Wednesday, November 13, 2013

So, where have I been?  Has anyone even noticed?  First off I moved.  Yep finally I got out of the frozen climate to milder climes.

Second, I am not quite an empty nester but getting there.  The child is in college. I need real money, so I went begging for a 'real' job. I got one.  Now I am starting to feel a little more comfortable and like I have the occasional clue.  So it must be time to relocate again.  Yes.  We are (hopefully) buying a house.  Now that is an interesting process which will most likely be shared on the other Blog.

Last but not least is the reason we are buying a house and leaving this one.  I love this property, I like the house. Except we moved from 2000 sq ft into about 1500 sq feet.  All of my sewing, crochet, soaping items are packed in the garage because I do not have space in which to work.  I will be back,  but wanted everyone to know that while you may have hoped I fell off the face of the earth,  no such luck.

Oh and now for the project list:
1. Fix a bunch of clothes.
2. Some skirts for me
3. Finish PuuChuu
4. Gutters for new house.
5. Deck repair for new house
6. Quilts for walls for new house
7  Organize EOs
8 Set up utility sink/drying area for soap
9. Sort fabrics

 I'll be back!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Quilt class from Hell. part 1

So where have I been? Working, working working.  I had a mini vacation planned. 3 weeks before the vacation I heard the person who had been teaching a quilting class no longer works for us.  I am talking to the person taking the class over and she is not comfortable doing it.  Like an idiot I say "I'll do it, just clear it with the education director!"

Now the class was in 2 days, the education director called me at 8:30 that night to say the info was in my folder. Now is when I find out that they are not halfway through the class, as a matter of fact they are treating it like the class has never happened and one of the ladies is returning to New Zealand in 2 weeks. As far as the director is concerned as long as the they get the top pieced the class worked.

Great, what have I gotten myself into? Are the students angry? Are they confused? Next day I picked up the instructions for the quilt as I headed to my crochet group. This is not a bad quilt I see, but not one *I* would choose for a beginner. It is a variation on a roaming or Roman stripe and is strip pieced. The class quilt is done in sage, pink and brown prints, not my colors, but hey I just need pieces for demo.

I head home, hit the stash and start cutting strips. Pattern calls for 11 fabrics. Each block uses 7 strips. 2 cut at 2.5, 2 cut at 3, 2 cut at 3.25 and 1 cut at 3.5. They are put together with a .25 inch seam and a 12.5 inch block is cut on point. Then scrap area is unsewed, sewn back together opposite way and another block cut. that last bit is the part I am leery of teaching beginners. If their sewing skills are debatable that can get messy if the seam frays or stretches due to resewing. 

Class was the next morning, so I made 1 strip set that was sewn incorrectly to demonstrate how mistakes multiply when piecing,  one put together correctly, I cut two blocks from a third and had the scraps ready to take apart and sew back together in the alternate order with a note to point out that I used only 7 fabrics here, but with 11 there is a much greater variety and scraps from different strip sets could be combined as long as the sizes were the same.  Meaning each block must have the 2 of each strip width and 1 of the 3.5 to make the block no less than 18 inches when sewn together. I also made 6 parchment paper templates and packed up my 12.5 square.

So class day arrives and so do 2 students  Andrea and Susan. They inform me yes the class had 5 enrolled but they are the only 2. Ok, that makes it a bit easier.  Susan did not bring her machine as she was not certain what would be done since they had a new teacher and as she later admitted was not even confident there would be a class after the previous 2 lessons.  I mentioned that I had heard one of them was returning to New Zealand . Both are from the UK originally and Susan was returning for a visit the same week as my vacation. She had hoped to get the quilt finished before then to take with her, but if it was not possible that was fine as she will be visiting again later in the year. Not was I was told, but actually was better.

Let me point out here the from HELL part of this class had nothing to do with the students (anyone who has taught anything has one of THOSE classes). In this case it was the time constraints and the circumstances. 

