Thursday, February 4, 2016

Oh Scraps! And Other Messes...

For the past couple of weeks I've been trying to get back into my sewing room and get some things done and organized and cleaned up.

Key word:  Trying.

Danged if every time I go down there I don't go into some rabbit hole or other.  Like playing with my paper stash, or pulling out all my magazines from a box and spending all afternoon doing that instead.

I need some motivation.

And I need some pictures to post to make this blog interesting. 

In January, my buddy Suzi and I managed a mini-shop hop.  We went to one local quilt shop and signed up for a class.  OF COURSE we bought some stuff.  Why would we not.  Just for fun we compared totals and ended up spending nearly an identical amount not only at each shop but to each other's totals.  Crazy!  The second shop's totals were within pennies of each other!

I picked up a couple of patterns

And an assortment of fat quarters

Then last Saturday Miss A and I were doing some errands, picking up library books, stopping at Michael's for some art supplies, and then we ended up at our local quilt shop.  Again.

Actually this time I was picking up a pattern I ordered, so there WAS a purpose to the trip.

This was their display, I bought JUST the pattern.  I have a scrap stash to work through...

 So I'd better get busy and use up some of that stash I have because it's threatening to take over the house again.

Oh, and we stopped for lunch and a treat.

Sherbet in January, just the thing, right?
Sew on!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January Temperatures and January Projects

It's COLD people!  Today's weather is just more of the same depressing winter stuff we've had for a couple of weeks.  Well, at least the temp today was above zero when I left the house this morning...  I guess we should be glad of that.  And I'm so thankful that we're not having the blizzard conditions that exist in some places.

Our normal high is 30. Today's current temp is 21 with a wind chill that makes it feel like 13. 

I'd be happier if they didn't TELL me the wind chill.

DH takes Miss E to school in his car because she says the bus in the morning is "gross".  Miss A does take the bus.  However, she stands inside until she sees it coming down the cross street to pick up the girl who boards before her, then she runs to the end of the driveway.  And if she missed it, the bus comes back down our short block again in a few minutes.  This is because they have one more pickup around the corner and they return on our street to take the shortest route to school.

I remember a winter where I took a bus to work downtown and stood on a street corner in a blizzard waiting for the "Freeway Flyer".  The FF runs only during rush hours, and only from downtown to designated parking lots called Park and Ride lots.  You leave your car in the designated lot, ride the bus back and forth and enjoy the commute.  In theory.

Actually I liked taking the Flyer.  I read books on the bus.  You weren't supposed to eat on the bus but if you were discrete you could grab a granola bar to tide you over 'til you got to the coffee stand.  I didn't knit on the bus like some other people, but I supposed I could have!  Now I am so far off the route that I'd have to take another bus to get to the place where I'd catch the Flyer, and on the home end, I've got an equal number of miles off the bus as I've have on it.

Knitting on the bus in Israel.  Making an oozy cover??

I'm working on a list of projects this month, a few of them are knit so I could have gotten at least a half hour in each way!  But that's not happening...

Here's my list:

The purple and blue stripes at the bottom of the sweater for Miss A. 
  • Rainbow striped cardigan for Miss A.  I have the back done and the fronts nearly so.  Two sleeves and the neck ribbing and it's done.
  • Knitted Tea Cozy for a gift.  Made one for myself as a test and it turned out so cute!

Knitted tea cozy.  Keepin' the brew hot!

  • The Lily Quilt has to be sandwiched and quilted before the baby goes to college.
  • Turning 39 quilt needs borders.  It's hanging on my design wall taking up space until that gets done because if I take it down, that will be the end of it for years!
  • Cutting up a kit for a quilt for my son.  I have a pile of fabric staring at me.  Of course I have to sew the thing after that!
  • Finish sock number two of the pair I started before Christmas.  I actually cast on the second sock and knit about an inch.
First sock, half finished.  It's all done.  Sorry about the bad lighting.  It's a WILD color combo!

  • I need to get the hang of my Sizzix machine so I can replenish my birthday card supply! I'm hopefully getting some help in that effort soon.
  • Need to sort and store the finished doll clothes (18" sized) that I didn't sell at craft fairs.  I should really find some outlet for those, but not everything is photographed, so there would be a lot of setup to that.  It's low on the priority list until someone tells me they want something!
  • I want to make myself at least two new tops and two pairs of pants because Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend is coming up and I want to wear something I've made this year.
  • Finish the Christmas Quilts from like four years ago.  They just need to be quilted.  (my favorite job -- NOT!)

Fleece robes for the dollies.  I also have PJs and other things in process, and a ton of stuff done.

 OK now that I've made the list public, maybe I can make myself get them done!  Fingers crossed!

Sew and knit on...

Thursday, January 14, 2016

New Toys and YouTubing

I love getting packages in the mail... although DH will roll his eyes at that and say "Yeah, WAY too much!" 

This year I was the recipient of several gift certificates of larger denominations, two for Amazon and one for JoAnn's.  I took the opportunity to stock up on books (for the decade or maybe the millennium) and also picked up some craft supplies.

