Tuesday, March 24, 2015
...for my Travel EPP/Sewing Kit pattern.
Whew! I believe my pattern is finally finished and saved in a format that I can use to list it for sale on Craftsy. However, since this is my first BIG pattern, I wouldn't DREAM of putting it up for sale until someone with a little bit more experience than I has a chance to test it out! I currently have one tester lined up and am looking for one more.
If you are interested in testing this pattern, please email me through my profile with your name and email address. I will pick one name out of a hat and that winner will be emailed the PDF file. Please note, I WILL NOT be able to sell this pattern outside of the US due to the EU VAT issue. So, if you are outside of the US and want to make my kit, this may be your only chance to get your hands on the pattern...for now.
Thanks in advance! Oh, and I would ask whoever wins to make the kit following the pattern and give me an HONEST evaluation and make any suggestions you think would improve its usefulness to those who purchase the pattern. Also, I will need your feedback by April 15th as I would like to get this listed in my shop in plenty of time for those who want to give this kit as a Mother's Day present here in the US.
Saturday, March 21, 2015
My table topper is FINISHED and I am absolutely, positively LOVIN' IT. If you read my previous post, you know that in an attempt to wash off a stain with a slightly damp cloth, I started the fruit colors running onto the white. I just about DIED! I did, however, think fast and quickly stuck the topper into a washer full of cold water, with a Color Catcher and used a tiny bit of quilt soap to wash it. Whew! That was CLOSE! However, the stain is gone...as is the fading of the blue onto the white!
I am so thrilled with the look of this table topper and the fact that I based the design on the teeny bit of free fruit fabric I had on hand. I find that using only what I have on hand really leads to some WONDERFUL creative designs. Additionally, all of the other fabric was free as well...and the batting was left over from a previous quilt. My kind of project!!!
I even love the back of this table topper. And I love the post washing "crinkle" of the quilted piece.
I do still have small amounts of different types of food fabrics and may make this topper again in brighter orange and yellow fruit fabric. It won't match my blue and burgundy kitchen, but it will sure spell SUMMER!
I had gotten a spot on the table topper I am making so I got a clean white cloth, slightly damp and tried to get the spot out. Oh, NO. The colored fruit fabric began to run onto the white fabric. I immediately stopped and put the table topper into the washer filled with cold water, a Color Catcher and used quilt soap to wash it. I am hoping that it will come out of the wash looking fine. DANG. The fabric piece I had was so small I didn't consider washing it, even though it was blueberries, strawberries and raspberries...blue and red...highly likely to run. DANG! I could KICK myself!
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Probably a year ago now I purchased a panel called Therapy In Session. I fell in love with this panel... mostly because quilting IS what keeps me sane; and secondly because I wanted the opportunity to try "coloring" a black and white panel before turning it into a quilted wall hanging. For Christmas, my Dear Aunt bought me a set of Prismacolor Pencils. I have been "dying" to begin work on what I hope will be a bright, HAPPY reminder that quilting IS my therapy AND my relaxation! No fretting over perfect points allowed!
Today the stars aligned perfectly and I have a small chunk of free time and barely any tremor. Wowsers, my hands are STEADY! Yesterday, however, was a completely different story and even my normally flowing signature was stunted and jerky. Pffft...annoying! But...I digress.
Seizing the opportunity I pulled out the panel and pencils, It's the PERFECT time to attempt a little coloring within the lines. These pencils (unlike others I have had in the past) are wonderfully smooth flowing over the fabric and the colors luscious without having to press hard. Following a tutorial by Jenny of Elefantz, I attempted to color in a "circular motion" to tint all sides of the threads.
With a little "touch up" here and there my coverage is fairly uniform. I understand from Jenny's tutorial that the colors will become richer once they are heat set. I can't wait to see the final product! But, wait I will. This is a "long term" project saved for the occasional days of "perfect celestial alignment" when I can stay inside the lines. I think I'll color a few more areas before I head downstairs to figure out something for dinner tonight. Sigh... Who knew a childhood pastime could still be so much fun?!!
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
The next step will be to hoop it up and complete the machine embroidery in the snowball blocks! I've got a few appointments this week, so I may not get to that until the weekend. Then it is off to quilt ESS (Every Stinkin' Seam as Cindy Needham would say) and then a bit of FMQ. So far I'm lovin' it...
Monday, March 16, 2015
Remember on Friday when I sorted through my first box of fabrics (food themed), I came across fabric that I thought would make a GREAT table topper for my kitchen? Well, I have almost finished the table topper and this is ALL I have left of the fabric! I only had two smallish pieces of fabric to begin with, but I did everything I could to STRETCH IT into something beautiful !!
Stay tuned for the finished table topper, hopefully by this time next week!
Friday, March 13, 2015
Gosh, I love when that happens! I am absolutely determined that 2015 is going to be our year to truly THINK before we act, and make sure we are continually working toward our future goals! As quickly as the past 30 years have gone, I am sure Dear Hubby's retirement is only a "blink" away! We are SO far behind in planning!
