Friday, April 30, 2010

Back talk

So at the start of this week I was feeling pretty cranky. My back was acting up again. I saw Len on Monday. I said "I think I'm stuck" and he said, "You are stuck. Your hip flexors keep tightening up and I don't know why." I saw my acupuncturist Karen on Thursday. She said anyone who sits all day long at work is going to have tight hip flexors.

Len said I should see a funny movie.
Karen said I should be outside in nature as much as possible.

I think they're both saying I need to relax.

I thought about how my back was doing pretty well a month ago. What have I done differently in the past month?
I stopped using my heating pad at night.
I started taking bromelain.
I have been crossing my legs again while seated and neglecting my posture.

So on Wednesday I started paying more attention to my leg crossing. It's kind of a riot. I'm sitting at work. I want to cross my legs. I make an effort not to cross them. I'm working away and then I realize, they're crossed. How did they get crossed on my watch? I uncross them. Repeat. over and over and over again. All day long. I readjusted my chair.

I stopped taking the bromelain.

I started using my heating pad at night again.

Guess what? My back feels the best it has all week!

And, as loony as it sounds, I've been having conversations with my back pain. Crazy, right? Well, I'm doing what the book Healing Back Pain Naturally says to do as one of the visualization exercises. I visualized my back pain (it happened to look like a Transformer, right out kids cartoons, maybe from the Selfish Seamstress blog posting a few weeks back) and I've talked with it. and it's talked back. It's kind of like writing a novel, but it's going on all in my head. But it seems to be working.

Unfortunately I keep hurting my right ankle in this annoying way. That's a post for another time.

I'm sooo looking forward to this weekend. It's supposed to be almost 90 here tmw. I can't wait to sit outside and read in the yard and enjoy life.

Good night!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Simplicity 8331 bag DONE & Have you seen this fabric?

Meet Sharp, my scissors bag:
Simplicity 8331 view D

It's loosely based on Simplicity 8331 view D.

Simplicity 8331 view D

Cute, no?
Simplicity 8331 view D

The bag stands up on its own because the lining is canvas. The handles have heavy weight craft interfacing in them.

The pattern calls for putting plastic needlepoint canvas in the bottom of the bag, but the canvas lining seems to support itself.

It's also supposed to have a flap, but I only had a half yard of this fabric--so no flap. I had to sew two scraps together to make the interior pocket. I didn't tuck the sides and I didn't topstitch the edges to make a rectangle.

I added the piping because it's one of my very favorite details ever.

Finished size is 11x8x6.

Simplicity 8331 view D

It took me like 5 hours to make this bag. I don't know why. I thought this would be a lot faster.
The Scissors fabric was purchased at Stitch Lab in Austin.

Ok, have you seen this fabric, in blue? If yes, where can I buy it??
Hawaii and test tubes

Good night!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Feeling the spines of animals

Jersey Tomato t-shirt


Healing Back Pain Naturally by Art Brownstein is excellent--I highly recommend it. It's basically John Sarno's Mind Over Back Pain with additional chapters about exercises, imagery, nutrition, wellness, and of course Art's own back pain saga.

The imagery section was fascinating. In each imagery session, you lie down, get comfortable, and can try a lot of different options:
  • pretend to be out in your favorite scene in nature (beach, field, mountain, wherever) and feel what it's like to be in that environment, relaxed and pain free.
  • focus on breathing, and when thoughts enter your mind, let them drift away like clouds. just relax.
  • imagine your spine being strong and flexible, doing the things you love doing, easily, with stamina and without pain
  • create an image for your back pain and have a dialogue with your back pain (I'll save that for another post)
  • imagine the feeling of an animal's spine, its strength and flexibility, and if possible to feel the spines of animals, transferring that feeling of strength from the animal to your own spine. The author lived near horses, and said he liked to feel the spines of horses and found it greatly diminished his back pain.
That last one was proving to be tricky. I don't own a pet, so access to an animal spine was not easy...and then I heard about Rutgers Day. Rutgers Day was started last year as a way of combining the NJ Folk Festival and Ag Field Day as well as adding a lot of other programs to it. Ag Field Day meant petting zoo for kids, which meant I could pet some animals and complete my assignment!


