Saturday, February 28, 2015

First Signs of Spring in Atherton

Before I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, I associated magnolias with the American South. Magnolias grow and bloom like crazy around here too, they love the mild Mediterranean climate. I especially enjoy these blossoms every year, when they pop up in front of the tiny Atherton Library.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Cold War History - Hiking Sweeney Ridge

It's easy to see why this ridge
with it's views of Pacifica and beyond
was chosen as a military lookout
during the Cold War
During the Cold War, the U.S.  planted missiles on high view sites, looking out over the ocean, on the hunt for imagined terror from Russia. This Nike Missile Control Site was abandoned by the military in 1974. Nowadays, the installation is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). Recently we hiked up Sweeney Ridge (between San Bruno and Pacifica) to view one of these sites.
The Guard Shack and High Power Acquistion Radar Station now serve as base material for local graffiti artists.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ench By Sew-029: The Importance of Scrap

This show is created, produced and brought to you by Laurel Shimer.
Izzie the Teenage Tabby Says ....
There's no doubt about the value and importance of scrap!

Forget about analyzing scraps, Laurel
Let's just play!

A cada quien su gustoTo each her own

As well as being useful and cost effective, using up the Scrap from our garment sewing, opens up a world of personal creativity, as well 
Coming up with different ideas for utilizing my scraps, keeps me . . .  Enchanted by Sewing.

Listening Option I) You can listen to the show right on the web (while sewing perhaps?:-) by 
clicking on this link

Listen to the Audio right on the web (no need to download)

~ OR ~
Listening Option II)  Click on this link to iTunes  to download this and other Enchanted by Sewing shows to your mobile device (iPhone, Android, etc.) free from iTunes

The Enchanted by Sewing Podcast is, an extension of my regular sewing blog - Me Encanta Coser,  ( which,  roughly translated means, Enchanted By Sewing

My blog is written in English. The name celebrates the historical and modern use of the beautiful Spanish Language in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, where I live.

This month’s show  is  

Please *Rate* the Enchanted by Sewing Podcast on itunes, to help other sewists find it.

Email me at

* * *
Clearly, scrap is important to the newest member of our household, Izzie the teenaged tabby cat.

Scraps are just as important to me as they are to any cat. Working with scrap, gets my mental processes humming,in ways not so different than they do for Izzie. I have a habit of going to my scrap bins when I feel the need to get a little jolt of playfulness. That’s something I think our young cat can relate to.

I like to work on my scrap habit. It’s good for the planet, and it reminds me that I don’t always have to purchase a new product, 
to make something useful, fun or really beautiful. To top it all off,  focusing on playing, oh I mean experimenting!, with my scrap,
gives me a chance to build more neural pathways - It sparks my creative juices, just like it does for Izzie the Teenaged Tabby Cat. 

 A cada quien su gusto! Or, maybe you say To each her own!

Izzie says, Just get out the scrap, let’s play!

Here’s what I talk about, in this month’s show, “The importance of scrap”, recorded in February of 2015

1) Pensamientos Primeros
Scrap – Rags, Patches and Snips.  How useful a sewists leftovers can be!

Scraps are sewing leftovers. I call some of my  larger scraps, remnants, These are scraps, from which, I might still make another tee shirt, a camisole or  maybe a tote bag or little purse .  

Entonces/Then there are the smaller remnents odds and ends– not big enough for a whole garment, but quite useful for a variety 
of projects and make -do challenges. 

Finally there are my snips – tiny bits and pieces, and strips that are just too pretty to toss. These bits and pieces are what really bring my creativity to life.
 * * *

I'm sorry I lost the link to this site.
I remember it was a public site in Australia

 Yup that’s me singing that old hit, "Ragg Mopp" , once sung by the Tenriers and the Aames Bros. Rags might be considered kind of  lowly to some folks, but in fact these leftovers have been important for a lot more than wiping up spills and polishing cars throughout history. Rag mops and rag rugs are just a few of those very utilitarian, and sometimes beautiful ways to repurpose strips of old or new fabric.

