Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sock it to me

It is possible that the only people even remotely interested in this post and its companion post will be Jessie and me, and we seem to be highly entertained by our sock collections. Unknown to either one of us at the time, we each needed some color therapy and photographed, of all things, our socks! She was over one night and who knows how this subject even came up, but she told me about photographing her socks, to which of course I replied, "Wow, so did I." And at that point, Luke (her boyfriend) and Mark (my husband) both looked at us like we were nuts and said, "But WHY?" Who cares? It made sense to us...

The best thing about these socks is that they come in sets of three, each different. Yep, no way to wear matching socks with these babies. Sockadelic!

Monday, March 23, 2009

It's been a banner day

You may have noticed a change when you read this post: there is a new banner up there! I had tweaked the banner myself a couple of times, never was happy with it, and made this temporary banner.

And I really did like this one because I love typography and fonts (and clearly, it was easy enough so that even I was able to figure out how to make it), so this was right up my alley, but it was always meant to be temporary until I could figure out how to get a banner that incorporated quilting, fused glass, and lots of color. You know: live a colorful life....

To complicate my lack of banner expertise, our etsy shop (which you can visit if you like but all you will find at this point is empty shelves) also needed a banner. It had the same style as the blog, cool but really not indicative of what we plan on selling.

I have to give etsy a lot of credit. It has many great resources for sellers. Tutorials, very informative articles, lots of helpful stuff. Last week there was a really good article on how to make your own banner in Photoshop, how to size it properly, etc. I probably worked on that baby a good two to three hours, followed the directions explicitly, and never could (a) get it sized properly or (b) get the images that I really wanted.

I should have been suspicious when the writer said something like, "It's really easy. All you do is...." That should have been my first clue that what she really meant was "do not attempt this on your own."

So I finally did what I should have done in the first place: I hired someone else to do it! After going through etsy's version of google, "banner designers," I finally settled on one called whimsy graphic designs. The designer had a lot of examples of her work. Plus she was from the United States. While I'm sure the graphic designers from Kuwait and Singapore were highly qualified, and were just as accessible via email, I wanted to have someone closer to home, and Maryland was close enough for me.

I went for her high-dollar package: the "professional customized full etsy shop package, business card, 2 shop banners, 2 avatars and 1 reserved listing image." I didn't need the business cards, but I did want two separately designed banners--one for the blog and one for the etsy shop. Rebecca Allen did exactly what I wanted. She was easy to work with. We emailed back and forth quite a few times in the course of about five days. You can see the great job she did for the blog. And here is her design for our etsy shop:

And in case you are familiar with our business name and are wondering if she made a mistake and left the "s" off the end of "design," well, etsy has this very inconvenient rule (at least for us ) of absolutely no more than twenty characters. And that little "s" put us over the limit. Ugh.

And what did I pay for all this work? A whopping (drum roll, please) $20!!!! Seriously. $20. I should have done this weeks ago. Thanks, Rebecca. You're in my rolodex the next time I need some graphic design work done or cool stationery. And I won't forget what you do for your real job. It'll just take me a little longer to save up my money than it did for your design work...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Heart This

I was looking through old magazines, getting ready to throw them in the recycling bin, in my continuing effort to clean up my space and simplify my surroundings. I came across this picture and forgot how much i.love.this.chair.

Unfortunately....it has gone up $250 in the last year! Don't they know we're in a recession? And ironically, the name of the company is gnr8.biz. In my opinion, they would generate more business if they lowered the price. Just a thought...

Friday, March 20, 2009

March of the Tools

Heather Bailey is having her second annual March of the Tools, a place to recommend tools that "make life better, work easier and fun funner." So now you know what that badge to the right is all about. I was trying to think about what things make my life better, mostly from a sewing perspective. I don't have anything earth shattering to write about, nothing new or cutting-edge, except, duh, my rotary cutter (and it's gotta be the 60 mm size, thank you very much). When it comes to quilting, my needs are few and basic.

Obviously fabric... and my favorite ruler, which is no longer being made and that is making me really sad. It was made by Judy Martin and when she discontinued it, I emailed her pronto and asked to buy any remaining rulers she had in stock. She said she had some used ones which she would discount. Sold! I bought every one she had left. It is the perfect size: 7 by 19 inches, which is the main reason I like it so much, plus it has clear easy-to-read markings every 1/8 inch, with none of those distracting yellow markings like some of my other rulers (I won't name names, but you know who you are). I use Judy's ruler almost exclusively and all the markings are wearing off (insert sad face here). I should probably accept the inevitable and start shopping for a new brand.

Thread: nothing better than Superior brand. It really is superior. Nearly lint-less. And you want to know about thread? Start reading Superior Thread's monthly newsletter. Who knew there was so much to learn about thread? At the risk of you thinking I need to get a life, I find all that information about thread pretty interesting.

