Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Name Game: Molly Flanders

 Welcome to the latest edition The Name Game. This week, Mary from the fabulous blog, Molly Flanders, is our featured guest. If you are not a regular reader of Mary's blog, I highly recommend becoming one. She loves bright colors, does beautiful hand quilting with perle cotton, and does not shy away from those really tricky blocks.

1. How did you choose the name, Molly Flanders?

I chose the name Molly Flanders for a couple of reasons. Molly is the name of my oldest daughter (I have three daughters)...and she is quite an artistic girl. She is an amazing mandolin player (plays every Saturday morning at the local Bluegrass Shoppe) and she loves embroidery. If I have embroidery work to be done, I will call on her assistance. And she contributes regularly to the blog.
Flanders is the name of my sweet dog. We adopted her from our local Humane Society when she was a puppy and we love her to pieces.
The other reason...the Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders...Moll was a woman of questionable character! I thought it was kind of cheeky and maybe cute (?)...not that anyone associated with the blog is of questionable character...or at all cheeky! Ha!

2. Were there other names you considered, and can you share any of them with us?

As you can probably tell, I don't think I gave a whole lot of thought. I did consider something with "quiltery" in it, but decided against it because I wanted to include other sewing projects.

3. Now that you are recognized by Molly Flanders, are you happy with it, or do you wish you could change it to something else?

I am happy with it! The only issues with the name are minor...I don't have my name (Mary) in the title and sometimes I get "Dear Molly" emails...not a big deal. Then I worry if something happens to my sweet pup will it make me so horribly sad...but let's not think about that! And lastly, when I look at the traffic sources for my blog, often I get some colorful searches...having to do with the Moll Flanders reference...I am sure!
Thanks so much, Mary! I'm a huge fan of your work (especially all those delicious polka dot fabrics!).

I'm excited about next week's edition. Carla from Lollyquiltz will be here. Recently we have discovered that although she lives near Kansas City and I'm here in central California, there is no doubt that we were sisters separated at birth--so many similarities. 

So stop by and say hi to Mary here, and don't forget to tune in next week to read about how Carla chose her blog name. Happy sewing!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Philosophy Friday: I'm the one in charge here

Memorial Day weekend is traditionally when our owner group goes up to our rental cabins at Huntington Lake to open them up and get them ready for the fifteen-week rental season, which should start a week from tomorrow. Last year we lost the first rental week due to snow. Someone told us that was a once-in-fifteen-years type of thing. They were wrong.

So what we should be doing: painting, cleaning the cabins, hanging the curtains, plumbing maintenance, etc. Not happening.

George and Cheri drove up yesterday to see just how close they could get to the cabins. Their progress was blocked by the snow plow. And the water hasn't been turned on yet either, which is a big turn-off for me, because no shower, no potty? No me...

Mark has some plans for projects around the house. This is what I will be working on, the Amy Butler Weekender bag. Which probably won't be completed in one single weekend. Thirteen steps, each with a gazillion sub-steps...

Mark and I have been taping and watching the final episodes of Oprah for the last month. We have been sporadic viewers. But these final episodes have been interesting, especially as she looks back over the last twenty-five years. And remember. She and Mark are "tight" since they both started their careers in the same year.

Last night we watched her final episode, where she stood on stage and talked about what she has learned over the past twenty-five years, what her guests, audience, and viewers have taught her. I watched it again this morning to jot down some of the best parts:

*Find you passion. Whatever you are supposed to be doing, embrace the life that is calling you and carry it forward.

I'm working on finding my passion. I know creativity is an essential part of my life.

*People make bad choices, blaming everybody else but themselves for the state of their lives.

This one really hit home. Choices and consequences. Choices and consequences.

*When you know better, you do better.

Keep on learning. Keep the spark of knowledge burning.

*Nobody but you is responsible for your life. You are responsible for the energy you create for yourself and the energy you bring to others.

We have the choice to be happy, to love, to forgive. We can't control what other people do for us or to us. But we can make good choices because we have that capacity, and our life is our responsibility.

Except when Mother Nature decides to take charge...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Really Random Things

My favorite AI hopeful won last night. Because of Scotty's distinctive voice with the country edge, I didn't think he would be able to maneuver through all the other music genres. I was wrong (yay!).
 I adore French braids.

