I was just telling you about the cute panel I bought that has three trick or treat bags that you cut out and sew. The thing is that even though halloween is a marketers dream, with more cute products than you can shake a stick at, I always feel a little funny about it. Like I’m celebrating the devil. Is that crazy? I think a lot of people feel that way. Which is why churches have things like harvest festivals, where kids dress up as biblical characters and walk around the church (or church parking lot) and get candy. All the fun, no Satan :)

This year was the first year that I actually bought Halloween fabric. Am I going to hell? Well, if I am, I bet there are cute Halloween invitations to invite me.

just around the corner

I joined a “handmade holiday” group on flickr, to motivate me to finish all my holiday gifts this year, rather than not finishing any of them, and ending up buying a bunch of gifts right before Christmas. I’m not doing that great this year either. It’s already Sept, basically, and I’m still in the idea phase. I have been buying lots of fabric in preparation for the things I’m GOING to make, but it’s not the same as making them, now is it?

Plus, I need to plan a few Thanksgiving gifts first anyway. I have some patterns for table runners that I think are so adorable, and would be perfect for my step-mom. She changes her table decorations for each holiday, so she’s the one person who could actually use seasonal table runners and place mats. I love making these small projects. Plus, I’d love to make some cute little felt napkin rings with leaves or turkeys or pilgrim shoes. Since everyone is getting cloth napkins for Christmas (which I’ve yet to make), they’re going to need napkin rings, right?

I also have some super cute panel fabric to make trick-or-treat bags for Halloween. My nieces just moved here from Germany, so that panel I bought that makes 3 bags is now perfect for my 2 nieces and my son. I just have to GET SEWING.

Finally, there’s Christmas. I have the 3 quilts kits that I bought for gifts for last year, still neatly tied in their piles in my fabric bins. One is the cutest fleece with hot cocoa cups all over. I’d really like to make that one. Plus, I got special fabric for small quilts for my nieces and nephews.

Basically, I need to get off this macbook and get sewing. Today. See ya.

black hole strikes again.

I’m not supposed to still be on the internet. But here’s what happened. I went back to Flickr to check if I had any comments (I did!) and followed a link to a commenter’s photos. This is how it starts. Then, I followed another commenter…and so it goes.

I found this blog, Crazy Mom Quilts, which is FULL of inspiration. Most inspiring – this Red Cross Quilt. I truly love this quilt. I’ve been searching and searching for the most perfect quilt for my sister, and this is it. I’ve been saving blue and aqua fabrics, and it’s going to be perfect.

I also stumbled onto Johanna Wright’s artwork on etsy. Wow. My craft room will not be complete until I have some of her prints – or even better – some of her original paintings. I LOVE her.

Now, I seriously need to get off of here. Now that I’ve saved those links for myself, I can go do something else. Like sew. Or drink coffee.

Aunt Millie’s Garden

I just finished glue-basting this first block from Aunt Millie’s Garden by Piece O’ Cake Designs. I’m super excited about it, and instead of being exhausted, I can’t wait to start the next one! I’ve been collecting Denyse Schmidt fabrics for about six months in preparation for this project.

aunt millies garden-1

I also found a few new gems on the web – these are some super awesome embroidery sites:
First I found PimpStitch (don’t miss their blog), thanks to a photo on Flickr. From there, I found Stitchy Stitcherson’s blog (I really love that name), which lead me to AnnieOakLeaves (awesome – free patterns!) which lead me back to Floresita, whose blog I already love (and is chocked full of free patterns), which lead me to Stitchy Britches (another great name), where I ended up at Exceedingly Curious’ scans of an 1886 pattern book! What a cool find! Thanks to John Governale for all that hard work!

So that’s it for the black hole of productivity (a.k.a., the internet) for today.

I’m stoked about Joe Biden. Excellent choice. I sad the Olympics are over, but glad I may actually get some sleep this week. I’m excited that my husband has a job interview this week and things may be changing soon.

Now, it’s 7 am, so it’s time to head to the park before it’s 100 degrees outside!

gems on the web

Heather Ross Mendocino from Free Spirit
Heather Ross Mendocino from Free Spirit

Exciting things are happening in my craft world. First of all, I just ordered the whole Mendocino line from PurlSoho.com…I CAN’T WAIT for it to arrive. You both (as in, my 2 faithful readers) know that I don’t need any more fabric, but who cares?! Life is short, and Heather Ross fabric disappears and never returns. I’m still searching for a yard or two of that sweet gnome fabric!

So not only is her new Free Spirit¬†fabric available for purchase, but she has a new blog! So here’s a link: http://heatherross.squarespace.com/

I think she is an amazing artist. Her fabrics include her sweet illustrations, they are witty and fun and super creative. Not to detract from other designers, but her lines seem so much more thoughtful than a lot of what’s available. Anyway, I’ve also added her to my blogroll, so you can always find her from there – under Heather Ross.

