Friday, January 30, 2009

I Need A Little Help, Please. Want To Trade Skills?


Everything I do on this blog format is self-taught. I'm not very techy. It's just a need-to-know basis for me. I don't really want to learn anything new that I have to read about. My brain is full; I just want to be told the answers.

However, there are a few things in the homearts I do know well and would now like to create some patterns for tutorials and maybe to sell in my etsy shop.

You know what I haven't mentioned - except for one flash second late at night, when I shouldn't blog because I don't edit myself well then, and which I removed the following morning - is that, in September 2008, one of my projects was picked up for a new craft book due out this year!!! I don't know the business etiquette on this, so I won't say which one until I'm told I can, but you know how surprised and crazy I was at that. My children laughed at my jumping up and down and singing for quite a while, but, that's okay, they aren't in print yet.

Anyway, I need a pretty template, I guess, to present my patterns in. It doesn't have to be fancy, just pink and swirly or more modern with blue and brown. I imagine it should be in a PDF format. I understand that there are less costly versions of an Adobe-type program one can use. I'll need to purchase one of those, I guess, to insert my patterns. What do you think?

Anyone want to trade skills? I made a little mosaic above reminding you of what I can do besides all the holiday stuff we've been showing off lately. If you go to my mishflicks and check out the clubbmish studio set, as well as the embroidery sets, you might see something for which you'd like to trade.

I also have an design idea that I would like to send to Spoonflower to create lining fabric for my projects. It's just a stripey design with "calicodaisy" running here and there throughout. Any takers?

Thanks in advance. Please feel free to e-mail me at the link above or leave a post here.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The 2008 Christmas Gift ....

... that I didn't know I wanted. A netbook! In pink. Wow, what a convenient way to carry around the internet for blogging whims and e-mails. I'm not a tech junky, but I want this. Can I have a present retroactively?
Edited: So, this isn't really a full computer. The netbook is a lightweight laptop mostly used for web browsing and e-mailing. It's small - around 8 inches wide and weighs only a few pounds, perfect for carrying around in a totebag! Thus, for around $300 - $400, it really is quite the luxury item.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Creative Catch-Up

scarves in a roll

It feels like weeks have passed since I've been hanging out in my sewing studio, but really it's just five days today. Other work and everyday family needs took precedence these past days. I had big plans to be in there last evening, but since I worked outside my home office and had to be pretty and dressed and ready to go early and then do errands and get dinner afterwards, it was full day, and I sat down and fell apart after dinner. A waste of a creative night? I don't know, but it feels like it. However, The Closer (TV show) was back on, and I did perk up in time to watch that!

Above are a bunch of scarves I have left over from crocheting up a storm a couple of years ago - pre-embroidery machine. They are still popular, and I sold a number of them during the holidays. That yarn is acrylic, but it is yummy and warm and can be thrown in the wash and lightly fluffed in the dryer and then hung to finish. It doesn't pill quickly and is so cozy on the neck. I had repeat buyers this year; that is a nice compliment. The rest I've arranged in the cupboard in my studio office. I have the itch to make more now, but I better hold off.

Just to remind myself I have been busy over the last month, I photo-journaled these items:


Nice and springy. The little yo-yo button pony holders are so cute! I have more, but the lighting right now is awful to take quality photos. I need to figure out what lights to purchase so I can create a home photo studio. The totebags should be hung for photos, but my wall colors don't seem to bring out the best in closeups. I was going to paint the apartment downstairs in a vintage yellow, but I think I might go with a warm, creamy white everywhere, and at least I'll always have a good backdrop for photos. Oh, see the pretty prim flour sack towel. I like how that turned out. Not too fussy for using the towel, but the design definitely perks it up.

How about this for you St. Paddy's Day celebrators?

Shamrock Fabric

Shamrock fabric for ties! I've got several cut out, and hopefully these will be as popular as the heart tie. There was a great run on those, and I bought up the rest of that Valentine fabric from Hobby Lobby! Let me know if you would like a shamrock tie.

Project Improv - charity quilt square

I'm sending this off today to Jacquie at Tallgrass Prairie Studio for our Project Improv charity square. I had such nice comments from the group about the square, so I decided to make two more larger ones to turn into pillow covers, but I can't recreate it. That's the breaks, I guess, on improvising. The new squares, of course, aren't bad, it's just that they aren't the same. I'll finish them, though, as it takes a lot of time to improvise!

