Thursday, April 29, 2010

If You Don't Like the Weather...

...just wait five minutes and it will change.  Utah's motto.  (I'm sure you've got one similar for your area).  

Today we had near white-out conditions here in the Salt Lake Valley.   The farm where I work (Wheeler Farm) canceled all school tours and wagon rides for safety issues.  I had a physical therapy appointment at 1:30 in the afternoon.

Here are a few pictures I snapped from my front porch before leaving for my appointment.

Looking east to driveway.  Spent daffodils in protected front window planterbox.  The grass, tulips and dwarf Japanese Maple are getting snowed on.

Looking across the street.  THIS IS A COLOR PHOTO!  It was snowing pretty hard at that point.

My pink tulips look like they've got white frosting on them!  

So, this is what it looked like around 1:00 in the afternoon.   Two hours later, when I got home around 3:00, this is what it looked like:

It's Utah in the spring.  What can I say??

Cathy maroon

Monday, April 26, 2010

Treasures from Weekend Estate Sales

On Saturday, the rain of the past week quit and Bruce and I decided to go out and visit a few estate sales.  The first one we ended up at was fantastic for Bruce because the people were extremely well read and were unloading boxes and bins of books.  I think we got a couple dozen books for Bruce (mostly science fiction), but I scored too.  I got a collapsible clothing rack for $1, which I can take with me to add to my Farmers Market booth to display aprons and children's clothing for sale.

My favorite estate sale was the fourth and last one we visited.   In addition to the lovely pictured items below, I got a wonderful pair of Wiss pinking shears for $2 and lots more bias tape (not pictured).

The three prints of Paris caught my eye because everything French seems to be the rage right now.  The couple whose estate was being sold were well-traveled and there were lots of scenic postcards.  But I had to focus on mainly what I came for - sewing related items, linens, porcelain and things I already collect.  Can't afford to start another new collection, LOL!!

I'd like to make a pin cushion in the teacup... I think.  I'm really loving that set, so may have to deliberate on that....

Isn't that mother-of-pearl swallow to-die-for??  And they were happy to unload all the single earrings on me.... And that brooch.  It probably isn't much older than 30-40 years tops, but it's beautiful.   The picture below isn't very good, but I hope it shows how deeply carved the rose is.

And speaking of beautiful, I have to sneak in some recent pictures of my sweet granddaughter London, who will be 8 months old in another week.  These pictures were taken in the park a couple weeks ago.

Happy London (no teeth yet)

Serious London (with lovely eyes!)

Grammy's attempt at an artsy picture!  :-)   

Off to stitch...  Have a wonderful day!
Cathy maroon

Sunday, April 25, 2010

NEW Blog Look ... and Camera Experiments

I decided it was time for a change in the look of my blog.  I wanted a somewhat vintage-y feel, but not frou-frou.   What do you think??  The last header/banner was done by my sweet friend Heather of A Cherished Life, and I truly loved it.  But even Heather changed her blog look recently (go check out how cute it is!), and I felt the need for a change also.  Especially in light of the fact that I'm STILL working madly behind the scenes to get my Etsy (or Ebay listings or additional Blog pages) up and running soon.  I have so much vintage lace, potassium-permanganate-dyed ("golden") laces, trim, fabric, and other vintage linens and goodies to sell....    

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that we'd gotten a new camera.  It's a more powerful Fuji (a Finepix S1500 for what it's worth) and has 10 megapixels instead of my old 2 mp Fuji.  But I can't seem to get great pictures out of it. I know, I know.... it's the operator, not the camera, LOL!!!   So, I am experimenting.  Sooner or later I'm going to have to break down and read the manual that DH finally unburied found last weekend (long story....)  

In the meantime, I'm making lace/ribbon spools to sell.  These templates were bought from an Etsy seller named From the Craft Room  that Pat Winter recommended.  

I purchased for download two different styles - the Edwardian Lady that comes in two sizes and the basic floral spool.   As I experiment with which lace looks good on what (am I being too anal?), I'm finding that I may need to try to design even wider ones myself......  So that's what started me on the experimentation yesterday that led to (1) me FINALLY getting into Photoshop to begin learning it, and (2) my blog redesign.    

And some of the lace I'm winding on old clothespins.  The lace is glued on those; they're just to be used as a cute decoration.  I hope to sell them in my Farmer's Market booth.  

But I digress..... (yes, I know.  I'm going around in circles).    Isn't the lace lovely on that spool??  BUT, I need to put some "Crazy by Design" information on it somewhere.  A sticker on the back of the spool? Or on the plastic packaging (aaaack!) that this will inevitably have to go in??  Should I use tissue paper instead??

How do other (environmentally-conscious-wannabe) sellers do this??   

