We have decided to move to a condominium in St. Petersburg.  We want to walk to plays, restaurants, museums.  We want to sit on Beach Drive and people watch, attend weekly farmers markets, visit interesting shops and galleries.

We have targeted a certain location.  Sadly, the builder hasn’t even broken ground yet. Pre-selling begins in the fourth quarter of this year.  10% savings for buying early.  Yay that.  Then we will have a wait.  A very LONG wait.  The is builder The Kolter Group–they put up a forty-one story high rise at the corner of First Street and First Avenue.  The name of this beauty is ONE.  There are only a few units available.

That building has been five years in the making.

The one we’re told about will be shorter–twenty-one stories.  In my imagination, that means it will take half the time.  Our realtor Judy is skeptical.  Very skeptical.

None-the-less I am cleaning out!  Packing up junk piled around here and putting it in my Etsy shop.  Five years from now this place will echo.  Everything must GO.

Today’s project–craft supplies (mine) and mini size Toby Jugs (Jim’s).  He collected those funny looking little things for years–back before the internet made them easily available for next to no money.   We kept only two–‘arry and ‘arriette.

I’m too lazy to photograph them individually, so they are going (I hope sooner rather than later) as a “lot.”

Next, I’ll ask Jim to crawl into the attic and fish out all our old Avon Christmas plates and figurines.  But first I need to ask my daughter which she may want.  She has NO storage now, but that might change in the next few years while our new digs are being built.

Here are the beauties that are listed, packed and ready to ship!

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I kept the templates of tiny furniture pieces.  I’ll need them to figure out where to put our sofas, chairs, and tables in our NEW CONDO!

Other things I’ve done–crawled along the kitchen floor and re-stained the quarter round at the base of my cabinets.  Then I went outside and rubbed lemon oil all over the front door.  Yes, I know I’ll have to do those things again several times before we go.  I’m practicing getting ready to show this house!

St. Petersburg, here we come.

(Just don’t hold your breath.)


Sewing Lessons

Recently, when my Brother brand sewing machine finked out on me I discovered AA White Sewing Center in Holiday, Florida.

Co-owners Mike and Sherrie, a married couple, have owned the store for two years.  Mike quickly fixed my machine.  In the moments while I waited I struck up a conversation with Sherrie.  I told her what my sewing dilemmas were and learned she teaches classes.  So I set up a private lesson for the next week.

I spend my days’ sewing.  I decided it was high time to sort out how the heck to do it.

WOW!  She taught me how to sew my purse linings in with the machine, how to make a pattern template with thick plastic instead of using graph paper and several other neat little tricks.

Fast forward–I was given another commission.  This one is to turn a vintage beaded blazer, some ecru silk, handcrafted lace and a couple of baubles that look like pasties into an evening bag.

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This project is so far over my pay grade.  I immediately made an appointment for another private lesson.

While Sherrie and I sat quietly ripping out blazer seams I began asking her about life outside of AA White Sewing Center.  I learned she and Mike were Maryland High School sweethearts.  He refused to take Shop with all the other guys and insisted he should be allowed Home Ec.  He was such a rabble-rouser in class the teacher made him clean and oil all the sewing machines as his punishment.

They married shortly after graduation.  I don’t remember how they wended their way to Florida.  What I do know is Sherrie has done six triathlons.  She started running when her mom got sick with multiple myeloma.  Her first race was with Team in Training–a marathon–to fundraise for cancer research  I did that years ago.  So difficult.  I did NOT fall in love with exercise.

Sherrie did.  Last weekend she was in Texas where she swam in a lake for miles.  Then she ran to a changing tent, put on bike gear and rode her bicycle 112 miles.  Following that she changed again and ran a full 26.2-mile marathon!  She came in second place.

I got sweaty just imagining all that exercise.

Today I am actually wrestling myself away from the sewing machine.  Jim, who golfs every Tuesday and Thursday, will be home.  Our rainy season is beginning, no golf for him.  So we have a date!  Lunch, a movie, and a field trip to Whole Foods.  Tomorrow night is our monthly Game Night with our buddies.  They always make fabulous charcuterie platters. I’m planning to up my game.

Fed ex just delivered artwork by my two-year-old grandson, Tate.  An ass. (The artwork, not the grandson.)

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On the back, Mo wrote a sweet note.  She thanked me for not killing her during the two-year-old tantrum stage.  I don’t remember many Mo tantrums.  However, one spectacular moment comes to mind. I failed to call her “Brucie”–a name she adopted when she was three or four.  She also chewed out her pre-school teacher for the same mistake.  She sat on the top of the sliding board, head spinning on her neck Linda Blair style, and howled, “I AM NOT MAUREEN!!  CALL ME BRUCIE!”  The teacher may not have been amused, but I was.

More artwork by cute Tate.

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I’m back!

I’ve been buried in wool, thread, buttons and whimsy.  Just completed four commission pieces.  What fun!

The client, Rosalie.  Her mother worked in the NYC garment district and was a phenomenal seamstress.  Rosalie brought me a silver and black knit suit her mother was working on shortly before her death. Her mom would likely cringe at my stitchery.

I’ve been taking sewing lessons, so my skills have improved…sort of.  The three little purses below include mom’s knit and her jazzy buttons, Grandma’s “funeral sweater”–a black wool sweater she always wore to funerals, and cashmere Rosalie chose from my vast collection of shrunken sweaters.  One bag is for Rosalie, the others for her cousins.

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The bumblebees had to go on the back so as not to compete with the blingie buttons.

The big purse below includes the same stuff as the little ones, but I added shirred seams from the shoulders of the suit jacket.  That is the “wrong” side of the fabric.

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Again, bee needed to be hidden, so it’s on the pocket under the flap.

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The back of the bag gets really wild.  Rosalie gave me a blue cufflink that had been her dad’s.  He sounds like a marvelous dandy.  He put on a smoking jacket each evening after work!

Rosalie wanted me to incorporate some argyle from my collection.   This purse got pretty wild.

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Now, on to clean up my workspace and get back to coloring all the illustrations in Shel Silverstein’s “Falling Up.”  It’s a Christmas gift for grandkids. There are one-hundred-seventy-nine pages.  I’m on number twelve…

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