A Little About a Lot of Things

Archive for the ‘Sewing’ Category

I’m here, but it’s been way too long since I felt like posting.  It’s a combination of reasons, let me give the condensed version:

When we got back from Massachusetts, I knew my father was not well.  He had been battling cancer and doing treatments that made him quite ill.  I planned to go to Alabama to visit when G left to go back north.  My brother went to see Dad over Thanksgiving and said he was doing pretty well, was able to eat and was up and about somewhat.   That there was no need to dash right out there.  So it was decided I’d go the following weekend and stay a few days.  The day before I was to leave, I got a call saying to get there ASAP, that he wasn’t doing well at all and may not make it through the night.  So I rented a car (remember I hadn’t driven my truck in months and I wasn’t sure of it) and left with my Google map in hand.  I hadn’t even gotten out of town when I got a call saying he had passed.  I turned around and went to be with my brother.

After that, I was just kinda out of it.  I loved my dad, he was an amazing man.  But we weren’t really close, like “called just to say hi” kind of close.  I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years at this point.  So there is a lot of guilt to deal with.  I wanted to write about him and every time I started, I would just cry.  So I didn’t.  And here we are, seven months later, and I still can’t write about him and his impact on my life.  Maybe soon…I want to share what a good man he was, the things he taught me, the way he had of making everything okay, even when you never thought it would be again.

I started working from home in January, taking customer service calls for a major tax software company, then after tax season, a major home improvement store.  It’s a 15 step commute, I love it!  Right now I am between clients, but will be selecting another to train for soon.

Sewing has consisted of a little here and there, it’s hard to sew when you’re on the phone hours at a time.  I did make a couple of quilts, pretty happy about them.  When I get pics, I’ll put them up so you can see.  I’m working slowly on another that I’m quite pleased with.  I’ve let my Etsy and Artfire stores go, but am slowly retaking pictures of items to restock.  In the meantime, I’ve relisted some stuff and actually added a couple of new things.

G came back from Massachusetts in early March and is now working down south, but comes home every weekend, so it’s not too bad.  We get a lot of riding in on the weekends, but it’s so hot, we wait til later in the day of we can’t get out early.  The American Legion Riders Poker Run on May 8th was great, it was for The Wounded Warrior Project and we donated $19,000 to the Project.  We’ve done a couple of other rides for local folks who fell on hard times and attended a benefit last weekend.  It’s great to see how the biker community comes together to help when needs arise.

I’m gonna try to post more regularly, and am still working on the post about my dad.  It’s good to know that some of you still drop by every now and then, hopefully there will be new stuff to see very soon!

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We don’t have an exact date yet, but G says within the next two weeks!  Hurray!  I’ve really loved New England and have met some great people, but it’s time.  The weather is turning cold and dreary, the beautiful leaves are little more than a colorful carpet and I miss my kitties!  G still has some work on the Huntington bridge (redoing the bridge deck and asphalt and some steel repair) and when it’s complete, we’re loading up and going home.

On another note, I’ve been working hard at my store on Etsy and have had six sales since opening!  Two were from Yamilette, but that’s okay-a sale is a sale!  I’m pretty excited about it, I didn’t know how it was gonna go.  When I get home I know I can add more items, sewing here is a slower process that I’m used to.  It’s really hard not to have all my favorite toys and tools here and it makes it less efficient.  Here’s a few of the things that have sold:

A large Buttercup Bag that was bought by Yamilette

Large Buttercup Bag for Yamilette

This was a custom order for Yamilette for a Coupon Holder to match her purse:

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Here’s Cosmetic/Toiletries bag that I copied from the one I take when I travel, only larger:

Large Cosmetic Bag

That one sold within a day of listing it-I was so surprised!  There’s a couple more, but these were my faves.

I’ve got a lot to do in the next week, getting ready to go home.  Gotta pack (yuk) and figure out where to put all this stuff I’ve accumulated since I’ve been here.  It’s only another two boxes of sewing stuff, but there is only so much room in the truck.  Remember that G was here in June and came back to Florida to pick me and the bike up?  Well, my stuff barely fit in the cab of the truck coming back, and he only had an overnight bag in it then.  I may actually have to ship a couple of boxes-I have acquired a bit of a stash since getting here!  We do have the trailer, but the Springer takes up most of it.  I may be able to tuck a few small bags here and there-extra padding, right?

I need to go back to Webs and get some yarn.  Their prices are so good, I hate not to bring some home.  Of course, I have hardly worked on my socks since I got the sewing machine, but still…I may want to knit when I’m home.  Or on the 18-20 hour drive back.   Another trip to Osgood’s in also in order.  There are quite a few fabrics I want to take home.  I haven’t bought them yet because of the storage issue in the hotel room, but I can just ship them since I won’t be needing them before I leave.  I think my credit card is gonna get quite a workout in the near future!

