My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Sitting still is for the bored March 18, 2015

 

 

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I’ve been on a daily quest to make phone calls all day.  By the time I’m done telling insurance that no, the contractor isn’t crazy, and telling the contractor yes, insurance is crazy, driving one kid to tech school and back and two others to homeschool swim, and various other add-on’s, caveats and addendum’s, it’s dinner time.  And then I’m pooped… headed to bed.  It’s a sad, sad life.  *HA*

 

Ok, really I love that they’ve got this all going on.  I just wish the phone calls could be done.  It’s been almost 9 months since we’ve been paid for the rental and we’re coming down to our last and still need repairs done.  But we’ve come back from worse, and now I know the routine.

 

But the crazy current schedule still leaves me with my weekends open.  Sundays have been spent looking for another new church.  Saturday’s in particular I’ve made sure to schedule nothing on purpose.  A girls got to relax!  Even more so when your husband comes out to the deck you’re sitting on and says “You alright?  You look sort of out of it?”  “Hmmm, just relaxed?”  Yeah, it’s been so long since he’s seen me relaxed, he’d forgotten what it looked like and it made him worried.  Need to do it more often I guess?  I’ve also managed to run out of projects.  No, back up.  We’ve run out of money to finish several started projects.  I’m left with pulling things apart.

We’re still waiting to put the floors back in, so I’m pulling all the trim down in the mean time.

 

 

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I do still have one section of floor to rip out, but I’m dreading it.  It involves the front loaders.  *sigh*  I’ll get to it!!

 

 

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The t.v. turned terrarium is sitting next to me, waiting for its innards.

 

 

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The kitchen is still waiting for its island, all marked out and ready.  Plans sitting in my planner.

 

 

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And the lights, only one of which works, waiting to be replaced.  Replacements picked out.

 

 

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Main section of the quilt is finished and waiting for its border.  I’ll get that when the next really good sale comes up.

 

 

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Pillow cases done and ready to be sent off.

 

 

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BUT (notice it’s a big but – *giggle*) I have one project that I’ve been saving.  My son’s girlfriends dress.  I felt so awesome that she asked me to make one for her.  So I’ll be enjoying this one… and I can afford it!

 

 

katelyns dress

 

 

I managed to find a pattern for the top, but nothing that remotely came close to the bottom section.  Thinking about it… I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a pattern with pleats?  Or at least with sharp, numerous pleats.  Cheerleading skirts don’t count here.  So I’ll be making the skirt portion myself.  I’m also a bit excited since we discovered we’re the same size.  Hey – give a nearly 40-year-old woman some excitement!

 

 

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We’re using Linen instead of the shiny material used here so that she can wear it as a simple summer dress, nothing too fancy.  I’ll make sure to show the stages.  I’m looking forward to making it.  I do love making dresses – can’t stand wearing them.

 

Various projects laying around show I’m keeping busy.  Spring is springing and I’ll soon have outdoor projects to add.

 

We may be in a holding pattern, but that won’t keep me still!

 

 

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This, that and the other. February 14, 2015

Filed under: Family,Home improvement,Pets,Sewing — blankenmom @ 9:58 pm
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Being here has been on my mind the past few weeks.  I’ve missed a few weeks again, but thank goodness not out of frustration.  I’ve been busy with this, that and the other.  None of which was really all that unpleasant for once.  After several weeks of nothing but fog, Spring has sprung early for us here, thank goodness!   Not so much for my friends out east.  So while I’m getting our house ready for spring and summer, “that house” is getting socked in by snow and cold.

 

While balancing both house projects and the hubby being gone for two weeks, I’ve also been giving myself some distractions.

 

 

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I made a very simple quilt frame for the quilt I’m working on, so I could sit more comfortably and next to the fire while it was still chilly.  Had I known earlier that our heat pump had stopped working, I probably wouldn’t have needed to snuggle with the fire quite so much.  But then I wouldn’t have spent some nice warm nights next to it working on my quilt… no one has to know I was watching James Bond.