I waited in line for the petting zoo. Basically they let a few people in at a time in a penned off area to pet a goat, 2 lambs and 2 piglets. The goat spine was by far the strongest and easiest to feel. It juts out from the goat's back and feels very strong, very stable. The piglets spine felt soft. I couldn't feel the lamb spines at all--it reminded me of that saying "ewe's not fat, ewe's just fluffy". The lambs just felt like, well, fleece! They were baa-ing a lot which was very cute. The piglets were asleep for the duration.

I was able to tour the area with the mommas and piglets. there were charts by each momma indicating when she went into labor, when the piglets were born, how many were stillborn and if she survived the birthing process.

I went to the barn area to see if I could touch a cow--my wish was granted! It was more difficult to feel a cow spine compared to the goat. It too feels strong but it's not as easy to feel it. The cow felt very warm, like it was radiating heat. The hair along its spine is coarse; the hair on its face is soft.

I wanted to feel the horse's spine but no such luck.


So I also got to see the stable for the goats and sheep, and

I also spent time on Busch campus to visit Christine and build a virus out of marshmallows and toothpicks. The pix I took there were just as things were getting started. Later on it was quite busy, and her table was next to the chem students making ice cream with liquid nitrogen. I wish I took a picture of that, as when I took these pix, the day was just getting started and the students hadn't set up their ice cream station yet. It got more crowded later on.

I hadn't had liquid nitrogen ice cream since Bryn Mawr 1994/5 and it was SO GOOD. Considering it's made with half and half, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla, that explains why. I also enjoyed listening to a parent express concern about eating something made with nitrogen, isn't that dangerous, and the student's response about how we are breathing nitrogen all the time, the ice cream is made with the liquid form of it which is a fast way to make the ingredients cold, and that he had some ice cream 15 minutes ago and is still alive...good times.


I also saw some chemistry dept folks who I hadn't seen since I left Rutgers 3 years ago and they still remembered my name which I thought was pretty amazing. I worked there for 8 years but these folks were distinctly on the fringe of my working experience.

Let's see...I toured a lot of the booths/tables/etc. I...
  • had my blood pressure taken by a pharmacy student
  • had my name written in Japanese
  • watched a cockroach race (but I didn't bet on it)
  • got advice about what to do about black spot on my roses
  • saw the nut quiz table but didn't take the quiz because it was too crowded
  • and walked a lot!

I came home and took a big nap. Ahhhh...

My name in Japanese
Good night!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Some things I found while cleaning out the kitchen

Giveaway update: all items were shipped tonight! Thanks everyone for helping to clear out my stash!!

It's been a while since we've had some Japanese English...


Inside the small wooden box are
many colorful threads and pretty
shaped buttons
Shall I make a kitchen cloth next?

Eating breakfast...gets right to the point...
Good Morning!  You should put something in your stomach before you go.
good morning
You should put something in your stomach before you go.

And then here are some magnets, from when I was in my quotable magnet phase approx 6 years ago

My favorite is still "good clothes open all doors".

All of the above were in a small box of stuff I found this weekend of things that had been on my refrigerator at my apartment.

I don't think I can stay up late enough for Project Runway.

Good night!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Giveway ships tomorrow!

giveaway boxed up!!

I had 8 responses for the giveaway. All items ship tomorrow! Finally I boxed 'em all up tonight.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hookipa to my Hawaiian living room (in progress)

Giveaway item update: Items will be shipped this week! Daisy: please email me your mailing address at kdburkhardt at! Thanks!

Elvis always tries to jump into pix
Elvis always tries to jump into pix

Ok, so I am overly excited by my new red couch, Cherry.
I have another element of red in the living room, which are the uli ulis I bought in Waikiki in 2006. They are currently under the tv set in the living room.

Me with my uli ulis!
Was I really that lucky to stay oceanfront at the Sheraton Waikiki?

And that got me to thinking about the fat quarter I bought on Maui in 2008. So I removed the boring Manet print from its frame and threw the fabric in there, just as a mock up.

Hawaii and test tubes

I am loving it! It's not even ironed or flat in that photo, but it's looking pretty good for being thrown in there. I was also thinking of maybe making or buying a Hawaiian quilt-style piece to hang over the mantle, but this is definitely working in the meantime.

