Thursday, February 14, 2013

So, I have this new friend. Her name is Nicole. You will love her. I promise.

A few months ago, I saw on Facebook that there had been some more than the "norm" activity from 1 Choice 4 Quilting. Let me tell you, I was OVER THE MOON excited that Shawna was back at it. All I could think was "FINALLY!" Well. Did I ever get the shock of the century. It wasn't Shawna. It was this new girl, Nicole. I was like - Nicole? Nicole who? Where is Shawna? SOMEONE EXPLAIN!!!

In response to my outrage (not really, just quiet curiosity) I received an email from Nicole. She introduced herself and asked MY opinion. Mine. On what she should stock. Now I was REALLY confused. I will admit, this email was read in the middle of the night and I had to read it twice to figure out what was going on. Yeah, I can be a bit dense at 3am... Nicole had BOUGHT 1Choice4Quilting. As in purchased it. New owner. I was so excited for her (when I finally figured it out!)!!! I of course responded with all the fabric I love!!! Sis BoomBari J.Art Gallery, more Riley Blake, and of course, I insisted that she try and get some Robert Kaufman, specifically the Dr. Seuss lines and Kona solids. I know. I gave her a hefty list - especially since it was our first set of communications... I think she may have been a bit overwhelmed. It took her  a few days to get back to me. She looked up everything and agreed! A shop owner AGREED with me. (Back-story on why this is significant in my life: my LQS is lovely, however full of fabric that I really can't see myself stashing or loving forever...and will not contemplate ordering "modern" fabrics. Sad day.) I was over the moon! This led to many emails exchanged.

Through those emails, I found a new friend. It feels good to know that there are REAL people on the other side of the internet. While I hadn't been on Facebook much, I saw Nicole post from the 1Choice4Quilting page that the next 11 orders would receive a special surprise in their package. I KNEW I had missed it, but on the off chance, I figured why the heck not. I needed something to ignite my oomph again - I was feeling kinda stagnant.

This is what I found: Mini charms of Ticklish and Noteworthy
Honey Honey charm pack
two sweet notes 
AND they all came wrapped in the packages to avoid water issues (hello Winter!)

I cannot wait to start making granny squares out of the minis... And I may do grannies from the regular charms... I'll let you know how that works out! 

Nicole, ever generous, has agreed to sponsor a giveaway! The way to get in on the goods is to click on the icon to the right and look through her current stock and coming soon to see which charm pack you would like to add to your stash. So, you click, browse, come back and leave a comment telling us which charm pack you would like to stash. Easy peasy. And I am not going to require that you be a "follower" - we are NOT sheep! If you like what you see, then yes, please follow for more enlightenment at a later date. If you are here for the giveaway, GOOD LUCK! Giveaway will close at 5pm Pacific time on Wednesday February 20th (which just happens to double as my birthday. So, for MY birthday you have the chance to get a present!) Please make sure to leave your email either in your comment or on your blog profile. 

If I were to win (and no, I can't win), I would choose 
...just sayin! 

*Giveaway is OVER! (Yes, it ran late... You can thank being super sick and having sick kiddos for the extra days!)*

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Installing Magnetic Snaps.

Installing. It makes one sound like a plumber or an electrician.  And in theory, once you master installing a snap, you are a serious professional. Seriously.

On one of the groups I belong to on Facebook (Hi ladies!) someone asked about using magnetic snaps and if they were easy to install. Holy moly. Are they ever. IF you have had practice and IF you have someone to teach you. I did not have someone to teach me. I muddled through it and thought I was really hot stuff and then figured out that hey... I really wasn't. My snap stunk like a skunk. If you think skunks stink. If you don't then you and my three year old will be eternal BFFs. I know. I question her sanity daily. The two pieces didn't match up - AT ALL. AND when I had them match up - making my bag REALLY wonky - when I went to open the bag, one pulled through ruining the bag. Needless to say, I scrapped that bag (literally - it is now part of the make-up zippies that my sisters received for Christmas a couple years ago) and started reading blogs. Yeah. That didn't help.

What REALLY helped was the instructions in Bari J.'s Springtime in Paris Pocketbook pattern. She is brilliant! She has you fold the prongs IN instead of OUT. Genius, right?! AND she has you use plastic canvass. It really is worth the 25 cent investment for a sheet. You can do MANY snaps with it. It is way useful for other stuff too, but we will get to those things in another blog post.