 

 

 

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Granny passed the week before Thanksgiving and last weekend we began going through her things.  The grand kids have all taken several pieces of furniture so they won’t go outside the family.  Some of them have been in the family for quite a while.  We took several pieces home ourselves and will be taking more once things get situated.

 

This piece however isn’t so much a cherished heirloom as a “groovy” piece of technology!  Yes, it still worked, before we had the t.v. taken out.  (The boys wouldn’t let me do it myself.  Apparently they thought *I* would shock myself on the CRT.  Pfffftttt – so little faith.)  And this cabinet “may, or may not” become the home to either a large amount of goldfish, a lizard, some frogs or a small terrarium.  We’re still researching…. I’ll let you know how that turns out?

 

 

 

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Don’t be jealous!

 

 

We also confiscated her massive doily collection for a “project” (which I will share with you as I go along).  But first I had to explain to my boys what a doily was.

 

What a great few weeks we’ve had!  I could learn to enjoy peace and quiet, with a small side of mayhem.

 

 

 

 

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Saying AMEN! Even when ice skating through the kitchen. January 17, 2015

 

 

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Things are settling into a groove for the new year here in our blankenworld.

 

My dentist man is working solely at his own practice now – even got a write-up in the local paper!   But I can wholeheartedly say it is a bit scary, but the man has never failed at anything, so between him and the good Lord, I’m not sweating it… too much.

 

The boys are back to school and staying ahead of schedule; even starting to talk about getting together with some friends.  Which is nice to finally hear!

 

 

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Trim and more flooring is being removed… none being laid, but we’ll get to that someday.

 

 

neked floors

 

 

The only thing really not moving forward is “that house”.  It’s actually headed in the wrong direction.  I know – you’re shocked!  I mean really, when is it not?

 

 

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While texting a very good friend out there who has been especially helpful after the eviction, a whole thought process started.

 

Through this whole catastrophe, we have found we have some really, really wonderful people backing us.  For someone like myself who trusts no-one (I mean really, why would I?), there really are a lot of people to thank!  However having these three people (and their spouses), bending over backwards for us has been such an eye opener that there really are people that won’t let you down.  And through it, I’ve found that stressing does no more than make me ill, grouchy, grey, wrinkly and not very fun to be around.

 

And those two items all combined this week.

 

Tuesday, one of them discovered a skating rink on the first floor due to the water company failing to shut the water off when scheduled, before the big freeze.  He just happened to be checking in on the house when he found water gushing from two locations.  He climbed through snow and mud to turn off the water valve under the house to stop the gushing water, in his business clothes.  Another one’s spouse, rushed over to try and remove as much water (now frozen) from the floor, counters and filled sink as he could before work.  But the damage from a week of flowing, and freezing water was already done.  The final person, after hearing this, came over to assess the damage for me as soon as he heard.  He is the one who replaced all this just the year before.

And that’s when he found it.  The former renter didn’t think it was enough to steal the power meter (which is why we still have no power) and the baseboard heaters, but he decided to take the pipe that catches the excess gas that comes from the intake valve (or some-such jargon).  Which was fine for their family, since the gas company turned the gas off for none payment.  But had we turned the gas back on before we had found it, the house would have gone up!

 

*BOOM*

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Good for us – we’ve been begging for that house to go away!  Not so good for the gas man… or if delayed, the workmen fixing everything the renters had broken.  Or… our next renters and their children.

I am learning, through this “lovely” house, that God does things for a reason.  It may not be pleasant, but if you’re paying attention even in the slightest (which unfortunately I’m usually not), He is yelling in His loudest whisper, what we really need to know.

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If we didn’t still have that giant money pit, I wouldn’t have learned that I can give, even when things get really hard.

If we didn’t still have that piece of crap, I wouldn’t have learned to trust Him in all things.  Like say, buying a new practice.

