Thursday, September 11, 2014

Blogiversary Giveaway! (and trip report)


I have returned from a quick (work) trip to Portland and Seattle, and I managed to squeeze in a visit to see DD2 in the new house she is renting with two other students.

This post is photo-heavy, but I always reduce the size of my photos so they should load pretty quickly. And you can always skip past, though I do review a new-ish fabric store in Seattle.

TOC:

Portland

It was so nice to see DD1 in her new digs! We walked around her campus and visited a nearby town. I reminisced about first moving her into her dorm two years ago.

Requisite silly mother-daughter pic

I was only in Portland for one day, but I enjoyed seeing it after many years! I checked out Powell's City of Books, VooDoo Doughnuts, and my daughter and I got henna tattoos at the Saturday Market before heading south.

I resemble that remark

'Cause "good things come in pink boxes"

I looked into a permanent back-of-finger tattoo and learned that it's not recommended, as they tend to quickly fade. So I'll enjoy my henna tattoo.

I first thought that maybe this sculpture, outside of Powell's Bookstore, represented a (stylized) giant pen in an ink holder. That sorta makes sense, right?
But, no.
(It's called The Pod.)

Seattle Bound

I took a train from Salem, Oregon to Seattle, Washington—a 6.5 hour ride (on Amtrak), called the Coast Starlight. (Such a romantic name, eh?) It travels through forest, along rivers, and through towns.

I spent much of the ride in the observatory coach where two volunteers from the Trails and Rails program (part of the National Park Service), narrated the journey from Portland to Seattle.

It was a beautiful ride though, according to Google maps, the 6.5 train ride from Salem to Seattle can be driven by car in 3.5 hours. (Coach seats on the train, complete with foot rests and power plugs for your devices) are much comfier than coach on an airplane!)

Sample scenery

The observatory coach

Watching the sun set

Mt Rainier

The train ride ends at the King Street train station in Seattle. This beautiful station features loads of white marble and intricate mosaics.

Seattle (and District Fabric!)

My two days in Seattle were mostly spent at work, but I managed to squeeze in one visit to a nearby fabric store!

District Fabric, a mere two blocks from work, has been in business just one year—they celebrated their first anniversary five days before my visit. This is a small but well curated store, focusing on fabrics for the garment sewist. I enjoyed chatting with the store owner. I could have easily spent lots of money here!

My colleague and I did a bit of walking in the Fremont district. She showed me the Fremont Troll (suitably located under a bridge), as well as other Fremont sights, including the Theo Chocolate factory. After work we walked to the Space Needle, arriving after sunset, and rode up to enjoy the nighttime skyline. (We also peeked into the Chihuly Museum—sadly, it was closed so late in the day.)

Spotted while walking through the Queen Anne neighborhood, a beautiful residential area atop a hill.
This sign is not confusing!

An interesting building in the Fremont district

The Fremont Troll

Hello, Space Needle! (Built in 1962 for the World's Fair)

Scene from the top

For someone who spends almost no time (and has no patience) for decorating my living space, I sure enjoy a creatively designed space. Here are some of the details I enjoyed at Google Seattle!

Painted tires decorate the hallway to the cafe.

The back of this cafe bench is covered with belts!

The rest of the cafe benches are covered with old jeans!

The wall of the coffee shop is covered with burlap bags imprinted with coffee distributors.

A Google Claw Machine!

My vacuum-packed "Google Seattle" tee from the Claw machine

A conference room wall clock made from a Mac cover and a mouse. I want one!

Blogiversary Giveaway

It's very fitting that YOU, my friends, determined what I might use for my annual Blogiversary Giveaway.

I really had no idea what I might use, then I received some very excited reactions when I showed you the seam rippers I purchased at Treadle Yard Goods in St Paul, Minnesota. These seam rippers are made by Alice M's husband—Alice organized the meetup in St Paul. I quickly called up Treadle a day after my post and ordered the blue resin seam ripper, which I had also admired.

The package was waiting for me when I returned from Seattle.

The seam ripper, when closed.