I started the class by laying out the strip sets. Both students have their's cut except Andrea has a lot.  She has one of the same fabrics that Susan did but it would not behave when she cut it.  I looked at it.  It is a lousy mill run.  Susan's batch was like any other printed cotton used for quilting.  Andrea's was much lower thread count and felt almost like a heavy gauze. It stretched and refused to cut or tear straight.  We trashed those pieces and she had another brown picked out instead. She started to cut them.

It was at THIS point the real headache came out.  It seemed the previous instructor did not like the pattern as it was given to us to teach. OK I can understand that. I am not in love with it either for a beginning class. She had decided to alter it, she had left the students with instructions to cut 6 fabrics at 2.5 inches and 1 at 3 for each square.  Now even this English major could do the math on that one.  To cut a 12.5 square on point you need at least 17.5 inches. What she had given them came to no more than 14. She had told them it would work out, but had given them no printed instructions.

OK, so now what?  I went ahead and had them sew their strip groups together, and copied the instructions for them with warnings that they would be changed now but at least they could see how to perform certain techniques and have explanations of WHY things are done differently in quilting than in fashion sewing. Then we measured the first strip sets.  Susan's worked with an 8.5 square and Andrea's looked like a 10.5 or maybe a 9.5 I recut 2 templates on the fly. But both really want a plastic square. I showed them how to cut one either with or without a window.   We decide to end class a little early and everyone would meet back in 4 days to cut the squares and start the layout. More next time.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fantastic Crochet buddies give me the best birthday

My birthday has just passed. My two crochet buddies did the best thing anyone could have done for me. Roz gave me a bottle of Pink Truck and Diane put together a notebook of amigurimi patterns for me to use as is or alter to my heart's content. Thank you Ladies - you are the best!
The Pink Truck will come in handy if i get frustrated by a pattern that is the notebook.

Do you have a friend that is "into" a craft of some sort? Take a page from these two ladies. For me the notebook was the best idea. If you have a scrapbooking friend and you sew maybe trims, laces and buttons that are too small for you to use would be appreciated by them. For a sewer, Maybe a decorated box or accordian file for their small things. Quilters appreciate graph paper, colored pencils. fabric scraps and LOTS of safety pins.

Remember the gift that shows you thought about what the person would like is the best type of gift.

Roz and Diane, Thanks again.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Amigurumi Puuchuu

For those of you with no interest in amigurumi, anime, crochet or altering patterns skip this. The rest of you..

This started because I was hitting sites looking for ideas. Someone posted this link on ravelery. For a crocheted Kerochan from Card Captor Sakura. My first thought was OH! I could alter that to make one of the aliens from Excel Saga.

So the pattern alternation saga begins. I have the basic form done now. I have already altered one thing. I made the head a closed ball, it just seemed to not be round enough when attached to the neck. Next the ears, after some playing I decided to chain 25 crochet 1 row starting with doubles for 11 stitches, then half doubles then singles to end. I couled them, and sewed them on.

Next, the diaper.. I decided to make that as a seperate piece and sew that one as well. THe rug beater weapon is a straw witn a chained 'beater. But I am stuck on the antenna. Will post a picture as soon as I get it done.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Falling behind

One of my goals is to try and complete one thing a day that i have been falling behind on. Between the dentist yesterday and feeling not so great today, I have now fallen behind. So In order to keep up with my schedule, tomorrow I will working on a pair of pajama pants for DH. The PuuChuu toy and After my trip to the fabric store, the bathroom rug. Keep on me about this.

The list:

2 pairs of pajama pants for daughter
3 pairs of pajama pants for husband (1 completed)
quilt for fireplace
Bathroom Rug
average of 1 batch of CP soap a week
Quilt for Queen-sized bed
Liz's quilt
Olive's quilt
H&I Quilt
Daughter's cosplay costumes
My Cosplay costume
Fleece pullover for daughter
Throw for daughter's bed
Stuffed animal hanger for daughter's room
Bathroom Curtain
Crocheted sweater for work
Crocheted tunics
soot sprite
boot slippers
crochet tabi (have to alter a pattern or convert a knit one to crochet)
sweater for self
sweater for daughter

And that is what I have started on or in the works. I need to clear some room in the stash areas, so keep on me people. Otherwise I will get lazy, again.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Here is the Calicifer toy completed. The most difficult part was actually getting the eyes right. The second most difficult was finding the orange fun fur. I went out and bought the stuff for this because I wanted to make him, but I am finding that small stuffed toys are great for using up those little scraps of yarn from larger projects. So far the best sites I have found for patterns anad ideas are and www,

The rug is almost completed, but what color to border it in? Seems like everyone is split evenly on this.. I think it may boil down to what do I have the most of in my stash?

