Sunday, October 31, 2010

Winter Arrives!

Our view on Halloween morning, 2010. Let's just hope this melts! It does make for a great stitching day. The hand worked BHs are complete on the sleeves and now I need to deal with their backs. The sleeve is right where I want it, a 7/8 bracelet length. I really don't care for wrist length sleeves and it took a lot of after the fact fiddling to get these right. Close, close......Bunny

Friday, October 29, 2010

Krazy for Koos!

I have loved Koos Van Den Akker for a long time. He has inspired me more than once to make a collaged garment or bag. Koos is all about the fabric which he puts together with great abandon and then ties together esthetically with strips of binding or ribbons. I have never felt the need to buy one of his patterns because I just did my own collage thing with a pattern that I already knew worked for me. That has all changed since I saw and purchased his latest two Vogue Patterns and also saw one of them made up by Shams. If you haven't seen this amazing coat, check it our here. She did her own interpretation and it is fabulous.

I purchased these two yesterday at the Joann's sale on Vogues and opened and read them the minute I got home. Just too cool.
Here is the one Sham's did first:
The buttonholes on this are faced, turned squares that are then pleated, really cool. While these dragon back scallops add bulk, I love how Shams stitched them down. What fun to combine the fabrics. And speaking of fabrics, this coat takes a total of 9.825 yards of fabric, NOT including the lining. I have visions of stalking thrift stores for some of the pieces.

This is my favorite however:





I absolutely love this design, especially the back. I like how he has the binding hanging off the collar and wiggling down the coat back and front. One thing I don't like about this pattern is that the line art does not match the design as shown. I think once you see the line art on this you will now why it is just so awesome.
Do you see that big circular applique with the ribbon trailing thru? I know this is pretty different but I would definitely wear this and get use out of it. I would love to add this to the queue and spend time searching out all of the different elements.

Now I am not crazy about everything Koos does and think this design is just horrendous. I don't know anyone that this could look good on. What was he thinking? Here you can see a lot of images of his clothing. His sense of abandon seems forefront in so many of his designs and it is all so about the fabric. I like that.

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The CJ is on its final hours of stitching. What's left is to set in the sleeves, finish the handworked BHs on the cuffs, put on the pockets, and last but not least, stitch on the chain. I am going to save that as my final act. I really want to make another one of these soon and am already searching out fabric....Bunny





Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What Doesn't Belong and Why?

Got your attention, now, right? Before you go jumping to any far out conclusions ( and I know where you are going here), I just felt I needed a photo with some color and excitement. After all, my CJ has gorgeous fabric, but it reads BORING in a photograph. I am doing just more and more hand stitching. And this picture was begging to be taken.

As a lover of cooking and gardening, I have been putting up food since my early marriage. I love to put up food. To me a full freezer and pantry full of Ball jars is a beautiful sight. So 2 days ago I went and bought a 50 pound bag of carrots for 8.00. They came from Canada, bagged up and washed, and  were still wet. To properly store them in our root cellar they needed to be dry. So we spread out this blanket, under the ceiling fan, and spread the carrots, all 50 pounds out on the floor of the family room for an overnight stay. The next morning, yesterday, I started packing them up in the root cellar. I got this far and decided I should take a picture before I finished putting them all away. So, you see, I am not crackers, or living some double life up here in the Adirondacks. Now, on to boring pictures of the CJ;;;;;
The sleeves are in good shape. I had two issues, however. I was not sure of the length and couldn't   interface the hem edge until I got the length right. Issue two: I simply did not have enough charmeuse to line the sleeves. The extra wide seams needed  in this style of construction ate up the silk a little more than I had expected.

