Monday, October 15, 2018

DING DONG, AVON CALLING...

DING DONG, AVON CALLING

Many years ago I sold Avon.  I loved their products, but life became too hectic to handle selling Avon door-to-door and working a full time job.  I was, sadly, forced to turn away from selling my favorite products.  As there was no other saleswoman in my area, I have "done without" Avon for many years. 

We are now in 2018 and you can sell and buy Avon digitally, and have it delivered right to your door!  

My daughter-in-law (gosh that sounds SO RIGHT) has recently become an Avon Representative!  (Aaack, an Avon representative "in-house" could play havoc with my wallet!)

If any of you have wanted Avon's wonderful products but have not had a Representative nearby, you can find a link to Gabby's Avon Page through the Avon tab above!  Enjoy!

Toodles...

Ps.  I should note that they are on their honeymoon until next week !

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

PILLOW CASES...


Recently we purchased the My Pillow that is advertised on TV.  First and foremost, we LOVE these pillows!  If you are on the fence about buying them, I highly recommend them.  Our pillows came with 2 free travel pillows.  They are perfect for Justin and Gabby to take camping on their honeymoon.  Gabby asked me to make pillow cases for them.  Of course I used camo fabric!


Gabby asked me to put a small pink camo heart on one of the pillow cases for her.  By now I am sure you all know how much she LOVES pink camo, LOL.


I used Pellon Wonder Under to attach the camo heart to the pillow case and then sewed around it with the same stitch that I used on my Fall Leaves Table Topper.  I just love the texture that it imparts.


Here is my test swatch before I began sewing.  It is sort of like a blanket stitch that points both ways, or maybe a "baseball" stitch.  Whatever you call it, and no matter what it is really supposed to be used for, I love all of the texture!  You can be sure you will be seeing more of this stitch in my future, LOL. 

Off to tackle more of my "mending/making" pile!

Toodles...

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

BRAIN DUMP NEEDED...


Life is crazy, nuts, hectic...and probably at least another 50 or so synonyms that I'm not including!  When I was young I could multitask better than most.  It was my forte.  I was organized to the hilt and I loved every minute of my life.  The more "balls in the air" the happier I was!

Fast forward 30+ years and too many balls in the air is leading to stress and anxiety for me.  I have too much "stuff" in my head at all times...and I'm mucking it up badly!!!  I knew my limit had been reached when I sent my poor father to the wrong office for his doctor's appointment!  Never before in my life had I made that type of mistake...not in my work life nor my home life!

I've become adept at using my phone and computer to keep track of my schedule, but using technology to keep track of all of the things I have to do, all of the telephone calls I have to make and emails I have to send was cumbersome.  I had so many things written on one day that my digital calendar was showing "+4", "+5" etc on the date.  Sure, I could go to the daily view and see what those extra 4 or 5 things were, but it was annoying bouncing back and forth between the monthly and daily views.  Obviously NOT writing them down somewhere was taxing the hard drive in my head, resulting in my dad showing up at the wrong office.  I needed a brain dump!



Enter my planner above.  Last year I spent good money on a pre-made planner and it only fulfilled about 30% of my needs.  My life was not the same as someone else's life.  So this year I pulled out a Dollar Store composition book and began writing things down.  Now that I know my system is working well it's time to "pretty it up" a bit!


Using a cheap fat quarter I made a cover reminiscent of the paper bag ones we used in school.  Next, I wanted to be able to carry my pen and red pencil with me.  I fashioned a two sectioned pocket from another piece of fabric and folded it over the edge of the cover.  Easy, peasy!

As a quilter, I have AT LEAST 500 or so projects floating around in my head for future completion.  I decided to glue ideas, color ways, sketches and even quilt kits from my favorite catalogs etc. onto the pages.  They would be pretty and inspirational and would provide a "visual" of what I found appealing instead of a simple written description...which could be interpreted in so many ways two months from now!  I would store all of my inspiration in the white envelope and glue one per page.  My pages were beautiful...until my lists became cramped, squeezed and illegible around the pictures.  For now I will forgo the pictures.  My planner needs to be functional first!  Maybe what I need is another composition book to craft as an Idea Book.


As the household secretary, I make ALL of the necessary phone calls.  ;o(  While some call results can be documented simply in the "Calls" section, there are times where I need to make more copious notations on the things discussed.  In this case I jot my notes onto a separate sheet and place it in the manilla enveloped affixed to the inside back of the composition book.  I can then use my red pencil to check off the call as completed and write (DOC) next to it to signify that there is written information stored in the envelope.  SOoooo much easier than trying to remember who said what!!!

