Friday, October 30, 2015

Sewing Fridays

Normally on Friday nights I go to one of the aunties' houses for sewing night.  It's a lot of fun, good girlfriend bonding with the cousins and aunts.  We do some work, or not as the case may be.  Last week we put together a pastel pink and blue 'bricks' top.  This one will go to a church group of ladies that like to hand quilt, in old fashioned quilting bee style.

I guess it's fitting because that's how we sewed it together, in quilting bee style.  Each one of us had a job, mine was cutting.  Everyone did the layout.  Nancy sewed, with Allyson and Amy arranging the piles to take next and Aunt Zel doing the pressing.

This weekend some of them went to a quilt retreat in Reedsburg WI and doubtless are having a whale of a time working on the project... possibly staying up until all hours of the night, possibly playing 'strip poker' -- quilter's style, with jelly roll strips, not the other kind!
They'll also be having lunch with some cousins who live up there.  I think Chinese food is probably going to be on the menu.
So any sewing happening tonight in MY family will have to have to happen in my own sewing room.
Hmmm.  What to do?  Maybe I'll start quilting the Lily Quilt.
Sew on...

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Going Back to School?

My youngest granddaughter, Miss A, loves to play school.  In fact, to her it's probably more than play, it's pretty serious business to judge by what I overhear while she's playing on my basement steps, next to my sewing studio.
All the supplies are there, including a beverage for the teacher.

She was going through an exercise in why small words are important...
See, if you know the little ones, (note 'and many more') some day you'll learn to spell Mississippi!
We have lots of dolls and bears and one bunny, so there are many students who attend school here!

On the day in question, she was working on spelling and reading.  Other days she works on math.  I never met a girl so crazy about school!  She's in third grade, but I believe I've probably said this before, would probably prefer to be running the school she attends. Unlike her older sister who thinks school is a punishment inflicted upon her by parents and grandparents to keep her from sleeping and texting.

Oh to be that young again.  Did I say that?  NOT IN A MILLION YEARS would I go back and do my life again.  I have no regrets but I'm thankful to be where I am right now.

Of course if I win the lottery, that could change...

Sew on...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Doll Clothes, Disappointment and An Opportunity

If you read my blog with any degree of regularity you know that I have been sewing and knitting for American Girl sized dolls for a couple of years.

The table from our first craft fair.
Last year I ventured into craft fairs to sell my hand made items with mixed success.  I partnered on a few of them with another lady who was learning to sew doll items.  That also met with mixed success -- in that the partnership met with mixed success.  Agreeing to a plan does not necessarily mean sticking to the plan.  That's all I'm going to say about THAT.

At one of the craft fairs I was approached by a woman who has a store dedicated to dolls.  She asked me to sew things that she would carry in her store.  I agreed, and we settled on a 'wholesale' price.  She told me my work was excellent and my prices were more than reasonable.

Good deal, right?  She wanted everything I had after the last sale. 

Wow!  I delivered my bin of things and she displayed them in her store.  The first month, things went fine.  I was liking this, making back some of the investment I made in materials and notions.

NOT that I was doing it for the money to begin with.  But it would definitely make my possible transition into retirement easier. 
Snowman dress just in time for Christmas

Love making the hats!
Fast forward several months to an open house that did not occur, through store hours that were virtually non-existent to an injury to the owner that took the whole operation down for six months and many unanswered emails and a lot, I'm telling you a LOT of frustration on my part for missed opportunities to last week when I finally got a phone call from said store owner.

Me:  I'd like to know when you're going to be open.  I think I'd like to come and pick up my things.  It doesn't seem to be working out very well.

Her:  OK, yes I guess that's the case.  When do you want to come?

Me:  You tell me when you're there and I'll arrange to be there.

Her:  OK, well come Saturday morning.  Sorry it didn't work out.

Yeah, me too.  She's had some health issues and for that I'm sorry and I've kept good thoughts for her continued recovery.
What girl doesn't love patterned jeans?

Meanwhile back at the ranch, I now have a box of beautiful doll items and no outlet to speak of.  I may try to get into a local craft fair if it's not too late and not too expensive.  Meanwhile, if anyone out there in the ozone is looking to pick up some items for one of their favorite little girls, reach me at the email address in my profile.

