Monday, March 29, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

On the Go

Remember Ice Cream Boy from my last post?

He turned 2 today.

A couple of weeks ago I found this really great half-yard set of fabrics in a line called Wheels by Riley Blake. Now I have told myself over and over, that I have enough fabric. But really. "Enough" can have such a flexible meaning. It's so, uh....relative. But still, I couldn't really justify the purchase.

Until I talked to my daughter-in-law, Christa, and asked her about the theme for Levi's birthday party.  Here's kind of how that conversation went down.

Me: Have you thought of a theme for Levi's birthday party.
Christa: Cars.
M: Cars. Like the movie "Cars" (which we have watched a gazillion times)?
C: No, cars. You know, just cars. Levi is really into all kinds of cars.
M (lightbulb going off in head, thinking about that line of "Wheels" fabric): Uh, is there anything you need in the way of decorating? You know, like a table runner, bib....?
C: A table runner and a bib would be GREAT.
M (to myself): SCORE!!!

Ordered the half-yard set of Wheels fabric. So cute.

And then it came time to go to Quilt Camp in February. Even though we each pack more projects for the weekend than we could possibly get completed, it is tradition to stop at Bear Paw Fabrics. Just in case we find something completely "necessary." Like "On the Go" by Clothworks. Besides the fun fabric, they also have a playmat-style panel. Remember the flexible definition of "enough"? Uh, yeah....

I machine quilted on the inside of the railroad track, around both sides of the road, and around the airport landing strip. Easy peasy.

I had purchased three half-yard cuts of fabric for the back.

Used the rest for a scrappy binding.
and this is all that was left. I'm pretty pleased with myself. In fact, I probably need more fabric since I used it all up!

And what did I do with all that "Wheels" fabric? Used probably a max of a 1/4 yard and made a bib, of course.

And you may recall the whole sew-in label dilemma, as in "what color should I pick for the base? gray? brown? black?"

Well, now that I'm opening a new etsy shop, the color is all a moot point. Because I now need labels that say
"Sewing on the Edge." So this bib will probably become a collector's item as the only product made by "one in every color." You know...probably something to be handed down from generation to generation.....?

And Levi's car party? Creative decorations and yummy food. (check out the license plate cookies--completely amazing).

Powered by cake, I'm pretty sure Levi will be a boy on the go!

Friday, March 26, 2010

and we have a winner...

Thanks to everyone who made a comment regarding the name of my new etsy shop. Lots of good suggestions and feedback!

I added up all the comments left during the two days and gave that total to Random Number Generator to work its magic and the winner is Laurie, who said:

OK - I'll change my vote to Sewing on the Edge :)

And indeed, that is the name of the new shop, Sewing on the Edge. As much as I loved the name Selvaged, it came with its own problems and confusion. People simply have a hard time spelling it. American version (selvaged)? British version (selvedged)? And easy to confuse with Salvaged. When elpf pointed out that there was already an etsy seller with the name Selvedged, the decision was made.

Some people questioned the wisdom, or sanity, of using the word sanity as part of my etsy shop name.

However, Kristen had an excellent idea: to add a tag line. So, the etsy banner will read:

Sewing on the Edge
Selvaging my sanity, one stitch at a time

I thought that was the greatest solution. So, Kristen, you will also be finding a pincushion on its way to your mailbox. So will Becky, my niece, who came up with Sewing on the Edge in the first place.

Thanks so much to all of you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and ideas. I hope you all have a happy and productive weekend. Me? I'll be selvaging my sanity, sewing on the edge, making items to stock the new etsy shop!

But first I'll leave you with this little visual. No matter what the question cream is the correct answer.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Round 2

First of all, thanks for all the great feedback and suggestions on my etsy shop naming dilemma yesterday. Here is the update:

After elpf did an etsy search, she found there was already a seller by the name of "Selvedged." That happens to be the British spelling, by the way. But for my purposes of trying to have a unique seller name, it knocked "Selvaged" right out of the ring.

Then my niece, Becky, sent me an email with the suggestion of "Sew Edgy." As soon as I read that name, I knew that was it!!! So I was already writing my blog post in my head when I thought, hmmm, maybe I should do an etsy search on that name. Bah. There's an etsy seller named "Sew Edgy Designs." So that became a non contender as well.

