Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pay It Forward - Kreativ Blogger Award



I still can’t believe I was awarded the Kreativ Blogger Award from my dear friend Alyssa at Alygatr’s Everywhere. I am so honored and now I am excited to pass it on those blogs that I enjoy and admire. First let me say that blogging has introduced me to more friends than I ever thought possible – what a beautiful world blogging is!!!






Let’s see the rules of the Kreativ Blogging Award say that I have to tell you seven things about me that you don’t know. Hm-m-m-m-m-m.


1. Big T and I were college sweethearts and have been married for a very, very long time. (A really long time!)
2. I could eat my weight in bar-b-que ribs. The good gooey finger licking kind that gets all over you. Throw in a few French fries and I’ll think I died and went to heaven.
3. I love pineapple pie. (I must be on a food kick.) It was always a special treat on my birthday. (I don’t care for cake.) Last year M made me one for my birthday and when she served it, I asked her where the top crust was. She looked at it and said “I knew I forgot something.”
4. My birthday is my favorite day of the whole year. I know that’s being really selfish of me – but it’s true.
5. One year in a doubles bowling tournament I won the prize for “lowest score”, “highest score” and “most improved player”. It’s the only sports event I ever succeeded at. My trophy took a place of honor on the bookcase for several years. (I was also accused of sandbagging. I just told them they were jealous.)
6. I didn’t start sewing until two years ago. I have always knitted and crocheted but never sewed anything worth showing or keeping. I actually took the “learn to quilt class” as a way to meet friends when we moved to North Carolina. (My knitting is magic it grows and grows. I made a twin afghan for my daughter to take to college. It now fits her queen sized bed.)
7. I do not particularly like to cook. Big T and I do most of the cooking together. That’s the only way he knows he is going to get a real meal. Probably if it were up to me, we would be on a straight cold cereal diet. Even worse than cooking is the dreaded question “what are we having for dinner tonight”?

Ok now you know ALL about me - what else do I have to do? Pass the award on to seven blogs that I follow on a regular basis. My seven awardees are (drumroll please):
Lace Hearts
Boutiqueaholic
Loft Creations
Sugar Spun Quilt
Lazy Gal Quilting
Q is for Quilt
Anieman Designs


Now the final direction to Pay It Forward (if you should wish to do so):

1. Copy/paste the Kreativ Blogger Award picture onto your blog


2. Thank the person who awarded it to you and post a link to her/his blog


3. Write 7 things about yourself we might not know


4. Choose 7 other bloggers to award


5. Link to them


6. Notify your 7 bloggers of their award




Thank you Alyssa. (I think I’ve said that several other times this week.) Please visit her shop on Etsy and enjoy her work – the flowers are exquisite.

The custom diaper bag is finished and on its way to its new owner. I hope she’s as pleased with it as I am. It was going so smoothly until I discovered I put the top bands on upside down. I even had the top stitching done. But I must admit it does seem to work better with all the pattern pieces going in the same direction.

The quilt wall is covered and the batting is securely fastened down just waiting to be hung. He was going to hang it Sunday as planned but other family commitments took priority. Right now it is laying in the middle of the floor in my home studio (aka sewing room). This is the last piece before my room is finished with the make over.

I also finished my would-be table runner turned tote bag string quilt challenge project. (Try saying that 10 times). That will make two entries in the “no strings attached challenge” and 5 finished new projects in 2010. ‘Chick and Chic’ is now posted on Hummingbird Treasures. I am so proud of myself, it is the 28th of January and I haven’t bought any fabric or new machine embroidery patterns yet this year. (The diaper bag doesn’t count because she provided the fabric.)
Daughter M is my model. Isn't she lovely?

From me to you, lots of hugs and thanks for joining me in my new adventures of learning to be creative and artistic.