1. Ragg Mopps and Raggggg Rugggggs
iii. Nice link to Little House Living a woman who makes her own rag rugs for her own home.

According to this link, rag mops are the best mop in the world, and the author says the that professionial cleaners in many countries swear by them.

 I’d love to hear from listeners who’ve made either of these raggy kind of projects. How patient do you have to be? I’m thinking of trying out something more basic along these lines like coasters. Could you maybe braid and curl up hot pads from repurposed scrap or old clothes?

Follow the Drinking Gourd - The Spiritual

SewRuth, who I think hails from Ireland, had several ideas I hadn’t thought of. She had some very nice photos and how-to for belts, covered jewlery - bracelets, watch straps  and embellishment for handbags.. I’m going to revisit the tutorial part of that posting when I think about making a belt from scrap I also really liked her idea about making an obi .That posting is definitely worth a visit if you’re into using up your scrap in an artistic way. 

Sew Ruth Wee Scraps -

Me Encanta Coser - Using Up Scraps

A couple of postings about the buttercup purse pattern, including a free pattern link
Embellishing a buttercup purse with tatting

Do you love butter? In Praise of the Buttercup Purse.

Pinterest - Sewing Fabric Flowers

2) Entonces/Then - Technicos – How I sew appliqué
I have my own way of doing a somewhat deconstructed appliqué

AngelLea has her own ideas

3) Pensamientos Finales/Final Thoughts – A Story of Scrap 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Black Cloche Straw - My New Everyday Downton Abbey Hat

Inspiration for my new black straw cloche
came from several of  the Downton Abbey hats I've pinned on my
Hats and Other Millinery board
This is one of three hats I made in a fantastic 3-day hat blocking workshop in Wayne Wichern's Burlingame studio. earlier in the month. I've got a tiny bit more sewing to finish off the trim on one other, and will be posting about that, and the other I made, soon in this blog (when I score some cute photos - which is always such a challenge!)

When I pin different hats on my " Hats and Other Millinery" board on Pinterest, I often notice people saying that they wished they had reasons to wear hats, or that hats looked right with the clothes they actually wear as modern folks. I like making hats that actually do fit in with my life style. This black straw cloche has already gone on a number of walks with me and I loved wearing it. Yup, I still put on my SPF 50 sunscreen too!

This cloche, and one of the other hats I made at Wayne's, are definitely inspired by ones I saw on Downton Abbey. I brought photos from my pinterest board into class with me and Wayne helped me pick out hat blocks from his collection of nearly 1,000 vintage hat forms, to find similarly styled blocks. For my third hat I chose a combination of two blocks to create a classic fedora. All three hats are absolutely practical for my modern day life, and will be heading out on many walks with me, just like the ones that Sybil, Mary and Edith wore daily at Downton Abbey.

This is the second class I've taken with Wayne. I blogged about the first one which I took at Cañada College last year, in my post, Matters Millinery. Am I planning more visits with Wayne? Oh yes! He has open labs for folks who've taken these three day labs, and I already have hopes of making a 30's inspired visor in a colorful wool.

Wayne Wichern''s studio is in Burlingame is in the San Francisco Bay Area - on the Penninsula near the San Francisco Airport. Classes like Wayne's aren't a typical activity in most areas. If I lived outside the area, I'd consider setting aside funds to take a mini vacation for one of these workshops. He usually teaches them once a month. You can email him to discuss integrating one of his classes into your schedule. And let me know if you're coming!
~ ~ ~
Web Resources

Matters Millinery

My "Hats and Other Millinery" board on Pinterest

Wayne's Workshop Schedule - Burlingame CA (San Mateo County, San Francisco Bay Area)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Crazed Blooms - Hidden Souls
Early Spring Sings At The Creek
Sixties Children Tune

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Field Trip: Hoover Tower Hovers Above Stanford University

Hoover Tower Hovers above The Quad at Stanford University
We must study war,
And revolution to show,
That peace can work out

Completed in 1941, Hoover Tower is a research facility and library to study war, revolution and peace. You can climb up the tower, as I did this last week, to take  in fantastic ariel  views of Stanford Campus and the surrounding peninsula, for a few dollars.