Thursday, October 1, 2015

Giveaway Winner!!

Hello you lovely people! I wanted to announce the giveaway winner before I forget (which I find myself doing a lot, lately). I've got the package all ready to go once I have the winner's address, so without further ado (someone tried to tell me once that it's 'without further adieu.' It took me two other people and about fifteen minutes to explain why that was not the case)...OK, ahem. Without further ado, this is the winning comment:

Lori, I'm going to send you an email but if you see this before you see that let me have the address you'd like these shipped to and I'll get them out to you right away.

Thank you all for your delightful comments. I really wish I had piles and piles of fabric to ship to each of you. BUT while we wait for that day to come, if you fancy some crafty doo-dads I've done a shop update recently, and have lots of baggy fixins' in there for decent prices. Use coupon code CLEAROUT for ten percent off of everything until October 3rd.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Shop Update and a Coupon Code!

I have been trying lately to make a concerted effort to only buy what I need as opposed to amassing a tremendous stash of various things that makes me feel overwhelmed with it all. Which means making the decision to let go of some of my goodies to a good home. So this week I spent sorting and bagging and photographing and writing up descriptions, and now everything is up in my shop (including a few bits of fabric). 

I've posted purse rings, magnetic snaps, swivel clips, zippers, and a few other things that I'm so bleary-brained I can't even remember right now. But there's quite a bit of it if you're interested in helping me feel like I'm not a hoarder. I've even got a discount code for you. Use the code CLEAROUT from now until October 3rd to save ten percent off of anything in my wee shop, from the new hardware listings to quilted bits to pretty trims and my crocheted pot scrubbies.

And don't forget--my giveaway is still live--link at the top of the sidebar!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Want Some Fabric?

'Allo! Anybody want some fabric? Silly question, I hope. I have a decent-sized stack of fabric left over from my recent quilt. I am not going to use it. Most of it I bought for the quilt, and while I love it I would truly be hoarding all of it because I have nary an idea of what I would use any of it for, so instead of waiting for inspiration to strike I'm writing a really long run-on sentence to let you know I'll be offering it up to a good home.

So let's see what's on offer, eh?

These cuts are all different sizes, and I couldn't even begin to guess what's what. Some are a true fat quarter, some less, some more, but all are an amount that you could use for something. The little pile in the upper right corner consists of small scraps that are still enough to be used, and a pile of extra five inch squares that were left over from the border piecing. Some didn't get used in the quilt but I'm including them, because hoarding.

As far as quality goes--most of these were ordered from online quilt shops, some came from Joann's, some were in bags of scraps I was given so I have no idea from where or when they came to be. However, I've used all of them (or their equivalent), but if you have higher standards than me you might want to weed through a little because some of them do feel a little different. 

I was a little disappointed that I didn't have more left over to give away, but some were so fussy cut and choppy it seemed ridiculous to pass them on. It felt akin to asking you to hold my trash and then running away. 

SO, the rules are easy. Leave a comment on this post, saying anything you'd like. I'll randomly choose a winner and notify/post here shortly thereafter. I'm leaving this open until 11:59 pm ET on September 30th, so that gives you about two weeks. I'm super sorry for this last bit, but due to weight/postage costs this giveaway is open to US residents only (I hated writing that--it makes me feel quite Scrooge-like). 

Good luck!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

What's This Decision Quilt - Ta-Dah!

Thusly we shan't speak of this quilt again. Quoth. Nevermore. It has been washed, dried, color-caught, and snapshotted. It smells delicious. It has great crinkle. It is finished.

It's also pretty big (it's a full-sized bed quilt) and pretty busy, but oh-so-scrappy and bright. I laid it out on the grass (the brown grass that is desperately seeking rain) today, a very cloudy overcast day that looks like rain but might just be teasing.

I hurried nonetheless, taking just a few pics since you've already seen so many. It hasn't spit down a drop yet, by the way...

Everything is straight. Probably the straightest quilt I've ever made. I just have a fabulous knack for making straight things look crooked.

There are so many pieces and so many prints that there is nary an ounce of cohesion to this quilt, except in the abstractness of its theme. The center blocks don't stand out amidst the scrappy patchwork border as there is nothing to break them up, but I knew that. I wanted that "look closer" thing to happen. 

I pieced the first two rounds of the border randomly methodical--I made sure the prints weren't near each other and it worked well. Then I went full on random and a few things ended up near each other that weren't necessarily planned, but I only picked and restitched if the two prints were smack dab abutting each other.

I kept the quilting pretty loose, which is unusual for me. I used the central blocks as the reference and did double-lines straddling the seam. I stuck with that all across the quilt, treating the four-patch blocks the same as the larger story blocks. I pondered for a while adding some extra quilting, but kept what I had. I spent about an hour looking up suggestions for quilting density and different battings and so on, but decided what I had would hold up just fine without extra stitching being too distracting (which now that I'm thinking about it is kind of silly considering the helter skelter of the rest of it).

I was looking for a cute backing fabric and found one that I absolutely love and is just as "me" as the rest of the quilt. I don't remember what it's called but it's an extra wide backing fabric. The binding fabric I bought at the most perfect quilt shop I've ever seen out in Lancaster County (aka Amish Country) a few weeks ago on a day trip. Even that is a memory.

