Monday, September 28, 2009

Proudly Label Your Work

This is my latest and newest design. The Sunflower Candle Mat. I'm just finishing it up and only have to blanket stitch the backing on. I hope to EBAY it tonight. My "Guarding the Pumpkin Patch" Penny Rug sale ends tonight so I always try to have at least one thing Ebay listed at all times.

I often get email questions. I like getting questions because most times, they are questions about things that I do without thinking about, just because I've been doing this for so long. Those questions often give me something to blog about. The latest question was about labels on my work.

My very first quilt teacher used to nag and nag all of her students about labeling their work. I think just about every class I went to ... and I did a lot of classes ... she would say something about how important it was to put your name on your work. It did sink in.

Basically, anything you make, unless you know you're going to throw it out, should have your name and date that it was created, somewhere on the item. You've spent a lot of time creating your work, it's art and to acknowledge that what you do is art, you label it with your name, as the artist and the date that it was created.

No excuses. Label your work.

It can be something as simple as embroidering your initials and year, or it can be elaborate with fancy drawn designs. However you wish to show yourself as the artist is completely up to you.

This picture is blurry, but it shows how I do my own labels. It's just tea-stained muslin which is signed and dated. Before I make the label, I iron interfacing onto the muslin. The interfacing gives it a little more stability so that it won't bunch up when sewing the label on and also it helps to keep the fabric pen ink from bleeding through. I've tried using an extra fine Sharpie marker for signing, but it bleeds through a LOT, so I've found a permanant fabric pen that works nicely and I use it only for my signed and dated labels.

This one shows the coneflower that I always draw on the label too. Depending on the season, I switch that drawing up ... maybe a pumpkin in the fall or a Christmas tree for the holidays. Most times though, I draw a coneflower. (I love coneflowers). I color in whatever picture I draw with colored pencils.

Just another reason why it's so nice to sign and date your work .... I can look at things that have been around for a while, look at the date and remind myself of how OLD I AM and how long I've been sewing!
I guess I've been doing the coneflowers on labels since at least Jan, of 2005 because this little penny rug that I have hanging in my dining room tells me so!

This label is on my favorite rooster penny rug wallhanging that I have in my dining room. Wow, I made that way back in 2001!
So, you can see, labels can give useful information that can be used later ... lots of years later ... to help yourself and others, remember YOU!
Label your work. No excuses.
Happy Day everyone!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Project Finished! More pumpkins on the way!

I put the finishing touches on this "Guarding The Pumpkin Patch" penny rug and was able to EBAY list it Monday night. I'd hoped to have it finished on Sunday, so really with a project so big, one day late isn't terribly bad. I had so much fun making it but I don't think I'll do another one again ... or at least not this year.
Making repeats of the same thing gets boring for me, especially when it takes a week or more to make. I'd much rather spend my time creating something new.
You all should remember from my last design with a crow in it, that I don't like crows. Sure, they're cute in prim designs, but I don't want to make them cute. I want to make them annoying, mean, and obnoxious. So, of course, the crow on this one is pulling the straw out of the scarecrows sleeve. Just what a real crow would do! :)

This is how "Guarding the Pumpkin Patch" got it's start. The finished rug looks a little different, with adjustments to size and details. I drew this a few years ago, put it aside and forgot about it until a few weeks ago. I'm glad I discovered it again.
Anyway, go take a look at the Ebay listing HERE. And while you're in a buying mood, just buy that candy corn candle mat and mug rugs that I have listed please. It's super cheap for only $12.99 ... nothing is wrong with it. It's just a leftover from last year. It's really cute, and I just don't understand why it hasn't been snapped up.

Currently, I'm finishing up an order and then plan to start on a pumpkin candle mat with some fall leaves. I like the how the leaves turned out on the scarecrow penny rug so I'm using that same wool for this next project.

I'm really excited to get back to sewing today, because .....
Jen, my sweet intelligent daughter, suggested that I get some books on cd from the library to listen to while sewing. I was complaining to her that I really miss reading ... can't read and sew at the same time. Jen is an avid reader. She is never without something to read and she is always suggesting a book for me, but I just haven't the time and when I do take the time, sometimes it can be a week or more before I finish.
Usually when I sew during the day, I have the local talk radio station turned on (KDKA) I do enjoy listening to it, but lately it's all just the same political complaints and I'm weary of hearing basically the same thing day after day so listening to a book cd is just a perfect idea. Last night, I went to the library and wow, so many to pick from!
I'm anxious to get started.

