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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon

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Friday, April 12, 2019

Flypaper thoughts almost home edition

  •  Day after tomorrow we will be back on my street
  • Already doing some re-entry adjusting
  • Wondering if there will be mouse poop under my pillow like there was two years ago
  • This year I took my pillows with me
  • Tried to debrief our time away with my husband tonight
  • What did you enjoy best I asked?
  • Well everything he said
  • It was all great
  • That man enjoys himself no matter what
  • But that doesn’t lead to in depth debriefs
  • So I will do that with you
  • I learned a lot
  • For instance that there is a real bird called a road runner who runs around Texas
  • At top speed, including through our campsite
  • Identical to how they look in the old cartoon
  • Can’t say that about everything
  • I learned that if you decide you need a haircut and you are in the middle of nowhere
  • The dog scissors, an RV bathroom, and no glasses
  • Are not an ideal combination
  • If you had to have two out of the three I would say to keep the glasses for sure
  • And go for the mirror a probably
  • Try to sub the dog scissors
  • Might not be doing head shots in my next round of garment photos
  • I learned that the ticks you catch on your arm
  • Really look a lot like the pictures in the doctor’s office
  • And that Texas is absolutely full of wildflowers in the spring
  • Even the cacti
  • Completely amazing
  • The desert does bloom
  • I learned that it really is possible to be flat out doing next to nothing
  • So you can just stop worrying about that one right now
  • Retirement is covered
  • I learned that cowboy boots actually look pretty sharp with summer dresses
  • And that I absolutely have to get some next year
  • And that the age you really shouldn’t been wearing them
  • Is probably the exact same age when you no longer care
  • I learned that the sight of a granddaughter who is completely and absolutely identical
  • To her father when he was the exact same age, yesterday
  • Is both comforting and awe inspiring
  • And exactly what you were meant to see this time round
  • Now it makes sense
  • I learned that any place called a Washeteria probably has dryers that only do High Heat
  • And that there is no fabric on earth that doesn’t shrink or pill
  • But that there is so much entertainment at the Washeteria that this seems like a small price
  • Besides that 85 year old man who assured me he was a cowboy
  • Thought I had class
  • You go where you can get it
  • I learned that it is possible to be very happy with your spouse
  • In a very small space for two months
  • If he is a very good cook
  • And you are knitting
  • I learned that the sound of rain on a metal roof is still sweet
  • And the stars are still there
  • And marshmallows burnt on the outside
  • Beat any dessert anywhere else
  • And that you just pull the twigs off
  • If you need to
  • I learned that showers don’t have to be long
  • That leaving your watch at home is fine
  • That going for an after work walk with a son
  • Is worth the 2,500 miles it took to get there
  • But most of all
  • That if you let everything just stop
  • It doesn’t matter one bit

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Tulsa Vintage Sewing Machine Museum

My husband coordinating with the blue machines and purple fabrics
I took a lot of pictures in my visit to this museum and I will try to post as many as I can here, with annotations, before Blogger becomes saturated.

No particular order here. The over whelmingness I felt faced with nearly a thousand machines, many, many of them set up ready for test sewing, will become apparent.


Here we go. The operating hours can be erratic, this is the creation of one man who was having his lunch in his truck when we arrived but who helpfully told us where the hidden key was so we let ourselves in.


The entry arch, made from salvaged machines from a landfill



Wall art made from flywheels.


Do you recognize these? Some more wall art made from throat plates


Such neat and tidy industrial design


A well known name in industrial machines this time in a domestic model, beautiful metal dials and some zippy mid century modern detailing


Amazing the number of different sewing machine manufacturers


An accessory cupboard

Love the colour and the presentation

Neck really seemed to play around with alternate ideas, note here the work area is on the inside of the machine


Theses rotating throat plates for different stitches in the Necchi machines are crazy but interesting


An industrial leather machine


Industrial embroidery machine


 A tiny white featherweight in the room of children's machines


Another child's machine


And another one, note the care in display


My heart stopped when I saw this. 

When I was 8 years old our neighbour across the street gave me one exactly like this - she had brought it with her from Czechoslovakia. It made a chain stitch, no bobbin, and was held to the kitchen table (Formica) with one of my dad's vices from the garage. I turned the handle and poured out a ton of doll clothes that I sold to the neighbourhook kids for a nickel or a dime until the local mothers marched down and shut down my sweatshop.

It made a very nice stitch.