The binding job is not my best, but the bluster of the print conceals anything amiss. For the whole thing I used machine quilting thread and had no issues. I had read an article by an "expert" who said you must-must-must-no-question-about-it use quilting needles to quilt your quilt. I dumbly sat there nodding in agreement like "Yes, that's a great idea" and picked a few up. I'm glad I used a coupon and the loss is post-facto only a few dollars, because they were rot. Skipped stitches, broken thread, feed problems, you name it. I switched to a universal and danced along happily. It took me four nights to quilt and bind this. I'd still be on the first row if I hadn't switched needles.

Obligatory rolled up quilt photo that I took hastily because I swear I felt raindrops, but nay.

OK, I do have one block to show you that I didn't share before. It makes no sense on the surface. I showed it to my mother and it drove her crazy that I wouldn't tell her. An idea that seemed grand a few weeks ago now seems kind of silly, but it's the center block of the whole thing and kind of fitting that way.

"Huh?" you're asking. The outer pieces (with the words love, laugh, family, and memories) are metaphorically hugging the hard wood and the soft sheep. Because that's life, isn't it? Hard and soft, difficult and easy, unyielding and pliable, all rolled up and wrapped into one, embraced as part of our existence on this rotating marble we live on. We are every age we have ever been, every experience we've ever had (good or bad), and everything we remember. From afar we may look at things and think nothing other than 'hot mess,' but when we look closer we see so much more. We understand. And we see things more perfect than not. I consider myself lucky that I get to lay under such a quilt, literally covered in good memories and happy thoughts, knowing that there are so many more I could have added if the fabric companies would only read my mind. So a hot mess? Yes, and I'll gladly have it called that. Because in my secret heart I know it's perfect.

Here are the links to all the block posts (in case you need help falling asleep).

What's This Decision, Blocks 1-4, Blocks 5-8, Blocks 9-12, Blocks 13-16, Blocks 17-20, Blocks, 21-24, Blocks 25-28, Blocks 29-32, Blocks 33-36, Blocks 37-40, Blocks 41-44, Blocks 45-48, Blocks 49-55, Blocks 56-62

Linking up here:
The Inspiration Board at Homework
Craftastic Monday at Sew Can Do
Submarine Sunday at the USS Crafty
Your Whims Wednesday at My Girlish Whims

Friday, September 11, 2015

W(hat's) T(his) D(ecision): Blocks 56-62

Are you happy? This is the last block post. Next up is the ta-dah, because tonight, after dinner, I attached the binding to my quilt. Tomorrow it gets washed, and that's it. I feel so relieved to have such a big project totally finished. Now I can knit socks (due to self-imposed restrictions I could not start anything new until I had finished the quilt and nearly finished the afghan). It's a special kind of geekery when you get excited about knitting something like socks, but I received this yarn for my birthday and set it out where I could see it for motivation all week. It's delightful.

Anyway, here are the final blocks (there's actually one left but I'm leaving it for the final reveal).

Road trip. Before any of us were old enough to stay home from road trips to Pittsburgh to visit family, we all crammed into the station wagon and ignored each other. That lasted about halfway, and then we realized we had to talk to each other to pass the time. We played the license plate game (in later years Z and I found every state but Hawaii and Alaska) and tried to get people to wave to us (people don't like to do that). But the thing we liked the most, probably because it bugged my dad the most, was singing every television theme song we could think of. When those ran dry, we would sing the commercials for those music collections they used to air on TV. Sometimes there were Christmas carols (at Easter). My mom didn't care because we weren't fighting and punching.

Eighth grade. Cassette tapes. Neon socks. Lisa Frank everything. Z just started eighth grade this week. He also went and got a deep voice. It makes my heart feel twisty.

This green print reminds me of my Grandma's house--a big yard, trees, and a washtub of flowers on an old tree stump. We all gather on the porch and talk and talk, every which way we can. And then we head over to the VFD fair and play bingo with dried corn as the markers. One year my sister wanted to drink (which she very rarely does). Her choices of beverage were Iron City Light and Zima. She had too many Zimas and called out a few false bingos. You want to see old ladies get mad jump the gun on yelling bingo.

I like to knit socks. Soooo.....

This one is for my woodworking dad. He's been working on a hutch for my mother for a million billion years. He works mostly in spurts. I bet him a few weeks ago that I could finish my quilt and my afghan before he could finish the hutch. Since he's retired he's clearly got a time advantage, but I've got one done already.

I just really liked that center fabric and not much else matched well, and I couldn't think of a story, so this is pretty much all there is to it. What you see is all there is.

