Thursday, February 3, 2011

Winter Watercolor and Beading

After golf season came to a screeching halt last November I found myself restlessly making a list of what I wanted to do next!  As soon as Alex and Shawn accepted my offer to take the old white bedroom furniture to their house I knew what I wanted to do!  BIG plans for the space in this bedroom are underway.  It has become my new art studio (although I still have to get rid of some furniture).  I'm so excited, I love working in here so much that I am finding it hard to stop work long enough to finish the room.  I have wall hangings to put up and more furniture to dispose of.  But I have made progress.

First step was to clean out - drawers and the closet.   I gathered art and sewing stuff from all over the house and organized it to fit inside the closet.   Then I moved my drafting table (20 years old) from the den (it was covered with papers, Sara's old Dell from college and a lot of junk) and added 2 work tables I bought at Walmart and a new lamp for extra light.  I moved the sewing machine and all the fabric in there as well.  So now I can follow my whims more easily and jump from sewing to watercolor to beading as fast as my desires hit!  I think my ADD tendencies taking over now that my time is my own!
New Art Studio
In January I started watercolor lessons on Tuesday afternoons from the same teacher I had in the early nineties.  I opened my paint box to check what all I needed to buy for the class and was shocked that all my paints were still good - after 15 years of not using them!!!!   It's a good thing because paint has almost doubled in cost (I still had the price tags on some of the old ones) and I had about 40 tubes of paint that now sell for$8 to $20 a tube.  Lucky me!!  I cleaned up my pallet - the paint in it was still good too.  I still had my old color wheel key I created (so glad I kept it - I have forgotten all the colors and how to mix them).  Also found some unused paper and old paintings.
First Attempt after 15 years of not painting
My first attempt at painting was awkward at best and before I finished the painting I abandoned it and went on to the next one (this seems to be a habit of mine).  We are now doing snow scenes (check out my new header - it's not finished but i'll put it in there as a place holder) - much easier to paint than a still life of apples and whites.   I'm getting braver at putting color on the paper.  Watercolor is not very forgiving but I prefer it over acrylics or oils because it has a nice crisp, light appearance.  Of course I would pick the most difficult medium!

Next I decided I would take up beading again.  With a closet full of beads I emailed Shawn and begged for instructions on how she makes those gorgeous seed bead bracelets.  She fired back some instructions and I was off and running.  I made a couple of bracelets to donate to the silent auction that my golf league is sponsoring in June.
bracelets I made to donate to a silent auction
- will anyone buy them??!
Recently I made my first attempt at making a Debbie Ryan style necklace (not even close to being as beautiful as hers, sigh). I had a old earring that I had been saving for at least 20 years  I lost one of the earrings years ago and kept the other one thinking that someday I would use it to make a bracelet or necklace.  So here it is!  Hahaha - I am still working it - it's almost finished and I learned a lot doing it, so hopefully the next one will be better!
Attempting a Debbie Ryan style necklace
- sigh,  how does she do that?
Gotta get back to work - hoping to FINISH something!  

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sales and Sara's visit

Stitched by Sally is still in operation - made $770 on sales this weekend!  Went with Sara to a teachers meeting on Saturday and sold my goods there - she was a guest speaker at their luncheon.  Once again the most popular item was the wristlet.  I had them in six different fabrics and they sold immediately, I'm sure I could have sold 6 more.  Second big seller was my newest item, the drawstring backpack.  
Sara and my sales table

drawstring backpacks

Sunday Sara gave a one-hour talk to anyone interested and had a good group there.  I had a table there as well.  Sold this pillow cover there - in one of my favorite fabrics, and some luggage tags.  I still have quite a bit of fabric left so this could go on for a good while.  

Sara made an awesome video she showed, of her and the class at the Heal Africa school.  Right now it will only show in itunes - will try to figure out how to to convert the file.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mama Tex's Sewing Basket!

