Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Is There a Reason???

Drama is best kept on the stage and in the theatre system. At worst, kept alive by television shows, movies, and books. Drama is not best-served in person. It is truly best-served in small doses, as you watch on for other people to deal with. I have determined (although I admit, through a rather small sampling of the human population) that those who start drama and manage to persist in constant drama are they themselves unhappy with their own fortunes and/or lots in life.

My child's other biological parent is one of those such people. Through arrogance, sarcasm, and a very poorly developed sense of right or wrong, there is a constant stream of degradation and defiance coming from their home. I feel at a loss so many times to competently deal with the drama that is attacking me on a near constant basis.

Readers, in whatever you do, to whomever it's done to, please be respectful that you are in constant dealings with other human beings. These human beings are dealing with their own set of challenges, whether they be social, academic, or spiritual. NO HUMAN DESERVES MALTREATMENT. I don't care how much of an idiot they seem to be, each one has their own mission in life, no matter how trivial or substantial. I can't say it any clearer that I hate drama for the sake of drama. I also cannot stand to see words or actions used to abuse another human being!

Ok, rant over....Thank you for reading that one....I promise I'll post a quilting post next.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

If Only...

If only humans had tails like dogs.....then we'd all know the level of each other's interest, dislike, or mental state. Granted, that would mean that quilting wouldn't exactly be an option...

Alright, for what I mentioned on FB. I've had several major upsets in the past month.

I have been a regular guest within a group of supposedly like-minded individuals. I say guest, because as of earlier this month, I STILL don't quite feel like I belong. One group "member" advertised that they had tickets for a specific event, to which I and others wanted to go. Since these tickets had been given to the group, I assumed that I could have one. I really hate having to beg to get anything. Nevertheless, I felt like I had to state I-ABSOLUTELY-WILL-BE-GOING-AND-CANNOT-AFFORD-TO-WITHOUT-THESE-TICKETS to get one. Then the very group member who so "graciously" allowed me to have a ticket posted a group request asking when people would be at the ticketed event (being held over a few days) and when. While others answered (myself included), the original poster didn't. I ran into said person at the event along with someone else who'd not been at the get-together, or posted when they would be attending. Neither person said, "hello" to me. I get tired of the drama. This hasn't been the first case of secret groups-within-the-group involving this person and this larger group, but it's my last one to witness.

Second blow, different group..
I've been attending a semi-local quilt guild's meetings, and offered my help during the quilt show they were hosting. I helped wherever I was needed until it became time to help hang up the quilts. Since my help wasn't needed in other areas, I started taking charge to get the quilts hung. I decided what groups of quilts should go to what building (of two), and took charge to get them hung in Building 1. I even got on the ladder and after having hung about 3 quilts, I made a wrong move and fell off of my ladder. I fell directly on my left hip, bruising it pretty severely. I STILL got back up on that ladder (because the people willing to be up on the ladder didn't need to be on it, either. I helped hang/arrange over 85 quilts that evening. I slept the night there, and woke up the next day extremely stiff and hurting. I stayed throughout the day, anyway, and directed the hanging of over 65 quilts in Building 2. I left afterwards, and headed home. I was BACK out there (did I mention it's around an hour drive?) by 8:30 the next morning. I got put at a table with the Hatfields. I guess I should explain. Within this guild there are two warring factions, specifically jointed around two ladies in particular. The McCoy's: their warring lady is on the board. The Hatfields, their lady hasn't been a major player in the guild in the last 3-4 years or so. I get along with both "families" and get asked by the McCoys to do one set of tasks, and the Hatfields leave me alone. So, back on topic, I'm at a table with someone considered to be a Hatfield, and inside the building are a couple more Hatfields. The McCoys give me instructions on topics they do not wish talked about with the Hatfields. So I'm supposed to my job in the freezing cold wind on a mountain in the shade, manning a table with a lady that I'm not supposed to talk on certain topics with.

