Monday, August 23, 2010
Hi, Everyone! I've got lots to talk about since it's been a long while, but I'll try to break it up into bite-sized pieces for you.
The most exciting thing that's happened since I wrote last is vacation! We went back to Binghamton, NY at the beginning of August. We visited friends and family, saw the sights, and attended events. One of the events we attended was the SpiedieFest and Balloon Rally. We were right in the midst of the balloons when they launched, so we didn't miss too much. You can see a few of our pictures here. I bought a wire-wrapped pendant from a vendor there, and saw another vendor who I thought was cool. Visit Kathy at artworkbykd.etsy.com. She does great things with recycled materials, and even her business cards are on recycled material. I saw a pair of Diet Coke earrings that I maybe should have bought. They were heart-shaped dangles and were really cool. I just wasn't sure I'd wear them. Seriously, though - check out her shop.
The main reason we went is because my friend of 17 years was having her wedding reception. They got married in June in a family ceremony, and had a reception in August for all their rowdy friends. ;-) It was great to meet Kim's husband and his two boys (we had private visit time earlier in the week). The reception was fun, the food was great, and it was wonderful to see people I hadn't seen since I moved to Seattle. Thanks, Kim and Don, for a great party, and congratulations!! Love ya!
Another visit that I have to mention was to long time friend Verna. We've known each other since elementary school and had never sat down and had an adult visit. It was great sharing about what our lives looked like these days and she was a very gracious hostess. Thanks, Verna!
We also had a visit with my brother and his wife of almost 3 years (whom we'd not met). We'd also not met their two-year-old daughter, my littlest niece. She kept us entertained on her hobby horse, in the pool, and out for ice cream.
Other activities included a visit with my aunt and uncle, my friends Dale and Mary, eating local food, a local art walk, going to a minor league baseball game, and going to calling hours / visitation for someone I used to go to church with. I was apprehensive about going because I knew I would run into people that I didn't want to run into. But, Thank you Lord, the whole thing was uneventful as far as that was concerned. I got to talk to the widow for a little while - we used to be good friends before I moved away. It was good to see her again - I just wish it had been under better circumstances.
Now that we're back home, we've been busy with work and other things. We just finished a book group at church, I'm back to my workout routine (kinda), and life is hectic once again. I have an event coming up - I have the opportunity to display and sell my jewelry for the month of September at the Curves where I work out. They have a "business member of the month" and it's made it around to my turn. I've known about this for many months - have I done anything to prepare? Not really. I've bought some displays, but I haven't made my poster or signage or anything. And there's a week left and I'm busy both days this weekend. Guess my nights are going to be pretty full for the next week. Tonight I'm going to put price tags on things and figure out my display, and hopefully figure out signage. Friday night maybe I'll work on the poster. I'm kind of writing off tomorrow since I'm working out, and I'm beyond exhausted and brain-fried by the time I work all day and then work out. Friday will be a better day (night). :-)
September promises to be busy for us - we've got something on the calendar every weekend already. How does that happen? Maybe October will be mellower - there are five weekends and no holidays (unless you count Halloween falling on a Sunday). I guess I'm going to have to get up the gumption to get things done on the weeknights in September. I usually save hobby things for the weekends, but that's not working for September - except for....
... QUILT RETREAT! Yes, it's that time again!! In two weeks I'll be madly trying to figure out what to work on in preparation for retreat. I have a project I want to do, but it involves machine embroidery and my embroidery has been behaving badly lately, so we'll see. I'm hoping to run a couple test projects Labor Day weekend and see how they go. Wish me luck! And that reminds me that I need to go buy embroidery thread. It's always something.
Well, I think that's all the news for now. I did this in two sittings, so I have no idea if I captured all I wanted to when I started. :-p Hope everyone is well - drop a note on my Facebook wall if you want to check in. I haven't had much time for Facebook since we got back from vacation, so I'm not up to date on how you all are doing.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
I did manage to get some things sewn and some jewelry made, but haven't gotten around to taking the pictures to list them in my Etsy store. The great news is that I did sell three of my purse organizers to one of my friends! YAY! I do hope they sell on Etsy, too, along with the wine charms I've been making. I need to stock up on things because in September I'm doing a month-long display at the Curves I belong to for the Business Member of the Month. I also have to get signage and display stuff done, preferably before the last minute.
