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My SW Daybook - August 2016 edition

Whew. August is flying by, and I have nearly missed doing a Simple Woman’s Daybook post. Better late than never.

Looking out my window …

Wow. Glad I did that! I’ve been tapping away at my desk for hours and missing all that beautiful summer sunshine.

I am thinking …

I’d better put down the mouse and get out there! (My sneakers aren’t gonna run themselves.)

I am thankful …

Being self-employed can bring unique challenges. Everyone seems to think the work-at-homer is constantly available to run errands, complete others’ chores or projects, chat endlessly on the phone, or simply drop everything at a moment’s notice (even for trivial interruptions).

Gee, did I just type that out loud?

Still, freelancing offers freedoms that merit celebration. Sometimes we can load up our proverbial plates at our own discretion and clear chunks of time when we want or need it. So I am thankful.

One of my favorite things …

With summer winding down, I have to join the chorus of autumn-lovers. I absolutely love the cooler, but still pleasant, temperatures. I enjoy slipping on a cozy oversized hooded sweatshirt and strolling through miles of colorful fall leaves.

Photo by this author - all rights reserved.
I am wearing …

You guessed it. I’m sitting at my desk, wearing a tech tee and a pair of stretch running capris. And they’re going to have to stretch a lot more, if I don’t actually step outside and run today.

I am creating …

I’m not exactly sewing or crafting much this summer. Sure, I have a bin of fabric that beckons me to cut out a pattern or two.

On the other hand, I’ve had a few new Kindle books hit the market this summer. Does that count?

I am watching …

Having recently joined Netflix (Sorry, I may have mentioned that in an earlier post.), I am sort of night-binging on TV series I have missed. Right now, I am watching Mad Men. As a former advertising executive, who often hammered on the proverbial glass ceiling, I find this intriguing and humorous and even maddening.

I am reading …

This summer has been a weird sort of reading journey for me. For maybe the first time in my entire life (as a literature lover – no less), I have started and quit FOUR novels. Honestly, that has never happened to me. I have never had so much trouble finding fiction to love. I tend to be a determined sort of person, and I hate quitting. So this has been a rather significant frustration for me.

It’s been awhile since I read something that really grabbed me. And I am hungry.

I am listening to …

I’m cranking a series of oldies on YouTube. Right now, this is playing: 

I am hoping …

For the past month or so, I’ve been dealing with a medical process in which the solution seems to be worse than the initial problem. It’s not life-threatening or anything, but it’s uncomfortable. In a nutshell, it involves awakening old injuries, in an effort to bring more complete healing. But it’s not exactly a party.

I am hoping this resolves pretty soon. Pain gets old – even a dull ache grows tiresome.

I am learning …

Life’s answers can sound like clich├ęs. But they’re still hard-earned and honest and worth the effort.

One of the things I continue to learn is the importance of having a few fun and faithful friends. Sure, we can have tons of acquaintances, colleagues, and contacts. But the best kind are the ones who stick around in the best and worst of times. I just spent a weekend with a wonderful group that fits that description better than most.

Photo by this author - all rights reserved.
In my kitchen …

I have a bunch of bananas that have turned to a color that means it’s time to bake banana muffins or bread. Peeling them for immediate eating would be a messy endeavor.

In the school room …

I don’t have any students at home anymore. But, as I seem to say each month, I consider my life a school room of sorts. Sometimes I pick things up quickly, but lately I think I’ve spent time standing in the cloakroom as well. I have a friend who calls this God’s waiting room. But often I think He waits more for us than we do for Him. What patience He has.

In my garden …

My perennials are looking sort of spent. Maybe it’s time for some mums.

Board room …

Whoa. I have 77 Pinterest boards. How did that happen? OK, several of them originally tied in with subjects related to columns I wrote for various publications. Here’s a pin from one of my horsey boards. The notecard pictured is from CafePress.

Product photo - fair use
Post script …

C’mon, you knew there would be a horse somewhere in this monthly roundup. At least, if you are a returning guest, you knew!

Shared Quote …

“Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.” – Mark Twain (1835-1910)

A moment from my day …

I’m pleased to find that a few folks have inquired about one of my newest books, 10 gift registry no-no's for marrying couples: Follow these 10 tips to avoid a wedding gift registry faux pas.

Book cover - fair use by author

Book cover - fair use by author
Closing notes …

This is my third consecutive month of doing an entry for My Simple Woman's Daybook. I’ve enjoyed the process. Even more, I have been pleased to visit participating bloggers and receive new visitors as well. Here’s to September!

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Moral dilemma: Little Jake hit the neighbor's car. Now what?

Perhaps you can help us settle a moral dilemma. (Yes, they asked.)

Here’s the story.

Brand-new driver Jake backed his parents’ car out of their driveway – right into the back of the next-door neighbor’s car, which happened to be parked there.

This was a simple bumper-to-bumper bing. Jake jumped out of the car to inspect the damages and spotted a scratch on his own family’s vehicle. The neighbor’s car had plenty of rust on the bumper, but no visible new marks.

Jake climbed back into the car and drove off to pick up his girlfriend for a Saturday evening movie date.

