Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I enjoy chatting over the internet with a 4 year-old niece on Skype. She is a real talker and loves to make faces at me and tell me about her day. Many times we sing the "Wheels on the Bus" song and sometimes we favour the "On Top of Spaghetti" ditty.
Last night I decided to kick it up a notch by starting to write comical booklets for her. I will write a line of text at the bottom of each page and allow her to colour the illustration above. Yeah, I've been known to sketch a picture or two in my day.
I want to start with a fictitious character who will be in her same swimming lesson level. I hope to write, draw and later read the story to her over Skype. THEN I will mail it to her for the colouring part. (I wonder if she will mind being my partner?)
If all goes according to plan, the next booklet will use a character with the same name as her, then an aunt or cousin... I hope she will see the humour of having her dad's name used as a puppy character and later a spider with the same moniker as another family member. I will be Karen the Kangaroo, because, lets face it, how many animals start with a letter K?
I have some paper that has been rescued from the garbage, so I'm planning a semi-green project here! There are even some binders at home that are empty, so they may be used to help her store HER stories!
Now, I face the blank white page, willing the creative juices to flow....
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Luckily my addiction to tea cosies doesn't add calories to my intake like an addiction to lattes or chocolate would do.
I would be a happy camper if I sewed a tea cosy every week and could find a home for them. Many of my friends and relatives have a cosy of my design as either a birthday gift or a present from Christmas.
I have never purchased a pattern for making these things. I've designed them usually with the measurements of a specific tea pot in mind. (Hmmmm, teapots! Another of my favourite topics!)
The most simple design for a tea cosy is like the capital letter "D" if you think of it laying on the flat side.
A) I take a fabric measuring tape and make a circle to see the size of the bottom opening. Does your teapot need 20" or 24" or maybe more if you have a large brown Betty teapot? Allow the measuring tape to easily glide over the tea pot handle and spout. It is better err on the side of a too large cosy rather than one that catches each time it is put on!
B) Your next measurement is from the base of the teapot to the top of the lid. Measure from the table to a generous extra inch above the teapot. This is the minimum height of the cosy pattern.
Half the circumference of your "A' or first measurement plus a 5/8" seam allowance on each side is the measurement for the flat bottom of your paper pattern.
From the line you have just drawn, use your second measurement, "B", ( the height of the teapot) and add 5/8' below the first drawn line and 5/8" above the measurement. Draw a mark vertically to design a shape that looks like this: ____I____
On this paper, you will have to design a big letter "D" but remember to allow for the teapot spout on one side and the handle on the opposite side. I like to draw straight up from the base line "A" and I only start to curve once I feel the spout and handle are covered.
(Do not draw a straight line from the horizontal to the vertical line! That would make a triangle, and the spout and handle don't fit under a triangle!)
You may cut out your paper pattern after you have double checked that there are seam allowances on the top, two sides and along the bottom.
1) Lay the pattern over a folded fabric that you want as your outside (pretty/ designer) fabric.
2) Use the paper pattern again on a folded fabric (use as dark as possible) to be 2 pieces of lining. This often gets tea stained! Yuck. I use navy, black or chocolate colours as my linings.
3) Cut out 2 more pieces of silver-sided insulcloth. It is sold to be used in the making of jackets and winter wear. It is even sold at most Walmarts. (Shiny silver on one side, a bonded felt-like fiber on the other.)
So, you've used your paper pattern three times and you have 6 pieces of fabric that all look like a capital letter D! (give yourself a small round of applause!)
I pin one pretty/ designer fabric and one insulcloth piece together with the wrong side of the designer against the felt side of the insulcloth.
Do this for the other piece of pretty fabric and insulcloth.
You can baste them so that 4 pieces can be reduced to 2 "D" shapes.
Sew one designer piece to one lining piece along the straight edge.
Sew the other designer piece to the last lining piece in the same way.
You now have two semi-round fabric pieces!
Place the right sides of the fabric together matching the two stitched seams.
Sew around the outside of the semi-circle, but leave 4or 6" open to allow you to turn it inside out. I leave the opening at the top of the lining fabric.
Turn your project inside out. Push the lining inside the pretty designer fabric to make it into a hat shape. Hand stitch the lining opening closed.
To finish your tea cosy, sew a tassle, a button or a plastic drapery ring to the very top to act as the handle. I suppose a cute satin ribbon bow would be another pretty way to finish off this homemade project.
If you would like to sew a clam shell styled tea cosy. Drop me a line. The clam shell opens from the top and the spout and teapot handle sticks out. Only the sides of the teapot are covered. The teapot sits on fabric with this design and could be a bit tippy if the base is sewn too bulky.
.... and you thought you joined Spark People to learn only about exercise, a healthy diet and how to add fiber to your intake!! (smirk)
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Today was a step-by-step process that went from good, to better and then to BEST.
At first, I didn't really want to go shopping at Costco today. It is Sunday, and I can do some shopping later in the week. But my partner wanted to go for the drive and to get some items into the house before the work week started. OK, I went.
It was a lovely drive without more rain (which has been the habit these days.) We purchased some groceries and for some reasons, DH wanted to buy 3 whole chickens. I protested, "We don't NEED three whole chickens." He suggested that he do one on the BBQ for supper, another was for the crock pot and the last one could go in the freezer. How could I argue with that sort of logic? We bought the chickens.
When we got home I put all the food away, I got some organization complete and the first chicken did indeed end up on the barbecue. It was cooked in record time too.
I suggested that I put it in the oven on low until it was dinner time and I put two of the largest potatoes beside the bird. I let them all simmer this afternoon.
Isn't that a calm and domestic story so far???
Our neighbour, Shirley was outside while we were "unloading" groceries (in the driveway) and she looked a bit ruffled. She explained that her hubby had taken a bad turn this week and suffered an angina attack and that his breathing is laboured due to the damp weather. Merle has asthma very badly.
We had an Aaa-hhaa moment! Why not lend Shirley and Merle our dehumidifier? We find it improved the living quality in our home and it would be an improvement for our neighbour's breathing.
DH and I took the appliance over and set it up. We explained how much moisture it would likely remove during the day. The dehumidifier would not spill over and it can be moved around their living space whenever they wanted to try it in another room.
Our neighbours looked relieved, they thanked us and they looked just a tiny bit better ' in their ruffled' state. We suggested that they needed a healthy chicken dinner tonight... we didn't need an entire chicken-- and besides, it was ready to go as soon as they were ready for supper!
You should have seen the relief in Shirley's face! She tried unconvincingly to protest, but we could see that she had been under emmense pressure this week with hospital visiting and getting Merle's prescriptions filled.
At five p.m. we marched over with a roast pan of chicken, a pot of green beans, another of carrots and the huge potatoes cut into four pieces.
They has set the table and put on the kettle... and it was heavenly!!
Merle gave thanks for the food and friendship. We were thrilled to share our Costco 'treats & treasures' and Shirley got to relax in the comfort of her own home. It was warm, friendly and just seemed ordained to have happened just this way.
Were we following some still and quiet voice today? Was it meant to happen and fall into place?
I don't know, but I am certainly delighted that sometimes it just comes together as easy as all of that!
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