Mark has sometimes used the expression, "Well, that's a pip." It was one of those phrases where I understood he was pretty much saying, "that sucks," but I always wondered about the origin. Who knew I would find the answer in Sports Illustrated?

"In 1925, the Yankees rested former home run champ Wally Pipp, who had a headache. His replacement, a 21-year-old and unproven Lou Gehrig, kept the spot for 2,130 straight games." Bummer.

This little article was in SI right about the time of the Royal Wedding. Wondering why? Because SI's question was this: To be Wally Pipped or to be Pippa'd, which is worse?

The next paragraph said, "At her April wedding to Prince William, bride Kate Middleton was upstaged by her young sister, Pippa, who dropped jaws with a shape-hugging, low-cut white gown." Bummer.

I prefer to put a positive spin on it and be Sherbet Pipped.

You can never get too many hugs.

I got an interesting email over the weekend saying all the patterns from JWD, the company who published my two patterns, had listed them all on amazon.com. This was me three years ago at Portland spring market, talking to Dane Wolfrom, where the whole thing started.

Never in a million years would I have thought you could put my name in the search bar at amazon.com and this would pop up!

This is my family and I love them to pieces. It's a tough job. Someone has to do it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

WIP Wednesday

What? It's Wednesday already?
Last week I gave a comprehensive status report. I won't repeat it as no progress was made.
Because I spent most of the week working on this garage sale bargain.

I had planned on starting my Amy Butler Weekender bag. But again, I spent most of my time working on this:

Yeah, I'm pretty happy with it. Can you tell? And it even came with this nifty tray for bobbins and thread!

All for a whopping $2! So I did a tutorial in case you find yourself a bargain hanging out in someone's driveway!

But moving on to WIP Wednesday.

The AB Weekender bag is up next. Good thing we have a nice long weekend because I hear it has 50 pieces to cut. (Can you tell I haven't even opened up the pattern yet?)

I'm in a bit of a fabric dilemma. I only have one-yard cuts of each fabric, and to make the outside in the same fabric requires 1 5/8 yards, so I need to make the body and outside pockets of different fabric.

Originally I was going to use this combination, the orange for the body of the bag, the tulips on the offwhite background as the pockets, and the blue for the handles and piping. But I'm kind of feeling like the two tulip fabrics are fighting each other for dominance. I hate it when tulips fight...
So I've pretty much moved on to this combination, with the red as the body, the blue remaining as the piping and handles, and the tulips as the outside pockets.

I'd love your thoughts on the fabric combos, and then check out what everyone else is working on here. Thanks, Lee, for hosting this every week!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

OOPS, Part 2: Before and after

Here is the first completed Outside Oslo Project Status (OOPS) report using Jessica Jones' newest fabric line. (A great place to purchase Outside Oslo is Marmalade Fabrics).

The "before" picture. I picked this up at a garage sale a couple of weekends ago, envisioning more fabric storage space for my sewing room. It came at a drastically reduced price because "the leg was broken." Turns out the legs screw in, and it just needed to be tightened! I thought the seller would ask about $15 and I was prepared to offer $10. However...she started the bidding at $2. Yes, you read that correctly. $2!! I felt a counter-offer on my part was not really in order...
In case you are wondering, before I get started on my little tutorial, here is a bit of information. There is an interior height of 9 inches (not including lid and also not including the legs--when you add those it stands about 18 inches from floor to top of lid), width of 19 inches and depth of 16 1/2 inches.

The second thing you need to know is that I had a wild idea that I could "do it all by myself"--that thought probably stemming from the fact that I spend a lot of time with 3- and 4 1/2-year-old grandchildren and hear that phrase repeatedly. While it probably IS possible, I highly recommend having someone willing to help you. Mark generously agreed to be that someone.

Part 1: Deconstruction.

The idea is to take it apart, and then put it back together in the opposite order. The legs came off first. Mark made this cool little painting rack by drilling some holes in a scrap piece of lumber.

We had some charcoal spray paint with a metallic finish--nothing too glitzy and just the perfect color for the fabric we were using. I did purchase some Kilz primer in a spray can. Hated it. We thought we shook it up long enough but still it came out gloppy. If I were doing it again, I would just roughly sand the legs (as we did), skip the priming stage because it's not like the legs are getting a lot of wear or anything, and then just spray several coats of the finish paint.  Because of the gloppiness, a couple of the legs didn't have a smooth finish, so we put them in the back of the stool.

