Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘fabric’

Who’s sleeping with who?

Patti shot through the door of the sewing room and that was her first question for our group that had arrived two days prior. She was only staying for the day but we were happy to have our resident pot stirrer in our midst.

Patti's pumpkins have binding now.

Patti’s pumpkins have binding now.

There were only six of us at this retreat for the week. Another that had planned to come had been overcome by food poisoning at a church function and was in need of Urgent Care We kept hoping for a quick recovery but it just didn’t happen.

I fell in love with the framed crochet

I fell in love with the framed crochet

There were two new women brought to the retreat by another member of our group. The three of them shared a room. I shared a room with the other two members of our quilt group. With five beds to a room and more than four bedrooms, we had a whole room to spare and then some. There were even beds in the sewing room office if we were in need of a nap. We ended up sleeping three to a room.

If you need a nap between sewing projects, extra beds in the office

If you need a nap between sewing projects, extra beds in the office

It turned out to be a very amicable mix of women. You never know how a group is going to blend. This group worked well together like old friends. Each willing to teach and to learn from one another. We were all there primarily for rest (not so much) and relaxation. Wine helped that a lot. We each brought some to share but somehow, it was still done in moderation. After all, we still had sewing to do and some nights it was well past eleven when we gave up and headed back to the house.

Binding and banter into the wee hours of the night

Binding and banter into the wee hours of the night

Working in our jammies in the early morning until breakfast was ready

Working in our jammies in the early morning until breakfast was ready

 

jelly roll Christmas quilt done in record time.

jelly roll Christmas quilt done in record time.

 

Sunrise out the sewing room window.

Sunrise out the sewing room window.

Once again, Nancy’s Sew N Go delivered well beyond
expectations. If she ever decides to give up the quilting gig, she can cook anywhere and I know we will follow. There was coffee ready first thing in the morning for those of us that rise early and a separate brewing station in the sewing room with anything you wanted including an electric tea kettle. Of course there were snacks, fabric if we needed something and every quilting tool necessary should we fail to remember something.

Once again I wondered if I would ever try a different retreat. Those more experienced at this sort of thing swear this one exceeds every one they have ever been to and who am I to argue with experience? Most of the ladies were cranking out quilts faster than I could count. It took me all three days to get one top put mostly together. I came home quite relaxed and ready to sleep. My top is complete now and pinned for quilting. I’ll show it completed next time. Every quilt they made inspired me even more.

Sam's quilt with a good start on it.

Sam’s quilt with a good start on it.

 

Can you believe this is a donation quilt for a fund-raiser?

Can you believe this is a donation quilt for a fund-raiser?

 

I love the free-form Art quilt

I love the free form Art quilt

Connie had to copy but there are hidden bunnies in hers

Connie had to copy but there are hidden bunnies in hers

No one complained or heard my C-pap machine. I wasn’t bothered by any snoring and we all had the best time ever. One of our new friends wanted to stay longer so she locked her keys in the car. I wasn’t driving so I had to go home with my driver but left with leftovers to feed Tech Support. He’s offered to help edit color on Sew N Go’s new calendar when Nancy has all her photos ready. He’s been officially bribed and ready to work.

Baked taquitos were scrumptious and healthy. I brought some home for TS and his sister to try. Yummm!

Baked taquitos were scrumptious and healthy. I brought some home for TS and his sister to try. Yummm!

I’m not sure when I’ll do this again but would love to take a few classes that Nancy offers and she even does craft classes. Tech Support offered to drive me the 45 mile distance.

We are very serious about our meals.

We are very serious about our meals.

There was a time I could do that myself. It ended six years ago today when Bells palsy stopped me in my tracks for many of those early years.  Don’t wait for the right time to do things. Do them now. Who knew that at 61 my driving and sewing days would be pretty much over? I can at least once again get to the grocery and do a little sewing and quilting so I’m counting my blessings and taking advantage of every opportunity that comes my way.

The next generation of quilters coming up after dinner of course.

The next generation of quilters coming up after dinner of course.

Have you been sleeping with someone new? Maybe pushed your boundaries and had some extra fun?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of the Texture

When you were growing up did your parents ever tell you as you walked through a store or someones home to keep your hands to yourself and don’t touch?