Alright. Here we go. The How-To.

Gather all of your implements.

For this bag I was finishing up a project for my friend - finished product photo will be at the end. We were using this tutorial from the Riley Blake Designs - Cutting Corners feature. If you haven't visited, you should. There are tons of great tutorials. 

So, according to the pattern/tutorial, mark your snap location. They will most likely have you find the center - if they do - MARK IT! I use a straight pin to make it very clear where to put my ruler to measure down. 

After you have clearly marked where the rectangle portions of the washer go, take your embroidery scissors and CAREFULLY cut through the interfacing (this bag was made with Pellon Fusible Fleece) and the cotton (or whatever fabric your bag is made out of). Be VERY careful. I cannot stress this enough. It really is the pits when you make an oops while cutting the slits for the snap. 

After you have cut your slits, its time to make your plastic canvass backing. This gets sandwiched between the interfacing and the washer with the snap tabs coming through both pieces from the right side of the fabric. I have found that having one row all the way round that is undisturbed works best for me. I have seen many people make the plastic canvass piece huge. It just feels unnecessary to me. I use my embroidery scissors to cut the plastic because they can get into the little space and trim the flange away.

Make your sandwich with the snap coming through, then the plastic canvass, then the washer...

Here is where it gets sneaky! Fold the tabs IN on the washer. We have been conditioned to fold them out from using brads, but trust me. It is one less thing for the fabric to move against and snag on. Fold those suckers IN. Sometimes I need to use a hard surface and a butter knife to get them to fold in. 
Following all the steps again, install the snaps onto BOTH sides. A bag with a one sided magnetic snap is just asking for trouble. 

Here you can see the snaps completely installed, and by the looks of it, I had put the lining and outside together and top stitched. Which means I was almost finished with the bag when I took this photo! Yay!

And here it is. Literally finished MINUTES before Cristen & crew left to surprise her 5yo daughter with a trip to Disney. As in, I threw the kids in their carseats (yes, I buckled them in, what kinda parent do you think I am?!), put a hoodie and flip flops on, drove it down the street, and pulled up as she was packing the car. 

So. There ya have it. Magnetic snap instillation. If you have any questions, please ask. =) I don't mind answering! Really. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Quilt (ON) My Phone.

No. Really. There is a quilt on my phone. Isn't there one on YOUR phone?! If there is not a quilt on your phone, there should be.

Let us state clearly that I am the proud parent of a very vivacious three year old that REALLY likes to throw things and a 10 month old that thoroughly enjoys teething on technology. By technology I do indeed mean my cell phone. Honestly, I don't really know how the little bugger gets it. He is like a ninja - swift and silent - and very, very drooly.

A few months ago, okay, so maybe more like almost a year ago... Cathleen from Quilt My Phone had told me to let her know what phone I wound up with. I cannot believe it has been a year! Good grief! Well, I himmmed and hawwwed about which phone I REALLY wanted and wound up with the spiffy Samsung Galaxy S III. I caved. It really is an awesome phone, however this is not a blog post about my phone. Well, kind of.

A few days later, this showed up on my doorstep. Literally. I was carrying the baby in from the truck and almost stepped on it. Silly postman.

As I mentioned, I have two small children. They are rough on expensive things like phones... (hence why we have the plan with the free phone replacement...). I am NOT the most graceful of gals and tend to stumble and drop things (again another reason why we have the plan with free phone replacement...) I have bounce tested my phone in this case in the house - both on carpet and hardwood, in the driveway - both on the cement and in a rather large pile of leaves, walking down the street with the fore mentioned three year old - it was stepped on in this instance (WHOOPS!) and totally lived!!! It was dropped from my parent's back porch - about 35 feet up... long drop, long story. It has fallen off the roof of the truck - luckily it bounced out of the way of the tires...

So, seriously. You should go have your phone quilted. I am rough on phones. I am not gentle. I am not overly cautious, I wont keep it on a leash. Both my phone and my case have survived everything they have gone through together and have remained together AND undamaged.

Now. The next choice is to figure out which one I want next... Quilt (ON) My Phone that is!