Marie

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Alygatr Day

Yesterday was the day of OMG surprises all the way around and they almost all had Alygatr’s name on them. First, I opened my valentine swap and found out my blogging buddy was my valentine partner (more about my beautiful gift a little later on); then I found out I had received the Kreativ Blogging Award (again compliments of Alygatr) and as I was reading her blog – OMG there was my Peter Rabbit quilt featured on her Etsy favorites. Last, but not least, Big T bought the quilt wall ‘board’ and screws today. Today should be THE DAY!

From now on days full of surprises around my house will be called “alygatr days”. What fun for an entire day.

Last Thursday I lost all my ‘followers’ on my blog. I was sad as if I had lost my best friends. I kept checking back every once in awhile to see if they had magically reappeared or if they had fallen into the black hole of blogging. Today, you are all back and seemingly in good health. Don’t scare me like that.

Big T and the Dude crashed their big model airplane on its first flight (which went nowhere but down). The smaller but much cheaper plane flew higher and further than they thought it would. The Dude had to chase it across the soccer field with the remote to control(?) it. They spent the last 45 minutes throwing rocks and sticks into a pine tree that had eaten the plane. Persistence paid off and the small plane returned home with them. The large plane has assumed a place of honor in a corner of the garage – future to be determined.




I have the fabric cut for the diaper bag and have memorized the directions. Now I need to let my subconscious put it together in my sleep before I put needle to fabric. Don’t laugh - I save myself a lot of headaches that way. My subconscious makes the mistakes so I don’t have to. Of course, this does tend to cause a few sleepless nights just lying there letting my mind wonder where it may. I need to finish this by the end of this coming week (self-imposed deadline) so I start to work on machine embroidering her reversible bedspread.

Tomorrow will be dedicated to the sharing the Kreativ Blogging Award. I have to think of seven things you would want to know about me. The Dude thinks I should let him write that list. That might be kind of fun but I reserve the right to edit his list.

And now (drum roll please) my gift from Alygatr in the infamous valentine swap. Isn’t it beautiful!! I love it. It is hanging in a place of honor for all to see as soon as they come in. I do not have anything else like it. She is a very talented and creative lady. Please visit her shop on Etsy to see that talent for yourself.




From me to you, lots of hugs and thanks for joining me in my new adventures of learning to be creative and artistic.


Marie


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Completed Projects


I actually made it in and out of Linderella’s yesterday without buying anything. I was there with a friend to pick out fabric for a custom diaper bag and managed to leave without any fabric, patterns or notions. I was so proud of myself – such self control. LOL
The poll is closed on salad/appetizer/soup question. Appetizers did not fare as well as I thought. Soup and salad were actually a tie with the same number of votes. I still prefer the soup but Big T would rather have a big salad.

My first entry in the “no strings attached challenge” is finished. I call this one “Desert Sunset” because of the play of the oranges on the mottled brown. I will post this one on Hummingbird Treasures this afternoon. This gives me one entry in the challenge (complete with great prizes).



Still no quilt wall – the Dude was here with us for three days and no serious work got done. Big T and the Dude were busy with “boy/man” stuff like flying model airplanes, taking yogurt cups hostage with the BB rifle (a real Red Ryder BB rifle), and gluing feathers on the arrows. Oh yeah, and the normal afternoon bowling tournament on the Wii.

The custom valance I did to match the antique quilt and the pillow bolster I made in the fall was evidently a great success. She stopped by yesterday with a thank you note to let me know how much they liked it. Whew! I’ve been holding my breath on that one. We left for the holidays in California the day after Big T hung the valance and I have been waiting to hear. It doesn’t show as well as I would have liked from these pictures but it was a lot of fun (and work).



From me to you, lots of hugs and thanks for joining me in my new adventures of learning to be creative and artistic.

Marie

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January Continues



Thanks to Audrey’s organization of the valentine swap, I have received the name and address of my swap partner. My item is ready to be wrapped and will be in the mail tomorrow. This is so exciting. I feel like a little girl waiting for a present in the mail.