It’s been a good time in Massachusetts, and I hope to come back in the spring with G to finish the other three bridges.  At least we’ll know the area and have some friends up here.  A few of them are threatening to come to visit us in Florida when the snow gets deep.  That would be fun, if they can handle the heat!

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I’m so excited  I just had to share!  I listed a couple of things in my shop tonight and went I went back to edit the description on one and it was gone! Not like on another page, but just not there. So I was looking at the shop details on craftcult and saw it showed 1 sale. Yay me! I’ve already printed the label and got it ready to ship. Someone is going to have this little cutie:
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I’m probably more excited than  should be, but this is too cool.  I’ve never sold anything online before (other than ebay a few years ago).  Hopefully, this will jump start things for me.

Last week I was out and about a little, but it’s late and I will post about it with pics tomorrow.

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The last week or so I’ve been working on a baby quilt.  It’s for one of my daughter’s friends who is due in December.  The push was because “the girls” are having the shower early so everyone can attend.  “The Girls” have all been friends since middle school and this is the first one to have a child.  It amazes me that they are in their late 20’s and are still as close as ever.  I can’t even remember some of the people I hung around with in middle school, much less keep in touch and maintain a friendship!  So this is special, I’ve know the mom-to-be for quite a while.  It’s far from perfect, but is sure is soft!  I used Snuggle flannel for the patchwork front and dotted Minky for the back.  Rather than quilt it (which I am SO not good at) I tied it with double strands of tapestry yarn.  Here’s the fabrics:

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The tutorial came from happythings, the fabric from Joann’s.  I love the striped one!  Here is the finished quilt:

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I actually finished it a couple of days ago, but the weather hasn’t been nice at all and taking pics in the hotel wasn’t working.  So when the sun came out today, I went down to the patio to take a few.  Here’s a better look at the blocks:

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Pay no attention to the misaligned squares, I don’t think baby Lyla will mind.  She’ll just be enjoying the cuddliness of them!

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Overall, I’m happy with it.  I took it down to the hotel laundry and Carol ran it through a wash and dry cycle for me so I could be sure that the ties were secure and any shrinkage was done.  (I did prewash the fabrics, but not the batting.  It didn’t shrink, even though it was cotton.)

It’s nothing fancy, but it’s about all the quilting ability I have!  And it was made with a lot of love for the mom it’s going to, so maybe that will make up for the not-so-perfect stitching.

I’ve been working a couple of days a week, so haven’t been sewing too much this week.  I made a triangle side bag based on one I saw on Craftster, and a wallet to match.  I used some fabric I picked up at Joann’s.  I’ve had a lot of compliments on it and have sold two wallets and one similar bag to a bartender at the restaurant next door to our hotel.  Here’s the one I still have:

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Edited on 9-16-09: Here’s the link on Craftster-I just found it again this morning!  Cosmetic Bag by jloveg

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You probably recognize the wallet as a variation of the Sweet Young Girl’s Wallet from Heart of Mary.  I didn’t need all the card holders, so I made a flap pocket at the top to put my ID and debit card in.  I used velcro to close it since snaps don’t work so well for me.  I like it because the wristlet is big enough for my cell phone, the matching wallet, a pack of cigarettes and a few small things.  There’s a pocket inside and a key leash.  Since it is fairly small, I almost left out the key leash, but am glad I didn’t.  Because of it’s small size, it’s hard to find anything-you have to take it all out to get something on the bottom!

Since G was off Saturday, Sunday and today, we’ve been out riding.  We went out for a couple hours Saturday when I got off work, but yesterday we spent most of the day on the bike.  I wish I had taken pictures, it was so beautiful up in the mountains.  But I still get really nervous on those twisty, turny roads, especially going downhill.  So mostly I just try to look at the scenery and not at the road ahead.  I am getting better though, I only got really nervous once when we came to the crest of a hill and it was really steep going down with a sharp turn at the bottom.  We rode with one of the cops that do traffic control on G’s bridge and he knows all the roads up here.  We went to a little restaurant for lunch and look what we saw when we parked:

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That’s Spike, a well travelled Jack Russell.  We talked to his owners for a bit and they showed up how the bag is set up.  Spike has a harness on and inside the carrier there are snap hooks to keep him from jumping out.  The end unzips to unhook him so he can go have lunch or take a walk of whaever.  He’s a very mellow dog and his “mom and dad” were great.  They don’t take him on long trips in the carrier, but he rides in their truck all the time and has been to more states than I have!!

Today I worked until noon, then G and I just hung out for a few hours.  It’s so nice for him to have a a couple days off-he’s been working 7 days a week for quite a while.  We went an a short ride and stopped at a diner for a bite to eat since The Delaney House was closed today.  Then just came back to the hotel and hung out on the patio for a while.  He’s been really tired (13-14 hours a day for 19 days in a row will do that to you!) and was happy to just relax and ride this weekend.  Gotta say, it’s nice to have him around for a while.

