Friday, January 22, 2016

Autumn Rose Blooms in a Blizzard

When I order something online, I'm much too cheap to pay for expedited shipping. Or express mail, or even priority. No, I just check the box for "delivered by snails wearing lead jackets" and I wait patiently. It's sort of fun to finally get a package that I've completely forgotten about, and probably already made the first credit card payment on. "Why, whatever could it be...?" is the best reaction ever when ripping open packing tape with one's eye teeth. (They don't call them canines for nothing.)

When I'm on the other end of things, it's another story. My Etsy shop has free shipping and a promise to ship within three business days. You wouldn't know that from my reaction to getting a sale notice. I spring into action. I race to get the quilt out of my sewing cabinet. I usually give it a final wash, dry and a once over, looking for stray threads. I pack it carefully and tuck the gift tag into the box. Then it's time to weigh it, make up the shipping label and slap that on with packing tape that fights me like a crazed wolf. That's just in the first half hour of the sale's notice.

Then comes the dash to the post office. The timing of the trip to the post office is in direct correlation to the latest incoming precipitation event. Yes, this is drought-striken California, but when I have a quilt to mail, it is guaranteed there will be a monsoon or a typhoon or the Pineapple Express or the Siberian Express or an Atmospheric River, or some other catchy named event made up by weathercasters sick of blue skies.

When Autumn Rose sold, my client specifically said "Take your time. No rush. Don't hurry." But I had boxes to box, tape to tape, labels to label, and this quilt went out in one of the downpours of "El Niño-ary" with wiper blades wiping and puddles puddling. And smack dab into Winter Storm Jonas. I should have gone with Parcel Post. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Calling Molly

The dream of most dog owners, I imagine, is to have a perfectly behaved dog, the kind that can go to a dog park and show off its superior canine skills for all to see. While the other dog owners apologize as their pup wee wees yet again on someone's leather loafers or terrorizes the terriers and bullies the bulldogs, the confident dog owner just smirks that smirk of a good dog owner. I hate that smirk. I want that smirk. I practice that smirk in private.

After being Molly's owners for over five years now, our expectations have dropped considerably. At this point all hopes of the smirk have faded and I would settle for two commands:

Don't kill the skunk

That doesn't seem too much to ask. Yes, the daily bedside paper delivery is quite awesome, and she smiles almost on demand now. But Come and Don't kill the skunk would impact our lives in such a positive and pleasant smelling way. 

While Ernst commands more respect from Molly in the Come department, she seems to be an equal opportunity ignorer when it comes to Don't kill the skunk. Molly definitely views Ernst as the Alpha Dog, and she and I as underlings on the same footing. I know my issues of letting her get away with too much come from that first photo we saw of her from Golden Retriever Rescue. That poor little dog in Bakersfield, tied to a trailer hitch with a rope, with scratches on her muzzle, kennel cough and pregnant at one year old with 9 puppies from a pit bull. Poooooor Little Doggie!

While Ernst has been able to put aside that image of Poooooor Little Molly from his mind, I haven't. And it shows up in the list of nicknames we each have for her.

What Ernst calls her

Shawubadawah (This came from who knows where, he uses it, I don’t)
Little Girl
The Girl
Noodle (When he’s mad at her)

What I call her

Molly Wolly
Molly Malone
Mols the Wols
The Mols
The Girl
Poooooor Little Girl
Pumpkin Girl
Poooooor Little Pumpkin
The Pump (This one stuck and I don’t know why, Ernst has even started using it.)
The Schnook
Silly One
Little One
Poooooor Little One
Just a wisp of a thing
A mere wisp
MoLLEEEEY (When I’m mad at her)

Queen of the Ottoman Empire

Crocodile Mols
Sleeping Beauty

Skunk Magnet

Snug Bug

Chipmunk Molly

Triangle Molly

Bally Molly



Rooster Killer

Dog Park Dropout

Kid Lover

Flying Ears

Ball Watcher

KonMari Molly

Hat Hater

Poooooor Little One!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

California Cow Carnage

There are three ways to make a rag quilt. One way is to sandwich a piece of flannel inside, cutting the flannel the same size as the squares. This is probably the fastest technique and ensures a good fringy raggy look. The second way is to make a puffy rag quilt, which comes together fairly quickly but really only looks good in bigger sizes - they are a bit too puffy in just a little lap quilt. The last way is the first way I learned, where a smaller piece of quilt batting is sandwiched with an X by either a straight line, a zig zag or other decorative stitch. These to me are the cutest, but take more time to make when I add in the extra step of sewing the X on every square.

The technique using the X poses a problem too when the fabric I'm using has animals or people in it. That stitch always seems to whack right through some poor animal's vital parts, or stab through an unfortunate person's torso. This doesn't help in my quest to improve my photography for my Etsy shop. One can only crop so much before you've cropped the whole quilt away. 

When I took the photos for Fredrica the Farm to Fluff Quilt, I fully intended to do a retake. Or at least a recrop. But after cleaning up the fabric scraps, prepping the quilt for the photo shoot, writing the description and deciding on the price - Eh! Good Enough! I folded Fredrica up, stuck the quilt in my storage cabinet and called it done. Fredrica waited patiently until the time was right, and pulled my last quilt sale of 2015 out of her little bovine sleeve. Good cow. 

But I still have goals to improve in my photography skills in the coming year. Better lighting, more props, and no carnage allowed. 

OUCH! Straight through the neck!

Mr. Rooster gets it right in the tail feathers.

Cut off that ear and slice up that side of beef.

Busy background! Where is Fredrica?

Poor thing never had a chance.

Goals for 2016? I've got some great quilts planned using very refreshing colors moving into spring. There's a super cute Alphabet one planned using some vintage ABC fabric, a couple more using adorable lady bug prints, a shabby chic pink number or two, and some always popular blue and white quilts. Last year was a great year for quilts - here's hoping 2016 is just as good, with no farm animals harmed in the process.