I have nailed down the pattern to be used for the custom diaper bag I am making for a friend to give as a gift. Next a trip to Linderella’s and she can pick the exact fabric she desires from their delightful collection. It will be complementing and contrasting shades of yellow since that’s the color of the nursery d├ęcor. More on this to come as it progresses.

We are going to Joann’s today to get the batting to cover the quilt wall. Daughter #1 got a 50% off coupon in the mail so that will certainly help since I need a solid piece to cover a 4’ by 8’ area (plus the edges and overlap in back). The question is – will I make it out of there without buying anything else? (The answer is – no I didn’t. I found the neatest covered box that will fit perfectly in my new shelving unit.)

I think my contemporary quilt art prototype project will also qualify as an entry in the “no strings attached challenge”. According to the instructions, this will meet all the criteria. This may provide just a little more incentive to keep working on this project and not let it slide into the UFO stack. I think I may be stuck in the planning phase. Time to quit planning and DO!!

Actually, I only have four items in the UFO’s. I managed to get a lot cleared up between Thanksgiving and Christmas. (I was actually targeting 100% completion, but I’m happy with just 4 left – it’s kind of like sourdough starter – you have to leave a little in the jar to make more.)

I made the string quilt blocks last night. I could really get hooked on these. I like the fact that you see an end product so quickly. Now to get busy and finish them and get them posted. Stay tuned. I did post my patchwork heart mini-quilt on Etsy this morning. That’s my first new posting of the year. Wow – I need to get busy. It’s already the 19th of January and I have only finished one item??? Well, not exactly, I also finished the valentine swap item so that counts for two. The count for 2010 as of this posting is:

Number of UFO’s – 4 (carry overs)
Number of Projects started – 4
Number of Finished Projects - 2

The Dude is here (finally). He is out of school until Thursday so he will be here until Wednesday evening. Sure makes a difference in the noise level around here. It was beginning to sound like a mausoleum before he got here. He manages to keep both of us on our toes at all times. By the way, I lost the Wii bowling tournament – no surprise there. I don’t think I’ve won one yet. I wonder if they make quilting for the Wii? Maybe I could at least place in that one.

From me to you, lots of hugs and thanks for joining me in my new adventures of learning to be creative and artistic.


Marie

Friday, January 15, 2010

January Blahs

I think the January blahs have set in at our house. It’s much quieter than normal. Of course I think it is also because the Dude hasn’t been over since going back to school. Big T has had some kind of laryngitis(?) and a terrible cough so the Dude has not been allowed over until he is better. One good dose of the Dude and all should be back to normal. Also, it has been too cold here to go outside and the house gets smaller every day. (I know, but remember we live in North Carolina – this is supposed to be the south.)

My needlecraft club asked me to speak last night about my “adventures” of learning how to set up an on-line store and sell homemade items over the internet. We had a fun couple of hours and I probably discouraged them all with my stories. It was interesting to sit and think through the process and the challenges of the last 8 months. One of my friends suggested I write a book – now where do you think I could fit that in?

A friend was giving away copies of some old quilting magazines last night. They all made their round of the table with the favorites disappearing before they were passed on. (I managed to snag a few – I was at the front of the table.) Most of the quilts shown were in the more traditional patterns. A few of the earlier contemporary quilts were displayed, but not highlighted. A common topic around the table was the exorbitant cost of magazines lately. All were in agreement that it was too much but we keep buying them anyway.

I have the strips cut for my first venture into a more contemporary quilt art project. This is definitely a prototype project - probably a prototype of the prototype. I’m starting on a small scale and will keep it a deep, dark secret until I am finished. I can see in my head what I want the end product to be, but I have no guidelines to help me get there. More on this later.

My valentine swap item is ready to go. I’m just waiting on the info of where to send it. I’m very anxious to see what I receive in return. This is the first “swap” I have entered and it’s been fun to participate. I made two items and now the big decision – which one do I send. Hopefully, this will gain some exposure to both my blog and my shop.