But, as least we are starting now and hopefully will get better each day at spending less, saving more and preparing ourselves and our home for the "golden" years.
For starters, I checked out my usual "haunts" on the internet. It is absolutely amazing how many freebies are available if you just know where to look!
This morning I downloaded a free eBook from FaveQuilts. I love free eBooks...such a GREAT way to acquire patterns without spending a ton of cash. I signed up on their site and am notified whenever there is another free eBook available.
Then I entered a whole bunch of contests at The Giveaway Roundup
Since my sewing machine is also an embroidery machine, I am constantly on the lookout for free designs I can add to my collection. I recently discovered Designs by Sick
This sight gives away a new design every hour on the :30, has a new "hunt" for a free design every hour, has a daily free design and a daily free design on facebook! Please note, you can get these freebies WITHOUT purchasing a membership!
I LOVE the blog "Little House Living". So many WONDERFUL frugal, "from scratch", handmade ideas are passed on by the fabulous Merissa! She is TRULY an inspiration! I signed up for the Little House newsletter here, Little House LIving
Quite frequently Merissa will include a list of free eBooks for the Kindle. I do not own a Kindle, however the Kindle reader is free and can be used on your computer or tablet. When you are purchasing the eBooks (for $0.00) be sure to pay close attention to the price as the "free deal" does not last forever! I downloaded quite a few books today and have had SUCH FUN reading them!
I have been a member of MyPoints for several years now. MyPoints is a site where you can earn points by making purchases, doing surveys and searches, playing games, etc. Today I completed two surveys and several searches to earn points toward a gift card reward. MyPoints also sends emails with links to their associated sites. You can earn points simply by clicking the link, even if you choose not to purchase anything! I earned 5 points by clicking today's link.
I also belong to a site called Recyclebank where I can read articles and complete quizzes to earn points that can be redeemed for eGift cards. Just a few days ago I cashed in my points for a Target eGift card. Tonight before I go to bed I will read a few more articles and take a few more quizzes to begin to rebuild my points.
- I started my day today with a cup of free coffee. Coffee is my life's blood, and FREE coffee really makes my day!
- Last night I had another low sugar spell (yuck) and finished up a travel container of Glucose Tablets. I washed out the container last night and this morning it was dry enough to be added to my stash of crafty storage containers. I REFUSE to spend money on storage items unless I absolutely cannot meet my need with something free!
- I raised the shades in my sewing room and kept the lights off. I don't need to be giving the electric company any more money than is necessary.
- Since I wasn't planning on leaving the house at all today, I rewore my jeans from yesterday. I also slipped on the Crocs that I use as my slippers, saving wear and tear on my socks and shoes.
- I sorted through some junk mail and stashed any card stock postcards or magazine inserts in an old gift bag I keep in my sewing room closet. These free mailers make GREAT hexies for English Paper Piecing. I purchased a hexie die for my Sizzix, well worth the cost when I consider that most of my "hexie papers" will now come from "trash"!
- Yesterday I received a quilting catalog in the mail. I pulled the old catalog from my drawer, putting the newer one in its place. I then thumbed through the old catalog, scissors in hand, cutting out any color combinations or quilt ideas that I thought could inspire me in the future. I am using one of my son's old school notebooks to store these "ideas". I few small pieces of tape holds them neatly in place.
- While going through my emails I could feel the sun shining on my face and could hear the birds singing outside of my window. An idea for a quilt popped into my head and I took a minute or two to draw a rough sketch of the quilt in my "idea" book. I often joke to my family that I will have to live to be 125 to finish all of the quilts that are floating around in my head (and now making their way onto paper, lol).
- In the years since I purchased my first computer, I have printed out A LOT of non-critical information, designs, emails, etc. Only recently, however, have I begun to use the "draft" setting on my printer. Why oh why did I wait so long to adopt this practice?!? I can't imagine the amount of ink I have wasted over the years!!! Well, better late than never...I guess...
- As part of our "downsizing" goals, I need to begin purging the entire house, including my sewing room stash! I have decided that every day I will try to sort through one container, one pile, or one drawer of "stuff". This morning I opened up a shoe box filled with "food" themed fabric that I had been given for free. I tossed a few scraps that were too miniscule to be of much good and found a few pieces of fabric that I could easily envision in a cute table runner for my kitchen. I began cutting useable pieces for blocks and will search my stash for some coordinating solid fabric to pad out the size and pull it all together. One box down...a ton more to go through, lol. I also found the remainder of the fat quarter bundle I used to make my Travel EPP/Sewing Kit. The fabric pieces were all tied together with a pretty ribbon, keeping all of the perfectly coordinated pieces together. TODAY I know that the fat quarters have been cut up for a project, but a year or two from now I may not remember. So I used a scrap of card stock to make a label that said "Partially Used", punched a hole in it and threaded it onto the ribbon. I can now store it with all of my other "coordinated" bundles, but will know with a quick glance that my fabric amounts are less than they seem.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
...I've lost it and I have NO idea where it has gone! The past week or two with my mom being sick and then in the hospital has been very taxing...physically and emotionally. I spent most of yesterday in bed, sleeping. I even cancelled a doctor's appointment yesterday afternoon because I was just too tired to drive the 45 min. to his office. Ironically it was my sleep disorder physician I was supposed to see!
