Friday, February 18, 2011

Returned from Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion

Wow, I've been gone a long time again..........  Life does seem to fly by.  Thankfully, no major house disasters this year but we still feel like we are trying to catch up from all the events of the last 18 months. I'm going to try to be more faithful about posting.  I promise!!


Last week, I was fortunate to attend the School of Art Fashion (SOAF) in Huntsville, AL.  It was a somewhat last minute decision (December as opposed to September registration) because my husband decided maybe he could take care of the children without additional help.  Mind you, our children are weeks shy of 15 years old and 11 years old, and are fairly self-sufficient.  They can feed themselves, bathe themselves, stay home alone for periods of time, and can reasonably be trusted not to burn the house down (Daughter definitely trusted, Son, it's iffy).  However, in previous years, when I have been fortunate to attend the SOAF or SAGA convention, his mother has come up to help take care of the kids.  Other than the occasional weekend workshop where I am only gone for a day or two, he has never done it alone.  Frankly, I was beside myself with glee that for the first time he would truly experience what it is to be the "single" parent when the other is out of town.  I'll fill you in on details in a later post.

I'm still exhausted from the 9 hour drive to and from Huntsville and intense week of stitching.  I'm hoping to get the rest of my sewing stuff and purchases unpacked and put away by this weekend.  I can't wait to write about some of the cool things we stitched or my new "toys".  I love notions!

If you have never been to a Martha Pullen School, you really should try to attend at least once.  Sis Hutchinson and her team of Wonder Women put this school on twice per year, in addition to various teacher licensing and travelling schools.  They (the ladies and the school) are well organized, efficient and simply a fantastic experience.  This was my second time to attend the SOAF and I was not disappointed.   I was able to get into Wendy Schoen's Baby School, as well as two evening preday classes, one with Wendy, one with Kari Mecca (another favorite teacher).

If you have never taken a class with Wendy Schoen, that is also an experience not to be missed.  She is a fantastic teacher, has great instructions, an irreverent dry wit that I love and you just want to drool all over any of her projects because they are so beautiful.

I'll tell the truth though, I was intimidated by Wendy for YEARS!!  Her work seemed too perfect, too advanced for my meager skills.  I finally got up the courage to take some of her classes a few years ago when The Stitchin' Post in Little Rock had her come teach in June 2008.  By a strange twist of events, my bestest buddy and travelling, stitching sister, Melinda, and I ended up staying at the same hotel as Wendy.  So I volunteered to be Wendy's driver while we were there.  I'm so glad I did as it gave me a chance to get to know Wendy outside of a class situation.  She is delightful and a really fascinating person.  Without waxing on like I'm the new head of her fan club, I'll just encourage you to take a class with her on the next opportunity you get.  Soooooooo worth it!

We also had the best teacher's assistant, Linda Burns.  She is so good that Wendy refers to her as a Co-Teacher, not just a helper.  She is the lady in white on the top right of the photo, standing next to Wendy.

This is our impromptu Baby School photo on the steps of the Von Braun Center in Huntsville.  I think most of the ladies were still there and hadn't departed for home already.  We had a great time (at least speaking for myself and the several ladies sitting around me).

My local SAGA chapter, Ozark Foothills, is hosting a workshop with Wendy the weekend of April 8.  I think there are still one or two spots open.  Let me know if you are interested in attending and I'll get you in contact with the registrar.  I sincerely plan to finish at least one of my projects from Wendy's school.   Of course, if you know me at all, I have lots of plans..........

Next time, I'll tell you about Kathy Barnard's Beyond the Basic Bodice class and some of the fun things I bought and did while I was there.  Until then.....

Dare to Sew Lively!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Reorganizing and Purging

As I was scanning other people's blogs this morning I noticed a theme - we all seem to be reorganizing our sewing rooms.  Well, it is spring, a natural time to clear out the debris of winter, throw open the windows and let the fresh air (and pollen!) into our lives.

