Thursday, November 20, 2014

Target practice with needle and thread

Puffy Quilt - Kim Kardashian style.
' know...
My quilt making is at an impasse right now. Since discovering the new option of making a puffy rag quilt, I'm in quilt confusion and not sure in which direction to go. The traditional way of making rag quilts, if you can call a relatively new craft traditional, is to sew a piece of batting into each square with an X and then sew all the squares together. Another option is using flannel and not sewing the Xs, but they don't seem to have the same personality and charm. The newest option, the puffy type, removes the whole step of cutting out the batting, and the time-consuming X sewing process. The downside?

They take up so much room!

In prepping for the craft faire, I have four regular quilts waiting in a suitcase, and two puffy quilts bulging out of a giant blue IKEA bag. Too much fluff!

Another plus of the puffy quilts is that they don't sew an X across the pattern of the fabric. This doesn't matter so much with stripes, calicoes, polka dots and checks - but when there's a pattern involving people or animals, I run into trouble. I have no choice, I have to sew that X right down the middle of the square, and if I wasn't gauging things right during the cutting-out phase, I have to just cringe and sew right through and apologize later. Here have been the latest casualties.

Mr. Scarecrow got it in the arm and face, and the crow croaked too...
...a side of beef anyone?...

...ribs perhaps?...

...Ugh, right in the chest...

...and then the rear...

...makin' bacon...
...Veal? That's so wrong!...

...the bears are not safe...

...neither are the children on the beach...

...poor puppy...

...I killed two birds with one sewn X.

Staying out where it's safe.

Friday, November 7, 2014

It's not fair. It's faire.

Craft fair, craft faire, whichever way you spell it, I've been wanting to do one. A real one, that is. Along with my neighbors who knit and crochet, I've done two craft fairs. The first was on a rainy day at a retirement home. It was a dud. The other was on a hot day at a school carnival. It was not quite as bad as the first, but it was not great. For a craft fair to work the weather needs to warrant your goods, (no scarves and quilts when it's 90 degrees), there has to be a lot of people, and they need to be in the buying mood. Selling to seniors who have just downsized a lifetime of stuff into a small apartment is a bad idea. Kids at a school carnival have no money and wouldn't buy a quilt even if they had it. So we're hoping that the weather, the crowds and the mood are just right for this, our first real craft fair(e).

Holiday Craft Faire
December 5th, 2014
Sierra 2 Center
Rooms 10, 11 & 12
2791 24th Street
Sacramento CA 95818
(916) 452-3005

First of all, it's on a Friday. That's good. And it's at the beginning of the month before people have spent all their money on things like food and other non-essentials. It's inside. That's great because who wants their quilts blowing all over hin and yon, not me. They provide the table. That makes my shoulders so happy. It is a good price, and with sharing the table with my friends one good hat sale will cover the cost. Let's see, what else? It's near the DMV and the organizer assures me they get lots of lunch time traffic and there is a neighborhood event there that night that hopefully will bring in some crowds. That's what I want - crowds of freezing people with lots of cold hard cash, looking to warm up with some quilts and crocheted hats.

So, here we go, between now and December 5th I'm going to be a sewing machine. As in a person who is sewing a lot at her machine. Sewing and cutting, and planning and snipping and washing and labeling and hoping my hands don't fall off from exhaustion. If you need to contact me, you'll find me in the pile of fluff we call our house. Bring fabric.

Besides the three quilts I have remaining on Etsy, this is what I have worked up this week.

I cut out and sewed up a Farm to Spork quilt...'s got scarecrows and cows!!

I just cut out a Geek Chic TV themed quilt with tie dye! Groovy, man.

My one-eyed Minion guy will be there...

...with Swirly Hat One...


...and Three.
I need more stuff.
This is so not faire.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fall into the next season

We have four seasons here in Northern California: Green, Brown, Browner and Wet/Fog. We are now in Browner, but the forecast for tomorrow is Wet! Time to put away the summer clothes and get out the three-quarter sleeved lightweight jackets! Yes, there are those times when we worry about the oranges in our backyard freezing, but once you say "oranges in my backyard," you've lost any sympathy from folks in the cold weather states.