Alrighty, then. I just had to take a creative moment before I finish dressing to go work out in the world again today. Soon I won't be training anymore, and my p.r.n. schedule will better suit my daily lineup, but for right now, I am so grateful to have found this little job. It's just perfect for me and my family, and I feel like this bit of job security in my field is the answer to the nagging worries bothering me over the past year as the industry changes. So, now I will go creatively transcribe!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tea For Two or Three ...

Teaset Applique

Tea anyone? These pretty embroidery appliques were sewn out for one of my blog friends - I'm not telling who yet, because the set may be a surprise for someone soon, but she told me she didn't mind if I showed off my work now though. I'm looking forward to finding out what project these designs will end up in.

Here is one set in worked out on white Kona cotton:

Teaset Appliques

Another on the nubby Osnaburg that I love to work with:

Teaset Appliques

Would you like a set like this for your project and sewn out in your colorway? I listed the design in my calicodaisy shop.

I have more tea set options, as well as a number of other themes of applique and embroidery, as you may well know.

I think this one looks like Mrs. Potts from Beauty and The Beast:

Please see my flickr embroidery design set for more options.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Little Bird, Little Bird, Fly Away Home!

little bird

One little bird needs an address to fly home to. Judy wins the drawing! Thanks for all your comments. The birds are so easy to make, and you can find the pattern in Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts. I bought the book when it first came out just because of the birds sitting on top of a stack of fabric, however, there are a number of great little projects you'll find in there as well.

Oh, lots of work here today and so diverse that I don't even know where to start. Well, actually, I do. At the mall of all places. I have to pick up a pantsuit for my daughter, then to the hospital for p.r.n. work, then some applique and embroidery work, then work on a computer project, and then finish a set of fingerless mittens for an order made before Christmas while I sit for two to three hours this evening at a mock trial scrimmage, and then, I guess, it will be back to bed where I will think, "Where did this day go, and what did I accomplish?"

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Handmade Bird Exchange - One For You?

Little Birds

Along with participating in the handmade bird exchange Creative Kismet is sponsoring, those who want to participate in giving one away on our individual blogs are doing so today. Around 10:00 AM CMT, Regina (at the above link) will be posting a list of those participating in having individual drawings. You'll have to look around and see who has made what. I'm anxious to do so myself.

My little flock is pictured above. I couldn't decide which one to send out to one of you, so here is a choice:

Little Red

little bird

Little White

little bird

Please just leave a comment with a link to get in touch and let me know which bird you would like if your name is drawn. If I can't reach you by the link to your comment or find an e-mail address in your comment, I will just pick the next person in line.

I will leave the comments open until Wednesday night (01/21/2009) at 10:00 PM EST.

Be sure to go check out the other participants' handmade birds at the link up top, and there is a flickr group, too, you can look through. I have a feeling they are going to be beautiful!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Progress and Other Things

We worked four hours straight yesterday down in the apartment. It was general cleaning and unpacking of these boxes ...

... to get all the books into the pretty bookcase above. It's been a couple of years since I have actually seen all our books. I packed them up a couple of years ago when I sold my bookcases intending to do something that I've now forgotten. Then the following year, plans changed and we redid the studio office, and finally this year, they are unpacked and put away. It's really like finding old friends. I love to read, and I especially love great children's literature. There are so many wonderful classics. Now I can finally remember what I've read and share reviews on Good Reads. Next, I need to make those black and white curtains for the windows in there.

Then, after unboxing books and loading up the bookshelves, Cyndi and I worked in the sewing room. She ironed. I folded the fabric, swept up, and began shifting things around. There is still a lot to do, but we made a good dent in an hour. It does help to have a helper who understands what you need and "is on the clock," so that makes the job done much more efficiently.

The other day, I asked for ways to use the heart fabric I had and offered a fat quarter to whoever's name I drew from the commenters. I have found a new blog friend. Joanne, who goes by Tatty Mum, lives in England and won the fabric. I am anxious to see what she does with it. I feel ridiculous now saying I didn't know what to do with the fabric. Everyone had such great ideas. What was wrong with my creative brain? I think because the accounting part of my brain always has to have a reason to do something, it didn't see how Valentine themed fabric could go that far. I have plenty of ideas now to get started and hope to try out some.

birds of change exchange

I joined Creative Kismet's handmade bird swap. We are sending in five and receiving five back from different crafters. We have the option of participating in a personal g-away of a sixth bird on Tuesday, January 20. First stop by Creative Kismet that day and check out who is participating - I think she might have a list, I'm not sure, and then you can pop around and see the birds available. I'll have one posted, too, on that day, and I guess we should leave it open for a couple of days so folks can check in. I love my little birds. I've made the design before and have gotten better this time around. Please come back on Tuesday and see my little bird.

