Monthly Archives: March 2013

Book Review: “10, 20, 30 Minutes to Sew” by Nancy Zieman

102030_minNancy Zieman is the Julia Child of sewing – her public television program, Sewing with Nancy, has been on the air for 30 years. This book was published in the early 90s. Typical for a Nancy Zieman book, it is technique-oriented and is jammed full of sewing hints and tips, together with clear line-drawn technical illustrations and photographs of the finished results.

The theme in 10, 20, 30 Minutes to Sew is to help you use your sewing time more effectively in two ways: 1) improve the way you organize your projects and 2) streamline some common sewing techniques. Nancy leads you through the process of planning sewing projects and breaking them down into “units of work” that can each be completed in 10, 20, or 30 minutes. She also shows you how to do as much work as possible in advance, and how to juggle multiple projects at once. Then, when you have some time free in your schedule, you can pick the unit of work from an open project that best fits the time available and your mood. Continue reading


The Ultimate Observing Sketchbook: Part 1

It’s time for me to seriously tackle the project that got me into sewing in the first place: the Ultimate Observing Sketchbook.

Amateur astronomy is another hobby I enjoy.  I like to go into the middle of nowhere (or right in front of my house, depending on what I’m looking for), set up a telescope, and share the view with others. These views include the Moon, Sun, planets, comets, star systems, star clusters, galaxies, nebulae – all the wonders of the universe, in short.

Like sewists with computer-driven sewing and embroidery machines, most astronomers nowadays use computer-driven telescopes. They automatically locate any celestial object via commands from a laptop, tablet, or keypad.  And many astronomers now have sophisticated digital cameras that photograph objects much fainter than the eye can see.

I’m a little bit of an oddball in my hobby. My telescope has no computer; I navigate by hand using paper star charts.  One compares star patterns in the eyepiece versus those on the map, then gradually nudges the telescope towards the desired location. When I find the object of interest, I typically draw what I see through the telescope with pencils and a sketchpad.

To give you an idea, here’s a sketch I made of the planet Jupiter, after it was impacted by the remains of comet.

jupiter_20090726_small Continue reading