We found the perfect quilt wall for my home studio. We went to this really neat fabric store we found in Pinehurst and there it was hanging back in the classroom. Carl and Linda were so helpful they gave us the dimensions and how to do it. If you are close at all, stop in at Linderella’s and enjoy the brightness and displays of color. It makes me feel good to just go in their shop. Be sure and mention this blog when you do go in the shop. It’s a good hour's drive for us, but it is well worth it.

And now, to build the quilt wall! Big T still isn’t to sure of the purpose of the quilt wall, but he is willing to put it up for me. I told him it is not for display purposes but is an essential tool for design, lay out and provide the ability to see it all at once. While he nodded, I don’t think he is 100% convinced yet.

From me to you, lots of hugs and thanks for joining me in my new adventures of learning to be creative and artistic.




Marie

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Christmas Decorations


Bah humbug! I hate taking down Christmas decorations and this time I waited as long as possible before tackling the hated job. Big T helped pack them all up and they are stored in their little secure corner of the attic. It makes me so sad that I usually end up shedding a tear or so before it’s over.

The question of the day – when you buy new Christmas decorations, do you get rid of the old ones? Or at least quit using them? When I make new placemats, do I pass some old ones on to someone? No?? I thought not. How can you throw Christmas decorations away? I’m sure there must be a law against it somewhere. I feel guilty when I throw used Christmas cards away. I’m sure the Christmas card police are waiting to go through my trash.

The house looks so empty and sterile now. All my Christmas quilts are put away and I don’t have anything out now. (I have to dust first. After all I couldn’t dust while the decorations were out, now could I?) And to top it all off, Big T has found an “oldies but goodies” radio station and listening to music from the 60’s makes me even sadder. These are the same songs we listened to while we were dating – boy that was a long time ago.

My new home studio (aka sewing room) is coming along beautifully. I broke down and made something yesterday before it is 100% finished and I loved working in it. I have to hurry and take a picture to post. The last part of the make-over is my quilt wall. Hopefully, we get that finished before too much longer.

My first project in my new room was a mini-quilt with a patchwork heart on it. I think I will use this as my “valentine swap item”. It’s so cute, I may make several to post on my Etsy shop.

We talked to Little Miss on the phone last night (which means we talked and she just made adorable sounds and giggled). She has learned to say Grandma even if it does sound like “Bob”. After all, The Dude called me “Adam” for several years.

The homemade potato soup was absolutely fantastic (and the second bowl was too much). I love hot soup on a cold night. Actually, I love soups in general. I would rather eat soup than a salad. My grandmother always had a pot of soup simmering on the back burner of her stove. Many years later, we discovered that she simply opened a can and poured it in the pan. She was a terrible cook - I should have known something was up when we could eat the soup.

Hooray - I'm starting to get proof that someone is reading this. I'm so excited. Thank you! I'm no longer just talking to myself.


From me to you, lots of hugs and thanks for joining me in my new adventures of learning to be creative and artistic.

Marie

Friday, January 8, 2010

Time to Speak Out


I am usually a fairly low-key, mild mannered person (LOL – so was Clark Kent) but this headline made me see RED – dark, angry red. H&M and Wal-Mart destroy and trash unsold goods. The article talks about a graduate student finding over 200 bags of unsold merchandise in a trash pile to be picked up. On opening the trash sack she discovered the merchandise, shoes, clothing, coats, gloves, etc. had been slashed and otherwise destroyed beyond repair. With all the poverty and homelessness in the world today why couldn’t someone with a charitable leaning have stopped this useless waste? Clark Kent would never have let this happen. Maybe we need a few super heroes back.

What a horrible message to be delivering to the youth of today. It is better to cut the fingers out of gloves and slash the sleeves of coats than to share with the less fortunate. And to think that this happened in New York City which has a terrible poverty and homeless problem. Sorry about the ramblings but every once in awhile something will rub me the wrong way and the ex-teacher in me comes back out on a soap box.