With retirement looming large for my husband I need a reminder to exploit every money making and money saving technique I can in order to build up our coffers before the big day hits!  While we are BOTH looking forward to the day he leaves the stress of the working world behind...we need black belt frugality to get there.  I review my separate To Do list daily to see if there is anything I can accomplish on the financial side of our household.


I also want to work on ME during all of this organizing.  I have developed a color key to represent habits I want to work on every day.  I track these habits in my planner as well.


Is it all running smoothly?  Mostly.  With my son's wedding coming in less than two weeks there are days when I don't get into my sewing room/office to do ANY of the items in my planner!  However, the closer we get to the event the less there is "to do" and the more time there is "To Be"...and "being present" is what life is really about!

Toodles...

Sunday, September 30, 2018

USING EVERY LAST PIECE...



Do you remember the Fall mini quilt that I made for my foyer?



Here she is in all of her glory!  This is probably my favorite "mini" quilt so far!



When the mini quilt was finished I tossed all of the fusible "scraps" into a drawer.  Some day I would find a use for them!

The past two months have been really stressful with family illness, my Dad's second TIA, wedding preps and un-called-for drama invading our home!  I needed my sewing room therapy!!!!!


Since I usually try to make a table topper to match my mini quilt decor, I searched around for a picture of a maple leaf.  I used my copier to adjust the size and then traced the leaf onto heavy vinyl.  I cut out the vinyl leaf and used it to trace leaves onto the fusible backing of the scraps.


Using a completed table topper as my guide, I traced roughly around it to come up with the general size and then played with the leaves until I found a placement that I liked.


From that point forward it was smooth sailing!  I used my iron to attach the leaves to the background fabric.  I then stitched them down using a version of the blanket stitch.  This particular stitch sews a stitch on either side of center...exactly what I wanted!  One of my favorite things about Fall is the TEXTURE.  Texture is everywhere...in the crinkled leaves, the rough cap of acorns, rows of texture in decorative corn.  It is impossible to NOT see texture in the season!  The little stitches jutting out in two directions definitely added to the texture of the piece! 

I did two rows of outline stitching on one line of leaves.  I was called away from my sewing machine and accidentally began squiggly FMQ before doing the same on the other line of leaves.  Oh well, not a disaster.  After I completed all of the completely random FMQ I went back and added tight random FMQ around both lines of leaves to make them really pop!  More texture!!!  A small amount of plaid fabric found in my stash for binding and the table topper was complete.


I changed out the photo in my leaf frame for something decidedly more Fall-ish.  A friend asked if the P was for Pumpkin or for our last name.  Both!!  With our son's wedding in less than two weeks, our last name is playing a pretty prominent role around here!!  Lastly, I picked up a small copper dish at Tuesday Morning to hold the keys that are dropped here as we go in and out of the door.  Even the little dish fits right in with Fall, orange-y copper outside and gold-ish brass handles! 

I love my new table topper and the season it depicts!

Toodles...

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

KAIDEN'S CAMPING QUILT...


My grandson LOVES trucks.  Not cars.  Trucks.  Especially construction vehicles.  He knows the names of all types of construction vehicles and exactly why/where they are used.  Last year he got a set of six "smallish" plastic construction vehicles.  They aren't quite as small as Matchbox cars, but small enough to travel well.  He has been using them to play in the mulch at our house and even took them camping last summer.  He loved playing in all of the dirt outside of the tent!

Shortly after he got the small construction set I happened upon a Tonka panel showing all kinds of construction vehicles, roads, dirt and dig sites.  I had a plan to make a construction play mat!  Fast forward through a crazy year and little time spent sewing anything outside of bridal shower projects  and I was FINALLY ready to start the project.  When I mentioned it to my son, he suggested that I make it a "camping" quilt so that he can play with it in the tent (and knowing my grandson, in the dirt too, LOL).  My son suggested I use fabric from the many pairs of jeans I have hoarded over the years as the backing.  Hmmm...the two denim quilts I made for my son years ago still look new.  He was definitely on to something!


When I found the panel I also found some Tonka fabric that I used to border the sides.  Before I sandwiched the quilt, I did some FMQ through just the flimsy and the batting.