Happy day everyone!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Gotta Love 'Em .. Scarecrows!

I was hoping to get this penny rug completed today so that I could list it tonight on Ebay, but it's taken a lot longer to finish than I expected. I worked quite a few hours on it yesterday .. in fact it was actually almost the entire day yesterday, I just don't want to admit how much time I really put into this instead of being outside and doing other things I should have been doing on a beautiful fall day.
But it is almost done. I just need to put the backing on it which really shouldn't take too long. This penny rug turn out more complicated just because I kept adding the little details. The picture doesn't show the entire penny rug ... I'll show that tomorrow when it's completed, but it has this same design on the other end so that added to the time because I had to do it all twice!
I added this little spiderweb and spider right after I finished sewing on the pumpkins.
It was a big mistake to add that spider because throughout the rest of my sewing time, I kept forgetting it was there. I would catch it out of the corner of my eye and it would SCARE me each time! If I ever do anything like this again, I'm going to add the spider in LAST.

Ok, I'm going to attempt to add this video in. I hope it works.
It's a video of the grandson grooming their cat.
It's really funny because they recently purchased (Ebay)a "Furminator" and it really works well. He loves the Furminator. He is a constant commercial for the Furminator. So the first time I saw him use the Furminator on the cat, it was so cute that I wanted to get a video of it to send to Rachel. K, the ham that he is, loved the idea of my phone taking videos, so he offered to do the commercial again and again for me just so that he could see himself on my phone.
So now, everytime I go over there to babysit, he wants me to take pictures of him Furninating the cat.
This video is probably something like take # 60. We've done it so many times, exactly the same way that I've lost count! Maybe the Furminator company will see this blog and hire my little grandson for their commercial.
That's all for now. Rachel drove home today for a visit, which was a wonderful surprise, so we're going to spend the day appreciating her.
Happy Day everyone!

**EDIT* I can't hear the sound on the video and that's the cutest part. Oh well. He's saying
"It's a Furminator, it takes off kitties hair!".

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Newest Penny Rug and Ebay Dislike

You would think that after all the REAL fencing that's been put up on our property over the summer, that I wouldn't want to make a penny rug with a fence but look here! Yes, it's more fence.
Actually, the last time we went to Lowes, they have this nice textured dark fencing made of vinyl that looks soooo nice, I'd really love to have some of that put up by our driveway. Hubby, since he's the one that actually does all the work installing the fence, pulled me, very quickly, away from the fencing area and very firmly said "NO".
So I'll let it go ... for now .... until next summer!
Anyway, back to the penny rug. Progress is coming along on it but I still have lots to do. Hopefully, I'll get it done by next Sunday so that I can Ebay it. I have plans for matching little pinkeeps/pillows for it, but it just depends on how much time is put into this. I might just want to move on to something different because this one is going to be tedious with all the details. I had so much fun making that scarecrow. It makes me want to do more of them ... different but yet the same. We'll see.

We went to a Pittsb. Pens game the other night. We had some pretty decent seats too. So much fun ... and such a great crowd too ... so different from the crowds at Steeler games. I'm kicking myself for not remembering to take my camera though. This pic was taken from my cellphone but Sydney Crosby right there in the picture and I could tell from my zoom closeup that he was looking right at me just about the entire game. Yes he was.

I was going to rant about Ebay, but ya know ... it's just wasted energy. But just briefly ... The newest thing that they are doing is the badge of greatness called "top rated seller". Anyone that meets the qualifications gets that highly visible badge on their listings. I don't qualify for the badge because I haven't sold over 100 items in the last year. That's the only reason.
I'm close ... 99 sales to be exact. I don't have a problem with not getting the badge if only the exact reasons were shown for how it is earned, but the badge gives the impression that the only reason why it's awarded is because the seller:

*Consistently receives highest buyers' ratings
*Ships items quickly
*Has earned a track record of excellent service
Yeap, that's what the badge says on the listings. So that gives the impression that with me not getting the highly prominent badge on my listings, I don't meet those three criteria. But I do! I just don't have over 100 sales. Blah ... I wish I could say I'm done with Ebay. But I'm not so I have to put up with their dictatorship.
I've been doing well with Ebay so hopefully, this won't hurt my sales.
Happy Day everyone!