I stitched the three sleeve pieces together and then pin basted the center sleeve seam. Its not visible on the fashion fabric but both large sleeve sections are eased in the elbow area to the narrow under sleeve. Next it was off to a mirror for a try on and pin to the jacket to establish the sleeve length. Once that was done I interfaced the hem edge with a lightweight hair canvas. It was catchestitched  to the bottom edge and the seams and ends. But what about the lining for the sleeves?
Well, I had a few  options. One was to interface the sleeve with a different fabric, no way.  Or, I could squeeze out whatever I could from the tiny amount of remaining charmeuse. I decided on option two. It would look better, to me anyway and as long as I maintained the same grainline there should be no problem. So that is what I did. The sleeve back is entire. The sleeve front has a center section as does the undersleeve. You can see better in the lining where the large sections are eased to the center narrow undersleeve. This built in area for movement allows the sleeve to be narrower than you might normally wear, more like a sweater. I have to tell you I have taken an inch out of the two large sections and 3/4s of an inch out of the undersleeve. The sleeves in this pattern are W I D E .  There was over 5 inches of ease around my upper arm. So beware if you are making this pattern. I have heard no one else make this comment on PR so maybe my bouncy little post-meno arm flaps aren't that big after all. I don't know. I just know that the sleeve fits much better and there is not a soul on this earth who will see the inside of this sleeve but me. So I am happy with my sleeves. This afternoon I got the trim all stitched on the sleeves and the lining stitched to the fashion fabric. This pattern has you match the lining and shell seams on the either side of the undersleeve. You then stitch them together with a running stitch for  about 2/3s of the length. The lining will never twist around this way. Pretty clever! Tomorrow I'll start working on the sleeve buttonholes and then installation. We are almost done!!! I am up to near 90 hours now on this so the home stretch is approaching. I think I will go have some carrot sticks now!....Bunny

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Meme with no Meme

Some time back two of my loyal readers, Kristine and  Jana , passed along a meme and a reward to me along the lines of "a wonderful blog". I apologize for not responding sooner or at all which was very rude of me. It was at the opening bell of Bun & Ern's Bed & Breakfast, also a family crisis ensued (now water under the bridge), and life goes on. I thank all of my followers for their recognition and loyalty. I appreciate each and every one of you. Now to the fun part: ten things I bet you didn't know about me.

#1  For several years, some time back, I was a gym rat as well as a runner. I did it on the verge of compulsion. Yes, it was compulsion. I lost my periods for over two years as there was just no body fat left. Did I look good? Not so sure. One day I looked in the mirror and I had huge muscles from my neck to my shoulders, a la weight lifter, and thought I looked disgusting, very masculine. On that day I quit the weight lifting and cut back on the running and got back to a more feminine look. I still try to exercise as much as I can today but no more compulsion.

#2 I have six brothers and one sister.

#3 Minus one year (which I detested) I attended all girl convent schools from first to twelfth grade. For me it was something I totally enjoyed and would do again in a heartbeat. The convent was my refuge from the six brothers, all very close in age. It gave me sanity.

#4 I absolutely love to cook, with an emphasis on baking. DH says I am pretty good at it. I will try most anything, and have had my share of failures. All in all he likes most of my creations.

#5 Years back in Massachusetts, my next door neighbor and close friend was a bookie. She is truly one of the most wonderful people I have ever known. At the foot of her bed was a safe and a LARGE statue of the Blessed Mother on top. At times I would walk in and she would be finishing up her rosary on her knees at the end of her bed. I never knew if she was praying to the Madonna or the safe, LOL! She truly was one of the kindest, dearest people I have ever met. And I could play the numbers with her!

#6 I worked in the only television station on Cape Cod, none now, when Ted's car went off the bridge in Chappaquidick. I had a front row seat on history and had in my hands the first news film of the story. I saw all the key players, including Teddy. I will never forget it.

#7 My official job at the television station was assistant to the art director. Talk about fun! I made props, colored photos off the teletype, did a lot of production for commercials, worked a hot press and all sorts of creative "stuff". I did it for three years while in H.S. and college.

#8 My dad was an engineer and my mom was an opera singer, contralto. She also did commercials and had a syndicated radio program on opera.

#9 I am killer proud of our children. They really never gave us any grief and have turned into very happy, healthy, productive adults. The oldest is vice president of human resources for one of the biggest companies in the country and the proud mother of twins and an 8 yr old and wife of a great husband. My youngest is a practicing dentist with a great practice and the mom of an almost 9 yr redheaded delightful son and a 5 year old spitfire of a daughter. Her terrific hubby is an orthodontist. Most of all, they are just good, kind, generous people.

#10 At one time I did a lot of oil painting. I also had moments of jewelry making, caligraphy, and silk screening that I enjoyed as well. I went thru a "fimo" phase too.  There was a period of about ten years when I was seriously into quilting, even competively. Now I feel like it is done and I don't want to go back. Thru all my "hobbies" I always sewed clothing and it was always my first love.

