Thursday, September 15, 2011

100 Days Until Christmas

It is just 100 hundred days until Christmas. It is still technically Summer and the entire season of Autumn will occur by the time Christmas gets here. What are you plans for the season? Are you going to spend your time running from store to store trying to find the right gift for each person on your list or are you going to give of yourself?
This is the time to figure out what is is that you enjoy doing and do it. Do you love to sew, bake, knit, take photographs, can food, grow things, paint, create jewelry, draw, crochet, write or sing? I know I forgot someone's interest. Whatever your hobbies are create your Christmas gifts from them. If you love to hunt or fish, what great gifts you could give.
Over the next three plus months I want to give you ideas for giving that are a bit of you.Plans are to include sources of patterns, recipes and packaging ideas. There may be ideas and thoughts found from around the internet. Stay tuned, this should be fun!

Monday, June 28, 2010

A layer Cake and Jelly Roll Mess

I was excited to get this Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintlott. The patterns while nothing new are pleasant and I thought nice to have a number of simple ones all in one place. I also thought it might be a good book to recommend to a new quilter. They often purchase these cuts of fabric to get lots of variety at a lower price tag.

This morning I decided to dive into the Charming Flowers pattern from the book. I pulled the fabrics from my stash, I was excited. Then reality hit. I had read the preface to understand what sizes, shapes and amounts were standard for the book. the first pattern talked about making 4 1/2 inch finished squares from the 5 inch charm patches. I have been quilting long enough to know that you cannot make right triangles that way. In the text of the directions you are instructed to cut 5 3/8 inch squares. That is ok if you are cutting from yardage but I thought the premise was to use the packs you buy at the quilt store. Sorry I did not see the 3/8 inch supplements to the pack when I bought them, nor would it look good to sew that on.

All right I will look at another. I skipped to Diamonds at Large. What a pretty quilt and since they are all right triangles, I figured we would not have the same problem. The directions tell you to save the 2 1/2 by 7 1/2 inch strip that you trim off to use for the borders and binding. Once again the math does not quite work. You will not have enough strips even if you cut the remaining 4 pieces from the layer cake stack.

Well I gave up after that. Any quilt book that fails so miserably at basic math cannot get my recommendation. It would make any newbie quilter tear their hair out.

If you are looking for some great straight forward patterns get one of Eleanor Burns books in at least the second edition.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Inspirational sites

It has been forever since I have posted to this blog. I have been quietly reading others blogs and getting inspired. Here is where I get some of my inspiration.

this is for color inspirations

this one is sort of all over the place

this one will take forever to get thru but it is inspirations that brings all sorts of things in

this one gets the cobwebs out

I start clicking stuff off of this site and WOW

Now to get going. I have two pages of Ideas that I got just browsing while pulling these sites!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New Stash Projects

As I rearrange my sewing room I am stunned by the number of possibilities of new projects at hand. Some are promises to myself from years ago and some are new inspirations.

I have had an interest in Smocking for years. I even have the machine for it. Who has time to smock baby outfits when there is diapering to do? I have found some wonderful patterns for blouses and nightgowns to smock as well as some Christmas ornament ideas.
Does anyone smock any more?

Quilling was something I did years ago and had lots of fun doing it. I know that there are ways to incorporate it into Scrapbooking. Yes another project.

Embossing velvet, I would love to have Christmas stockings made from hand embossed fabrics, maybe even a mantle cover.

There are no fewer than a 100 quilts I want to make. Yes, I even have the fabric for a lot of them.

Jewelry made from hand painted wooden beads. So many possibilities there.

Then there purses and tote bags to make, and sweaters, scarves, hats and mittens. The fabric calls for clothing, quilts, rugs...and there is embellished frames and boxes.....

I see I need to get going, there are a lot of new projects from my stash of supplies to create!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A New Beginning

There is nothing more heartbreaking than being told that the very floor under your studio needs to be jack-hammered up. All right, it is the floor of the basement in our home and it was for a good reason. The Sewer Line was failing.

The 72 hours following that finding had my life turned upside-down. The first 10 hours were spent boxing up my life in the studio. It was not full of thoughtful sorting but desperation packing of too much stuff. I also had to figure out where to put all of it. Angels were watching out for me as the laundry room seemed to grow with my need to store more boxes. At sometime in the recent past I had the forethought to purchase cardboard file boxes at the local office supply store. I filled most of them thinking only of sorting by fabric, yarn, notions and other. My wonderful husband worked shoulder to shoulder with me moving the boxes to safe storage. My son worked furiously until bedtime making the boxes up for me to pack. Safely, I stowed my sewing machines in the living room upstairs along with the next on my list projects. It was a very late and exhausting evening.

The next morning, we were greeted by the project manager, who thought it might be a good idea to check the additional line coming from the kitchen. You guessed it, the remaining rooms in the basement were destined to be jack-hammered up as well. The playroom is just another word for my extended storage area with a smattering of games thrown in for good measure. It was a long morning clearing that room as well.

The sewer and plumbing company is but a memory now. I have yet to re-establish the rooms. They both have remnants of their former selves present, but there are large spaces of carpet that I have not seen in a very long time. I was almost giddy with the excitement of vacuuming them.

