{compliments, complaints & commiseration}

I've been getting oodles of emails, and this heading just seemed ... so appropriate in describing them. And since I'm still waiting for my uncooperative server to stop being such a pain-in-the-you-know-what, I figured I'd post about'em (not going to quote any or use names).

Duh ... my favorite of the three. Not only have I been getting compliments on the two embroidery patterns I posted, but The Rachel of One Pretty Thing wrote to say that she is {again} going to be linking to one of my patterns.

Now, if you've been paying attention - heck, unless you've been living under a rock or are *totally* new to the whole handmade art scene, you *{know}* who Rachel is. Rachel is the Supreme Goddess of All that is Handmade and Good.

{and no, I'm not sucking up -- I follow her blog like it's manna from heaven}

So, for Her to say that she likes my patterns enough to give me some linky love is a HUGE deal. My daughter (a fan of The Rachel, too) was astounded (see how much my daughter respects me?!). Seriously. At first, she honestly thought I was putting her on and laughed. Then I threatened to ground her and take away her sewing machine. That worked like a charm. No more laughing. And now, she at least *pretends* to believe me.

Thought I'd address these publicly. The blog I had before was mostly (90%) quilting. The other 10%, since my tongue does seem to be hinged at both ends, was mainly blah-blah-blah. So, the quilters that "followed" me from that blog to this one have complained that so far, there are no new quilt patterns.

True. But I {do} still quilt. And I do still use EQ as often as I do Adobe Illustrator (meaning: a LOT). So whilst I don't have a quilty pattern ready to upload this moment, I {will} soon. My previous lappie died (as I mentioned in a much earlier, whinier post) and I've had to not only re-create those patterns (while I didn't have back-ups of those files, I *did* have print-outs ... so there's *that*), but now, I have to re-create the little illustrations that went with them. Yuck. Phooey. Time consuming at best.

Also, please remember that we're *still* moving into our new home. Okay, not such a big deal, right? How 'bout this? : I'm *still* moving into my new studio (thought *that* would be more important!). I still have a gazillion boxes all stamped "Sewing Studio" on the sides. Magazines, fabric, tools, trim, thread (oh, dear goodness ... how much have I spent over the years?!) ... And I've been promised that I could paint my new space, too (like that's going to happen soon). Shades of aqua/teal, chocolate ('cause if you can't have the real thing everyday, why not the color?!) and French Provincial yellow. I don't even have window coverings for the 5 windows, yet!

So there you have it. My excuses for not being more productive. Sad, pathetic, but all too true.

But bottom line, is that there {will} be new patterns. Soon. Part of the fun of handcrafting is *sharing* it, right? And we're going to have that fun together, right?!

I left the most ... amazing for last. What I got a lot of is commiseration for my Evul MIL.

{oh, my, am I ever so happy that she's not 'net savvy}

Seems like I'm not the only one. And I really thought I was. Every single friend I have tells me how much they adore their MIL (except one ... but then, believe it or not, her MIL's worse than mine!). I'd get so ... jealous ... at their relationships. Cooking together on holidays, crafting cute ornaments for Christmas ... spa parties, for pete's sake! SPA PARTIES. Really. I kid you not.

Honestly, my MIL? Every holiday (since they tend to be a bit on the stressful side as it is), I have to bite my lip not to shoot her with a tranquilizer gun, drive her out to the Everglades (yes, it's a 12 hour drive, but it would be sooooo worth it) and leave her there.

(And don't worry ... I don't think she'd actually KILL any 'gators. Just torment them as she walks home. They're tough. They can get over it. Might take therapy, but they'll be able to move on with their lives, I'm sure.)

Before I begin to *really* vent (why should I do that, when I can be crafting? Right?), I'll just say: to everyone who took the time to commiserate with me about my Evul MIL, thank you, Darlins. It *really* means a lot. Really.

And to the ever-so-sweet lady who told me that she almost peed herself laughing whilst reading about my MIL, that's okay. My MIL makes me almost pee, too. ;)

(FTR, the pix-ie at the top of the yelling woman? That's not supposed to be anyone who complained in an email to me. That's how I see my MIL)

{next up: more embroidery patterns!}

{grow your dreams embroidery pattern}

(this the first one I managed to digitize and get uploaded - my server's having one of *those* kind of issues today ... there's *lots* more to come!!)

{btw, you can just click on the thumbnail above to automatically open the pattern}

Anywho, my daughter and I were goofing off after reading Aimee Ray's "Doodlestitching" (which will be joining the "books i love" ranks shortly) and came up with this. We did oodles more (well, *I* did, after she bugged out to go swim with her friends) and they'll be coming up SOON.

Just so's you know: page 1 is the actual pattern. Page 2 is the stitching suggestions ... as always, what *always* counts most is *YOUR* personal twist, so feel more than free to ignore my suggestions and do it how YOU want.

