House Call

We wanted to sew a dinosaur hoodie for Charlie.  The sewing machine stopped sewing on my last visit.

Googled and found  Sewing Machine Repair-Columbus OH in your home.

Steve arrived in less than an hour. Fixed the broken bobbin case and bracket, added a ballpoint needle and gave my daughter and me a tutorial on what went wrong. And how to maintain it. Sews like a dream and no lugging it to a shop or waiting.

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Maria Bakes Peach Cookies

Maybe you’ve been to a celebration and seen the fancy cookies that look exactly like a peach?

Meet Maria Costa.  If you live in Pittsburgh and need alterations on just about any fabric or piece clothing,upholstery or some throw pillows to match your couch, Maria is a seamstress.

But on Thursday she was baking peach cookies for her grandson’s First Holy Communion.

The first step.  Another day she’ll be cooking a vanilla pudding and filling the two halves of a ” peach”,  “gluing” them together with a finger of the filling spread on the bottoms and rolling the joined cookies in Peach Schnapps and then granulated sugar. She might add a leaf or two but no pretend stem as someone once choked on one. (Survived)

I was picking up my friend Barb to go to the art store and she asked if I could pick her up at Maria’s home instead of her house. I thought I was just picking her up.  Turns out Barb and Maria been baking all morning and Barb was taking good notes.  I was thrilled to smell the tempting baking aroma and see part of the process of the baking of the peach cookies.

They’d spent the morning baking. The dough used fifteen eggs as she thought they were on the small side but the recipe calls for a dozen!

I saw the giant wooden spoon she used to make the stiff dough. Mixers have been broken previously.

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Another day Maria will cook the filling and put the two hard halves of the peach together.  Roll them in Peach Schnappes( a hint of rosy food coloring added) and then confectioner’s sugar.  Each “peach” will rest in a pretty pleated cupcake paper on a platter.

Maria showed us the seedlings starting in her backyard garden.  Her fig tree.

Maria pointed out the province where she’s from- Calabria- Vibo Valentia   Italy

I hope I get invited with my friend to see the rest of the process in making the fancy peach cookies.  It was really nice to be welcomed into her kitchen.  The heart of her home.

Button Up in Green

Somehow I can’t stop myself from photographing all things green this week. Today at the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival, I stopped at the vintage buttons booth.

Thanks Michelle from Dusty’s Vintage Buttons from South Carolina.  I’d offer a link but she doesn’t have one. You have to catch her next year at the festival.  She started collecting when she got buttons from a friend’s grandmother and hasn’t stopped.

 

 

button up

 

1. Lit. to fasten one’s buttons. Your jacket’s open. You’d better button up. It’s cold. I’ll button up in the car.
2. Fig. to get silent and stay silent. (See also button (up) one’s lip.) Hey, button up! That’s enough out of you. I wish you would button up and stop gossiping.
See also: button, up
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

It is easy being green Weekly Photo Challenge

 

Each Color Has a Number

Embroidery Floss. 

You can see the faded  old labels and the new labels with the bar codes. 

I’m smocking again. Each color has a Number

There are 454 solid colors in this brand. 

Thought I’d organize them in the little plastic box with bobbins, labeling each number in the corresponding color 

Not exactly sure why-


An old musical box pillow I made when Laura was small. You know the tune it plays. 

Meet Malka- A Stitch in Dye

Austin, Texas is noted for live music and creative artists.

And stunning hand-dyed, uniquely-patterned fabrics, by Malka Dubrawsky. Touring her studio, I was reminded of my color theory class, studying Josef Albers.

In between wedding and celebrations, Colleen, who hails from Nova Scotia, made arrangements to meet Malka at her studio, A Stitch in Dye.

Colleen is an avid quilter and follows Malka’s blog.

The four of us piled in Joanne’s car and her son Chris, ferried us to A Stitch in Dye where Malka welcomed us and generously gave a tour of her studio.

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Malka Dubrawsky – Fiber Artist

26074255430_c07b8adf97_kMalka explained the dye process. We learned about the addition of soda ash.

Lengths of fabric soak in dye. Wax in electric frying pans for making the designs on the fabric

 

26321167766_3db3fc7cff_kWax design drying, ready for a dye bath

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Button jar

25741790244_61ef3cd42e_kJoanne spotted these gloves on a shelf.  Thanks J.

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Custom designs available and international shipping! Click for her Etsy Store to see samples of her vibrant hand dyed fabrics. She has written two books.

