Friday, March 28, 2008

Twenty Years ... March 26, 1988

I've been married 20 years! Amazing. It really does seem like it was just a few months ago.

Even so, when I look at these pictures and then look in the mirror - I think I KNOW it has been twenty years!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Travelling Road Production

For once, careful planning actually went my way. Maybe it is because I am travelling alone and have only my schedule to think about, but I think I've used my time well. I packed a load of fabrics and supplies to work on some projects while in Florida. Here is a nice stack of sweet baby/toddler blankets. I have recently found lovely, soft flannels and very nice baby prints that are pleasing to the eye and fun as well. I was having such a hard time finding soft prints for boys, but, lately, they've been showing up at the fabric stores. I'm trying to get a stash of finished products to go in my upcoming creative studio office where I can receive clients, show my work, and design new items and embroideries.

I also brought supplies for a couple of swaps. Here is a little peek of the art quilt I am making for the quilt swap and another for my friend's birthday gift. I'm nearly done with this one. I am going to back it and start hand quilting this evening. When I get home, I'll pick something for the binding and get started on the next one. I'm in the embroidered button swap, and I've been drawing little animals in attempts to fit them into a one-inch button cover. Again, I've spent too much time and money trying to find cute cards or paper with designs I can shrink down and draw on fabric. I've been practicing drawing the animals from the fabrics above, and I bought some cute wrapping paper and a short stack of cardstock that have animal designs. I just have to work out a fine, clean one-inch design to embroider in such a small space. I did have the bright idea just now though to just get maybe the face and trunk of an elephant into that spot rather than the whole thing. I'll have to remember that.

Despite the load of fabrics I brought with me, I had to check out the fabric shops around here. I recently read a blog post stating, "When did Jo-Ann Fabrics get cool?" Well, when did Jo-Ann Fabrics get cool? They aren't this cool in South Carolina! The Ocala location was as big as Hobby Lobby I think, and the sales person told me the Tampa one is a Jo-Ann's superstore. I didn't dare go there. If your Jo-Ann's doesn't have that much in your opinion right now, just wait. If the fabrics in the Florida stores make it around the country, it will be nearly as great as the quilt shops. I saw lots of new Tracy Porter, Debbie Mumm, among others. Above is a stack of fabrics I picked up because I couldn't risk them not showing up at my store! The safari flannel, however, is from the Wal-Mart. Very nice for that place. The vintage dots are from a nice quilt shop as well as that great cream and pink toile on the back of the chair. Isn't that darling? It's called "Sweet Dreams" by Robert Kaufman. I bought for blankets as well, but I think it would look great on throw pillows or a chair cover for a nursery or a diaper bag. It should be shown off.

Before I let you go, here are a couple of photos of my home productions. Both my kids went to the ROTC military ball at the high school. My son is one of the group commanders this year. This is the first time my daughter has attended a formal affair, and this dress is perfect on her. We were so happy to find something so demure and not too prom-like for the event.

I was so glad to have them both dressed up at the same time for the same event. My husband and I were chaperones at the party and were running around like stage parents getting photos as they went through the ceremonies of the evening.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Blogging From Sunny Florida

Hey there! On this first day of spring, I'm blogging from the land of sun and fun. Actually, I am in west-middle Florida near Crystal Springs and the manatees. (All photos found on the web. I haven't taken any myself yet.)

I came south to help my dad during his knee replacement surgery. However, the morning after my arrival, we got a call that his surgery was pushed to Friday. Losing a whole week of my availability! So, I had to think of a "B" plan and make the best of it all. I brought along my sewing machine and a bunch of fabrics with plans to sew in the hotel where I would be staying near the hospital. Instead, I just unloaded here in his house and got busy.

The change in plans turned out to be a great thing. My dad and I have spent a lot of quiet time together with no schedule. I helped him with the computer, choosing a new cell phone (However, I have no idea how to use it; we need a teenager to come help to do that!), business errands, shopping, etc. We've had a chance to visit his friends and just hang out.

I've walked everyday around his little retirement community of trailers and houses set on a lake system and canals. The orange blossoms are blooming, oranges and grapefruits are on the trees, and there is this bush called "Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow" that smells so luscious, a lovely powdery scent.