I admit, I have a clutter problem.  I get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of supplies I have.  Maybe I am afraid if I put it away "too well" I'll never find it again.  That's been known to happen.  Then, I buy another one.......  However, after our two moves in three months this winter and new wood floors in my sewing room (and the rest of the house), I am motivated to declutter my life.  Throughout the whole house as I have unpacked our belongings, I have tried to rid us of as much stuff as possible.

It is simply amazing, isn't it, how much stuff we can accumulate.  What is important to keep for sentimental reasons or as future treasures for the next generation to cherish?  I think of my maternal grandmother, who didn't like to save anything.  This fact is amazing in light of the fact that she was raised in the Depression.  However, I couldn't begin to count the number of times I've heard my mother say, "Momma threw that out.  She didn't want to keep that old stuff."  She gave away her grandmother's treadle sewing machine, all the tatting that my great-great grandmother did, even all the hand-carved fishing lures her husband made over the years.  Where is the balance between getting rid of simply everything in favor of "new" and ending up like one of these people on Hoarding:  Buried Alive, the new show on TLC.

What will my kids treasure after I am gone?  Will they value the antique garments I have collected?  Those precious articles were not valued by someone else's child as they ended up on eBay!  Now, I also know stuff is just stuff, it won't go to Heaven with me ('cause I'm not moving it again!).   But what criteria to determine what to keep and what to give?  Someone gave away a precious Ayrshire christening gown or this lovely, hand sewn bonnet from a shop in New Orleans.

Under the guise of organizing my sewing room, it is taking me longer than I anticipated to get everything put away.  I question every piece, spend too much time wondering about the most efficient way to store everything and ultimately, get frustrated and tired, and go do something else.

So, my question is, how do you organize your sewing room?  How long should it take to get it all picked up and put away?  What is vital and to be kept, and what can be given to the next appreciative owner?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Quick update

Ooooo, sorry, sorry, sorry it's been so long.  My last post was in January?  Yipes.  A quick update on the last three months.  We've moved back home, my best friend was diagnosed with lung cancer, I've been to a sewing workshop with my guild, both my kids have had birthdays, almost finished the renovations at the house and my aunt died yesterday morning.  I have sewn a little, and that's ramping up soon.  I'd actually gone to check another blog when I decided I should at least post something.  I promise, more later!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Oh, Sewing Machine I've Missed You So!

Sorry so long between posts.  The last time I wrote, we were moving to the hotel.  We stayed in the hotel for 17 days.  Thankfully, a dear friend has rental property and it was going to be available before Christmas.  I didn't want to spend Christmas in the hotel.  They were wonderful there, but it's just not a home.  Even a rented home is better than two rooms, four people and a 70lb. German Shepherd.

We finished moving, or should I say, Service Master finished moving the things we were bringing to the rent house on December 21.  The hardest decision on what to bring and what to store had to involve my sewing room and my "toys".  I'm a packrat anyway, and always WAYYYY overpack for trips that we take.  However, when it got down to the end, I was scrambling so that I was just throwing things in boxes for the trip across town.  In the beginning, I was carefully packing, organizing, categorizing, etc.  Now I am floor to ceiling, wall-to-wall 3-drawer plastic storage units, several huge clear plastic tubs, moving boxes and two wooden cabinets I brought from the house.

BUT, I have finally cleared a space, set up a small table, set up my Viking, got out my scissor block, ironing board, steam generator and portable cutting table.  My world is right again for a while.  It ain't fancy but I'll take it!  I think even the cats feel the world is right again.  They usually hang out with me in the sewing room all day long.  So much so that I go through lint-rollers very quickly!  After I set up the machine, Tigger decided he would come back, braving dog-exposure and hazardous perches.  This is where I have found him the last two days.

He's been hugging the machine for dear life.  I'm sure he's thinking as long as the big white thread toy is in place things might be OK.  Or, he just likes the warmth.  It doesn't matter.  It makes me feel more like I'm home.

I'm finishing up an alteration for one of my favorite kid sitters.  She is on the Basketball Homecoming Court.  I was going to make her dress but she is one of the pickiest girls about fabric choices.  For someone who does not sew she has very unusual tastes in fabrics and styles.  We were running out of time for me to order fabric and get a dress made, so thankfully she found one.  Just needed a bit of alteration for modesty sake.  Hopefully, I can pin her down (literally and figuratively!) with a fabric choice for prom so that I can get it ordered.

