Friday, January 25, 2013

Life Throwing Challenges

We bought a new home after being here several years, after living in corporate (furnished) rental, after selling our home in another state (11 hour drive) 2 years ago, and after putting almost all our worldly possessions into storage where they remained those 2 years.

It's our dream retirement home, in a beautiful small town, atop a knoll, with views of the mountains out front and a lovely landscaped yard. One story. A great patio out back. Perfect for downsizing our newly empty nest. Perfect in every way, except that it needs a new a/c unit shortly. In light of that, we bartered with the former owner for the new guest room suite (she had tried to rent the house prior to selling and had beautifully furnished it). So we have the king size bed and head board and the dresser, lamps, table and she left the photos and decorative little boxes. A cute room.

I mention this for a reason.

After living in corporate rental for years, I was so excited to get my own things back, to enjoy and to decorate, to be ME! If you've ever spent any length of time with someone else's things, you'll understand. Moving day was set for September 6, 2012. The moving truck pulled up right on time, 9am sharp.

Then my world came crashing down.

This was the first item off the moving truck. It is the only thing I have of my dad's who died when I was 12 years old.

We halted the move after a few more items came off the truck in the same condition. Sent everything back 11 hours the other direction.

And have been fighting for justice ever since. Living in an almost empty home (we had bought a recliner and rocking chair over the last year or so). We had the guest room bedroom to sleep in. A friend had lent us a dinette set. No carpets, photos, pictures, dressers, tables, lamps...or any of those hundreds of other items that make a house a home.

I had opportunity in November to drive the 11 hours to inspect the goods with an inspector and hygienist sent by the insurance company representing the movers. We were advised to never ever bring anything "soft" or upholstered into our home. All beds, sofas, chairs, rugs, books - all ruined beyond redemption. The hardwood pieces (and we have several antiques) might possibly be cleaned (at great expense).

Two weeks ago, the movers insisted we remove our belongings as they were leasing the building and the lease was running out (or something) so the things are with me here, in storage units.

Before Christmas break, in anticipation of my daughter coming home for a month, a friend brought us a futon and also insisted we borrow the furniture that used to be in her church's foyer. So now we have a sofa, end tables and lamps and area rug. I picked up a coffee table at a local second hand shop.

I am in the process of locating an attorney in our former state (this is proving to be quite difficult) to take our case as the insurance company has denied all claims based on mold/water damage and the owner blames US because this has never happened to him before. Nice, eh? Sigh.

Through all this, I've lost my mojo. Lost my joy. Lost my creativity. Lost my zeal. I've felt like a ghost of my former self. My health has suffered as well, my blood pressure soaring and now being monitored by my physician.

Yesterday, I decided to look at fabric again. Just getting a wee niggling of desire to sew. I had tried to sew in November but ended up ruining a beautiful piece of fabric: I ended up with a perfectly fine vest, but after cutting, realized I had wanted to make a skirt out of that material. Wearing the vest annoys me rather than bringing joy. I realized my thinking is skewed and it would be best to leave well enough alone until I was thinking more clearly.

I think I went into shock.

So, yesterday, I pulled out a piece of fabric and was musing about whether to make a long or short skirt and came here, to my blog, to blog about it and seek suggestions.

When I discovered that my photos had disappeared in my absence. Seeking help on Stitcher's Guild (that wonderful group of sewists), I was able to recreate my header, side bar, and latest post. I'm not sure if I'll take the time to recreate the other posts...maybe I will over time. For now, I'm going to look forward and not back.

In keeping with that, I'm trying to delegate the moldy furniture to mornings only, working to call attorneys, write emails etc, and then walk away from it for the rest of the day. It's hard to do because the empty house is so "in my face" but I need to find peace and health. I need to start swimming again as well, and have been to the pool several times in the last couple of weeks (of course it turned bitterly cold these last two weeks and the thought of being cold and wet has stopped me from keeping a regular schedule).

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we weave through the process. I hope to do some sewing soon, and if I do, I'll keep you posted!

And lest you think all I do is mope, we put up bird feeders the first of the year and have been enjoying our visitors. I took this parting shot yesterday.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lime-Orange Twist Vogue 8805

 Line Art

I happen to have collected several beautiful pieces of linen in white and lime green which happen to coordinate beautifully. I had to edit choices carefully, leaving out a solid white and a stripe with wide green strips interspersed with yellow which made the bright white look muddy.  I planned to insert a cording made with the solid green at the yoke.
I added a back seam, correctly guessing a zipper would be essential in order for the dress to slip on.
A trip to my local quilt shop for a zipper opened possibilities to me, even though zipper pickings at a quilt shop are quite basic. I auditioned several zipper colors (after rejecting the idea of an invisible zipper): a perfectly matching lime green, a darker green, and a white. Each of these choices were quite adequate, but I kept feeling that a green color--way was playing too safe for a fun summer sun dress when I pulled out the bright orange and a darker, burnt orange. The brighter orange was the clear choice.
I imagined an orange exposed zipper – inserted on the outside of the dress. Orange thread was chosen for top stitching the zipper – thinking of the exposed zipper would need to matching thread. Right before leaving the shop, my eye found the very last package of large orange rick rack. Imagine my glee when it happened to be an exact match with the zipper!

So I had zipper, rick rack, orange thread, to go with the three fabric choices. I was starting to think I was making a clown’s outfit and fought the temptation to leave the shop with alternative, safer color choices. Once home, I had to carefully consider using orange elements sparingly. I overcame the thought to add orange edge stitching at every seam intersection. Less, in this case, was sufficient.
Quick construction notes:
1. I remembered, while cutting, to be sure to check the placement of large motifs over the bust.
2. I matched the rick rack across the zipper. I measured the placement of the rick rack (took an hour, I’m sure) but still managed to insert it a bit wonky which seems more exaggerated in the photo than in real life.

3. I inserted the zipper on the exterior, hated it, ripped it out the next day, a difficult task due to the washable basting tape I had used. It was too much orange, too large, too bulky, just too much all together!
4. I hand basted and then hand-picked the zipper in place. I give up trying to make a machine stitched zipper look good.
5. I took extra effort to match seam lines where the floral linen meets the solid green.

6. I overcame last minute temptation to bind the neckline in one of the other linen choices in stash. I did make a bias binding of the floral, but used it to bind the inside of the neckline.
7. Oh – this ought to have been mentioned earlier – I added a back seam so that I could use the zipper. I correctly realized that the dress needed a zipper in order to slip on. Even this zipper is a few inches too short and I need to wiggle quite a bit to get into this. (photos  of me wearing it posted tomorrow)
8. I underlined the white floral linen as it is loosely woven…and, being white, more transparent than I like. I did not line the dress – summers are hot here.
9. Edited to add: I changed the shape of the neckline. The original pattern has a small neckline opening, which looks lovely. It’s just simply too annoying and cloying for me to have a tighter neckline during summer heat. I need to feel what air and breezes might come my way.
I think the  lines of this dress is flattering and will likely make another. Or two.