I hope you enjoyed this trip into my "ten things."

The CJ continues. I am working on the sleeves now and still stitching on trim. I am up to about 70 hours. Every day when I go down to the sewing room I mark down the amount of hours from the day before. Dang, I sew a lot!...Bunny

Friday, October 22, 2010

Chanel Jacket Details

I have spent the last few days finishing the lining. This is done by hand with fell stitches. The lining seams are cut back to 3/4 inch. The under layer is pinned along the seamline of the fashion fabric. The top layer of lining is folded under and hand fell stitched to the bottom layer of lining. It really went pretty quickly. There were just a lot of seams. Somewhere I read that S. Khalje recommends not having the lining completely flat with the the fashion fabric. So there is a bit of ease built in which you can see when you look at the complete jacket inside out. She also recommends in the Threads article that you catch the fashion fabric in your lining stitches.

Once the lining was done I started on the buttonholes. The first one was dreadful. It was ripped out and redone but the rest went fairly smoothly. I referenced Claire Schaeffer for this technique. You can see the buttonhole has been basted around on the lining side. Pins were put in on the front thru to the lining to indicate the length of the BH. The hole was cut this length plus an additional 1/16 of an inch on each end. Then I did a little triangle cut on each end.
I started in the middle and fell stitched around each BH. I went around twice and the second time I went in the space between the stitches so it looked and functioned like very tiny stitches, another Schaeffer idea.
Next I sewed on the buttons. They are shanks. They are from Ima's legacy and even prettier IRL. The background is a deep pink enamel. They come from her collection of antique buttons. I only wish I had enough to put on each pocket. I really really love these buttons and am so glad I changed my mind about my choice.

Next came time to make 5 yards of trim. This picture for some reason looks pink. It's not. I pulled long lengths of thread from the boucle and ran a group of four threads through the braid. The pockets are complete and it looks really nice on them. Next I have to stitch it all around the outer edges of the jacket. Any great ideas on starting and stopping the trim? I think I might try K. King's method of undoing the trim and running it to the inside with a needle. We'll see what happens when I get to that point.

Slowly I am getting there. The sleeves will finally be dealt with after the trim is installed. This sleeve measure 16 1/2 inches around at the upper arm. I just know this is way too big so I am going to make a muslin up before I cut the fashion fabric. My upper arm is 11 1/2 inches around. 5 inches ease? I don't thinks so. One of the hallmarks of the Chanel jacket is its narrow sleeves. So a new muslin will happen for the sleeves. The sleeve I am using is the 3 part sleeve from the Claire Schaeffer pattern Vogue 8259, OOP.

I am concerned about the trim showing thru in a lumpy way to the overlap on the bodice front. I laid it out and it doesn't seem to be a problem, yet. Anyone have experience with this on their jackets? Your experience using the three piece Schaeffer sleeve? Thanks. 


I have had several obvious hints that "certain parties" would like bags for Christmas. I also have a couple of commisions for bags that will then be given as gifts. It looks like a lot of bag making is in my future. This green fabric is one combo I am considering using. I love that green zebra...Bunny

Monday, October 18, 2010

Back to the Chanel Jacket!

It took a while but I am back to sewing. Our final wave of fall foliage visitors has left and we are not expecting any more until Christmas. Bun and Ern's Bed and Breakfast is closed! I loved having our company and we made some great memories but it does feel good to just sit and absorb the quiet!




