Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pinwheels on hold

Or a better title for this post might be....Hancock Fabrics stinks. An even better title would be to swap out stinks with another "s" word, but I am trying to keep it polite. But truly, they really do "s". I mean come on people, we've been in the 21st. century for over 8 years now and they are still not in any way, shape or form computerized.

I began these pinwheels a month or so ago with the idea of making quilts for both the girls to match some cool, colorful snowflake flannel sheets that I bought them last year. I figured now was the time to start if I want them for winter. So I purposefully went to Hancock's and bought a white cotton that they stock so that if I needed more, I could always go get more. And I did need more. When I went back I ended up buying what was left on the bolt, a bit less than two yards. I blew through that in a week and went back the following week to get more, figuring that when I emptied the bolt, they ordered more. Ha. Silly me. Silly idea. I inquired as to when they might be getting more white Wendover (that's the cotton I chose) and I was told that they get trucks on Thursdays, but they never know what's going to be on the truck. I kid you not, it seemed like the woman delighted in telling me this. Why is that delightful? I asked if their computer would notify the warehouse that they had emptied their last bolt of white and therefore, the warehouse would ship more white promptly. Her answer: "We're not really on that sort of computer system.". Read that: Not a darn thing in this store is computerized except for the credit card machine. By this point I was getting frustrated. I finally had to ask if they could order more for me. That they could do. I had to pay up front and I should have it within three weeks. SERIOUSLY! Being that they aren't computerized, they don't place orders on the weekend. And since they wouldn't get the order until Monday, it may or may not come on the Thursday truck which they may or may not unpack until Friday. So, no more pinwheel production for me for the foreseeable future, and when I came home to see if Hancock's had the cotton online, they did....for a buck a yard cheaper. Sheesh.

Since I don't want to lose time, I took the down time to square up the 93 (!!!!) squares that I already have. And let me say, they needed some trimming. How I can cut the same shape 744 times thus far and have them all come out various sizes is beyond me. Apparently I'm not a stickler for accuracy. The squares should have measure 8 1/4 pre-trimming, but only a few did, so I took everything down to 8 1/8th. They're looking much better this way and hopefully the quilts will look better because of it. I was stashing all my trimmings to the side of my table, as they looked like a big pile of colorful coleslaw or something and Rachel fashioned this heart out them.

Since I have lots of squares ready to go, I gave thought to starting to lay out and assemble the first quilt, but then I went about bought these three fabrics today from Sew-Be-It. Since I don't have any white (thanks again there Hancock's, glad you're there for me!) I can't go any further as I'd like to have them in both quilts. I'm especially loving the pink and aqua on the right. They're lying on the sheet that they're supposed to coordinate with. Looking at these just makes me all the more eager to get going again!

So while I bide my time, I think I'll try and knock out a twirly skirt or two for Rachel. She's not getting much of a back to school anything, so maybe she can have some new skirts at least. I'm thinking about taking a stab at this tutorial for a change. Hmmm...

Oh, and by the way, not only is Hancock's lame, the ladies are mean. Sho' nuff!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Goodness in the Mail

This great notebook/sketchbook came in the mail on Saturday. I was trying to think of what I'd ordered, as I saw the girls walking back from the mailbox with the envelope. They were trying to figure out why a package didn't have their name on it. When I opened it, I was so excited and felt so lucky! About a month or so ago, Erin Harris of house on hill road, asked for anyone willing to share some vintage sheet scraps with her. I happened to have a few scraps sitting on the top of my pile from a pillow case that I'd turned into a twirly skirt for Sarah using Erin's tutorial, so I offered to send them on. I have to say, I think that what I received as a thank you is infinitely nicer than what I sent to her! And you can see what she did with all the scraps right here. How beautiful is that?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A New Driver at the Wheel

Last October, when I brought my new sewing machine home, I sat the girls down and gave them a good long lecture about never, ever, ever touching Mamma's sewing machine. My machine cost more than my car. I value it! I pointed out each part and reiterated that it should not be touched. Ever. Never ever. Please and thank you.

So what am I doing now, nine months later? Letting my 5 1/2 year old sew on it. I am still not sure this is a good idea, but I am excited about teaching her to sew (like I really know anything myself!) and an opportunity has shown itself. She has a summer project to do before she starts Kindergarten in August. She has to choose one of the books she's (we've) read this summer and do some sort of project related to it and present it to the class on the first day of school. We borrowed The Quilt Story by Tony Johnston from her preschool room and it gave me the idea to get her started on a sewing project. Actually, the book and this quilt gave me the idea. So we've gone through all my scraps, gathered up the ones she likes and we're attempting a log cabin type of pattern. We've completed one block, but when I look at it now, it's clear that I was doing too much of the driving, or at least steering, so I've stepped back and she's doing it on her own. I think she'd like more instant gratification, but I'm trying to encourage her to go beyond one 8" block. Now, when I try and "steer", she tells me she can do it herself. Granted, she's still driving my car, so I'm not going far when she's at the wheel!

The stack behind the sewing machine is my pile of pinwheels for the winter quilts I'm hoping to get done by the time it gets cold. I just counted and I'm up to 43 if I recall correctly. I'm trying to resist the temptation to lay them out and see how far along I am. I did that at about 20 pinwheels and asked Jim if he thought that would cover half a twin bed. I was hopeful. My hopes were dashed. Next time I want to actually have enough to feel like I'm a good part of the way there. So no more typing and back to sewing.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Garden Hijacking

This is not my yard. I wish it was, but it is not. Instead, it's my next door neighbors. He's out of town for a few weeks and I have "watering duty". At my house, it is a task I'd take lightly, but in his yard, it seems like a much more serious job. We have been neighbors for about five years now, and while I see his yard daily, it has just recently struck me that it is incredibly beautiful.

I have no idea how you might describe his gardening style, but I guess I'd call it eclectic. What I've really noticed as of late is how he has layered so many things, not just plants, but also furniture, pots, bird houses, tools, bits of found name it. All this layering also gives the garden an incredible amount of texture to be found.

There's the texture of all the different plants, from flowers to fruits and veggies to shrubs and plants and there's also paint peeling in places, rust forming on things, moss on rocks, different types of planters, miscellaneous things hanging on the walls, fountains, lights, you name it. Everything comes together to make a really beautiful yard. Or garden. I don't know what to call it.

I think I have another week of watering duty, and I'm hoping to be able to grab some more pictures. I'm planning to use some of the photographs to make a set of cards for him for his birthday. Or, if I move as quickly as I usually do, for Christmas. You can see more pictures from his yard over on flickr.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Waiting for Olive

There's a baby shower tonight in anticipation of baby Olive's arrival. Since Olive already has a big brother waiting for her, there was thought of a diaper shower, but what new mommy wants diapers when there's so much cute girly stuff out there? I almost pooped out and bought a gift, but decided that really, that would be lazy on my part, so I made these blocks over the weekend. Each has a letter of her name on it. (I hope they stick with the name!). While they should be "blocks", they are a little more rounded, but the idea is there. I had an easy way to make these figured out several years ago, before I had little people of my own, but in making these again, the easy way did not return to me. I wonder what it was I figured out last time. I also wonder if it will ever come to me again.

There's another new baby in our lives as well. Elaine Ai-Shin, our sixth niece, joined the family last Monday. Unlike her big brother and sister, she decided to take her looks from her mother. We can't wait to meet her, although it may be a while before we dash off to Iowa.