I've put together six of the projects I brought along and am cutting out squares and appliques this morning for the Spring Quilt Swap I entered. I can put that together at the hotel while he is in the hospital and bring it along with me when I am visiting him and do the handwork there. I am going to make three of the same little quilts (accountability, please) - one for the swap, one for a friend's birthday gift, and one for me. I figure if I sew them all at the same time, it will get done.

So, for stepping away from the business at home this week, I feel I have been very productive while relaxing here. Good thing my hobby is one of my businesses. I get to enjoy what helps support my family and craft habits. My dad said he has had fun watching me. He tells me it reminds him of years ago when my mom had fabric and patterns and crafts out everywhere. He said he is glad to have a mess around for a bit, but I am worried about leaving a pin in the carpet!

We are off today to Gainesville, Florida, to the hotel, and dad's surgery is tomorrow morning. Expectations with the surgery is all with go well and quickly. I'll stay until Sunday and make sure everything is going as planned and then head home. Thankfully, the hospital provides transport back to his little town and the rehab center, and he has friends here waiting to take over for me and keep up with him. The kids are on Spring Break next week, so when I arrive home, it shouldn't be a hectic schedule. I can stay calm for just a few days and ease back in to working again. Even though I have a good time away from the transcription, I actually miss the routine.

Thanks to all of you who keep up with me now and check in. I'm loving our little blog world.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Great Quilt Giveaway!

Hey there: Leslie just tipped me off to the Old Red Barn Co. Quilt Giveaway! You'll have to hurry over and enter by 03/19/2008 at 7:00 PM EDT. There are other prizes, too. If you comment on the post and then put the graphic on your sidebar, you get extra chances at the quilt. It's beautiful and is made with katie jump rope fabrics by Denyse Schmidt! I would love to cozy up in this.

A Fresh Look...

See my pretty new banner! I wanted to freshen up with something personal, but I have no idea how to make a banner of my own. So, I decided to "etsy" the word "banner" and see who did what. I found the lovely Renee of Thompson Designs. She has very affordable premade banners. Just pick one of her available designs, and she will make you pretty! See how she put the little daisy burst as the dot on my "i" in the word daisy. Perfect, don't you think? If you go by Renee's shop, tell her I sent you. Oh, yes, I have an avatar, too. I will have to figure out how to do that next. Pink Chalk Studio had a tutorial on that a while ago, and so did GreetingArts. I'll have a go at that later. One new computer adventure a day might be all I can swing. Well, I have a new banner, so I had to have a new template. That was hard to choose, as the only choices I have right now are blogger's options. This isn't my favorite template, since I'm more of a pink and green girl, but I think it was the best match. I like how the banner runs off the posting edge and into the texture on the sides. I need to work out nicer font and label colors, too.

I actually found two really nice and affordable banner designers, and since both were so helpful to me, I ordered one from each. You know, more is more! So, now I can dress my blog according to my mood. I understand one can purchase seasonal banners, too. I am definitely up for that. It's easier than decorating the house, and the clean up is a snap!

Confessions Of A Blabbering Blogger …

EDIT, EDIT, EDIT: I had a moment of worry and self-reflection today and posted about it earlier. I'm not sure who read it and I'm glad no one commented yet. Thankfully, I received two spots of encouragement about the very thing I was worried about, and those two hadn't seen the blog today - I think. It's like the sun came out and shined on me. Anyway, the important thing is I worked through it and hopefully won't get myself into that fix again!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Guilty Pleasures

It is one of those days requiring a Wendy's Biggie Diet Coke light ice, a cheeseburger, Little Debbie's chocolate snack cakes, and a magazine. I feel much better already.

I went to the grocery this afternoon to pick up milk and the chocolate and dared to stroll through the magazines again. Good thing I did, as there is a new Spring Quilts And More. This is quite timely as I just received an e-mail notice from the Anna Maria Horner shop that she has some kitchen linens available, which are darling. Well, check out the magazine cover, bottom corner. Anna Maria is featured in this issue of the magazine, and she has a sweet pincushion pattern for us. Below is a shot of the article's cover photo. Now I'll have to get some of her pretty fabrics.