The first order of business was to return to the CJ. The lining is all seamed, except for the sleeves. The sleeves haven't even been cut out and won't be until the front is complete. I needed to make some templates for the neckline and the pockets and did so out of file folders hanging around. The neckline has a rounded corner at CF and I placed the template on the fabric front and pressed the fabric around it to get a nice shape. I used the back neckline template to adjust the neckline as it had stretched some. After all of the neckline was pressed over the templates the 3/4 SA was catchstitched in place. Then a selvedge tape was catstitched on top of that, easing in the excess. After that the neckline was pressed and looked great. You'd never know I eased that neckline back into shape.
After the neckline it was time to deal with pockets and trim.
I didn't use any particular guide or direction, choosing instead to make patch pockets the way I always do. I cut out the pocket with half inch seam allowances from the fashion fabric. I add another half inch to the top as well as this will fold to the inside of the pocket and you won't see a lining edge. Then I line up the upper edge of the fashion fabric pocket with the selvedge edge of the lining and stitch the half inch seam. Using the selvedge edge here stabilizes the pocket and prevents stretching at the upper edge, all without taping the edge. You can see that the lining is way bigger than the pocket. As far as a pattern, I forgot to trace it off. Instead I used my wearable muslin, but cut down the pocket size even further. Being petite, I always cut down the details and felt the last jacket's pockets could have been just a touch smaller. I press the seam open. Then I fold the lining and pocket to the back, leaving a half inch margin at the top as shown below. Next comes another good press.
Next I take my rotary cutter and cut the lining to match the front of the pocket as seen above. Now it is time to stitch on the trim.
My final choice was to pull some of the threads from the fabric and weave them thru the braid in groups of four, two brown and two pink. This is handstitched across the top of the pocket with a healthy inch and a half extending beyond the pocket edge. Once the braid was stitched on I turn the lining and FF right sides together and stitched the pocket, leaving an opening to turn.
You can see here how each side of the pocket is pinned on the opposite side. This is so I can stitch directionally from each side of the opening and still be able to pull out my pins. Make sense? Directional stitching should help the pocket retain its shape. I am close to finishing the hip pockets and the breast pockets are complete. When doing patch pockets on anything always check and recheck that the pockets are the exact same size. It is amazing how they can pick up discrepancies in their sizes from stitching and stretching, albeit unintentional. They need to be a perfect match. I had to do a couple of adjustments on these to get them just right. The opening for turning was left on the center bottom of the pocket. It was turned and pressed and is ready to be stitched on.

I am pretty sure that I am going to place the pockets differently than the pattern dictates. I really like the smaller pockets placed at the waistline with just a bit of space between the hip and upper pockets, just like you see on Coco above. This is the way the pockets are placed on the Khalje jacket in the Threads article and I think it is a less boxy look and more flattering to the feminine form. I believe Erica B did her jacket this way.

Tomorrow will be either the backside of the button holes in the lining or the hem. Back with more....Bunny

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall's Fading Beauty

We have had heavy frost for the past three nights and the leaves are falling to the ground in a race to see who gets there first. The deer have been chomping away daily at our apple trees, being flushed out by area hunters. The beauty of Fall is fading fast and winter is looming large. Here are a few pics I took yesterday morning.

The first is in our back yard. The deer have been enjoying the last remnants of our hostas. This is a mother and her two yearlings. She is lame in her right front leg and has been visiting the yard the past 3 years. We call her Limpy. Her limp doesn't prevent her from a fast run, however. I love how the light streamed thru the trees in this one.
 After years of selling elaborate window treatments and furniture we find we like our home simply decorated without a lot of excess stuff. I don't like anything on my windows to disrupt the view toward the river. I love how you can see the trees in all of their glory outside our "great room" windows. I hope you do too.

And finally, what is prettier than white sheets blowing in the breeze on a crisp fall day? They smelled so so good when I brought them in. They  went right on the beds for our next wave of houseguests. Lately we have been running a bed and breakfast, but no problem. DH and I enjoy it. We really enjoyed our last guests, two families with young children visiting at the same time. Yeah, things were everywhere, but the kids had a ball and so did the adults. They made forts under the ancient hemlocks, climbed trees, gave us a puppet show they all worked on for a few hours, and helped cook a lot. The adults and kids enjoyed a bonfire out on the river with some good wine and cheeses while they tossed rocks in. It was quality time. Wednesday our next group arrives and now that we have had a day or so to rest up we are looking forward to it. By early next week we should be all quiet again with more crispy clean sheets on the bed for the holiday round of visitors. 
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I don't have any close by sewing friends. One of our houseguests this weekend can't sew a button but she has been cross stitching since the age of 15 and is now in her 40's. Her work is fabulous and she specialized in primitive and sampler design. She has a great eye. She and I went through my stash of buttons and also played with the trims for the CJ. Her imput was terrific. We both agreed on a different path for the buttons and trim and I will have more on that later. I will just say that now I am finally very happy with my choices. Isn't it great to have another set of eyes? eyes that can understand? When we visit her in the upcoming months she is going to take me to a cross stitch shop in the Syracuse area where I can buy my heart out on over dyed threads and such for my smocking and embroidery. I am so looking forward to it. I wish I had a picture of her work to show you...Bunny

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Wooly Mammoth


That is what Susan Khalje calls this stage of the construction. I call it a zombie costume for the Thriller video. What you see here are the large irregular seam allowances, lining quilted to the shell fabric and folded and pinned out of the way, first stage of buttonholes completed, seams all basted, and pressing to the wind at this point.

