Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: The Sewing Round-Up.

I've been enjoying reading everyone else's year-end round-ups, so here are my sewing hits and misses of 2013! (By the way, I am annoyed by still getting used to Flickr's new look for embedded photographs ... )

Joe: His Favorite/Most Worn



Joe definitely wears his mama-made t-shirts most often, and his train t-shirt is a regular favorite. Joe helped design this t-shirt, so it's no wonder that he loves it so much. If this shirt is clean, Joe wants to wear it.

Joe: My Favorite(s)





While Joe definitely wears his mama-made t-shirts and PJs the most, my favorite items of the year were a bit more challenging. Although it took Joe a really long time to warm up to them, I loved sewing his navy and orange Coastal Cargos. These pants are super nice, inside and out, and I am really proud of them. I also really enjoyed sewing Joe's corduroy Art Museum Trousers, because hello, welt pockets! The fact that I made them on my sister's old and cranky machine added to the "challenge" factor. Best of all, Joe loves these pants, probably because the fabric is so soft and comfortable.

Joe: Fail



Ugh. So sad. Joe took a dislike to these fantastic Parsley pants immediately and never even tried them on. So I passed them on to my niece Helen, but apparently she is going through a dresses phase and also refuses to wear them. So these pants have never been worn by anyone. Sob.

Maggie: Most Worn



Maggie grew a lot this year, so it's hard to pick out one "most-worn" item. Her most worn pattern, however, was clear. Titchy Threads' "Fancy Pants" came out clearly in the lead this past year. I made Maggie a half dozen pairs, and she wears/wore them to death. They work great as pajama pants or leggings, they sew up super quickly, they are very comfortable (no elastic waist!), and the bum panel is cute and a great way to use knit scraps. I see many more of these in Maggie's future.

Maggie: My Favorite(s)





My favorite little girl makes of the year weren't necessarily the most worn or most practical, but they were definitely the most piped. The little dress and pinafore that I made from a vintage pattern turned out supremely impractical and supremely adorable. And of all of the Geranium Dresses I made this past year, my personal favorite is the "piped-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life" version I made for Maggie. I am sad to say that Maggie has now outgrown this little top/dress, but I am not at all sad to have to make another one!

Maggie: Fail



This is one I never blogged. I made Maggie an Ice Cream Dress this past summer, in size 12-18 months. It was huge on her. It is still huge on her. I don't know where I went wrong, but I'm pretty sure I did go wrong somewhere. Then, after wearing the dress only a couple times when there was nothing else to wear, the button loop broke. And I decided that puce green, one of my favorite colors on myself, looks pretty much terrible with Maggie's more olive complexion. It's tough to make a baby as cute as Maggie look terrible, but this shade of puke puce green comes pretty darn close. So now it's in the mending pile and I am unmotivated to fix it. As Kurt Vonnegut would say, "So it goes."

Me: Most Worn

 

Hands down, my most worn me-made item this year was the Briar top. I made three versions, and they all saw a lot of wear, but this pretty paisley version got the most love, mostly because the weight of the knit is so perfect and season-less. It is a bit heavier than most rayon knits, but drapes well and washes great. I wear it to work under a cardigan regularly.

I also wore my Hummingbird and Kelly skirts a lot while the weather was warmer. Yay for basics!

Me: Favorite(s)





Ah. I miss summer! This Bess Top and my Eucalypt-variation Dress are both so pleasant to wear. Neither was complicated or particularly challenging to sew, but in both cases, I am in love with the fabric. I will definitely be revisiting both of these patterns, which really showcase a lovely print, when the weather warms up again.

Me: Fail

Remember this? Barf. I don't want to talk about it.

Sewing Goals, 2014.