So the highlight of the time since you heard from me was my birthday! Usually it's a rather ordinary day, but a couple of my coworkers found out about it and decorated my cube. I've worked in the same place for years and no one has cared before - I was even going to pay for my own cake for my birthday - but they did a great job decorating and brought me a cake. Chocolate with chocolate frosting! YUM!!!! I was really touched that they went to that effort for little old me. :-) I got some great gifts from friends and family, and had dinner out at my favorite restaurant.
I also signed up for retreat in September, so I have to figure out projects to work on between now and then. ;-) I do have a project that I didn't get to at the May retreat... maybe I'll try to work on that. Or bind these quilts that I had quilted but aren't bound yet. Ugh. I'm so lazy. Or maybe it's all the blind hand stitching I know I'll have to do. Yeah, we'll blame the hand stitching. ;-)
In other news, we have our vacation plans in order, the pet sitter scheduled, and a new suitcase bought that hopefully won't go over the weight limit like our big one does. *rolls eyes* I'm hoping that the less we can take, the less the suitcase will weigh. I'm also more confident that the slightly smaller suitcase will fit in the Aveo we're renting where the big suitcase very well might not fit in the trunk. All these details!
Well, that's about all the news I have for now. "Talk" to you next month (I hope!)! :-)
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
It’s been almost two weeks since retreat, and I haven’t posted an update yet. Mostly because I was waiting until I wasn’t so lazy about posting pictures. ;-) The pictures are now posted and can be found at my Picasa site and the individual links are in the paragraphs below.
I started and finished a quilt top for my couch time. The pattern ended up being a little different than I had planned, so it got longer until it was symmetrical top to bottom (I have a “thing” about balance). So it’s about 48”x88” (long and narrow) and will be great for being under on the couch. I’m contemplating doing some machine embroidery in the white spaces before I have it quilted.
I started and finished a purse from a new pattern I got - it’s a little more fussy than a similar purse I have a pattern for, but I really like how it turned out. I started cutting for another purse from the same pattern Sunday before we left, but didn’t get all the fabric cut and haven’t touched it since. I’m planning on finishing that at sew day on Saturday.
I bought another purse pattern (can you sense an addiction here?) last Saturday when Mom and I were out, and I’m hoping to try that soon, too. I have really nice fabric that I’m going to use, and hope that it all turns out since it will be the first time I’ve made the pattern. It’s not THAT much different than the ones I’ve been making, so I should be okay. I hope. Since I’m using my “good” fabric. ;-)
Since I got back from retreat I’ve been pretty much a tired slug. The week right after I was out almost every night of the week (including Sew Fun where I showed my retreat treasures at show and tell) and then this week I’ve just been a slug and not felt like doing anything. I can’t even get a few pictures uploaded, let alone work on anything fabric or bead related. I’m hoping our little sew day on Saturday will get me in the mood to do more sewing or beading or something besides being on the couch. I haven’t felt like I’ve been getting enough sleep, even though I’ve been working to get more sleep at night.
This weekend if our plans stay, Sunday I’m going to a paper arts festival with my friend Kelli. She has free passes, so why not? I usually don’t stamp or scrapbook unless I’m at a friend’s house for that purpose - I have too many distractions in my craft room. But it’ll be fun to see all the new trends and maybe pick up a few things for future projects. I’ve been working (slowly but surely) on an album of pictures of my late grandmother. The first few layouts I did were really good, and then the ones I’ve done recently have been less than impressive. It’s hard to scrap at someone else’s house because I don’t have all my stuff, yet I won’t do it when I’m at home. *sigh* I can’t win. ;-)
More news and pictures as they become available! Thanks for stopping by!