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It isn’t easy, but it is possible!   Our bed is very high, so I have storage under it.  I picked up two plastic boxes and can store a lot in them.  The thrift store stash is in the suitcase I brought and the machine goes behind the sofa when I’m done.  The ironing board and iron have a holder in the armorie.  So it isn’t that bad-I just have to clean up everything each night.   The hardest part is cutting anything out.  Our only table is about 2 1/2-feet round.  So even a folded piece of fabric barely fits, much less easy to cut.  I tried laying everything  out on the floor, but I am entirely too old to crawl around like I used to.  So I’ve been making small things that don’t require a lot of space to cut or things I can cut in sections.

From the thrift store curtain, I made a pair of shopping bags.  They really hold a lot.  Plus, the groceries look pretty in them.  When I walked into the hotel lobby after shopping, Yamilette at the front desk had to come around and check them out.  She wants a pair of them now, so I’ll have to see what I find at the thrift store next time I get a chance to go.

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You can see the pocket on the open bag and the other one all folded up and tucked in the pocket.  They fit well into my purse, and will fit great in the console of my truck when I get back home.

Another thing I made was a wallet, that matches my backpack/purse.  I made a few changes to it, but not too many. I flipped it so that the tab is on the top, changed the upper pocket so the opening is at the top and put a clear plastic pocket for my drivers license and insurance card.  It is on crooked, and the pocket edge is far from straight, but I didn’t notice it until the pocket was sewn in place, and didn’t want to take it all apart.  The snap pliers I have marred the outer layer of the fabric and you can see the ring from the outside.  If I had been paying attention, I would have applied the snap before sewing the flap.  But no, I wasn’t, so it looks a little ugly.  Not my best work, to be sure, but it is functional.  And it’s fun to take it out at the store and have people ask about it.  One cashier wanted to know if she could take and look at all the pockets.  So I emptied all my stuff out of it and handed it to her.  She was impressed.  Not so much when I held up her register to put everything back in it.  Did she really think I would hand my wallet and all its contents over to a complete stranger-even a very nice one?  I think not!!!008

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I’ve got a couple of triangle side zipper bags cut out, I hope to get them sewn this week.  Then I have a box of stuff that Renee’ sent from home for me.  YAY!  I’ve got a few pieces of fabric, some hats and doo rags that were cut before I left.  My favorite snips were in the box, tailor’s chalk, magnetic pin holder and my quilting ruler.  So I have my favorite tools here now, I hope I can get some real sewing done soon.

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Yay!  Now that I have a machine, and stuff to sew, I finally got something done.  I made the long wallet from Corrine.  The pattern is available in her Etsy store, Simple Things.  I used the same fabric as the lining of my skulls and roses backpack.  It was so easy, took me less than an hour to sew.  Cutting took a little longer, as I don’t have all my toys here and had to make do with a 12-inch ruler and a pencil. I really missed my quilt ruler and rotary cutter!  But all in all, really easy.  Corrine’s patterns as so well illustrated and explained very clearly.  You could almost make it just by looking at the photographs!  This is the third pattern I’ve purchased from her and will probably buy more.  No affiliation, yada yada, just a very happy customer!

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The last picture isn’t very good, but you can see the zipper pocket for change, the pocket behind it, the upper pocket and the cards.  Behind the cards is another long pocket, for a total of three.  I think I may see if my checkbook will fit in the upper pocket, that would be one less thing to dig out of the bottom of my purse.  Don’t pay attention to the poor layout of the fabric, I wasn’t thinking when I cut it out.  All I wanted was to sew something!  I don’t have snaps here, but the velcro dots do the trick, as long as I don’t put too much in it.  (I found them at the dollar store, they’re not Velcro brand and not as strong.)

I was pretty impressed with the way my machine handled the multiple layers of fabric.  I wasn’t sure how it would perform, but as long as I went slow, it was fine.  I used the needles that came with it (size 10 I think), but did get some larger for the next one I do.  The tension is a bit fussy, but I was expecting that based on the reviews I read about this machine.  I had to turn the dial down to 1 in order to get a good stitch, but it works.  And the reverse is awkward compared to my New Home, but again, it works.  It is a little louder than I thought it would be too.  Overall, I’m pretty happy with it, especially for the price.  Maybe if I hadn’t sewn as long as I have and had several other machines I wouldn’t be as picky.

It”s going to rain all day today so G is off work.  We’re gonna go run some errands and maybe head to Auburn, MA (I think about an hour from here)  because his company has a bridge there to repair and paint. ( He’s told them he’d go, but wouldn’t run that job.  He wants to go back to the south, where he can actually get home every couple of weeks or I can go see him.)  Maybe I can convince him to stop at a fabric store if we find one…

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