Mine were very strict about that and we never challenged them. I was somewhat like that with my children. It was the phrase, “it’s not yours, don’t touch it.” I was a bit more flexible than my parents and my daughter challenged me more.
Children learn from touching. I am still a very tactile person. Oddly, if I wander through a book or fabric store, I touch each piece I’m interested in to get the “feel” of it. I do it carefully and with clean hands but I love (almost need) to touch EVERYTHING!

Puyallup WA quilt show. How can you resist touching.

Puyallup WA quilt show. How can you resist touching.

We touch pictures, frames, trees and flowers. Everything in life has texture. Life itself has texture. I think the more texture it has, the more interesting it is. I wrote a comment on a blog one day not too long ago that I start and end my day with gratitude. The rest in the middle is texture.

another job finished. 2 green squares to add  to more for charity quilt. Pattern in fabric adds texture

another job finished. 2 green squares to add to more for charity quilt. Pattern in fabric adds texture

I think that’s why I like to work with my hands. Embroidery, by machine or by hand, quilting, sewing, crafting, especially nature crafts, even gardening are all tactile and full of texture. I can sometimes be heard moaning over a quilt square where the points don’t meet exactly and ask why can’t things just go smoothly? I learn more from the lack of smooth.

Reaching for more books

Reaching for more books

My son put up the last 2 shelves that had taken up residence on my living room floor. (I painted them there so they could dry quicker.) Things didn’t go as smoothly with that either so there are a couple extra holes in my wall. A little putty and paint will fix that but I would rather have the holes than the shelves still on the floor. It’s a quick easy fix. Each day we get a little further along on our respective projects. Each project adds a little texture. Sometimes even to our vocabulary.

Tech Support. It's a tough job but someone has to do it.

Tech Support. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.

Last weekend we made a trip to Portland’s Rose Test Garden to meet with my last husband’s granddaughter and her 2 and 5 year old sons. She only brought the 2 year old this time. I brought books. I always bring books. These books had texture and I’m so glad I picked them. This little guy took after mom’s side of the family. His glasses had been chewed by the dog and he was without them. There were no roses yet in bloom but the Camellia’s were. After he was finished touching the books and hearing some of the stories, I pulled a Camellia bloom off the bush and put it on his tray. Mom was a bit stunned but I wanted him to enjoy the bloom too. He enjoyed the texture of the flower until we left. When you don’t see well, touch is even more important.

He can't see the books well but he loves them. Great grandson

He can’t see the books well but he loves them. Great grandson

Time has flown by again this month. That’s what happens when the days are full. My son has been photographing the beauty of our neighborhood and I have been busy finishing projects. My two squares are done a month early, the charity quilt top I was given to sandwich, quilt and bind is finally done and the binding is almost complete on my teacup quilt.

I didn't piece the top, just but the layers together and quilted.

I didn’t piece the top, just but the layers together and quilted.


Back of quilt pieced from scraps.

Back of quilt pieced from scraps.


Part of the binding will be tonight's handwork project.

Part of the binding will be tonight’s handwork project.

That’s the final and most enjoyable part for me. Busy hands while I watch TV. Weeds have been pulled and more stuff sorted and organized. I have a lot of old magazines with craft ideas in them I wanted to save. Tearing out the pages that would get lost and separated didn’t seem like a great option, so I decided to photograph the picture and directions, putting them into a computer file. Sure takes up less room and the box of magazines and books can now be passed on.

More craft books to get moved on intact.

More craft books to get moved on intact.

It was a stunning view for a good week down to Sleepy Hollow.

It was a stunning view for a good week down to Sleepy Hollow.

There is still going to be a lot more texture and gratitude in my life.
How about you? Are you a tactile person who likes a lot of texture?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of the Next Big Adventure

Things change fast in my little world. I was finally catching my breath. Completing the simple pillowcase dress that is going with many others to an orphanage in Haiti, and 2 quilt squares for my quilting group that scared me to pieces. Quilts do that to me. I was ready to get on with the unpacking and putting away of MORE BOOKS.