This block makes zero sense to anyone but me. Not long after my parents' moved into their house, my mom's cousin was supposed to get married. For whatever reason they called the wedding off, then decided to get married but would have had to wait a really long time to re-book everything. So they had the wedding at my parents' house in the living room and in the backyard. I remember my brother and I had these old cameras that didn't work anymore and we were walking around pretending to take pictures. Right at the start of the ceremony it started pouring, so everyone ran inside. Coincidentally the living room carpet was the exact shade of green as the photo. As soon as the ceremony was over it stopped. This very same thing happened in her son's wedding this past May. Since his mother passed a few years ago, it was quite eerie, but confirmed her 'presence' to us. Seriously, it was uncanny. Because I was so young, the only other thing I remember is that we had these wooden folding chairs that were rented for the reception. I was a skinny little peanut then, and I remember falling right through the back of the chair. My dad would probably say 'So that explains it!' upon reading this...

Phew. I must say I'm quite glad to be finished with this, so you must all be turning cartwheels to no longer have to read about it. Except for one more. But that's a finish post and those are always more interesting.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

W(hat's) T(his) D(ecision): Blocks 49-55

My sister "graciously" informed me yesterday, when I was arse-up pin-basting a quilt on the living room floor (a task that took me a few hours, mind you) that she's tired of my quilt. I am not sick of it, (surprisingly) but I get the sentiment behind reading about quilt blocks seemingly ad infinitum. So I'm going to cram more blocks into two posts, and hopefully have a finished quilt around the time you're finished reading about all the parts.

Every day I head to lunch with an amazing salad concocted in my mind. And every day I get something that is decidedly not a salad, and is more often than not either something with a lot of cheese, or french fries.

Do they even teach handwriting anymore? I used to love that in third grade! I was so diligent in making my writing as neat as possible. Sometimes I love to just sit and write, even if it's nonsense, just because. Every time in a Harry Potter book they take out their parchment and their quills I get slightly jealous.

I dunno. I liked the stack of books, the ledger page, the 'oldness' of the postmarks. I still love when, in old westerns, the banker or shipping clerk or whoever checks their ledger, with the neat columns and scripty writing and crinkly inky pages (because somehow that info sets a posse on the trail of a bad guy).

My mom was probably the last hold-out on earth when it came to getting a clothes dryer. I get it, sun-dried clothes are a pleasure unto themselves. Her clothesline ran right next to our swimming pool. When her laundry was out, we'd run out to the pool with her words in our ears reminding us to not "soak the clothes!!!" Not infrequently our splashing would give her clean laundry a second rinse.

Valentine's Day. I don't care one way or the other for the holiday, unless we're talking decorations. And then I might love it as much as Christmas.

When I was little I used to think working in the post office must be the coolest thing. You got to rubber stamp packages, put price stickers on things, look at fun stamp designs, and so on. I no longer want to do that (maybe a little), but I still get excited when the mail comes. Weird, I know.

Would you believe I have no Halloween fabrics? Or even fall fabrics? This little mish-mosh was the closest I could get, since I love holidays and wanted them to be represented.
Trimming this block actually drove me a little crazy--even now that back sketch fabric looks like it's cut crookedly, but it's perfectly straight.

I started quilting this tonight and have moved along quite quickly. If I keep to this pace it'll be finished this weekend. My sister just sighed and said to herself "Thank God." 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

W(hat's) T(his) D(ecision): Blocks 45-48

Uhhhhh, OK. So....uhhhh-huuhhhh-huhhhh.... Um... So after Project Runway is this show called Atlanta Plastic. And it's a train wreck philosophy sort of show (it's horrible but you can't look away). And I'm just I joke that I'd get lipo, but the things these people are asking for... I mean...they can do that?? OK, anyway.

I'm full steam ahead towards having a finished quilt top. One more border round to go. I'm sorry, this show is on as my sister is watching it (she started it), and I might be disturbed or dumbfounded or...something. Gah. OK. Quilt blocks.

I call this one 'Saturday afternoon.' I suppose with how much football is on TV now (what is it, Thursday through Monday now?) it could just be called Anyday. BTW, I got "bullied" into being in a Fantasy Football league. Wish me luck. I tend to pick things based on uniform colors or where I'd like to go. It's all quite technical.

Cookies and milk! I landed on earth way too late for the milkman to be a thing, but I remember my mother (who's by nature a morning person) telling me stories of how she used to get up really early with her grandma (because...pre-feminism--"Make me breakfast, woman!"). She'd bring in the milk before anyone else was awake, and spoon some of the cream into her coffee. It was her own secret little treat. I totally get that. I was born way too late, by the way.

This one is kind of self-explanatory. That's a mighty big scrap of something I completely missed until just now... When I was younger I wanted to have a big library in my house filled with fancy leather-bound books, and I would read them all, and I'd have one of those wheely-ladders to get around the room. This makes me laugh now, because I'm reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and I'm all "Wow, this is heavy."

Nesting dolls are made of wood, and polka dots are cute. I'm sorry, this show is kind of crazy and I don't remember my thought process behind this one, haha. 

Swearsies we're getting to the end of these. I have 15 left to share with you. Then I'll show you the whole thing. The weird thing with this project is that it's the longest it's ever taken me to make something and I'm not completely sick and tired of it yet. I think that comes from knitting. I used to try and speed through everything, but with all the knitting I've been doing I've really come to enjoy the process as well as the project, so I don't get antsy to be finished until I'm near the very end. OK, I think I need to go to bed. There are just images in my brain now that I need to sleep away. 


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