I am not a big one for New Years Resolutions, especially when it comes to sewing, since I try hard to keep my hobbies from becoming like a job, or like a chore. But I do have a couple ideas for 2014:
  1.  Keep sewing for myself. I made some really nice things for myself in 2013. There was some trial and error, and it wasn't always easy or straightforward, but I want to keep at it, keep learning, and maybe even participate in Me-Made-May one of these years.
  2. Learn how to sew a zip fly. If I'm going to keep sewing pants for Joe, this will be a necessary skill, either this year or next.
  3. Involve Joe in more collaborative sewing projects. Some of my biggest Joe successes this past year were partially Joe-designed, and I want to keep this up.
  4. Maybe, just maybe, let Joe play around a bit with the sewing machine. 
  5. Sew some new patterns from my bulging stash, especially the vintage patterns and the as yet untried Oliver + s patterns.
  6. Either use my older fabric pieces, or say goodbye. A decade is quite long enough to be sitting in a stash, thank you very much.
  7. Learn to smock. I have made a little progress with this, but haven't dared to try an actual garment yet.
  8. Do some more quilting. I am currently halfway through piecing two quilts. Although I am notoriously slow at quilts, I would like to finish at least one of them this year.
But none of this is hard and fast. The main goal is to have fun and do whatever I feel like. Maybe I'll spend the whole year making bunny rabbits, who knows? Or maybe sewing will take a back seat to gardening or cooking or hang-gliding or lawyering? I'm open to the possibilities. Here's to a new year, my friends! Thank you for reading my blog and being so awesome.



Check out this interesting article on the history of Old Lang Syne.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Handmade Christmas - Status Report.

Hello, friends! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas (if you celebrate)! Ours was quiet and idyllic. We spent time with friends and family and the kids got some loot. Perfect.

I finished one handmade gift. A classic flannel nightgown for my niece Helen, using an old pattern that my aunt included in a box full of goodies she sent me recently. From the looks of the pattern, she made both nightgowns and robes for my cousins back in the day.  Everything was perfectly cut out and folded back into the envelope.


This bee-printed flannel has been sitting in my stash for several years, and turned out to be just enough for this pattern, score! I was so happy to have a working sewing machine again - this went together so quickly and easily and I am back in my happy place, sewing-wise!


I opted to use rick-rack on the yoke and pocket instead of eyelet lace. The little offset pocket is so cute.


This nightgown reminds me of the nightgowns the girls wear in the book Polar Express, so I figured I'd include the book as part of Helen's gift. A nightgown, all by itself, isn't a very exciting gift, and I am eager to maintain my "cool Auntie" status.

Hey, I just realized - I got this pattern from my auntie, and Helen gets the nightgown made with the pattern from her auntie. It's like the auntie-chain-of-love.


I am also working on a handmade Christmas item for my kiddos: a brother for Maggie Rabbit, using Alicia Paulson's pattern. I didn't finish sewing Brother Bunny together until last night, and I haven't made him any clothing yet, but Maggie took to him right away, pushing him around (with his sister) in her new doll stroller (a Christmas present from her auntie, my little sister).

Brother Bunny is made from gray wool felt and has plaid ears. I'm going to make him a pair of jeans and a button down shirt using this pattern.


Have you seen the other softies Alicia Paulson is working on? Ermigosh, so adorable! I cannot wait to add to my bunny family! Seriously, even if my kids didn't like these bunnies I think I would still make them - blanket stitch on wool felt is like therapy. Is it crazy that I am considering learning to knit for the sole purpose of making bunny sweaters? And that bunny bed? Excuse me, I need to go grab all of those cardboard boxes out of the recycling bin ...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve.



 Making cookies for Santa.


 "Santa is going to love these cookies, Mama."


"Yes, Santa is definitely going to love these, Joe. They're beautiful."


 "And yummy!!"



Ooooh, look! Merry Christmas to Mama!!


With a new belt, this baby will be running like a top!


My pretty.


A very last minute gift/work-in-progress for my little niece Helen.



Turtle costume doubles as Christmas elf costume!


Merry Christmas, my friends!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Holiday Dress.


Well, it has not been a stellar Christmas for sewing, due to sewing machine problems in addition to the usual craziness of this time of year, but I did finish one thing:  A holiday dress for Maggie in cherry red baby wale corduroy, using Oliver +s' newish pattern, the Playtime Dress (in size 12-18 months).

Whew. This was one of those projects. You know what I'm talking about. Super simple, but things kept going wrong. Sewing on my sister's cranky old machine is no joke, folks. And my serger was being a little grumpy too (I think I've resolved the issue since, thank goodness). So this was a struggle.  The inside looks like something I would have made about three years ago (which is fine, but it's funny how your standards change, isn't it?) and please don't inspect my buttonholes - take my word for it, they are terrible. Thank goodness the buttons cover them up. Oh my goodness, how I have taken my reliable sewing machine for granted! 