If we didn’t still have that stupid house, I wouldn’t have learned to trust people.  Well, not all people.  The renters proved that.

If we didn’t still have that freaking *&$, I wouldn’t have learned that sometimes, a seemingly bad thing, is really a blessing in disguise.

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If the water lines hadn’t of broken, the house would have killed someone.   That is the last thing I ever want to happen!

The water company is paying for the damages and so far are being great about it.  I am taking a deep breath and taking it as it comes.  Stressing isn’t going to change the wet, warped floors, cabinets and walls.  Nor is it going to get the utilities hooked up or the gas line fixed.  It’s not going to make us more money or bring a renter in any faster.

And as I’ve learned this last year, through court dates, nasty texts, repair jobs, skating rinks and theft; the more stink that happens – the more I should give.  The more I give – the better life gets.  The better life gets – the more I want other people to feel the same way.

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Yes, even the former renters.  (You know, once they stop stealing.)

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~So giving I’ll do~

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I’m smack in the middle of one of my friends blankets.

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quilt flowers

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I just finished another round of baby blankets.

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cat - blanket

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And I’m about to work on pillow cases for more foster kids.

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blankets-cases

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I’m going to say Amen – and start charging money for the skating rink in my kitchen!

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skating

 

 

 

 

‘Tis the season, for craziness… December 1, 2014

 

 

 

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Gosh, I didn’t even realize how long it had been.  Life get’s so crazy sometimes!

 

Since I have posted last, my dentist man has gotten his very own dental office – yay for great, no money down loans!  (Or it would never happen… for any dentist these days.)  He is very much enjoying his new office, but not so much the paperwork.  We realized he’s never paid bills before (my job, since he was always gone), so I’m having to coach him a bit.  But he’s a quick learner and doing great – and honestly, he’s a great dentist, so it can only get better from here!

 

I just wished it wasn’t four hours away. 

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Christmas is coming – and the question on everyone’s lips is, “What are you’all making this year?”.  I know I’m getting asked this by just about every person who knows I sew?!  So, what are you making?

 

I have to admit, I did buy more fabric for the clinic.  It was a darn tootin’ good sale too!  Most of it ended up being about $2.00 a yard.  For 12 blankets, that’s a good deal!

 

 

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I let the ladies know I’d be making mostly boy blankets, as most of the ladies who donate prefer to make girls quilts, but as I’m discovering, even when I go with boy themes, it ends up slightly girly?  Blue or green, flowers?  I’d proudly use it – it’s still stylish!  Green with a pink bird, meh, I’d probably still use it?  After all, I’m really the only one with the “pink issue” I think?  But I’ll be keeping my eye out for that issue with the next few rounds of blankets.

 

I did get another shirt completed and I’ll even have a tutorial coming up on it.  How to work with sweater knits!  It was not as easy as I was thinking?  But I love the shirt and can’t wait to wear it!

 

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Last week my dentist man came home from his other office to a new surprise –

 

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Not exactly sure what made me suddenly in a pillow mood, but pillows were made.  And people are happy!  And he’s made a request for a 6 foot pillow for the floor?!  This should be interesting?

 

He has also mentioned that every week, when he get’s home, there is a new plant… I have no idea what he’s talking about?

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These are tomato plants!  In December!  I have learned how to grow new plants from cuttings off the mother plant (behind them – which is also still growing and fruiting.)  I think we’re up to about 6 now?  I have no idea what I’m going to do with 6 tomato plants in January?  Any one want a tomato start?

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And my current sewing project, that will not be done for Christmas, but instead, enjoyed slowly through the process –

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Yes, there is pink.  Show’s how much I love these people!

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A friend of mine who has helped us countless times over at “that house” left us with his wife’s kimono that she loved, but sadly couldn’t be repaired.  So, to tell them how much I appreciate them, I am making a hand-sewn quilt with it.  The picture above is the colors from the kimono.  I will post the entire quilt when it’s finished… in 2 or 3 years!