Monday, September 14, 2009

How to Attach Those Penny Rug Tongues?

I get questions from time to time about penny rugs. And this reminds me to mention, sometimes I get emails that I forget to answer back. I'm a scatterbrain when it comes to keeping up with emails. I should know by now to answer back immediately after reading, but most times, I just don't want to take the time and then plan to get back to it later. But, then there's the problem of sorting through the emails to try to find the ones that I need to answer. I lose them!
Anyway, if I fail to answer back, do like my kids do; ASK ME AGAIN! I certainly don't want people to think I'm rude or a snob for not answering back .... I swear I'm not. I'm just a scatterbrain. Ask my sister (Casserole Carol) she'll tell you ... she knows cause she's exactly the same way!

In the meantime, I will try to work on corrrecting my issues of dealing with email responses. I've discovered the FLAG! I can click a box and a flag will pop up beside the emails that need attention! I'm so excited about this! I hope by using the flag, I can more easily find the emails that need a response back. I'm still scatterbrained so the rule will still apply ... If I don't answer back, just ask again!

ANYWAY ... someone emailed to ask me how I attach tongues on my penny rugs. I just happen to be finishing up a penny rug order that has tongues so it's perfect timing for a how-to tutorial.
Most times I do it the way that I'm going to show you here. Sometimes, I might actually read a pattern instructions and think about attaching them as per instuctions, but most times, I ignore them and still do it my way.

First, with chalk pencil, I measure and mark off where the tongues should line up with the edge of the penny rug. You could just eyeball the tongues and stitch them on, but then you're taking the chance of sewing the tongues on crooked, so I always take the time to measure and mark.
This pictures shows the tongues pinned on and ready to stitch. If the pattern requires the tongues to have larger spaces between them, I'll quickly baste the tongues in place just to keep them in the right position.
In this case, the tongues are lined up right beside each other so pinning is all that is necessary.
Basically, when stitching, I blanket stitch the top of the tongues on first and then flip it over and blanket stitch the tongues to the back. Some patterns say to just blanket stitch on the top through all the thicknesses. I find that to be cumbersome and it hurts my fingers trying to get the needle through sometimes up to 5 layers of wool. Also, the stitches tend to not be even and straight or they'll be straight on the top but crooked and messy on the back. I like the backing to look just as nice as the front, so the way I do it, even though it might take a little more time, ends up looking much nicer.
So in this case, I have the tongues, which are two layers thick and the penny rug which is one layer thick but I"ve only blanket stitched through the top two layers, with the stitches going though the penny rug layer and only the top layer of the tongues.
Flip the rug over and had I known that I was going to take pics of these unfinished tongues, I would've tucked in those loose tail threads so that it appears that I'm neat and tidy even with things that don't show ... but alas, most times, the areas that don't show, I don't bother to tuck in threads!
I will put the backing on now and it will cover up the tongue edges.
The backing, which is a cotton fabric, is pinned onto the back of the rug/tongues, lining the backing up with the penny rug edge.
Now, I'll stitch from this side through the cotton fabric layer and the bottom layer of the wool tongue.

There it is! One side finished. Attaching the backings on my rugs is always something that I enjoy doing because first of all, it means that I'm almost done. Secondly, I really enjoy blanket stitching so this gives me lots of straight blanket stitching to do. And third, once I stitch that last stitch, I give the rug a good shake and then get to lay it out to admire it ... or critique where I should make changes for the next one.
Most times though, I just admire it ... there's such a nice feel to a handmade all wool rug ... The weight of all the layers and the textures are just something you can't get with cotton quilted items. It's why I'm addicted to wool!
(that's not to say that I don't love cotton quilted items ... I do love both quilted cottons and wools ... it's just that I can appreciate their differences)
Happy Day Everyone!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight Years Ago Today ...

