Sunday, November 23, 2008

She Threads a Needle

She places fabric in a hoop.

She makes some little Xs on the aforementioned fabric.

And a year or so later she has a finished project! Seriously it can happen to you.

Blackbird Designs
Beneath the Sunlit Sky
Completed 11-23-08

The buttonhole stitch kicked my butt. The version viewed in a previous post was just made up. The BBD ladies did not include stitch diagrams with this chart. It might have helped, maybe not, but I do believe that if you want to have speciality stitches in your design you should really include some visual aides for the stitcher. I have embroidery books and could look up the stitch, I have Google, I can Google the stitch but maybe, just maybe, not every stitcher has these resources available to her/him so a stitch diagram would be a nice thing to include with the chart. Just sayin'.

Yes, the picture is a bit wrinkledy, apologies. My iron has gone missing. Normally that's a pretty good thing but of course it only decides to go missing when I might need it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Scattering of Projects

This post is completely random. Here is the beginnings of Jane Atkinson:

Here is a skirt I made over the summer, the waist band was a quickie so I could wear it out one night to hang out with some friends who were in town. Note to self--remember to always add a few inches to the back because babe you got one big butt. The hike up factor was a pain. I have a long way to go before I should actually consider wearing something I've made. But it worked out ok and my top covered the unfinished waistband. I am wishing now I had bought the patchwork fabric I saw at JoAnn's in August, would have made a great fall skirt in this simple pattern. Even my big butt would have been cute in it.

Here's my attempt at the buttonhole stitch in Blackbird Designs Beneath the Sunlit Sky. It's not properly executed and we all know what Nina Garcia says about execution but honestly, I was over the stupid stitch and just made it up.

Here are some strips for a completely winged table runner. The fabric was purchased at a yard sale, the yellow I'm pretty sure was at one time a sheet, the green some kind of decorator fabric. Kind of funky but hey so am I:

New kitchen bling:

Scored three of these skillets at TJ Maxx. I was in desperate need of new cookware and these were just too fun not to buy and they were cheap too!

A few years ago, the middle DS was whining about being bored. I told him to find something to do, he was obviously hungry too and created this painting of a pizza on a Pizza Hut pizza box. I love it and want to frame it.

What does one do when her feet are cold? Unravel the Sophie bag and crochet some slippers. I lost the pattern to the Sophie bag and it's no longer online as far as I can tell. It was a freebie I think.

And the current candy addiction, why Hershey's Hot Cocoa Kisses:

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Yesterday while going on and on about the Halloween Baltimore Quilt I saw at Missy's blog,
Festival » Deep Inside Missy, another guest asked if I quilted. I started stuttering and umming and ahhing, and finally I said, "Well I talk about quilting a lot. Does that count?"

So when I came home I looked at all my projects, my sewing machine out on the dining room table, craft room, are you serious? The "dining room" is an extension of the living room and the first thing you see when you walk in my front door, other than the ginormous black lab laying in front of you is the sewing machine, printer, and laptop on the dining table(and a pile of mail and coupons too). If you walk into the room, which I try hard to block anyone from doing that, you will see a pretty nice china cabinet stocked full of crafting stuff. Yeah, I'm classy that way.

We need to paint, we went through a delusional phase where we actually believed living three miles from the beach meant we really lived on the beach and the colors in the living room/ dining room show that ignorance. Yes, I said colors, the living room is a tourquoise/sea blue kind of color and the dining area is a fruit punch, deep, bright pink. It's horrible and I'm not sure what exactly came over us when we thought this would be a good idea. It's bright, it's hard to be sad in this part of the house--oh we manage to let the sad seep in trust me--one look at the spousal unit's 401-K sucks the bright right out of the room. But it's really, in the bright light of day, a hideous, huge, decorating don't. Trust me. So now I'm going with a nice yellow, Sparkler from Glidden I think it's called. We need a lot of paint, it's a big area but I know I'll feel better about the clutter when the walls all match. I've been steadily filling trash bags with crap we don't need. I need to buy stock in Rubbermaid because there are buckets and bins everywhere, but the things I want to keep need to be moved out of the house and into the garage and we have learned over the years that cardboard boxes don't hold up to our children. Yes, they are all somewhat grown now but they will be looking for something in the garage or decide that they need that box my books are packed in and just dump the books out and take the box. I wander in the garage, slipping and sliding over a pile of hardback books that I'm pretty sure I packed away years ago, yes my kids are idiots or maybe just inconsiderate, but they make me crazy. It only adds to the situation when a cat gets locked in the garage and decides the pile of books might make a good litter box. You think I'm lying, exaggerating, trying to make a point to my kids, oh no, unfortunately this has happened on more than one occaision.

