June 30, 2015

Pincushions, Pinafores and Other Fun Projects...

I went back through my files over the weekend and 
pulled these photographs from past projects.
I made these as swap gifts for our guild Christmas parties in 2013 and 2014.
I enjoyed combining beautiful fabric, vintage (or new-to-look-like-vintage) buttons and a little ribbonwork or embroidery to create pretty and useful pincushions for someone's favorite sewing or embroidery spot.
They will be my inspiration as I sit down to create new ones for my Etsy shop. I can't tell you how much enjoyment I get creating something that will become a treasured piece in someone elses sewing space.

I'll show you what they look like before they head over to my Etsy shop, but I'm working on a commissioned wallet first. I'll complete that this morning and then make the pincushions for my shop.
Before the end of the week, I'm going to make another dress for our "Dress A Girl Around The World" project, too. (If you've missed my posts about that, you can click HERE to learn more.) What are you working on this week?

Oh, my goodness! It's already the beginning of a new month!!! Where is the time going, anyway? I guess, "Happy July" is in order.
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Tuesdays With Tag - Public Service Announcement #6...

Hi, Everybody!
I figured it was time for another Public Service Announcement.
This one is #6 and it has to do with livin' with puppies.
There are some definite do's and don'ts to remember.

Let's get on with it, shall we?
In case there's any question in your minds, whatsoever, she is my 
inspiration for today's post. The one and only, Miss Bella Butt.
There are really many more things to tell you about than what I can fit in this one post today, but I'm gonna hit the highlights for ya.

1) It's important to be ever alert. 
Let down your guard for even a minute and chaos can erupt.
2) Only look at 'em (puppies) when they're busy with somethin' else...
or when you want to start a full-scale, crazy, frappy play session.
That way, you don't encourage them too much and you can rest.
3) Try hard as you can, and they'll still slither over to you and try to get you to play.
Only indulge their advances if you're in the mood. 
They can't be allowed to think they're in charge.
4) Keep your toys close. 
How else can you protect them?
5) Continue to be attentive to all snack moochin' opportunities. 
Always. 
Puppies don't always get 'em, so they don't know what they're missin'.
6) When faced with a decision between your toy and a tasty morsel...
Do I really have to finish this? 
Of course, you let the puppy have the toy!!
7) Gees-o-Pete! I don't even know where to start with this!
Do you think I'M allowed on the leather furniture? Um. NO!
But, hey. Do you think this is the "hill I wanna die on"?

When she's here, I'm free to spend time with Mom, chew on my favorite toy
or go for a walk outside. The sky's the limit. She's in the chair and I'm FREE!
8) Finally...and this one is really important...
Puppies need love and affection.
Every puppy deserves to be given extra attention and time just for them.
I got it from Mom when I was a little guy (well, I still do, too!)
and Bella Butt deserves the same. (From Dad, of course.)

Last time she went for a checkup (last week), she weighed in at a whoppin' twenty four pounds. I can tell you now that this "gettin' up on Dad's lap" stuff isn't goin' to last forever. She'd better get it while she can. 

As for me...Mom keeps me in kibble, cuddles and comfort, so we'll make sure that Bella gets her own brand of the same. It's the right thing to do, after all. I knew you'd want to hear it right from my lips. You're welcome.

I'll see you again in seven! 'til then...
"Keep Your Nose To The Wind 
and The Sunshine On Your Tail."

June 28, 2015

BFF Pincushions...

I always set aside studio time on the weekend, so on Saturday I went to my "bag-o-selvages" with simple trimming on my mind. As I cut away excess fabric, I was inspired to create something. With that, this idea was born.

Perhaps you remember the two-part Mitzpah Coin. You know. The coin that you would share with your BFF. She (or he) wore one half and you wore the other. I seem to remember it having the verse, "May the Lord watch between thee and me, while we are absent, one from the other."
As I was cutting away on the selvages, I found myself thinking of my girlfriend in Wisconsin who used to be my sewing buddy. I was in my early 20s and she, her daughter and I would sew together every single evening after having dinner with her husband and sons.

We were prolific. I worked in a law office during the day and sewed with my girlfriends at night. I had a new business outfit to wear every week! When I moved back to my hometown, I couldn't sit at my sewing machine for over a year. I was lonely for my sewing BFFs.
That's when the idea struck! Why not create something for sewing BFFs? I came up with weighted pincushions that were mirror image of each other...one for one girlfriend and another for her treasured friend. That's how the BFF Pincushion was born. I was off and running.