I took the jacket off of the dress form and the next thing I did was check the fit. My shoulders and rib cage are very narrow, particularly in relation to my C Bust. I find that a shoulder princess seam gives me great opportunity to fine tune a fit. If I remember right it took 3 muslins and then a wearable muslin to get the fit right. I still wanted to check it in regards to the front bodice. I put it on, pinned the center fronts together and saw that I still needed to take in under the bust, that S curve area and adjust the curve of the bustline. Here is what I have done for the last few shoulder princess seam garments that I have made to fine tune the fit and I like the ease and result.  Have all seams basted. Press the princess seam allowances toward the center front. Try the garment on. Pin center fronts together. With pins put a pin at the top of the area of the princess seam that needs to be adjusted. this was about 3 inches below the shoulder seam for me. Put another pin horizontally at the bottom of the area that needs to be adjusted. This was about an inch above the waist for me. Take the jacket off and undo the basting between the two pins. Remember, the seams must be larger than needed, at least an inch, and ironed to the CF. Put the jacket back on. You will now see the side panel spread away from the CF panel. That's what you want. If you had just pinched in the area that was too large you would have taken in from the center front panel. You don't want to do that. That line needs to flow evenly from the shoulder seam down to the hemline. A pinch would have curved it in and looked "not good". By pressing the seam allowances toward the center front you will see that nothing changes with the adjustment on the CF, but the side panel moves to right where it wants to be. Raise your arms. Move a little bit. Then go back to the mirror and smooth the CF over that side panel. Pick up your pins and start pinning the CF to the underneath side panel. Ease it in where necessary with the pins. You are still wearing this so watch those pins! Once both sides are pinned, take the jacket off. Another advantage of this method is that you have accommodated any difference between your left and right side.


Next I lay the princess seam over a pillow with the CF right side up and again both seams underneath toward the CF. Time to get a needle and start slip stitching! The seam is slip stitched on the outside the full length using 1/4 inch stitches. Make sure the bottom stitch goes all the way through to the wrong side of the side panel. This will be your visual marker for your machine stitching. Slip stitch the seam. When done, open it up, and with the side panel up, sew along the slipstitching line to make your permanent seam. This is very similar to the way plaids are matched on the outside of a garment with slipstitching and then sewn. Give this a try on your next shoulder princess seam project. I can't tell you how it would work on an armscye princess seam as I stay away from that style, not the best for narrow upper chest, IMO.

Next on the agenda  all  seams were given their final machine stitchings. I decided on the length so proceeded to tie the knots on the quilting at the bottom of the jacket. The quilting threads are pulled between the lining and shell and tied off. I used a square knot but I know there is another one out there that is the "proper" type of knot to use. I can live with a square knot. Its going no where.

With knots tied off it and all vertical seaming complete, I unbasted the shoulders and gave it all a proper press. Now I will cut the seams back to 3/4  of an inch and catchstitch them all down, great TV watching work. By cutting back and catchstitching only one seam at a time I will keep the unraveling down. Boucle is marvelously forgiving when it comes to fit and stitching but it ravels mercilessly.

Couturette asked, "I wonder if you could post a detail picture of the front edged of the jacket, did you use a ribbon on the edge?"
I used a piece of selvedge from some mystery lining fabric I had to stabilized the front edge of the jacket. Here's a closeup and welcome to the blog Couturette. Appreciate the question.
I have lots of seams to catchstitch. Until the next time........Bunny

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Vintage Finds

The recent deluge that hit the Northeast gave us a bit of flooding in the basement, something that has not happened since the house was built 5 years ago. It was only a little puddle, about 1x3, but it did need to get cleaned out and bleached. This required that a lot of things be moved. It made me go thru another box of Ima's legacy. If you are new to the blog, Ima was my neighbor back in New Hampshire, degreed in textiles from a university in Texas and a graduate of FIT as well. How lucky was that? Long story short, she is in her mid 80s and had an amazing stash. She bequeathed it all to me last summer and I have been pouring through it all bit by bit, washing, line drying where possible, and re organizing. In my efforts to clean the wet basement I found some more goodies I had not seen. There are some lovely vintage pieces here. This little eyelet is just so sweet. It is on a fine batiste. You can see thru it to the flowers underneath. I've got between 4-5 yards and just need a baby to make something for. Based on the group of fabrics it was with and the ages of her children, I would say circa 1950's.
I think this darling little print is probably the same era. The cherries say it all! This would be adorable for a pillowcase dress for Carly. The colors you see are true. There's about 3 yards of this one. And then there is this fabulous embroidered trim.
This is a batiste trim also but not as fine as the eyelet. I have about 5 yards of it and when you see it up close it is the effect of teeny cross stitches, machine made, very sweet. Its about 13 inches wide.
So babies, where are you? My fingers are itching!
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Our home has been hectic with visitors but DH and I love it. We used to be just the summer destination but now it is fall for foliage and winter for skiing. Despite all the company, cooking, and cleaning, I have managed to finish all the hand worked buttonholes on the jacket. What you see above are the bound buttonhole lips made out of the silk charmeuse lining fabric. They are basted shut and behind each BH. The lining will eventually be flipped over and a hole made in the lining and catch stitched to the lips. So these will be bound buttonholes on the inside of the jacket and hand wrought BHs on the outside. Once the "lips" were properly placed I machine stitched around them in that rectangle with a 1.5 stitch. Just like the quilting, the machine stitching is invisible on the front due to the nubby texture of the boucle. You can also see in the pic that I have catch stitched a stay, selvedge, along the front edge to prevent any stretching. Stay tape will also  end up in the armscye as well to keep that from stretching out.

Anon asked why these hand made BHs took an hour to do just one. First off, the thread for each one is waxed and ironed. I use a 36 inch piece of thread, per C. Schaeffer, so there is no stopping while making the BH. Because the thread is so long, even when nearly doubled, it can loop up and knot very easily. Therefore each stitch has to be slowly laid out and pulled through the loops. Inevitably I have to back track and rip out a few stitches and then get going again. I can thank the nubby fabric for that. Each stitch has its little purls set in the right position which is more fiddling. And most of all, I want to do this right and well and that takes time and close attention. There is no rush here nor should there be.

Now I am at the point of basting the jacket all together for some trial fitting. I know I will need to adjust the princess side seam as I made it extra large for insurance purposes. I should be able to try it all on tonight. There is so little of these CJs that is machine done, maybe ten percent. I am really anxious to wear this and just see how scrumptious it will feel.....Bunny

Friday, October 1, 2010

Trims and One More Button to Go...

Our mystery item is a shuttle from one of the looms in a textile mill in New Bedford, Massachusetts. As mills closed people would bring these shuttles home, stuff the centers with dried flowers, and hang on doors or such. Sometimes candles would be jammed into the interior space. You would see them everywhere. To me they are an item of beauty. The wood has that glowing patina that only years of use by oily hands could make. I found my shuttle this past weekend during a major cleaning blitz. I've uncovered quite a few neat things that I will share as we go along here.

I did quite a few more buttonhole samples before starting on the jacket. I am pleased. Once again, this is lumpy bumpy fabric so a perfect buttonhole as you would see on a beautiful piece of worsted this isn't, but I am pleased. I have only one left to do on the CJ. It takes me one hour to do a buttonhole.

I have also started playing with trims. Here are just a few tries. I am not there yet and will play some more. The trim just may be as simple as the selvedge. We'll see.
I have houseguests right now and another wave coming at the end of the week. The only downside has been the dreary heavy rainfall that has hit the Northeast but we have been having a good time. I took this pic this morning between downpours at 8:00AM. It is amazingly dark at this time. Our river is up a good 2 1/2 feet in water level and just roaring whitewater. It has gone up another half foot since this picture has been taken. I hope all of you out there experiencing this storm are safe.....Bunny