I was in the attic today and noticed Mama Tex's old sewing basket.   Mama Tex died in 1989 at the age of 98.  She gave me the sewing basket long before then.  I noticed it had a label inside that said HARVEY so I immediately googled Harvey sewing basket and guess what came up!?  There are several out there for sale.  There's one on Etsy, almost identical for $45 and a couple of others on other websites for lesser amounts, that are not in such good condition!   Google it "Harvey vintage sewing basket."

I immediately opened the basket to find a bunch of my old sewing stuff from the 80s.   I decided with my renewed interest in sewing I would clean it up -and use it!  So I washed it in the sink with soap and water ( it was truly filthy) and will let it dry over night before I load it up.  

I was so excited to pull out each item in the basket.  First came a piece of black fabric - actually usuable for my sewing projects.  Among other things I found several dusty spools of thread that looked as old as the basket, tracing paper and tracing wheel, some embroidery thread, an embroidery hoop and a Coats and Clark 1979 booklet priced at 60 cents titled "One Hundred Embroidery Stitches".  And - last but not least a 1986 halloween costume pattern!   I believe Alex's costume that year included the black cape and vest.  Alex, do you remember that cape?  You wore it every halloween for a number of years, I'm pretty sure I have a picture of you wearing it somewhere.  Bet the black fabric was left over from making his outfit!  

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stitched by Sally Sales

Well, my sales are up!!   I reached $2900 yesterday.  I have a lot of orders to fill, then i'll be back to stitching what I want and hope to come out with some new items for the sale I have scheduled to teachers on October 30.  Sara will be in town and will be speaking to a group of teachers in DC.  They saw my bags and stuff at her Aug 7 fundraiser and invited me to come with her.  So I am gearing up to work on my inventory for 30 days prior and will sell everything left over on my my Etsy web page.

I love Etsy.  I have been ordered some supplies from people on there.  If you haven't looked for supplies on Etsy, you can get some great deals.  I ordered zippers from K and C Supplies .  They're great zippers, much nicer than the ones you can buy in the fabric stores around here and they cost less.  K&C will deliver them very quickly.

If anyone has any suggestions of what I could make that these teachers might like, let me know.  They ask me if I could make something they could use in their classrooms.  I'm clueless.  I can't think of anything.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sara's Fundraising Event

Sara had a very good turnout at her Aug 7 fundraiser.  She has the money she needs now.  Our Congressman was there and he gave her a check for $1260 (3 weeks).  She sat by him recently at a dinner she went to and she invited him to the fundraiser.  His office called her to get info about her so he could say a few words to the crowd about her.  There were about 125 people there.

Stitched by Sally sales are currently at $2158 - haha!   I still have a bunch of stuff in my inventory.  There is a teacher's organization that has invited Sara to speak at their annual meeting in late October.  She will be home for Siobhan's wedding so it was perfect timing.  They asked me to come also and bring my stuff to sell!  Hopefully I will have some inventory left by then!  I have ordered that will keep me busy through mid to late September.  Here are some pictures of my boutique at her party.  Check out the shopping bags and sacks with the logos on them.  I printed the logos on clear shipping address labels and they looks great on the white bags!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Aug 5 Storm!

Wow - lucky to have my house and car in tact.  Lost the beautiful willow oak on the side of my house.  It was huge and provided very desirable shade for my carport and house.  It fell only a few feet from the house and car.  First photo is view of house standing across the street from the front of my house - it fell across the front yard - you can barely see my house in first pic, thru the fallen tree limbs.  Keep scrolling down this page! It was a sudden wild storm and I knew it was bad.  When I saw limbs flying out the window I retreated into the downstairs den - which is about the safest spot in my house.  After a few minutes i went upstairs to look for Jackson (he was hiding under the bed) and I noticed tree branches out my front window - where they normally aren't!

It also snapped a pine tree in the back. (second photo)  You can see the root ball to the oak behind the pine.   Jackson was just stunned when he went out to the back patio!!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Stitched By Sally

I have been soooo busy the last few months, playing LOTS of golf - BUT between golf games I've been sewing like a crazy woman.   My living room and dining room has turned into a sewing studio.  I have stuff everywhere getting ready for Sara's big fundraiser on Aug 7 at Lonnie's house.  I will debut Stitched by Sally at her event.  I have made about 75 items for my sale so my living room is crammed.  On the table you can see half dozen wristlets, clutch bags, coin purses, luggage tags, crayon rolls, throw pillows and table runners.