To use the seam ripper, turn the blade around and slide back into the case. The blade comes with a sheath. If you prefer a smaller instrument, you can use the ripper without the resin case.

If you would like to throw your hat in the ring to win this seam ripper, leave a comment on this post, indicating that you are interested. I will do a random drawing in about a week. This opportunity is also open to folks outside of the U.S.

I returned from Seattle sick, but I hope to recover quickly. I am eager to begin two projects, BOTH are for the fall! Is anyone else sewing for fall yet?

121 comments:

  1. What a pretty seam ripper. My cousin is interviewing at google right now, I hope he gets the job cause it looks like you enjoy it.

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  2. I really enjoyed your trip report. I have never been to the USA and it is great to see places others visit, it is like travelling by proxy. That seam ripper is lovely, whoever the lucky recipient is I am sure they will be thrilled :)

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  3. Enjoyed your trip recap - lovely cities - and neat that you were able to see your daughter. Yes, I'd like to toss my hat in the ring for a chance at the seam ripper.

    Karen

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  4. The seam ripper is the tool that gets the most use in my sewing room, so I wouldn't mind having a beautiful one:) Thanks for taking us on a virtual tour, too. I've been to Seattle but not to Portland. As for sewing for fall, I have a summer dress that refuses to be finished on my sewing table at the moment, but as soon as that is done I am gathering up my courage to tackle an easy-ish coat.

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  5. That is a beautiful seam ripper! I've taken the train from Portland to Tacoma. I just love coming in under the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, since I usually drive over. It is faster to drive, but really nice to experience the train.

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  6. I'd like to be in to win the seam ripper!

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  7. Sounds like you had a lovely trip! I'd like to throw my name in for the seam ripper--I love things that are both beautiful and useful!

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  8. I'd love to win a seam ripper. Glad you had a good trip

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  9. Can always use a seam ripper for my many mistakes! Any good fabric shops in Portland, I'm visiting next month?

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    1. Rainpatter, Portland is sewing mecca! The Mill End store, the Pendelton outlet store, Fabric Depot

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  10. Love the seam rippers and should've grabbed one so count me in. Beautiful pictures and holy cow is your daughter gorgeous!

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  11. What a cool seam ripper! Would love to win it. Thank you for sharing the beautiful photos and I hope you feel better soon.

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  12. I'm sure the seam ripper would get much use if I were to win it! I rarely comment on blogs but must tell you that I so enjoy reading yours! So interesting, informative and fun. Love all your photos too! From an also uber busty fan!

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  13. The train looks a great way to travel. No stress and lots to enjoy. The seam ripper is cute. Count me in please :)

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  14. Glad you enjoyed Seattle, my home town. I love District Fabrics and hope they do well in funky Fremont. Our railroad station has been freshly restored; it suffered horribly from "urban renewal" in the 60's, dropped asbestos tiled ceilings, linoleum floors, florescent lights, etc. Your photo was especially wonderful.

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  15. So glad you got to enjoy the scenic train ride and a visit to our lovely corner of the world. Fun to see it through your eyes!

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  16. Wow! I've never seen such a beautiful seam ripper. Love your trip pics.

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  17. I use my seam rippers a lot. Sigh. This one would add a bit of pleasure to the task. Thanks for your generous spirit! It shows in everything you share.

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  18. i've communicated with your seam ripper distributor and working on ordering one for myself, whether i am a selectee or not...great posts, wonderful pix.

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  19. Thank you for your photos of Seattle. It is way too long since I have been there. Your seam ripper is gorgeous. Maybe with something this beautiful, I might remember where I put it.

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  20. Your trip sounds great! The train trip looks great and I like your henna tattoo, as well. (Having a single finger done is quite discreet!). Can we see it with the henna paste washed off? The seam ripper is truly beautiful. Of course i'd like one, andI'm sure the same will be said for whoever wins it!

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  21. Would love to win your ripping ripper. Always enjoy your blog

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  22. Happy almost? Blogiversary. I love your train photos, I have a soft spot for train travel, so much more entertaining than planes (and you can still mostly take handsewing on a train)
    The seam ripper is gorgeous and unusual, I would like to enter with the other covetous people ;).