So, I sleep the night at the site AGAIN with the two who've been there, camped out. I can't talk about my day, because it was miserable (who wants to hear about freezing your hands/toes off?), or anything I talked about (why would I repeat nonsense chit-chat about my family or upcoming projects, again). I also can't really describe the chatter and whispers I've heard from the Hatfields, as that's not fair to divulge one group's secrets and slights to the other when I can't reciprocate (and I don't like talking about it). So I talk about the one thing that I can...next year's quilt show. The ideas I've spent all day working in my head (since I'm not supposed to talk quilt show with the Hatfields) get shut down at every turn. I can't bring up one topic of next year's show without getting told that "it's already been worked out" or "we're waiting for this before we'll even talk about it." I don't have anything left to talk about, and I don't have any energy to keep going for any other topics, so I just stop talking. I get to listen to one McCoy call her friends to exclaim her excitement about a rumor of a Hatfield leaving the group (rumor wasn't from me). I then get to listen to the both of the two campers being catty about others from the group. I also got to listen to my work (having decided what quilts go in what buildings) being criticized, as well as the number of ladies who showed up to work became a problem. I have never heard someone complain before about having too much help. There is a difference between having enough help, and knowing how to direct said help. I've run stores, and often not with my choice on work staff. I learned how to direct and demand attention, and I employed that during hanging quilts. It was quite disparaging to get told that "this was the most trouble I've ever had getting quilts hung" from someone who wasn't even in the building during quilt hanging for most of the time. I had some family stuff going on also, so I left first thing the following morning after making my apologies for leaving abruptly.

Now, I didn't post this to air dirty laundry. That's not my style, nor my intent. No one needs that kind of drama (thus the Hatfields and McCoys; no locations given; no names; no group names; etc.).

It is physically and emotionally taxing when people decide that through whatever reason, they have the power, right, or entitlement to talk about others in a negative light, keep things from the group to play keep-away from certain people, or criticize others because they feel they are inadequate in their own duties. I don't do drama. I don't post every day, or even every week simply because my only comments would come off as drama, or unnecessary chatter. I have made my final decision, come what may. To those who are affected unnecessarily by this, I apologize now. I am leaving/staying out of the groups/guilds where these dramas occurred. I will not return unless I sense a genuine change of heart in either of the main proponents of the drama in each group. I have no time or energy to devote to someone else's ego-trip, high-school-popular-kid's group routine, or micro-management. I already have a job that I'm really good at, and none of this is ever involved in it. I don't need it in the hobby world.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Cathedral Windows and Such Ramblings...

I have been swamped trying to juggle school drop offs/pickups, during-school schedules, after-school schedules, workouts, and quilting.

Pardon the short post, but wanted to let you in on the quilting work I'm focusing on right now. The Mother-in-Law's quilt....a Cathedral Stained Glass Quilt.

This is not to be confused with this:
http://sohappytosew.blogspot.com/2011/02/cathedral-window-quilt-tutorial-part-2.html (Although I have to admit that I have yet to do one of those, and plan to before I go to quilting heaven..)

I'm taking my focus from a window I can't place (I don't know where the window is, and I don't know the name of the cathedral, photographer of the photo, etc. ...I'm so sorry that I didn't grab all that.) I've got a picture I accidentally drew over in MSPaint that shows the whole window. This is the main part I'm focusing the quilt around.

While I'll admit, mine won't be quite as symetrical as it would be to be a replica, I have an intentional reason to not do so (I may choose to explain later, I may not). 

I had considered doing something to pull this window: 
Which is the South Rose Window of the Chartres Cathedral. While beautiful, it is currently far too intricate for my timeline of 4 months, and I can't really change the colors or themes to reflect the recipient's choices of reds and golds. 

Ok...off to get walking to pick up youngest school person, then off to pick up next one. Tomorrow, driving the oldest one off to college again. I promise I will eventually get back to this thing. (Today, I just got the 4 main pieces drawn and freezer-papered for templates to use later. Woot! Progress!!!)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Travesty Called Time...and Other Ramblings

OK, Everyone....

I'm kinda back (again)....