Simple drawstring dress for little girls with so little

Simple drawstring dress for little girls with so little

bottom border of the dress

bottom border of the dress

I bought 3 more bookcases so I could get the rest of my books out of storage and eventually get a smaller, more inexpensive unit. I have more to give away and more to sell. There has been a lot of work going on here and a lot of play. Let’s break this down into bite sized chunks.

This was the prototype (experiment)  to see how the final one would look

This was the prototype (experiment) to see how the final one would look

I thought about making another like this prototype but changed my mind.

I thought about making another like this prototype but changed my mind.

My house is starting to look like a home and my sister who has been with me for the last three months is looking for a place of her own closer to her new job and all the places she goes to regularly. My place puts a lot of miles on her truck so the search is on.

Now I’ll be heading back to California for a month of working with my son to pack and paint his house. He has an offer on his home and they want a 30 day escrow. There is no realtor involved so they must do the paperwork. After putting my home together with the help of my children and sister, I’ll be helping to dismantle his.

ready to turn in and combine.

ready to turn in and combine.

A closer look at my take on a quilt square

A closer look at my take on a quilt square

This little birdy faces the other way.

This little birdy faces the other way.

My quilt squares were turned in this week and I thought they would be put into a big quilt and raffled off. That wasn’t the case. They were divided in two and names drawn to win each of the stacks of 12 blocks. I won a stack and now I’m supposed to put it together and bring it to the Christmas meeting. It’s obviously not going to happen. I doubt I can get it done when I get back in time for the December meeting but maybe for the party after Christmas. It will be a keepsake of each member that made a square.

We all started out with the same 2 fabrics. Then added our own touch. Now the fun begins...in December.

We all started out with the same 2 fabrics. Then added our own touch. Now the fun begins…in December.

Can you see why my mind is a little scattered these days? Our weather went from hot to canoe weather. Wish I could send some of it to those who need it. My son hasn’t seen significant rain in a year. I’m grateful every day I found this perfect place to be a platform for transitions. That’s the story of life. Nothing every stays the same. It’s all one big adventure, if you choose to see it that way. Go with the flow, that’s what the canoe is for. Paddle in the direction of the current, not against it.

Home is where we can ground ourselves and share with others. I hand embroidered this piece.

Home is where we can ground ourselves and share with others. I hand embroidered this piece.

Life has offered many challenges opportunities. Even my health challenges have an upside. Since my mouth doesn’t work as well as it used to, I spend more time listening and learning. So much for being the biggest talker in the family. On to this next adventure. I’ll let you know how it goes.

What’s your next big adventure?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Good Enough…Almost

I have written four or five of these start-up posts but have discarded each and every one. I’m beginning to think I should just post a sign on my blog that says “Out to Lunch” for the months of January and February. My brain is still out even though my body just keeps moving back and forth to the kitchen.

There are clues to what is going on but like a giant puzzle, I’m still trying to piece it together. Can I blame the weather? It’s been very odd this winter. I tried blaming the holidays but they are long gone. That did get my sugar rush going big time and I’m finally wrangling it in. Maybe I just have a broken brain?

When the apartment emptied out after the holidays, I breathed a sigh of relief, and another of regret. I miss having someone around. It’s a mixed bag. Lately,I’ve been trying to find ways to connect and make friends here and given my inability to get out much, it’s not as easy as it was when I had small children and small dogs. What ice breakers they were. Now, I’m looking for people to connect with that share my interest in sewing, quilting and machine embroidery. I’ll go back to the writing class next semester if I find any brain function is left.

For now, I’m trying to finish things that were started eons ago and continue to stare at me demanding my attention. I buried some of it deep enough I couldn’t hear the screams. I’ve arranged to pass some off to someone more willing to complete what was an expensive undertaking. My sister-in-law is going to make up the little girl dresses I have patterns and materials for, since I have no little girls anymore. She has a beautiful little granddaughter. You know that phrase “my eyes were bigger than my stomach”? Well that, for me applied to fabric, patterns and books as well as food. I had a huge appetite that went all the way to my toes. (no longer true except for books) That’s how much fabric I have. So I’m going to finish 2 more shirts that I have cut out and pray they turn out better than this last one.