 But it's done, and I love it, perhaps more for all of the struggles.


In what seems to be a regular thing with me, I did not buy this pattern right when it came out. I held back, thinking that it was very simple, and I have many similar patterns for dresses and leggings. But as you all know, I am a major sucker for a blog tour and it didn't take very long for me to change my mind. The boat neck, generous fit, and subtle dropped shoulders took me in. The style is relaxed, comfortable, and a perfect foil for pretty details. Ana Sofia's version with beautiful eyelet trim on the bodice clinched the deal and inspired my first version of the dress.

I was going for something folksy-vintage here, like something my grandmother would have made for me circa 1979, and I think I nailed it (okay, she would have used velveteen, and there would have been a little bit more lace, and trim, but the vibe is there). I wanted a dress that would work for parties and nice occasions (beyond Christmas), while still being soft, comfortable, warm, and, of course, washable.


Can I stop to gush about this fabric? This corduroy is just scrumptious. Photos don't do the rich shade justice. I want a whole wardrobe in this fabric, preferably with long skirts that swish as I walk. It is like something out of a costume drama - rich and luxurious.

This beautiful ribbon was a gift from our housemate Rebecca, who got it in Ecuador. I had just enough for the bodice and skirt of this dress - it was meant to be! I love the way the cream and brown ribbon looks with the red corduroy and mother-of-pearl buttons.


I skipped the pockets and the topstitching of the facing, instead tacking the neck facing down by hand, for a more formal look.


The buttons on the front are just for show, of course (I spent a lot of time debating two versus three versus no buttons and I'm still second guessing myself). The ones on the back are functional. (Just don't look at my horrendous buttonholes!)



Well, I may not have sewn quite as many things as I had hoped this Christmas season (although it's not over yet, so who knows?), but I am really happy that I made my little Maggie a pretty little dress, at least. 

In sewing machine news, my regular sewing machine is home now and appears to be working again! I was not particularly satisfied with the explanations the shop gave me about their failure to fix it the last time (they claimed I had threaded it incorrectly, which seems a bit unlikely on a machine that I have been successfully sewing on for years now), but if it works now and they've fixed it, all is forgiven. I'm still gingerly trying things out, hoping that all is well and I am back in business for real this time! If so, I couldn't ask for a better Christmas present than having my number one hobby, restored to me!






Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Machine Trouble.

My sewing machine: After three weeks in the shop and a bill for $105, I took it home this weekend only to discover that it is still broken, in the exact same way it was when I first dropped it off.  The shop had told me it was all tuned up and fixed, but even the sample stitching that came back with the machine showed the tension problems that I had initially complained about.

So it is back in the shop, and I am almost too upset to discuss. Hopefully they can rectify the situation and give me back my sewing machine in less than a month. Needless to say, this throws a wrench in any Christmas sewing plans I might have had.

I have done what any sane person would do under these circumstances: I have started scouring Craiglist and eBay for a "new" machine. Preferably a fabulous mid-century vintage model in excellent working order. I have a couple of leads, but nothing is final yet. I am currently debating the relative merits of a Singer Featherweight and an Elna Grasshopper ...

In the meantime, I am continuing to sew on my sister's Singer 9005, which is teaching me to appreciate (1) one step buttonholes (none of my Singer button hole attachments fit on it); (2) quiet motors (this thing makes the house shake); (3) nice looking stitches. Sigh. If I have ever said anything along the lines of "it doesn't matter what kind of machine you sew with so long as it does straight stitch and possibly zig-zag" I am truly sorry and I assure you I am doing penance right now. My sister's machine probably just needs a tune-up, but that's a sore subject right now.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Dolly.

When I was a little girl, my grandmother, whom I called Nanny, and Maggie's namesake (her name was Wendy Joy), made me a little rag-doll using some printed yardage. Her face was printed on the fabric, but Nanny embelished it with embroidery and lace and special little details. I named her "Vicky" (it was the 80s!) and slept with her every night. Nanny loved to make dolls and made me many dolls, most of them fancier than Vicky. I loved those dolls too, but Vicky was my #1 doll. Sometimes simple is best! Originally, she had extra bloomers, a petticoat, an underdress, and a dress and pinafore, all circa 1900. My grandmother was a stickler for historical detail, but she made sure all of the clothes came off easily, even with chubby toddler fingers.

