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Monthly Archives: September 2007

Amazing Speed

I wanted to title this submission “Hopes and Dreams” but the dreams are coming true so fast that it could only be “Amazing Speed”!

My husband has hired a Directress/Head Teacher who’s belief it is that she has just been handed the fulfillment of her dreams: to open and run a school. And she has translated the hopes and dreams into action in just one week’s time. Did I mention that she’s absolutely fabulous and so happy to be challenged?

I’ve opened a wordress blog in the new school’s name *just in case* a blog would be useful to the school. There’s nothing there right now but it is located at

The newly remodeled daycare building has been visited by the requisite state agencies, all of whom have approved the projected school layout and activity centers, and the building and improvements (I’m sure I’m leaving out a category of inspection or two in this rundown) and all that’s left is licensing. The licensing packet has been delivered to us and we will have it filled out presented to the State in a meeting Monday, Sept 23rd, I believe.

An Open House or two are planned for the last week in September and the target opening date is the first week of October.

I have to get the 2″ foam for the cribs and changing tables and cover them with vinyl, then make slip covers in something soft. We have a local company that makes the foam, Volunteer Foam, so I’ll finally get to see what that company’s all about.

I am anxiously awaiting a bolt of darling blue and white checked flannel numbered 2-8 from Ressy. Alas, the coordinating fabric of stuffed bears on a blue background with the wordng “Sweet Friends”, number 2-7, had already been sold out to someone else outside the coop.

In the meantime, since we are moving through the system so quickly, at an unheard of speed at any rate, I’ll use sheets for the slip covers to go over the vinyl coverings.

I have also boldly ordered the acrylic (with a hint of nylon) yarns to knit receiving blankets and the new Little Angels Bably Blankets pattern diskette from Charlene Schaeffer of the in Peru, Indiana. Charlene kindly advised me on the yarns that will withstand multiple washings. Thanks, Charlene! I know so little about the “grandmother arts” and I am so blessed to have this outlet my unfullfilled crafterly instincts.


The wording on the white and blue blanket says, “Guardian Angels Watching From Above, Bless This Child with Faith Hope & Love”. I’ll also do the blanket in rose, blue and white that says, “Please Bless Daddy, Please Bless Mommy”. I think they are darling blankets and I feel the parents of the nursery age children will, too. How darling are these blankets??!!

Thus I have set for myself a task about which I know very little but will have to master. I’ve made my own deadlines and I’ll have to learn it, no more messing around with accounting, equipping, and commercial sewing. I’ll be knitting. I have to visualize myself doing it and stop being intimidated by all the gadgetry of the machines. Hopefully I’ll have something to show you in the next week or so.

It will be wonderful to actually produce something useful!


Style Freedom

Yesterday, this article was published in the The Jersulesum Post at

It tells of a tailor’s shop in northwest Pakistan, being blown up by armed operatives who bombed because the shop was making “Western clothes”. Supposedly the shop owner had been warned to stop making those un-Islamic styles. No one was reported to have been hurt.

Thank goodness!

According to the story the men in the village of Kasi, located in the Bajur region along the Afghan border, traditionally wear “simple baggy pants and shirt” and the women wear burka (spelled in the story as “burqa”) outside their homes.

OK, we know that women have been killed for not wearing the burka. I’ve always wondered about the penalty for men who don clothes styled in a “non-Islamic” manner.

Here we have the ultimate answer brought to us by the real Style Police.


And we think we have problems with fitting pants correctly!

Rocking Girl Blogger

Hi Folks:

I’ve been awarded the Rocking Girl Blogger award by Jacquie of Jacquie’s Journal for living through cancer (which really means surviving the chemo and radiation!) and keeping The Stitchery blog in in high spirits. If Jacquie is a new blogger to you, drop by and say “Hi!, Mary Beth sent me”. She’s very loving, a great community builder and quite computer programming savvy.

I’m honored and am joining a long list of lady bloggers who have been tagged.

I am supposed to display the Badge of the Rocking Girl Blogger but makes that difficult so I am taking the easy way out. You can see the badge here on Tany’s blog, Couture et Tricot, the entry of August 7, 2007. Isn’t it pretty?

While The Stitchery may have stayed upbeat, my personal life hit the bottom. Fortunately, I didn’t post much during that time: my brain didn’t work right (it’s called “chemo brain” and short-term memory is kaput), my fingertips couldn’t type (no feeling), the eyes have difficulty focusing so reading and computer work is almost impossible, and the various drugs caused addiction quite easily with attendant mood swings. But it’s over now.

Now, the chief duty of a Rocking Girl Blogger is to tag 5 more people so here they are:

1. Lisa Laree at SewRandom Blogspot for being so steady at posting and sewing for her community church as well as her family.

2. Pam Erny of Off The Cuff ~Style! for being a brave leader in the sewing blog world and a wonderful designer and constructionist with her own fabulous supplies store for sewing enthusiasts, Sew Exciting Fashion Sewing Supply

3. Melody of crazedsewer blogspot for her good humor and for fearlessly jumping into woodwork and the internet with her blog and her fabric store, Fashionista

4. Summerset of Pins and Needles blogspot for maintaining almost daily a blog full of inspiration, creativity and absolute beauty and for her wonderful tutorials and techniques.

5. Linda of Patterns, Fabric and Thread for trying, succeeding and doing well and for being a gentle friend and source of support.

Forgive me if you have already been tagged. I’ve not kept up with all the blog reading during the spring and eary summer but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to! If you have been previously tagged I’ve got more people that can be loved like:

Tini of Tini’s World of Fibre Arts for being simply a treasure

Lorna of Newman’s Needle for being another treasure

Lisa of Blackwater Park for being yet another treasure and doing it her own wayyyyy.

To name just a few… 🙂

School Remodeled

It’s almost finshed. We’ve replaced all the flooring, all the windows, the countertop and appliances in the kitchen and all the hardware, painted everything and the curtains are finished!!!

Oh there’s always more to do and then there’s the ordinary upkeep like mowing the lawn and putting in fall flowers. Here’s the 60 year old building that has been a school for one quarter of a centuary:


Some furniture and equipment have been moved in.



Here’s the nap area with the curtains freed for sleepytime:


This is the backyard playground


This is the entry foyer


And the rod holder doing it’s part


The kitchen gets a funky balloon treament. Most likely the teacher will want to have a clear view of the action in the playyard


The narrow bathroom outfitted with stalls and the tiniest urinal I’ve ever seen is in the first stall but since I was showing you the school and the curtains I didn’t shoot the stall interiors 🙂


The portable sewing room.


I developed an assembly line type of production. First I ripped all the edges to be x number of inches from the floor adjusting to make sure the fabric would cover the window moulding since that varied and would be somewhat the same length as its neighboring curtain. Where the doubled panel were used I ripped the outside panel to be approximately one half inch shorter than the inside panel.

I dragged the ironing boards (I brought two so that one could hold the rods while I pressed in the hems) and machine table into an area. I removed three or four curtains still on the rods and serged the ripped edges all in one operation, then measured a three inch hem and pressed all of the panels. The I flipped the table around and straight stitched all of the panels that were ready for hemming.

Done in 5 hours.

Now I have to make privacy curtains to cover the bathroom stalls. I am going to use a heavier (think lightweight jeans jacket) denim with tab tops. But I’ll do those at The Stitchery since I don’t have to worry about the visual effect so much.

And here’s some of the materials that will be in the classrooms:

Tennessee’s three cultural areas and the Australia/New Zealand map


and a box of shading tablets on a hardrock maple shelf.


Isn’t it all just so beautiful?

It Will Never Go Away…

The curtains are all done! Pictures coming soon

First I have to clean up:


What is that? Another 200 yards?


My hands are blue, the washer and dryer are blue (permanently I think), the sewing machines are blue, the ironing board cover is blue. Even the brand new white curtain rodes are blue.

Back, Blue Scourge, back into the closet!

If I ever get the urge to wrap a small forest a la Cristos and Jeanne-Claude I have just the stuff to do it!

Rods and Tie Backs ~ Update on It’s Curtains!

The story of 18 curtains on a shoe string budget using poorly made fabric unsuitable for anything else continues with yet more money saving moves to create curtain rods:

We purchased 1.25″ diameter closet pole rod stock made of unfinished poplar at $1 per foot to use as the curtain rods. This saved us at least $4 per foot over what we would have paid for prefinished curtain rods. The closet rod stock is just fine for this project.

We finished the rods in white oil based paint to match the walls and woodwork. We cut pole mounts using 3/4″ Baltic Birch plywood scrapes. These were cut out, routed, predrilled and finished. Here is the result laid out on the cutting mat so you can see the dimensions in half-inch increments:


The smallest U shape is there so I can add a 3/4″ dowel to hang lace or sheer curtains later on if the sun proves too strong within the classroom.

We mounted the rod holders and rods Saturday, slipped the curtains onto the rods and spritzed them with water to let the fabric relax overnight. Even with the high heat and steam of the ironing process not all the wrinkles released out of the fabric from h*ll.

I made tiebacks. The curtains hang loose across the windows to block the light usually only during nap time. Here’s a finished tie back:


First I found some stabilizer that had proved too stiff to use in other projects so it was “free”, too, like the fabric, right? It was perfect sandwiched between two layers of the denim:


The fabric was ripped to give two straight edges to line up the “stack and wack” and cutting began:


The edges were “Merrowed” together in a quick and easy edge finish. Here is the Merrow 2-DNR machine with bright red poly Highlights thread from Superior Threads. I like to use 2 strands in the looper and one in the needle. You can see some of the other colored threads I use in making educational materials in the background. Have I mentioned that I love bright colored threads?


Here’s the finished product. The stabilizer adds a nice body to the tie back:


Only because I had already purchased the pliers years ago when first designing educational materials, did I use the #8 brass colored Dritz grommets from Hancock Fabrics.

There were 36 grommets and my hands were not strong enough to set them. The client, HusPartner, had to do it but he did not take care and crushed most of the fronts as well as the backs. I was not happy with the misformed results but the “client” was fine with it and the job got done.


Next, I have to hem the curtains. Since they’ve been wetted and allowed to hang I am hoping that some of the off-grain problems will have solved themselves. I’ll take the iron, 68″ x 30″ padded board and the portable Janome 1600P into the building to do the hemming on site, hemming each panel separately. I have mentally hemmed these curtains many different ways, including just serging the edge using the Merrow machine but since they’ve nung overnight they seem to be a bit straighter. I do expect tons of problems with them, though, due to the bad fabric.

They sure look good against the white walls and I’ll post “It’s Finished!” photos when I am done. I’m certainly glad I’m not in the drapery making business!