It looked better in my mind when I planned it. I call it Dumb shirt instead of Big shirt.

It looked better in my mind when I planned it. I call it Dumb shirt instead of Big shirt.

I have no idea what happened with it, but anything that could go wrong, did. I actually made the collar upside down and sewed it on that way, only to have to take it all apart and put it together again. I asked my daughter what she thought of the shirt when she was taking the photo. “Honestly, she said, it was not your best work.” I’ll put the pockets on today and use it as an apron or just to keep me warm around the house. It’s like my brain was totally out of the loop on this project. Here is where I had to say, “Good enough” and let it be.

Full of good intentions but I can't put it in the rag bag just yet.

Full of good intentions but I can’t put it in the rag bag just yet.

I found a quilt group close to my house that allowed me to join them. All they ask is that I contribute a twin sized quilt to the foster care kids as part of their charity activity. I’m still trying to finish the one I started 6 years ago, but will give it my best.

Every project requires some embroidery. My daughter calls this old lady tramp stamp

Every project requires some embroidery. My daughter calls this old lady tramp stamp

Through a friend in my writing group, I met a lovely young woman who is German and has volunteered an hour a week to help me relearn my language. The grammar is the hard part since that part was never taught to me. I needed something else to do, right? Have to do my lessons early in the day as the old eyes are not happy with the tiny print, but I’m really enjoying it. It’s keeping me out of the kitchen. Guess it’s time to get to work and see what else will get done “good enough.” At this point in my life, that seems to be the operative theme.

Do you ever say “good enough” and move on or do you toss what isn’t working out well? Share your struggles with me so I know I’m not alone in this.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Autumn

By the time I get this posted, I will have melted into a puddle on the floor. Summer is holding on with a death grip. I don’t remember 98 degrees in Portland, but then I don’t remember much. That can be a good thing. I decided it was time to take down my “Welcome Summer” wall hanging and replace it with some encouragement for Autumn to make it’s appearance.

Before the clean up work

Before the clean up work

Finished with scrap fabric

Finished with scrap fabric

The Autumn sign was framed and backed with scrap fabric that was gifted to me. The colors were just perfect. I love summer for growing things but have very little of that around as I plan to move next summer into a home of my own. I had hoped to make it this year but the Universe seems to have other ideas and timetables. So I flow with it. Instead, I get to enjoy the nature that’s all around me.

This cooled our spirits

This cooled our spirits

On Labor Day, my daughter and I visited the Japanese Gardens here in Portland. It was my first visit though she had been before. We did not wear the appropriate footwear as the paths were rocky and uneven. I was hoping for more flowering plants there but saw only lush greenery. The garden has a perfect view over the entire city. They had an artist’s exhibition there as well, but of course, no photography is allowed.

At the beginning of our walk

At the beginning of our walk

This instead of flowers but it's pretty.

This instead of flowers but it’s pretty.

We have been setting records for our heat this summer so last weekend, we just rested and saved out energy for this coming weekend. I thought I’d let you see what an old, HAPPY American-German looks like on her birthday.

Yes, I had beer and strudel together. Notice the straw in the beer? Still necessary.

Yes, I had beer and strudel together. Notice the straw in the beer? Still necessary.

My time has been spent this week keeping cool and getting things ready for my next projects. I’m hoping to finish a crazy quilt that was started in a class almost 4-5 years ago and I want it bigger than it looks now. I also want to make a Christmas quilt with embroidered squares, along with a few gifts. I’ll be in the sewing room for months. I was waiting for the cool to come and I think it will arrive on Sunday. Come on autumn!!!

it was a gorgeous day overlooking the city.

it was a gorgeous day overlooking the city.

Are you looking forward to autumn or are you still really enjoying your summer? What is the best part of autumn for you?

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.~ George Eliot

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of the Next

Complete wellness is still eluding me though I can sense its timid, incremental approach. It toys with me, knowing I have no patience for my illness and debilitation. I have since found only one other, blogging about Bells Palsy and they are into months, not years like I am. I may have scared this person, as I was when first hearing of someone with Bells for over five years.