Color Your Cloth: A Quilter’s Guide to Dyeing and Patterning Fabric and Fresh Quilting: Fearless Color, Design, and Inspiration.

26347120015_67c1d4d60d_oLeft Handed Appliqué Scissors.

26321137986_7e4f2f7d75_kStacks of fabric to be sewn into quilt designs

26074218620_1663b13e6f_kThanks for a wonderful tour.  Malka saw us out to the parking lot.

Glad Colleen had such a cool connection in Austin.   The fabrics she bought were richly colored and fabulous designs. Can’t wait to see your quilt creation, Colleen. Send photos for upcoming blog post!

Sock Monkey Brothers

It’s been awhile since I’ve stitched up a sock monkey. The classic.

One for new baby grandson in Ohio and one for a friend of my sister in New York City.  The pairs of socks have been in the house a long time. Once I stitched on the faces, they seem to look at me and smile.

Both Anna and Jack have set up a crew of sock monkeys, told them to smile and photographed them. This evening I placed the newly completed monkeys on the couch in my living room. And took their picture

Very cooperative!

One of the smiles needs a bit of straightening out, I see upon examining the image.  Ooops.

And yes, my sister and I visited the Sock Monkey Museum in Rockford, Illinois when we were visiting relatives.  (The relatives live in Rockford, not the museum)

 

 

sock monkey duoSock monkey duo, going in different directions, more than 500 miles apart.

 

Here are some old sock monkey photos from previous blogs.

When I was a kid (c. 1958)my family lived in the city of Newark NJ. there was a Youth Consultation Service behind our house on Broad Street.  At least a dozen girls lived there and each girl had a handmade sock monkey.  My mom thought sock monkeys weren’t appealing but I always wanted one. Some people think they are ugly, others think they’re cute. These two have a bit of scrap flannel from the sock monkey pillowcases I stitched for the grandchildren for Christmas.  Going with a theme, here. That will be another post.

I don’t think I owned one until I stitched on in 1976.

The first sock monkey I ever made was for my son Mark (39),father to the grandchildren in the photos above. He name it the Doonie Monkey and it was stuffed with old stockings.  I use fiberfill now. And for some unknown reason, I never added a tail on his monkey.  He resides with the grandchildren in Ohio, too.
I’ve make pink and blue and purple monkeys but my favorite is the classic.

If you would like to make a sock monkey, there’s a terrific youtube tutorial by Professor Pincushion on how to make the classic monkey. I don’t add the ears or buttons on mine.

Weekly Photo Challenge: intricate

Intricate.   Complicated or detailed.  

 

 

Photographed by iPhone specifically for the challenge

Buying Buttons in New York City and Learning of Rumi

This is the story of my seeking special buttons for grandbaby knitting projects, (completed and on the needles) while visiting NYC over Spring break.

My sister guided me to the button store I’d found online.

Oh no, bad news.

We got to the address and there was paper covering the windows and the security grill was down-

CLOSED- 

I can’t tell you how disappointed I felt.

Fortunately,  a man on the sidewalk  saw us staring at the storefront in disbelief and he pointed to the place next door.

Lou Lou Buttons had moved just one number over, due to a malfunction of errant sprinklers and being flooded out. Lou Lou Buttons store Phew!

Turned out it was the store owner, Ross, who invited us into the button store. And I found so many interesting buttons. They are from all over the world, Japan, France…you name it!

He said every Broadway show and  opera production has come to his store to buy buttons for costumes.

I believe it! Some people replace every button on garments they purchase, to improve and upgrade the look.

Here are the buttons I bought

and here is the owner Ross, photographed by my sister Mary. I was in the photo but the image looks better with myself cropped out! IMG_8442     Lou Lou ButtonsI took this one with more buttons in the background to give you the idea of the inventory.

When I asked about the origin of the store name Lou Lou Buttons, turns out Lou Lou is like the Boogeyman, so when a child is called in from playing outside the mother might say, “Come in now, or Lou Lou’s going to get you.”

We heard Ross tell The story of the merchant to whom the parrot gave a message for the parrots of India on the occasion of his going (thither) to trade. by the Persian poet Rumi.  It’s here if you don’t know it. Be sure to scroll down for the translation in English.

It was a day when the universe rhymed- the button store still there (just one door to the lef) cute buttons for the baby sweaters and my sister and I were enthralled as we listened to the wonderful story by Rumi. 

It’s said he’s “the best selling poet in the United States.”

Buying buttons and hearing Ross tell Rumi’s story of the parrot was a New York City experience.

We left his store with a lot more than just buttons.