The pincushions measure approximately 4" wide by 8" long. They're made with fabric selvages and filled with crushed walnut shells. Not only do the walnut shells sharpen your pins and needles with use, but they prevent the pincushion from scooting around on your table, too.
I managed to finish three sets this past weekend, and have added these to my Etsy shop. I'll add more as I make time to sew them. 
 
I'm also going to do a couple other variations on the theme. I'll show you as they come off the assembly line. With all the ideas for BFF Pincushions swimming around in my head right now, the sky's the limit!
 
I have a lot going on this week, but there's always time to be in the studio. Don't forget to take time to pursue your creative muse, too. Everyone needs to set aside time to "get your craft on"! 
 
After all, "Seven Days Without Crafting Makes a Person Weak"! 
(I know...groan...I couldn't resist.)
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June 27, 2015

Sunday Scripture...

Image via bibleversesfree2013.blogspot.com
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June 26, 2015

Blue Skies and A Good Book...

Florida has some of the most amazing skies...especially before, during and after storms. This view is facing south from a road near our home, and those clouds are out over the Gulf. I took the photo in the early afternoon yesterday, after one storm had already passed. By late afternoon, these clouds reached our neighborhood, soaking us again.
When the heavens open up, the best thing to do is to find an inside diversion. Turning on computerized sewing machines in thunder storms isn't always the wisest thing to do, and I'm trying not to do handwork when I'm sitting at home.

This book, "Elm Creek Quilts Companion" by Jennifer Chiaverini was a lovely gift that arrived in the mail yesterday from my friend, Marydon of Blushing Rose. She knows my love for books, fabric, quilting and history. This book tucks all that (and more) between two covers! It's a perfect alternative to creating. I mean, if you aren't creating something, isn't it the next best thing to read about creating something?

Thank you, Marydon. Your gift arrived at the most perfect time. I'm looking forward to immersing myself in a good read, and can't thank you enough for the generous surprise you sent my way. You're one of the very first friends I made in Blogland, and I'm so blessed that we found each other in all this wide world. Blessings always, my dear friend.
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June 25, 2015

Thursday Projects...

First on my "To Do List" yesterday was to complete a custom order from The Boutique. I love this project, and only wish I had more than a couple of the containers left to make more. I might have to go on a hunt!
So, this is what it looks like all finished. It's packaged up and will go in the mail this morning. It will arrive at its new home very soon. I hope my client loves it when she holds it in her hands, and that it gets a lot of use holding her pins and needles.
So, I got all of Block Six fused - only to find a boo boo down in the lower corner. It was below the original design and as hard as I tried, I couldn't lift it out of the fabric. What's my solution? Extend the branch, of course!

I added the lower, curved branch, blossom and three leaves. Now the boo is covered up and waiting for some stitching. I'm not sure if I can wait to start!
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June 24, 2015

It Was A Nifty Day...

Nifty 50s, that is.

I wanted to share a couple of projects the ladies were working on, including my own. I loved this patriotic, red-white-blue lap quilt. The strips of patterned fabrics, punctuated with blocks appealed to me.
Even the back, which could have easily been whole cloth, was made more interesting by adding strips of stripes.
My great-nephew, Jace is nicknamed "Little Monkey" by his parents, so I loved this monkey baby quilt made by my friend, Nora. She said it was a pattern from a magazine, but I think it would be easy to mimic. I wouldn't want to copy it, but it gives me some good ideas.
I decided to set up Block Six in my Wooly Critters Sampler quilt project. This time it's a sweet owl on a floral branch.
I neglected to pull the two yellow fabrics to put into this block, but I did get the rest of the pieces cut and placed. You'll notice that my little owl will be a grey, tweed owl rather than the tan one in the photograph.

I told the gals that I think I'm going to go ahead and set up the rest of the set (six more to go), and then I'll be able to stitch from one to the next until I've finished all of them.
When I left Harbour Heights and my day with friends, I drove into a nice, little thunderstorm. It's interesting how the weather can change so drastically in a mere eight miles. By the time I got to our driveway, it was certainly wet, but no longer raining.

My plan was to do something about the toppled star jasmine, so I changed clothes and Handsome and I headed out into the yard. We started by cutting a lot of the top off the bush on the right. That part was easy, considering it was down at eye level. sigh
We also took a lot off the top and sides of the one on the left so that they weren't lopsided. We pulled the fallen plant back into its "upright and locked" position and thankfully, it stayed. I'm hoping that it doesn't drop again, but we'll keep track of it to see if it needs a bit more shoring up.