Now comes the problem. I know that I do not want the disaster area that the rooms were before. I do need to relieve the laundry room of some of its burden. How do I put the studio back together? How do I figure out what it is that I want it to be?

I will start this week by going through the areas that only this cleanup could bring to light and see about moving some to the Garage Sale Pile. Maybe inspiration will follow.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bits of Thread and Fabric

I had the privilege today of working on costumes for the performance of Sweeney Todd at Pomona High School, March 25-28, 2009. It gave me pause for thought about this part in the production.

Being a high school play it has limited funds. The imagination of the costume designer fascinates me. Bits and pieces of former shows appeared in the sewing room ready to become the magic of the new production. It was inspiring to see lovely yellow fabric become the breath of springtime that will be in the character of Lucy. Stately lapels of Sweeney's attire were hemmed and pressed to the taste of the title character.

The chorus of town folk have remade acquired pieces that will add to the scenery that was London. Rustic browns, grays and and black will play into the talent of the cast. The young ladies are to be attired in lovely calicoes to brighten their skirts and blouses touched with lace. And all well portrayed with the soot and grime that is London, 1846.

It all comes down to bits of fabric and stitches of thread. A styling of hounds tooth plaids, tweeds and lovely linens and lace. A marvelous accomplishment lead by Heather Croke, Marla Hasler and under the careful guidance of Laurie Klapperich.

Take the opportunity to see these bits of thread. See how so much can be use so wisely to be such an important part of this show. Treat yourself to the wonderful performances of Sweeney Todd at Pomona High School.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Indulging in the Haves

I spent a fair amount of time today pouring through my yarn and threads stash. It represents many years of acquisitions. When I married 27+ years ago EVERYTHING related to my crafts fit into one small footlocker. It now seems to burst the seams of the lower level of our home. How did the collection get so grand in scale?

In the first year, it still fit in the original footlocker. I had a sewing machine borrowed from my mother-in-law. I made skirts for work, a few pillows for the living room, a Christmas wreath and a few Cross-Stitched pieces. I did not really have a lot of extra funds to spend on supplies. So by the time we moved from New Hampshire to Texas The crafting supplies were well contained.

After moving to Texas, I bought my first Sewing Machine, a White brand mechanical one. It was a beast. I never got the tension controlled well. More home decor, maternity and then baby clothes were constructed on it. Prior to baby I had a bedroom as a sewing room and all of my fabric stored on a half dozen hangers in the closet.

Then I started to take quilting classes. My sister and I signed up for one when my eldest was 6 months old. My hubby said that I needed to get out and give him guy time with our son. She quit the class half way through, as her work schedule changed, she gave me all of her supplies for the class. I made several tops from quilt shop fabrics. Then I spotted an ad in the paper for a warehouse sale one weekend a month. I was in heaven. I think I bought a year's worth of fabric each month not just enough to get me till the next sale. I was sewing furiously both quilts and clothing. The piles of fabric were getting bigger. Then there was the vendor at our favorite flea market who had wonderful bright cottons for quilting and home decor....and the fringes and laces, oh my. And I bought.

OH MY! is also what I said when I had to pack all of it up and move it to west Texas. I was starting to store it in Rubbermaid 18 gallon tubs. I think there were 5 or 6 of them for fabric, threads, patterns, books and other sewing related stuff. I had also started to make afghans as well so that footlocker now had both cross-stitch and yarn in it. I bought a new machine, a computerized Janome. I NEEDED MORE FABRIC.

In west Texas, I discovered quilt guild meetings. Lots more sewing, I had lots of friends to do it with! The provisions in west Texas for sewing were modest (although I did a good job on helping a shop with there going out of business sale.) I joined the Smockers too. I had another new baby, a girl. You have to sew for her. We drove to Dallas to visit and shop for fabric (and other stuff) periodically, Yes there was even more fabric than I could ever hope to use. I realized that it was like family and I had a hard time parting with it.

Then we moved to a rental house in the Denver area. Professional movers got it all there. It filled the small living room in the tri-level home. I became involved with the state guild, The Colorado Quilting Council. What fun, meetings were in different cities all over the state each month. So many shops! so much fabric! and I bought it all. A year and a half later we bought a house. (Did we use fabric for collateral?) Hubby's new friends in his office offered to help us move. An almost continous comment was, 'What another box of FABRIC!' I started to realize that is a fabric problem but did not realize that retail therepy in fabric stores was not the answer. I also was purchasing more yarn having found that garage sales were a great source of yarn, needlepoint and other fun fiber stuff. Colorado has great yarn shops.

About 5 years ago I decided that I needed to stop buying fabric...for the most part. I do not think I have purchased 20 yards of quilt fabric in the past 5 years. But now that we live in Colorado, it is colder than Texas, I started crocheting afghans. Everybody I know has at least one in their home. My kids each have at least 3 and there are several that just keep the sofa warm. For each afghan I made I bought yarn for at least one I have not made. So I started donating baby afghans and that is helping with the stash.

In the past few years, I have managed to give many 30 gallon trash bags of fabric and yarn away to charitable organizations and to the art teachers in my kids schools. There is still a lot left. know that I would not miss a lot of it if I got rid of it, because it is sort of a treasure hunt every time I go through a box. However, I still find it hard to part with it.

It is an ongoing problem. I recognize it now and have no plans to do any serious shopping except from my own stash.