Friday, January 16, 2009

For The Boys - Part II

Men's and Boys' Handmade Ties

Here is Michael showing off the brown argyle tie. Looks great, and he loves it!

I also found the dimensions for boys' ties and made a couple of those, too. The kid's pattern snuggles right into the large triangle area of bias cut fabric the men's tie left over.
Now I have to get off the tie kick and use my four-day weekend for what's been on my to-do list for weeks and get the studio office and sewing room in order. I have help today. I met a new friend at one of my shows - she is a vendor of yummy candles and handmade jewelry. She loves to organize when she isn't working as a nurse, so she came today to help! I am going to get that CHAMBER OF FABRICS! as organized as possible so I can use it to its full potential - as it looks like that is where my professional life is going right now.

The picture of the chamber above was taken a year ago, and I'm sorry to say it doesn't look much different in there, except probably a half again the fabric thanks to on-line shopping!
It really seems AWFUL and shameful to me to have so much. However, when the ladies came shopping this holiday and earlier last July, they loved being able to pull fabrics to put together for their own ideas. I guess it's like having paints one of every color, if I were a painter. It's just that fabric is of much more volume!

I have new plans to put into order in there, though, and I have to make room to work properly and efficiently, and I'm grateful to get the help from someone who is an organizer as well as a crafter.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Vision Quest

Look what I had to buy -- a second pair of lenses! I've been wearing glasses for years now just for driving and seeing clearly at a distance. However, the closeup vision has been failing for a couple of years. I fear that it is age-related and from working on the computer all day. Last Saturday, I was at Target in the early morning putting off beginning housework. I was trying to choose a facial mask for my daughter, but you know how the print is so opaque on the back of the bottles? It was just a blur. This very nice, much older than me, woman was nearby, so I handed the bottle to her and asked if she could read it. Yep. She rattled off the instructions and use of the product to me. I headed over an aisle or two and bought the 1+ power, sit-on-the-end-of-your-nose specs shown in the foreground above. As soon as I put them on and looked at the product instructions, ALL WAS CLEAR. Drats! I wanted it to be the opaque print!

My kids picked out the Ray-Bans last year - the black pair in the back. I really do like those, so librarian-ish but cool. I couldn't afford Raybans when they were popular and I was in college. Now I can, but I have to buy them not to be cool but to actually SEE. Anyway, I usually throw my glasses in my large totebags and then have to fish around for them. Now I have three pair, including my snazzy, large, tortise shell with rhinestones sunglasses, so I decided to corral them if possible, thus, the glasses holders. Nothing new, just trying to make myself feel better.

Guess what? The Valentine Heart Tie sold! (I do have one more ready to ship.) It is going to England! Anyway, I'm glad so many liked the tie and commented to me about it. My son wore the striped one in his university colors today. He sent me a photo by phone. It looked so sharp with his black zip-up Land's End sweater. I haven't been able to sew for him since he was a toddler and made jumpers and shorts, so this is great!

I show this tie again to remind you of the fabric. I bought it at Hobby Lobby for those of you who would like to know. I love it, but what do I do with two yards of it? Any ideas? Other than maybe an apron or girl's pinafore or more ties, what would you do with it?

Who wants a fat quarter of this fabric? Leave a comment with your suggestion of its use, and I'll choose a name Friday and contact you to mail it out on Saturday. Be sure I can reply to your comment or I'll just pick the next person in line.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

All Hearts - A Valentine Tie

My son developed a big idea for me - US - this weekend. We were shopping at Hobby Lobby so I could use my 40% coupon the other night before going to dinner, and he spotted some great striped fabric in his university colors. He said, "Mom, this would be great for a tie!" "Yep," I said vacantly, and kept looking through the pink, spring fabrics. "Mom!," he said. "You can make ties, and I can market them for you." One thing led to another, and he picked out a number of stripes and dots and graphic fabrics (some I thought a bit girly, but the 80s are back, you know!). Okay, this is a good project for the two of us, and, if he's right about his opportunity to market at the university and the law office where he has a part-time job, I won't pass it up! He has a bunch of great ideas, including a catchy name and symbol - we are hip on naming things - and other ideas to match.