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  23. That's lovely and such great pics. What a lovely trip! Just curious - why does the train take 6.5 hours for a 3.5 hour drive? Are they very slow? In the uk its almost always quicker to get the train than drive

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  24. I enjoyed seeing your photos of your trip and always enjoy reading your blog. That seam ripper looks lovely. I enjoyed the interior decor photos too. I hope you are well over your illness by now.

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  25. Happy Blogiversary I love the photos with you and your girl you both look so happy. Google looks like a great place to work - I wonder at the interesting decor and the jeans have just given me an idea for some work we need to do. Blue is my favourite colour!

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  26. Happy Blogiversary, I hope you are feeling better soon, thank you for sharing your photos of Portland and Seattle, it brought back a number of memories form when I visited there years ago

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  27. Congrats on your blogiversary! We were just in Washington State on vacation a month ago and the Mt Rainier area is so beautiful. Love, love, love the decor of the Google Cafe.

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  28. I love reading your blogs. They are so interesting, informative but best of all honest & funny. Lovey seam ripper

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  29. I thoroughly enjoyed the pics of your train ride! As a child in Europe I spent a lot of time on trains so you've brought back some fond memories. Thanks for starting my day with a smile. This seam ripper is a work of art! I hope you'll be feeling well enough to do some sewing this weekend. 😊

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  30. Hope you are feeling better! I love train rides, so wish we had more criss crossing the country. The seam ripper is beautiful!

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  31. Interested! Went to the Treadle site only to see they don't have an on-line shop. What a shame, because it appears they stock very tasteful merchandise, and St. Paul is a long way from my home!

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  32. Who doesn't need another seam ripper?! I love the Northwest and my DD2 will be looking at schools out there soon so I am looking forward to a trip!

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  33. What a beautiful seam ripper. It's art!! Thanks for offering in the giveaway!

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  34. Crossing fingers, toes & eyes that I'm the lucky gal ! Would love to say winner winner chicken dinner :)

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  35. Congratulations on completing another year of blog posting. I always get a big smile when I see you have a new one! The seam ripper is gorgeous and useful and I'd love a chance at it.

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  36. I love Seattle so much! I'm glad you had such a great time :)

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  37. I would like to be entered into the drawing, and to mention that your "vertical-only FBA" post really helped me out with fitting a knit top recently. I'd love to see Seattle sometime.

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  38. Ready for fall sewing, so I would love to have the seam ripper! Love your blog Shams.

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  39. Love your blog I would like to be considered for the seam ripper. If I don't win can you tell me where to purchase on. Thanks Caroline

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  40. I would love a new seam ripper. Enjoyed your account of the train ride. Makes me want to go somewhere on a train.

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  41. As an iOS/beginning Android mobile developer who is also a lifelong sewist (coveting the seam ripper), I greatly appreciate this peek into Google's Seattle campus. Even if someone had to put a MacBook cover on the wall to get some use out of it. :)

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  42. It helps to have pretty notions around you to keep you inspired.
    24Tangent@gmail.com

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  43. Congrats on your blogiversary! You are one of the friendliest voices in the sewing blogosphere and I always enjoy reading your posts.

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  44. Thanks for opening this giveaway to internationals - I love the seam ripper!

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  45. Oh what beautiful pictures; one of these days I'm going to take a train trip.....(she says hopeful....). I LOVE the painted tires! and the jeans covered booths. So clever and practical....leave it to Google....Yes, I'd love a chance at the seam ripper; it's really beautiful.

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  46. That seam ripper is really pretty! It would make fixing mistakes a lot more fun! :) Happy Blogiversary!

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  47. I love Seattle! A good friend of mine lives there and she and I always have a lovely time together.
    Throw my name in for the seam ripper. I almost ordered one. Maybe I'll get lucky ;)
    If not, then I'll be lucky anyway and just order one!!!

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  48. What a lovely trip! I especially like the idea of the train ride. I would love to win the resin seam ripper - it is lovely and practical. Thanks for giving us this opportunity. Happy Blogiversary!!