I then rediscovered my test tube rack and test tubes from my flower show in 2002. I will get some fake flowers to fill the test tubes.

And then that got me to thinking about the wall behind the couch....wouldn't Diamond Head look great up there? A great big poster sized print of Diamond Head? (You can see Diamond Head in the picture of the uli ulis).

where's mah bukkit?
And how about if I recovered the accent pillows the couch came with, in the blue version of the hibiscus print over the fireplace?

And of course Elvis is already hanging out....

Holy cow, I might actually use my living room for its intended purpose: living! and with a favorite theme of mine: Hawaii!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Meet Cherry, new red sofa!

My unnamed red netbook and Ruby, my red camera, have a new red friend in the house! Meet Cherry!

Elvis approves
Elvis approves this sofa (it's actually called Vegas).

What I wanted:
  • turquoise couch
  • queen sleeper sofa
  • the kind with 3 cushions
  • the kind that it looks very neat and tidy
  • where the fabric is pulled tight
  • that if any wood was showing, it would be light
  • that it was actually comfortable to sit and lie down on
What I bought:
  • a red couch
  • queen sleeper sofa
  • the kind with 2 cushions
  • where the back ones aren't attached so they look kind of messy
  • fabric is only pulled tight on the cushions
  • the wood is dark
  • it is comfortable!!
It is longer than my old couch, so I can actually lie completely flat on it (benefit to being short) but unlike in the store, my feet don't touch the ground when sitting in it (drawback to being short). I think this may be higher than the one in the store because this is a sleeper and the store sample was not?

I am also thrilled that my end tables still fit!!! Thrilled!! I moved them this morning thinking, I really still like them after 10 years, I really don't want to get rid of them.

It looks a lot larger in real life compared to the pix.

it seems a lot larger in real life!
Look at how small my Ikea chair is in comparison! Look at how much lower the Ikea seat is...

I want to redecorate the living room NOW! (starting with, um, actually removing the tags from the couch.) But I really should finish washing my very neglected dirty dishes.

Oh, the delivery window was 9-12. They called at 9, were here by 9:10, out by 9:20 or so. Thank goodness I got up at 7:30 to move the end tables and shoe pile out of the way, vacuum the rug and remove the dust bunnies.

Unlike the guys who removed my couch, these guys knew how to deliver furniture! And they had this awesome cart with wheels that spun around. I think they actually knew how to protect their backs!
My new red couch
That bucket under the coffee table will be relocated elsewhere...

Friday, April 16, 2010


For us creative types, this is really good. Elizabeth Gilbert talks about creativity, where the term genius comes from, the emotions surrounding creativity, etc. It's about 20 minutes, meanders a bit, but is really really thought provoking.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Giveaway Day 5: the earthy items

Don't forget to check out day 1 and day 2 of my pattern giveaway and day 3 which is fabric And Day 4 which is mostly crafty stuff!!

This isn't a raffle. Whoever claims something in these photos first in the blog comments, gets it (click on picture, go to All Sizes, original size for a close up). So claim it in the comments, then email me at kdburkhardt at with your mailing address.

And for my international readers--I will ship patterns to you but not the rest, sorry!

I'll keep this giveaway open til Saturday morning, and most likely will do my shipping this weekend.

Postage is on me to say thanks for your readership and support!

No limit on the number of stuff you want to claim in today's offering.

I went through a phase of making things (wreaths, styrofoam cones) with pinecones and seed pods.
Top of picture: pods for crafting
Bottom of picture: pinecones, some smell like cinnamon

Cinnamon sticks for crafting (not baking), in short and long lengths
Dried fruit for crafting
More pods for crafting:
So I think that's all for now!

This weekend will be my big mail-a-thon, I can't wait!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Giveaway Day 4: Crafty items etc

Don't forget to check out day 1 and day 2 of my pattern giveaway and day 3 which is fabric !!

So now we're at day 4 of my giveaway: other people's fabric and crafty items!!!

This isn't a raffle. Whoever claims something in these photos first in the blog comments, gets it (click on picture, go to All Sizes, original size for a close up). So claim it in the comments, then email me at kdburkhardt at with your mailing address.