I have always done paper crafts, and have been a good customer to both Stampin Up and the stamp and paper sections at my local big box chains.  By the time Miss E and Miss A were each three years old they were veteran Michaels shoppers.  In fact Miss E had DH convinced she could read at three because she would say "oh, we're at Michaels" as soon as we pulled up to the store!

Because things come from various vendors when purchased at Amazon, I got packages on January 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, etc.  I got buttons and knitting needles of the bamboo variety and a package of thread and sewing machine needles. 

I got books

And a paper cutting machine:

Dang!  I've rotated that picture about six times, it's still sideways!
I am not an employee of any of these companies and have not been paid to comment on any of the products.
I dutifully read the directions on the cutting machine, and immediately realized that while I would be able to do some things on it (like emboss paper) with what I had, the other operations I wanted to perform required other accessories.  Purchased separately.  Of course.
Lucky me, I had money left on the gift cards...
I got some generic designs of embossing folders, like wood grain and little hearts, at my local JoAnns.  I found a few cutting blocks on clearance at Michaels.  Then I settled in to watch some YouTube videos from both the Sizzix company and some independent posters.
I found that I don't have patience with some of the video personalities.  There is one woman who loves to spend time laughing over the things she says, as in "I'm SO funny, you must be laughing too so I'll give you a few minutes to catch your breath".  And there are some people who don't have a clear idea what they want to say when they start filming so there's a lot of ums and uhs, and others who say things like "ooops, let me try that again" or they just plain leave things out.
But after watching about an hour and a half's worth of videos, I think I know what other parts and pieces I need in order to complete my 'kit'. 
And thankfully, someone in one of them said "it makes a cracking sound and THAT'S OK"... because that cracking sound made me very, very nervous!  And I learned about shims and what the difference is between those various pads you can buy.  And why I will buy them!
Miss A and I did spend some time embossing some card stock on Sunday afternoon.  It was fun, even with our limited number of folders.  Then we spent some more time cutting out some film strip shapes which she promptly took home with her for her own project, leaving me to sweep up all the little bits that came out of the punched out holes.  I can't wait to see what she does with the cutouts.
Craft on!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Happy New Year!!

And Christmas just continues on, here in Southeastern Wisconsin we finally got some measureable snow... our first real storm this year was the Monday after Christmas.  Miss A could hardly wait to get out into it... here's the happiest person in Wisconsin on December 27, 2015:
And here's the reality of Wisconsin on January 7, 2016:
The snow is already gray in places and black in others!  Ugh!  Winter...
Normally when I think of Christmas gifts my mind goes right to kids.  The years before the grands came, the holiday was kind of boring for DH and me.  The challenge was always what kind of gift to give my adult kids or the hubster that would enliven an otherwise quiet celebration. 
And gifts from the office?  Ha ha!  Either non-existant, or odd.  One year we did a Secret Santa exchange, and my SS turned out to be the creepy guy who was later discovered to be a stalker to some of the younger ladies -- but that's a whole other story!  And my previous boss used to show up with a box of Frango mints. 
Don't get me wrong, I love Frango mints, but seriously?  For a year's worth of awesome service??  And EVERY SINGLE YEAR??  No kidding, I worked for the guy for 17 years and every year it was the SAME THING...  No imagination I guess.  Or maybe he was Ebeneezer's descendent.  :-(
This year I got some nice Christmas presents that just keep on giving.  My current boss (or more precisely ONE of my current bosses) gave me a BIG Amazon gift card.  Big enough that there's still some left after several purchases!  Plus he sent me a lovely flower arrangement in Mid-December...
I got some books that I've been lusting after -- Sue Grafton's latest, called X, the new Anne Perry William Monk novel, and several used books including the Anne Perry Thomas Pitt book I missed when I read the series out of sequence!

I got a kids learn to crochet book because Miss A wants to learn that.  And I picked up books by Sara Paretsky and Reed Farrell Coleman to add to the pile.  But my favorite is the latest Louise Penny Inspector Gamache novel, The Nature of the Beast.

Additional finds (not from Amazon) included two Bonnie Hunter books and the compilation of the first ten 100 Blocks magazines, made into one massively heavy volume called, interestingly enough, 1,000 Blocks.  As in quilt blocks.  I had missed a couple of the volumes so I got the whole magilla now:

Last but not least, I got a GC for Joann's and with free shipping during the new years' sales, I got myself a Sizzix cutter!  I'm still reading up on how to use this and watching copious YouTube videos from the company but it looks like fun.   


I'll let you know if the fun continues!!
Craft on... Read on... and Happy New Year... 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

You Can Get Your Heart Broken, or Maybe Bent a Bit

I have posted about my girlfriends many times.  I think I'm a friendly, generous person most of the time.  I try to be a loyal friend, and I value those friends who return the sentiment.  My true friends are my treasures.  YOU know who you are...
Which is why the thing as it transpired hurt.

A while back a former coworker and I discovered mutual interests.  She was a tentative sewist and wanted help.  She asked for help and I said sure.  Why not?  Shared interests create bonds and it seemed natural.