As I'm listening to the same radio station today (KDKA)as I was that day eight years ago, I can't help but remember what I was doing when I first heard about the horrors that happened that day. It's a day that I hope none of us will ever forget.

We can make it a "national day of service" as our president wishes, but I would really prefer to simply making it a "national day of mourning" or a "national day of let's just all get along".
Wouldn't that be wonderful if the entire world would agree to not fight with ANYONE for one day?

On a much different and happier note, I'm still finishing up the orders but I just couldn't help myself with this new design that I've bouncing about in my head. I just had to do something about it before the ideas moved on to something else.
So the wool was flying last night as I cut and snipped and arranged and I finally came up with this .......

Oh, I'm so pleased with how this tablerunner is going to turn out. The plaid wool that I'll used for his shirt is perrrrrrrfect. I plan to use a darker orange on that tall pumpkin and I'll overdye the wool that I'm using for his face so that it's a bit darker too but I'm just bursting with excitement to get started on the stitching part of this. I plan lots of details with spiders, crows, fall leaves and of course Sunflowers!

Also, for you Ebay customers, in the next few days, I'll be listing quite a few of my things that I"ve had packed away. I'll list them as "BUY IT NOW" and I promise, they will be CHEAP! CHEAP! Be sure to watch HERE for the listings. I'm hoping that they sell FAST so be sure to watch for bargains. Included will be quite a few fall/halloween things that I made last year and never got around to Ebay listing.
I have too much accumulated and need to clear out. It's just the start of my goal of becoming a bit more organized in this house.
Happy Day everyone!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cats and Wool Shouldn't Be Mixed!

It's been my intentions for some time now to clean and tidy up the sewing room. Most of my wool is stored in there and as each project comes and goes, the wool gets more and more disorganized with wool scraps laying about.
I just haven't had the time lately to devote to straightening it all out though. Clever idea! ... I thought that perhaps leaving the door opened to that room so that I could actually SEE the mess as I walked by would be a better incentive to get the time to work in there.
Bad idea though! This is what I saw when I walked past yesterday morning. Our dear sweet cat found a comfortable sleeping place on my white wool!
This is definitely a BIG no-no. Thankfully she's an inside cat ... scared to go outside, so she doesn't have fleas or critters that might jump out of her fur into my wool, but she does have thick fluffy FUR. And that fur loves to stick to my wool.
Thankfully, just a quick shake of the wool was all that was needed to get the kitty fur off but the door will stay closed again until I get a chance to put the wool in a safer area.
I used to keep the wool stored under the bed in there so there wasn't enough room for her to sleep on it but Rachel took the bed to use in her apartment at school so all the bins of wool are now sitting out, unprotected. Her favorite sleeping spot ... on the bed right by the window is gone now, so poor kitty is without a viewing window so I guess the next best thing is a pile of thick warm wool to sleep on. I'll have to come up with some solution to this problem so that she can have her window back AND so that she stays away from my wool!
I've been sewing and sewing and sewing ... working on some orders. I have so many ideas going through my head of what projects I'm going to do next so I'm anxious to get the orders finished so that I can get started on more pumpkins and turkeys and scarecrows.

This is a rough drawing of what will be my next project for a penny rug tablerunner. "Guarding the Pumpkin Patch" is something that I drew a few years ago. I found this drawing in the messy sewing room which goes to show ... who knows what other treats I might find it there if I would just take the time to organize it!
Anyway, it's just a rough drawing so I'll have to adjust the size and redo some details to make it work for a tablerunner. I'm excited to get started on it though. I also have a tablerunner drawing for a saltbox house with pumpkins and sunflowers and tree .... I have this sunflower obsession right now so everything I draw seems to manage to have at least a few sunflowers in it!

I get to watch the grandson a few days this week for a little bit because Jen has started back with her teaching job. Jen is a ESL teacher ... that stands for English as a Second Language. She loves her job and it's perfect for her personality. She has one-on-one time with each of her assigned students. Some of them speak virtually no English at all and she gets the tough task of teaching it to them. I really have so much admiration for what she does because ... sheesh .. where does one even start when it comes to teaching someone a new language?
But anyway, her schedule allows her to finish up by 3 pm or so everyday, so it works really well with her husband's schedule. I will watch him for a few days every week for just a few hours over at their house. It's perfect for me because most of that time he will be napping so I'll take my sewing projects to work on while he sleeps.