Thursday, April 29, 2010
I have a quilt (lap size) that I plan on making, and hopefully I'll have enough room on the floor for my "design wall" since I don't know 100% yet how I'm going to lay out the blocks. I'm PRETTY sure I know where I'm going with it, but you never know until you get the fabrics and blocks together how it's going to look. Unless you use Electric Quilt. But that's too much work for me in this case. ;-)
If I have time left over after I get the lap quilt top done, I'm going to either start on a wall hanging (if I can remember what fabrics go where for the block) or make some more purses. I bought a new pattern the other day that's a lot like the Thimbleberries purse (see Purse mania) but it is a little bigger and doesn't have outside pockets. My struggle now is to figure out what fabric I want to use for it out of the many purse fabrics I've purchased lately. ;-) I'm also wondering how many projects I should take. More purses? Different purses? Purse organizers? I don't want to have nothing to do at any given point in time. It's always hard to know how long things are going to take. The quilt I'm doing is a pretty straightforward block, so it shouldn't take me the whole weekend. The wall hanging could take me the whole weekend to figure out my notes and where I was going with it! But it could also frustrate me greatly, and then I'd need something else to work on.
I also have a wallet in work that I might have to take with me to finish up. I'm pretty sure I won't get it done tonight before I need to start packing up for retreat (I haven't even started packing yet). I also want to try the machine embroidery thing on my backpack pocket. Oh, I didn't tell you that story! I got my old XP laptop and Janome to talk, so I tried out a machine embroidery design last weekend, with the Queen of Machine Embroidery (Mom) by my side. The thread broke. And broke. And broke. Adjustment A. Broke. Adjustment B. Broke. On and on to about Adjustment M. I finally after the fourth hooping got the design to stitch with only one thread breakage. So I'm going to try it on real fabric tomorrow when Mom's around and see if it cooperates. I wrote down all the adjustments we made (tension, thread cone position, needle, room temperature, planetary alignment....), so we'll see how it goes. If that goes well, I can finish up that backpack at retreat, too.
I think that's all the news I have for now... I've just been looking forward to retreat for the last couple of days and wanted to let you in on the ramblings in my head about it. ;-) I'll report after I get back, and hopefully have some pictures. The camera is on my list, but will I remember I have it with me??
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Well, I was brave enough to do Show and Tell at Sew Fun this month... for those of you who don't know what that is (and care), it's a monthly seminar with demos of products and techniques relative to sewing, quilting, and machine embroidery. Anyway, we have Show and Tell every time, and this was my first S&T in the year and a half that I've been attending. Partly because all my projects are LARGE (like queen size) and I don't want to haul that to Sew Fun and back, and partly because I rarely finish anything. So I showed off (ha) my backpack purse, my purse organizers, and a purse I made out of Thimbleberries fabric. I've since made another purse (yesterday) that I don't know that I'll make another of. It needs a higher caliber of sewing prowess and patience than I have to make it well enough to give away or to sell, my purse organizer doesn't fit in it, and it doesn't have a closure. But it's a cute style and I'm sure I'll get some use out of it. I may make a second one because I have some fabric DYING to be used and I don't know that I have enough to make a strapped purse. It'll be close - I'll have to check that out.
Here are some links to the pictures of my creations (except the backpack purse - I don't have pictures of that because I'm not thrilled on how it turned out. I'm planning on taking pictures of the second one that's in progress now, just waiting for machine embroidery).
Purse organizer (pattern my The Crochet Diva) and Thimbleberries purse (pattern by Keyka Lou)
Dewdrop Purse (pattern by Keyka Lou)
I found a wallet pattern on Etsy that I really like, but I have a couple reservations. First reservation is that the pattern writer is not a native English speaker. Her English is decent, but I can tell from her product writeups that English is her second language. Second reservation is that there are 48 pages of instructions! This could be good or bad. ;-) I'm still thinking about it. I like the wallet and I think I would use it even though it's a smidge bigger than I would like, but it's got a lot more compartments and is smaller than other wallet patterns out there. I'll probably go for it, but I'm still thinking. :-)
Last weekend Bill and I went up to the Tulip Festival with our friend Kelli, her two boys, and her mother and mother in law. I took over 150 pictures and I don't know how many she got. We usually trade CDs of the pictures we took, too. I took quite a few of her boys because they were entertaining playing in the mud. :-) Here are a few pictures that were taken of the tulips and of us.