And for my international readers--I will ship patterns to you but not the rest, sorry!

I'll keep this giveaway open for a few days, til Friday, and most likely will do my shipping next weekend.

Postage is on me to say thanks for your readership and support!

No limit on the number of stuff you want to claim in today's offering.

So first up is fabric from a neighbor. WHY I accepted some of her stash I don't know. Warning, it smells like mothballs.
X: 1 1/8 of 60" wide polyester something er other, creamy colored
Y: 1 1/2 of 44" wide poly blend bird fabric
Z: 2 1/2 of 60" wide black fabric that might have some wool in it? Not really sure. It's pretty heavy fabric.
fabric day 4

Kyle stickers in blue and green. I used a few of the blue ones but the green ones are untouched. Also, 9 feet of poly ribbon and an ice cream cone iron on transfer that says "sweetie"
stickers etc

jingle bells, holiday felt stick-it-shapes, snowman foam shapes, pom pom explosion, 5 plastic balloon weights in various shapes
Pompoms etc

green cone, white cone, unused tan croquet cotton, Christmas holly picks, peach poly ribbon for gift wrapping, pumpkin pick, butterfly
ribbon etc

Almost a full spool of white tulle, styrofoam balls galore

Plastic floral foam tray things, bridal bouquet holders

Other floral accessories (wire, tape, candle holders to be stuck in floral foam, floral pins, etc):
floral etc

Ok, have at it! Only one more day of new stuff to be posted!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Simplicity 8331 Austin Scissors bag in progress

Don't forget to check out day 1 and day 2 of my pattern giveaway and day 3 which is fabric !!

So I took today off from work to buy a new couch (win! It arrives on Saturday!) and dishwasher (fail, Lowe's won't install it for me because of copper something-er-other). So I didn't get much sewing time in. I decided I would sew for no longer than an hour tonight. I had already cut out the bag and done the prep work Saturday and Sunday respectively. Here's how far I got, the exterior is done (it's the scissors fabric from Stitch Lab in Austin):

Simplicity 8331 view D in progress

Cute, right?? Do you see the piping??? You know how I looove piping.

The final product is supposed to have a tuck, so I mocked that up:
Simplicity 8331 view D in progress (tucked)

I have to do the lining, which has a pocket and a band of fabric at the top that is the same as the exterior. I need to figure out the bottom piece; it's supposed to be a plastic needlework "insert" but I was thinking of cardboard, but then washing it would be inconvenient if it was cardboard. Maybe I have some plastic around here that would work. hrm. Right now I have some wooden postcards (from Kauai!!) as placeholders instead.

Good night!!

Giveaway Day 3: The fabric!

Don't forget to check out day 1 and day 2 of my pattern giveaway!!

Now we're up to day 3 of the giveaway, the fabric!

This isn't a raffle. Whoever claims a piece of fabric first in the comments, gets it (I labeled the fabric by letter, click on picture, go to All Sizes, original size for a close up). Some letters I used twice, oops. So if you can't tell what the letter is or it was used twice (N and O), describe the fabric. So claim it in the comments, then email me at kdburkhardt at with your mailing address.

And for my international readers--I will ship patterns to you but not fabric, sorry!

I'll keep this giveaway open for a few days, til Friday, and most likely will do my shipping next weekend.

Postage is on me to say thanks for your readership and support! Most of this fabric has been pre-treated (washed and dried in a dryer). I have a smoke free, pet free home, though some of it dates back to when I lived with my parents--we had cats if allergy is a concern.

No limit on the number of fabrics you want to claim.