Go to my web site to see the GORGEOUS professional logo created by our own SHAWN - - you will find about 8 or 10 of the items posted.  I will not post all the items I have, probably just one item in each style.   For those of you on facebook, check out the video ad!

The 2 latest bags are hanging on the wrought iron railing leading upstairs - where seven others are in the closet!   My dining room is the sewing room!  HELP there is no place to eat anymore - oh but there's always the bar... thank goodness.  And the wall hanging is finally finished - hanging in the window so i can be reminded how beautiful i think it is....hahaha.

The beautiful wall hanging is in my window temporarily for lack of a better place!  Alex needs to get over here and make the board/rod. This cloth is also found in the Canadian Textile Museum, it was commissioned by a beloved President of Ghana in 1976.  In the center is a proverb in Twi language which means "a tree alone cannot withstand a storm".

The following are a few more pictures of all the stuff.


Throw pillows, table runner (green and red)
I think my favorite thing are the clutch bags - i feel so accomplished when they're finished.  A lot of work in those but they look real professional.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

African Wax Prints

I'm so excited about the african wax prints Sara brought home from Congo!!  They exceed my expectations of beauty and variety and I can't wait to get my Etsy store up and running and begin selling the accessories I've been making.  Look at how beautiful the fabrics are!  They are authentic african wax block prints - very durable, washable and beautiful, about 20 different prints.

African prints hold special meaning in the hearts of Africans.  They each tell a story to the wearer.  In Africa, clothes are often more than clothes.  The colors and designs are unique and each has its own history and story.  My understanding is that the art of wax printing on fabric originated in Indonesia and was exported to the Gold Coast and spread over West Africa to Central Africa.  These prints are plentiful in Kinsasha where Sara's been living.

Take a look at this particular one which was made for the celebration of international women's day 8 March 2010.  It is suitable for a wall hanging (photo not too great).  Sara was in Goma for international women's day and they had a women's parade there.  Each group marching in the parade wore a certain fabric. There were all sorts of groups marching, political, religious, cultural etc.

While we don't know the story behind each one of the prints she brought home, I know there is a story and that these fabrics have more significance than simply surface value.

SOOOO, in case you don't know about Etsy, it's a web site where people sell handmade products.  I plan to open an Etsy store soon and begin to sell the goods I will make out of these fabrics.  This is gonna keep me occupied for quite some time.  Wow, I have a LOT to do!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Sewing Continued

Well!  I have so enjoyed making this stuff - I just hope someone will buy something!  Since the last posting, I have made a bunch of other stuff.  In the photo is a larger cosmetic bag,  a redesigned luggage tag, a checkbook cover with pen, a tissue cover, a sunglass case and a  placemat and napkin.  Also, not shown is a tote bag, a rectangular case that would hold pen/pencil, or mascara/lipstick or tampons.  The napkin is a 17" square of blue broadcloth with an applique of fabric sewn onto one corner.  I have shown my items to about six people and everyone seems to think these will pretty easily sell.  I have been thinking of an item for children, which would be a small bag with crayons and coloring book - or something like that.  If you have any ideas email me.

I have started producing duplicates to sell at Sara's fundraiser in late June and have created a brochure.  After the fundraiser, I will sell stuff by emailing a brochure to folks, including people out of town.  Sara is bringing more fabrics from Africa so there will be a choice of fabrics beginning in late June.    

Saturday, May 8, 2010


I have a lot of African fabric Sara purchased in Kinshasa.  We used it for table cloths at her January fundraiser.  I wanted to do something with all that fabric.   SOooo, I decided to see what I might create from the leftover scraps that Sara could either give as gifts to donors, or perhaps we could mass produce and sell these items to make money for Sara.