Then I used pieces of denim and camo from my son's jeans, my husband's jeans and my grandson's jeans (it's folded in this shot) to make the backing and quilted grid lines to hold it all together.  I folded over the backing to make the binding.  I wanted the edges of this quilt as "tough" as the backing!


Since all quilts need a label, I made one that I hope some day will express to Kaiden just how much he means to all of us!  While I know Kaiden will take care of this quilt (he is thrilled with it)...we all know how irresponsible first graders can be, LOL.  Just in case, I added my phone number to help it find its way home.


Grandpa suggested an old blanket bag to keep everything together and contain any dirt and mud on it until it gets home and heads for the washer.  Good thinking, Grandpa!!!  This has been a really fun project for me to sew and I know Kaiden will love playing with it!  Now I need to focus on the mountain of mending and UFOs on my cutting table...

Toodles...

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Handcrafting A Bridal Shower.................


This is a re-creation of what the guests saw when they entered the vestibule of the banquet hall.  I say "re-creation" because not ONE of us remembered to take a photo of the vignette either before, during, or after the shower!  I just can't believe it!  In addition to what you see here, I had a series of 3 photo frames sitting in front.  The first frame was a photo of my dear son and grandson (carrying a pot of mums) walking into the park where their engagement photos were taken.  The second frame was my grandson bent over a tablet, crayon in hand, pot of mums nearby, while my dear future daughter-in-law knelt next to him...grinning from ear to ear.  The final frame held a photo of my grandson completing his writing, with a very legible "She Said Yes" filling the tablet page!  It was SO cute!  I could have placed them in the above photo, but for safety reasons I hesitate to share quite that much.

Everyone loved the centerpieces and could not believe that each red rose was made from a series of six machine embroidered freestanding lace components sewn together to form the flower.  They were definitely worth every drop of blood, sweat and tears!


The favors, shown above, were also a hit with the guests.  I think my decision not to wrap the baskets in tule was a good one.  Guests could be seen munching on the "hugs" and "kisses" while Gabrielle opened her gifts.


Gabrielle loved the pink camo chair cover, as did everyone else!  Guests could not believe that the letters were actually embroidered onto the cream background.   After the gifts were opened and the bride-to-be no longer occupied the chair, guests requested that the cover be passed from table to table so that they could see the embroidery and free motion quilting up close.


The last gift that she opened contained the pink camo garter I had made.  Eight years ago when J and G had first dated they were both crazy about camo, he with original green and she with pink.  Fast forward to the present and them "finding each other again" (this time for good) and the love of camo (and each other) is still there.  However, growth and maturity have nixed the "camo wedding" idea in favor of more traditional decor.  But that doesn't mean she didn't want "something" pink camo in her wedding, LOL.  On the big day, G will wear two garters, an ivory one to throw and this pink camo one to hold onto forever.

I know Gabby had an "amazing afternoon" at the shower.  I just hope my efforts, in some way, convey just how much I love this young woman and how grateful I am that both she and her adorable little boy have become a part of our family.  She is the daughter of my heart and he is the grandson of my dreams.  I am truly blessed.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

IT'S BLOOMING AT MY HOUSE...


Thanks to my wonderful Sister-In-Law, I have enough roses pieced to finish the centerpieces for my future daughter-in-law's bridal shower.  Each rose consists of 6 separate pieces that have been embroidered on my sewing machine.  With my hand tremors, it can be quite difficult for me to sew on a button, let alone piece together these flowers.  When I decided on these I didn't expect to be doing so much hand sewing.  The instructions said you could glue the pieces, but I just couldn't make the glue work properly.  So hand sewing it had to be!  My Sister-In-Law came over and we had a day of fun stitching in my sewing room.  I think she stuck herself once.  Me...SIX separate punctures.  Thankfully only one bled.  I was careful not to get the blood on the rose, but these roses really are "blood red" so nobody would be the wiser, LOL! 

I will need 8 of these centerpieces for the shower...so I'm half way there!  Then I can fill the favors (which are finished constructing, whew!) and sew a chair cover for the Soon To Be Mrs.!  I sure bit off a lot with this shower, but she is worth every bite of it...and more! 

Off to work on the next one...

Toodles...

Monday, May 28, 2018

Machine Embroidery Tip...