When I am having a good day and feeling quite spry, I try to find things that are enjoyable to do. This week I had a project that needed to be done. My ex-daughter-in-law is having a birthday at the end of the month so I ordered a couple of Chicken Soup books about cats. But to do something more personal I decided to embroider a kitchen towel for her. I had a batch that I bought wholesale and had one left. The rest had already become gifts.

before washing and pressing

before washing and pressing

more of the proportion of design.

more of the proportion of design.

Then I had a towel that I bought somewhere that looked like it might work for embroidery so I tried my hand at doing one for myself. The teapot in the middle is a tiny scrap of fabric. That’s why I throw nothing away. When living in Arizona, our quilt guild made dog & cat beds for the animal shelter in out small town using scrap fabric for the stuffing. There was no money for the shelter to buy beds so we used up lots of unwanted fabric and made stacks and stacks of them.

I almost forgot to put that tiny piece of fabric over the teapot. I get to choose the colors.

I almost forgot to put that tiny piece of fabric over the teapot. I get to choose the colors.

Once the towels were complete, it was time to move on to a birthday card. Looking through my design stash on my computer, I found one that would work. I’ve never done it before so why not give it a shot. I would only be tossing out cardstock, a piece of stabilizer and some thread if it didn’t work. I printed the birthday sentiment inside the card then centered it in the hoop with a bit of temporary adhesive. I have to admit, I did sweat a bit, but it turned out well enough to send. Something different from the norm.

Not perfect but a great first try at something different.

Not perfect but a great first try at something different.

I finally got everything wrapped and mailed so now I sit here wondering what my next project will be. Christmas is always a challenge for me, as I like to make most of my gifts that aren’t books. I have done embroidered t-shirts for my kids and a gift wrappers apron for my daughter that I really need a picture of soon. I don’t think I have the energy yet for quilts but that could still happen. They take me so long to do since I tire easily still.

Do you try to plan your projects ahead or just go with the flow? What’s next on your agenda? Any ideas you want to pass on I’d appreciate.

“I feel like every project I work on is a dream project, so long as I am learning.”
― Simeon Kondev

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Respite

Like a lot of the country, we went from cold and rain to a major heat wave. I have abandoned my living room and kitchen. When it’s hot, I can’t eat. I’m grateful my bedroom is not on the west-facing side. My sister brought me her portable AC unit that I had to try to find a place to vent it. I have sliding doors and the window it vents out is in the sewing room. Not ideal but I’ll take any help I can get. These are unusual temps for this area and these old buildings have no insulation. I’m not complaining though because so many places are hotter by a lot. I’m grateful my laptop can go to my bedroom where it’s cooler.

My son is coming for a very short visit over the 4th of July. It will cool down a bit by then. His aunt is visiting her daughter an hour from us and we will go down to see them and celebrate. My ex-sister-in-law was here for a couple of days before going back to her daughters. I gave her my “Welcome to Spring” embroidery that she loved so much. I can make another later. There will be no sewing of any kind for the next week. Only hugging and talking. Don’t you just love those kinds of holidays?

Even with my lack of real motivation the last couple of weeks, I did get a little something accomplished. I finished the quilt for my friends rescued dog and finally got over to give it to her. It was hard to get pictures of Chloe as the high pitch from the digital camera bothered her ears. Chloe welcomed me like I was family. You can see here how much she looks like my Schatzie did. She seemed to like her blanket. Her mom had another hospital run the week before so I was glad to get a chance to visit after my sister-in-law went back to my niece’s house.

free form pattern flannel front

free form pattern flannel front

green minke on the back for softness

green minke on the back for softness

Chloe on her blanket

Chloe on her blanket


One blind eye just like me

One blind eye just like me

Between getting the little quilt done, I was also able to help encourage my daughter with her new shirt. We both loved the fabric. I didn’t like the pattern instructions. I told her next time we would do it differently for a better finish. She is so happy to have this accomplishment under her belt. That makes taking on another easier.

She doesn't like her picture taken. Me either

She doesn’t like her picture taken. Me either

She is normally the queen of procrastination. I think it’s a family trait. I have to work hard to beat it. She is proud to wear it as it turned out so well. Now we need to figure out what we will tackle next. Once the company is all gone and the heat abates a bit, maybe I can think again. Funny how your brain melts with the rest of you. I’ll be taking some time to organize my thoughts and my workroom.