This morning I woke up feeling somewhat better. While showering I made a mental list of all of the "fun things" I wanted to accomplish in my sewing room today. I ate my breakfast, made myself a cup of coffee and sat down at my desk to read my emails and then begin the fun. And here I sit. No fun, no accomplishments...nothing. I have gone so far as to pull out the things I had planned on sewing...only to put the fabrics back when the urge to create died. Hmmm...this is not like me at all. Usually it is my BODY that gives out and prevents me from creating, not my MOJO failing me!
So, I pulled out a small gift bag of card stock advertisements and magazine inserts that I have been collecting for a while. This type of paper makes WONDERFUL 1" hexies. I've been layering several advertisements on top of my die and then feeding the sandwich through my Sizzix. At least I am catching up on some "restocking" of my EPP supplies. Let's hope tomorrow my MOJO returns and my body is willing to play along. Sigh...
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Home. It feels like I have been away from this place for SO long...even on the days when I have been here every waking moment! A multitude of "things" have cropped up in our lives that have kept me running on an emotional/physical "treadmill" for months now. Believe me, that cute little hamster has nothing on me...since January I feel like I have been running his wheel and getting absolutely nowhere! I had so many plans for 2015, and they have all fallen by the wayside in view of the truly more important things in life. Hopefully, maybe now...you think I could get that lucky?...our lives will be slowing down for a while.
Mom is home from the hospital and seems to be doing well. Yesterday was her first full day at home and I spent a good portion of the day at her kitchen table reviewing her new medication regimen (thank God for the wonderful nurse from our doctor's office who called to go over her extensive medication instructions), helping Dad fill her medication dispensers for the week, scheduling follow up appointments with several doctors, verifying insurance coverage and obtaining referrals to new doctors, etc. I came home and collapsed onto the sofa...too fatigued to do much other than dip a few slices of bread into eggs for french toast and call it a meal. But, we ate at home...the cost was minimal...and I used up bread that was already too stale for sandwiches and the like. THAT is the part of "homemaking" I truly miss. Nurturing our bodies, our home and our psyche with creativity and care...Every. Single. Moment.
Since I spent several days living at my folks' house and traveling to and from the hospital, MY house has fallen behind. The "daily single load" laundry routine that I had adopted to fit my varying pain and energy levels? Totally abandoned for the past week...leaving a large mountain of dirty clothes and a dwindling molehill of fresh clothes to choose from. There is no way I can catch it all up in one day...but that's okay. In the past I would have busted my butt to get "all caught up" and back on top of things. Not anymore. And, it's not ONLY because of my fatigue and pain...it's because I've finally realized that homemaking isn't a once and done job to be rushed through in lieu of more enjoyable activities. I don't have to be "on top" of things. It's perfectly okay to be in the middle, enmeshed in an ongoing process. Homemaking is a life LIVED DAILY with focus and fortitude. Sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and get it done. So today I will do TWO loads of laundry, a bit out of my "comfort zone", but a step toward getting back on an even keel with our laundry. However, I will focus on the process at hand and take time to really "see". With our long term goal of purging "stuff" and saving money, I will look for repairs that can be made to extend an item's life, things that can be sold to pad out our savings account, things that can be donated...and even trashed. But, before those items of clothing hit the trash bin they will be cannibalized for any and all still usable parts. My plan for 2015 was to purge through the house in preparation for a future move/downsizing, while reducing our expenses and stashing cash. I can't devote days at a time to purging, but I CAN focus on our goal while I go about my daily chores...slowly chipping away at the obstacles that keep us from reaching our dreams. In the meantime, there is no need to put our lives on hold. We can live in the present, work toward our future and keep all the balls in the air at the same time...as long as we realize that you can only juggle when you are truly a part of the process.
Saturday, March 7, 2015
There is a link at the top, right of my blog where you can go to vote.
IN OTHER, MORE IMPORTANT NEWS...
Mom is still in the hospital. However they have gotten her blood pressure down from 235/98 (yes, you read that right) to 170/78. Some of her other blood counts are still completely out of whack, but the blood pressure was extremely dangerous and the main thing they were concentrating on. Stroke zone is consider 250! Now that the BP is lower, they will begin to investigate some of the other abnormal results. Thanks for keeping her in your prayers. I'll be back full time when she is more settled.
Monday, March 2, 2015
My mom is having some health issues at the moment, so I may not be posting for a bit. I will get back to here as soon as I can. I have finished the pattern for my Travel EPP/Sewing Kit. I have someone lined up to test it...as soon as I can get it to her! Unfortunately, the way I did my first pattern is not actually "the right" way to do it ( I am so NOT a geek)...and this one is too large for my "making do" to work. So I can't email it to my tester, or list it on Craftsy until I purchase the right program and re-type it in the correct format. With all that is going on, it may take me a while get to it. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we help mom through this bumpy road. Illness is the pits!!!!! I will be back as soon as mom is feeling better.