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  49. Your trip sounds wonderful. Sign me up to win the seam ripper. I use one often.
    kdavis1@centurytel.net

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  50. This is so weird! I'm reading your post the morning after dreaming I was offered a terrific job in Seattle that I declined because I couldn't bear leaving my 18-month-old granddaughter! That, and the fact that I'm retired. Crazy, right?
    The seam ripper is beautiful in blue. Yep, it would be a welcome addition to my toolbox!

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  51. Shams. I love your blog! I am so inspired by your creativity and can't wait to see what you are making each week. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and expertise. That's not to say we all don't need a seam ripper in our sewing. I would love to own such a beautiful seam ripper.

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  52. I looked up The Pod, I prefer your meaning than it's "infrastructure, energy, and vibrancy of Portland". Love the seam ripper and would love to win it.

    Oops not sure if my computer posted sorry if this is the second.

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  53. Of course I want to be entered for the seam ripper! What an improvement that would make in that dreaded task that must be performed all to often. I showed the Rambling Historian photos from your trip and suggested that as our first excursion following his recent retirement we head to the Northwest for the train trip. We took a similar rail journey up the west coast of Scotland in 2010 and loved it. Thanks for the lovely and inspiring pictures. Having visited all but 4 US states this seems a great way to tick Washington off the list.

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  54. Keep Portland Weird. :) I've never been, but now, this sign makes me want to go.

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  55. Your travel posts are always great. In this case I'm quite inspired by the picture you thought to take! So fun. I definitely NEED that beautiful seam ripper!!!

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  56. I'm in for the seam ripper.
    "Rainpatter"; I live near Portland. If you want a list of fabric shops to visit, message me. Garment, Outerwear, Notions, & even quilt shops.
    "SewLittleTime "; The trains are faster in Europe because passengers know how to get on/off in 30 seconds. I loved the high speed train from Gothenberg to Stockholm.
    Here, it is slow-er. Train from Portland to downtown Seattle (Mariners baseball game!) took 4 hours - we could have done it in 3.5 hrs by car. Mountains and river plains to putter across.

    I want to know how they attached the old jeans to the seat back. Did they sew them all together first and treat as one bog piece of fabric?
    You could slip a note to a special someone in the pockets.

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  57. I loved the pictures. I have taken the Coast Starlight a couple of times down to L.A. And, yes, yes, I'm in for the seam ripper

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  58. Thank you for the interesting post on your trip! I always love reading about other places. Believe it or not, I don't actually have a seam ripper; I used to, and it dissapeared somewhere months ago. I would love to win this one! sarah@forrussia.org

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  59. I'd love to have that seam ripper. I'm especially glad to read about your train trip because it's something I've thought about doing but wasn't sure what it would be like. Thanks for the always interesting post!

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  60. I'm hoping to travel to the States and have looked at a train ride which ends in Seattle, I believe, takes 21 days and lets us see a lot. Seattle looks lovely and google there 'interesting'! My 3 daughters are all now finished uni but as they are spread out, I get to visit various places. I'd love to win the seam ripper, please put my name in the hat. Thanks for the giveaway. I do enjoy your posts, whether sewing, travelogue or more serious.

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  61. That is a gorgeous seam ripper! I'm still using my Clover, but would love anything so wonderfully handmade! Thanks for the generosity.

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  62. hope this did not post twice:

    truly a work of art seam ripper ... also, loved your pics of the trip from portland to seattle ... i took the train from spokane to msp three times; it was wonderful ... coach the whole way, numerous stops but awesome ... and waaaay baaack in the old days, took the train with then-hubbs and daughter, then-five, from vanderhoof, bc, to halifax, nova scotia ... another spectacular trip and that was in winter with stops for ice on the tracks in quebec .... love the seam ripper and the train ... thanks for the opportunity to win .... darlene

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  63. Seattle is a fun city to visit. I love Pike Place Market. I'd love to throw my hat in the ring!

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  64. Thanks for all your photos, your blog is always fun to read. I'd love the seam ripper as a momento from you and also because I'm always ripping (sob). Get well soon!

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  65. The train sounds better than driving too. I would love the seam ripper so please include me in the drawing!