But Becky had another good suggestion.

So in one ring, we have the reigning champion, weighing in at 17 characters,

                                                      Selvaging My Sanity

And new to the fight, in the other corner, we have the new contender, weighing in at 15 characters,

                                                      Sewing on the Edge

I like them both a lot, although maybe questioning my sanity is not good from a business standpoint. On the other hand, sewing actually saves my sanity.

I also like the other name because it incorporates the idea of selvages while at the same time leaving product options wide open.

Same rules as yesterday. The pincushion is still up for grabs. If you commented yesterday, go ahead and comment again today. That way you will have two votes thrown into the ring for the prize.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My sanity could depend on your comments...

You might remember that I have mentioned my obsession with love of selvage edges from quilting fabric.

I'm quite sure I will never make this but it is highly likely that  at some point I will make something similar to this gorgeous quilt.

Photo courtesy of Tallgrass Prairie Studio

And that brings me to the reason for this post. I am starting a new etsy shop. We already have One in Every Color and to this point that is where we have stocked everything we have for sale: fused glass, quilting patterns, selvage-edge pincushions. With no cohesive thread to tie them together. After reading a marketing tip that such diverse items could be confusing for the buyer and harder to brand you as a seller, I began thinking about opening another shop, just for things I sew. And since most of those things will involve incorporating selvage edges, it became important to pick a catchy name.

My first choices were already taken: On the Edge (just a buyer, not a seller) and The Cutting Edge (soldered glass jewelry). One afternoon I started brainstorming with Jessie and George while they were in the hospital with Sue. They came up with a bunch of names. Some good possibilities, like Edge to Edge. George's big contribution was Bordering on Insanity. Really, George?? I quickly vetoed that name....until we were back in Sue's room visiting, and this time Mark and Jessie's fiance, Luke, were there as well.

By that time I had settled on what I thought was a great name, one that I had thought up all by myself.


I liked the kind of play on words, well, just one word actually. Salvaged selvages.

To my amazement, everyone thought it was a boring name. Bah. Okay, guys, what do you think of  George's suggestion, "Bordering on Insanity?" I asked with a snicker. Luke, who is also in marketing, said he thought it was a really interesting name. Jessie said she could definitely click on that name just to check out what kind of items the seller had. Okay, so I did an etsy name search.

It was already taken!!! Unbelievable! Again, apparently just a buyer, not a seller.

More brainstorming. Along the same lines as Bordering on Insanity, I came up with Selvaging My Sanity.

So here is where you all come in. It's up for a vote.

In one corner is Selvaged, weighing in with a lot fewer letters, straightforward. I think it could be a good contender.

In the other corner, weighing in with a couple more words and a lot more letters and just under the 20-letter limit imposed by etsy is Selvaging My Sanity.

What do you think? And if there are some of you who occasionally read this blog but don't usually comment, this would be a good time to come out of the woodwork and make your voices heard. You can remain anonymous but I would still love to know what your choice would be.

Would a giveaway sweeten the deal? I reserve the right to make the final decision, but I'll throw a pincuchion into the ring for the comment chosen by the random number generator on Thursday at 6 p.m. PDT.

And as long as we're talking selvages, look what came in the mail about a week ago. All the way from Australia. From one of my favorite inspiring quilters, Red Pepper Quilts.

I have lots of product ideas. But first things first. Help me find my name.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Scrambled States of...

....mind? Yeah, sometimes. But this time the title is about a book. More about it later.

Every year, in honor of our first grandchild Caleb's brief life, we (along with many other family and friends) buy a book to add to his library, shared by Charlotte and Levi.

This year, we purchased a book that came highly recommended by my friend, Maggie, who has a 4 1/2-year-old grandson, Tyler, an avid booklover. The book was "Do Unto Otters," a book about manners.

Laurie Keller is my new favorite children's author. This book is really clever and teaches a good lesson on the Golden Rule with the cutest illustrations. On the cover of the book it says "From the author of 'The Scrambled States of America.'" Doesn't that sound intriguing? I thought so too.

So at Barnes and Noble today, I checked it out.

