Monday, November 14, 2011

Holiday shopping 2012

I already made a decision to not patronize any of the stores that open on Thanksgiving.   As much as a few people might need the additional income of working on a holiday,  I can't help but believe most people would prefer to spend their day at leisure with friends and family.   So I won't shop them.   Of course I rarely shop Walmart anyway, so they won't miss me, but some others might.  Kohls, KMart, Toys-R-Us all plan to open before midnight Thanksgiving.  Many others open in the middle of the night including Target (already on my avoid list due to their extreme homophobic policy of donations) and I'm going to try to avoid them too. 

Today in email, I got this message (twice) and thought it was so special, I'd share it.   This is consistent with my other plan to patronize small, local, independent businesses as much as I possibly could.   Lots of ideas here.   As a crafty kind of person, I also like the "handmade" -

Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor.

This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift-giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is!

It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?

Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?

Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.

Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American-owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down the Benjamines on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half-dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner-operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theater.

Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.

THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.

Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussion groups -- throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city -- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn't that what Christmas is about?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A wedding and QFK update

Too long between posts.   What a month of amazing connections.  I'll just hit the high points, one or two at a time.   

David and Jeff ran off to New York just about a month ago to marry!   They hadn't told a soul other than Jeff's parents who went as witnesses.   So after I got over my snit about not being invited, I went into quilt planning mode and knew that was the reason I got that nice pile of fabrics at the Hershey quilt show.   So I wanted to get it done fast and having cruised some great blogs lately, decided to do the 36-patch quilts that seem to be all the rage.  

Flimsy finished on Saturday morning.   I often leave off a border but this one demanded a border so I dug through the stash and came up with a perfect Kaffe outer border, with a Brandon skinny frame.  Yum, perfect. 

Wow, it looks greenish in the pic,  but it's not, it's more gold and pink - blaming the light in my room.  It's a flimsy now but I'll get it on the frame soon.  I'm not worried about them seeing it since I know they are the last two people not on FaceBook and they don't read my blog.   So it will be a surprise.   I'll take a better pic once it is quilted.  I love surprises. 

The count for the Quilts for Kids is moving right along.   This is my priority now since my goal is mid October.  We'll see.  The service at BuxMont is Oct 16 and I'll bring a few to show but that date is my goal but no real problem if I miss it by a few weeks.   Come to the service to hear about all the CareShare projects - what did the recipients do with their $100 grant to do some good in their community. 
  • Complete and quilted - 15
  • Tops I have to quilt - 8
  • Kits to piece - 3  (not started) 
So that would be actually more than the 24 goal!   Pat was great and made an "extra" from her stash too, thanks Pat and yes, I'm counting it. 

It was nice to take a little break from these to do something different, so the David/Jeff quilt (it will need a name!) was therapy for me too.   

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sewing cats

I had a conversation with some friends last night about the funny things our cats do.   I told how I sew a lot, and Stella wants to help me.   She has a fuzzy mousie, that looks like it might be a baby to her based on its coloration, that she carries around.   Often when I'm stitching away she jumps up and drops the mouse right on the sewing machine, just by the needle.  As if she wants me to stitch it into the quilt,  or maybe she just wants me to play.   So I give in, toss the mouse - and she fetches it back.   We can do this forever, if up to her.   I call a halt after about 6 tosses.   

I ran across a blog that is having a contest where people are voting for their favorite "pets  and quilts" and although I'm coming late to the contest, it just prompted me to collect up a few recent pix of my two kitties and their quilting/fabric obsession.  

First,  the baby, Kiva,  snug in my stash.  Somehow she managed to stuff herself in this small space.   Cozy.

and this of course piqued Stella's curiousity:

who promptly informed Kiva that she was in charge,  and so Stella took her rightful place.  Honest, this happened all within about 5 minutes. 

Stella really liked the Fishies quilt I was whipping up for my Quilts For Kids project


and here Kiva is clearly telling me she wants to be boss of this Fishies quilt.  

I found this too late for voting (prizes!) but was still inspired to share these pix.  

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The little red table had a pretty good workout today.   This was sew in #1 for Quilts For Kids.  In my limited space,  5 good friends stitched up 6 quilt tops from the kits.   Quite an accomplishment since Nancy knew how to sew a bit but not how to sew a quilt - which is very different from garment sewing - and Jane is an extremely experienced seamstress but she too had never sewn a quilt.   But old hands, Linda Wiz, Pat and Alice, with chirps from Turbo who did all the handsewing from her perch on the couch, got the newbies through with flying colors, and everyone ended the day with a great feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.  

We each had a workspace, and for the 5 machine sewers,  3 sewed on a classic Featherweight!   See how nice my red table looks!   

and Nancy gave it a good workout.  Of course my serious-enabler friend, Pat,  introduced me to these wonderful tables, hers in the natural finish.   

We were sewing kits,  and here is Linda with her completed "flimsie":  

I managed to get one of my non-kit-quilts onto the longarm and quilted, but was generally a little too busy to spend much time actually "doing" rather than coaching and encouraging.   Oh, and getting the food on the table.   Gosh, now I know why I'm a quilter, quilters are good at food!  And newbie Nancy brought divine tomatoes with fresh basil and mozzarella, and seasonings so clearly pulled her weight as a quilter-in-training!   

So for me, this was just another high point of the day!

And finally,  what was really great was how well my friends meshed.   It was nearly as though everyone had been friends for years instead of several meeting today for just the first time.  It was wonderful.  I have really nice friends. 