In order to get really excited about my clothes each season, I put the off-season ones away in nicely organized boxes. I'm careful to only put away the clothes I really use and love, Oh, who am I kidding, I just fold them up quickly and shove them away because I'm so sick of them after the long summer/winter season. This time I have a system, and it will be ruthless. For the 13 winter skirts that have remained from my last purge, I came up with a way to make sure they don't get folded up once again into the Boxes of Unending Hope. To my rescue enters the lowly clothes pin.

A baker's dozen of winter skirts

On each hanger of each skirt, I've attached a clothes pin. If I wear a skirt and it makes me happy, doesn't annoy me in any way, shape or FORM, or cause me to grimace while passing a mirror, it loses the clothes pin and stays on my good side. The Skirts of My Discontent do not get put back on the hanger, they go straight to the Goodwill drop-off center which is so close I could walk. (If I walked there more the skirt might not annoy me so much, but that's another matter.) If a skirt goes the whole season and still has its clothes pin on, then that probably means I never liked it much anyway and it won't get stored in the spring, but it'll go down to the Goodwill drop-off center (that I really should walk to more often). Why just the skirts? A line of clothes pins down my whole closet would be a bit much, so for now my pants, tops and shirts are on the honor system.

Now it's time to wash all my summer clothes, box them up and donate the ones that are not even close to being Clothes Pin Worthy. If there wasn't such a huge bag of them, I'd totally walk them down to Goodwill.

One last summery day to hang out the wash.

Were we really swimming just two weeks ago?
I won't mention that or the orange trees in the yard to any cold weather folks.

A skirt in this color would be so fun.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Who wants to make a Minion?

We've got eyes on the top of our bed.

Heard from one room in our house to another -
"I lost an EYE! Oh, never mind, I found it."

It's hat crocheting time around here. This one is another cute creation from a pattern on Repeat Crafter Me. This is my second Minion-inspired hat, and I have yet to see the movie. The pattern is a popular one though, judging from the requests I'm getting after the first hat. After I make one more for a little buddy of ours, and I still feel like making more (most likely not!) I'll post some on my Etsy shop. They seem like they're super easy to make, but then I start fretting over how many hair tufts to add, where exactly to place the eyes and how to get the perfect little smirk out of the mouth yarn. By the time I'm done I feel like those eyes are staring me down, knowing I'm a big Minion fake because I didn't see them on the big screen. It might be time to switch it up and make a few scarves. Scarves with no personality whatsoever.

No doubt about it, it needs some eyes. 

One eye, or two?

Two it is, but we need pupils and we need them now!

Much better, but where's his mouth?

Hair, eyes, pupils and a cute smirk. Have I created a monster?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Bunny Love quilt hops out of my life

During one of my "I'm being buried alive in sewing supplies!!" cleaning frenzies, I shoved some fabric in a few of those boxes made for under-the-bed organization. You know the ones - the boxes that get covered in dust bunnies, dog fur balls and layers of lint from other sources we don't want to think about. After wondering for a whole winter season where all my favorite sweaters were, I finally pulled out the boxes and rediscovered some treasures. Among the dust bunnies, there was the sweetest little never-made fabric bunny book I found at the thrift store. I had to be ruthless and hack off the pages containing Easter baskets, but I was still left with some adorable fabric pieces with a story of bunnies hopping around doing what bunnies do. Well, at least the things fit to print in a children's book.

"I prefer the term Dust Mice, thank you!"
The deconstructed fabric book paired well with another never-made project from the thrift store - a how-to-sew-a-stuffed-bunny fabric. They looked great with some pretty calicoes and soft prints, an up-cycled seersucker and chenille bedspread and a gorgeous shirt from Ernst's co-worker Jeff that had a sad run-in with the wrong dryer setting. It all made for a sweet and girly baby blanket that's super soft and snuggly. My goal for this winter is to say good-bye to all things stored under the beds, get it all out where I can keep an eye on it and get those dust bunnies hopping off for good.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Yummy sandwich, bad bread

That's how our dog sitter perfectly described our quick trip back East this past weekend. Not to mull over the details of all our airline woes, but we had cancelled flights, delayed flights and a trip that went a bit longer than planned. The flying part was the bread, and it was bad.