Do any of you go to JoAnn Fabrics? If you do, you know that this week was Daffodil Dash - lots of sales and some 50% off coupons! I went on Tuesday before I got my temporary crown put in (that's another story - ugh) and I found some fabric I really liked, but not enough! WHAA! They were also out of the magnetic snaps I wanted for my purses. So yesterday I violated a stay-at-home day and we went to a different JoAnn's and it was SO worth the trip!! Four packages of the snaps I wanted, three yards of the fabric I wanted, plus some fabric for other projects that was all either on sale or I used a 50% off coupon for! YAY! And Bill and I went to Applebee's for dinner. It was an anniversary of sorts - 2 years and 5 months. I wonder when we'll grow out of counting the months? ;-) You may gag now. ;-)
I mentioned a temporary crown... I went for my dental checkup a couple weeks ago and they found some cracks in one of my molars. So I have my first temporary crown, and I asked if getting a crown means I'm a princess now. They got a kick out of that. They tried to tell me that once I get the permanent crown I get to be queen, but I don't want to be queen. Princess is fine. Queens have too much responsibility. ;-) So I go in a week and a half for my permanent crown, and hopefully that will be the last one for a while. Or ever.
Today before our church activities this afternoon and evening, I'm planning on trying to get my old laptop (XP) to talk to my sewing machine and transfer some embroidery designs. I'm guessing that my Janome is a Vista snob since I couldn't get my new laptop to talk to it, no matter what patches I installed or what things I tried. I have an email out to Tech Support - we'll see if they have any other ideas that the forum didn't address. Hopefully XP will do the trick - we shall see! It'll be slow, but it might just work. If that goes well, I might do some sewing today, too. If it doesn't go well, I'll probably go in a corner and pout. ;-) Nah, I'll probably sew anyway. I've got a few hours before I have to think about getting ready, and I might be able to whip up a purse in that amount of time.
Thanks, everybody, for reading my ramblings! Let me know if you like the links to the pictures or if you'd rather see pictures in the blog itself. I was being lazy this time, but I am able to share more pictures this way. I'm just curious how it works out for the readers.
Have a great day / week / month until I blog again! :-)
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I've been bitten by the sewing bug lately, and I've even been thinking about making some sewn items for my Etsy shop. I have a purse organizer pattern that I really like (I've made 2 so far) and the latest purse I made came out pretty well for a first attempt. I also have patterns for little pouches and business card wallets that would be great accessories, as well as another purse that I haven't tried yet. The backpack purse is really fussy, and I wouldn't be able to charge enough to sell it. Nor could I come close to getting it "shop" quality. Not that my other stuff is perfect or even outstanding, but this bag is pushing my comfort zone significantly. Plus to sell it I'd have to make the straps adjustable, and I am so not going there.
I have a bracelet I need to make to sell to have something new in my shop, but between my recent sewing spree and my limited time when I'm not sewing, it hasn't gotten done. It'll be beautiful when I do, though! ;-) It's similar to a bracelet I made for myself that has been getting some nice comments. I also have some beads I ordered that need a home (and more things on order), so we'll see. I just know it won't be this week since it's a manic week anyway. Something going on every night this week plus both days of the weekend. And it's baseball season again, which means I may not get anything constructive done until October or November! ;-) GO MARINERS!!!!
