Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Broken Photos

Yes, I know, I broke my blog. :( I tried to move my blog from my personal account to the one specific to Cattails Quilts, and when moving my photos, it broke the links. Oopsie... I will go back & fix them, once I can figure out which photos went where. I'm sorry folks! But check out the galleries at Picassa, because the photos are all there.

I'm still working on projects, my current one is a Block of the Month from a LiveJournal community I manage, Block of the Month (yes, very original, I know. hehehe) Mine is the music notes & a rainbow of other fabrics. I'm working on the borders now, and once this puppy is finished, Rainbow Rhapsody will be available in my Artfire shop. For now, though, here's a teaser:

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Redesigning my workspace (again)

So, despite my mother's WONDERFUL assistance in February at getting my studio re-arranged, I'm once again finding shortcomings in the layout. Short of begging Ty Pennington to come make over my studio, I'm stumped!!

My space is 11.5 ft x 12.5 ft, with a truncated corner making the remaining 2 walls ~7.5 ft & 9 ft. Once you account for the doors, that removes another 2 ft of useable space on those walls. Right now, my doors do not open fully, because of a storage shelf and my work table.

The big space hog is my quilt frame, at 3 ft x 10.5 ft (and she's a *small* one!!). The other is my work table, which is ~ 3.5 ft x 6 ft, but I'm considering how best to combine it with my sewing table/desk into an L-shape, to go against the shortest wall & stick out into the room. This could work, as long as I can get storage behind the desk on the remainder of the 12.5 ft wall. I've got high ceilings I'd love to take advantage of, but hubby doesn't like me on ladders... (I have balance issues). The remainder of the 9 ft wall will be my design wall.

If I do things right (ie have a master carpenter build it all for me! LOL), then I will have storage under my desk & work table. My biggest worry is if I lower my work table to being the height of my desk, then it won't be the right height for cutting. I can always put shelves on the wall above the work space to hold the printers, scanners & other large/bulky items that I need accessible but don't want taking up valuable real estate. Putting my frame in front of my window, I re-open that 12 ft of wall space that I currently can't use, due to the placement of the pantograph shelf (the size of the frame & orientation of the shelf make it impossible to reach the wall behind).

Hm, maybe I'm reaching a potential solution!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Any Wantobe Quilters out there?

So, one of the blogs I follow, Stash Manicure, is going to be running a contest of sorts for new quilters over the next three months. Want a chance to win? Well, follow the link below and register! If you win, I do too! But the catch is, you have to be a follower of both blogs. Trust me, Madame Samm's blog is TOTALLY worth the read!

Good luck!

Calling all Wantobe Quilters? 

"Hello friends and followers, I would love to welcome you
to a Wantobe Quilters Campaign over here. ( http://stashmanicure.blogspot.com)
 They are having quilting supplies to giveaway 5 x a week for 12 weeks. 
Supplies that will have you quilting
before you know it...From sewing machines to irons, to die cutters,
to mats, to rotary cutters, sewing baskets, scissors, batting, needles,
rolled sewing machine bags, patterns, books, magazines...everything
you could imagine to assist you in being a NEW Quilter. 
Even if you are already part of this community you can win
quilting stuff too...Tuesday and Thursday are days for us..
All you have to do is give me your name and phone number 
and email sew I can submit this to the organizer, because if you win
anything I can win something too. 
All you have to do is be my follower and a follower
That is all! There are over 49 Sponsors involved.
I am pretty excited to be part of this, sew should you.
I love being a QUILTER! 

( p.s you will not be eligible to win anything if you do not register
with a blogger where you see this message)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Life, oh life

You sure like getting in the way of my progress, don't you?

Quickie post (the boy wants my attention):

Are you a Wantobe Quilter? Do you not have the funds to get your studio going? Do you have stash envy?

Well check out Stash Manicure: Madame Samm is going to be running a WTBQ campaign over the next 3 months, where you have a chance to win a LOT of quilting goodies! And even better? When you win, I win too! What quilter doesn't want more stash? :-)

So, go there, come here, enter, and I hope you win! (and boyohboy does she have lots of goodies to give away!!)

Good luck &happy quilting!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cleaning Spree

Once again, I haven't posted in quite a while, but it is what it is. Life has been busy, between starting a part time job (I am a freelance bookkeeper along with being a full time mom and quilter), S working on her science fair project (comparing how peas grow in different environments) and hubby losing his job last month (economic recovery my arse).