On Sundays, when I have been to church (though not today, due to exhaustion from the kids' competition this weekend), I am well rested and my mind is clear for just a few short minutes before Sunday Stress sets in (
see this link), I feel like I can accomplish anything and take on the world. Right this minute, I want to run downstairs and sew, I want to prime the kitchen cabinets and get ready to paint them, I want to start laying the brick walkways through the front yard - no, actually, I want my husband to start laying the brick walkways while I direct, I want to apply to college again and learn something new, I want to reorganize several rooms, and I want to start painting and decorating my intended new studio office in the scheme of Alicia Paulson (site) Posie Gets Rosy (blog), but which one first? I'm paralyzed with choices right before I have to get down to Monday business. Blink, and it will be the weekend again. Will it always be like this? I hope not, but I don't want to be old when it isn't and I want to use these great ideas now!

More Diet Coke please -- light on the ice -- oh, and another Little Debbie's. Ahhh, thanks.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

It's Late; I'm Supposed To Be Working…

But, instead, I'll blog a little. I have several things to show and tell.

ONE: Look at my sweet gift from Erna in Holland! She made me this darling bag with an appliqued Babushka! I am in love with these little designs. Erna also sent me a pretty little bird ornament and some cherry tea. I had pictures of those, but the memory stick in the camera went bad. By the time I found out my photos were lost, I had dispersed everything around the house. So, I just took a picture of the little sweetie by herself.

TWO: My apron from the Sassy Apron Swap arrived (see below). Boy, did I luck out! Christy did such a terrific job! The colors are great and the detail is fantastic! It's reversible, too. I hope she doesn't mind, but I snagged a picture from her site. The apron looks so much better on her dress form than on a hanger against my wall! Again, I had the problem with the memory stick, so the original pictures of me wearing the apron went bust -- there could be more than one reason for that :) --and we haven't had another photo shoot. Anyway, Christy is a great seamstress. She journals her way through her projects, and she is pretty witty. You'll have to check out her blog and see what she is sewing up right now.

THREE: This is the apron I sent out in the Sassy Apron Swap (see below). Mine is on its way to "Ollie" in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada! I think she will like the fabric, as it seems similar to the Amy Butler fabric she used for her swap apron. Then, of course, I had to embroider the pocket. I was worried the style wasn't right, even though I was going for the eclectic mix, but it was done, and I didn't have anymore of that nice polka dot. I hope she loves it. Camille does! However, this time, for the first time, I finally made TWO swap things at once, so I don't really lose out on a good thing. Well, the second isn't quite made, you know, I still have to actually sew it together …


This might be interesting to Etsy storekeepers and customers alike. For those of you who don't know about Etsy, it is sort of an e-bay for crafters, but no auctions, just buying.

Today, I stopped by
Craft Boom, and a podcast was featured on CraftyPod regarding marketing yourself as an Etsy seller. It was very interesting. First, I had never listened to a podcast before, so it was finally nice to have a reason to do so, and second, I thought the interviewee, All Things Littleput, was pretty thoughtful about her approach to marketing and helping others. You'll have to check out the podcast at CraftyPod and then check out the above site and see her art and store.

Now, to those of you reading this late tonight, please send me encouragement to keep working until I'm done. The kids have the state mock trial competition tomorrow, so I have to get my work turned in early before leaving for the day.
To those of you reading this tomorrow, please send me brainwaves of Diet Coke WITH caffeine so I can stay sharp through three rounds of mock trial! It's supposed to be raining cats and dogs here, so I will probably be wishing for a cozy couch and a blanket. Then we do it all again on Saturday!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Great Read!

When you are at the grocery this week, pick up the magazine pictured above. A bevy of great ideas for DIYers and crafters. Lots of repurposing and art work for papers, fabric, art canvas, and ribbon. I've had a thing for bird graphics lately, so my favorite section is the one with new home-dec ideas going to the birds! I wish I would actually DO something with these ideas. I'm paralyzed with all the options of home dec and wondering what to do first. So, I bury myself in other busy-ness and reading more magazines and, sorry to say, buying more materials and supplies and never really get down to it. I think I need some company, so I'll get the next thing done. Wanna come over?