While we were at dinner at Macaroni Grill - try the Vodka Rustini pasta, awesome! - I noted all the waitstaff wearing ties of their choice. Then my mind began to tick realizing a whole little market of wait staff who like to dress up their uniform with individual tie choices. Hmmmm.....
All Hearts Tie

I know, you see the sweet Valentine tie above. He did not pick that fabric; I did. I just wanted to practice first and decided to go with one of the pinks I chose this weekend. Do you know a waitress who needs a pretty tie for February? This one is in the shop.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Seconds, Anyone?

I was on a roll sewing French Press insulated cozies after making a set up for my nephew and his wife last week. I thought I was so smart to use a hot pink, batik dishtowel I've had for ages to make more with contrasting black and white dotted cotton. However, I made a mistake and put the loops and buttons on the wrong ends - on both of them, of course, because I had a production line set up. If I hadn't put the topstitching on already, I would have had a seam ripping session and correct them, but no, they are complete. So, I'm offering them in my calicodaisy shop at half price as "seconds" for $7.00 plus shipping. Everything else is perfect; it's just that instead of the tab slipping through the handles of the press to attach the loop, it just fits awkwardly opposite.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Blog Love - And A Birthday Week Celebration!

Goodness! I am going to pop with pride in a minute! Three times this week I've read about calicodaisy on blog friends' postings. A little of my embroidery business dream coming true, as two of them have used my embroidery sew outs in their own work.

Tallgrass Prairie Studio - I told you about Jacquie in the last post. If you haven't been by her blog yet, you should. She actually has presented a collaborative quilting project idea. If you are serious about wanting to stretch your skills and would like to participate, you'll have to read all about it and see if the project idea is for you.

Freda's Hive - Nanette has been working in overdrive the past few months since I found her. She always has lovely fabrics and projects to share with us. Nanette ordered some beehive embroidery work from me, as that obviously goes well with her blog theme. She chose an embroidery design from one of the sites I referred her to. Nanette created a new banner for her blog, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that she had her friend incorporate one of the little beehives into the banner design. I will tell you, though you probably already know, that I love to click on Nanette's blog not only to read her posting but just to see my little something up there at the top!

Purple and Paisley - Happy Birthday, Terri! Terri is a new blog friend to me. I've noticed her work before and read about her through Nanette's blog. Last week I was surprised when notified that a calico pillow I made - waaaay baaack, (see photo above) - sold from my calicodaisy etsy shop. Then I received a sweeter surprise when Terri e-mailed me, let me know Nanette had referred her to my shop, and then explained that she is having her own Birthday Celebration Week this week and is giving away prizes each day from favorite spots around etsy and featuring the artists! How nice! I'm so thrilled that she chose me and one of my pieces of work to give away. Today is actually the day she is featuring my little pillow. Please stop by and comment, and you could have a chance to be the winner. If you keep up with her blog each day this week and comment on each posting, you will be counted in for her drawings as well.

If you don't have your own blog, you can still play and be anonymous logging in to comment. You must leave your e-mail address (remember, do it like this: yourhandle (at) whatever (dot) com) in the comment box, so she can contact you if you win. Otherwise, she will have to choose someone else.

If you like the pillow above and don't win that giveaway but would like a similar one for yourself, I have a few more ready to ship and sitting in my studio. Below is a little mosaic of the pillows for sale, however, the photo quality isn't that good. I didn't get anything right the day I shot these photos, and I never went back. My favorite of the pillows below is the one called "calico buttons." It's the poorest of the photos but made of the prettiest provincial prints. I've listed the price with shipping on the individual photo at my mishflicks page. If you will e-mail me at the address given in the photo description, I can paypal invoice you for the pillow.

embroidered pillows

Pillow Talk Mosaic

Monday, January 5, 2009

Just Lovely!

Redwork on pillow

Look at these beautiful pillows created by Jacquie at Tallgrass Prairie Studios! She took a set of redwork Christmas houses I embroidered out on fabric panels and pieced and quilted and fashioned them into these lovely pillow covers.

Redwork on pillow

I'm so amazed that she turned them from, you know, just nice embroideries on a natural fabric into artwork that says POP! Amazing. I nearly got there myself when I pieced the candy cane and stocking embroideries last month, but it is the quilting that really brings it all together.