Yesterday I got the itch to deep-clean my kitchen, something that hasn't been done in far too long No, my kitchen isn't gross, I do clean it very frequently, but I haven't done a deep clean scrub & such. So, inspired by a new to me blog (http://www.healthybranscoms.com/), I returned to my languishing Shaklee products, and I have to ask myself why I ever stopped using them!

I had put aside what was left of my Shaklee GetClean products that my grandmother sent me to use up cleaning products that had been left behind in a house that we were renting. I had used up the Shaklee dish and laundry detergent long ago, but still have Basic-H2 and Scour-Off left. I've been reading Erin's blog and some of the stories of people new to Shaklee, so I decided to do my own before & after.

I have some photos to share with you, some before & afters. I had been using the Clorox GreenWorks cleaners, partially because like I said, they were left behind by previous tenants, and I hate throwing things away, and partially because ... well, I don't really have another (good) reason. These products do ok, but as you can see in my photos, they didn't really get the staining from burned sugar off of white appliances.

Or burned-on grease off of a shiny tea kettle. (I clean this puppy almost weekly, but I could never get the residue off of it)

But Basic-H2 in its appropriate concentration (1/4 tsp to 16 oz water) applied to my stove and Scour-Off paste applied to my tea kettle, and I have a bright and shiny cooktop again! I think Scour-Off is even safe to use on smooth top stoves, since it's non-abrasive, but don't quote me on that. 

And my sink! Oh, my poor sink. The previous owners of our house did not live here gently. The porcelain coating on our sink is very chipped, and the hardware was water stained. The ring holding the drain hardware on the non-disposal side of the sink looked like it was brass.

So, I took my Basic-H2 cleaner (same concentration as above) to the sides of the sink and the Scour-Off paste to the bottom, and OH MY! 

Half clean- look at the difference!!

Can you believe it? My sink looks like new, and no fumes!

Needless to say, I am now wondering why I ever stopped using Shaklee cleaners. I am not one for vitamins & dietary supplements, so don't ask me about them, but I think I'll be placing an order with Erin soon (sadly, my grandmother passed away in 2009) to restock on Basic-G (kills germs, bacteria, *and* even kills some viruses, like Parvo and other pet-carried nasties) for a deep-clean on the bathrooms. Since I just (stupidly) bought laundry detergent, I'll be holding off on that purchase, but Shaklee, I'm home!!

And, because I can, Happy Mother's Day, all! Remember, if it weren't for Mom, we wouldn't be here!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lonely Blog

So, once again I find that I have seriously neglected my blog. I'd like to say it's because I've been busy creating, but that is only partially true.

Since my last post in January, A has started crawling, moved on to pulling himself up on furniture, cruising on anything he possibly can, and now is starting to let go to try the 'standing on my own' thing. I can't believe he is already 10 months old, where has the time gone?

S is nearing the end of 4th grade, her science project is growing all over the house (which reminds me, I need to go measure her plants for her, since she won't be back home til Wednesday). She decided that she wanted to compare the growth of plants in different environments. She told us what she wanted to do, and with only a few suggestions from us, she took off running.

She is a great big sister, when she remembers to play *with* her brother, instead of *at* him, or taking away his toys (unintentional, I believe, but she does it). It's obvious that A loves her, too. During her school vacation, if she walked by him without talking to him, he would start crying and crawl after her until she stopped and loved on him. She is his favorite play thing, after the dogs.

She's still working on her quilt for the show that I am running next year at Costume Con 30, and she is super excited about it. I don't have any progress photos, but she's calling it Pink Paradise. She is learning about chain piecing and color placement, and I'm very pleased with her progress. She is super excited to get to use my quilting machine, as part of the rules for the youth division is that the entrant must do the majority of the work on their own. I told her that once she finished the top, I would help her pick out backing material, and I would show her how to use the machine and frame. She lit up like a christmas tree!

My mother, J (of Designs by J) visited us for a month, partially to spend a week at Estrella War (an SCA event), but mostly to see her grandchildren. Everyone had a good time, and after she left the house was awfully quiet. We didn't get to do some of the things we had wanted to, like revisiting Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home in Scottsdale, or going to the Heard Museum in Phoenix, or the Musical Instrument Museum in north Phoenix. But we did go pillaging at various thrift and fabric stores, and we even found a high-end needlework store, purely by accident! I've driven by the store many times, but never noticed it was there. Needless to say, I will be visiting them when I find the need for some art therapy. I really enjoy when my mother comes to visit, I just wish my father had been able to come out for a weekend during her trip.