So out came the sewing machine and I made a couple of trips to the fabric store to purchase a few small notions I needed.  I had a ball!  It's such fun to create.  It brought back so many memories of growing up and sewing with my mom and Mama Tex!  I could hear their voices over and over.  Mama Tex was a perfectionist and if she made mistakes she would rip it out and redo it.  Mother on the other hand wanted to take any short cuts possible and and her products contained errors, but not major ones people would notice.   So my products are a combination.  I confess I did some ripping out and redoing today - but I also took a few short cuts!

Take a look at these items!
First I made a book cover for a 4x6 notepad.  These can be made in any size and they are refillable with notepads bought at the drug store.  So they could be used in a purse, or they could be used as a journal, and one without lines on the paper could be used as an artist's sketch book.

Next I made a small zipped bag that could be used for cosmetics, jewelry or anything like that.  These could also be made in a larger size.  The zipper was scary - i had to refresh my memory and read instructions but it was not as difficult as I had originally thought it would be!

And lastly I made a luggage tag that would hold a business card.  The luggage tag was the most difficult because the vinyl used to create the window was very slippery to sew - had to rip out a couple of places and redo!  I think I will get some stiffer plastic to use if I make more.

I also created a price/logo tag to hang on each item that says "Proceeds support Sara Rich in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Building Educational Partnerships"  and it includes Sara's email and web site.  It also says "Handmade out of fabric purchased in Kinshasa."

I will make a few more things.  I have a ton of fabric and Sara is bringing more when she comes home in June.  I cut out another notepad cover for a smaller notepad (3x5).  I also cut out a checkbook cover that has a place to hold a pen.  I will make those 2 things tomorrow.   I also plan to try making placemats and napkins and a table runner.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Why oh why is it so difficult to find someone to cut my hair!!!  I have been going to this person since last fall and liked what she had been doing.  I made 2 small requests for a change to it a month ago and didn't like it so i told her never-mind on the change - but she said oh let me try cutting it dry - and oh my goodness it is now a huge mess.  It is all out of proportion -- top front is long,long -- back and crown is short-short and all around the ears is long-long.  I just took the scissors to the long-long part and tried to taper it off so I don't look like an idiot.  Now i have to wait until the short-short grows some to get it straightened out becuase i will be scalped if i ask her to trim the long-long to match.

Frustrated beyond words!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Geocaching, an international hide and seek game, has caught on in the City of Alexandria.  A few years ago there were only two or three caches around here.  Now there are so many!   I periodically go geocaching with friends.  Yesterday we went to check on a cache we maintain and looked for 2 others along the way.  What an adventure!

We found the "Life and Times of GW" cache.  It was located along the river near the painted murals.  Why is it so much fun to play hide and seek?!   This cache was a quart size container painted with a green camouflage pattern.  It included a bunch of little trinkets with the log book.  We always take my dog Jackson with us - it helps to avoid suspicion, people think we're walking the dog.  The second cache we found was "Boardwalk or Bored Walk".  It was a painted metal Altoid box, held by magnets to a metal support for a large pipe bolted to a dock area in Old Town.  It's such a thrill each time we find one of these and they all so different!!  Hahaha we laughed and laughed both times.  We had to really sneak around to get them, there were so many people walking around us.

Lastly, we went to check on the cache we planted a couple of years ago named "Riverview #2.  Someone had emailed us that it was no longer there - but it turned out that person simply didn't find it!  It's hidden well, under some steps. To get it, one has to crawl under the edge of the wooden steps and reach down into the specific area. We had a little trouble because there were so many muggles around and also a security guard who was walking around in the area!  But it was still there.  So there person who commented that it was no longer there just couldn't find it.

You can see all these caches on by clicking on "Hide & Seek a Cache', then put in zip code 22314 and when the list comes up click on "google maps".

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Buying golf clubs is like buying a car!

How complicated and frustrating it was to shop for golf clubs!   Several friends suggested I get a fitting and then go to a demo day where various vendors have their products available for people to try.  So that's how I proceeded.