Scorecard (Goal: 12 Non-kits,  12 kits)

  • 8 non-kits completely finished including label
  • 1 non-kit complete except for binding and labeling
  • 6 kits are in flimsy status, ready to be quilted
  • 2 kits need borders then will be ready for quilting
I'd say this is on target to meet the mid October goal!  Just in case though,  sew-in #2 is scheduled for Saturday September 17.   There are a few friends who wanted to participate but could not attend today so if needed, we will do it again and finish up. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Red! It's HOT!

It was stinkin' hot in the garage on Saturday, even with the door open and a fan blasting warm air on me, and I think I'll retain that memory whenever I sit down at the new table on my Bebe  (thanks Pat for the name inspiration).   

Kiva approves,  she checked it over.   

The table was my best (favorite) purchase at the Hershey Quilt Show last weekend, but I must admit to having purchased some fabric. . .  

Pretty aren't they.   No particular plans but wow, what a surprise this confession will be, I got a little carried away. . .

So I'm taking the pledge.   The idea is to send out more fabric than I take in,  I certainly have enough to last a lifetime right now, and I have no excuse for buying any more other than that they are JUST SO PRETTY.   I counted this little batch up,  it's 9.5 yards (yikes, that hurts).  

I will do this for the rest of the year, thankfully I'll have a dozen Quits For Kids going out later this year from my own stash (plus the 12 kit quilts).   Of course one goal for the stash quilts is to help me de-stash while doing some good, and at about 4 yards each, that makes a nice dent.  OK, another confession, I did buy a little - not much - fabric to work with the kid prints I had on hand.  Really, not much at all.  Yes, really.

Scorecard on the Quilts for Kids - one more bound and now 6 are done.  I'm now getting ready for the sew-in on Saturday - 5 friends will be here to work on the kits.   Should be fun.  I'm planning a second sew-in for September in case there is still a lot to do after Saturday and so the friends unable to participate this time might have another chance.   See, I'm thinking people are anxious to help!   And why not. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Despite having a few long-term fairly intense quilt projects underway that I work on regularly but not steadily, I frequently need a quick-sew fabric fix.   For the last 2 months I've satisfied this by a big project of 24 quilts for donation to Quilts For Kids.   The QFK Mission is:  Transforming discontinued, unwanted and other fabrics into patchwork quilts that comfort children with life-threatening illnesses and children of abuse.

My UU CareShare project is to complete 12 QFK kits, with the help of some wonderful friends, and return those to QFK along with another 12 kid quilts made by me from my stash, for a total of 24 quilts.   This is a project that has many returns and perks:
  • some non-quilty friends will have a chance to engage in some basic quiltmaking (hook 'em!) 
  • some quilty friends get to be quilt-fairy guides 
  • I get to de-stash a LOT of kid fabrics (how did I accumulate so much???)
  • I'll quilt all 24 on the long-arm giving me some excellent time bonding with Avante, improving my skills
  • a little quilty party at my house on a few sew-in days with a nice pot luck lunch
  •  24 sick kids will get a quilt from QFK that they can love and keep
Our first sew-in scheduled for Saturday August 13, and another on Saturday September 17.   If you want to participate, let me know and I will make room for you.  

Scorecard to meet the October 16 Sunday Service deadline:
  • All 12 of my flimsies are done!  (tops, not assembled or quilted)
  • 5 of those have been quilted and bound, 1 has been quilted but not yet bound
  • (I actually have two or three more set up with fabrics pulled, but not cut or sewn yet - those would be 'extras')
  • 1 sample flimsy made from the QFK kits
I'll keep the scorecard updated from time to time as the project progresses.   They don't all have to be done by then but that's when we report on our CareShare projects to our Fellowship so I hope to get most if not all done by then.  Here's the QFK top I stitched up last night as an example for the sew-in - happily it has pink monkeys (jumping on the bed?) on the lime background fabric:  

And if that wasn't enough,  during a great Bonnie Hunter workshop earlier this year I learned to make letters.  Well isn't that fun.   When my friend Nancy said her sister is collecting small quilts for babies who are in our local hospital I thought, gee, I can do that!   So I quick whipped up two little placemat sized quilts that said "Baby" only to learn that the size wasn't exactly what they wanted but the hospital ended up putting them to good use as covers on the premie isolettes - the lights are on 24/7 but the little quiltlets serve to block the glare so they actually ended being quite useful.   I didn't take pix of the first two but since the hospital rep sweetly said "do you think she could make some that say Bebe for our Hispanic babies?" how could I resist?   So I whipped these up:

 and will hand them over later this week.   Sweet dreams, premies, stitched with love.

Friday, July 22, 2011

What am I gonna do?

I've been thinking about this a lot in the last few weeks.  I have quite a few hobbies and interests that cover a wide range of things,  and I imagine I might hit any or all of them as time goes by.  In no particular order and maybe - no, almost certainly - there will be some cross-pollination - 

  • Quilting & long-arming (except this is #1 for sure)
  • Beading
  • Great books I've read or movies I've seen, TV shows I love
  • Politics
  • My UU fellowship, service and community involvement
  • UFO's & UFO'lgy
  • Selling stuff on ebay and Etsy as AdornItAll - mostly de-stashing
  • A little humor 
  • Hopefully a little travel (next up:  Maine in August to quilt with a bunch of UU women!)
  • Current events 
and last but not least, 
  • Empty nesting, my beautiful daughter, and my wonderful pets
and whatever else stikes my fancy.   So maybe this will be of interest, maybe just for me, but I've decided to give it a whirl.