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  66. Pretty cool seam ripper!! Thanks for the chance to win:)

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  67. Glad you had a wonderful trip. Would love the seam ripper. My most important tool.

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  68. I would love to win that beautiful seam ripper. Thanks for the chance.

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  69. Love traveling 'with you'! Would cherish this gorgeous seam ripper while using frequently holding my sewing to a higher standard.... Oh happeeee day!

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  70. Thank you so much for sharing your trip highlights. I really enjoyed reading them and I love a train ride.

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  71. Ooh it's so beautiful! Love the seam ripper. I love the entire Pacific Northwest- your pictures are great!

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  72. Hi Shams,
    Looks like a wonderful trip! I had heard about District Fabrics but didn't have a chance to visit it while we were there. Maybe next time!
    In the meantime, I would love to enter the drawing for the wonderful seam ripper!
    Thank you,
    Margaret

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  73. Thanks for reminding my of the wonderful time we had in Seattle too. Great city!
    And thanks for your "rippin'" anniversary drawing. I really enjoy all of your creations.

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  74. Would be delighted to end up with the resin seam ripper, a sewing essential. Thanks for your blog. I appreciate that your comfortable style is also informative. THANKS

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  75. Love that beautiful seam ripper. Yes I am another of your regular readers who rarely comments. We could be gophers who pop our heads up occasionally to looks about... ok the metaphor kinda falls apart a bit at the end. Love your blog.

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  76. What a wonderful trip! The Pacific North West is one area of the country I have never visited and I would dearly love to. And if I had all the time and money in the world I would travel there by train. I once went from DC to Boston by train and it was great... comfortable and amazing views. But it took as long as driving, while costing as much as flying.

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  77. The seam ripper is gorgeous - blue is my favorite color, and that one is just beautiful.

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  78. Ha ha probably the most used tool in the sewing world! Put me in please.
    I love the train journey... I love driving holidays but you really can't beat a train to see the countryside (other than a bike or motorcycle I guess). What a fun trip.

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  79. Love the seam ripper, only because it is blue. My seam ripper has been trying to become my best friend Grrrrrr! I still use the one that came with my machine. Thanks for the chance.

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  80. I would LOVE to win the beautiful seam ripper. From your pictures it looked like you had much better weather than I did on my trip to Seattle. It rained so much that I never could see the mountains. I would love to go back there though!

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  81. Would love to win that!

    I made a list of what I wanted to sew for fall, chose patterns, got my fabric together--then I saw a sewing contest on the Burda website. So now everything's on hold while I work on that.

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  82. Thank you *so* much for your blog posts: always fascinating, and it is very generous to share both the personal as well as the 'genera'l.... The seam ripper is a wonderful find and fabulous giveaway - congratulations on your anniversary.... may there be many more!

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  83. Oooo, I'd love a chance to win such a pretty seam ripper. Like many others, I can tell you it would get a lot of use in my sewing room. :-) Thanks for the chance. It sounds like you had a wonderful trip!

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  84. Your photos are fantastic! I almost want to reupholster some furniture using old jeans (almost!)!!

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  85. I loved your post about Seattle! I've been there once, and loved it. But I didn't know about Google! I hope I get back there to see it. And thanks for the chance to win this beautiful seam ripper. I love beautiful tools, and a seam ripper, alas, is a tool I use often.

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  86. Seattle is an interesting place, we have lived in the area for 30 years and still have not seen it all. I hope you feel better soon. Please count me in for the seam ripper. Thank you.

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  87. Loved your photo tour of Seattle - very fun! And who wouldn't love to win that seam ripper. . .not that we use them all the time or anything. . .! Feel better, love your blog as always!

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  88. Love your blog. Always so interesting & your pics are fabulous. Would love to win the seam ripper.

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  89. Beautiful pictures. I used to live near there and miss the water. What an exciting trip for you!

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  90. I am very interested in the seam ripper-- mine has become dull ! Love your blog posts!

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  91. Love your blog! May I please be entered in your contest?