This book will stay at Grandpa and Grandma's house. It is the most amusing book about the state of Kansas waking up one morning feeling quite unhappy. Nebraska (a very kind state) wonders what is wrong. "I don't know," moaned Kansas. I just feel bored. All day long we just sit here in the middle of the country. We never GO anywhere. We never DO anything, and we NEVER meet any NEW states." So they organize a party where all the states can meet each other, and then switch places. I highly recommend it. It made me laugh out loud.

So if you are feeling scrambled, or just bored, or know a child who might enjoy learning about the states in a really fun way, I highly recommend this book.

And on a side note, Mark and I lived in western Kansas for the first five years we were married. So really, we understand the whole concept of wanting to get out and meet some new states...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Orange Crush

I have a list of blog topics I want to write about and have spent time composing them in my head, getting ready to do the actual writing. And then the doorbell rang, and Jessie handed this skirt to me. This did the hurdles over all the other topics and landed right in first place.

You wouldn't believe how excited I am to own this 100 percent wool orange skirt. No, I am NOT planning to wear it. And I was so excited that the first I did was to take its picture, without even setting it up properly to look its most beautiful. Oh. Did I not need to tell you that? Probably not. Some things are pretty obvious....

The second thing I did was to email the picture to this person, because if anyone will have a a fabulous idea, it will be Karen. It will be washed in hot water and should shrink down and "felt" quite nicely. Then we can make some design decisions. I'm even hoping to incorporate the totally awesome orange leather waistband. Is there anyone out there who also finds this exciting? Any really good ideas?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Community: The "one in every color" edition

This is Jessie and Luke. Aren't they adorable? They are getting married on May 22.
You may remember her from French Kiss fame.
Nothing means more to Jessie than her friends and family. Having a quilt made by people who are part of her life, her community, even some she has never met but who touch her life in a meaningful way, was a priority. She came up with a plan. Everyone would get some black and white fabric and then color would be added to the block. For those who were quilters, or were at least familiar with sewing, they could add whatever color they wanted, choose whatever block pattern they wanted, as long as it was 12 1/2 inches unfinished. For those who were not quilters/sewers, or if she wasn't sure, she would make a little kit with the pieces already cut. It just needed to be sewn together. In addition, each person was to take a picture with their quilt block and write something, a piece of advice, a memory, a verse, whatever, on an enclosed card that later will be made into a scrapbook.

Lots of people were included. Because Jessie is loved by a lot of people. The blocks started coming back. Lots of blocks. She had a big design wall at home and the blocks started going up. In a gorgeous array of color.

Finally it was time to put the quilt together. So on Saturday, we had a quilting bee at my house. We thought Jessie would just lay out all the quilt squares in a color arrangement that made her happy. But then we discovered that some of the blocks needed a little adjustment. Not unusual. That happens any time you are working with different people, different machines, different skill levels.

So we spent all day Saturday sewing, un-sewing, re-sewing, arranging, rearranging. We had a great time. Her father, George, an avid fisherman, even sewed a block.  Jessie's mother, Sue, is still in the hospital, but she would have loved sharing this weekend with her daughter. We all missed her.

(click to enlarge)
By Saturday night, the blocks were all arranged on the floor in my family room, all 72 of them! This quilt is visually spectacular. But the best part, in my opinion, is the little stories behind some of the blocks. I know there is a lot more here that Jessie could tell you, but here are some of them.

The orange corner was conspicuously sparse. Go figure. My original contribution was the block on the left. Since we needed a few more blocks to make the quilt eight blocks across and nine blocks down, we actually sewed a few extra blocks on Saturday. Since that time, more have arrived in the mail, but Jessie has a good plan for those as well. Since she is planning on being a teacher, the fabric with the cursive alphabet seemed like a sure winner.
Jennifer, who is the paper piecing queen in our group, grabbed some orange fabric and had this cute little house sewed together in no time. So the orange corner is now well represented. Whew!

Our daughter-in-law, Christa, searched block patterns and found one called Wedding Bouquet. How appropriate.

Jessie's Aunt Maggie, and cousins, Tanya and Kim (who were part of the "sewing staff" all weekend), each made an Ohio Star block, but in different colors.

Another of Jessie's aunts, Cynthia, along with two more cousins, Jennie and Katie, did the same thing:

A few weeks ago, Jessie flew up to Idaho and helped her former roommates from the year she went to the University of Idaho sew some Card Trick blocks. Luke ended up doing the sewing on one of the blocks instead of Jessie's roommate, and so he intentionally turned part of the block around.