To explain my absence (not really necessary, but will comment anyway), I have to take a two-fold approach.
One, my health has been really iffy lately...as in: not sleeping, hyper-sensitive to everything (light, sound, touch, etc.), and stress. We're still working on figuring out this sudden change, so please be patient while I expect to start playing russion roulette with meds again next month to see if we can find the problem.
Two, there've been more than a few "outside affecting issues" preventing me from wanting to post. I've held off in deference to detracting from the issues others have going on (where my posts would help some, it would distract others from paying attention to those truly needing it). I've also been swamped with multiple different things (and one of those is in the form of much-needed, paying work).

Now, to update you on the few things that are GOING to happen (I'm holding off on the "has happened" for a very, justifiable reason).

1. Christmas is upon us....Yes, it's the latter half of July, but that is when most quilters who've put off Christmas stuff really start worrying and preparing things for gifts. So that quilted pot holder or simple pajama pants that you got from us last year? Yes....it was in the works since MUCH earlier in the year. If not, it wasn't because something a bit bigger was in the works.
I've got one super-large order for Christmas. Last year I gave out three quilts to members of my family. This year, it's my Mother-in-Law's turn. I promised her last year that she'd get a quilt this year, and she finally gave me her color choices. My current plan (please don't hold me to this....anyone!) is a stained-glass, Spanish-Gothic inspired quilt. I'm planning to use window ideas from Spanish and southwest-Americana stained glass windows along with some of the features of her furniture from the room that the quilt will go into.

2. I am planning (hoping, really....planning may be too strong a word) to do some webcasts with sewing projects and/or sewing techniques. I've got some young sewists who've learned the art and procedure to sewing from me....and most of them don't live nearby for one reason or another. Most of them do, however, have internet access and would be happy to have my webcasts....so that's the plan/hope.

3. School starts in little less than a month for my boys (one high school, the other elementary), and for my daughter (college)....so I'll be running around like crazy with that in addition to work.

So....among the things that are going to happen...none of them leave me much time for this blog. That doesn't mean I won't be trying (I'm very trying at times), but it does mean that I'm now going to have to schedule time to work on it. See you in a couple of days again, methinks! (Sooner if I nail down ideas or finish ANYTHING!)

Monday, June 10, 2013

7 Months in the making...

I swore I'd share this quilt with the public after it's debut last Tuesday. It's a celebration quilt for the Blount County Quilt Guild's 25th anniversary. I've been working on it since last December (when I started the idea and requesting the blocks, photos, and name lists to complete it).

There are 41 current members, and currently 7 "sustaining" members from the guild's first few years. All 41 names are listed on the sides, and on each of the 7 pieced block sections, the name of a sustaining member is embroidered.  The photo on the left is of the original guild members, and the one on the right is current as of 2013. There is an Established Date block in the lower right hand (it's in place of an 8th block). The center is also embroidered in two different shades of silver. There are also 7 hand-pieced/hand assembled pink dogwood blooms in the center block. The quilt was quilted with clear monofilament thread on top and grey cotton underneath. The quilt also has a false back covering the white back of the quilt. This false back uses pink, grey and white fabrics from the front of the quilt. I put it there to protect the quilt for many years of wear hanging in the guild house. The binding is white, and hand-sewn. 

(Several of the sustaining member blocks were hand-pieced. There will be/has been a photo with a group of the sustaining members published in local newspapers as well.) 

Now, to make things even more interesting, my little boy has just finished his first quilt top!  I normally don't share people photos, but this was too good not to share. 

He started this quilt top back in December after prodding me for a couple of years to let him machine sew. He's always been proud of buttons I've let him sew on or embroidery work I've let him do (all by hand), but he's been longing to get behind a machine and use an amazing power tool. And yes, I just called sewing machines power tools.....I rather love my power tools.... but moving on....
He was extremely proud to hold his quilt up in front of mine to show his ties to an even greater legacy I hope he's really starting to understand. I should have known when just over a year or two ago he watched in amazement as I made a couple of purses as Christmas gifts that he'd be using one of my old machines by now. 

