Sunday, July 21, 2013

Break Time

Two weeks this July we packed up the fishing gear, the puppies and headed to Rice Lake, Ontario Canada.  This means take what you need to be comfortable but not the whole house.  For me it was magazines, my iPad and lots of sunscreen. What it also means is no sewing or quilting for those 2 weeks, so in the shop went my machine for its annual cleaning and maintenance checkup and putting my ETSY Shop on vacation mode as I wouldn't be here to do any shipping. I am fanatical about shipping as soon as a purchase is made and especially about returning emails when I read them, I check my phone often. No phone access in Canada, it's a foreign country with big roaming charges so I turn off data.

Rice Lake is a special place for my husband’s family.  From the time he was little he went to Rice Lake to stay with his beloved Grandpa Dutch for the summer.  Grandpa worked at Bethlehem Steel and once he retired summered in Canada for 10 weeks every summer. What he paid for those 10 weeks is less than we now pay for a week at another location. Now we're not talking Marriott accommodations here, no electricity, no indoor plumbing, water is from a well and the fishing boat was a canoe size vessel without a motor.
Dave and Grandpa Dutch
Grandpa loved it and so did my husband from all the stories he has shared. He stayed at a cottage on what is called Elm Point on the Trent, at that time there were 4 cottages and a main house.  Now the same location consist of only 2 cottages, the main house was sold to an individual and a new very large home was constructed just a few years ago behind them all. The cottages are in disrepair and not used but the fishing at this part of the lake is my personal favorite.  The water is not deep about 8-10' full of weeds you can see and when I drop my line down carefully between them it doesn’t take long to hit my licenses limit on large mouth bass.  When we want fish for dinner that night this is the spot we go and thank Grandpa Dutch for the best fishing spot.

Over the many years Dutch vacationed in Canada all of his family spent time there, my husband seemed to be the one that enjoyed it most. I have shared it with both my children, my sister, her husband and a very good friend and her daughter.  It's not the same place it was 20 years ago but it is not overtaken with cottages or over fished.

Dutch and Magoo

Not far from Hastings or Peterbough we go into town to do shopping, grab ice cream at a local stand or into Cobourg to get Swiss Chalet. (No longer available in Buffalo, so sad)

At the end of the day it is relaxing, enjoyable and we cant wait to go back next year.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Vacation time

Whenever I go on vacation I like to make something new. For this vacation I wanted a new cover-up to walk to the pool from the cottage (approximately 20 steps).  Since the air is usually cooler than the solar covered pool, having a cover helps.

I always bring the beach towel, but it tends to come untucked as I walk.  At the same time I wanted a cover up and not just a new towel.  I didn't see anything like I wanted so I purchased a velour type beach towel on sale at Joanne Fabrics 70% off and got out the scissors.

With the towel out flat, I cut off 6 1/2" from the short side (lime section on the doodle bug diagram),

then cut this piece in half creating 2 rectangles.  These two pieces become shoulder straps.  place a 2" wide piece of batting x the length of the strap in the middle of each and fold the raw edge in first then the finished edge creating a trifold.  

Sew down the edge and then add additional stitching going the same way for decoration and to secure the batting.  One end is zigzaged and attached to the back.  the other gets a button hole and will be finished using the binding method. ( 2 1/2" strip folded in half lenght wise, sew the raw edge to the front using a 1/4" seam. press and fold to the back, hand stitch) I set the straps up as optional by adding buttons to attach and remove them. The large remaining (pink section) turn under the raw edge on the large piece (pink section) where you cut for the strap twice to finish the end

The large part of the remaining towel I turned under 1 inch along what would become the top edge to form a pocket for elastic.  

Secure the ends after gathering the appropriate amount for you.  I overlapped the opening in front by crossing the ends over about 8 inches and only secured with enough stitches to attach the buttons.  DO NOT SEW THE FRONT CLOSED, you want the front open just like you tuck a towel so you can walk in it.

Having a large flap opening makes it easy to get into/out of and walk :)

Button holes on the strap front make them optional to use.   

The best vacations for me include warm weather, water and great company.  

Friday, July 5, 2013

FooFoo's Summer edition

I started making what I call FooFoo's others call them bandanas or scarves for my puppies with our second dog Zoe.

She had to go into the vet for her surgery at 4 months and came home wearing one.  It was simple, brightly colored and cut from a single layer of fabric with pinking shears.  When it became dirty I took it off and tossed it into the laundry basket.  She then proceeded to go into the dirty laundry, sorting it with her nose and coming up with this now dirty triangle fabric she knew was hers.  I had plenty of scrap in storage even then so I cut her another so I could wash this one, she was happy.  

Over the years I started turning the edge under and adding a hem to keep them in shape but eventually they became two layers with top stitching.  Adding the two layers made them last much longer and she did love them.

As she got bigger I needed to create new ones due to her neck size and started creating them for seasons, making Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines  St. Patrick's day, Easter and July 4th.

Each year I added new ones to the collection, some just because I liked the fabric and some because the colors needed brightening.  She never tired of wearing her FooFoo's and never wanted to be naked (no FooFoo).

When we brought home the girls Bella and Izzie I decided to more or less color code them.  For me it was easy to tell them apart looking them in the face as Izzie was much redder and Bella had such a sweet expression at all times.

Telling them apart as they ran around the back yard at full speed was another story.  

Bella Rose's signature color became pink and Isabel Zoe (Izzie) became purple, to match their collars.  Pink is easy in most prints but getting the same print in purple isn't always possible.  In this case Izzie has some green (my favorite color).

I think the FooFoo's have developed into my standard pattern now after several adjustments.  If I like the print and it has both pink and purple in it I make them each one and add a ribbon.

I had a few from Zoe that were purchased at a craft show.  These were exact triangles, which is not practical.  This makes them too long at the middle to the point that Izzie can get it in her mouth - and does.  She looks like a bandit doing this and eventually chews off the point.

Before vacation I made the seasons new collection, some include embroidery.  This is new with the purchase of my embroidery machine last year. Just a little something when the pattern isn't busy.

We need one for each day because they are very active with boat rides, watching squirrels, chipmunks and this year 3 chickens.  They also go for several long walks and the daily swim in the lake, we are very busy puppies and also enjoy lounging on the porch.

At Christmas time I have made and purchased hats but that's another story

Want to make them for your dog? I use muslin for most backs ( purchased at the fabric store half price).  I buy it a bolt at a time. 1/4 yard of fabric will create the front for most mid size dogs.  I measure the collar and add 3 inches so they can be tied.  The center for the tip of the triangle is no longer than 10" (8 for Izzie) 
It ends up looking like this!