Wow, it’s been so long since I blogged that the interface of WordPress has changed.

When did that happen?

Well it’s been since August that I shared anything.  Oopps!  Sometimes life gets a little too busy and I drop the ball.  Here is a little montage of what has been going on.  It goes from Party Dress to Christmas.

A party dress for playing!

But that is just the beginning-  I have been sewing (and cooking!?!) up a storm these last few months.  Some of the other sewing includes but is not limited to:

I have also been marinating on some ideas for a line of clothing and/or soft furnishing 100% re-purposed for the thrift store.  I have found some AMAZING textiles at some of my favorite “digs” here in Seattle like the Dearborn Goodwill or its sister store the Goodwill Outlet (if you are a Germ-a-phobe this place is not for you).  I guess I just don’t know if people would be as excited about reclaimed leather/ linen/ cotton as I am.

And I have been cooking, here are some recipes I have used over the last couple of months:

There are other things that I heard about so created my own version like the fennel and sausage Quiche:

The only cooking that I managed to photograph.

We have also been doing a fair amount of juicing over the last month and we also might commit to a juice fast for the New Year… although I really don’t know if we can do that… I mean I am a meat and potatoes girl.  I know it will be good to clear out the system but it is going to be kind of torturous.  My husband suggested it at the beginning of this month and I logically pushed it back noting that Christmas would be hard and that the New Year is great for gimmicks like that.

Also I did finish the bridesmaid dresses I talked about rolling out but I don’t have photography of any of it yet and the wedding dress is in mock-up form so I did not completely drop the ball on that idea.  It’s a slow build!

My first quilt.

Mom's Birthday Quilt- Happy 60th birthday.

So this is the quilt I made for my mother for her 60th birthday.  I got the batik panels from this booth at the Sewing Expo.  The backing is this AMAZING Italian shirting cotton.  I learned most of the techniques off the internet.  I really love freezer paper after doing this quilt because it can be used in so many way in sewing.  With this quilt all of the circular applique around the characters I did using freezer paper and the six minute circle applique.  My next experiment with freezer paper is going to be printing fabric with my printer… I will keep you posted.  Does anyone have any tips??

My mom was here over the Memorial Day holiday and we went camping at Cama Beach on Camano Island, WA.  It was nice and relaxing and it did not even rain that much!

cama beach cabin camping

sittin on top of the world!

As of late…

My new machine.

I have been using my new-fangled sewing machine to do embroidery over the last three months. It is fun and nerve wrecking all at the same time. First, the world of machine embroidery is a mighty vast world full of lots of teddy bears holding balloons and SUPER cheezy seasonal crap that I would never use in a million years. For these reasons and all the Disney characters the came programmed into my machine I was really kinda scared of the whole concept. BUT it is the embroidery that makes the machine a $3500.00 sewing machine so I push through my issues and am now embroidering!! For starters I made my mother this box for Christmas:

A good learning project

I know monogramming is not necessarily her thing but I needed something to design and I know my mom has wanted to decorate cigar boxes for a long time so I just figure it is both inspiring and utilizable (she is a total organizer, genes I didn’t get).
Right after Christmas I actually broke the machine… It just stopped embroidering beautifully would not hold tension. I am a bull in a china shop, if it is delicate and precise I will mess it up. I realize I cannot just open her up and see what is going on like my other machines (Serge, and Bertha), I have to take it in to the shop. THANK GOD there was a year long warranty, because it is $200 dollars just to have them look at this machine.
Now I am back on the road to embroidery… My husband found the mother load of embroidery patterns on the torrents and I am overwhelmed with embroidery files (hence my lack of blogging). And if that is not enough I need a whole other wing to my studio just to house the stabilizers and thread needed for this whole operation. SHEESH!! Well out of all that whirlwind I introduced a line of Ring Bearer pillows in my ETSY shop. Personalized monograms and custom patches coming soon!!
Here are some other Christmas presents I churned out for friends and family:

Personalized pot holders! Yes- I am geeking out!!

Dude…. I just won a $3500 dollar sewing machine!!!!

Yes... I am fully addicted.

Yes... I am fully addicted.

O. K. so every year Nancy’s (my day job) goes to the Puyallup Sew Expo put on by Washington State University and held on the Washington State Fair Grounds.  We are a vendor and we sell off lots of fabric… mostly stuff that is on sale.  It is the biggest Sew Expo in the country.   It is definitely not my crowd, but it is different then my usual work day so I like to go.  I call it the SEA of quilted vest with to much shit tacked on the surface, mullets, and sparkle pins declaring “I love to sew”…. yes gross but good for people gawking.  I just wish I could turn off the flash on my camera phone so I could inconspicuously post some prime examples here but I am technically deficient. 

