Friday, July 28, 2006

Last minute projects

I tend to do things last minute and this includes sewing projects right before I go on vacation. I wrote about making a skirt two days before we left in this post. Here's a picture of me wearing it. In Paris. In front of Reine, a fabulous fabric store in Montmartre. It was very hot and now that I look at myself, I think I ate a few too many pain au chocolat while I was there!

Fabric shopping in Paris

The skirt was comfortable, cool and and very packable but I was very bright! Most Parisians were wearing skirts and tops that were a bit more interesting than a plain old T-shirt and in either black, white, brown or olive green. Note to self: next time, just make everything out of the June issue of Burda. But the smile on my face tells it all. I was very happy to be there and very happy to be shopping at Reine. They have the most divine small-scale mannequins dressed in gorgeous outfits. I wanted to take pictures inside but they wouldn't let us.

Yes, I did buy fabric. Since there was a heat wave going on, I gravitated toward lightweight, airy cottons in neutral colors. I did want more orange but I held back. For some reason I am in an orange phase right now. I wonder what that means about me? Anyway, I have plenty of orange-y fabric at home so I tried to go more neutral. I bought four pieces: three in cotton and one in a linen blend. I envision skirts, blouses, simple jackets...things like that. If I get around to it I'll photograph what I bought.

I have plenty more photographs of our trip to show here and on flickr, but even though it's cooled down here and I feel human again, I need to carve out some time to go through them all.

The other last-minute project I worked on was a book bag for my friend we were visiting while in France. She had purchased some Olivia books online, shipped them here, and asked me to bring them when we visited. I'd never heard of Olivia, but when the books arrived I remembered seeing fabric with the Oliva-the-pig design on it. I simply had to make a book bag out of it! Thank goodness for fast internet shipping. I ordered the fabric from Z & S Fabrics, a first time order for me and I'd never even heard of the store before, but I needn't have had any concern. The fabric arrived well packaged and even tied up with a bow of some extra of the fabric I'd ordered. I didn't have a pattern - this bag is pretty simple so no pattern was needed. To make the bag more sturdy, I underlined the fabric with heavy canvas. I wrote a review on where I give some detail on how I made the bag. I would have taken pictures and shown a tutorial but I just didn't have time. The trip was fast approaching! Here are pictures of the finished bag (click for larger views):

Olivia books in an Olivia bookbag A closer look

Tomorrow we are off to Lambtown, a small sheep and wool festival in Dixon, CA. We went last year and although it was very hot, we had a good time. Lots of sheep, sheepdogs, wool, yarn, spinning... It's all good. It's like a small-town country fair but just about everything has to do with sheep. Baaaaa.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Hot, hot, hot

I know we're not alone, there are many people across the country suffering in the heat. Our outdoor thermometer recorded just how hot it got yesterday. The top one is a reading on the back patio, which is somewhat shaded. The one below it was the max temperature in the house yesterday. I like the way it thinks we’re having rain. As if. It won’t rain here until October. No we don't have a/c.

We don't have a/c because usually it cools down in the evening. We like to have the windows open to hear the pond, the birds, our neighbor’s dogs… However, this was the temperature at 8:38 pm:

We have a whole-house fan, which is a monstrously loud beast of a fan mounted in the hallway ceiling. It draws air into the house and up into the attic and out the vents. In the course of our remodelling work my husband has to do a lot of work up in the attic to do wiring and stuff. He knew it got hot up there even on a mild day, so he put another thermometer up there just to see. Yikes!

Suffice it to say that we were not very productive this weekend. We stayed pretty motionless in front of fans. I read magazines and started the book French Women Don't Get Fat, watched movies: Finding Neverland (wonderful), War of the Worlds (dumb but good effects), Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (silly but entertaining). My husband camped out in the family room and played X-box. I will say that the heat is a great diet aid. I had absolutely no appetite this weekend. Hopefully I lost a few pounds and not just through sweat. Incidentally, a/c is something the author of French Women Don't Get Fat says is one reason Americans eat more than the French. They don't have much air conditioning in France. I can attest to this as it was in the 90s while we were in Paris and not many stores had a/c. I made sure to book a hotel room that did and we were very glad!

I started to work on our vacation photos but it was just too hot, even sitting in front of the fan. There are only about 1200 of them (!!!). Of course there's a lot of editing to do because many of those photos are duplicates. And unfortunately there's a speck of dust in my camera somewhere that shows up on every picture as a black, spherical UFO in the sky. But not to worry, Photoshop will come to the rescue. I love digital.

We had a simply wonderful vacation. I have lots to write about but want to wait until I can show some pictures to go with my narration. It's supposed to cool down by the end of the week so hopefully I'll be able to work on the pictures soon.

Oh and we've decided that perhaps we should get air conditioning installed.