Friday, February 21, 2014

Finally Loving This Machine . . . Finally

This week, I've been working with my embroidery machine.  In the past, our relationship has been a little rocky.  It seems I have a difficult time adjusting the tension to the proper spot, and my designs have white edges around each section.  When I contacted the shop from whom I bought the machine, they told me it could be my bobbin thread.  So, I bought pre-wound bobbins with bobbin thread that were made for my machine.  It helped, but still the design looked a little off.  In the past, I had always put the spool of thread onto the machine in a horizontal position secured with a "thingy" (for lack of a better word).  I'm not sure why, but on Monday when I threaded the machine, I put my thread on a vertical post with one of the "thingies" turned upside down so that it resembled a tray.  My spool fits into the tray and the thread seems to come off the spool more evenly.  And my designs look amazing.

I started to work on some blocks for baby quilts, and they were looking good.  One of our neighbors delivered her baby a few works prematurely, and I needed to get started on little Hunter's quilt.  The have a farm just up the road from us, and a farm quilt was so perfect for him. I had bought these designs from one of my favorite sites, and figured they would be so cute for a baby. I loved this set.   I have four more blocks to finish and can begin to cut the sashing.  I am just so amazed at the amount of texture this machine can add to the stitching.  I just sit here and watch it do it's thing.

The machine was working so well that I decided to do some baby bibs for Etsy.  These are six of the bibs I did.  Today I have a day off.  It's gloomy and raining outside, but I'm toasty and warm inside.  And I will continue to work on quilt blocks.  Have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Deja Vu. . . All Over Again

That's what I'm experiencing right now.  Once again I have let my sewing room become a "dump".  Before the holidays, while cleaning up for the holidays, and after the holidays, I took things that really should have been put away and just "dumped" them into the sewing room.  When I open the door, I just want to close it and run walk away.  I keep telling myself and all those around me that I need to start cleaning it up.  But it's one of the rooms in our house that sits above the part of the basement that is all exposed, and it's the coldest room in the house.  That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.  The bottom line, however, is that I just have no idea where to start.  The table is piled high with fabric, the sideboard is piled with fabric.  There are boxes of fabric sitting on top of other boxes of fabric, and they are sitting on top of still more boxes of fabric.  The shelves are pretty much stuffed, and I have no idea where to put it.  I have been pinning ideas that I think would be a big help in the organization, but I don't know how to fit it into my little room.  I read one article in which the writer said that anything that didn't fit on her shelves, was out of there.  That's a great idea, but I a tight-wad and hate to throw anything away.  Yet, I know that there are some pieces of fabric in there that I will never use.  I'm thinking that perhaps I should begin with those large pieces that I haven't used in at least two years.  If I rid the shelves of those pieces, it just might open up some spaces for the fabrics in boxes.  I have an entire large shelf that is nothing but quilt magazines - magazines that I haven't looked at since I put them there 4 years ago.  And, I think that they are out of there!!

There are some novelty fleece yardages that I bought to make hats for the family - I even bought the patterns.  Now, the patterns are too small for the kids, and I realize now that I should have used that fleece and made some scarves to put into the Etsy store.  But I think my timing is a little off, hopefully winter is drawing to an end.

So, what would you do?  Where would you start?  And how can I train myself to work a season ahead?  I'm thinking that I need a plan, a schedule.  Perhaps working 4 hours at a time in the sewing room would give me a sense of accomplishment, without feeling like I'm caged in.  Maybe I could set up one day each week when I work on personal projects for myself.  Is it possible that I need to get a notebook and start jotting down my ideas and my questions, and maybe then a solution will present itself.  But for the time being, I'm just running in circles and it's deja vu. (all over again!)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A New Project For Me

The winter blahs have set in.  I am so tired of snow and cold temperatures that I could spit - of course it would freeze immediately, so I won't.
So when I saw these fabrics to be used in a BOM quilt on, I thought it was just what I needed.  I didn't care for batiks in the beginning, but I have really grown to love them.  Without researching what the quilt would be like, I ordered the kit.  The quilt, however, is a grouping of blocks and stripes and just doesn't appeal to me.  But the fabrics were ordered, and I couldn't do anything about it.  I figured that another project for which I could use these fabrics would present itself.  I love hand piecing.  It is so relaxing for me, and the first quilting class I took was a sampler quilt that was hand pieced.  (I've made 5 so far)  Generally, I cut my pieces with the rotary cutter, mark the 1/4" line on each piece and then hand piece the block.  I find that my points are much more accurate with the hand piecing.

And, such a project did present itself.  When I saw this in a Facebook post, I knew that it was just what I was looking for.  Michele Foster has presented it in two colorways - with a black background as shown above, or with a white background.  I need to decide which way I want to make mine.  I'm leaning toward the black since I have never done a quilt with a black background.  And I think the batiks will look incredible on the black.  If you want more information or want to quilt along, grab the button on the left side of this blog.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Honesty IS the Best Policy

I am embarrassed to admit that I made a mistake (not my first, I can assure you), but this one could have cost me a sale in the Store.  First a little background.  As it drew close to Christmas, some family members found they needed a quick gift.  I told them to take whatever they needed - wristlets, pot pinchers, whatever.  Unfortunately, I never went back through the boxes to update what was still available.  Christmas came and went, and I completely forgot about it.

Yesterday, I received an order for a wristlet and a water bottle carrier.  I found the water bottle carrier immediately since I had just repacked them.  But the wristlet was MIA.  I searched everywhere, but no luck.  Then I remembered that I had given the family free rein to take what they needed.  I went back through what I had and updated the store, and also re-listed some items that had expired.  I was so afraid of losing that order.  I asked Rod what he thought I should do, and he replied that I had always been one of the most honest people he knew, and that I should just be honest.  I messaged the purchaser and explained the situation.  I told her that if she wanted I could simply refund her money and send her the bottle carrier at no charge as an apology.  When she messaged me back, she said it wasn't a big deal, and she chose another wristlet.  I'm very thankful that she understood.

This situation reinforced my belief that honesty is always the best policy. But, it also taught me that regardless of what's going on around me, I need to keep on my toes about updating the store sight. I promise to do better from now on.

Monday, February 3, 2014

New Ideas

I have been looking for some new ideas for items to make for the Etsy Store.  I found these braided fabric bracelets that I thought looked really cool.  I  decided to begin with an inspirational theme and ordered some charms - ribbons of hope, hearts, crosses, and angels.
The tutorial I found showed the folded fabric as being unfinished, which left frayed edges.  When I was teaching ceramics (bet you didn't know that I'm a certified ceramic teacher), I couldn't stress to my students enough that all edges needed to be finished.  And I guess that it still holds for me today, since I didn't like the frayed edge look.
So, I started finishing the strips of fabric like I was making shoelaces.  And I think they look crisper and more finished.    Now, I have ordered Ichthus fish and clouds with rainbows that should arrive tomorrow.  I was a Rainbow girl when I was younger, and Genesis 9:13 still is one of my favorite Bible verses.

Now I have had requests for dogs, cats and horses.  So they are also on order.  I believe that these bracelets could be an inspiration for anyone facing a terminal illness, a recent death in the family or a crisis that needs to be resolved.  When you have a chance, please stop by the store and give me your opinions on the bracelets.