Pajama pants are the big thing again this year, but why do they call them lazy or leisure pants now? It seems that flannel is not recommended for children's sleepwear because of a lack of fire retardation. BUT the fire retardant fabrics have been found to release a chemical that may kill children too. So LEGALLY it looks like we cannot put our children (Under age 12) in any clothing. Our government at work.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The price of Tea in your Community

Alright I agree. The economy is just plain bad. People are claiming if they do not spend money it will not get better. Well, spend it with me on my site, or any other small business. Why you ask? First off you are helping more than just me in this.

For example, if you were to buy a bar of soap :
Into that bar went,
Oils bought from local merchants
Fragrances bought from US companies
Herbs bought from US farmers.
Packaging bought from local merchants or
Soap bag made by myself. Yarn bought locally.

So in a nutshell, your 5.00 is being spread over 5 companies at least.
Ok so you don't HAVE to buy from me and honestly if you live in Canada, the UK or even Florida, I do not ask that you do. But I do suggest you look at local merchants first.

Granted sometimes they have to charge a bit more for an item or service, but usually you get much more than just the item. You get service and you are helping your local community.

4 years ago every strip mall in my area had a local computer repair and sales store in it. Now I know of 1 fairly far away to whom I would not take an abacus. What happened?

Best Buy, Circuit City and CDW happened. But I do not need a gaming machine, or a networked business computer or even a laptop. I just need something to keep my accounts on and write letters. Yet, none of these stores sell what I need. If my machine should break, these are the only places in the area that service machines. They would rather sell me a new one. To top it off, Circuit City is closing its store in my area. So now I have 2 choices. What happens if the other two follow suit? Ever try to buy a computer on the internet when you cannot access the internet?

The local shops closed because people went to the other places for computers. In many cases, the computers were more expensive than if they had talked to a local person. I never spent more than 900.00 for a desktop from the shop I used to use. And he always built it to my specifications. He never overcharged. He always gave me what I needed (with a little more room for expansion) and the owner knew me personally. As a result I sent business his way whenever I could.

But it was not enough. Too many businesses went to Best Buy. Now maybe they treat business accounts better than a single unit buyer. But last time I walked in telling them what I wanted, they tried to sell me what they wanted to. I do not like laptops (for many reasons) Yet that seemed to be their solution for everything. Granted the laptop was inexpensive, but the docking station, adaptors and other periphial necessities made it less cost effective than buying too much machine. But since they are one of 2 merchants in my area that sell anything remotely like what I need and they do not carry what I really want, they were confident that I would buy from them. I did not and I let their home office know why.

That is the OTHER advantage of supporting your local merchants. They will try to stock what you want or need. They will try to get things for you. Why? Because it will make you happy and keep you coming back. It may make you refer more business to them.

The chains want to homoginize things to make it more cost effective for them. They want you to buy Red Rose tea because they have a contract with Red Rose. Never mind if you do not care for it, or if you prefer a different brand or tea mixture. They want you to buy Red Rose. For now. If they get a better contract with Lipton they will want you to buy that and stop carrying the other. You can contact their corporate offices, but if they are the only place that you can get tea in your area, they will stock what they want to. If you want tea, you will buy what they want to sell you.

But if you buy tea from a local grocer or a specialty tea shop, now you can back up your complaint by withdrawing your money from the chain. Yes that will cut into their profits. But would you rather see your money go to a conglomerate based elsewhere or to go into your community?

So, when you can, buy locally, support local craft shows, farmer's markets, and businesses that are locally owned and run. You are putting money back into your community. You are perhaps adding jobs to your community if through your and others efforts the local businesses grow. Last but not least, you are building a relationship with a local person who will (or at least should) be grateful for your support.