Redwork on pillow

I should practice free motion quilting. I took a class about 15 months ago, but I never really tried at home. My computerized sewing machine makes it so easy, too, as it adjusts the tension and rides over the highs and lows of the layered fabrics.

Here is the before panel:

Joyeux Noel Redwork House Fabric Panel

This one is in my calicodaisy etsy shop here. There is a matching design that says "peace on earth." Check out other embroideries I have featured on my mishflicks embroidery design set. Maybe you'll be inspired to have something embroidered out for your project.

The above machine embroidery files were created by Ellen at The Long Thread. She has an etsy shop with a number of her machine embroidery designs. Also, if you check out her post today, you will find 100 of her favorite tutorials. It's quite the list!

Saturday, January 3, 2009


It's cold and damp outside but cozy and fresh on the inside - (picture above is not my house!). My husband and daughter are painting her room a pretty blue, and she is full of ideas for curtains and decorations. She tried to convince him to let her paint the trim black - Uh, no .... Thankfully, he did say "no," or I would have had to override that choice. I told her let's go with black fabrics here and there to accessorize but not the trim.
Coffee Press Cozy
A very belated set of wedding gifts have been sewn, embroidered, and sent. My nephew and his bride had a coffee press on their gift registry, which I bought immediately with big plans to make a coffee press cozy like I've seen around on the blogs, but I couldn't decide how. The wedding was in May. I finally wrote to the bride and told her my idea but that I was stuck. I also told her I figured they'd bought another press by now, and they could re-gift mine when it finally arrived! In the meantime, sets of towels were embroidered and a monogrammed pillow. I recently purchased a new craft book, and, lo and behold!, a coffee press pattern was printed out for me in the book. Hurrah, and the cozies were quickly sewn with a few of my own improvements. Whew! I beat the first anniversary, and hopefully, the arrival of the items will erase the memory of my delinquency.
Pretty Journals
This month, my friend and I have a special project we will be doing together for 40 days, and I ordered these journals from Mary at BittyBooks so that we can keep track of our project. Mary sweetly embellished them as a surprise, and the decorations are right on the spot.
This is my fourth order from Mary, and I am not disappointed. She made the guest book for my studio and two Sweet-16 journals, one for my daughter and one for my niece, last summer. You'll have to stop by and see her other pretty designs.
Did you see the handcrafted bird swap button on the upper left of the screen? Creative Kismet is sponsoring this one. I love handcrafted birds, and I think this is a great idea. I'm excited to be on the receiving end of someone's designs. I'm going to make some birds that I have in the past - I can't get too creative, because you know what happens - I get crazy trying to reinvent the wheel, but I did want to participate.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

flowers 2

Wow! Another year to check off, another moment to look back on memories and think, "Was it really that long ago?" It is just really so incredible that events seem like they took place yesterday, and it was 10 years ago or 20!

I stepped into my 45th year of life in October, and there still seems so much more to accomplish and still so much to "work" on personally. When do I get to perfect who I am and feel comfortable -- and stop making so many errors? It's a constant process, isn't it? Anyway, this is always a good time to reflect on important things and new goals, as the close of the crazy holidays and the beginning of a quiet winter January comes around.

A few fresh new things are going on around here. Some I can go on about, and some I'll keep for later. However, my little sewing/embroidery business is about to make a leap as some good opportunities have come my way, which is a good thing, because I feel like my part in the medical transcription industry is changing. I'm not sure if it is just the technology that is changing as much as it might be me. Not having young kids at home needing me here and not having my grandmother here anymore to take care of have really changed my work habits and concentration. I have had so much more time on my hands this year, and I realized I didn't really know what to do with it. I feel like I lost so much time and work and opportunity by being "lost," but, maybe not. It could have just been the year of mourning you hear about. A year of seasons to miss someone who is gone. Maybe it was just that, and I wasn't prepared for it. I kind of thought that through a few months ago and told myself to get on the ball and make some decisions, so I've been moving forward with an "A" plan and a "B" plan and taking things as they come right now. I feel very refreshed and still a bit uncertain. However, I have a lot of choices available which actually makes the process okay because I'm not being corralled into choosing a certain path based on little ones needing me or because of limited opportunity.

I hope you are feeling refreshed after this fun and fast holiday season. I hope you find this new year and new season exciting and full of possibilities, whatever they may be.