Since I'm new at sharing embroidery patterns, any feedback you can give me is much, much appreciated. Like, "the lines are too thin," or "the stitch key is too confusing" or "leave my brain alone" ... okay the last one was just silly, but you get the point. ;)

I'd really appreciate it! :)

{until the next patterns ...}

sewy-crafty hugs!

{give-away winners}

Okay, it's only been what? two weeks nearly? since I gave the deadline for the give-away (and have been promising to announce the winners) and {finally} here I am!

Before we get to the winners (if any of you still actually *remember* that there was a give-away here), here's my excuses in no specific order:

  1. Wanted my dear daughter to be in the pix-ies showing the drawn names. Since she's really been an super-eager supporter of all of my sewy-crafty pursuits, I really wanted her to be a part of it. Alas, though, she's been spending all of her free time either with her friends or preparing for her upcoming SCUBA diving class (Yay for her!).

  2. Me be in the pix-ies?! You gotta be kidding. Bad, bad, bad, bad hair year. 'Nuff said.

  3. MIL issues. Driving. Me. Crazy. Good thing FL has decent gun control laws. Otherwise, I'd be blogging from a 6x6 cell in our local pokey, wearing lovely orange overalls.

  4. {and the NICE excuse} I just can't seem to stop looking for little add-ons. Every single time we went out these past two weeks, I have been obsessively hunting for cute 'n' funky add-ons to the give-away. I even put Mr Creative on "cute alert." And no, he wasn't happy about it.

Okay, so now that I've begged for forgiveness for being behind, may we have a drum roll, please?!

* ba-da-
ba-da-ba-da-ba-da ... DUM*

The winners are:

suesueb (who said: "found you through one pretty thing. darling embroidery patterns! Easter will be here too soon!!)
{suesueb wins the red-y-orange Anna Maria Horner FQ bundle}

mushyhed (who said: Love, love, lor new embroidery patterns!)
{mushyhed wins the greenish-blue Amy Butler FQ bundle}

YAY!!! Darlin' winners, if you please, send me your addies and I'll get these squishies (though, perhaps a bit stiffer than the average squishy) off to you tout de suite! :)

In just a bit, I'll see if I can't give you a teaser of what your "squishies" will look like! ;)

{next up .... spring embroidery patterns}

{gotta brag}

Well, I have to take my car to the shop today ... something I hate more than almost anything. And something that I will often procrastinate doing to the point where my poor car's being held together with duct tape and a prayer.

I hate sitting there, waiting while it's fixed (since it's *rarely* one of those "leave it for a couple of days" type of repair). I mean, while mechanics can be the nicest people, they're not too cool about letting you hook up your sewing machine in the middle of their waiting room. Believe me, I know.

Sew ... to keep my hyper brain amused, I went to the bookstore yesterday, intending to only get a few mags to keep me occupied. I got the usual round of suspects (McCall's Quilting, Creative Home, etc) and then, I wandered over to the real-live book section. Not really thinking I'd find anything that A) I don't already have or B) really "spoke" to me. But lo and behold, I found three awesome books that while they don't do me much good whilst I wait today (that's what the maggies are for), they *will* provide more than enough inspiration and guidance that they're well worth the $!!

The first (and my most fave) is "Craft Challenge: Dozens of Ways to Repurpose a Pillowcase" by Suzanne J.E. Tourtillott. OMGosh, is it full of clever ideas and sweet projects! I just can't stop flipping through this book -- and I'm not even going to start describing how badly I'm jonesing for a trip to my local Thrift Store to search for some vintage-y pillowcases.

(I ought to mention here that I tend to be really ... jaded? about patterns. I don't mean that I look down on patterns that don't fit my taste, but I'm less apt to buy one if it's been done a gazillion times by a gajillion different companies. I like uniqueness. I like cleverness. I like -- you guessed it -- creativity! Like the music I listen to, the pattern or project has to ... speak to me. It has to *mean* something to me. It has to provide, at least, a jumping off point for my own creative inclinations.

That's actually one of my pet peeves about maggies. Most of the time, it's just a reworked pattern that's been around for ages. And most of the time, it's not even *really* been reworked, it's just been made in a different color fabric. If I had a nickel for everytime that a new book came out that just recycled the same-old-same-old ideas just with different fabrics, I'd own my own fabric shop (of which you guys would be heartily invited to come and grab)!)

*sigh* rant over.

But that's why I just *LOVE* this book. Some are kinda recycled ideas, but most (I'd say about 90%) are NOT. They're fresh, clever, and sweet. Love, love, love, LOVE this book!