How do you go from one project to the next? Do you keep lists of things to do? Are you projects in front of you or do you have to go find them? Are you taking a little respite during this holiday? What keeps you moving forward?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Less Stress

It’s been an odd couple of weeks for me. It was raining babies the end of April. That has kept me so busy I haven’t had time to start on my homework for writing class or get this blog written on time. If I didn’t hurry, the babies will be in kindergarten before I had the gifts finished. There is nothing like adding a little pressure to an already self-created overload.

Here is a picture of the blanket I made with two pieces of high quality flannel and I embroidered the name and birthdate. The last name is edited as a protective measure. I’ve made many of them. These last two are different as they started with a printed panel.

A front panel that was in my stash

A front panel that was in my stash

I've edited out the last name that is in the blank space in the middle.

I’ve edited out the last name that is in the blank space in the middle.

One of the babies was the great-grandson of my ex-husband. His granddaughter lives in the area but I have not heard from her since we divorced. He called to say they were all coming to see me after the baby arrived. My ex’s oldest daughter was his driver. We are civil but there is obviously underlying hostility on her part. My dizziness from the stress of an encounter magnified but I didn’t want to create a problem if there was none. So I prepared for the visit and waited. The baby didn’t arrive until the day before he and his daughter had to leave and there was no time to come to my house. That resulted in instant stress relief. I did have my daughter drive us to the hospital to pay a visit to his granddaughter and the new baby.

I glued a flannel print from the panel to the card

I glued a flannel print from the panel to the card

I’m hoping that soon, things like this no longer create tension for me. It’s a process to learn how to let fear go. Now I still have my assignments for writing class to do and packages to get in the mail tomorrow but I know I can accomplish those tasks. My family wonders why I would make all the effort of creating these blankets along with a hand crafted card when they most likely will never be appreciated. My only answer is that it’s the right thing to do and even though it takes more time and energy than before I became ill, I enjoy doing it and do it for my own satisfaction.

Editing didn't work as well but the embroidery on such a small piece worked well

Editing didn’t work as well but the embroidery on such a small piece worked well

My daughter and I found another way to reduce a little stress. We were making a trip to see my niece this weekend. One of her daughters was having a birthday so we stopped in for a couple of hours then headed back to the city. It’s an hour drive on the interstate which is usually bumper to bumper. We took a chance and found an old highway that would avoid most of the interstate. It took us a bit longer but it was so worth it. We saw places we would otherwise never see and it was so green and peaceful.

I could go on and on about what stress does to the body. Most of us already know all about that. What most of us have a hard time with, is finding ways to reduce it while continuing to do our daily life. What do you do to relieve stress?

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.
~ William James

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of My Round To It

Have I mentioned before how many projects I have stacked up waiting for me to feel well enough to get back at them? Would the visual be more clear if I told you almost half of a small one car garage is required to contain those projects? I promise you, I gave away at least as much each time I got the chance. What is left is what I really want to do.

The question is, how does the finishing get accomplished? Well, spring is right around the corner and the warmer weather with bits of sunshine peeking through occasionally, has brought back a bit of motivation. To help get the work done, I found this much-needed item in a box of fabric. Doesn’t everyone have one?

Everyone needs one of these

Everyone needs one of these

My round-tuit is now hanging carefully on the sewing room wall. It’s about time I get around to it and I did. This last week I finished stitching out this design for St. Patrick’s Day. I bought this design back on March 18, 2009. Too late for that years St. Pat’s day and by the next March I could no longer sew, at all. Complete recovery is still somewhat elusive but progress is slowly being made and finally, things are getting made.

This little wall hanging is far from perfect, but done supersedes perfect any day. I found the glittery fabric after a long hunt. My dog’s groomer had used a bit of it as a kerchief after her March bath and I fell in love with it. So now I’m on a roll. I have washed and ironed lots of flannels and some other cottons to make several Big Shirts. They are next on my list. Or maybe I need to put a spring hanging together first.

When Irish eyes are smiling.

When Irish eyes are smiling.