I guess we'll continue to trim it to keep it stable, but the next time we do an installation like this (perhaps when we move?), I think I'll ask for a larger wood structure, more like a pergola. While I love how gorgeous these plants are when they're in full bloom, they obviously require a more sturdy structure to support their weight. Lesson learned.
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June 23, 2015

A Colorful Port In A Storm...

It's that time of year again...Time for the Row By Row Experience for quilters all over the United States and Canada. Last year was the first year and it was a resounding success for quilt shops. It's no surprise that they all got on board again this year.

Between June 21st and September 8th, 2015, quilters can go into participating shops, pick up a free pattern designed by the shopowner or an employee, and some even choose to compete their completed quilts to win fabrics.
I was in Sarasota yesterday for my monthly haircut, and was only about a block away from Cotton Patch Quilt Shop in Cooper Creek (an area of Sarasota). Of course, I stopped in to pick up the pattern, fabric kit and...
their fabric "license plate" (participating shops also order these for their customers). This year, shops also ordered their license plate in a custom pin. I added those to my shopping cart.
I also found a cute pattern for a quilted, stuffed turtle that begged to follow me home. Who could resist?

If you're interested in participating (even by just collecting patterns) in the Row By Row Experience, click HERE for a list of shops in each state that are joining in the fun.
Shortly after returning home, the weather turned (again). There was thunder and lightning and our Tuesday night monsoon was under way. This was my view out the back window of the studio.
This is my view of the courtyard from my other studio window. It was raining buckets - or as Handsome refers to it - a "toad strangler". I found myself reconsidering whether or not to go to Paneras for my usual Tuesday night with the girls.
I took this picture as the storm was (thankfully) beginning to let up. The pool was full and I was happy to see that the trees weren't swaying back and forth in the wind anymore. Then I looked out the left toward the courtyard.
I was officially sick to my stomach. My archway and one of the lush star jasmine bushes had been toppled by the winds. I ran out into the rain and managed to pull the arch upright, but I could see that the jasmine was going to take two people.

I'll ask Handsome to help me this morning. We'll assess the damage and decide whether or not we can lift the bush back onto the arch...or whether or not we have to cut the top half off it and trust that the bottom half will fill out again.

I'm really hoping we can salvage it with a minimum of trimming because whatever happens to the bush on the right, will also have to be mirrored on the left side bush. I have to consider that we're in hurricane season, too. We're likely to have winds like this again and I want to avoid this happening a second time. Decisions will have to be made.
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June 22, 2015

Tuesdays With Tag - Teachin' Bella...

Hi, Everybody!
Did you have a good weekend with your dad? We sure did!

I thought you might like to see how I'm teachin' Bella some new stuff.
I mean, she's not gonna be able to live on her "puppiness" forever, right?
Mom's got her on a leash so we can do our Trash Day work. You already know that my job is to help with the recyclin' every week. Bella was watchin' while Dad gave me my water bottle to carry to the end of the driveway. 

If you haven't seen the video of how I work on Trash Day, look HERE. I figure I'm teachin' her just by lettin' her walk along and watch. Before you know it, she'll want to do it, too!
She did pretty good, walkin' with us to the end of our long driveway. Dad took over after we dropped off the trash for pickup, so he could do a little leash work with her. It's all part of her lessons.

I noticed Mom was still behind us takin' pictures...
"I'll walk with Mom, Dad. See ya at the house, Bella Butt."
"Don't worry, Mom. I'll walk with you so you're not alone."
A little while after they got back inside, Dad started readin' a book on his iPad. Bella was fussin', so he put her up on his lap and used her for a reader stand. I think it's a job she really likes! 

Mom thought they looked adorable when they both fell asleep. I thought, "Bella's got this program figured out!" What a con!
Well, I guess I shouldn't complain. Mom lets me sleep on the bed, cuddles me and gives me treats that not even that puppy gets. I live the Life of Riley around here, so I don't mind sharin' a bit of the attention with a spazzy puppy. (As long as she stays out of my face when I'm eatin' breakfast and dinner.)

I admit, I do love it when she decides to chase around the yard with me. She gets faster every day, but she's still not as fast as me!

I'm gonna sign off for this week. I'm sendin' off a long-overdue, special package today, so I'll tell you all about it next week.

I'll see you again in 24! 'til then...
"Keep Your Nose To The Wind 
and The Sunshine On Your Tail."

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