The second book that I just *had* to have is "The Embroidery Stitch Bible" by Betty Barnden. Yeesh. I *thought* I knew how to embroider. I *thought* I knew the coolest stitches. Well, thanks-a-pant-load-Ms-Barnden, but now I know I don't! o_O

Over 200 stitches. And it's easy to understand. Easy to follow. Well, we'
ll put Ms-Smarty-Britches to the test this weekend. I'm going to embroider a wee something using the hardest stitches she has. Then we'll see. ;)

(The above was meant tongue-in-cheek, btw -- I have NO doubt that her book will enable me to make the most beautiful stitches ev-ah!)

The third book is a follow-up to another book I already own: "More Machine Embroidery Essentials" by Jeanine Twigg. Since I just got my first ever embroidery machine, I'm scared to death to use it. Her previous book, "Machine Embroidery Essentials" has made it easier to get over the fear that if I touch one wee button, it'll fall apart. But, I need more help (obviously).

Okay, they're ALL super awesome books. And I am loving them (ain't it obvious?!). But I think ... I'm going to pick up another copy of the "Craft Challenge" and have a give-away for it. Some things are really just too durn good not to share.

But if the maggies start paying me those nickels for the "same-old-same-old" patterns, I can afford to get you ALL a copy. Then we'd all be pillowcase-hoarding fools. And very happy. ;)

{updates x2}

{excuses, excuse, excuses ...}

As ya'll remember, I had a give-away going here. Two FQ bundles of Anna Marie Horner's "Good Folks" and Amy Butler's "Daisy Chain."

Well, I got majorly distracted over the weekend, starting Saturday. Hubby went to the local nursery we love and bought some sea-grapes (didn't even know you could buy them), a funky plant called a "Troubichina" (which has the coolest leaves -- huge with a felt-like texture -- they'll also have ginormous purple flowers, too!), and bought me some tulip plants ('cause he *knows* I loves the tulips!). Along with the new "babies" he bought 14 bags of soil and 8 bags of mulch. Great, right? I congratted him on his awesome purchases and ducked back into my studio. We've been together long enough to know that if he can *see* you, he can put you to work.

Twenty minutes later, 3 things happen.

  1. My pre-teen son comes into my studio, taps me on the shoulder and says quietly "Um ... I'm going to go help Dad in the yard." What?! My son was happily playing video games in the living room (he's been around long enough to know the whole "see you, put you to work" thing, too). My son is about as into yard work as he is into voluntary amputation. Already, I know this is Not Good.
  2. I hear cursing in the yard (my studio window faces our backyard and pool - awesome for inspiration, terrible for guilt when DH is doing yard work) and "chop-chip-chop" sounds.
  3. I drag my eyes off the compie screen (and pull the earbuds out of my ears) to see my dear hubby chopping our azalea bushes as though they had slapped his momma. We had five in the backyard when I started my project. Within moments, we had 3 1/2 -- one was already *gone* and the other casualty was quickly following. I'm serious, you could almost see terror on the little azalea flowers' faces.

(Azalea's *were* hurt during the course of this story, but not only were they already w-a-a-a-y past the prime of their lives, I had **nothing** to do with their early demise. I can say, however, they are living a "second life" in the form of compost and will go on to help make beautiful flowers, trees, and veggies)

So ... of course, at this point, I go out to not only see if I can help, but to render first aid if necessary. Trust me, I was not only groaning as I walked outside, I was also mentally preparing excuses for why I could only "stay for a moment."

"A moment" became 10 HOURS. I kid you NOT. We dug up the Azaleas, planted the sea grapes in their place, spread "cottage garden" wildflowers seeds (pulling up the azaleas left LOTS to real estate to plant new stuff), and potted the Troubichina and tulips. And then, in the way we gals will often wrangle new drapes to go with new carpet or furniture, DH had me scrubbing the oogie grime off our concrete pool "skirt"/patio.

So, out of that 10 hours, I spent 2 scrubbing the patio to a lovely gleaming shine (I kid you not). But once I did that, I noticed how lonely and sad (and utterly UNattractive) our patio was. So I cleaned our patio furniture, put the potted plants next to the door (which is my studio door, too, so I *did* have a vested interest in how it looks), pulled a potting table (for lack of a better word) of the poolhouse and gave the patio a makeover. So far, I've been getting compliments - though I don't think that my imaginary friends count for *that* much, do they?

Sunday: I'm sure there's *OODLES* of women out there who can commisserate, my MIL came for dinner. At least, I *think* it was dinner. Felt more like Hell but with stories about her childhood. I think I was more worn out once she left than I was after scrubbing our patio on my hands and knees for two hours. I dunno.

Monday: I napped. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday: Laundry, dishes, entertaining dear daughter's friends, made dinner, cleaned out the fridge, cleaned our *&^%$# hardwood floors, did the big shopping trip ... had to make up for Monday, yannow.