There are a few vendors that I look forward to see.  Pendleton brings out there wools.  I don’t do southwestern themed blankets but their plaid are freakin’ amazing and good price.  For the first time EVER I saw an Eco- friendly Eco Wise wool that was actually Cradle to Cradle CERTIFIED.  I have read a lot about this type of sustainability certification but had never come across a piece of cloth that measured up to the standard (I have a whole blog planned for this topic but need to do some more research.) Very well done Pendleton!! 

I also get drawn into The Wool House from Toronto.  They are A) really good sales men and B) have amazing cashmere.  Point made.

I also like Vouge Fabrics from Chicago…. but I did not buy anything from them this year:(

AND FINALLY….

on Sunday ’bout 4:30 I get a call that I don’t recognize so it goes to voice mail and about 10 minutes later I check the message.  “Well hello Angela, this is your lucky day.  You just won the Sew Expo Door Prize- A Brother Sewing Machine….” I really don’t hear anything past that as I turn to a co-worker and scream, “I just won the door prize.”  I race over to the Door Prize booth to discover that I freakin’ WON a $3500.00 dollar Brother sewing machine donated by Quality Sewing and Vacuum.  I cannot fully believe it…. holly sh–molly!   It is the brand new Porsche my world.

Will someone just pinch me!

Will someone just pinch me!

Buying a sewing machine??? Here is my (humble) opinion.

Sewing Machines- Where would some of us be with out them?  Hell, we would all be wearing pretty much potato sacks with out them.  I know that I am not an expert but I sew everyday and I work in a place where I talk about sewing and trouble shoot sewing issues pretty much everyday, so people are constantly asking about sewing machine recommendations.  Here is my list.

1.  The golden boy of sewing machines is (currently) Bernina.  These Swiss machines are built with precision and durability giving them the highest resale value of any modern brand of sewing machine.  Their bottom end machine run about $1000 (might have to wait for a sale for this price) but I have seen Berninas for 8- 12 thousand dollars*.  I lust for just the $1000 model because it gives you every thing that you need to make clothing that looks like store bought clothing  and does very little embroidery.  Berninas also have TONS of accessories and feet, including pattern fitting software.  Again, if you have the means, this is the brand that you want.

I personally do not own one of these machines but it will be a fine day in the Flowers household when I purchase my first Bernina!

2. I think that Pfaff makes a good (more affordable) sewing machine.  These are German made machines that have just as many accessories (no fit software) as Bernina and are smooth running and solid built.  A bottom end model will set you back $200-300 and this is a GREAT choice for the beginner.  Again, top end models are ridiculously priced but I have helped many a friend find love in sewing because of this bottom end Hobby Line Pfaff machine right here.

3.  The Viking/Husqvarna or Husqvarna/Viking (whatever) is also a good Swedish built machine.  I own both a sewing machine (bottom of the line) as well as a Husky Lock serger.  Both have lasted through pretty regular use for about ten years now and there is no signs of quiting on me now.  I service both machines… semi regularly (meaning when they stop sewing or cutting, I take them in).  All ‘n all, these machines have payed for themselves over and over again with the work I do with them.  My one complaint- I hate the zipper foot and there is no narrow hem foot for my model.

4. WhiteKenmore (Sears brand) , Janome are all machines that I have heard good things about.  Good reputation goes along way in sewing machines, no name machine- I no go there.  As long as you buy name brand machines from an authorized dealer you should always have some where to go if you have questions or need parts and servicing- this goes for ALL sewing machines. When purchasing used machines make sure there is an authorized dealer/ service center near you.  Unfortunately when you buy some no name brand from Target or Macy’s you have a harder time finding somewhere to ask questions, get the right parts, and get good service.  All sewing machine are prone to get off time now and again so you will eventually need to get it fine tuned again.  I love this GIF from MaterialMama of the workings of a bobbin to illustrate the precision.

5. The Singer story.  I also own a Singer that I inherited from my Grandmother that I call my Big Bertha machine.  She is a brut of a sewer and heavy as hell.  I know it sound weird but in sewing machines-heavy sewing machine usually meant that the mechanical parts are all metal. This is a very important aspect of a good sewing machines because of precision and durability.  I would never buy a machine that does not have metal mechanical parts (always ask a saleman).   Singers were the Golden Boy of sewing machines since the industrial revolution but, thanks to globalization are now made in China out of plastic parts … allegedly.  So in my opinion only buy vintage or antique Singer sewing machines.  If you can get a hold of Featherweight Singers, these are worth money!  They were considered travel sewing machines during their hay-day (late 1930’s to 1964) and they are pretty darn cute!

*I have never done machine embroidery so I know nothing about these machines, and I have no interest in knowing.  Personally, if you are going to pay upwards of $2000.00 for a sewing machine it should sew the darn clothes for you!