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These are all great distractions from “that house” and the current holding pattern.  Their 33 days for us to hold their property are up, and they claim they want their items, so by law we can’t throw it out yet.  But since he was stabbed six times while trying to break back into the last house he was thrown out of, we’re not sure that will be happening any time soon.

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Sewing therapy… it’s good for everyone.

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And, at the very top, is the 96″ star the boys and I made.  After several failed attempts to get it out the door *sigh*, we had been trying for weeks to figure out how to get it all the way up the wall where it could be seen from down the hill.  Too low and the wall blocked it.  Too high and the ladder didn’t reach (and mom got a little sick from heights) and no one could lift it.  Today, we came up with a pulley system that worked excellently – if the hook holds!  But, for now, it looks amazing!  And… I am giddy.  And I got a Science/Math lesson out of it!   

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Sometimes, you have to just enjoy the crazy…

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In remembrance of our Granny.  She was taken home before Thanksgiving after 94 years of faithful service to the Lord, her husband and family.  She was ready, and we are happy for her.  Love you Granny!

 

Take it down a notch… or ten. November 3, 2014

Filed under: Boys,Church,Hubby,Knitting,Made by me,Sewing — blankenmom @ 11:29 pm
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I’ve gotten quite a few easy projects done this last weekend.  Easy sometimes is a good thing.

 

The shirt I made I had planned on wearing to church the day I completed it, but somehow it ended up with a funky smell before it was even worn?  So, it’s in the laundry… I hope that smell goes away?  

 

My mother-in-law bought some very yummy yarn a few weeks back, but it was a bit spendy, so we only got one skein of the Alpaca/Silk goodness.  What exactly can you do with just one skein?  Well thank goodness it was a big skein and Ravelry is awesome.  I searched for the yardage and voila!  Infinity scarf, with beads no less.

 

 

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She’s going to love it.  And the lard I rendered for her this weekend.

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Yeah, you heard me, lard.  Don’t be jealous!

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I also made the most epic pajama bottoms ever!

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I know, they’re awesome right!

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I had actually planned on seasonal and regular stash p.j.’s, but alas, one needs to know how much yardage is needed before one buys.  Remember that kiddies!  These took me about 2 1/4 yards because of the pattern.  Without the pattern I could have gotten away with the 1 1/2 yards I have.  I guess the regular stashes will become an excellent pillowcase for me!

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And, as I type, I’m wearing the most comfortable pants I think anyone should be allowed to wear in public.

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Wow… uh pictures really do add weight?  

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No matter – these pants are awesome!  I made them out of “jegging” type material.  Very heavy, fairly thick (meaning no see-through cheeks going on) and uber soft.  And I mean, uber.  And the bonus, my dentist man asked where I bought them – always a compliment!  I will be making more of these.

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See, I have been productive!

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So productive, I’ve been running ram-shot right over people who clearly don’t deserve it.  While sending our potential new renters their background check packet, I managed to scare the pants (figuratively I hope) off the poor woman!  I’ve been so used to having to deal with thick-headed, lying… well, our last renters, that I didn’t even give the poor people a chance to breathe.

After a very personal sermon at church this weekend on gratitude, I realigned myself, took a breather and remembered that “that house” may be our curse, but to someone else, it may be a blessing.  If I’ll let it.  So I’m loosening my grip, taking a breather and taking the “DEFCON 1” level down a bit.

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Productivity is a good thing.  Scaring people to get it done, not so much.  It’s good to know I have it in me though, for future use.

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And tonight, our nice wood guy made his final delivery of our 3 cords of wood, at about 10 pm.  The guy likes to work!  So hopefully I can burn off a bit of that pent-up energy stacking, and stacking, and stacking.

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Oh who am I kidding… that’s what I have boys for!

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This counts as P.E. right?