And while speaking of Jen, the #1 daughter, I'll mention Rachel, the #2 daughter ... I wrote in my previous post about Rachel calling me a "stalker mom" because I wanted to know her class schedule for each day. She loves to tease me ... well not really teasing ... she actually makes fun of me for assorted things, but it's all good natured and I know that she knows that I'm not really a "stalker mom". BUT ....

I think she might be a stalker daughter.

She wrote a comment in that post. Now, of course, both my daughters read my blog .. it gives them more ammunition to make fun of me ... but that in itself, I wouldn't consider STALKING.
However, Rachel wrote that comment in my blog while sitting in the Charlotte airport on a layover going to Alabama with her Volleyball team.
Think about it now .. of all the things a 20 year old girl could be doing in an airport, on a layover, you would think that the very LAST thing on her mind to do to kill time would be visiting, reading, and commenting on my blog.
That either means:
1. She's sooooo extremely bored with absolutely nothing else to do OR
2. She's a stalker daughter!
You decide. :)
Happy Day everyone!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

More Blueberries!

I'll get business out of the way first and then it'll be BLUEBERRY TIME!

I've finished up the Wildflower shelf pillows and will be Ebay listing them tonight.

Golden Rod and Queen Annes Lace! We have them growing everywhere along the border of the woods and I love how they look from a distance.
This Black-Eyed Susan Candle Mat was Ebay listed last night. I made this with a black background a month or so ago(shown here) and loved it so much that I thought I'd try it with a light background too. For a month now, I've had this one pinned up and hanging in my dining room to admire, but it's time to sell. If it happens to not sell, I won't be disappointed. :)

Ok, now on to Blueberries.....
I always thought the blueberry season in our area was around the first part of July or so. But my little blueberry plant that I planted just last year, has had little unripe green berries virtually all summer long. Since last week, the berries have now started ripening and it's so wonderful!
Our granson, all summer, when he comes to visit, takes a walk around our property with his Pap, picking berries. First of the season to ripen were the black raspberries. We had a bushel of them this year and his chin was always purple from the juice. After the black raspberries were finished, then came the blackberries. There weren't as many blackberries but he knew right where to go to get the big juicy ones. Again, his chin was purple from the juice.
He was so disappointed when that season was over and all the berries were gone, but now ....
Oh the excitement to see that there are some blueberries to pick!
You can see, it's just a tiny plant, only about a foot high, but it's just full of blueberries. I've picked a dozen or so already and he has picked about 6 more of them and it looks like he'll be able to pick a dozen or so more the next time he comes over.
I planted the two tiny blueberry plants in the fall last year. The other plant is about 4 feet away from the other one, but it has no berries. I think the Daylily is too close to it, giving it too much shade so I'll going to transplant that Daylily to another spot and hopefully next year, this one will thrive like the other blueberry plant.

Since I had my camera outside this morning, I thought I'd take a picture of something that I have to laugh about everytime I see it in the garage......
This ... umm ... THING has been hanging out in the garage for YEARS!
It used to hang in my dining room for years before that. My husband and children hated it, calling it "the weed". It has been so hated that it's been mocked, it's been scorned, it's been threatened to be thrown in a bonfire.
But, I liked it.
I had originally bought it a a craft fair. I don't know what the branches are ... perhaps grapevines, but looking at the picture now, it is pretty ugly. But, I liked it back then and it stayed hanging in our dining room for ... I dunno ... probably 5-8 years or so!
Until the time came that I changed the color scheme from blue to green. Then, it came down from the wall and I gave my hubby permission to burn it.
It went out to the garage, waiting to finally be put to death.
But ...
For some reason, and I never asked him why ...
Hubby hung it up in his garage.
I don't know why it's still there. I don't know why he never burned it. I just know that it's there and I see it each and everytime I pull my car into the garage because it's right there in front of my parking space.
It really has held up pretty well over the years.
I think that I might just put some new dried flowers on it, add a fresh new bow and then just wait to see if he notices anything different.
It's not my weed anymore, it's his weed and I'm going to make it better for him!
Happy Day everyone!