Dolly.


Over the years, I lost all of her clothes, so now she's permanently in her "unmentionables." But I always held onto my #1 doll. My beloved Nanny passed away many years ago, and I kept Dolly to remind me of her.


Unlike Joe, who reserves his nurturing instincts for construction vehicles and Angry Birds masks, Maggie actually seems to like stuffed animals and dolls? So, on a whim, I brought Vicky downstairs last night.

And this is what happened, without any prompting.

Dolly.


Dolly.

My heart was so busy exploding into a million tiny pieces that Steve had to prompt me to "Get the camera!"

Dolly.


Oh wow. I think I will be sewing Dolly a new wardrobe this Christmas.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Angry Birds.

Angry birds masks.


I made a set of Angry Birds felt masks for Joe's preschool fundraising auction. I chose Angry Birds because that's Joe's current obsession, so I hoped it would be popular with the preschool set.

Of course, I tried them out on my "focus group" of one, Joe.



Angry birds masks.


Angry birds masks.


This is what loves look likes.

What true love looks like.


They were a hit.

Joe in a mask.


So it's probably not surprising that poor Joe had a massive meltdown when I sent them with Steve to the auction. He was consoled only by promises that I would make him his own set. Right away.

More felt-sewing for me!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Joe Logic.

Joe and Daddy


Oh, my Joe-Bug. So joyful, so full of fun; so sweet with his baby sister; so great with machines and moving parts and engineering; a passionate lover of building toys, marbles runs, dominoes; an imaginative inventor of potty-themed knock-knock jokes; kind and generous, open-hearted and curious. We love this boy to bits.

Joe has always marched to the beat of his own drum. He has his own logic, his own time-line, his own style. His logic is internally consistent but not always predictable. Hence, "Joe logic" is a blog tag-line, and a regular catch phrase in our household. "Joe logic," needless to say, is very logical, albeit quirky. It's sometimes impenetrable, but more often it's awesomesauce.

Which brings me to the topic of this post. We've always known that Joe was a bit "quirky," and I've shared some of that quirk with you readers. Joe was a very late talker, and has remained a bit behind in communication and social skills. Nowadays, Joe talks our ears off at home, and converses freely with his favorite people (his inner circle of friends and family), but it takes him a while to warm up to new situations and new people. And by "new people," I mean, "people he hasn't seen in the past 48 hours," or sometimes, "people he doesn't live with." When he's not comfortable, he becomes shy and silent. Sometimes this translates into quiet observation, "taking it all in" in a "still waters run deep" way that reminds everyone of his Daddy. But other times, Joe becomes overwhelmed in social situations - withdrawn, even afraid.

Preschool has been the most wonderful experience for him, and he is growing and learning so much. Last year, despite improving leaps and bounds with his speech at home, he was famous for saying only one word at school, ever: "No." This year, he is talking more freely with the teachers and parents, and slowly warming up. He has a couple good friends that he regularly plays with, and the instructors and parents love and accept him just the way he is. They see and appreciate his great spatial abilities and his essentially kind and generous nature. They love Joe logic as much as we do. He has made great strides, and I am so grateful for the loving and accepting environment we've found at Peter Pan. As I often say, we wish Joe could stay there forever! As it is, we will definitely be keeping him there an extra year to get good and ready for kindergarten.

My boy Joe


Joe is shy and introverted, and that is okay. Steve and I are both introverted, albeit me less so than Steve, and we're both homebodies. And heck, most of my favorite people are a little socially awkward! But it goes a little beyond that with Joe: social interaction and unfamiliar or overwhelming environments are clearly an area of anxiety for Joe, and so, of course, Joe's social anxiety is a source of concern for Steve and me. Naturally, we want to help him become more comfortable in new environments and around new people, to open up and relax a little more.