In less than 5 months our Dear Son will be marrying the Love Of His Life.  I will be throwing a Bridal Shower for G at the end of July.  Because of the amount of people, I will be having it catered at an outside venue.  The owner of the banquet hall asked me if I would be providing centerpieces for the tables.  That got me to thinking.  What could I do that would make the centerpieces truly special and show this wonderful young woman just what she means to me?  The answer had arrived months earlier in the form of an email from Embroidery Library.  As the bridesmaids are wearing wine colored gowns, I would embroider a single wine colored flower as the central focus of each floral arrangement.

Oh boy, I had no idea how much work I was facing!  Each flower consists of 6 separate lace sections that need to be sewn together by hand to form the finished product.  I anticipated lots of BandAids in my future, but I had failed to anticipate just how LONG each embroidery would take...and the amount of supplies I would need!  Each embroidered flower uses a almost one 850 yard spool of thread and I was going through Sulky Fabri-Solvy stabilizer like there was no tomorrow!  I had been taught to cut my stabilizer slightly larger than my hoop for each embroidery.  What a waste of stabilizer!


Instead, I cut a LONG strip of stabilizer and hooped it at the top with the remainder adequately supported by my chair.  I embroidered the second largest set of petals.


When that was finished, I simply moved my needle down to the lower portion of the hoop.  I made sure to check the embroidery field for size to make sure it wouldn't stitch over the previous embroidery.


I moved to the far left corner for the smallest embroidery.


By keeping the large piece of stabilizer uncut, I am able to "rehoop" each section closer to the one before...saving stabilizer and money!!!

I have 5 flowers embroidered with a minimum of 3 more to go...although I would prefer 5 more to give me 3 flowers to use in the arrangement in the foyer of the venue.  How many hours until July???

Signed,
Sleepless (BUT EXCITED) in PA

Toodles......


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

STABILIZER SOLUTION...


I don't have much to show you right now because I have been spending all of my free time working on favors and centerpieces for my wonderful future Daughter-in-Law's bridal shower.  One of the things I am sewing/embroidering requires the use of Sulky Fabri-Solve wash away stabilizer.  I found it to be much cheaper buying it "by the yard".  However, when I opened my bag after arriving home I discovered that there was nothing marking the type of stabilizer I had purchased.  Ooooohhhh there are just too many types of stabilizer for me to be able to recognize them on sight! 

I remembered seeing someone use a toilet paper roll to make a label that would wrap around the stabilizer.  Thankfully a cardboard roll had just become available, LOL.  Thirty minutes later it was covered with some funky bright fabric and wrapped around the stabilizer.  A cheap, cute and useful solution!

Toodles...

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Pall Has Lifted and Denim To The Rescue...


This past year has been hard for me.  Really, REALLY hard!  After losing my precious Mom almost thirteen months ago I had basically stopped "living".  Oh, I was going through the motions and doing what I had to do to continue to be there and support my family...but I was just "existing" not LIVING.  For some reason, a few weeks ago all of that changed.  Was it the change in the weather?  The one year anniversary of her death?  A gentle nudge from my family?  I don't honestly know.  Whatever the reason, I feel like a pall has lifted and there is so much living I want to do!

First off...I want to get back to my creating!  I moved my big vacation sewing kit to the floor next to "my spot" on our new furniture and my small travel sewing kit (pictured above) closer to the front door.  I've been taking this kit with me whenever an errand entails "sitting time" and have been producing a few hexies here and there.  At night while watching tv I've been adding the white row to the first hexie diamond.  It feels good!


And speaking of our new furniture, these old pillows just don't match!!!!!  I considered throwing them out or trying to sell them, but then I would have to spend money to replace them.  Nope, not going to happen!  I could try to cut off the tapestry, but I am pretty sure that there is no "form" underneath and all of the fill would come pouring out.  Scratch another idea.  I could make a pretty pillow cover to match the new furniture, but a pillow with colors as rich as these would definitely need more than the usual 100% quilting cotton to cover up the design.  Hmmmm. 

 
What else do I have lots and lots of???  Denim!  It will cover the colors completely and will wear like iron (a necessity in a house where pillows are butt cushions, head cushions, tablet/computer supports, fort walls and the random projectile launched at a family member in a pop up pillow war!) Yes, we have FUN at our house! 


A little bit of slicing and dicing and the center rows of all four pillow covers are taking shape.  Sorry, you can only see two here, LOL. 


I will continue alternating colors to form a courthouse steps block.  I plan to add batting and quilt the front before fashioning an envelope back.  Lots more to do, but I am excited to be making something new for our new furniture...and doing it at NO COST is the icing on the cake!  More to come...

