all ironed and cut down. I guess the Dollar Store will get some of my cash because if I don’t want to iron those pieces again, they need to be stored better!

Woo Hoo! Look at me go!

I finished my practice quilt. It isn’t pretty but it is functional. Perfect for times a blanket is needed but not a good time for a nice one (picnics, bonfires, children eating Cheesies….)

There were some definite mistakes but I learned a lot. The biggest things I learned are: I can’t cut straight lines with a dull rotary blade and short rulers and my dining room table taught me my Dollar Store glue mat doesn’t work as a cutting mat…

Here it is. Loud and proud! (Those prone to seizures may want to put on sunglasses!)


I did get a good start on the tie pencil cases for my seniors. I just need to put in some button holes and they will be done. I’ve also deconstructed most of my stash of ties but I still haven’t decided if they will be quilt blocks, another longer skirt, a quilted bag, a coat of many colors….

I also got a start on my next quilt. I wish I could say I didn’t buy more fabric…I used my stash but that would be a bold faced lie!

I decided to try the economy block. Very Victorian! The fabric is not!

The skills I wanted to learn this time around is fussy cutting and using triangle pieces. The fussy cutting is selecting certain parts of a fabric print and cutting around to make a piece. And just like in costume sewing, cutting across the bias in a triangle gives that edge a certain amount of give that can mess up a seam if pulled to tight. I also wanted to not chop off the corners of the mermaid square with the blue bubble pieces. I did not bad with all three challenges and I improved with each block since this first one was made.

Creative juices flow some more

In my previous posts, I explained that I had finished a baby sweater and that made me want to start a new project….a pencil holder made from ties for my seniors at work. Good thing I want it for around Father’s Day because the route there has been convoluted!

I finished fixing some broken jewelry and updated some of my chatelaines for my costuming.

That made it so I could clear off my craft table to make room for my sewing machine. While browsing how to videos for the pencil cases and sorting through the ties I picked up I got hooked on the idea of a skirt made from ties. Got that done but still hadn’t made the pencil cases.

While watching those how to videos, I saw one where they made a quilt using the ties. I thought that sounded like fun…especially now that I had a mountain of ties to work with. But I thought I should try quilting with cotton first before I tackle slippery ties. But I had no desire to go through my fabric stash nor the desire to start hacking up fabric I like for a project that may bomb colossally. I also had no desire to head to the fabric store and buy beautiful expensive fabric for the same reasons.

So I went to the store I casually refer to as Wally World and found some butt ugly stuff that did not hurt me to cut up or possibly mangle. I did a nice job cutting and piecing so quilting was next. I wanted to try a technique referred to as quilt as you go. That is a good system if you intend to machine quilt and don’t have a lot of room to be trying to quilt an entire blanket.

Enter fear, OCD and ideas…again. The fear was messing up the quilting part. The OCD part was looking at the scraps left over from the blocks…I hate left overs. And the ideas part was looking at the quilt pieces and seeing another way they could be sewn together. Soooooo….I set aside the nicely done squares and hacked apart the scraps in a haphazard way and pieced them (sloppily) together. Then I took some fleece and and black fabric from my stash and attempted quilt as you go. It was easier than I thought but I did learn a couple things with the trial run. I’m glad I did it. It kept the scraps OUT of my stash. It burned through some of the stuff IN my stash. And I ended up with a kind of spring themed wall hanging or table runner that will work nicely at work

Certainly not a lovely object but that wasn’t the goal. The goal was practicing a new skill to see if I liked it before I made a more sincere attempt. But the pencil cases still aren’t done.

Creative Journey

As you may recall, last week I shared that I had wanted to make a small gift for my seniors at work using old men’s ties. But to do that I had to clear off my craft table and that lead to completing two chatelaines for my costuming (will we ever be able to do that again?)

The desk was cleared off and I headed out to the thrift store and found bags with 10 ties for $2. Steal of a deal. I dragged them home and sorted. Some of them were quite lovely…especially the ones in the purple tones. Hmmmm. There was this video of how to make a skirt using old ties…. I resisted the urge for a bit but I kept finding more and more how-to videos for tie skirts and the purple ones were so pretty…. But there wasn’t enough to make a skirt. Back to the thrift store. I had to buy several of these bags to get enough purple ones to make a skirt. Tada! It is done!

Knee length in purple tones with a purple tie and button for the waist band.
Back view.

So the skirt is done. The gifts still aren’t made and I now have a mountain of old ties! Hahaha! Next week I will tell you what I did with those old ties.

Creative juices flowing again!

Getting that baby sweater done seems to have unblocked my creative juices and I have been creating (and finishing) different things.

It started with a sewing project that I wanted to make for my seniors at work….a pencil/glasses case made from old men’s ties. (I told my mom this and after she heard “made from old men’s thighs” we agreed she needed to turn her phone volume up a tad.)

But first I had to clean off my crafting table which was full of jewelry making supplies that I was using to fix some of my old broken jewelry. I finished fixing the broken stuff and I also wanted to shorten the chatelaine I had made ages ago as it just seemed too long. Done!

I’m not completely happy with the two cameos. I may ditch the top one but that means I need to attach some sort of pin on the second one. The second one is the one with the holes that the chains can hang from.

Done enough for now. This chatelaine is not one I’m likely to use often as it is a sewing one and a lady wouldn’t have worn that one out of the house.

I fixed up the main one I have been using for years. I added some things to it and changed the pin at the top. The pin isn’t ideal…too modern looking but it will do.

From left to right: a locket, match holder, keys and magnifying glass.

Next post will be about the skirt I finished.

He grew to fast

I started knitting a sweater for my new grand baby. Unfortunately, it came out smaller than I hoped and he is already too big. I think it is cute so some baby in my life will get it one day….

(I am blocking it now so that wavy bottom edge is gone.)

I like the pattern. The cabling was easy but makes it look like I worked like a dog on it! I also like the three little bone buttons at the shoulder. Is bone morbid for a baby? I liked the color best of my button options.

I basically knit it in the time it took me to binge watch all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and a few YouTube videos.

Not dead. Just idle

I didn’t die. I’ve just had nothing Victorian to write about. COVID has put a strangle hold everything. Sure I have more time to make things but without a dead line or goal I’m doing very little sewing or crafting in general. The flea markets are open again. And I bought the above umbrella. More vintage than Victorian but it is close enough to add to the asthetic of an outfit.

Lucky find!

Before all the stores shut down (again) for COVID I decided to get in a thrifting fix. I lucked out and found a pristine table cloth for $4! That is about 3 US dollars.

I think it is beautiful (even though it is quite old school!) and the amount of work makes me feel a tad guilty that I got it for only $4!

A Woody Woodpecker story

I forgot to tell you the story of the a yellowhammer woodpecker who crashed into a window last September when I was at the old jail.

Three of us were standing and chatting when suddenly we heard a thud. One of my companions saw that it was a bird that crashed into a window and it was laying on the ground after a 3 story fall.

I don’t know how he survived. But there he lay, panting and stunned.

We offered him some water in the little bottle cap but he wasn’t interested.

As he perked up and looked like he’d make it, we all started taking photos. Then we got a stick to see if he’d perch. We knew his wings were fine because he was moving them but we were not sure about his legs. If he could perch, he’d be fine. Surprisingly, he was very willing to perch on the stick.

We wanted to get him off the ground and away from any beasts that would do him harm, so we moved him to a tree.

He never did jump onto the tree. He just flew away. And we gave a cheer.

The end.