Friday, August 30, 2013

Ten things in August


Some of you must be pining for me by now. Its' been a rough August for me, my friends. If you must, I will go into details. If you live in Singapore, you'll know it's the Hungry Ghost Month. I think it's from 7 Aug to 4 Sep. So it ain't over yet. I don't want to rant about it. Alright, I do. The bottom line is during the days when there is major burning of incense paper, my sinus goes nuts. N.U.T.S. And I don't recover fast so when the next batch of burning comes along, my sinus is still in recovery mode. So my sinus gets sicker. This year, my girl too could barely breathe. She ended up with an infection. She had to do the antibiotics route which is very hard because I have to break the tablet into half or she won't take it. My thumb is very sore now. My son who usually gets very bad sinus attacks was quite lucky and did not suffer much except for one day when he had Geography exams and he had a sneezing attack and he had no hanky or tissue...This festival is a yearly thing. We'll just have to ride it out. It's almost over. There should be one more big burning day for the close of the festival. I plan to take refuge in an air-conditioned shopping mall. I only fear nighttime burning because I gotta go home and sleep.

I want to say it hasn't been a nightmare throughout August so here are the 10 things I did in August which were pretty happy ones.

1. Sleeping

a lot. Mostly medication induced ones. I really enjoyed the sleep. I slept more than what a human needs. I slept in the morning. I slept in the afternoon. I slept at night. I couldn't sleep all day though. Tried it once and it didn't work.

2. Eating

a lot of junk food. (and I didn't care)

Such as these prawn crackers.

And these macarons which gave me a 5 day migraine. Okay, I will stop taking dairy products. They're killing me. But. So. Delicious. Darn it. Now I want to eat CAKE. Speaking of which, surely one can make non-dairy cake? Recently I ate some Japanese steamed cakes and they did not contain any dairy. Tasted out of this world too.

Oh, and these salted egg yolk fried prawns.

It was a yummy month.

3. Tatting

made a comeback in my life. Completed my very first tatted earring. This pair went to a friend. The next pair will be for me. That is if I could get hold of real surgical steel ear wires. Yes, I am sensitive in the ears as well.

4. Beading

a cabochon pendant. I only managed to spend two very short afternoons on it and this is my progress. I hope to complete it by Chinese New Year NEXT YEAR. Yes, this one's for me.

5. Bag Pattern making

finally saw some progress. There is a really steep learning curve for the new software but I've managed to pick up enough to get going. I'm starting to feel optimistic and confident. Hopefully I will get one pattern published by end of the year, if I'm lucky. It is a lot of work. A lot. Some days I wanted to scream and I just had to walk away.

6. Watching

every episode of Broadchurch. I thought David Tennant and Olivia Colman had very good chemistry. Can't wait for season 2.

Strangely got very into the Great Australian Bake Off. I really like both judges. I thought they were really classy. And who else thought they are such poets with their critique? I mean, when I eat bread or cake, all I can say is yum, good, fabulous. I secretly believe the male judge has a thing for the winner. He looked so in love with her every time he's near her. The male host annoyed me when he kept on and on hugging one of the contestants whenever she teared up. Which was a lot. I mean, come on mate! Get a cold shower before the show.

7. Reading

real books and not craft books.

Such as these. I've seen the movies. Wanted to see if the movie is true to the books.

8. Running

after a very long break due to a pain in the right foot. It was a good run but I couldn't do it again due to all the smoke and falling sick. But now I know I can run. And I don't think the pain will ever go away. It's an aging thing. Aging sucks. Why must people age? Why? Why? Why?

9. Feeling

very relieved the kids' Term 3 exams are over. Now for the final one in Term 4.

10. Instagramming

every day. Believe it or not, I've been doing this since June. Influenced by ElephantIsLove. Each day I take a photo and what I photograph is related to a prompt.

This is an example of what an August photo prompt is. It might sound like a silly game to some of you!

Here are my August pics. If you have instagram, you can find me @projectsbyjane. If you don't have instagram, you can still view my pics on this blog (see sidebar for instagram and click on the images; don't be scared) or at my facebook (look for instagram tab).

That's it. See you in September!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Zipper feet


In my younger days (in sewing terms), I used to question everything. Why must I sew something this way and not that way. Is that the best way? Is there a tool available to help me sew better? Then I got so used to sewing in a certain way that I stopped looking for better ways.

Recently I said out loud to hubs that I wished someone would come up with an app to do XXX. For the life of me I can't recall what XXX was. Anyway hubs said there was such an app and he was right! It got me thinking that the little irritations I face daily when I sew with zippers can be solved by better tools.

Let me explain. I sew a lot of zip pouches and it's possible I've made at least 500 by now. So you can believe me when I say I know how to sew zippers. I have to say, despite having sewn so many zippers, I still have issues with the zipper foot.

ignore the lint!
See this zipper foot? It comes with the sewing machine. I hardly ever use it. Know why?

