Friday, August 21, 2009

I Didn't Give Up!

Every now and then a sewing project gets the better of me. If I have to rip out a seam more than once, I get really irritated. If I have to undo something else on the same project, I get mad. If something else goes wrong yet again on the same project, it ends up in the scrap heap! I really have no patience when it comes to fixing mistakes.

The dish towel dress I listed in the shop today almost landed in the scrap heap. It took 2 days to make it and it should have taken 2 hours! The first problem came even before the first stitch was even stitched! I cut out the pieces for the top, pressed them, turned them over to press the other side and there was an obvious defect in a prominent place. I had just enough fabric for another piece so at least I could still get started.

Next problem...wrong color thread. And it was too late to go to JoAnn's! It's really frustrating to be all geared up to work and then can't. The next day I got the thread I needed and finally got started.

Fitting the dish towel to the dress top can be a little tricky. The towel has to be pleated evenly, and tweaked a few times to make it fit before I actually sew it together. I just couldn't get it. I pleated and tweaked over and over, sewed it in and ripped it out twice. I tried gathering it instead and then sewed it in, broke the machine needle because I ran over a pin I didn't see in the gathers, and ripped it out because the stitching didn't catch on the back side of the top. I was SO ready to trash this thing. Instead, I decided to leave it for today.

Leaving it was the best idea. I was able to put it together without any problems and it turned out pretty good, I think. There were two reasons I didn't throw it in the scrap heap:
1. One of the points I made in the last post is that we shoud never give up! How could I quit when I just told the world not to?!
2. A friend was with me when I bought the fabric to match the towel and she couldn't wait to see it. She's been asking for months if I made it yet. I couldn't let her down!

I'm really glad this project is over! Hopefully the next one will be less trouble, but even if it's not, I won't give up!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Annie...Part Two

When we adopted Annie, her original name was Charlotte. She was one of nine puppies and the rescue group named them all from the characters in Charlotte's Web! I like the name Charlotte but it just didn't roll off my tounge easily when it came to calling her. When I first saw her, the name Annie came to mind, so a few days later that's what we were calling her.

There were many times those first few months that I thought we had made a mistake getting her. She showed signs of aggression which the vet said was mild compared to some of her siblings. At times she looked like she had pit bull in her and even the trainer at obedience class said she had that look about her. I know people with pit bulls and they are the sweetest dogs, but I didn't want to have to deal with other people's prejudices. I didn't think she would EVER get the potty training thing!

Well, the aggression has subsided and even though she can still get the pit bull look, she mostly looks like a lab. In fact when people meet her for the first time they ask if she's part lab. Potty training took a year, but she finally did it and now we're all happy! So here's the rest of what I've learned from her.

5. Enjoy taking a walk. Annie absolutely loves her walks. She checks out EVERYTHING and greets everyone. When I take a walk, I usually look at the ground and just want to get it over with! There's a lot to see in my neighborhood if I would look up! Wildlife is abundant, gorgeous flowers are everywhere, and people are quite friendly. Going for a walk can be enjoyable and not a chore!

6. Do something you love. Annie literally spends hours chewing on a bone. She loves her big beef bones I get her from the grocery store. When is the last time you spent hours doing something you love? Our lives become so busy and hectic that we rarely stop to take the time to do something that brings us pleasure. That should change! Even if you can't spend hours at a time, you should do something everyday that you truly enjoy.

7. Go after what you want. Whether it's bolting out the door for freedom or jumping on the bed, Annie goes for it! She knows she's going to get in trouble but she does it anyway. Sometimes, we need to stop thinking so much and just go for it. There will always be pros and cons to what we want. There will always be someone telling us not to take the chance. There will always be something to hold us back. Sometimes you just have to go for it and deal with what comes.

8. Never give up. I'm amazed at Annie's perseverence. She can drive us crazy when she wants to play fetch. She will not leave us alone until we throw the ball. She might lay down after trying for several minutes, but she comes right back...over and over and over again! Sometimes, our dreams seem impossible to reach. The thing is, we'll never reach them if we give up. We might have to try several times, or take a break once in a while, or come up with a different approach, but giving up should never be an option.

Life with Annie has had it's ups and downs and I've accepted that it will always be this way. But as long as she continues to make me and smile I continue to learn from her, we'll be okay!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Annie...Part One

Meet Annie. She is a beagle/lab mix and just over 2 years old. We adopted her when she was 9 weeks old but we didn't intend to get a puppy! We decided we wanted a dog so we went to Petco where a local rescue group has adoptions every Saturday. We wanted one that would get along with other dogs (Erin's dog Daisy comes with her to visit) and one that would get along with kids, because we were hoping for grandchildren down the road! We met some very nice dogs but not one that was a good fit for us. Then we saw them...a litter of nine puppies!

Who doesn't fall in love with baby animals? Especially when they nuzzle into your neck and give you kisses! We picked one out, filled out the application, had our home inspected, was interviewed and then told where we could pick her up. Life has not been the same since!