Today: Took car into shop (makes a *really* embarrassing grind-y rattl-y noise) so our awesome mechanic could order me a new catalytic converter.

All the spaces in between: I can't STAND nekkid fabric squishies. I'm not criticizing others who're fine with them ... I just can't stand it myself. So, everytime I did an errand, I'd take a pit stop to look for small goodies to add in the give-away squishies. Vintage buttons, new buttons, bookmarks, notepads ... greens/blues for the Amy Butler fabs, and pinks/reds for the Anna Marie fabs.

I'm going for the big, fun kinda giveaway. Where for each give-away (and I do have more coming up), the excitement isn't just for the fabs you'll get, but the little add-ons, too. Just ... kitschy fun stuff. Silly stuff. Just so maybe you'll take a sec and remember that the biggest inspiration for creativity is FUN. Not deadlines (took me YEARS to understand that), but pure, silly, goofy, dorky, FUN.

And I know I had dorky, silly, goofy fun picking out the add-ons! So I've got THAT! :)

Okay, I'm going to go officially close the comments section for that post and then I'm going to print out all the names so my dear daughter can draw the names. I'll take pix-ies, too, so ya'll can actually see my dear sweet daughter's face! ;)

{button bling-bling}

Two teenage girls + a stash o' buttons + rainy-oogie day = button bling! :)

Call me sentimental and silly, but things like these (especially my girlie and my "adopted" girlie being all crafty) make me really happy. Dark-cloudy-soggy weather or sunny-bright skies. This is happiness! And I can't even put into words how much I love, love, love how the orange button matches Melissa's fingernail polish! :)

My girlie (Mara) is the hand on the left, and Melissa (my "adopted" girlie) is the hand on the right and the tootsies in the bottom pic. Whatta introduction, huh?!

{and btw, you can see how dark 'n' cloudy it is by how oogie the pix-ies came out ... did I mention that my studio is the *brightest* room in the house?!}

Okay, back to sewy-crafty things of my own! :)

{Easter embroidery}

To go along with the placecards (mainly because my sweet daughter insisted -- she and her BFF *love* the birdies! Aren't I lucky?!), I've created these embroidery patterns for them. One's a boy chick (*giggle*) and one's a girlie chick (you can see her right up there). Both have places to put a cute little message (like "I luv you" or "Who are you again?"). And both are turning out to be oodles of fun to embroider.

{you can click on the girlie birdie up there to quickie download the patterns!}

Speaking of which, I'm still going to try my hardest to take some pix-ies today. The weather is just {not} cooperating. Still rainy. Still thundery and lighteningy. Even if I couldn't tell by looking out the window (my studio has the most windows in the whole house), I could tell by the fact that Buddy-the-Wonderdog is huddling against my legs. Lord help the poor pooch if I have to get up for a potty emergency. I'm sure he'd end up with me as a hood ornament!


... is still going strong, so please, take a sec and leave a comment if you'd like to win some yumm-O fabs. Anna Marie Horner's Good Folks and Amy Butler's Daisy Chain FQs are up for grabs. Only "string" is that you have to leave a comment here.

I'm honestly {hoping} for at least 20 comments on my {give-away} post. I may even end up dragging it out (hoping not, though) until I {do} get at least 20. Just doesn't seem like much of a contest/give-away if I don't have more contestants. :(

Have a few more freebies to roll out ... keep an eye out if you're interested! :)

{sewy-crafty hugs!}

{Easter placecards}

I don't know about ya'll, but I {love} celebrating holidays! I love getting out the "fancy china" and the pretty serving bowls (but I hate washing'em all!), the nice cloth napkins ... just doing everything I can to set a nice table and enjoying my friends and family!

Sew, because this year {especially} we'll be having a houseful of friends and family members, I'll be making things easier on {me} by using placecards (usually it's a free-for-all!). And I'm sharing them with you, too - in case you'd like to use them.

Because I've got the fancy programs that'll do it, I've not only made a version that you can print out and fill in (with your loverly handwriting, of course), I've also made a version that you can fill out just using plain ol' Adobe Acrobat. All you have to do is open the file in Acrobat, plunk your cursor down under the words "this seat is for" and type your loved ones' names in! Since most of us do get a bit overwhelmed during holidays, I've done my best to make it as easy-peasy as possible!

{coming up tomorrow}

I'll be uploading the fruits of my sweet daughter's and mine "crafty day" - we've been working towards this for *weeks*! Between schoolwork, deadlines, friends, plans and such, it's a *long,* time coming!

At least one of the projects will include some sweet applique using the chickie from the placecards. I really felt inspired and ... and well, sweet ... when I drew her. She makes me happy - and I hope the projects I upload tomorrow (and through the week) will make you happy, too! :)

Hope to see tomorrow (er ... today really, I guess!)!

{sewy-crafty hugs!}