His exact words regarding the purses: "When I grow up, I want to sew purses for people just like you, Mommy!" 

Whilst this definitely isn't a bag of any sort, it's something that he'll keep and cherish for a lifetime. He already knows that it's hard work and plans to hang the completed quilt on the wall in his room after it's made a few quilt show rounds!

He was excited enough that he immediately wanted to baste his quilt and get started quilting it. 

I think the bigger challenge for him will be getting it done in time for the next local quilt show in October!
:) Whew!

Monday, April 15, 2013

The long lost days of summer

Yeah, the days of summer are soon approaching.

I can feel them. I've got a group (gaggle, cluster, herd) of young ladies ages 10 and up coming to my house in late June. We get to sew, quilt, giggle, and learn. I have had no time to fix machines, work on promised projects, or anything like that.

Maybe I'll be able to post again later this week with an update....got tutoring to do!!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I NEED!!!????@@@????!!!!

The local group of bloggers that I've joined in (even for my relatively unknown blog) has posted a challenge, and I figured I'd try to answer the questions, mixed in with my sewing and quilting time.

What do I need? (Hence the multiple expression marks in the post's title...and throughout the post)

Of course, then I ask myself, 
"Self, what about sewing and quilting time?"
"The time I'm supposed to be using for sewing and quilting! Yes, I need more!!!"
"When do I get that time back, Self?"
"When you are sleeping and wish to not be, and succeed!"

Now, pretend that I didn't just tell myself to start quilting and sewing instead of sleeping.....yep....I said pretend. Whilst my desk may be cluttered and unconventionally accumulating "stuff" right now, the rest of my sewing studio/office isn't that bad right now. I promise! I didn't say it is spectacularly clean. I said NOT THAT BAD.....

So, right now, I need TIME to work on sewing/quilting projects and get them completed....

....and yes, please pretend also that I didn't just talk to myself through my blog where everyone can see it....

.....to be continued...

Thursday, March 21, 2013


I feel like I should be saying "What is a sewing machine, and what can it do for me?"

I took my kayak (I'm more adventurous than my body likes me to be) out for it's first float and first two capsizes last Saturday. The air was warm enough, but the water could definitely have used a bit more sunshine!

Since then, I've lounged on the sofa, done a month's worth of grocery shopping for the full household, and lounged on the sofa some more. I've managed to get a quilt off the frame upstairs (I did half of what I want to do, but it's done over the entire quilt). I've managed to re-start the quilting on a soon-to-be-for-sale quilt. And I've managed to start the quilting on a couple of rag quilts.

I haven't done a stitch of machine piecing in so long. It's hard to work like this.....

But, speaking of work, I start a new job on Monday! I get to have a fairly flexible schedule, but this means my weeks will be more full than I would have otherwise expected.

So again....What is a sewing machine, and what can it do for me????

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bows and Ruffles!

Today, I was given a project. My friend needed a bag (it could be super simple) for the weekend, as she's going to a few shows and wants to be able to dance without worrying that someone's ravaging her purse while it sits on the sidelines, and she doesn't want to have something ugly or super-heavy over one shoulder (the way her purse works) while she tries to dance.

I had her choose a fabric for a bag a few days ago that I planned to make for her before she moves to Florida soon, and I decided to dig in. This is the bag I came up with, and she already is in love with it!

I put two very full ruffles near the bottom of the front, then put layers of the same bias-cut fabric above them. It gives the flouncy, ruffly feel without the weight of the extra fabric.

I used button holes at the top to help it create the drawstring effect. Placement was important, as it let me create the pleated effect at the top. When this bag lays completely flat, it looks like a little girl's skirt! The shoulder straps come out of the drawstring of the bag (all same piece) so that way when my friend wears it, it closes automatically.

The drawstring is double-thickness bias-cut, and is so very sturdy. I've tied it into a bow in the front, which just adds to the cuteness factor.