I always have about 20 projects on my board at a time.   After I finish this alteration I will move onto a Cotillion Formal dress for Paige.  Thankfully, she already picked her fabric and dress style, sketches are drawn, measurements taken, muslin began.  I'm so anxious to actually SEW something.  From scratch.  Squeeze the creative sponge to see what comes out.  Play with fabrics.  Thread a needle.  Assemble project supplies.  Sigh..........  I know you all know exactly what I am saying.

Well, none of those things will happen if I don't get off the computer, finish the last of the alteration for Landy, finish paying bills, picking out items for the restoration going on at my house (another story!), updating my website, mailing orders, yada yada yada yada.......

Have a great day Friends!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Jackhammers and Packing

Ahhhhh, the restful sounds of jackhammers in the morning..........  Nothing calms my nerves more.

Well, the guys from Dust Management are here starting on the kitchen floor.  I'm busy in the back of the house packing up my sewing room so the ceiling can be repaired when the rest of the drywall work is done.   We've moved into a hotel in town because it's gotten quite cold in the house.   They are putting a rather large trench in the middle of my kitchen and dining room.  Oh dang!  Guess we'll have to eat out.

I actually have a few projects in the works, and thank goodness they are not due in the next two weeks!  I am working on a dress for the White Issue of Sew Beautiful, a reproduction dress from my own collection, an original coat and dress for preteen/teens or adults, finishing up a cute top and a few formals thrown in there.

So, as I'm packing, I 'm trying to put things that I will need for my projects in one very large plastic container.  Well, they may not all fit in one container......  I can't wait to show you sneak peaks of some of them.  I'm really excited about some of the upcoming projects.

Now, to find a quiet place to stitch.  lol     Happy Friday Stitching Friends!

Dare to Sew Lively!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

And the Hits Just Keep Comin'.......!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  Was it restful, relaxing, filled with food and fun?  I hope so.  Did you shop on the Day After?  Spend too much, find great bargains?  Hope so for that also.

Can you believe it is only three weeks until Christmas Eve?  Are you decorated, presents wrapped, relaxing by the fire with a cup of cocoa and your favorite people?  Are you singing your favorite Christmas Carols to the percussion of jackhammers and shovels?  No?  Well, you are not enjoying the holidays in as creative a manner as the Lively family this blessed season.

More construction work begins tomorrow.  It was supposed to begin today but permit snafus, a thousand phone calls and lots of prayers later, everything is legal with the city, the insurance adjustor is happy and we commence jackhammering my kitchen and dining room.  I think trenches are lovely decorating choices.  Something very abstract about them, don't you think?

Sorry, just have to instill a small bit of humor and/or sarcasm to lighten the festivities.  Finishing up packing the sewing room.  When it's all done, all but one room of my ground floor will have been demolished and put back together.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

To Nana's House We Go - NO!

I couldn't get this song out of my head this afternoon......

"Over the hills and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go....."

We were loaded, finally, only 30 minutes behind our drop-dead, have-to-be on the road time (pretty good for us!), everyone was in their places, even the dog and.....................nothing.  Dead battery.
Oh, knew I forgot something this week!

We've been having problems with the battery in the Yukon.  I've had to use my OnStar service several times to get my battery jump started.  I really meant to get that taken care of this week........
However, two sick children, travelling husband, very torn up house, and a very tired momma, and it just didn't happen.
But, we have a new battery NOW!  After the nice Pop-A-Lock man came to my house again (we've been on speed dial), my sweet DH toddled off to Sears to get a new battery installed.

We'll try again in the morning, at an insanely early time, to make it over the highway and down the road, to Louisiana to Nana's house in time for Thanksgiving dinner at 12:30 pm.

I am thankful for all of you, friends, and thankful to the Lord for the blessings He has given me in family and friends.

Hope you all have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving holiday with the special people in your life!

(told you it's never boring at my house!  ;-} )