Probably my current favorite tool, which I use for inspiration, is my computer, where I read all my favorite quilting blogs. Yeah, still trying to find a way to actually get paid for spending all that time.
So, thanks, Heather, for a great idea. March on...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

So Fun, So Productive

Right now you are probably thinking to yourself, "I really thought she would title this 'Sew Fun, Sew Productive.'" I thought about it. I planned on it. But it seemed so predictable. And really, although my blogging friends and I say quite often, "It's all about the title and the comments" (oh yeah, and good content and readership...), being a little unpredictable is a good thing.

So Quilting in the Pines. It was so fun and quite productive. Although after sewing and sewing little tiny half-square triangles and getting only FOUR blocks done from Thursday at 1 p.m. until Friday at 8 p.m. (!!), I was not feeling very productive at all. And for the quilt top I was working, there were still two more blocks to go.
So...I scrapped (ha!) that idea and moved on....to a cute little baby quilt.
Now, I'm pretty sure the future recipients of this quilt are not readers of this blog, but just in case they occasionally pop in, I will share just a corner of the quilt. The fabric I was working with had the cutest little tape measures as part of the pattern, so I cut them all out and included them as a border. On a couple of sides I pieced together a bunch of them so they actually measured from 1 inch to 25 inches. Weirdly, in the fabric that I had, they started at 8 inches, went to 25 inches, and then started at 1 inch. Anyway, Mom and Dad will have a handy-dandy measuring tape just in case they want to know how much Baby has grown in a day or two.

That quilt seemed to go together lickety-split. So then I moved on to....more little tiny pieces (which will eventually be little paw prints). This quilt is for Levi.
This will be his second quilt, although he hasn't received his first quilt yet. The first quilt is the one I take a lot more time on, not that it is heirloom quality or anything like that, but I try to make it really special (note: I haven't even started working on it yet, but I do have a plan). The second quilt is made to just throw on the floor or cuddle. And although I really think this quilt top is going to be GRRRRREAT (think Tony the Tiger) because it is made from wild animal prints, the reason I am making it is because of the back. I found the softest Minkee in four different wild animal prints for the back. I wish you could feel this stuff through the computer monitor. So I don't know...the back could theoretically turn out to be the front, because it is amazingly soft.
There are just so many amazing quilts being made. It is fun to just wander around and see what everyone else is working one. Imagine my surprise (and delight, to be truthful) when I walked past a stack of blocks that looked like they were being made with my pattern. I looked on the other side of the sewing machine, and there it was. When this person was all done putting the quilt top together, we got a picture of it. And Jennifer had even made a miniature version of it.
Jessie, our "quilt camp newbie," worked all night (I'm not kidding--5:30 a.m.!) to finish her quilt top. And then she was the winner of the grand door prize. A good weekend for her. I think she'll be back.
Sew...(hey, I warned you this would happen in a previous post), it was a great weekend, spending time with my best friends, sewing, laughing and eating. Can't wait to do it again. And yeah, all we have to do is practice our kicks and I'm sure the Rockettes will be giving us a call.

Monday, March 16, 2009

We've been on a roll

You know how you start with one home improvement project and it turns into another project, which turns into another project. We started about a month when we decided the the ugly acoustical cottage cheese, popcorn, whatever, had to come off the ceilings. Of course that necessitated painting, lots of painting. Ceilings. Lots of rolling. Overhead. We just finished our second weekend of painting ceilings. Okay, here's the thing about painting ceilings. Besides involving a lot of prep work and lots of neck and arm aching, you don't get a lot of instant gratification. Don't get me wrong. Our ceilings look bright and clean. The thing is, I love color, and when you are painting ceilings you are basically painting white on top of.....white.

Okay, the ceilings are done. Mark and I had quite the system going as far as prep work and actual painting, and we turned out to be a good team. We turned the music up really loud, and decided to change to a different musical genre with every room. Man, I forgot how much I loved music from the '80s and '90s.

So in conjunction with the ceilings, I decided several other rooms needed to be painted as well. We kind of have a pact that if I think it needs painting and Mark thinks it already looks just fine the way it is (apparently he has longer "same-old-color" tolerance than I do...), it then becomes my job to change the color. We both agreed the family room needed a new coat of paint. Done. Woodwork hadn't been done in years. Done.
I did my office a couple of weeks ago. Still waiting to finish the details in that room.
So next came the laundry room and the main bathroom.

The thing about laundry rooms and bathrooms: not fun to paint. Lots of doorways, lots of cutting in. Ugh. I did them both today and I am glad they are done.

Time for an unpaid commercial break here: Valspar paint ROCKS! I love that stuff. the.best.paint.ever.
*sigh* Color conundrum. Which reminded me that there is really a great wine by that name, and there were moments when I thought I should drink a glass or two, and then just pick a color and go with it...
Thanks to Freckles Chick, I was pretty convinced that Coastal Villa was the color for the laundry room, although I did briefly flirt with Aspen Gray.
Bye-bye, terra cotta. You made me really happy for a lot of years, but you are outta here.