Also on the way is new fabric from Heather Bailey – purchased directly from her new web shop. Awesome. I took her up on the early bird offer and got some free trash ties. We’ll see how well I do with those :)

You know what? While I was shopping around at Purl, I found Denyse Schmidt’s upholstry weight line, County Fair. Did you know about that? I almost bought it all up, but then I remembered that I have a whole bin of upholstry weight stuff that I haven’t used and have no real plan for, so I held back. Good for me! I’m proud of me. I also saw Amy Butler’s new upholstry weight line, August Fields. Beautiful. But again, let’s be realistic. How many huge-repeating-image fabrics can you use?

Also, I had already spent $200.

What?!! Good thing my husband doesn’t read this :)

I also found these fun sites:





Insipration abounds! Get crafting!

A Disappointing Gabfest

gabfest logoI often tout the great Slate.com’s Political Gabfest as one of my favorite podcasts. I usually love the interesting legal insight of Emily Bazelon, the timely and often historically-based (and poll-based) comments from John Dickerson and the quick wit of David Plotz. However, this week was a sad exception. John is exempt from my criticism because he was absent. His stand in, Josh Levin seemed as perplexed as me, so he’s also excused.

Emily and David spent a considerable amount of time lamenting the Olympics – using words like “boring” and “tedious”. As they wondered aloud why someone hadn’t come up with a better way to move through water than the butterfly or backstroke, I was thinking, “idiots.” As they went on and on about “who cares if the gymnasts are too young? The older gymnasts better come up with a new program!” I knew that had not seen the heart-warming story of the 33-year old German gymnast. I knew they didn’t know that Micheal Phelps has double-jointed knees, which helps him achieve that perfect butterfly – a ridiculously difficult feat of coordination and timing – but it’s really his life-long dedication that’s made him the most-medal winning Olympian of all time.

They seem to be missing the point. The Olympic spirit, if you will. It’s not about sitting through each heat – unless that’s your thing. It’s not even about these awesome photo finishes – like when Phelps won the gold or Torres won the silver (which both made me cry!), it’s about appreciating the life long dedication and awesome athletic skill of these Olympians. The fact that they represent our country to the world, when we could really use the good press and the good will! The fact that they work their asses off not just for their own glory but also for ours.

I totally hated David and Emily’s lame, small-minded, decidedly un-athletic commentary on the Olympics. I’ll be glad when they get back to talking about politics.

cars, condos and convalesence

Its time for us to re-look at our car insurance. It seems like every year, it needs to be reassessed. Last year, I called and ended up getting about $75 in additional discounts because of the safety features on our car and our OnStar membership. I think this time, I’m just going to go ahead and get auto insurance quotes from a few different companies. We’ve been with the same company for over four years now. I’m always getting those mailers that say “we could save you an average of $ on your insurance!” I think it’s time to check it out.

The reason I’ve been thinking about this is that my mother-in-law just moved to Miami. We were looking into transfering to Florida, and we were looking at real estate, and I found a super awesome house in Tampa. Totally affordable. But then I was talking to my step-mom, who is an insurance agent, and she was telling me how expensive home-owners insurance is in FL. How, in some cases, it can cost as much as a monthly mortgage payment! Yikes! That could really make a home unaffordable. So home-owners insurance was something my mother-in-law needed to get when she got to Miami (although, I’m not sure how she didn’t have it in the first place, because she still has a mortgage on that condo!!!!). She said she found it right away. I didn’t even ask her about it. Who knows what kind of crazy company she got. And what if she needs special things like a wind policy? I hope she’s really covered because you never know whats going to happen in Florida.

This brings me to my general concerns for her future. This post is really all over the place. But it’s really all about insurance, too. I’m not sure what her real financial situation is. She often makes statements like, “Oh, it will be fine. You can take care of me in my retirement.” That scares me. So while I need to make sure we’re covered with life insurance, we also need to make sure she’s covered, but we have to do it without getting too involved or asking too many questions. It’s a delicate balance because she’s more likely to just get you to take over all her responsibilities than give you a straight answer.


current projects

I made all these fun iron-ons of superheroes – admittedly, I stole all the images off of the internet – and put them on t-shirts for my kid. Just like his super cool Thomas cape, he cries his face off if I try to put the shirts on him. Here’s an example. I put this shirt on him, he wears it all the time. Then, he looked down and saw Aquaman.

But I’m working on some new stuff. I’ve been making these cool little bags…I may even get around to putting some in the Etsy shop I opened 20 years ago. I also finished a little table topper convergence quilt (from a Ricky Timms book) and I’m over halfway done with the hand quilting on my snake charmer quilt.
cat bag-5


one more thing about that

And about this job search my husband is doing…he posted his info on a couple job boards, and he’s been getting a ton of calls from head hunters and recruiters. I mean, four or five every day. That’s crazy, right? I’ve never had a real hard time finding a job, but I’ve never seen this kind of response from an online job board. I guess there’s a real value in these companies that get paid by corporations to narrow down the zillion applicants and find the few gems in the bunch. The good thing is that this crazy recruiter response has been very positive for my husband, who’s been a little freaked by the downsizing happening in his company. He was not in the first round of cuts, but the plant manager mentioned making “adjustments to the fixed costs” in a meeting today – which is a lame, squirrelly reference to the salaried staff. That guy is so spineless.