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  92. I was just wondering what to do with some old jeans I have. Now why didn't I think of them as upholstery fabric? Thanks for sharing your photos.

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  93. I loved the pictures from inside of Google...jeans, belts, and tires! Throw my name in the pot for the seam ripper please.
    Deborah @sewmuchtogive.blogspot.com

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  94. I've never been to Seattle but after seeing your pictures I feel I have. So glad you went to Ginny's and saw my Sharon...thanks for the mention. May see you on the 27th...Cheers

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  95. Love reading your blog and would love to win the beautiful seam ripper. My favorite area in Seattle is the Fremont District. District Fabric and Theo Chocolate are equally wonderful!

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  96. I NEEEED that seam ripper. Stunning!!

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  97. Hi Shams, I'd love to enter the giveaway drawing too. It is a very beautiful seam ripper that would make owner happy and proud of. Thank you for sharing your trip photos and stories, I love them very much!

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  98. Um, of course I'd like to enter! Beautiful, and it's blue, too.

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  99. Enter me!
    I loved that cafe. Now it's got me thinking about the seat cushions I need to redo! haha

    My trusty seam ripper of many,many years up and left me recently. I think I could get over it with this one! lol

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  100. This is a lovely seam ripper and I admit I could give it a lot of use.

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  101. I will certainly throw my hat into the ring to win this seam ripper! It would fit my sewing room décor perfectly!

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  102. I really enjoyed your trip report. I want to go to Pullayup and then to visit in Tacoma and Seattle. District Fabric sounds interesting. I would love to win your seam ripper. Really a stand out.

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  103. Love all the shots! And you gotta know I lust after that seam ripper, so please do toss my name in the hat :)

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  104. Sorry you have airplane flu. Get well soon, and toss my name into your ripper drawing, please.

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  105. I have many seams to sew in the next couple of months, and I suspect more than a few of them will need to be ripped. So, yeah, I'd like that ripper.

    Really.

    Please.

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  106. Hey Sham, I reallllly want your blog give away to be that awesome trip on the train with you! : ) I think a nice seam ripper would be nice too.
    Funny story. My Mom, (who taught all 6 of us girls to sew on her pre WW 2 Singer 201) took us and our sister in laws on a cruise. The night before we flew to the port, I decided to mend a beautiful gown my Mom wore in her youth so she could wear it on the cruise. I was in a hurry and had to pick out a seam I had sewn wrong. My non-sewing sister-in-law (I can't sew, I make mistakes and have to tear out stitches) said, "Wow, I bet you don't have to do that very often!" We all had a good laugh.

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  107. I've been sewing for the fall! And for Christmas! Need to get my goodies into the mail so they get back to my family (in aus) in time!

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  108. I love this seam ripper. I'm interested in it. Thanks for the great post.

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  109. Shams, even though we've never met in real life, I feel like I've gotten to know you through Stitchers Guild, Facebook, and especially your blog, which, to my mind, is the best sewing blog out there. And, as an editor (although you'd never know it from that long and convoluted first sentence), I appreciate your writing and editing skills. Perhaps someday our paths will cross. Happy blogiversary!

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  110. love the color of the seam ripper. I love to quilt and would love to win it. I will be well used

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  111. This is the most beautiful ripper I have ever seen. I would put it to good use if I won it since I am a perfectionist and rip a lot. Thank you for the chance to win.

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  112. Your ability to spot outstanding use of color, design, and the unusual is amazing! I smiled my way through your post -- it's utterly fascinating and delightful. Many thanks for the generous amount of truly striking photos. It's going to make me start looking at the world a different way now. As for the seam ripper contest, I'm in! The older you get, the more the hands need help with the grip to keep from repeatedly poking holes in the fabric and yourself, and this looks to be a complete and utter beauty. Creative Hormone Rush

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  113. What a cool seam ripper , I want one ;)

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  114. Gorgeous seam ripper. I'm entering, if it's not too late.

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  115. I would definitely make use of this seam ripper... it's a favourite tool! Thanks for the opportunity to enter for the draw.

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  116. Ok - 4th try. I love you blog - thank you.

    I'd love that seam ripper too :)

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