One of the other cool features (other than the fact that this bag is fully lined on the inside) is that there is a "hidden" zipper pocket inside near the bottom. When you look at it during the day, it won't seem hidden, but try looking at black-&-white plaid in a dimly lit club, and it blends in really well.
I even had to put something in the pocket to make sure you could see the pocket and zipper because they blend into the bag THAT well! 

She is very excited about the bag and was shocked that I'd had the time to make it (it only took me about 3 hours to make), and it has a zipper pocket to boot! After she's had people steal out of her bags at shows (how sad that people go through your stuff just because you're busy), I figured the hidden pocket might be a deterrent if she "happens" to set the bag down somewhere. With as cute and functional as it is, I don't see that happening much, though!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What a Week!

Where do I start?

I got a device quilt for an SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism: http://www.sca.org/ to read more) member done. Quilts aren't typically represented because many modern techniques (such as, um, sewing machines) weren't available at the time. I haven't done a full research regarding the previous statement, but I haven't seen anyone carrying around anything that matched their outfits or encampment materials that would match a "quilt" as we know it today. Anyway, I got it done for her to take to a tournament over the course of last weekend and this week. She's there right now with it (how cool is that?)!

While I'll have to wait until she gets back with it to take photos (yes, we CAN say it was an 11th hour finish), I'm posting up the photo of the top before I made the quilt sandwich and quilted/bound it.

I also had several rough days working on this thing. From running out of fabric (I knew I would be) to ending up with the wrong fabric (wrong shade of blue), I was working on this thing pretty solidly from Wednesday through the end of Friday (11:59 p.m., to be exact). I think I got about 8 hours of sleep total. This is coming from someone who tries to get 8-10 hours each night.

Add in replacing two tires, having ANOTHER dog-escaping escapade, track meet, and a couple of overall rough days....I think that sums up my week.

On another note, I will be offering embroidered organza scarves on Etsy soon. I'm working on the additional designs and putting together a color palette, but I have one that is a cream/beige with ruby crystals. Yes, you read that correctly. Crystals and embroidery on a fine, sheer, organza scarf. These are great for that special event or wedding! I'm getting some better shots done this upcoming weekend, but here's a preview shot: 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dogs and Children

Sunday, yeah, I'm almost certain it was Sunday....two days ago? yeah....okay....

Anyway, Sunday, the dogs got out. Not just one of them. ALL THREE OF THEM! The mischievous one decided to finish punching a hole in the already weak boards on the fence. We didn't see him. We don't have to. We didn't have escapes until we got him. There. It WAS him!

Well, the boys (the mischievous one is a black lab, the other is a Siberian husky) made it about 4 miles street distance away before anyone got them stopped. We found on our journeys to find the girl (hang on, almost there), that all three stopped about one street over to sniff one neighbor's yard pretty thoroughly before the boys continued on their journey. A very nice gentleman saw them, recognized that they weren't the typical ones he sees in that area of the neighborhood and stopped them. He said that they were very happy to have had human attention and came right up to him. Yep, my babies have never NOT been friendly. Sometimes overly so, but they are definitely friendly. After playing phone tag for a little while (oops, forgot to update tags with current numbers), we got the message that the dogs not only were out, but two of them were safely being held for us to pick up.

That means there's one missing, right? Yep. With NO identification on her. She's never escaped past one neighbor over. She's part coon hound, part yellow lab. The hound in her wants to smell everything. ... EVERYTHING ....

After about an hour of frantic driving around the neighborhood, stopping neighbors to ask about her, and enlisting others to drive around to look for her...we got her back. Two very ingenious kids grabbed a leash when all three stopped near their friend's yard, and managed to catch Sally (aka Baby Girl, Sweet Miss). They were diligently walking her, hoping she'd lead them back to her house. They were only about 1/2 a mile away. Just took us an hour to find that out.

Now that they're all safe and home, I spent yesterday tending to making them identification that they can't lose, and that we'll notice to change if my cell number ever changes. They each now have new collars (reused old collar hardware, used new webbing that didn't smell). Each collar is color-coded either pink, green, or blue. Each has the dog's name and the phone number embroidered directly onto it. I took some iron-on vinyl and affixed that to strips of cotton in a color befitting each dog. I embroidered the piece then affixed it to the webbing and crafted the collar in a one-size format that would fit properly for each.

Now, if the dogs get out, then they'll have my cell number with them no matter where they go! Faster response time!

As for the "Children" part of the posting... I've been busily dealing with medical issues for one child, and mentally preparing myself to watch another compete in track and field in a few days. Watching one of my kids compete in something I never could have dreamed of for myself back in the day gives me the chills and reminds me how awesome it is. I'll post track results, provided I can and don't forget. I'll also post when some of the medical issues have been resolved for the other. Oh crap....there's also another birthday to work into all of this. Off I go again!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Flower and Spirals

I can't believe that it took as long as it did to add the finishing touches, but I'm very pleased with the results!

This wallhanging is for a friend who just got her first steady job after a long period of being a stay-at-home mom. Her favorite colors are pink and orange, and her favorite things are daisies and butterflies. I hope I captured that with this one! 

The pink fabric has daisies on it, then I stitched an embroidered daisy in the spiral section. The green "fabric" is actually two fabrics that form 1/2" strips each. One is mottled green, the other is green with butterflies. 

To add dimension to the piece, the center square of pink and orange that makes the swirl has a layer of fusible batting. The daisy flower also has its own layer, as does its stem. (Yep, at the center of the flower, there are three layers of batting!)

I added a frame of bugle beads in pastel colors to help reinforce the break between the bold colors and the subdued greens. I hand-sewed these beads in place, taking between 3-4 beads per stitch. To reinforce, I ran another thread through the entirety of the bead frame to secure the beads to each other and help them line up.

The binding is a triple binding. The lightest pink forms a visual catch-all to help the viewer with the transition. It is simply a "pleat" in the binding. The pink daisy fabric actually has a cord running through it. Although it is a baby-fine cord, it adds just a touch of dimension. The two pink binding accents were added all the way around, starting with the bottom, then the sides, then the top. This gives it the layered effect you see at the corners. The orange binding was sewn with mitered corners to the front, then hand-stitched to the back. I wanted just the one row of stitching for the orange to show up. 

To hang this wall hanging, I bought her a pack of Command hooks, and she or I will go get an inexpensive dowel and cut to length. I put three of these hanging tabs on the back as I was sewing down the binding. They are stitched down their sides 3/4 of the way, and stitched across the bottom so they will raise outward, but not just pull upward on the binding. 

I used part of an upholstery sample for the backing. It actually gives the whole piece a rigidity and stabilization I would have had to add otherwise. I think for other wall hanging pieces in the future, I may have to do the same. It really works well for it. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Doggie Bliss

Can we say spoiled???? I had about an hour break today between errands and decided to try my hand at making a "no-pull" harness for my beloved black lab, Bones. While he's attached at the hip to me when we're at home, he sometimes gets it in his thick skull that pulling when he's walking with me to and from the school in the afternoons is a great idea to pull me off course. He, he, he..... *evil grin*

So, I measured him using the 1" black nylon webbing that I have in my stash, and worked furiously to get it done before my next errand run. His first "try on" only included the top part. The second one went over his shoulders and under his chest. So far, so good.

THEN, for the next dry run, I included the chest strap (that has the clasp to lead the dog by). In order to do that, I had to clasp the parachute buckle that goes over his shoulders. Suddenly, he and my other two, lovable, adorable, but super-freakin' heavy pups decided that this was close enough to a true harness. Harness = walk. Walk = wagging tails and sticking noses in my face.

Unfortunately, if one dog goes, then all three WANT to go for a walk. This doesn't mean that all three get to go for a walk. Just means that they WANT TO. With these three, it means the following:

Bones: Rolls on his back as you try to latch a harness. Belly rub, too, Mom?
Sally: Very excited tail-wagging. Sometimes knocking stuff off of whatever surface it touches. Or into the walls. Also occasionally means the high-pitched notification bark that none of us like to hear from her. Ouch.
Panda: Cutesy husky mode. Tail curled up high, ears perked. HOWLING. Never fails. Bouncing and jumping everywhere.