I have a quilt retreat coming up in a few weeks, so I've been trying to decide what to take to work on. I have one quilt that needs the binding sewn on, and may have another if it's back from the quilter by then. Those will keep me occupied for a few hours. I also found some fabric I bought about a year ago with a block pattern that I must have meant to be a quilt, so I can get started on that. That's if I finish the wall hanging that I also bought fabric for a year ago and now I can't tell where I was going with it, even though I have the measurements and the pattern with the fabric. Which fabric was which in the pattern? Did I buy backing and binding? Where are my instructions on a mitered border? Oh, brother. Retreat could be interesting. But it sounds as if I won't have to wonder what to work on since the wall hanging will take me forever to figure out and the other quilt is a large lap size (since I have a large lap, hee hee). Yep. I should be able to entertain myself from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon.
As I said, I'll post again once I have some pictures to show, and if not before, I'll have to give you a retreat report (that will be the first week of May at the earliest). Until then....
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Well, it wasn’t easy, it wasn’t always fun, but I have another quilt top and backing DONE! YAY! I’m giving it to the quilter on Saturday. It doesn’t look like the picture in all regards because the one in the picture looked good hanging, but I hated how it looked on the bed. So the side borders are wider than the bottom border, but I don’t care because it looks better on the bed with a longer side border. It wasn’t as wide as I wanted it to be, but measure twice, cuss once, what can ya do? They say done is better than perfect, and it’s a good thing, because it’s far from perfect. I’ll try to remember to post pictures once it’s quilted and on the bed.
I’ve also decided that I’m no longer going to make a quilt backing that requires three widths of fabric. UGH! It’s either going to be a lap quilt (no bigger than 76” wide) or I’m buying the 108” backing fabric. :-\ Talk about a beast of a piece of fabric to try to tame!
So it’s on to something smaller and less in my comfort zone... a backpack purse! I finally bought the Cindy Taylor Oates Backpacks book and I’ve been studying it to see if I can get it to make sense. I think it’s starting to (after about a week or so of reading through it). I started cutting yesterday for the first one, and funny things happen when you change the pattern... you end up with not enough fabric! BOOGERMUFFINS! So I dove into my limited stash of fat quarters and found one that though it’s a little more flowery than I was planning on using, the colors match VERY well. Now I have a problem because I’m planning on making another one just like it with two other sets of fabrics, and I probably don’t have enough. So it’s back to the fabric store. After I prove to myself that I can make this thing, I have some really nice fabric coordinates that I’ve been looking for a special occasion to use, and I think this is it. Pictures will be available should the project come out nicely.
I also have some ideas brewing for a quilt project I set aside last year because I got frustrated and discouraged (a common syndrome with me), so we’ll see if I can make that come to fruition. I just hope I don’t have to buy any more fabric. I’ve already invested way too much and I don’t even know if the fabric is still available since it’s been over a year. I just looked and it seems to be - at least it’s coming up in the product search. That’s encouraging. The quilt is still going to have some elements that look like a three-year-old pieced it together, but it’s going to a non-quilter, not the Quilt Police, so we’ll hope for the best. :-)
I have been making some jewelry here and there, mostly for me, though. Hard to make money that way. Click this link to see a necklace that I made one for me and one to sell. I made matching earrings, too, but they’re a bit much next to the necklace, so I’m not sure what to do with that information.
Well, I think that’s about all the excitement I have for you this time around. I’ll post pictures as things progress (assuming they progress well, tee hee) and keep you posted (assuming I don’t get discouraged and want to give away all my fabric stash again). :-)
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Work has been really busy this past week - I've gone from second gear to fifth gear pretty much overnight. I've forgotten how to multi-task because I haven't had to in so long. But busy at work is good - that means that I have a job and that I have meaningful work to do and the day goes by faster than when things are slow and I'm looking for things to do (like cleaning out my files. Ugh.).
I haven't been doing as much crocheting this week, but I did get four bracelets made on Tuesday night. I'm supposed to be doing beading as I'm writing this, but instead I squandered the morning (and part of the afternoon) on the computer. I think I've done about all I had in mind on the 'puter, so it might be almost time to set it aside and do some beading. I got some great beads last week that I'm really looking forward to playing with, but I want to do something creative - I do a lot of bracelets and earrings - I'd like to do a necklace. I have a sketch in my head, but when I try to apply beads and findings, it never seems to match what's in my head. I've always had that problem.