She made jewelry too.  She wanted to sell her handiwork and was not having much luck doing it on consignment.  I was doing craft fairs with my doll clothes.  We decided that we'd go into a couple of craft fairs because we could split the cost and share a booth.

She saw that I was selling things and she was not.  She abandoned her beads and took up doll clothes, except that she wasn't experienced with the actual sewing of the actual doll clothes.  She asked me to help her.  Of course my 'no' is broken...  I helped.  She learned, I was pleased!

We came up with a plan to split the work, and coordinate our items to better market them together. 

She said you make this, I'll make that. I made my 'this', she made 'thises' too.  She didn't stick to the plan.  <sigh>  OK, let's revise the plan - we need to have things that go together.  How can I sell 'thises' without 'thats'?

She said no, no, I get it, I'll stick to the plan.  But she made a whole lot of things we never planned and didn't do the stuff we did.  She barreled ahead and the plan was left in the rear view mirror.

She got pretty aggressive pushing her own stuff and sort of half way discouraging customers from looking at mine.  When I called her on it, she actually suggested that we could go into separate craft fairs.  AND she'd take the one I had originally done so well at.  Then she realized what she'd said and apologized. 

I felt a bit betrayed.  I understand competition, but we were supposed to be partners.  I didn't like how it made me feel, thinking that she was plotting on how to beat me at every turn.  I tried to be big about it.  Mostly I grumbled to my hubby... who was SO sympathetic.  Not!

We did one last craft fair together because we committed to it.  Then I started looking for other avenues to sell my stuff.  She did one of those free list sites.  I went the doll store route.

In the fall I heard from someone that she was continuing the craft fairs alone.   Evidently not selling up to expectations either.

I am not sorry I shared my knowledge because one of my joys is helping people learn to love sewing.  But it doesn't alter the facts and it still hurts a little.  Will I stop helping people? No.  But will I throw myself all in again?  Maybe not so much.

After the doll store fiasco I considered going back to that first craft fair, because there was still time.  But I found out she'd doing that fair, with DOLL CLOTHES.

I saw her recently.  She asked about my sewing and she said "Too bad about the store. I think I'm going to sell out all my doll clothes and go back to what I was originally doing."

Huh. Oh, and you're welcome.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Keeping Secrets

It's hard to keep secrets from some people, especially this time of year.

As a famous man once was quoted...

and when you live in close proximity to Miss A, there's no chance.  
Yesterday I finished up the holiday shopping, I think.  Then I schlepped it all upstairs to the bedroom and started the wrapping.
And wrapped.
And wrapped.
And... ugh.  I ran out of boxes.  I recycle boxes from one year to the next.  People take their gifts home in large bags and leave the boxes for next year.
Some of my boxes are approaching or have exceeded their expiration dates.
Tape.  Lots of tape.  Lots and LOTS of tape!
Although I'm now down to two opened rolls of wrapping paper, so that's a plus.  I have a bunch with the cellophane wrappers on them, but I'm leaving them for next year.  You have to use the stuff you have open before  you open new stuff, right?
So now all I have to do is keep Miss A out of the room with the computer until Thursday...
Keep calm and wrap on...

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Finding Treasures

My cousins and aunties and I recently went to the Columbus Antique Mall in Columbus Wisconsin for a day of treasure hunting.

Columbus Antique Mall
*Wisconsin's Largest Antique Mall*
"Where dealers shop for their merchandise."
Over 78,000 square feet of antiques displayed and sold by
222 of Wisconsin's finest dealers in 444 booths in 18 rooms.
Enter Everyday  8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Shop In Air Conditioned Comfort
Broad Range of Antiques, Collectibles, Glassware
Pottery, China, Used Books, and Vintage Decorating
Peruse our 3rd floor of furniture.
Enjoy Snacks & Beverages in our World's Fair Lounge/Mall

Cash/Check Only and No Credit/Debit
239 Whitney St., P.O. Box 151, Columbus, WI  53925-0151
Phone or Fax: 920-623-1992
They bill themselves as above, and I have to say I believe it!  The place is HUGE on a grand scale... bigger than I've been able to cover in a day with any degree of comfort.
We usually get there around 9 a.m. and shop until we literally run out of energy to move.  This day it ended up being around 2 p.m. when we checked out and went to lunch.
My cousins were looking for Christmas items, jewelry and other miscellany.  Kelly found an adorable mini Christmas tree with little tiny lights on its branches.  You probably had one back in the fifties or remember one from your childhood.
A woman shopping near us spotted her with it, and tried to get her to turn it over... she even offered her money to give it up!  No way that was happening, and the woman proceeded to follow us throughout the day, probably hoping Kelly would abandon it somewhere!
Sheesh, creepy!
I found some linens in two different booths.  I have a thing about linens with embroidery or crochet trims.  I'll use them if they're the right size, and I'm also stashing some for a quilt project I have in mind.

Check out all the gorgeousness!  All hand work by someone in the past, and beautifully kept.  I don't know if some of these were ever used!
If you haven't been to the Columbus mall, you should go, or find one near you and explore.  You never know what you will find and you have to be prepared to look at a LOT of stuff to find the treasures.
Shop on...