Recently, I began to notice just what a dog's life is about. I've learned some lessons from Annie that I should have learned a long time ago! Here they are.

1. Napping off and on all day can be a very good thing. Annie does this every day and as tempting as it is, it's not practical for me. However, God did intend for us to rest one day a week and when I actually do this and get caught up on my rest, life is much better.

2. I should show my excitement to Michael when he comes home. Any dog owner knows that your dog is ALWAYS happy to see you when you've been out. No matter what happened before you left! And we love that we are loved! Michael deserves that from me too.

3. Drive with the windows rolled down. Annie, and every other dog I know, loves this. It just feels good to have the fresh air blowing across your face. So what if your hair gets messed up! Pull it back in a pony tail or wear a scarf...just enjoy the moment.

4. Take time to play. Annie loves to play fetch and would spend hours doing so if only I would too! Life is too short to spend it all working at the job or around the house. You must make time for some fun too.

There are four more lessons I've learned from Annie and I'll tell you what they are in tomorrow's post!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Lavender Sachets

When I had a booth at the shop, I had wanted to make lavender sachets to sell but just never got around to it. I spent the last couple of days playing around with the vintage hankies I bought last month and I came up with four sachets. I think they turned out so pretty and feminine and they smell divine! In fact my sewing room now smells like lavender and I love it.

I think the one with the W is my favorite. The embroidery is perfect and the applique is so delicate that I automatically handle the sachet a little more carefully than the others. I had the most difficulty with the blue one. I lined it differently and didn't use stuffing like I did for the others. It's stuffed with lavender only. When I was hand sewing the opening closed, I dropped it three different times and lavender went everywhere. I didn't drop any of the other ones that wouldn't have spilled! I'm partial to the pink ones because pink is my favorite color. I love the one that looks like an envelope. The hankie part of that one was actually the corner of it's mate.

I have several more hankies to play with and many more ideas for sachets since I started. I'm also planning to make coasters with the hankies. Not sure how that's going to work but I'm anxious to give it a try. I'll be listing the sachets in my shop sometime this weekend after babysitting Shylee in Havre de Grace Saturday! Can't wait to see her!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's A Fabric Thing

If you were to walk into my sewing room, this is what you would see on top of my cutting table in the middle of the room. I know it looks like a chaotic mess, and it is, but I know what is there and it inspires me to have it out where I can see it. This is just a small amount of the fabric I have. What you don't see is the bins stuffed so full that the lids barely latch shut!

I guess I'm a fabraholic! I'm not alone either. You could ask anyone who crafts with fabric and they would tell you the same thing. I love going to fabric shops and can spend hours, not to mention way too much money, just looking, touching, feeling and dreaming. Many, if not most, purchases are made because I just love the fabric. I have no idea what I will do with it, but something will inspire me sooner or later and I'll know exactly which fabric I want to use.

You can call it an addiction, a weakness, an obsession or any number of things and I will just smile and agree with you. Fabric is my thing....what's yours?

New Look

Yes, I've changed the look of my blog and I think I'm happy with it! I liked the look of the old one better, but this one gives me lots more room to spread out. It will probably change a few more times as I tweak it so please bear with me. I would love to have some input from you....suggestions, likes, dislikes etc. Just leave a comment.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

First Etsy Sale And Blog Feature!! And An Announcement

My very first sale on Etsy today and it was this coffee dish towel dress! I am just so excited and so tickled! I think it took a couple of hours for it to register this morning and then I panicked because I didn't know what to do next and what if my customer doesn't like it when she gets it? Luckily, with the help of fellow Etsians, I figured out what to do and I think my customer will love it when she sees it.

The other very exciting thing today is that So Many Memories was featured on a fellow Etsian's blog. Please check out her blog and then check out her Etsy shop. As I become more comfortable with this whole blogging thing, I will feature her as well.

As for the announcement, I won't be adding any more baby or children's items to my shop due to new laws that go into effect August 14. I would be required to include a permanent label on each item with a ridiculous amount of information. I would also have to keep detailed records of where and when I bought the supplies and materiels, the mfg. and where it was made and a host of other details. Although I realize this is to keep our children safe, it creates a hardship for some of us. Unless I can figure out a cost efficient and simple way of doing it all, I won't continue with the baby and children's items.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Shylee's To Blame!!

I haven't got anything done in the last 8 days that I had planned to do. No sewing, no blogging, no nothing! How could I with this little girl commanding an audience at all times? She is irresistible, fascinating, charming, funny, cute, loveable, entertaining and my only grandchild at the moment. I can sit and watch her for hours. Well, I actually did sit and watch her for hours which is why nothing else got done!

Erin came to finish my dining room that she's been working on for the last few months. It was my Christmas present. It involved removing 2 layers of wall paper, and many many coats of primer and paint...all of which is a post for another day! The point is I got to spend 8 days with Shylee and her mommy and I cherished every minute of it. They left about an hour ago to go back to Havre de Grace and the house is soooo quiet and empty.

Now that she's gone, I have no excuse for not locking myself in my sewing room and producing something to put in my shop! I might even have to make something just for her!