*Disclaimer: These opinions are my own. I was not asked for them, paid for them, or asked to dance a jig for them. I do love chatting with Cathleen - both via email: and on twitter: @quiltmyphone

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mission: Organization pt. 1

Part One: Acknowledging and Admitting the Weakness

I am horribly disorganized. There. That bit is out in the open. I have TONS of great ideas, TONS of trains running on how to get organized, but alas, they all become more than a bit derailed. This week I have been really focusing on getting organized and writing down all the ideas I have to make it happen. Yesterday, I took the plunge. Yes, it has carried over into today as well. I know I have a very long, very difficult battle with making this happen, but I am so tired of the stress and anxiety that comes with not being organized in my home, my crafting, and our family finances. It is even more imperative that I force coerce my husband into being organized with me. It is quite difficult to maintain organization all by one's self when in reality there are two able bodied adults in this household.

To begin with, no more going to bed with dishes from dinner or the day in the sink. Getting up to a dirty kitchen just sets my day spinning in the wrong orbit  way too early in the day. Also, all dirty clothes will be taken out to the laundry every morning. No more days of laundry piled in baskets waiting to go out. I have two capable feet and two capable arms with fully functional hands on the ends of each. And lo and behold, so does my husband. We CAN do these two things.

This week I will be creating a cleaning schedule. Have I mentioned that I really don't like cleaning? It doesn't evoke a sense of catharsis for me. It is definitely not enjoyable (no joke - I heave each time I clean a toilet - I have no idea why, it just happens), however the feeling of accomplishment when I have scrubbed down the bathroom (toilet too!) seriously outweighs the thought of being embarrassed if someone comes to visit and has to use said bathroom.

Over the last couple of days I have been pouring over Pinterest, using the search feature, going through the boards of bloggers, mommies, and whomever else has anything that is labeled as "organization" of some sort or another. I never would have thought to axe the classic filing system - you know - the ugly filing cabinet that you are constantly buying hanging folders for?! - and put everything in a binder for the year. Ever. On Friday I made us a 2013 household binder modeled after the one found here. I added a tab for menu planning and household/property projects as well as another for automobile servicing/upkeep.

This week, I will be planning my personal monthly goals - including crafting outside of my comfort zone, wading through all of my crafting supplies (let me tell you, there will be tears!), and getting a real plan of action around getting healthy written down, blogged, and a crew of peeps to help hold me accountable. I also want to have a running list of what bags, quilts, clothing I'd like to make. And yes, I am doing all of this old school with a pen, pencil, and paper. I have found that if I write it down, it is much more likely to get done. Not if I type it into a list, but actually write it down in one of the two notebooks that are ALWAYS in my handbag, on my laptop, on my table, kitchen counter, night stand, etc.

Tomorrow I will be fancying up a bulletin board for the kitchen/dining room/next to the back door/strange space that is ugly to hold an envelope for coupons, our monthly family calendar that has appointments and birthdays on it, and our meal planning calendar. If you don't meal plan, you really should. I mean REALLY should. We save so much $$ when we shop for meat when it is on sale and plan out how we are going to use it. This week I will be working on a blog post about this... a real post, with real ideas and real links to awesome recipes. Tomorrow I will also be sharing with the world wide web some reflections of a cell phone case (It would have been done already, but I lost my camera - yes, I misplaced my fancy Cannon - yes I found it. THANK GOODNESS!!!)

So, friends, readers, haters, whomever... be ready to be my sounding board and my "holding you accountable" committee.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Bright Sunshiney Bag

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a friend from college (I heart Facebook!). Now, I didn't have classes with her, but I met her while I was in college. I met her entire family. They are THE BEST. The Richardsons are a major part of what I miss the most about living in Humboldt County.

She had seen my post about making handbags for sale and let me tell you, if Facebook messaging could talk, it would have been very excited. Donna asked me to create a gift for her sister-in-law to make Church easier with her five boys. (Yes, I said FIVE BOYS - Bless them.) So, without further fuss...

For Melissa

I love the way this bag came out. Melissa, from the bottom of my heart, I hope you enjoy your package of Sunshine! Donna, Thank you for believing in my craft and supporting this now stay-at-home-mamma!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I'm REALLY okay. Promise.

If you hadn't heard, SURPRISE! As of December third I have found myself joining the thousands, if not millions, of unemployed Americans residing in the state of California. THAT will be a post for a different day.  

