Fun Weekend, New Bracelet

It’s  been a busy weekend around here.  David’s son, Jason, and his girlfriend, Kristen, arrived on Thursday for a three day visit.  We don’t see them very often so we were looking forward to hanging out together without much of an agenda.  We hiked, cooked, swam, sunned and drank some good wine.  Here’s a photo of David and Jay during our hike in Sabino:

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We were out early and it was still pretty hot out there!  The big smiles pretty much tell the story of the weekend.

I also enjoyed my solo time with Kristen.  We gals need to stick together since we are usually well outnumbered by the guys!  Kristen is studying to be a nurse, and she is also very creative and artistic.  She expressed an interest in learning how to do Kumihimo so we set off to play at the bead store.  We picked up supplies so she could make a woven bracelet like mine, and while we were there, we spotted a sample of an earth-tone beaded bracelet with tassels that we both really liked.  I decided to buy the beads we needed to make it figuring we could use online resources for the how-to part:


And here’s the finished bracelet:


I really like it, probably because it looks pretty much like the one we saw. I think the process of construction was fine but my technique on this go-round was less than stellar.   Different (less artfully arranged) photos tell the real story.

This bracelet has a loop and button closure.  Here’s a close-up of that part:

The construction begins with the loop:


This bracelet is beaded using double strands of cording, but the loop is started using only single strands.  Once you have about 2 inches of single braid on the Kumihimo disk, you take the warps off, fold the braid in half and rethread the 16 warps (2 in each slot) to begin the beading part.  I didn’t keep those eight doubled warps from criss-crossing each other when I rethreaded so my first beads didn’t create a neat edge.  This will be something I pay closer attention to next time.

After the beaded portion is the desired length,  there’s some additional braiding, the ends are knotted, and the button is attached by threading one cord of the sixteen through the button.  Here’s a shot of that construction:


The tassels are simply the remaining cords dotted with beads, trimmed and knotted.  I used simple knots which didn’t secure each bead to a specific spot on a cord.  There’s a way to knot that keep the beads from moving around but I haven’ t learned how to do that yet.

Here’s the bracelet on my wrist:


Hmm. The mess at the beginning is pretty apparent. Maybe this way:


Better.  Happily I have plenty of beads left over so I can give it another go.  Once I get the kinks out I’ll send one to Kristen.  She and Jason are off to Las Vegas today for more vacation and David and I going to finish the weekend eating up leftovers, catching  up on the Times puzzle and floating in the pool.  Ahhh.


Happy in Ikat

So it finally happened.  Some time this summer I slipped on my favorite khaki shorts, looked in the mirror, and realized that it was time to stop wearing shorts.  This doesn’t mean that I never wear them, particularly when I’m out walking or hiking, but they no longer (to my eye anyway) do anything for me.  And given the weather here in hot, hot Arizona, pants for me are a complete no-go.  Enter skirts.  Lots and lots of skirts.

I’ve written before about how much I enjoy sewing skirts–a great opportunity to trot out some fun prints and few fitting issues.  For my “instead of shorts” pattern though I’m loving this one, the aptly named Everyday Skirt:DSCN1506

Admittedly I got sucked in by the easy breezy model, but I could see how this pattern could work in lots of fabrics and pair up with all my summer tanks and tees.  Um, no sweaters in August.

This is the second time I’ve made this skirt.  Here’s me wearing the first version:


This is the dotted chambray version (where would I be without the ever-present black tank!) which I love, except that it’s too sheer to wear without a slip.  The slippery nylon clinging in the summer…well you know.

So I set off to Joann’s to find a more opaque, slightly “crisper” fabric.  Joann’s is a real hit or miss affair for me, but this time I got lucky and found this wonderful Ikat chambray:


My love affair with Ikat patterns started a long time ago and I’ve slipped them into my environment like here:


and here:


But this is the first time I’ve used an Ikat pattern for an article of clothing.  Here’s the finished skirt:


The designers of this skirt have only recently branched out from designing children’s patterns.  No wonder they understand comfort!  Some of the features that make this such a great “throw on skirt” include the elastic waist in the back:

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From a styling perspective, the smooth front waistband keeps the look more modern and less “Home Ec”. And the pockets are a must for me in terms of function:

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The construction is simple throughout right down to the turned up and top-stitched hem:


I’m really pleased with how this skirt turned out.  Here’s me wearing it, and enjoying the full-on sunny day:DSCN1489

Hope your day is making you smile (even if you’re not wearing Ikat)!



When the Cameras Aren’t Rolling

It’s been days since I posted.  A change from the every-other-day pace that I had settled into.  We spent a long weekend up in Prescott on a mini family getaway (so cool and piney) and I “forgot” my camera.  And my knitting.  I think I was needing to just be present in my weekend without documenting it all.   Consequently I have little to “report”.  In addition, I didn’t have too many projects in the pipeline so most everything right now is a work in progress.  And that’s okay, except that I was in touch with feeling like I really wanted to be done with something so that I could present it–you know, “voila!”  All wrapped up.

Let’s face it–blogging gives us the opportunity to neaten it up, tidy it up and present ourselves in whatever light we choose.  I’m not on Facebook but blogging has plenty to do with image management no matter how “real” we profess to be.  And I have hundreds of discarded photographs to prove it.   In general I don’t struggle with the fact of this much, but today, I’d like to formally honor “the process” and the time before and after the tidy wrap-up.  In no particular order…


This is the shawl-in-progress occupying a place of honor on my chair in the kitchen.  The dimensions of this shawl are really big so it will likely remain in this spot for weeks.


This is my skirt-in-progress plopped on my messy sewing table awaiting waistband and hem finishing.  I’m resisting the urge to post a completed “tada” photo from another version of this skirt I made a while ago.  I say “no” today to image management!!


This is a photo of my next Kumihimo project.  I’m just in the contemplation (i.e. I haven’t gotten the materials yet) stage, but I’m wanting to make a double strand necklace using variegated fiber.


This is Audrey 2 still doing her thing.  There’s one zucchini left on the plant and the bed needs to get cleaned up and prepped for the fall planting.  And speaking of the garden:


Yeah, we’re done here.  Ready for the new seedlings (which we haven’t bought yet).  And then there’s this:

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The site of our new beds.  Our plans are ambitious but we probably won’t get to this until next weekend.

And on the food front, after a flurry of cooking and baking, we are starting to break into all the goodies we froze.  Today we are snacking on this:


Yummy banana bread that’s as good the second time around.

And after the debacle with the flies (there were more of them out there this morning), the weather here has been doing its summer rainy thing and our usual breathtaking views are just, well, so-so:


So there you have it.  Life moving as it does between the ooh and aah moments.  I know that accompanying photos of me in my “not ready for primetime” attire might be an appropriate ending for this post.  You know, the anti-voila! moment.  But we all have our limits.