I went for the free fitting last Friday afternoon.  I had no idea he would want me to swing the clubs so much so was not dressed for it!  I thought it would just measurements and questions!  No golf shoes or visor or glove and the sun was beaming down - very hot!  But I did the fitting and he gave me a couple of interesting tips on my grip and swing so it was very worthwhile!  After all that he said I'm standard!  Altho my lie may eventually need changing, I hit quite a few on the inside but not enough to warrant a change to the lie.

So I was ready for the big shopping day!  I walked up with my clubs and started looking around.  No offers of help by anyone, they were looking at me like - what do you want lady.  So i ask the Ping guy to try one.  He pulls out a pink club and tells me the choice is pink or purple.  I explain I don't want pink or purple, I just want a "normal" color and I'm not a beginner.  He seemed perplexed but decided to show me the G15s and says they are really the same thing, they can make them to fit me.  I tried out a couple of irons and turned to ask him if i could try the Driver but he was helping someone else by then.  So i had to start over essentially and ask someone else for the Driver and explain I didn't want pink or purple.  Next I asked how much they cost and got the ole "depends on what you want".  He had no price list or brochure, said for me to ask the guys over by the stairs.  Yet a 3rd person managed to locate a brochure which had all the Ping clubs but it had no prices in it and told me to go back to the other guys and have them write down what I needed in terms of fit.  After much ado I got some pricing.

Next to Callaway, which is what I ended up buying but I had a very similar experience there.  Waited on by 3 different people and sent to the pricing person who had no brochure.  He wrote down the model of club I liked on the back of a business card and I just left, and decided I would just keep my old clubs which are nice, but old technology (1999 model Taylor Made).  

After 2 or 3 days of fussing about it, I spent a whole day online looking at pricing and decided to purchase pre owned clubs.  I also found the PGA used club pricing guide so I could have some idea of what a good price is.  (Just like blue book pricing for a used car!!)   I already owned a Callaway driver that I like and found a set of X-20 irons (not much different from the X-22 irons I tried at the demo) and fairway clubs that matched the Driver I have.   I should receive the clubs in a week or so, hopefully they will meet my expectations for condition and quality!!  Can't wait!  What a painful process it was.  Now I just need to get a new bag - hopefully that won't be as much hassle.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Golf Anyone?

I went to the Greendale Golf League meeting and played with them for the first time.  What a treat!  It was a much larger group than I had anticiipated.  I have about 40 new friends, some very nice and interesting women to play golf with during the week.   A good mixture ranging from the very serious rule obsessed golfers to a few older women limping around who are partially disabled and ride in a "handicap" cart!   Mostly it seemed to be people about like me.

We played 18 holes.  Alex had trained me well ;-).  No stepping on lines, must put down the marker before picking up ball, closest to pin tends the flag, first in the hole packs up and starts moving to next tee, etc etc.  There are an abundance of rules, thank goodness I know the little annoying ones, I just have to learn the ones about hazards and penalties and so forth!!

And what a LUCKY day I had - I pared all the par 3s!   So they got the impression that I was a decent player - haha.

At the meeting/breakfast - the "giveaways" were so funny, door prizes, and the new people got goodie bags.  It's a mixture of ages, and as you might expect in a group of 40 older women, the crafty types had to make something for everyone!   Someone made each of us a "pocket" to wear with pants that have no pocket (why would anyone wear pants without pockets to play golf?) .  And there were ceramic easter bunnies at each place setting which we were to take home with us!!  It was pretty funny.  The goodie bag included important stuff like laminated rules to put in your golf bag, and useful stuff like tees, a Titlelist ball and a sample scorecard.

Saturday - short game lessons begin!  YAY - hoping to shave down my score a bit this season.   April 2nd have a fitting scheduled followed by demo day to try out various clubs.   New clubs coming soon and I desperately need a new bag too!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Before and After

It took me two days to clean out my linen closet, something I never had the time to do before I retired. Check it out!! Have many more situations like this coming... all my closets are getting organized!