Through a series of events, two people who have never even met Jessica ended up sewing blocks for her quilt. One is our niece, Becky, whose mother is also battling cancer. Another is Grandma G. Mark always calls her my email penpal, although we finally got to meet in person last August. But she has found her life woven into the lives of several people here in Fresno, including Jessica. Notice how their blocks are the same, only in different colors? Notice how the pattern forms kind of a circle? Intentional. Jessie told me that they are part of a circular connection that connects each of them through the internet. I think I might have teared up a little when she told me that, since that connection also runs through Mark and me, the two people who actually know Becky and Grandma G.

The block on the left was made by Valerie, Jessie's sister whose idea of sewing involves some fabric and a glue gun. Yet she pieced this fabulous block with all the pink paw prints. And Val's boyfriend, Matt, did the block on the right side. Awesome!

Curious to know what the entire quilt top looked like when it was finally sewn together?

(click to enlarge--definitely worth it!)

Isn't it amazing? It goes to the machine quilter today.

I read this quote today: "Friendship is the golden ribbon that ties all hearts together."  Jessie, it has been an honor to work on this quilt with you. Our hearts will be forever bound together.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The future of quilting

I have been dreaming of having a granddaughter who would share my love of quilting. Even before she was born, I purchased a Featherweight, hoping eventually I would be teaching little hands how to make a simple quilt.

I'm seeing glimmers of my dream coming true. We were at the quilt store the other day. She was in the play area with her little brother. I found some really cute fabric..

Since I'm having such a good time making fun pillowcases for both Charlotte and Levi, I took it over to her and said, "Charlotte, do you think this would make a good pillowcase?" She replied, "Yes, Grandma, and a really nice quilt, too." Score!

Bonus: Won't this be a great selvage to incorporate into something fun?

And really, who would NOT want to spend time sewing with this cutie? (Note to her mommy: No behavioral rules were broken. Each of us decided to make a funny face, and this was her choice. Too bad you can't see mine...)

Monday, March 8, 2010

In a bind...

Remember 3460? Saturday afternoon it arrived back home to me after being amazingly machine quilted by Mark's cousin, Ione. Okay, so I was a little freaked out when I saw the big box containing the quilt, sitting on my front porch. The mailman delivered it to my front porch. Without me at home. It could have just "walked off" in someone's arms and I never would have seen it again. Ack!

And yesterday began the arduous task of binding it. Lots of binding. It is 108 x 108 inches. Though stunningly beautiful, it is heavy and awkward.

(Is it just me, or does that mountain of binding look great against the wall in my office?)

I spent last night watching the Oscars, working on the hand-sewing portion of the binding. One side down, three more to go...

And on a totally unrelated topic. Friday night Aaron and Mark went on a father-son date. Christa was hosting a scrapbooking weekend. So while I babysat, they attended a donor's recognition dinner for Fresno Pacific University. As Mark walked into the kitchen all dressed up, Charlotte looked at him with this very puzzled expression on her face. "Grandpa???" She has never seen him dressed up before...

And sometimes there is a really good reason, or two, why I don't get as much accomplished as I plan:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Thanks, Kaffe

One of my best friends, Sue, has been in the hospital for over a week. The long-term prognosis is not good, surely not what any of us wanted to hear. Even though I'm in a bit of a bind, timewise (more on that tomorrow), I decided I needed something to cheer me up. I headed over to Barnes & Noble. A large cup of coffee and Kaffe Fassett came to the rescue.

Kaffe has a new book out:

Spectacular doesn't even begin to describe it. I spent a long time totally immersed in color, shapes, gorgeous photography, stunning fabrics...

(click to enlarge photos--it's definitely worthwhile!)

This is not a cheap book, and I could have saved a lot of money by ordering it on Amazon. But I needed it today. I needed the color and optimism today. I needed the hope and inspiration today.

Sue sent a text message saying "Don't be doom and gloom. Call me." I called her. Her voice sounds really good today. I think I'll take Kaffe to the hospital this afternoon, and Sue and I can spend some time turning the pages together...becoming lost for a bit of time in simple shapes and spectacular colors.