Friday, April 8, 2011

Zippety Doo Dah!

So, as I was getting ready for the yoga retreat, I went to pack my little art-supply kit. You know, that ugly plastic box that all the pencils and things rattle around in.

What I really need, I thought, is a lovely little fabric bag for my art supplies. You know, the kind with a zip . . . zip . . . zippppppperrrrr (that's me shuddering). I've never put a zipper into ANYTHING, and I've never understood how to put a zipper in.

How does a zipper foot work? How do you get the zipper the right size? Why does the foot have to be skinny? Oh, I've read all about putting zippers in, numerous times. But I've just never really understood the concept.

This time, though, I decided that I just needed to jump right in and create a bag and put the darned zipper in. I started with some painted fabric I've had forever, layered it on batting, and free-motion quilted it.

Then, I just rolled the rectangle over so that the two long edges were touching. I put one long edge right sides together with the zipper and pinned it. I got out the zipper foot for my Husqvarna Viking machine (which doesn't actually look like any zipper foot I've ever seen)

and put it onto my machine. I spent about 30 minutes trying to figure out how to sew with the foot, and finally took it off and just put a regular foot on (with a channel underneath for the zipper teeth). I stitched one side of the zipper to the long edge of the rectangle, then realized that somehow I had sewn the zipper on upside-down, backwards, and inside-out (or something). I ripped the seam out, started over, and managed to sew it correctly this time. Then I sewed the other side, turned the tube inside-out (and unzipped the zipper half-way, stitched up the sides, and trimmed the zipper.

Voila! A zippered bag! Not the most perfect zippered bag, but zippered nonetheless! I happily went to transfer my art supplies into the bag and realized that it was too small. I had measured for the length of the pencils, but didn't measure the size of my little watercolor pan set. Back to the drawing board. . . .

This time I started with  a small UFO that has been driving me crazy for a very long time; sadly, my photos are SO disorganized that I couldn't find a before pic. At any rate, I used this UFO to create a larger bag; this time, I made sure that everything, including my small sketchbook, would fit. Here are both bags together:

Hurray! Two zippered bags. I feel like a whole new world has opened up to me, and I can't wait to make more!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fruits of Spring

A couple of weekends ago we took the grandbaby (ok, he's 11, so the babyhood has passed; maybe I should refer to him as our lovely grandadolescent) to Sweet Berry Farm to pick strawberries. Here's our haul:

We ate quite a few of these luscious berries and froze most of them. Last night, I finally had time to can some strawberry preserves:

And now, I'm off to toast some bread . . .

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I’ve been super busy. My mom invited me months ago to a yoga retreat at the Hindu temple and ashram, Barsana Dham, just outside of Austin, and the date crept up on me before I realized it. I considered bowing out, but I’m SO glad I didn’t. It was incredibly restful and energizing, and reminded me of why and how much I love yoga (not just as a physical exercise, but as a spiritual practice).
Here is the temple at Barsana Dham:


And a close-up of the temple’s beautiful gold doors:


This is my 80-something mother (still going strong, no doubt due in some part to her regular yoga practice):


And a less humble resident of Barsana Dham. This fellow sits on a picnic table for most of the day, looking at his reflection in the windows and preening and fluffing himself:


We started with early morning yoga sessions, but most of the retreat activities were talks and workshops. It was a wonderful experience, and I am grateful for the time I was able to spend with my mom.
Btw, if you are interested in reading more about yoga and meditation, this is a great site: