Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Doll Quilt Swap was a success!

Yesterday, I received the most wonderful package in the mail- it was the doll quilt that was made especially for me, by Christina, The Sometimes Crafter. I was so excited! I had ordered some fabric online so when I got the package, I just assumed it was my fabric. When I noticed the fabric was wrapped in tissue, I got suspicious and when I saw little cat faces peeking at me, I was bumfuzzled- I didn't remember ordering any cat fabric. Then it HIT me! It was my little quilt and I knew exactly who had made it for me and what the other side looked like- it is the coolest pineapple block and it's so me!

Included in the package was the most lovely notecard that she made herself with a great owl on it. I love owls, too! And a long, handwritten note that I read aloud because Jim was standing next to me, wanting to know why I was so excited! Such a sweet, personable note, too. And she had noticed that I was a very active member of the swap, which was nice. Of course, some people probably wished I'd shut up a little, I was into everything like a rotten little kid! lol

Also in the package, in its own little glassine envelope- a sweet little month-by-month calendar with the most exquisite photography- the top of each month has a close-up photo of something to do with sewing- either fabric or thread or binding, a tape-measure, etc. I love this so much! I really enjoy things that have "parts" and this set has 13, man, this is so great. lol Really, I was giddy over this calendar. And then to ice my cake, Christina- a fellow pirate aficionado- sent me a fat quarter of some really cool Japanese pirate fabric!

Wow. She is a girl after my own heart! She nailed me- knew what I would like, made it happen, sent it all on time, added goodies and the sweetest note ever and I am just still over the moon with it all. Big, huge thanks go out to Christina, the sweetest, cleverest and most talented young woman I've met in a long time! She couldn't have been a better partner for me!

I have hung the little quilt by the back door where we'll both see it constantly. It looks outstanding! I've been needing something there and it's just perfect on the apricot colored wall. And unbreakable, which is why that spot's been vacant for years and years. It's a busy little doorway and things get bumped.

Doesn't it look great here?

And this is the quilt I made for my partner, Kristan.Ellsworth. I sent it out last Saturday, wrapped in a tube for mailing and she received it on Monday, in AZ. I was shocked at the speedy delivery time. She was pleased to get it and I'm glad. I had fun making it and searching out just the right kind of birds to put on it to give it some life. I had to go get these fabrics because this style and color of quilt was not really my cup of tea, but I liked it very much and it was hard to send it away.

So the Doll Quilt Swap is over for now, for me at least, but I'll still have fun watching to see which quilts are received by the other members. And also- I joined another little swap since this one was so fun- a potholder swap. I have to make 2 potholders for a certain someone. I have an idea of what she likes but I'm off to stalk her and search out more information before I settle down and make her something. This ought to be fun! She's got lots for me to look through, yay!

I am hereby sold on swaps, this was so much fun and great entertainment and a real learning experience for me. And it kept me inside during our long, cold winter, too!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

My mum's NUTS!

Bwahahaha! Not saying she's not, but I did pick these up for her at the store the other day, since it's so hard to crack them when you buy them in the shell.

Sorry about the lack of photos of NP lately- she doesn't seem to sit still long enough to be photographed, unless she's WAAAAY up in the walnut tree, scaring us to death. I'd need a telephoto lens for that! (We ended up stretching a tarp under her in case she fell onto the rocks under it, which she didn't, but it was heart-stoppingly frightening to watch her finally come down. What made her come down? The other cats were playing under the tarp and she wanted to play, too. lol)

Friday, February 26, 2010

A method to my madness.....

It's taken me about 10 days to make these- 11 different sewing caddies for the Etsy shop. Each caddy has about 13 pieces of fabric and various assorted doo-dads involved. It took me 2 days just to fussy- cut them all out. (I cut out 14, I still have 3 to make but my fingertips are so sore from sewing on binding that I am taking a much needed little break.)

All of these were sewn with stash fabrics, I didn't have to buy anything except more snaps. I tried to make a nice assortment, not just ones that I like. lol You know, bright gaudy ones.... I threw in a couple of grown up ones, too, like the golden brown one and the Authentic black one and the light blue one.

This is the inside of one- maybe you can see why it takes me so long to make them, but I think I've finally figured out a way to streamline the process a bit.

I work on the accessories upstairs until I get to a point where there's handwork involved, then I move downstairs and watch the Olympics with Jim, or something else that we've recorded. (We really like having a DVR!) I call this "my homework." It helps keep him entertained too and not feeling so neglected.
I do turning, basting, gathering, wrapping (like on the hair elastics), etc, and eventually the hand sewing part of the binding. Then I go back upstairs and sew with the machine or iron on the fusible Velcro or do the assembly portion of the program.

When I'm working on so many, organization is important, especially because Nosey Parker is in a horrible stage right now of being kind of rambunctious and destructive. Nothing is safe from her and I can't even leave my typical piles of things lying around like I usually would.

I make up little kits for each caddy when I am doing a bunch at one time. This way I know that I have everything I need to complete the project, the kits hold the little things as I complete them and also the things I haven't used yet, like the binding, the Velcro, the cat collar buckle, buttons, I even make up little containers with all the snap components in them (not shown). Since I live 25 miles from the nearest shop where I can get most of my "ingredients", it's important to me to know I've got everything I need before I start. Otherwise I get stalled and I just hate that. I had 14 of these bags on the table and SOME LITTLE MONSTER decided they were toys and batted them and chewed on them and I found them all over the place. Now I have to hook them all together on a chenille stem and tie them to the wall! lol She's so rotten. It's not like she doesn't have 400 toys scattered all over!

And this is my excuse for being so absent lately- I've been sewing my fingers to the bone! I've got all 11 of these in the shop now, that's a record for me and gives my customers great selection, I like that. And hopefully I won't have to make any more of these for a while! At least, not so many at once.

Of course, the tutorial for this caddy can be found over on the sidebar, to the right. And a tip- if you're doing a bunch at once, group them by thread color so you're not always changing the thread. I did 3 with black thread, 3 with blue thread, 5 with brown and I have 3 more to do with black again. I hate changing thread, it's such a waste of time to me, so that's why I do it like this.

There you have a little peek into how I do mass-production. Hope I didn't bore you too much!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lila Tueller is having a giveaway...

Of a most glorious quilt, in all my favorite colors!

I just love her patterns, her fabrics and her sense of style. She's incredible and generous to boot!

Thanks, Lila!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

You didn't hear this from me, 'K?

Because you wouldn't want to get me into trouble, would you? Thank you!

Many many moons ago, when my husband was in the Navy and was in Vietnam, he got pulled out to attend and compete in the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. The host country gets to pick a new sport to add to the games and they picked judo. Jim was a black belt and had qualified before he went overseas, so when it was time, they pulled him out (he had 2 weeks left to serve in Vietnam- he worked with Special Forces teams and they extracted downed pilots, amongst other things) and he went to Tokyo, marched in with the US team wearing someone else's clothing, and just in general, had a fabulous time. He is NOT a braggart so everything I know about this has been dragged out of him over the last 25 years, painfully. ;) He didn't medal, unfortunately, and was eliminated before the quarter-finals, but he had a lot of fun hanging out with the Australian female swim team and was there when Dawn Fraser got in trouble for swimming in the Emperor's Moat.

I had to go digging to find this pin, it was buried with some other pins and cuff links.

And this was what he looked like before he went overseas- pretty stinkin' cute, huh? I'm sure his experiences in Vietnam (another thing he never talks about) hardened him up a bit and he probably looked a little more fierce by the time he got to Tokyo.

He sent his mother some cool stuff, too, from Japan. This is a mother-of-pearl inlaid table that has removable legs, I decided to hang it in my sewing room. He gave away his sake set and chopsticks.

Oh, and the kicker? After the Olympics were over, they sent him BACK into action for his last 2 weeks. Can you imagine what a culture shock that was? And how paranoid you would feel, knowing you were this close to going home? Of course, getting home was an experience, too- he was swept overboard by a rogue wave in the Pacific Ocean with about 20 other men standing in a lunch line on a ship. Some of the guys couldn't swim so while they waited to be rescued, he had to help some of them stay afloat. He's a Florida native and quite the swimmer/scuba diver so it was good that he was there. IN THOSE SHARK INFESTED WATERS!!!! Eeek. I'm so lucky that he lived long enough for me to meet him and fall in love with him.

Now, Mum's the word! You'd never hear any of this from him. He hates when I brag on him, but I just can't help it. He's the smartest, funniest man I've ever met. As we say around here- he's no slotfish. lol (A slotfish is one of a certain size that must be thrown back.)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Finished the color wheel ticker tape quilt....

...and here it is, out in the snow. Measures about 22" square.

In its entirety.....

Close-up, you can just make out that I quilted in the black background with radiating lines, 24 of them, I think. And a free-handed 7 petal flower in the center. I'm debating sewing a great glass button to the center.... it's blues and purples and just lovely.

Last night, Nosey Parker took a snooze on her daddy's book, under a nice warm light bulb. That stone coaster isn't long for her world, though. Twitch, kick, CRASH.

And now for the not-so-pretty portion of our program-

We've been battling some kind of dog flu around here- over the weekend we had to take Shanzie in to a different vet as ours was out of town. She is doing well after having a terrible 24 hours. Now Artie seems to be getting at least one of the symptoms- diarrhea, oh, the joy. He's had me up twice so far tonight to go out in a hurry and while I'm glad he's not puking and feeling bad, this is bad enough. It's 2 AM and I'm wide awake now. At least we didn't get the 8" of snow that was predicted, so if we have to take him to the vet, at least we can get there. These animals are killing us, financially. We have 3 big dogs and 4 cats, most of whom were unintended and either showed up at our house or needed rescuing. Never ever did we think "let's have a ton of animals!" Nope, we were so happy way back when we were a 1 dog, 1 cat family. Not that we don't love each and every critter, we do, but they are such a drain on our limited resources! Right now we have one older dog that has to wear a "bikini" at all times with a Poise pad inside it to catch any accidents. She's old and can't help it, is on two different medications for it that make the situation better but not perfect. Consequently, though, my husband and I can't both be gone from the house at the same time for more than about 3 hours, because she needs to go out that often. And sleep is interrupted, to say the least. We haven't been to a movie together in AGES. The nearest theater is about 45 minutes away. I miss that! But we'll muddle through it, Paisley is a good girl and worth any inconvenience. But if you see me at Wal-Mart with Poise pads in my cart- just know that they're for the dog- MY bladder is just fine, thanks! lol

Friday, February 5, 2010

Color wheel ticker-tape wall quilt.....

So this is the plan- sew down about 15o little bits of colored fabric in a sort-of color wheel pattern. I took the liberty of adding pink to my wheel. After I cut out all the little bits and arranged them how I wanted them, I ironed Wonder-Under onto the backs of all of them. I did 7 at a time, one of each color so I couldn't mess up my layout. (Sometimes I did 14, making sure that I couldn't get the 2 yellows or the 2 reds mixed up when I put them back in place- I would do ones from the outer ring and the inner ring, for example.) That took about 2 hours to do. Then, after careful scrutiny, I pressed them into place. Now to stitch them all down, that ought to keep me out of trouble for a while!

Speaking of trouble-

Parker was trying to settle down for a nap but felt the urge to show me her tonsils instead. "Is my throat red? Can you see what I had for breakfast?" She likes to lie down on the fabric that is waiting to be washed. Months ago I ordered and paid for some Bone Head fabric, skulls- pirate stuff, partying parrots, jungle prints, etc- all by Elizabeth's Studio. It came when I had about forgotten about it and now I don't know why I ordered it, other than I liked it. :)

And I leave you with this- I went to the dentist a couple of weeks ago and this was on my "bib". I just howled when I saw it and told them to keep it clean so I could bring it home, I love it, it cracks me up. The one with the mirror? He just kills me. I don't know what I'll do with it yet, but there's something I need to make using these funny little guys. Maybe a little wallhanging for the bathroom....

Gosh, I may have to actually take up embroidery again, eeek.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lettuce entertain you!

Artemis is our only boy dog, he's big and red and kind of goofy and very suspicious of strange foods. You should just see him with a marshmallow- he takes it, finally.... puts it down, crosses his eyes at it, picks it back up, puts it down, noms on it a bit, puts it down, this goes on until it is a mushmallow and very yucky. lol But he loves a nice bit of lettuce, especially the hard, crunchy stalk. Usually. This evening, he just wanted to hold it. lol While laying down. On the sofa. Where I sit. I know why he's holding it, though, because if Paisley knew it was there, she'd take it from him and he'd have to let her because she's shown him her teeth before! Rawwwwrrrrr!

We had a lovely snowfall the other night, about 9" all told, when it was done. First one out in it? The invisible white kitten we all know as Nosey Parker, but in truth her name is Snow Leopard! The big boy cats all hate it when we get snow like this, in fact- one of them walked out the door and pooped in the snow, right there! We were aghast, but didn't really blame him, except for the fact that there are litter boxes all over the place when the weather gets bad. Silly Sammie.

I finished the last of the 25 string blocks. Now I'm supposed to cut 1/4 circles out of some of them. Somebody better come over here and do it for me, I don't think I can! I love these blocks. I used up a lot of my favorite fabrics making these and don't know if I could ever make anything so pretty again, that's how much I'm taken with these.

And I've started a new little project- can you tell what it will be? I'll give you a hint, I needed to use to my color wheel to lay out the lines and the colors. And none of those fabric scraps are more than 2" long or wide, not that I measured or anything. :)

Wouldn't you just love to see me make something dull and grown up for a change? I hope you don't hold your breath. lol