Must I wear this kerchief? It feels silly.

Must I wear this kerchief? It feels silly.

Easter is too close to get another one done. The hound and saying had 85,509 stitches with 63 color changes. Good thing the machine does all the stitching. I just have to keep changing the threads. Placement can get tricky too, but I love the outcome. That was a good day’s work. Anyone who does this kind of embroidery can tell you it’s addictive. There are so many wonderful designs out there and I want to make them all. I’m 3 years behind but the round-tuit will help me catch up. Sunshine helps too. There is limited light in my sewing area since the good light I had was broken in the last move. I’m hunting a replacement. Good lighting is expensive! So, do you have a round-tuit to help you get your projects finished? Is anyone out there as far behind as I am? I sure hope not.

Looks a little Irish to me. Dad when he still had an Irish smile.

Looks a little Irish to me. Dad when he still had an Irish smile.

On St. Patrick’s Day, it’s said everyone is a little bit Irish. My mother was full German and when I asked my dad about his heritage, he said his family was Dutch, Irish and the devil. Hmmm. He said it was rumored that his family settled in West Virginia and were a band of outlaws. Sounds like an Irish tale to me.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

When Irish eyes are smiling, sure ’tis like a morn in spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter you can hear the angels sing,
When Irish hearts are happy all the world seems bright and gay,
And when Irish eyes are smiling, sure, they steal your heart away.

~Chauncey Olcott and George Graff, Jr. (lyrics), Ernest R. Ball (music)

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Simple Project

This project was finished earlier in the week but I waited to blog about it because I’m hoping it gets to the intended recipient before she has a chance to read this. It was raining too hard for me to drive to the post office so it will go out in tomorrow’s mail.

Iron caddy in carrying position

Iron caddy in carrying position

Insert travel iron and off you go

Insert travel iron and off you go

I saw the pattern for this in a quilt shop here in November and hoped to have it done for my friend’s birthday in early December. Uh, I don’t think I made it. It looked so cute and so easy when I looked at the picture. My good friend could take it to the quilt classess and retreats that she so enjoys. How hard can it be to sew four layers of fabric together and bend them into this cute little caddy? I’ve been sewing for years so I should just zip right through it.

Ironing side

Ironing side

I’m going to tell you something I have had a hard time admitting. All those report cards in grade school saying “Marlene doesn’t follow directions well” may have been onto something. Personally, I think the directions were written by someone who has made this hundreds of times and doesn’t understand the idea of missing information. I missed the information in small print that said “preshrink material before cutting”. Then I cut it and read the measurements incorrectly. I cut up 4 pieces of material and finally chose a different fabric entirely. Then it went together so much easier. I finally figured out my friend would be more agreeable with the last one so it was the Universes way of letting me know.

outside cady

At the end, when it came to figuring out how to fold it into a caddy, the instructions were not there. I had to look it up on the internet. What happens if you don’t have access? A lot of my older quilting friends don’t do computer. Really!

In all my years of sewing and crafting, I have rarely done anything the easy way. My last husband asked me why I insisted on beating myself up so much? It’s in my DNA. Somehow, I see something that looks so beautiful and I just have to make it. Like this dress I made for my daughter. I was working in a fabric store and material was discounted if I made something and it was displayed to entice customers. I had never sewn plaids before so let’s just go all out and make it long and ruffled. It took six yards of fabric with plaids matching up the center front, exactly and at every other point of connection. The planning before cutting was incredibly time consuming. I was much younger and healthy at the time or maybe the directions for the dress were just better. You’d think I’d learn.

Someone offered my $100 for it while hanging in the store.

Someone offered my $100 for it while hanging in the store.

Her favorite Christmas dress.

Her favorite Christmas dress.

Just like the casserole caddy I made for my sister, this was not as easy for me as it looked. It might be easier for others who know how to read and follow directions. Will I give up on the hard projects? I have several (many) quilts to do, a big shirt where you cut the pattern all apart and put it back together patchwork style waiting. Any chance there is a simple project in that room? Probably not, so maybe I’ll just sit here for awhile reading all of your wonderful blogs; living vicariously for a bit.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”Confucius

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself