committed

I have no crafts to speak of, nor photos to share, but after much delay in deciding our france trip, we have finally committed.

Our tickets were quite a bit more than originally budgeted for, but I hope to pick up an extra hour here and there at work before we fly. We leave September 9 (09/09/09 – how cool is that?!) and return on the 20th. Dang, thats a long time! I am really surprised this whole thing is happening because boy is quite the workaholic and doesnt like to even be gone for a Saturday-Sunday venture. His new employee is the catalyst for this change, and I hope it will continue in the future.

We also got a fun little rental car – a Citroen C3. Now I just need to square away a hotel reservation for the first few nights and the last night, as all else will be on the fly. Where are we going? Well I am glad you have asked!

  • I convinced boy of this other worldy venture by showing him Carcassonne. (We also have the board game.)
  • I cant go to places like this and not be anthropological, so I intend on visiting Lascaux and Les Eyzies.
  • Also on our quest will hopefully be the Pont du Gard and the Arena, along with the other Roman leftovers, near Nimes.

Basically, we will fly to Montpellier, travel north to the Sarlat-le-caneda area, come back through Carcassone and Narbonne, east to Nimes and the Provence area, and then back to Montpellier.

France_trip

Theres a lot I would like to see, and the amount of time we have is not enough. First off, we are missing Paris and the Louvre. Second, Toulouse and the chemin de fauvism (my favorite being Kandinskys blue mountain – Ill have to upload a pic of a school project I made in its liking, once i move and unpack it). Verseille. He would like to see the Airbus operation, or the Large Hadron Collider. Theres much more to the east. And Id like to stay on the coast for a bit. Looks like well just have to plan another trip;)

a dudes bookcover

I have a quilted bookcover that i picked up at a local arts and crafts show. I love the thing. It helps keep my books in great condition, and even resist dog eared corners and the occasional spill (its just enough to soak up the wetness while i whip the book out of its cover). Plus, the bookmark always stays put, and as a friend once pointed out to me – it allows privacy of the book you are reading so people cant make judgement calls. (Do people do that??)

bookcover_inspiration

I wanted to try my hand at making one because i didnt see any that were embellished. Im thinking embroidery, beads, sequins – whatever. Since i usually dont make anything for myself, i needed a volunteer. Tofer was the obvious choice – we read the same kind of books and i see him like every day so hes who i thought of. But…

Invaraibly, he is a dude. And do dudes want a quilted book cover? Prolly not. He liked the idea of having one, but we agreed it had to be “manly”.

So i picked up a few fat quarters and chose this as his fabric. Black and white – classic, “man” colors, and a pattern that was simple. Now i needed to embellish it, but that very word seems feminine, doesnt it?

I went with “blood red” thread and followed some of the pattern. Two things:

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1. I had to color the pattern so i knew  where i was sewing, but also so that any  stitching gaps werent as obvious. My red  pen turned more pink on the fabric, so  that would be something i would change  if i made this one again but in general, you cant really see it.

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2. This part of the project was done before i had even more practice at embroidery and so I used all kinds of crazy stitches. Were i to do it all over again, i think i would use a chain stitch, and definitely vary the number of threads – by using the same everywhere, it gives it a very flat appearance. Lesson learned.

I didnt have a pattern. I kind of looked on the internet but wasnt quite confident that they matched the cover i owned. So…i winged it. I measured 3 times to cut once, but admit i cut sloppily for the outside piece because i had expected that i overshot the seam allowance more than i actually did. Good news though – i didnt run into any problems! Just had to adjust my sewing to make the edges straight.

So i had two peices of cut fabric and therefore a dilemma: My purchased cover was quilted, but i felt that would take away from the pattern and dudelyness of it. I could tack it with small stitches here and there, but again, i was worried that wouldnt be a good move. So i called my psuedo mom and she suggested finding a kind of hem tape. One Joanns trip later, I had Stitch Witchery to work with.

Since I wasnt sure how stiff it would become, i only used it in three strips – one for each flap that would get folded over, and one down the spine, where the embroidery was. It was an incredibly easy process, and was only barely stiffer than the fabric – i assume after a wash or two, you wont even be able to tell. BUT… somehow part of my fabric yellowed a bit. I tried to figure out what caused it: (a) i had already washed the fabric, so it wasnt any kind of bleeding from using a damp cloth with the stitch witchery (b) if it was caused by the stich witchery, it would have been in a different place, and at each strip (c) i used the same amount of time on each place, so it could also not be from too much heat from the iron. I am still at a loss at how it happened (though i am leaning on that it just must be from the heat of the iron), but Tof thinks its not noticeable and its his cover so Im good with it.

The last detail is the bookmark. A simple black ribbon sewn at the center of the top. Chris really digs dragons, so i searched Etsy and found artdawgs. The size of this pendant seemed good, and the colors were perfect. (It was also my first Etsy purchase, hooray!).

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The token had a tiny little hole and the larger black ribbon didnt fit through it well. I improvised and sewed a smaller black ribbon along it. The first time was purely by machine, and it got crinkly. I used a zigzag stitch at 3 with length 4.

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The second time, i stitched it by hand in long stitches, just so that when i used the machine, i wouldnt have to pull it left or right to keep the little ribbon center, which probably caused the crinkle.

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It lies pretty much flat, so it worked! I did change the stitch length to 2 though, and it gave a really sturdy feel to the bookmark.

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So, without any further adieu – voila!

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busy weekend

But no update on projects :( I had broken my sewing machine needle, and although I got it replaced, I was barely home this weekend to finish up the tasks. Boy needed me to finish painting his office (which still isnt done – it needs a third coat) and we had a birthday party to go to, not to mention all the other errands that always get pushed off until weekends.

I went over to Gayles and she taught me how to do a blind hem. It doesnt look like my machine will do it (although I need time to look more into it) but at least now I just might be able to hem my own stuff.

On a different topic though, we have gotten serious about Boy learning french, and my reaffirming what I know with rosetta stone. I like that software quite a bit. But we have only 3 months left and 48 lessons to do, so we made a schedule for twice a week that we must uphold! Ultimately, this will cut into my crafting time, but it will allow for better posts in the future about France:)