Monthly Archives: October 2015

Next Sewing Project

I am waiting on some supplies and a fabric decision from a client to start the next projects. 

She saw my bag when I was in California a few weeks ago. 

‘Carp’ Slouchy Hobo bag, handmade by me

In the meantime, I decided to attempt another prototype for a cross body bag. I love the big slouchy hobo bag, especially in knit night. Just one thing to carry. I have decided it still needs a few tweaks, such as a magnet snap closure and a nice brand label. I have a bit of experimenting to do. 

But plant shopping last week was a bit awkward. I definitely need a sturdy cross body bag that I can sling out of my way and have two free hands to carry around pots. 

Some thought on the cross body bag:

  • Enlarge bag pattern I made for Mom (maybe)
  • Change the strap attachment to a tab and D ring
  • Make the outer pocket a zipper
  • Add a zipper interior pocket
  • Use a lighter color lining
  • Use a textured vinyl for the exterior

Delay that thought for another week. 

The client has made a decision. So excited to be working on this next one.  She pick fabric called Utter Madness. It’s a soft textured microfiber. 

Client fabric choices…hmmm…Which one is Utter Madness?

Next task…finding the right lining and trim. 

Zigzagging with the Season

I am focusing on the front yard this month. 

Nothing like being the one in the neighborhood with a degree in horticulture and the ugliest yard. 

My excuse: I’m a California girl, meaning I’m a whimp around mosquitos, the extreme heat/humidity and cold weather AND I only know west coast plants. 

The yard was the worse eyesore all summer due to my absence and lack of water. Since I am back home, more than less AND there is little time left this year to do something. This is it. 

The gardener that knows most of the neighborhood is doing all the manual stuff. I’m a DYIer but this is too big a project for me. 

Plans (sketch) have been submitted and approved by the HOA.  

  • Remove the existing loose stone retaining wall and lawn. 
  • Create a 15″ masonry stone wall that extends all the way to the sidewalk. 
  • Change the irrigation system to drip. 
  • Add more shade loving shrubs, perennials and annuals. 

I am waiting on the gardener for a bid on some options he wants to include. 

  • He wants to remove the big crepe myrtles on the corners and move the big magnolias by the front door out to the corners. And then add weeping cherries flanking the front door. Sounds too ambitious to me. 
  • He wants to use brick, that matches the house, instead of stone. I like the idea but cost will be the determinant factor. 

I’ve started the fun part, shopping for the shrubs. 

I might have to wait until spring to put in perennials. 

Chat with you next week.  


Road trip: California

This trip was all about family.

Mom, Sister & I flew to the Bay Area for a memorial service for Dad. I have to say, organizing such a thing, long distance is a lot more complicated and difficult. Sister did a great job being the point person in all of this. 

My sister-in-law flew in from the Midwest just a few minutes after our flight. She drove us around the first day. My Hubby drove up from Los Angeles (he was in the middle of a west coast business trip). 

Cousins, aunties & uncles came. Mom is now the eldest in our family. Lots of local friends came. A surprising number really, considering we left California ten years ago. Mom felt like she did very well remembering everyone’s name. My favorite surprise guest was the ring bearer from my parents wedding!

A rare quiet moment at the water

We took every opportunity to view the ocean. Every morning, Hubby and I kept up our walking. 

Sunrise shadow selfies

 My cousin drove us down to Los Angeles to visit with more family and friends. 


Mom’s new favorite shawl

One friend works downtown L.A.  He’s 91 years old and quite a character. Wish I took pictures. Missed that opportunity. 


Rare clear sky view of downtown Los Angeles


Last sunrise walk in Los Angeles


Flying over San Monica

This trip was good for Mom.  

Now it’s time to recover. Jet lag has spun my body clock. I’ve been waking up at 3 am and needing a nap by 8.

Chat with you later. I’m heading back to bed. 



Another ZigZag: I’m Dyeing 

I’m dyeing for fun. Oh My God, I had SO MUCH FUN. 

We just finished the natural dye workshop, the Memphis Botanuc Garden, that I mentioned in the post about hunting pokeweed. Melissa Petersen was the instructor, who I met at the Workshop on the River weekend. 

Here’s the bounty from this past weekend. It’s all going to be pictures.  

Attendees to natural dye workshop

Melissa Petersen, natural dye instructor

Months of prep work, dried coreopsis, marigold


harlequin glorybower


shibori experiment on silk crepe de chine scarf


Silk crepe de chine scarf shibori tied, in harlequin glorybower. Needs a longer dyebath.


Mid-process of fresh (red) & fermented (purples) poke weed


Fingering weight superwash wool, natural dyed in fresh pokeweed


Lace weight alpaca/merino natural grey, natural dyed in fresh pokeweed. Felted the wool a bit in the rinse.


Lace weight merino, natural dyed in fermented pokeweed. Color variation from different mordant batches. This was the biggest surprise in color change.


Fingering weight superwash merino, natural dyed in black bean. Definitely the easiest to do at home.


Overdyed with black walnut KnitPicks Alpaca Shimmer (Sorry, no before pictures. It was a peach mauve. I might want to make it darker.)

   If you are interested in dabbling in natural dyes, Melissa is leading another workshop at the Dixon Gallery, October 31.  

Chat next week