Discovering the bumper scratch the next morning, Jake’s mom asked the teen what happened and learned the story. 

What should Jake’s mom do?

1. Send Jake over to apologize to the neighbor.
2. Accompany Jake to visit the neighbor and explain what happened.
3. Call on the neighbor herself to discuss the matter.
4. Leave a note in the neighbor’s mailbox, or make Jake do it.
5. Call the cops to file a police report.
6. Notify the insurance company.
7. Take secret photographs of both vehicles, just in case.
8. Ignore the situation, as no visible damage occurred to the neighbor’s car.
9. Put the house on the market, and move.
10. Other: __________________.

(Note: Jake's mom happens to be a single parent. Otherwise, additional options might be listed.)

What would you do, if this were your family’s concern?

Adapted from public domain photo

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How to hem a pair of trousers

It’s sew simple!

How often can you find a pair of off-the-rack pants that fit your body perfectly? If the waist fits, then the inseam may be too long or short. Everyone seems to have this problem: children, teens, men, women, seniors and more.

What’s a fashion or family shopper to do?

Certainly, many stores offer tailoring services. You can pay up to $20, just for hemming a new pair of pants to your ideal length. For family apparel or even school uniforms, this can add up quickly. Hemming a pair of pants is not that technical or difficult, so why not save the money, and do it yourself?

It’s sew simple to tailor-hem a pair of trousers!

First, plug in your steam iron. Look inside your trousers for a fabric care label. This will indicate the appropriate heat setting for your iron.

While your iron heats up, you can gather your sewing notions. You will need a needle, a wooden ruler, a pair of scissors, and several straight pins. Choose sewing thread to match the background color of your garment, as closely as possible.

You can hem your pants with or without a sewing machine (see below).

Try on your new trousers.

Even if you tried on your new pants in the fitting room at the store, you will need to put them on again at home. Put on the shoes you plan to wear with this pair of pants.

If you can, ask someone else to stick a straight pin into one leg of your pants, right where you wish to fold them up into your new hem. Usually, this is the spot where the pants meet the top of your shoes, but you can adjust this to fit your current style.

Aim the pin horizontally, so it is positioned level to the floor.

Turn your garment inside out.

Pants are hemmed from the inside, so the stitching is virtually invisible. (Cuffed trousers are often an exception, but this is a more complicated endeavor.)

Turn your pants inside out before you begin working on them.

Measure exactly for perfect hemming.

You can do this on top of your ironing board.

To make pants shorter, you will want to bring the original hem upwards.

To make pants longer, you will need to use a seam ripper or a small pair of scissors (Manicure scissors work well.) to remove the ready-made hem stitching. Press each pant leg to remove the first hemline creases.

Roll each pant leg to the length you wish. Measure carefully with a ruler, so your hems will be even all the way around. Pin your pants about an inch from the edge, as you go.

Press your new hemline into place, easing as needed. (Flared and bell-bottom pants may require a bit of easing to nudge hem allowances into place. Done neatly, this will not show from the outside of each pant leg.)

Place pins horizontally along the inside fold/sewing line of each pant leg to hold the pressed hem in place for stitching. Use plenty of pins, at least one every inch or so.

Press both pant legs flat against each other to check that they are exactly the same length.

Should you trim extra hem fabric?

This is a matter of personal choice. If your new hem allowances are more than 2” to 3” deep, you may choose to trim off a bit. Of course, if you do, you will have to finish the new raw edges (see below).

If you are hemming a pair of pants for a growing child, you may choose to leave the hem allowances intact. This will give you the option of lengthening the trousers after the child experiences a growth spurt.

Finish off any rough edges.

If you have merely simply tucked up the old finished hem on your pants, then you can skip this step.

However, if you have trimmed off extra hem allowances, then you will need to take care of the rough edges for neatness and fray prevention. Simply tuck under a small portion (approximately 1/8” to 1/4”), all the way around each of your pant legs. You will want to remove the pins for this step and replace them after you have finishing ironing the now-neater edges.

Use the ruler to check your work for consistency.
Press both hem allowances (both pant legs) carefully before proceeding.

Stitch your trouser hems.

You can hem your pants by hand or on a sewing machine. Some tailors employ a blind-stitch for this purpose. If your machine offers this stitching option, your owner’s manual will provide specific instructions for operating your machine’s controls and performing this stitch.

Narrow pant legs, such as one might find on stovepipe pants or skinny jeans, are easiest to sew by hand. These can be difficult to accomplish on a sewing machine, unless it has a very narrow base option. Because flared and bell-bottom hems often require a bit of easing and adjustment, these may also be easier to manage with hand-sewing.

Use a basic blanket stitch for hand-sewing your trouser hems. Thread your sewing needle, and knot the thread securely. Start sewing right at the inseam of one pant leg (the seam between the legs of the pants), and sew all the way around to the same spot. Repeat the process with the other leg.

Blue jeans and athletic wear may be topstitched, if you are a very capable and steady sewer. You can select a straight stitch (or a narrow zigzag for knits), to sew your hems.

Make sure you remove all pins and clip all excess threads before giving your pants a final pressing for wearing.

Adapted from public domain image

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