The inside of the trip, the sandwich, was completely wonderful. We surprised my Mom and Sis by our arrival Friday night. How fun that was - I just love some good underhanded travel subterfuge! We spent the night at Bethel and then attended an incredible Annual Meeting. Come on, really? We have a television station now? It was great to attend this event together, and we were pretty happy at that point we had flown out for the weekend. The next day we had a party at the house with a group that had guests from France, China and India. For the French guests, I was trying to dredge up any crumbs left in my brain from high school French, but something ate them. I did manage to get the cheek kissing down without knocking out anyone's teeth and said a few au revoirs at the end of the evening. We are now back to our silly dog, the lingering heatwave, and regular life. I do intend to write a big long complaint letter to the airline for the nasty bread part of the trip - maybe they'll throw us a crumb or two.

Ernst and Jessica visit Bethel.
Caleb and Sophia were as perky as ever.

I predicted a baby Bible, but it was cuter than I imagined!

Ernst and Jessica at Patterson Bethel.
The road not taken.

Family pic at Annual Meeting

It has become apparent I need to work on my jumping skills.

I heard Cabernet Sauvignon pronounced so beautifully from our French guests.
Too bad we served Trader Joe's brand.

Pretty New England fall.

Be it ever so arid, there's no place like home. 
Molly suckered the dog sitter into buying her a new toy!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

It felt like fall...for all of five minutes

Two days into October and summer is not budging. While the sun is setting earlier and tricking us in the morning to sleep in, it's a bit on the warm side. And this weekend looks to be downright hot. Oh well, my sweaters will have to sit tight a few more weeks.

Our little taste of fall involved a trip up to our friends' cabin. Not only was it cool enough for a fire at night, it rained! Glorious, lovely rain and thunder at night, and then drippy joyous rain a good part of the days. This precipitation lover was in weather heaven, and I was a bit bummed to come down the mountain on Sunday to only grey skies. It did pour here on Friday night, according to the neighbor, which made the plants look fab, but now we're back to dryyyyyy heat.

Our trip to the cabin was eventful for another reason besides the rain. Our pooch had quite the weekend. Every dog eventually has its last vacation, and the whole time its family is melancholy knowing Ol' Skip will most likely not make it camping - or to the mountains - or to the beach again. Pictures are taken, a tear or two is shed and Ol' Skip wonders why everyone is passing him their meat scraps while looking so glum.

Our Molly is only five, so it won't be age that will keep her from coming to the cabin again. It's her rambunctious nocturnal vacation habits that have been her undoing. On a typical cabin trip, Molly feels the need to wake us up a couple of times for nightly walks and a seemingly fake need to potty. This trip added some legitimate reasons: Friday night she got into all her food for the weekend (I failed to shut the lid to her dog food container) and we all suffered for it. We had a bloated unhappy dog needing to go out four times to throw up on Friday night, and a slightly sluggish dog all day Saturday needing to go out to poop and have the runs four times Saturday night. So much for the restful weekend!

But watch your step outside, she was a busy beaver in the elimination department.

It's the altitude.
Despite the mishap, The Boy and The Molls enjoyed hanging out together.

Bring Moldovan girls to the cabin, they do the dishes and make the table look so cute!

Packing up to leave, she seems to know she blew it.
Now that we're all unpacked back home, I am totally in the crocheting mood. I've got the yarn, I've got the weekend, I've got my hat pattern, now all I need is the right weather. But 90 degrees in October is not crochet weather. Unless the temperature is 70 or below, I can't stand the idea of yarn touching my skin. The hats will have to wait, we have ourselves a summer swimming weekend!

I thought maybe I just imagined buying blue yarn last night,
looked and looked,
thought I would have to go back to the yarn store,
then saw the thief with her stolen goods.

Got yarn, need fall.