Thursday, August 23, 2007

Passing Skills Along the Generations

I have written before about how the Matriarchal Sister taught me to sew, but there are so many other things I learned from her, from my other siblings, from my parents, and from others that I still do today. I still make meatloaf based on Mom's recipe, and repot plants using techniques she taught me. I'm comfortable in the woodshop, and even on the roof, after a summer helping Dad with some work around the house. The list could go on and on...

This morning the Munchkin learned something important - passed down from generation to generation in my family - the proper way to assemble a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He watched with intensity as we selected and laid out the bread, carefully spread the strawberry jam (not homemade - sorry Mom), and chose between crunchy and creamy. Sides were joined, and sandwiches were cut and packaged for lunch - all while he carefully munched on a small version and observed carefully.

Next week we will introduce him to the variations - peanut butter and swiss cheese, anyone???

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Other People's Art

I am constantly blown away by what other people can create. I know my shortcomings and weak spots in terms of my crafts - one of them is being an "instant gratification" kind of gal and so not being willing to commit to the time it takes to hand quilt a large project, or learn a time consuming skill. When it comes to quilting, I enjoy the geometry in the piecing, but tend to find quick and easy ways to get to the finishing - and that sometimes translates to my other projects as well (that is why I love the Lazy Girl patterns so much!!)

Knitting has also always stymied me - because I knit and knit and don't seem to get very far. Crochet seems quicker, but despite my frequent resolutions, and a full set of hooks in my studio, I have yet to pick it up.

And then there are the people that come up with something so totally new - that they are the only ones doing it (or at least the only ones that I know of).

Check out Bent Objects and you will be totally amazed at what Terry puts together.

Oh yeah - and the little cork horse? I won that in a contest on his blog and it is now on its way, galloping towards a special spot on my desk.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Almost done with the Turtle quilt - just adding the borders and - oops - I don't have enough strips cut. I forgot to calculate in that the top and bottom strips need to be longer to go over the body of the quilt PLUS the side borders. And there is NOTHING left in the scrap bag.

Two choices - go to my local fabric store and hope they still have this fabric OR find one of the complimentary fabrics out of the shell and make contrasting corners. Either way it necessitates a trip to the store. That's rough (NOT!) - the tough part is coming out with ONLY what I need.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Parts and pieces, pieces and parts

I got to thinking last night - as I rounded out the rest of the turtle shell and then packed my bag for tonights scrapbooking work-session - that there are not all that many differences between a lot of the crafts I do. When I sew or quilt I take large pieces of fabric, cut them into pieces, and re-assemble them into a pleasing design. My scrapbook is made of large pieces of paper or photos, cut into pieces, and - well - you kind of get the idea. And sometimes you use paper in quilts, and fabric in scrapbooks - it is all such a small small world.

No wonder my "studio" is cluttered and I am reluctant to throw things out - you never know they may find a new life and new purpose in another craft. (ok -so I am stretching it to justify my mess...)

My brother-in-law (The Matriarchal Sister's husband) always ribs her about cutting apart perfectly good fabric only to put it back together again - but yet I never see him reluctant to snuggle up under one of her wonderful quilts!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Turtle on the half shell, and other delicacies

I actually got some sewing done last night - even with the side show of fire-trucks at our neighbor's house (suspected gas leak). I finished a Summer Tote as a gift (will post a peek of that in a few days when I get the zipper pull done) and made some progress on the turtle.

So he's a VERY long legged turtle with a short neck - either that or he's just poking his nose out a bit...

As you can see -he is not quite done yet. It sure felt good to make some progress, though, especially after breaking and/or bending TWO needles on a project earlier in the evening. I almost kept on sewing right past bedtime, but that is when I start to make mistakes and I really don't feel like doing any more ripping on this project.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Unfinishables, and other frustrations

I know I have a lot of UFO's in my studio (un-finished objects) - or as the Matriarchal Sister calls them - WISPS ... works in slow progress...

The worst things, though, are those 'unfinishables' - projects that got started and for whatever reason got stopped, and now finishing them is just not an option.

I came across one the other day - I used to work at a large chain fabric store, and had purchased some raw-linen-like material in this really nice burgundy, and a smaller piece in rose. I had enough to make pants, jacket, vest and skirt in the burgundy, and a skirt in the rose - and I was going to make the vest reversible. Career clothing.

I finished the vest, had everything else cut out - and worked next on the pants. Because of the nature of the fabric I was using french seams -for the first time...

I am not sure what happened (this was about 6 years ago) - but when I tried on the pants to figure out waistband placement, the rise was all wrong and they looked like a pair of hip-huggers (for those of you who know me - you can see how ridiculous this may have looked). In frustration the entire project got put aside...

Fast forward 6 years - and a few extra pounds later -and even if I did decide to go back and finish these outfits - they would not fit. The vest was the only thing remotely finished- and it is too small to be flattering. And because I already cut everything out already - the pieces are too small to reuse a larger size pattern.

So I have removed all the pattern pieces and pins (in my frustration that is how they got stuffed in a box), and the fabric has now been donated to what i hope is a far better home than a box in my studio.

I don't know that I have attempted any clothing since that project - except for a polarfleece jacket.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The small world we live in

I hope you have all had a chance to visit the Lazy Girl Designs Blog and enjoy the story of the Long Distance Lazies. The internet has played a big part of this.

When we agreed to do this story - I never imagined it spreading much beyond Joan's blog and readers, but I forgot how easy and powerful the internet can be - the story has been linked at iVillage which has a HUGE readership!

How fun!

Gotta run - the small world of my living room has a munchkin who does not understand his Mommy's little bit of fame today, but knows he has some trains that need track set up.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Collector or Crafter?

Sometimes I wonder about my crafty nature - if it is that I truly enjoy the craft itself, or collecting all the things that go with it. Having a family in the craft shop business, and being a former employee of a large fabric store chain, it was often too easy to pick up tools and materials and gadgets for my crafts here and there. Teaching all sorts of different classes was also a good excuse for collecting - and keeping - lots of different supplies.

So now I have a "studio" full of stuff (notice I am NOT posting a photo of this!) Drawers full of rubber stamps, tubs full of fabric - not to mention the papers, stickers, beads, and all other sorts of fun stuff. More recently I am a collector of patterns - although when I will get to make some of these things, or what I would do with them once they are made, is beyond me. I also have sisters who are "enablers" - supplying me with more ideas, more patterns, more beads, more papers, and more fabric. To be honest, after seeing their "studios" - my sisters are as bad as I am!!!

For now I will enjoy my collection - and continue to putter away at my different crafts (when the weather in the "studio" is not 90+ degrees!) - although I do feel a collection purge coming on...

Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Little Moment of Fame..

My oldest sibling Sue and I (the youngest) live at the two geographic extremes of our family - Aiken, SC and Rochester, NY - but have managed to keep collaborating on a variety of craft projects, despite the distance. Pattern designer Joan Hawley, of Lazy Girl Designs, was intrigued by the relationship she saw play out in the Lazy Girl Yahoo group that both of us belong to, and decided to profile us at - We ended up sending her so many photos and stories that a one-time posting has now evolved into a mini-series. Sue would send something -and it would remind me of a story - so I would send more. Poor Joan was overwhelmed I think!

Check her blog starting Monday, August 6 to read more about my crafty family, and see photos of some of our projects, as well as a few photo blasts from the past.