Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Oh, boy! This summer heat must have gotten to me, because I had such a pokey week last week. One of my friends e-mailed me Saturday and said, "Where are you?" As much as I talk and keep up with people here by e-mail and phone, you know it's bad when THEY are looking for ME!
On a great note, though, my son has finally been able to download photos to his facebook, and so I can grab them from there and show him off. He has had such a remarkable time on his trip. He has had a wonderful host family who have done as much as possible with him and arranged for him to go off and do things alone as well. Now that he and his university friends who are assigned to various places are used to being in Germany and have the knack of catching trains and staying in hostels, they are all off to meet in Berlin this weekend. Isn't that amazing? This is his last week with his host family and helping the hosting teacher in her classroom. Viola's dad will pick him up sometime early next week, and he will be a guest in their home for 10 days seeing everything in the Frankfort area. Then, I'm afraid, it's back to real life. A mom looking over his shoulder and back to the full-time summer job he has. I am now already praying over the plane and staff that will bring him home to me. After all the airplane "news" of the recent weeks, I am praying for security, health of the staff, wonderful weather, and on-time flights.
But what memories! When speaking to me through Skype last week (LOVE THAT SKYPE!), he surprisingly mentioned that he would really consider taking a teaching position in Germany for a while after college instead of rushing off for a law degree and a big life in a big city. Isn't it wonderful to watch your kids grow in stature and in spirit and maturity?
Monday, June 15, 2009
I wouldn't call myself completely eco-friendly, although I have generally practiced recycling and reusing items since running my own household.
Last week, I made a sets of reversible lunch-size napkins. Better for us than the big 15"-18" size, these 12" squares are perfect to fit in a basket at the end of the buffet for a quick grab. I just have to train everyone to go there now and not grab a paper towel. I'm thinking of reusable paper towels, too. Maybe make one of those fabric bag tubes that one stuffs with plastic bags but fill it with serged squares of absorbent fabric. I think it would work if I could place it prettily in the normal location of the paper towel holder.
On Saturday, my friend gave her DIL a baby shower. I haven't been to one in a while, and it was fun to visit with everyone, catch up, and see all the great new baby products out there. Of course, I had a big time making items for a real baby rather than for hopeful ones whose moms might shop at calicodaisy. I enjoyed watching the reaction of the younger ladies checking out the items I made for the baby. See the pretty mom-to-be displaying a monogrammed onesie. No name for the new baby yet, so B for the family name.
When thinking about wrapping it all up, I didn't really want to tissue wrap everything and I didn't want to run out and get baby wrapping paper. I saw my stack of canvas totes I have on the ready and decided to personalized a gift bag.
It occurred to me that I could have ready-to-ship gift bags/totes with generic sayings that could be passed along from gift recipient to gift recipient, or folks could order personalized, and the bag can be reused for nearly any purpose.
Today is a quiet one, like the weekend. Nice for me. I've been working all morning at my desk, and next my daughter and I are going out for a little shopping. I hope it's little, anyway! I really want to catch a matinee and see "The Proposal." I love Sandra Bullock films.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Above: My Project Improv design from the early this year.
So, I recently found some curvy wristlets at a boutique and came home and made pattern myself. One thing I loved about the store wristlets was the gorgeous, quilted, sort of shabby chic fabric. I thought of purchasing some April Cornell quilted fabric at the quilt shop but decided that would be a waste, as it is double-sided and I would want to have finished edges inside the wristlet. I just needed one-sided quilted fabric of my choice. Hello?! What does my machine do? It stipples, see below:
I happened to have some flowery April Cornell already, so I cut a fat quarter, pinned some batting behind, and stippled for an hour. It took a little more than two minutes to get down each row.
From there, I cut out my new little curvy wristlet pattern and made up this little pretty.
It occurs to me that it might be a good idea to put stippled fat quarters in my shop for those who want something just like this for small projects. Kind of like a cutter-quilt idea but all new, quilt-quality fabrics. It can be a little pricey, though, so please tell me what you think. Based on $9.00/yard fabric, the fat quarter cost is $2.25, all nicely washed and dried already, too. Quality batting is about $7.00/yard, so a fat quarter would be $1.75. Thread is about $1.00, I guess (it's remarkable how much thread I went through and two bobbins to wind). Finally, an hour's wages which includes the costs of my studio at $15.00 per hour. Usually, I figure in $20.00 per hour into my work, which includes all materials and shop fees, however, I'm breaking it out here to see exactly how the costs work out, and it isn't rocket science to sit at the machine and hold the fabric straight while the Wonder Machine -- I should do that Sew Mama Sew meme about one's machine that's going around right now -- does all the work. For the quality materials, the effort, and owning the machine, the stippled fat quarter should be $20.00. It sounds high to me, but that's because I can do the work myself. Maybe $18.00, as I watched a show while guiding the fabric. On the other hand, we all pay around $8.00 or more for fat quarters of Japanese cotton/linen blends or $4.00 or $5.00 a yard for stamped twill tape with someone's special design.
So, what do you think? One could make a number of things out of a fat quarter: wristlets, the bottom halves of a tote with some linen at the top, needle cases, knitting or crochet rolls, journal covers, bibs, ornaments. I just googled "fat quarter projects," and Sew Mama Sew has a great list. I can offer ready-to-ship fat quarters of popular fabrics I pick up and also take requests. If someone wants a piece of so-and-so's fabric quilted, I can order it in.
If you've read this far and have an opinion, please let me have it! In return, I have divided up the stippled fabric above into two pieces (15.5" tall on the selvage and 10.5" wide), and I'll draw two names on Monday, 6/15/09, to receive a piece, if you like ....
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
(Hey! Sorry if you see this twice. I edited something here and hit "draft" instead of "publish," and I think blogger will re-release the posting as new.)
Just as I was preparing to post, my son called from Germany. Here is one photo of the 400 that he has taken but is unable to download to his host's computer due to the internet connection. He has no caption, but this must be near the village he is staying in. Calls to Germany are so clear. He bought a "handi phone" -- cell phone for us -- to keep in touch locally. He has traveled to both Berlin and Dresden by train ALONE, though he told me that his host called him often to make sure he was okay. I love her and appreciate her already! Dresden was a four hour train trip there and back, and he did it all in one day.
In between different out-of-the-house project work I've been doing, I've been sewing as well. A friend of mine has two showers coming up, and I have one this weekend, so I put together these layette sets for the new mamas and babies. You can see closeups on my calicodaisy flickr page.
Also, midnight, June 12, begins the final etsy showcase I signed up for. For 24 hours, I am in the "bags and purses" showcase. Just look on the main etsy page, choose the showcases block right under the main heading, and then find your way to the "bags and purses" section, and you'll see all the folks who bought spots for the day.
I think it's worth it just for the exposure. In selling, experience says one sale for 100 "no's." So out of every 100 visitors, one may find the perfect item in my calicodaisy shop. You can see I'm working on finding interesting venues to take photos, as above. I thought the bunch looked good through my lens, but on the computer now, I'm not so sure, especially because of the Georgia red clay stained driveway in the background -- I didn't even notice it at the time. This one is pretty good of a black and white toile buttercup bag I have listed in my shop, but I still have a lot to learn about staging.
One more thing, please stop by my blog friend's site, Michelle's Musings, and see today's posting. She sent me solid fabrics for some special quilts she had planned. I machine embroidered the squares with her choice of design, and now she is showing off her beautiful work today. I'm so happy to be part of another crafter's project. I think it makes my embroidery work all that more special to be included.