So, I'm going with a dry-run of a potential harness, and I can't get any of the three of them to settle long enough to try it out on Bones.

I did finally get it completed (with trials), and got to test run it on each of them. Bones stayed more by my side than ever. Only a couple of sideways pulls, but not long or hard. Panda *shock-face* stayed calm and didn't pull. This isn't his usual operating mentality. He's the musher who pulls the sleigh, bike, wagon, whatever is behind him. Often this involves chasing a squirrel. We had a squirrel and a stranger as temptations during his trial run. No pulling (ok, a little, but nothing like normal where I feel I must get my shoulder set back into joint afterwards). Sally, she's such a special case all around. She's a bit unhappy with me right now. We couldn't go for her walk. The harness doesn't go down small enough to fit her slim chest. But what we did try it seemed to work for her. She didn't keep lunging when I turned to go back inside.

Overall, great test-run (and yes, construction and testing within an hour), and I have one working harness. Now to get the hardware to make two more custom harnesses.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Beans? Really?

I found a full 1/4 cup of dried beans this morning. That's not surprising  I know where the pantry is, and can tell you where the beans are.

The shocking part wasn't even the stray piece of elbow macaroni I found with the beans, or the straight pins I found. The issue with finding beans, macaroni, and straight pins all in the same location isn't even that surprising (any house with young kids has seen stranger things).

The LOCATION is the shock-inducing surprise of all of this. A completely FULL 1/4 cup of dried beans inside a sewing machine. Not inside the carrying case. Not in the accessory case. INSIDE the machine. Touching the motor. Correction, covering the motor (based on the placement of the motor and shape of the case. 

The lady to whom this machine belongs claims that when they had mice problems while living in Minnesota, they found all sorts of dried food items that they didn't belong (in storage totes, etc.). I didn't find any droppings anywhere inside the carry case, machine, or elsewhere. Thankfully. 

But yes, please, please, PLEASE! Keep little fingers, toes and teeth (human or not) away from your machine. No matter how thirsty you claim your machine is, I've never seen a sewing machine digest anything but sewing machine oil. Dry food typically doesn't count!

Ahhh....not Monday, but worth the wait! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Frustrations Alight

I'm wondering why today is Monday. Actually, for that matter, I'm wondering why Monday has to affect me so astronomically when it comes to what I want to do. 

Maybe by tomorrow, I'll have my energy to sew/craft back. This pile of thread is what I emptied and tossed after I dealt with 5 needle changes and multiple thread breakages, skipped stitches and such....yeah.....I had fun tearing all this thread off the bobbins......

On to more fun tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rough Days, Beautiful Quilts

I have learned throughout the years that no matter what I feel about other people (anger, love, sadness, etc.), I never have those emotions towards the fabric or quilts I'm working on or done with. While they each have memories, quilts will never hold a harsh word. Thinking about the snowball quilt I gave my folks for Christmas, I am reminded that my mom called me multiple times the next several days that my quilt had brought her to tears over and over again.

My mom has memories as a child of sleeping and cuddling beneath the quilts her grandma made. In a one-room house, everyone curled up under the quilts and snuggled in for warmth. Those hand-made, and hand-quilted quilts had a softness and thickness that bring in feelings of comfort for her. For the quilt I'd promised to make, the only request that was made was that the quilting be spaced out. After purchasing and receiving several store-bought quilts over the years, my mom realized that they were just too stiff and the close quilting flattened the quilt and didn't "feel right" to her. 

I now keep that softness and feel in mind when I'm working on a quilt. It means that my quilting has to be spaced effectively to give my quilts that warmth that someone's going to want and need. 