Next we took off the hinges from the back and then all the little strips of wood that covered the raw edges of the fabric on the inside lid and bottom.

I can't tell you how gross this fabric was. It practically disintegrated when touched and made me feel the necessity of having hand sanitizer nearby. We removed all the staples and then used the fabric as a template.
This is what the lid and bottom looked like after we got all the fabric removed. The lid was padded with a little bit of foam; we used the original foam rather than replacing it.

Part 2: Putting it back together:

At this point, I laid my new fabric wrong side up, got out my sharpie pen and traced around the fabric we removed from the lid, cutting the same notches out of the four corners.

Next came the sewing. This is the ONLY sewing, and it involved matching the notched-out edges right sides together and sewing a 1/2-inch seam.

Each corner looked like this when it was turned right-side out again.

I did that to each corner and it fit like a glove over the top of the lid. This works great because otherwise you would have to do kind of a miter fold on the outside and staple or tack it down somehow. This eliminates all that fabric bulk. Then it just involved folding the raw edges to the inside of the lid, stapling it down, stapling the little wooden strips back on to cover the raw edges and, voila! Fabulous new lid.

Speaking of staple guns, I should mention  that I had made the suggestion to Mark that perhaps a staple gun that attached to his air compressor might be a good idea. But you know how men DETEST the thought of going to the hardware store to purchase a new tool. So after getting out of the way so he didn't knock me over on his way to get into the truck to drive to Lowe's talking him into the merits of a new staple gun that would also be useful for other projects, we were back from Lowe's in a jiff and continued on with our project.

Moving on: The bottom fabric was one long strip. I measured the length and width of the old fabric, cut two pieces of the new fabric (matching the pattern), sewed one seam. Oops. I just said there was no more sewing involved. Okay. I had to sew these two pieces together to get the length I needed to go all the way around the outside. We kind of centered the fabric from top to bottom around the outside circumference of the bottom, so there was about an equal amount of fabric to fold around to the inside at the top of the box for stapling, and the same to fold under and staple on the bottom.

Hmmm. I'm beginning to like all these power tools!

Added the hinges on the back and screwed the legs back in (even that pesky "broken" leg).

Ready to see the finished project?

In its new home: my sewing room:
Want to see the best part? I KNEW this was the project for me when I opened it up and found this little plastic tray, which meant that it was a....

SEWING CHEST!!! I would have gladly paid $10 for this little beauty. I almost feel guilty that I got it for $2.


Monday, May 23, 2011

The Name Game: Crazy Mom Quilts

In the early days of my quilt blog reading, I kept coming across the name "crazy mom quilts" in blogrolls. And for good reason, it turns out. Amanda Jean, the writer behind the name crazy mom quilts has given quilters a wealth of information, from block tutorials and quilt-alongs to a video on freemotion quilting, all written with honesty and lots of humor. As I've gotten to know Amanda Jean better (and yippee!! I'm actually meeting her this summer in Minnesota), she was the first person I sought an opinion from about the Name Game series.
She thought it would be a fun series, so I'm completely honored that she agreed to be one of the first interviewees:

1.  How did you choose the name crazy mom quilts?

OK, I'll tell you...and you can laugh if you want. Some of my retreat peeps did. I was about to use a different name. A friend at the time told me flat out not to, basically saying it was lame-o. At the time it stung a bit. My husband was in agreement with my friend, which stung even more. But holy  moly, were they right!!! Truthfully, when I was picking my blog name with the blogger screen open, I didn't have a good idea what to name it. I had to have a google account, so in yahoo I was typing in address names that might work...then I checked it in blogger to see if it was available. Crazy Mom Quilts was available in both, so I went with it.

2.  Were there other names you considered, and can you share any of them with us?

Yes, but I'd rather not divulge the specifics. :) As I mentioned, when my friend actually laughed at my first name idea, and my husband was in agreement with her, I knew it was NOT a keeper!

3. Now that you are recognized by crazy mom quilts, are you happy with it, or do you wish you could change it to something else? 

The name choice was quite an accident, but it fits. I'm totally growing into my name. And I really like it. As if you couldn't tell. :)

Thanks, Amanda Jean!

I hope you will all head on over to crazy mom quilts and say hi. Check out her FAQ, which contains a wealth of valuable information.

Did you know that Mary is the real person behind the fabulous blog, Molly Flanders? Aren't you curious to find out who Molly Flanders is? Come back next week and find out!