See how close the needle is to the zipper? That's desirable if you sew clothing but for zip pouches, I like to sew further away from the zipper teeth. I don't know about other sewers if they mind sewing so close to the teeth because in real life I don't go around asking people that sort of question. Of course you're probably thinking why don't I sew more to the right but if I do that there's nothing to anchor my zipper foot on. (underneath the zipper foot there is a groove) In fact, that's what I did in the old days - using the zipper foot like you would a regular foot - but it always felt a little unstable.

For a few years now, I've been using an adjustable zipper foot. Most of my zip pouches have been made using this zipper foot.

I love using this zipper foot because I can sew anywhere on the zipper. I could place it snug next to the zipper teeth which I'll never do or I could just follow a drawn line and use the line to guide me. This foot is great for making piping, by the way!

So, like I said. I made most of my zipper pouch using this adjustable zipper foot. And honestly it did a good job. But I never found it perfect. There was just one big issue I had with it. The zipper foot did not have enough grip. I always felt it was too slippery when I sew as I'm not anchoring onto anything. Because of that I need to go slowly. If I have to go slowly for 500 zip pouches, you can imagine my frustration.

Yesterday I was at my sewing machine dealer's office and I casually told the good folks there my zipper foot problem. Okay, who am I kidding? I poured out my problems to them. When I bought my adjustable zipper foot from Brother a few years ago, I was told that was the best zipper foot available which was why I bought it. My dealer brought out this other adjustable zipper foot.

Janome adjustable zipper foot

the orange one is my first one

Honestly, I couldn't tell based on the look if it would be better but I bought it. Yesterday night I immediately sewed a zip pouch to test the new adjustable zipper foot.

This was what I sewed. Is it pretty? Oh never mind, let me show you the problem...

After assembling the foot (it's not clip on, sadly) I realised with horror that I could only sew with the fabric on the right hand side. I have adjustable needle but this was as far it could go. I know it's just a matter of getting used to always sewing with the fabric on the right but I really felt quite angry because this probably meant my dealer had sold me a zipper foot not meant for my sewing machine. They knew the model number I owned. I mean, wtf, rite? Despite everything, I managed to complete the zip pouch. Btw, the grip was soooooo much better. I contemplated calling up the dealer immediately asking for a refund or exchange it for another zipper foot which looked exactly like the one I already had. But the office was closed and I thought about shooting an email to the dealer. I was already forming the angry email in my head. Grr!

Then I had a feeling... an overwhelming deja vu. Wait, wait. It's there. Something. What is it? I can't quite grasp it yet. It's close. I can almost feel it.Then it hit me.


This has happened before. When I bought my first adjustable zipper foot, I too struggled with it until I realised the keyword is ADJUSTABLE.

Yep, I see the screw now and I can move the position of the foot. I'm just so glad I never emailed that angry letter or stormed down demanding a refund. Previously I too wanted to storm down to my Brother dealer to demand a refund.

the needle is in the center of the foot
This morning I discovered something even more wonderful. I managed to adjust the position of my needle and the zipper foot such that I am able to sew in the center of the zipper foot. You know what that means? Firstly, I no longer need to mark a line to follow. Secondly, the distance from the zipper teeth to the sewn line is exactly where I like to sew.

See how much space there is between the teeth and the fabric? I think I'm going to bitch so much less when I sew with zippers from now on.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Doggie Embroidery Floss Keeper


Anybody there? I'm writing this post in my cave. I've been here so long I've lost track of time. Is it still 2013?

Some time ago, hubs bought new software for me which I could use to produce my sewing patterns. Originally I thought my girl would spend her June school holidays trying out the software. She's quite good at picking up software and I was hoping she could help me out. But she squandered her school holidays on Tumblr and youtube. I finally have time to learn to use this new software but I'm finding it very hard learning on my own from books, youtube and DVDs.

One big problem is the voice of the narrator keeps putting me in a COMA. Once I fell into such a deep COMA, I only regained consciousness 6 hours later. I even missed one meal.

I am someone who learns best by asking a human being, preferably seated next to me. I am also someone who doesn't pick up new things fast. You could say I'm a slow learner. But the good thing is, once I've learnt it, I get pretty good at it.

Today I finally managed to create a document of a template. It's just a start. I've lots more to pick up. Anyhoos, I thought why not create something some of you could use. It's quite silly to just do doodles!

I made a template of embroidery floss keepers. Do they look like dogs tied up? If you should want to give this a go, be sure to print ONLY page 2 on a thick paper. I used 200gsm paper which I feel is not nearly thick enough but I can live with it. You could go higher. You can use A4 or Letter size paper.

Doggie Embroidery Floss Keeper Download here. If you encounter any problems, do leave a comment so I can fix it.
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My Applique Patterns

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