Speaking of art never turning out in reality the way it is in my head, I had a fun experience last week. My Dad sent me my school papers and art that he had from before I started school through second grade. I got to read stories and poems I wrote (and we laughed really hard) and I got to see some of my artwork that my Mom could tell what it was supposed to be better than I could. Still trying to figure that one out. I did find some paintings I did when I was three that are actually suitable for framing (if you're a fan of abstract art). I've come to the conclusion that the age of three was when I peaked as an artist. I tried painting about 5 years ago and it looked like it was done by a two year old. Obviously I've not progressed in my painting skills since then. ;-) Though I didn't try anything abstract... maybe that was my problem? I wonder if I could sell prints of my paintings on Etsy? I painted them, after all. ;-)
Speaking of Etsy, I should probably go grab a snack and then play with some beads. Thanks for reading, and feel free to drop me a comment and let me know what's new in your zoo!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
One of the downsides of being sick is that I haven't been to Curves in about 4 weeks. Now that my cough is almost gone, I'm planning on heading back this coming Monday. I haven't been weighing myself, but I must not have gained all my 40 pounds back over the holidays because my clothes still fit and people are telling me how good I look. Now I'm feeling pressure, though, knowing that people are noticing (and "watching"), if you know what I mean. I can't fail! AUUUGHHHH!!! But failing is what I do best! ;-)
We went to Minnesota for a week over Christmas, and in spite of my being sick and Bill's Mom also being under the weather, we had a good time. This was my first Helgeson Christmas, and it was an adventure. :-) No, really, it wasn't bad at all. A little chaotic, but chaos is sometimes fun to watch. Christmas we went over to Bill's sister's house and about 25 of us gathered to sing carols, hear the Christmas story from the Bible, and of course, eat and open presents! We were about 11 people short of the typical number as the blizzards kept some away. Next time we go maybe the weather will be more cooperative to the west. Speaking of weather, it was WONDERFUL! It wasn't so cold that I thought I was going to die (I'm so acclimated to the Northwest) - in the 20s most of the time we were there. That's a heat wave for December in MN! :-) We had some snow but it didn't hold back the seasoned MN drivers that we rode with. It was pretty, especially knowing we could stay inside most of the time an d just watch the snow fall.
I've been bitten by the crochet bug recently, making things from shawls to ponchos to reusable coffee cup sleeves for those Starbucks trips and for our church that serves coffee and tea before the service (in a different size cup than Starbucks, I might add). I haven't been too inspired to create any more jewelry this new year, but I'm hoping that the better I feel, the more creative I'll get. I also may find my crochet niche and list some crocheted items on Etsy, but I don't think I've found it yet. The coffee cup sleeves are great, but I haven't made one that I've been happy enough with to sell yet (plus I don't have the right size cup to measure yet). My gauge is ALWAYS off on crochet things... must be the goofy way I crochet. ;-) I see these tutorials on YouTube and I see how the rest of the world crochets.... how did I get such a freaky technique? Oh, well. It works for me. Except for the gauge thing. But that's why there are other size hooks. ;-)
Bill and I have been attending a new (to us) church since late November or early December. We're going to their membership class next weekend and have signed up for a growth group together, so we're getting more and more involved. They have a Sunday evening service, too, so that frees us up to visit Bill's "home" church once a month or so in the morning and not miss anything at the new church since we can go in the evening. So far we really like the pastor - the messages are down-to-earth, relevant, and Bible-based. Just what we were looking for. Hopefully one of these days we'll learn the worship songs that they play - they do some obscure ones that you rarely hear on the radio and some things that they've written themselves, so it's hard to get traction if you want to sing along. But there have been a couple that I've known or been able to follow along a little bit... just not as much as I'm used to.
Well, I think that about sums up the last month. Hopefully I'll have something exciting to blog about one of these days. Until then, you get to hear about my mundane life. ;-)