Maybe I'll put up a doll clothes tab.  I don't really want to do the full blown Etsy or Craftsy or Craig's List or any of those options.  I much prefer to deal in person so people can see and touch what they're getting and be sure it's quality.

These items are in the box, along with many more... and I promise the prices are still reasonable! 

I might just have to sponsor a give-away... This lovely green and white sweater and a denim skirt to one lucky winner.  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post, make sure your email address is included, and your name will go into the hat.   Miss A will draw the winner on November 5.

Sew on...

Monday, October 26, 2015

Lily or Lilly? A Quilt for a Lily...

Several weeks ago one of my coworkers called to say he's a grandfather.  He was pretty excited!  I know the feeling... my mom used to say if she knew how much fun grandchildren were she'd have had them first!  Although I'm not sure how she would have arranged that...

The baby's name is Lily.  Or maybe Lilly, like Lillian?  I'm not sure.  I determined to make a quilt appropriate for her name and send it up to Gramps in Stevens Point.

So I searched for a pattern or fabric with lily either in the title or in the shape. 

I'm not much for applique so that was out.  It wouldn't necessarily have been if I'd had more time, but I wanted to get it done fast.

I considered Carolina Lily.  Not crazy about those diamonds.

Gorgeous but so not me!!

This is what says about the floral version of lily.  My favorite kind of lily, and the flower of my birth month is:

Lily of the Valley Flowers
Lily of the ValleyCommon names: Lily of the Valley, May Lily, Convallaria, Our Lady's Tears, Convall-lily, Lily Constancy, Ladder-to-Heaven, Jacob's Ladder, Male Lily
Description: The Lily of the Valley has broad, spear-like foliage and fragrant little white bell-shaped flowers. While it’s a popular garden perennial, the Lily of the Valley has seen increasing popularity as a cut flower, especially in wedding bouquets.

Then there's Easter Lily... I always ask my kids NOT to buy me these at Easter because the scent reminds me of funerals.  But they're pretty...

Lily Plants

Common names: lily, Easter lily
Description: Long, narrow leaves cover a single stem. At the top, they divide into three to seven stems, each with a single bud. Open flowers are six-pointed, white and trumpet-shaped. The fragrant blooms can last seven days to three weeks.

There are no current fabric lines with lilies in them that I liked.  I found some tiger lilies and some other colored versions, but nothing thrilled or inspired. On to Etsy!  I found two lily fabrics.  One was pink and had kind of red-orange flowers.   I bought it just in case it was the only one I ever found. 
The second was green with pots of lily of the valley in white.  The pots were pink, blue and yellow.  It was OK but again, not great.  I actually came up with a color scheme that I thought would work. 

The third find was gorgeous, but when it came it felt a little heavy, like maybe it's home dec fabric.  It went on the 'pile' for future projects.
 Not ready to give up, I tried eBay.  I have shopped eBay in the past and had great success with my favorite or maybe second favorite collection, Depression Glass.  I found a winner, but the seller was in Indonesia!  I had first screened for US sellers only but what came up was what I had already seen.  I didn't see a freight quote, but since the fabric was like twelve dollars, I said DO NOT SHIP if freight is more than $10.  I got a very nice email saying it was much less.  Sold! My international package arrived on Saturday.  The pattern I used is Five Easy Pieces from Quilty magazine.   The magazine's out of print but you can still buy the patterns and back issues on line.  It was a cool magazine, but that's a whole 'nother post... It makes a very small baby quilt - 33x42 -- and I wanted something a bit larger.  You start with a center square of 6.5 inches, so I just upsized to 8.5 inches, and made all the other pieces the same width as the pattern (but obviously longer).  My finished quilt is 39x50.  Granted, the picture does not look very 'baby-ish' 

But the green is kind of soft, a Quilter's Candy color from that catalog, is it Connecting Threads?  anyway, with the addition of a pink Bella Solid and a white dot, and since the background is black a B&W ticking stripe, I think it's quite feminine.
All that is required now is quilting and binding.  And shipping off to Lily.
Sew on...