 

Textile therapy October 26, 2014

Filed under: Made by me,Sewing,What's happening — blankenmom @ 12:01 am
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I don’t know what you do when you’re in a funk and can’t get out?  Usually I hide from all sewing, knitting and house projects.  And as a person who likes to constantly have two or three projects going at all times (much to the irritation of her ever patient dentist man), doing none of the former, isn’t a good sign.

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And if the house is super clean, run.

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We’ve been stuck in courtroom hell, held hostage by crazy people who, when last texted, “had the ear of the governor for their unjust removal” caused by them not allowing anyone in to make the state required repairs for six months, among numerous other issues.  Trying to do court dates over the phone, manage repair dates that go unanswered and having repairmen physically thrown out has been, well, a challenge to say the least.

What did I turn to in this time?  Are my toilet bowls sparkling clean and kitchen counters shining like usual?

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Nope –

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Instead of fuming over  the time it was taking to remove them and the constant nasty grams they were sending, I finally went out and bought the fabric for baby blankets for the clinic and pillow cases for the foster kidsboxes.  My absence for the last few weeks is due in part to a less than chipper attitude and a complete submersion in my tasks.  It’s been very therapeutic.  I think I’m almost back to normal – I even bought new costumes accessories!  (On discount of course.)

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16 baby blankets –

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And 32 pillow cases –

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Isn’t this just the most awesome fabric!

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Thinking about the little ones that will get these, who really need our help, was much more enjoyable to think about than the nasty things bombarding me day and night.  I went to bed feeling better.  Woke up in a better mood.  And can’t stop eyeing the baby fabric isle.

No worries, the youngest got two new pairs of pajama’s, so I’m not neglecting my own… much.

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*Tip for the day*  “One yard” baby blankets require two packages of pre-made quilt binding.  Buy them at the same time or they will not match.  *sigh*

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What do you sew, or do instead of sewing, as therapy?

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*The Embrace Foster Program is available in most states, google “Embrace (your state name) for foster kids” to find yours if you’d like to help out.  I’m sending these back home since my area doesn’t have it.

 

Back to the basics September 1, 2014

 

 

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Summer is going as quickly as it came around here.  The days are rapidly going from 100* to 80* at best, the tent has been brought off the front lawn and school has started.  That means outdoor projects are quickly coming to an end so I can be inside cracking the educational whip.

 

It also means back to sewing, making good dinners that couldn’t be made in the heat and indoor projects.  I think I heard my dentist man hint at getting the floors put back in as he was picking out another sliver – silly man, that’s what we have slippers for!

 

With one of my up-coming sewing project I’m actually asking for your help.  Both summer dresses – but I’m determined to figure this out… before next summer!

 

I made this dress as you may remember ~

 

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And hemmed this dress~

 

 

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And quickly realized that hemming them for heels, when I only get invited to lawn parties, wasn’t smart.  But I still would love to go to a grown-up party that calls for heels… at some point… in these dresses that I bought and/or made for that very purpose.

So my question to all of you sewers out there:  How would *YOU* go about hemming a long dress or skirt so it could be raised or lowered a few inches, without it looking like a bridal gown?

 

Stumped as I am?  Give us a few months – we’ll come up with something!  

 

And along the way I plan on making a few things I found in the newest Burda Style magazine.

 

Top

Jersey Dress with Shrug 11/2013 #111

I hope I don’t look as angry as her in it?  

 

 

Top and bottom

Wide Leg Pants with Front Seam 12/2013 #103B

Draped Jersey Top 12/2013 #119A

 

I absolutely fell in love with these!  And the bonus – they’re husband approved.  As in, he says I’ll actually probably wear these (instead of just looking at them in the closet and saying “Ooh – that’s so pretty!” like I do with all the dresses I make).

 

Along with a few baby blankets for the clinic I volunteer for, and to just keep on hand seems as how people keep feeling the need to procreate and all.  I also found the pattern for pillow cases to donate to kids in foster care.  So be ready for a lot more sewing projects to come!  And possibly a few more home improvement projects… you know… to keep me out of trouble.