I'd be lying if I told you that my feelings weren't hurt. I'd be lying to you and to me. I really try hard not to do that. It gets very messy with even more hurt feelings. In less than five minutes my life, the lives of my children and husband changed forever. 

While employed, I was a hot mess. Really. I presented VERY well, but I was a hot mess. I was constantly stressed, woke every morning with a tension headache, ground my teeth like nobody's business. I would come home from work and instantly want to hide in my Cave. I could find no joy in being home, in being with my children, in being with my spouse. (Yes, I do like my husband - I know, you at some point have probably heard me complain about him - but REALITY CHECK - EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE has a gripe about their spouse - it may never be said out loud, but there is a dialogue somewhere that you have with someone else or with yourself fussing about your spouse.) I had a constant feeling of never being good enough for my job, my husband, or my children. We won't even mention the issues I had being a consistent friend. I have lots of guilt on that one, and am so incredibly sorry that friendships suffered while I was stuck in the mire. 

When still reeling in the news, I made the appropriate phone calls: husband, mom, the couple of friends that had kept up with me even though I was horrid at returning the favor. I cried. I cried and gave myself a nasty headache. I HATE crying just for that reason. If I could cry like a garden spout and never get the headache, I'd cry all the time! By the time I made it home, I was much more composed. I hugged my husband, hugged my daughter who was home sick from school, and kissed my baby. I crunched some numbers and went and paid a month ahead on as many bills as I could. Now, we won't be flush. There will be very little "fluff" in the budget - if any at all... but we will be fine. 

What prompted this post? A former co-worker texted me to make sure I was okay and that it was okay for us to be friends. I had to read that message repeatedly. I even teared up. Someone I worked with wanted to be my friend IN REAL LIFE. I took a deep breath and responded with a very long text - you know, the kind that turn into MMS messages? - the long and the short of it was that I am really okay. I thanked her profusely for reaching out and assured her that friendship does not live within the confines of employment and the only change, really, is that the friendship will have to have effort put into it - it won’t be a convince anymore. 

So, there we have that simple caveat. REAL LIFE. My friend Adam re-posted/shared/whatever! a story on Facebook. Here we have gotten to the instigator for this post. Don't get me wrong, I had been planning on writing this, just not this soon. This is what he posted: 

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the
 students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded
with a unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents
into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.The students laughed..

'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things---your family, your children,
your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.. The sand is everything else---the small stuff.

'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.' The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

So. There it is. My mayonnaise jar was so full of pebbles that the golf balls were getting shoved out of the way. 

My kids are no longer a chore. My husband makes me laugh again. I haven't woken up with a tension headache in 12 days. TWELVE DAYS! It is awesome. I am sure it won't always be chocolates and roses, however, right now, I'm going to LIVE REAL LIFE. 

I'm REALLY okay. Promise.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

For Brenda

You know, as a crafter and sewist I always dreamed of having someone who honestly wanted to buy something that I made. Not just someone buying it to be nice, but because they fell in love with it. It happened once - a total fluke. Some lady offered to buy my handbag (like my third one that IMO was NOT the best constructed - which I pointed out) so, I sold it to her, right there on the spot. I dumped everything in my into a grocery sack. The nice lady's eyes bout popped out of her head when she saw how much I had in it... I was mortified, she was impressed! I told her $40, she handed me $60 and told me I deserved it. Awesome day. Shopped with a grocery sack as a handbag for the rest of the day. (I just happened to be in Petaluma at the Outlets... hahaha!)

Well. It happened again a couple weeks ago. My friend Brenda saw my handbag and wanted it. On the spot. Offered me cash. I couldn't part with that particular one, but I did tell her if she was serious I would make her one. She said text me what you're thinking for fabric. Well, after getting over my severe anxiety, I did just that. I had some gorgeous Sis Boom laying stashed in the cupboard and I knew she would love it. When I texted her the picture, her "I love it! What are you making??" sealed the deal (she is one of those gals that basically very bluntly will tell you when you have lipstick on your teeth). When I responded with "your handbag" she sent back a "oooooooo yay...awesome!" It was a little exhilarating to have someone excited to BUY something I was making.

So, for Brenda:

I cannot wait to see her for delivery! Come on, Friday!!