There are a couple very specific things that Joe struggles with. One is physical contact and affection from all but his very closest family members (i.e., mama, daddy, Maggie). For years, we have just helplessly said, "Joe just doesn't do hugs or high-fives." When asked to hug someone goodbye, even someone he has known all his life, like his much loved cousin or uncle or auntie, Joe visibly recoils. When asked to give a "high-five," Joe tenses up stiffly. He just doesn't do it. Steve and I can see that this is something that Joe does not enjoy doing, and more than that, that these requests cause him anxiety, so we generally try to intervene and explain that it's just not his thing. We usually say "Joe is really shy." Or "Joe really needs his personal space." Or "Joe just isn't touchy-feely." Joe seeks out and loves physical affection from his dad and me, and he expresses his affection in other ways with others, so Steve and I weren't too worried (not everyone is a hugger, and that's okay!), except that we could see that these interactions were stressful for Joe.

And there are some other interesting things: As an infant, he hated baths. Even now, he really hates getting water in his eyes. Since the day he was born, Joe has been famously resistant to sleep. (As Joe puts it now: "I don't like closing my eyes.") We've had issues with teeth-brushing. Potty-training this kid was no picnic. Joe has always been a somewhat picky eater, and as my readers well know, he's a bit picky about his clothing too (he wants it to be soft). His preschool teacher informed us that while his spatial reasoning and building skills are off-the-charts awesome, his fine motor skills - holding a marker or scissors - are "immature" for his age. She gently suggested that Joe might have some "sensory integration" issues. I was not surprised - in fact, I have suspected as much for a very long time.

Joe is playing "airplane"


Yesterday, Joe had a formal evaluation with an occupational therapist, to look at his fine motor delays and evaluate him for possible sensory integration issues. And it was great!

I am still processing all of the information I took in at the evaluation, but the biggest take-away for me was that Joe shows some signs of "tactile defensiveness." Basically, due to his neurological wiring, he may feel tactile sensations more intensely than other people do. Sensations that would be perceived as harmless, no big deal, or even nice to another person (i.e., hugs, or toothbrushing, or water on the face), perhaps feel more intense to Joe. Perhaps overwhelming or even scary. While he may love to be cuddled and snuggled by the people closest to him, similar touching from people he is not as comfortable with might frighten him or cause him to shut down.

I have to say, this has been a revelation to me. Suddenly, I get it: Joe doesn't avoid people, exactly. He does not avoid affection, per se, nor is he unaffectionate himself. But he does avoid being touched in ways that are uncomfortable for him. This is a subtle, but very important distinction. And it makes a lot of sense.

The occupational therapist thought that Joe's issues were relatively mild and would respond well to some occupational therapy. And while occupational therapy is not directed specifically at social and communication skills, she noted that addressing Joe's aversion to touch might help him feel more comfortable in social situations as well. She didn't see any need for a diagnosis or label at this point, and she was optimistic that some additional help would really make a difference for Joe.

Of course I was anxious going into this appointment. I think is hard for any parent to acknowledge that their child has areas of struggle - I would, of course, save Joe from any anxiety or pain that I could. I also know that I cannot, and should not, protect him from all of life's ups and downs. Still, by the time we arrived for the appointment yesterday, I had completely finished off my fingernails and was starting to work on my cuticles. (Gee, I can't imagine where Joe gets his anxiety from!)

But by the end of the appointment, I was feeling remarkably great. The occupational therapist - an open, warm, and engaging lady that Joe (and me!) took to almost immediately - said "Oh look at him! He's great! I can tell you right now, he's going to turn out great!" And my heart swelled. Every parent wants others to see the awesomeness of their child, despite whatever idiosyncracies they may have, am I right? I could tell that she could see past Joe's little bit of social awkwardness and saw his humor and curiosity and brightness and kindness, and I knew everything was going to be okay. Joe is going to turn out great! Of course he is!

So we are off on a new adventure now! Trying to help Joe feel more comfortable in the world and with the people who love him. Because there are so many people who love and appreciate Joe's take on the world, his special and unique logic. And let's face it, so many people who wish they could hug him!

Art Museum Trousers (with a Flashback tee)


We're on your team, Joe. We love you just the way you are, and we want you to feel strong and capable and comfortable. All things are possible for you, kiddo.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Art Museum Trousers. And yucky stuff.

Everything seems to be breaking around here. My sewing machine is in the shop. Our printer isn't working. My car needed a new battery and tires. I have a head cold that seems to be getting comfortable and settling into my sinuses. Our drains need to be snaked. Again.

Yuck.

So while my wonderfully handy husband got the cars to the shop and rented a snake and did all of the yucky dirty work, I got busy sewing.

Yes, I do know how lucky I am!