Toodles...

Friday, May 4, 2018

Diffuser Mat Finish...



It took longer than expected, but I am finally finished a mat for my diffusers!


I still need to make a handful of button holders to contain my stash in these cubbies.  One of these days...


Everything back in its place and on to the next project!!!

Toodles...

Saturday, April 21, 2018

AN UNEXPECTED PURCHASE...



Today Dear Hubby and I made a quick trip to Ikea to pick up a few things that he needed for his office.  While I LOVE my sewing room, it's lack of storage is becoming more and more evident as time goes on.  I guess I could just stop buying, LOL, but new techniques seem to require new notions.  So as my quilting knowledge expands, so too does my stuff! 

Above you will see the newly organized corner of my cutting table.  My newest purchase has served my needs nicely...for now.


While winding our way through the Market section of Ikea I spotted this beauty.  I seriously needed something to corral all of my rulers.  My long rulers, large square rulers and instructions for my Dresden and TriRec rulers are housed in the top level...and there is still room to grow!.  The next level down holds my binding tools, dresden rulers and my Tri-Recs.  The blue and gray CD holder keeps all of my small rulers in check.  The travel drive that I hope will one day house all of my machine embroidery patterns (thoughts of organizing them make me tired!) and a pkg of embroidery needles sit nicely up front, though I may pop those into the case that holds my embroidery thread.


I was thrilled to have accomplished so much organization so cheaply!!!  Once again, Ikea comes to the rescue!

Toodles...

Friday, April 20, 2018

I LOST ALMOST TWO WEEKS!


This is where my sewing stood when I last posted several weeks ago.  I was happy to be back in the swing of creating and looked forward to completing my runner and moving on to other things.  Note to self:  NEVER figure out your timeline...it is an open invitation for "Murphy" to throw a monkey wrench into things!


On Sunday, the 8th, my dad had a mini stroke!  He spent a few days in ICU and then was transferred to the telemetry floor.  For the first few days I was so stressed that the thought of a bit of hand sewing to pass the time never even entered my mind!  Once it did, however, I threw my sewing kit into my purse and worked on producing white hexies for another runner in my sewing room. 


When I got home I dove into attaching those hexies to the assorted hexie diamonds I had already completed.  I tried hard to get my mind off of "medical" stuff, but this Facebook post kind of says it all, LOL! 


Dad came home on the 13th and is recuperating nicely.  It has taken a full week for my body to recover from the damage caused by my level of stress.  Today was the first day I had a more "normal" (for me anyway) supply of energy.  I remembered a scone mix that I had seen buried in the pantry.  Breakfast?  Easy, peasy!  Unfortunately the taste was on par with the amount of energy expended!!!  Not too great, ;o(  I think it is time to say goodbye to "convenience" mixes and find myself a few old fashioned recipes like my great grandmother would have made.  Better for our bodies and most definitely better tasting!!!

Toodles...

Friday, March 30, 2018

SOMETHING'S IN THE WORKS...



This is the top of the bookcase/file cabinet in my sewing room.  As you can see, I have a small mug rug under the far left diffuser and salt lamp.  However, as my family and I have begun to discover the health benefits of essential oils, I'm keeping a diffuser filled with my favorite calming scents in one machine and a child's version for my grandson in the other machine. I need a bigger mug rug!!!



Way back when I used a charm pack of "Tea Cakes" to make a cover for my sewing machine and a lumbar pillow to support my back when I'm sewing.  I had a few 6" squares (yes the charm pack was 6", not 5") left, but not very many designs in multiples.  What are my symmetry loving "little gray cells" to do?  (Too much Hercule Poirot in my past I think, LOL.) 


I had all of the charms spread out on my table trying to "come up with something" when my son sat down in my sewing chair and immediately pulled all of the gingham together in a row.  Eureka!  I sewed them together yesterday using pieces of two different charms as the rails between the charms.  I didn't have any more fabric from the Tea Cakes line to make a border so a rummaged through my stash to find something suitable.  This year I am determined not to spend money on fabric unless it is an absolute necessity!  I've sandwiched the runner and am ready to baste and quilt. 

Oh, in case any of you notice...the right hand blue charm is facing the wrong way!  But since I just noticed it NOW, I'm not about to undo it and fix it.  I will just call it an "innovative design feature" and continue on my way.  Perfectionism can be way too overrated, LOL. 

A finished runner coming soon!

Toodles...