I am back to rethinking my crafting life. I read other people's blogs and I am amazed at what they manage to accomplish. Not only do they finish a BAP in a perfectly acceptable amount of time, they also quilt, sew, can food, bake, garden and many go to jobs for 40 hours a week. I am in need of some serious time management skilz.

I guess sitting around fretting about cleaning the house doesn't count as actual cleaning time but it does help when one is trying to figure out exactly where to start the cleaning, decluttering process. Yeah, I get flylady, I delete the emails everyday. I know 15 mins here, 15 mins there, it all builds up to one clean house. I'm just trying to figure out right now how to have a clean house by Thanksgiving and keep it that way through Christmas and I've determined the starting point is Rubbermaid buckets and three gallons of yellow paint. I want to do one of those Clean Sweep things where you haul all your worldly goods out on to the front lawn and then sort them in front of the whole neighborhood. We may still do that when we finally paint. Football ended last weekend so the spousal unit should have nothing but time on his hands, he can watch tv and paint at the same time right?

I have started Jane Atkinson-Scarlet Letter, maybe some pics tomorrow, the camera has gone missing, probably under a pile of junk. I am in love with Stacy Nash Primitives and want to just quilt my whole world right now. I found some funky vintage looking fabric at a yard sale a month or two ago and I think I have enough to make a table runner, but I might have to add some fabric to it and don't have anything around here that works so I may just play it by ear see what happens.

Does every project have to be planned to the letter? Isn't it ok to just start cutting and sewing and hope it all works out in the end? There was a time when I considered a failed project a waste of crafting time. It was time that could be spent actually doing something I know how to do but there's a lot to be said for a learning curve. I've learned that's important not only in crafting but also in life in general.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Writing and Stitching

Stitching and writing. I love November, it's nanowrimo. This is the first year I've officially participated. Other years I'm just kind of writing along but this year I'm writing outloud so to speak, at least with my word count. I should be at 8,000 something words and I'm up to 5,139. A little behind where I should be at this point but I'm into my story and honestly don't want to stop writing. Don't know if it's good, but writing it is making me happy so there's that.

Stitching--I want to write about cross stitch too. My friend Elaine passed away unexpectedly Oct. 18. I haven't written about her because, well, I guess the shock of it all. But I'm getting ready to start Jane Atkinson-Scarlet Letter and the DMC I'm using is DMC that was gifted to me by Elaine. Elaine knew that I used tons of DMC, I love the overdyes but the fact is, DMC is my friend. At a stitching weekend one year she brought me a tall kitchen garbage bag stuffed full of DMC. She had been gifted with about 5 skeins of every color so she gifted me with a skein of each color. The fabric I'm using was purchased with a gift certificate from Nordic Needle from my friends Sharon and the blogless Siobhan at a very sad time in my life, so Jane will be a very special piece for me. Stitching her with materials provided by my stitching sisters. Each X on Jane will remind me of how connected we all are, even if the connections are created at first by a machine, the computer, we become sisters in real life, and every day I am so thankful for my stitching friends and so aware of the void that is left when one passes from this world to another. I know that if there is a Heaven Elaine is looking down shaking her head and thinking to herself that Melissa is starting one more BAP that she will never finish. So all is as it should be here on Planet Earth.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Things I've Learned

First of all, the button hole stitch sucks. I hate it. I can't make a flower on BBD Beneath the Sunlit Sky. I'm weighing my other stitch options at the moment. Eyelet, Smyrna, Satin? I know that the buttonhole stitch is evil.

Second, when a design calls for GAST Wool thread, don't try to use Red Heart acrylic yarn, even separated it's too thick and it shreds. I'm passing this info along just in case you thought, like me, it might be an alternative to the GAST Wool thread, uh, it's not. It's a very bad choice. Of course if I were using a larger count fabric it might have worked, but I don't have any loosely woven 10ct laying around the house. So I'm back to using good old DMC. Maybe I'll have a finish to share tomorrow.

Nanowrimo-current word count, 1,100, I should be somewhere around 8,000 but what I have discovered is that I don't have time to write. Maybe now that the election is over, I can look away from the tv and other distractions and get my story down. I'm also editing as I write and I hate that. I just jumped into the story and am trying to get to a certain point but my writing is dragging and I keep hitting delete, not good for word count totals. Time to get inside of my head, cut loose my inner editor and just write the dang story. I'm also finding that I'm kind of protective of these characters. I want people to love them like I do. I love these people and it's entirely possible that no one will "get" the story I'm trying to tell. But I need to tell the story first. It's a never ending circle.