All are 44 inches wide unless otherwise noted.
A: 2 yards: pink lycra floral
B: 1 yard, 60 inches: poly chiffon
C: 2 1/8: cotton turquoise and black floral
D: 1/2 yard: synthetic red with black skulls
E: barely 1/2: cotton or cotton blend kids print
Fabric A through E

F: 2 yards, Mary Englebreit
G: 1 1/3 yards: purple poly or rayon
H: 1 and almost 1/4: purple poly or rayon floral
I: almost a yard: Polyester creamy print
J: 1 and 1/2: cotton or poly/cotton watermelon border print

Fabric F through J

K: 2 yards of 60" wide micro-suade type finish, orange-y
L: 1 yard but cut in half lengthwise, brown micro-suade type finish
M: .417 yards of creamy polyester, very thin
N: 2 3/4 flannel Sesame Street goes Hawaiian
O: 1 7/8 thick fleur-de-lis fabric
Fabric K through N

Oops, used N again: 1/2 yard 60 inch wide very frayable suiting aqua/brown
Ooops, used O again: 3 3/4 cotton or cotton/poly blend navy with gold print stars and moon
P: half yard of acetate, red

Q. 3/4 of 60" wide cotton or cotton/poly blend Christmas angels
R. 1 2/3 cut to 30" wide cotton or poly/cotton blend snowmen border print
S. panel, penguin door hanging
T. Let it Snow apron


U. panel, Santa outfit for decorative duck
V. 1 yard, 60" wide, some kind of rayon, cream colored
W. 22 inches, 60" wide, rayon or other synthetic, white

Fabric: Christmas and rayon


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Burda 10-2005-114 Cowl Neck done

Burda Oct 2005 114
Don't forget to check out day 1 and day 2 of my pattern giveaway!!

This was my first ever Burda pattern, and I've previously blogged about starting it. Through this experience, I learned about twin needle stitching and have fallen completely in love with the technique (read all about how I made it work here)! I thought I was finished last night, but I worked on it even more today, just taking in side seams.

Sizing: I'm between a 38 and 40 in Burda sizing for the bust, and between a 40 and 42 for waist and hip. The patterns don't have seam allowances. So I wound up cutting out a 40 in the shoulder and armhole, and 42 taper to 44 at the hip for the side seam. Next time I think I will try 38 all around, as I wound up taking in the side seams a lot, and I think the shoulder seam is too wide.

I also wound up buying a remnant of fabric at JoAnn's and recutting the cowl, since I forgot to add the hem allowance to the cowl, whooops!

My favorite part of the garment is the twin needle hemming. I have a hard time getting the cowl to look the way I want it to look, but I guess it's ok??

Burda Oct 2005 114

Burda Oct 2005 114

This is to show what I think is weird placement of the armhole, but I blame that on me. Next time I will do the "right" sizing.
Burda Oct 2005 114

The sleeves are a bit tight in the forearms. I might try making them wider there next time. And will definitely stop using JoAnn's cotton/poly blend fabric for this kind of thing. I definitely prefer a soft blend double knit which they don't seem to sell.

If I try pulling the cowl down around my shoulders, suddenly Star Trek comes out to play
Burda Oct 2005 114

Let's look at that twin needle stitching one more time, shall we? Because I love it so:
twin needle stitching on the cowl and hem
Good night!

Day 2 of the pattern giveaway: cut patterns

There are still plenty of uncut patterns left from day 1--please be sure to check them out and claim the ones you want!

Here's day 2's patterns. These are all cut patterns. Many were disasters for me, but as someone said on SPR, that doesn't mean it'll be a disaster for you too. Gosh, even the Star Trek dress is in this list below!! and some of you even liked it!

Think of these patterns as garage sale finds. I'm not guaranteeing that every pattern piece is in the envelope. And they are cut patterns, mostly cut as size 14 but there are deviations.

This isn't a raffle. Whoever claims a pattern first in the comments (by pattern name and number, or if you can't tell what the number is, by describing the picture on the front of the pattern), gets it! So claim it in the comments, then email me at kdburkhardt at with your mailing address.

And for my international readers--I will ship patterns to you! (even if I will regret it as Mary Nanna says.)

I'll keep this giveaway open for a few days, til next Friday, and most likely will do my shipping next weekend.

For today's patterns, limit 15 per person.

Just click on the photo for closer viewing, then click on "All sizes", "Original size" to see a larger size image. I'm including two books in here.

I will most likely mail the goods out next week.


Cut patterns batch A

Cut patterns batch B

Cut patterns batch C

Cut patterns batch D

Cut patterns batch E

Cut patterns batch F

Cut patterns batch G

Cut patterns batch H

Cut patterns batch J
In the picture above, the pattern on the right is uncut. It somehow escaped me yesterday.