Let me know what you think about the practice of destroying rather than sharing with the less fortunate?

From me to you, lots of hugs and thanks for joining me in my new adventures of learning to be creative and artistic.


Marie

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wednesday Ramblings



The consolidation of two closets into one is almost finished and I have another large stack of clothing to go to the consignment store which supports battered women and children. It is becoming quite obvious that my professional business attire is not getting any use at all. My jeans are just fine (and a lot more comfortable). My newly expanded home studio is getting closer and closer.

I have not sat at a sewing machine since we arrived back from San Diego. I think I may be having withdrawal symptoms but I am trying to hold off until we are through with the room. I have several major projects I want to get started on soon. (More than several if the truth be known.)

I have been busy with blog changes but now it is time to look at
www.hummingbirdtreasures.etsy.com. This is a good time to revisit and update the store policies and the shipping information.

Since I am not sewing yet (intentionally), I have spent a lot of time this week looking at other blogs. As in everything else, they run the entire gamut from ‘okay’ to ‘wow’. These have been blogs written by women, for the most part, with a common goal – to sell handmade items over the net. But the one thing that really jumps out at me is that there are no geographical, political, or philosophical boundaries. I wonder if there aren’t some lessons here that could be shared with “big business” or even our political leaders?? Food for thought.

From me to you, lots of hugs and thanks for joining me in my new adventures of learning to be creative and artistic
.


Marie

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Organization and USP's


I am so excited! We bought the shelving units for my sewing room (home studio) today and agreed where things will be going. I can actually begin work up there tomorrow. I have to do some major closet reorganizing before Big T can put up my shelving units. I have been dreaming about arranging and displaying my fabric collection (and making it much easier to work with). I am eager to get the physical, organizational work finished so I can return to my projects (which are stacking up). I think in addition to UFO’s (unfinished objects) and WIP’s (works in progress) I need a category of USP’s (unstarted projects). Am I the only one who feels this way?

Speaking of which, I just read a blog from a fellow quilter who kept track of every project she completed in 2009. I was so impressed with her tally, but when I started counting my projects (the last 8 months of 2009) I was amazed at what I had accomplished. I think we are all that way. Someone else’s accomplishments always sound bigger or better than our own.

I met a new friend from Bulgaria yesterday, Nevita. Audrey from
Audreys Country Crafts highlighted Nevita’s shop over the weekend. Nevita has beautiful hand knit items. Please check out her blog site and her online store to learn more about her. I personally would like to learn more about ‘gobelin tapestry’ – just the name fascinates me.

My books on ‘easy stained glass quilts’ arrived while we were in San Diego. I sat down to peruse them as soon as I opened the package. I’m really not sure that they looked all that easy though – the jury is still out. Two of the three books looked very good; the third one did not grab my interest as much but I will give it another read to be sure.

I am having so much fun learning new and different ways to be creative. One of the projects swimming in the back of my mind is a way to show the ‘financial crash of 2009’ through contemporary quilt art. I visualize this in a black and white strip quilting technique. This one, of course, would be dedicated to Big T. I don’t know how many hours I have put in at night working on that one in my subconscious state. I have it almost finished in my sleep, while I have yet to put rotary to cloth in consciousness.

January is always quiet and a good time for thinking and organizing. I would rather think than organize, but I need to take advantage of the latter. My immediate target is the sewing room (also known as home studio). I will post pictures when it is finished. I will also remove the vacation status from my online store,
Hummingbird Treasures, tomorrow and see what improvements (or changes) are needed there. There is now a 'subscription box' in the sidebar which will notify you by e-mail when a new posting is added to this blog. I look forward to seeing all of you there.

From me to you, lots of hugs and thanks for joining me in my new adventures of learning to be creative and artistic.


Marie