I figured I'd also share a few pictures of the quilt I'll be listing in my Etsy shop in a few minutes. I kept the thoughts regarding "comfy" and "cozy" in mind with this one. The tan fabric is a solid that I've stitched rows of decorative stitches on with different threads. I then cut each tan square to make 4 triangles. I also made sure when I laid out the pieces to assemble this quilt that no "bow-tie" was created from the same tan square. 

I echo quilted around to make the bow-ties show through the pieced back. And yes, the strip of orange and blue through the center of the back is a bit "not straight". That was intentional. I wanted the comfy, home-pieced look that ensures you know that this quilt was made just for you!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sleepy, but Inspired!

I've decided that not only am I utterly and completely exhausted, I'm hitting my third or fourth "wind" (yeah, I lost count, sorry).

I tried to go to sleep earlier, but that obviously didn't work too well. After "napping" for about 30 minutes, I gave up. My emotions from yesterday's arguments left me imagining future actions I or others might take. So I took my emotions back to the sewing room. I've got an "aisle" set up in my room. Basically, there's two aisles in my room, making my total workspace work in a U shape. The aisle where I computer and sew and such always stays cleared out (how else could I relieve stress if it didn't?). The other aisle doesn't always stay so neat. Aside from additional fabric, buttons, and other notions that came in the Christmas batch of "stuff" cleaned from my mom's, grandmother's, and aunt's houses. I had to be cautious with this batch of stuff since some of it came from a cat- and smoker-friendly house. I ended up tossing some much-needed zippers, trims, and tapes because they just couldn't have ever gotten clean. But I found more buttons! I added them to the other 5 lbs of buttons I have no clue how I'll ever use.

And keeping my inspiration going, I've started trimming a 45 degree angle on my strips for a project for Saturday. I've decided that instead of taking a stack of 22" long strips and having waste won't work for me (these all came from fat quarters). So I've got half of them trimmed for the bias seams to get them joined into really long strips. I'll have 6 very long strips to take with me on Saturday, and I plan to have them all wrapped on tubes to keep them nice and ready for the quilting!

I've got plans today to baste one quilt and start/possibly finish quilting two other quilts today. Ambitious, right? I've also got plans to upload another quilt to my Etsy shop. I may have to pull the Garden Flower Lap Quilt out and shoot some better photos of it so it will move out. Take a look at it and see if you want it! I under-priced it, but I want it gone, and I've got bills to pay.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Emotional Quilting

Do you quilt when you're emotional? I do. I also quilt when I'm not emotional. But that doesn't make me any less involved in my quilting.

After having a very heated and argumentative discussion (you'll learn I'm not one to get into arguments often), I've found that touching the fabrics I'm working with and refocusing my attention on the task at hand works really well to calm my nerves, melt the stress, and give me an overall sense of achievement. Since I rarely win arguments with humans (arguing with the dogs? I only occasionally give ground), I've learned that arguments with my fabrics work so much better. 

"No, not you yet." 
"Ahhh, THERE you are!"
"Come on, lay flat!"
"Sweet heavens, you look fabulous!"

Is it that the fabric doesn't argue back? I don't know. But aside from catching tears that have fallen, my quilts pick up the random dog hairs that collects under my chair. They also pick up the bits of sand occasionally that the dogs have brought in from the yard (discussion for another day entirely). They also pick up memories. I can remember the arguments that have no meaning now except as a reminder of pain by a simple picture of a completed quilt made during that argument. 

My quilts also pick up names and lives of their own. After making a painstakingly-tough backing for "Girl Swirl", I tackled the applique and backing for the 'flannel monstrosity' that I have yet to properly name. There's the "Beach-Tones Stitch Quilt" and the "Garden Flowers" quilts that bring back memories of sitting working through the decorative touches, the quilting, and the events in my life during those quilts. Some time this year, I want to start pulling all the pictures of my quilts up to my website, and then start pulling some of them over here to the blog. I want to review what each meant to me then, and what each means to me now. 

There's emotion between the layers and in each locking stitch, whipstitch, sashing cut, or curved seam. I quilt when I'm emotional, but my quilting is also emotional.