In determining what project to do next, I applied the following criteria:

  1. I needed to have a paper pattern, or at least have already printed out the pattern, because my printer isn't working. 
  2. The pattern couldn't require too much top-stitching, because I'm currently sewing on a somewhat cranky older machine, and the stitches don't always turn out as hoped.
  3. Nothing in knit, for the same reason.
  4. Nothing with too many layers. Same reason.
  5. Nothing that required me to buy anything. I'm spending enough money on the car and house and sewing machine right now, thank you very much.
So that's how I arrived on the Art Museum Trousers. Paper pattern, check. I have been wanting to sew this one up! Soft green easy to sew baby wale corduroy already in the stash, check. Joe's favorite colors are "blue and green" and he loves soft comfy clothes.

There was only one hiccup. I've never made welt pockets before. Kind of intimidating! I considered just skipping them ... but then I decided that if anyone could teach me to make welt pockets, it would be oliver + s. Liesl's patterns are famous for their clear instructions, after all. No time like the present, right?

Look Ma!! I made welt pockets! Two of them! 

Art Museum Trouser - details


And they look great! These look like real, grown-up trousers! I was so pleased with these pockets that I had to show them to everyone in my house - I am not sure they understood the fuss, but they were very gracious. I am pretty delighted. You know, they weren't that bad at all! The way they come together is a fun puzzle. I admit, I still don't really understand how and why they work, only that they do! (It's not noticeable, but the nap on the welts is going the wrong way - I don't understand how they work well enough to understand which way to cut the pieces!) Welt pockets are one of those things that gets you scratching your head and wondering, "who on earth came up with this idea?" It's not that difficult, but it's not intuitive, either.

The Art Museum Trousers are just a super classic, wearable pair of pants. You could easily form a wardrobe around these. They really lend themselves to a more formal outfit (especially in combination with the Art Museum Vest), but they work just as well for regular ol' chinos.

I am very happy to report that Joe seems to have moved past his resistance to mama-mades. I am not sure I can take much credit for that, but I am more careful to solicit Joe's input on projects these days. He wore an entirely mama-made outfit to the store today (well, I didn't make his socks) and then afterwards actually posed for photographs! He has a natural talent for modeling, I must say.

Art Museum Trousers (with a Flashback tee)


Art Museum Trousers (with a Flashback tee)


I can't help but notice that the cut of the Art Museum Trousers is awfully similar to the many pairs of Sketchbook pants I've made for Joe, especially the flat-fronted versions. Clearly, I like this style! I know some people find sewing for boys to be a bit dull, because in the end, there just aren't that many styles to choose from. But to me, the fun is all in the details. Subtlety can be fun too.

Art Museum Trouser - details


The faux fly, belt loops, and slash pockets are just perfect. These pants (in size 5) are a bit long (especially in socks). I realize that Joe is probably still a size 4T in o+s trousers, but I didn't want to buy the smaller size range when he's so close to growing out of it! So these have plenty of room to grow.

Art Museum Trousers (with a Flashback tee)


Art Museum Trousers (with a Flashback tee)

Joe likes the color, the buttery soft fabric, and the pockets.

(If you're thinking that the gravel patch is a new thing, you're right! Steve recently pulled up part of our concrete patio and installed french drains, in order to improve the drainage of our yard and route stormwater away from the house. I am definitely lucky in my choice of husband, although I wish I were so lucky in my choice of house!)

Joe's shirt was also made by me, a while back, but never blogged. It's the Flashback Skinny Tee, of course. (Joe stretches out the necklines of his t-shirts terribly! It's a nervous habit for him. The neckline didn't used to look like this. Ah well, there are worse things.)



Art Museum Trousers (with a Flashback tee)

This shirt started out life as a t-shirt for me, but it ended up horribly unflattering and too tight around the middle. I hate throwing away sewing projects, but I can't stand looking at them, either. So I quickly cut this one into a t-shirt for Joe and added a little pocket in some "helicopter" fabric that Joe is enamored with. Whew! Rescued!

In less than the time it took me to write this post, Steve removed our toilet and snaked the drain. The following image is not for the faint of heart ... a clump of roots in our pipes!

You don't want to know.


YUCK. I think this man deserves a beer, don't you? After he washes up, of course. (Warts 'n all, that's my philosophy!)