A baby treadle



One of the delights of the museum is the care in presentation. Here a row of pink machines on a pink shelf

The blue wall, my favourite

A lovely lady who came a very long way for my class.



Monday, April 8, 2019

Flypaper thoughts somewhere in Arkansas version


  • First thing big thank you for all who supported me doing more writing here
  • Means a lot
  • Mostly still going to be writing about sewing because mostly do a lot of sewing
  • I have some ideas for novels but have a lot of projects to get done first
  • So I will share some concepts and maybe you can write it up
  • Open source plots
  • Thing you have to know is all of these are true
  • Do not know how someone writes a whole book of made up stuff
  • When real life is so dense with the unbelievable
  • Idea for murder mystery one:
  • A history professor notices an odd smell in his office
  • Calls building maintenance
  • They unscrew the air vent in the wall
  • There, upside down, and considerable dehydrated
  • Is long time missing university person
  • Upside down and looking back at them
  • Well sort of
  • Verdict that the mummified individual
  • Was a suicide
  • Who had gone up onto the roof and done themselves in by throwing themselves down the air vent
  • Which narrowed six floors down at the history department
  • Personally I would have considered other scenarios
  • And did at the time
  • But second year students
  • Are rarely called in for forensic consults
  • Now teaching second year students
  • I can see the point
  • But still
  • Maybe I better space out the plots between posts
  • There is only so much reality we can all cope with
  • Going home from a really wonderful visit with my stateside family
  • Back to where I understand they had more snow today
  • But there is always something relaxing about going back to Nova Scotia
  • A place that runs on favours
  • To the point you run your life counting on it
  • However unreasonable this is as a life tactic
  • Example
  • Found a cool sewing thing on our equivalent of Craiglist today
  • From a part of the province long way from me
  • On a whim I messaged and said
  • I am in an RV in Arkansas but my niece works in a hospital near you
  • Well my niece works there too she said
  • Of course she does
  • I haven’t actually seen what’s she’s selling and she hasn’t seen the money
  • But it is niece guaranteed
  • Done
  • Tulsa is a nice town too
  • Quietest city I have ever been in
  • And who knew it was a masterpiece of Art Deco architecture?
  • Do they film movies there?
  • They should
  • Wonderful experience teaching at the Vintage Sewing adventure
  • One lady, I am talking about you Marilyn Sweet, drove 400 miles to meet up
  • We could have talked all day
  • The people sewing has introduced me to are everything that matters
  • And the Vintage Sewing Museum made a big impression on me too
  • More than the David in Florence (looked to me like a kid)
  • And the British museum
  • Which has a pretty nice collection for sure
  • But really
  • The Vintage Sewing Museum has a whole wall of only blue machines
  • And shelves of blue fabric to test sew
  • And Miles Davis playing the blues right there too
  • I mean really
  • How can you compete with that?
  • Once I am off this Arkansas highway and can download all my pictures
  • I am going to show it to you
  • Prepared to be amazed
  • Some of those machines are bigger than you think

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Berkeley sewing

When I was in Berkeley last week I was able to deliver a few things I have made.

Here is the BBQ shirt I made for my oldest son. I has a beautiful saying hidden in the waves, he is a sailor, in fact my favourite saying of all time -smooth seas don't make for skilled sailors.




I think I got the fit just a about right on this one. And as always pleased with the print matching on the pocket, my speciality.

I was also able to finally deliver two dresses I made for my daughter-in-law with fabric I got from Stonemountain in December:




Maddie is absolutely gorgeous and she loves this dress, but I decided she needed a square shoulder adjustment to make the front hang right so I did that while I was there and it really made a difference. She will wear this with heels and the length will be right then too.

I have a book at home in which I write down everyone's measurements as they evolve and figure notes. When I go home I am going to put down, Maddie has square shoulders.

Of course when I was there Maddie and I went back to Stonemountain fabrics. The baby needed some pants and we picked out some nice knits. Since I brought a vintage Bernina to leave there I was able to set it up on the dining room table and sew and chat. It was a lovely time for Maddie, baby Anika and I to share. I loved it.

I really like fabric shopping with Maddie because she has such an eye for fabric and can see things that I can't see. For instance she chose this rust knit and striped knit for a little hip baby suit and I think it looks so great:


Of course I have to say that Anika is a doll. I am not sure how they did it, except of course both my son and daughter-in-law are the nicest parents, but this baby smiles all the time.

I have a theory that people are born with their dispositions, and this one was born happy, there is just no other way to put it.

Boy am I lucky to have these guys!