And the bathroom. Hmmm. That kind of watery looking, spa-like aqua color? I tried really hard to convince myself of that. Couldn't do it. So another green room appeared in our house today.
Paperbag brown, I bid you a fond adieu.

So we've definitely been doing a lot of rolling. You'd think we could take a break from projects for a while. But wait a minute, now there are all those window coverings that don't go with the beautiful new walls and ceilings.
Stay tuned....

Friday, March 13, 2009

My color is "shaded blue"

What??? I have been telling all my friends how I have a crush on the color orange. However, they have been questioning my passion for orange. Okay, so I don't wear orange and with all the changes we've been making in the house, I haven't been decorating with orange, other than some touches in my sewing room. But I'm a loyal reader of this blog and I've been buying some cool orange stuff (I'll share it in a future post). Still, I'm having a hard time convincing them. And now this!

I took this quiz, and after answering all their questions, and then picking three favorite colors, supposedly their "tie breaker," none of which was BLUE I might add, how could they possibly have decided that my rainbow color is "shaded blue." I don't believe it....

So what is YOUR color? Do tell.

P.S. I guess I should have included what this "shaded blue" stuff says about me, according to the quizzical people: "You appreciate friends who get along with one another. You share hobbies with friends and like trying to fit into their routines." Okay, well maybe there is some truth to it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Six Degrees of Separation

I have always firmly believed in the concept of six degrees of separation. In other words, if a person is one step away from each person they know and two steps away from each person who is known by the people they know, then everyone is about six steps away from each person on earth. Anyway, when I wrote "A Milestone," I said one of my favorite blogs was written by someone I would never meet, although I would sure like to.

Turns out, I have met her; well, maybe not actually met, but we were at the same event. I even have a picture of her, taken by ME! How weird is that? Okay, here's the scoop. She was a college roommate of my niece, Becky, although I only found that out recently, and long after I became a big fan of her blog. She was a bridesmaid in Becky's wedding in Elmhurst, Illinois. Mark and I were at the wedding. I took a candid shot of all the bridemaids as they were coming off the church platform after they had taken their formal picture with the photographer, and there she is, just to the right of the bride: So maybe/probably we didn't actually meet. But we were at the same wedding and wedding reception. And now nine years later, we are reading each other's blogs. How cool is that?

NOT even six degrees of separation, more like two....

Monday, March 9, 2009

A milestone...

My newest post was going to be about adventures in quilting, since I just got back from nearly non-stop sewing from Thursday afternoon through Sunday afternoon. And that post IS coming. I just got bogged down with work today and didn't have time to download (or upload---I always get those confused) my pictures. So...(not "sew....."--I'll save that for the next post) I was catching up on my blog reading since I have been without my computer since Thursday. And as I'm scrolling down on one of my favorites, written by someone I will probably never meet in person (but sure would like to), I see "Live a Colorful Life" listed in her blog roll under "blogs I dig." This isn't the first time I have made a blog roll, but all the others have been friends and family, and really, they're almost obligated, right? So thanks, K--you made my day!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sew Excited

Tomorrow morning I head off for a weekend that has all the ingredients to guarantee a great time: best friends, quilting, gorgeous setting. Every year about this time we head up to Bass Lake for nearly nonstop sewing, Thursday noon to Sunday noon. I know that probably sounds extreme to people who don't find sewing all that exciting, but really, spending all that time with people you love, doing something you all love, is the best. No cooking, no errands to run. Nothing but sewing, chatting, laughing, eating. Ahhh....

There are about 80 quilters in all and some come from quite a distance, so you know it's gotta be fun. A couple of years ago, this was the view from our sewing room. And I hear snow is in the forecast this year as well. Just let me get up there, and then it can snow all it wants to.
So packing has begun. Sewing machine: check. Lots of fabric: check. Iron, light, pins, scissors, rotary cutter, rulers, thread, needles: check, check.......

Mustn't forget my new item for this year: the memory foam chair cushion. And what exactly will it be remembering? Let's not even go there...

And this year, Jessie will be up there with us too. Sew let the fun begin!

Monday, March 2, 2009

How can you look so beautiful, and smell so awful??

Dear Flowering Pear:

Every year I look forward to the time when you decide it's time to put on your spring party dress and dazzle everyone in town. Your designer's taste is impeccable--classic, white, lacy, voluptuous, absolutely exquisite. And when you decide to get together and party with your fellow flowering pears, I have to say, well, you are absolutely breathtaking. Which brings me to my point...

...and this is really hard for me to bring up as it is rather personal, but you smell, well...how do I put this delicately? Okay, I'll just come right out and say it. You smell awful. Maybe no one's actually brought this to your attention before, but you smell, um, like fish.

It just seems like such a fashion faux pas. Maybe you could get some suggestions from ever-so-sweet-smelling cherry blossom. She'll never be quite as dazzling as you, but she sure smells good.

Your adoring fan (but from a distance....)