I miss my family. Often I wonder if I did the right thing by moving to Arizona, but since the move 5 years ago (wow, I can hardly believe it's been that long), so many good things have happened to me, that never would have happened had I stayed in New Hampshire. So, despite missing my parents, my brother, and two of my best friends in the entire world, the move and all its ups and downs has been a good thing for me.

Recently, I've found myself in a creative funk. I have many designs and ideas and desires in my head, but every time I put thread to fabric, something doesn't go right. The piecing goes wrong, or the quilting does, or the fabrics decide not to get along with each other, after I've put the top together. In the past few weeks I've attempted to complete 3 or 4 different small scale quilts, each one has given me a headache to the point that I just don't want to create anymore.

But then I catch up on my blog list, and I see Bonnie's (Quiltville.com) new pattern, or Lane's (That Man Quilts?) latest Project Linus quilt or applique block, or Rita's (Red Pepper Quilts) new stash addition, or Amandajean's (crazy mom quilts) cute mug rug, or Kelly's (My Simple Walk) instructional video, or any other number of creative bloggers latest creations, my mind starts designing again. The art is there in my head, but when I try to bend the fabric to my will, something goes wrong, and I end up frustrated and depressed, and not wanting to sew. Plus, the craft shows have all been busts, so I'm feeling that what I think is my talent and calling is not really all that I think it is.

I guess I need to stop seeking exterior validation, but it is a good feeling when someone gushes over my work. I know my friends who have received handmade gifts from me do appreciate them, and I love that one of my closest friends' sons adores the Dr Seuss quilt I made for his birthday. But how many quilts can I make to give away? And how can I afford to only give things away?

I'm glad it is springtime, a time of renewal and rebirth. Now that A is mobile, I intend to take him up to the park in our community, to let him play in the grass, and swing on the swings. I will soak up the sun before it becomes too brutally hot to play outside, and I will recharge my batteries. This will hopefully get me  back into the swing of things, and if it doesn't? I'll figure something out.

Besides, how can you not smile when you see that grin?

Thursday, January 13, 2011


This is going to be a fairly disjointed post, so bear with me. Last night, I caught myself thinking a lot about online relationships. Not dating sites, but friendships, communities, message boards, stuff like that. What is it about these relationships that make them so prone to the dreaded 'D' word, Drama?

Is it that people see these as 'disposable' friendships? They don't put the effort into creating or maintaining the relationship, so that some occurrence, were it to happen in meat-space would be talked over and hopefully resolved, causes the entire group or community to descend into 'he said, she said, you're mean, you lie, neener-neener'. And bystanders, who may not have been involved in the original disagreement, end up tossed willy-nilly by the electronic storm, damaging relationships that otherwise had no connection to the original.

Is it the anonymity of the bits and bites and pixels that make us think it's ok to act this way? I have an online business. I like to think that how I portray myself online, no matter which community, message board or chat room I'm in, is as close to the meat-me as possible. But look at all the spammers and scammers out there, who see an opportunity for a 'good deal' and swoop in for the kill.

Maybe I'll come up with some coherent thoughts to update this post with, but I'll leave it here for now. Just know that if you're talking to me online, you're getting the real me. No frosting, no fluff, just me. And I'm sorry if my being me bothers you, but my meat-space friends love me for who I am, so I see no reason to create a fake me for online use.

Unless I'm playing LOTRO, but that's a horse of a different color.

Monday, January 10, 2011


International round robin. It's where a group of quilters gets together & each one makes a center for a quilt. Then the centers get sent around the circle, each quilter adding a progressively wider border to the quilt until it returns back to the center's maker.

I'm participating in my first IRR, and this center has me stumped. Not for design, I know what I want to do, but for color. I've got a few ideas, but they look better in EQ7 than they do on my wall. I'm finishing this border out, will pin it to the wall, and hope it looks good completed instead of just portioned.

Here's my border, in EQ7 and pinned to my wall:

Ya know, I think it works. Hope you like it, Ghostrider! :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Welcome 2011!

Well, last January I said I'd try to update more often. I fell short of my mark, by a long shot, but it's a new year, lets see if I can do a bit better.

I am not one of those people who makes crazy New Year's resolutions, I know I won't follow through. I do, however, make note of goals for the upcoming year. Here's my current list (in no particular order)

~ Get through my pile of UFOs (For you non-crafters, that would be Un-Finished Objects)
~ Finish the website I started in Dec
~ Update my mother's website (Designs by J)
~ Keep up on the housework (UGH)
~ Pick up some good bookkeeping clients
~ Do more craft shows
~ Lose the rest of the baby weight

Not unreasonable goals, so we'll see how they go!

Thanks for sticking around, and happy new year!