And then there are the lace motifs.  I'll figure out something to package those, but what I'm really concerned about is PHOTOGRAPHING them.  The potassium permanganate yields a beautifully golden, shiny sheen on nice rayon venice (or schiffli) lace.  But my pictures make them look ... tarnished?  green?  I've tried different backgrounds, but need more experimentation.  Different  lighting?  Super-Macro??  How about a Fairy Godmother (who is a photographer on the side?)

So, I'm back to my little world.  Sweating the small stuff, occasionally taking breaks to stitch, drink margaritas coffee, and shop.  Oh, and work (at the Farm, dearie).  Housework??  I hired a housekeeper last week to help me with spring cleaning.  I'm good for a month week or so now....

Tomorrow:  my weekend estate sale finds!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wool Block for Round Robin

I've been participating (s l o w l y) in a Wool round robin in Crazy Quilting International, a Yahoo group for crazy quilters where I am one of the moderators.  We're in the midst of a purse contest, which is what  I spent the majority of my March stitching time on.  That caused me to fall behind on my Wool RR obligations, so I am madly trying to catch up.

Unfortunately, once I began working in the yard, former problems with my arms falling asleep came back with a vengeance.  So, off I trotted to the doctor, who diagnosed it as TOS or Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.  Apparently the muscles and nerve bundles (etc) on my right side which go from the spinal column at the neck and through the collarbone down to the arm are very tight and being pinched or rubbed.  They suspect it may be an extra rib (apparently not all that unusual), but won't know until we do x-rays when my doctor gets back from South Africa in 2-3 weeks.  

In the meantime, it's twice-daily exercises, some non-steroid anti-inflammatory meds and twice-weekly physical therapy.  At the physical therapist I also get electro-massage (heavenly).  I've seen some improvement in my arms and hands and have begun to stitch again.  I was able to complete this wool block this week.  But I also worked out in the yard for an hour this afternoon.  I couldn't help myself; it was so beautiful and sunny!  I hope I don't pay for it tonight.  So far so good......

This is my work for Ritva in Finland.  Her block is 6"x6", and she requested wool or cotton.  I know the light green in the center area is wool; the rest is either perle cotton or silk perle.  Ritva did not want beads, ribbons, etc., so it's stitching only.  

This is all four blocks done for Ritva in this RR to date.  They were done (top L-R, bottom L-R) by Hideko in Japan, Marya in California,  Leslie in Colorado, and me (Cathy in Utah).   Next they move on to Karrin, who will stitch her block and then send them all home to Ritva.  

And now I get to start on Hideko's lovely blocks!  

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Operation Pillowcase

One of my online friends, Debra Spincic, began a project and blog called Operation Pillowcase.  You can check it out here.    In March, I suggested at work (Wheeler Farm) that perhaps we might like to get involved with this project.  After all, our director is a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army and is still in active reserve.   Besides, a charitable project and Our Troops are a great way to bring people together!   The idea was met enthusiastically, and last week we met to construct pillowcases for our troops serving in Afghanistan.

L-R: Debbie, Kyrna, Cathy (me), Mike (in beret), Lt. Col. Hollis Robison, Wendy

Wendy laughs as Kyrna irons.  Danica watches Cathy sewing.

Cathy shows Danica and her mom Erin about matching fabrics for the pillowcases.

Debbie & Mike (husband & wife, parents of Kyrna in first picture).  Background: Joyce works matching and cutting fabric for the pillowcases.

First box of 25 pillowcases.  We actually finished 37.  I'll probably make three more to round it to 40 total.  Then we can split it into 2 boxes and send some of the collected supplies along.

This is a just a handful of the colorful pillowcases we made. 

Many employees who had to miss this event for one reason or another, plus the volunteers who did participate, have asked that we do it again.  So..... we're gearing up for another night of fun and sewing in the second half of June! 

If you're looking for a worthwhile project, check out Operation Pillowcase.  Even if you just construct a pillowcase or two yourself, or donate cotton fabric, it's all good!  We're all in this together!


Giveaway Winners!

Whew!  With over 150 entrants (and many of those had 2 or three chances), it was more work than I anticipated.  But isn't that the way things go most of the time when we tackle a new project?  At least that goes for me.....

So, let's get to it.  My DH Bruce (the Specific Husband Picker) is shown here, holding a vintage radio cookie jar filled with the names....

I don't know why he wasn't smiling - he really was having fun with this!  

Into the jar he reached..... and picked (in this order):

1.  Abile from Hungary    Abile, please contact me and let me know which gift you would like - the fabric, the buttons or the threads.  I'm excited about Abile.  You see, I am 100% Hungarian-American!  My last name at birth was Farkas.  My mom's side of the family was Szakal and May, my father's was Farkas and Balogh.   My DH's family calls me The Hungarian Kizerian.  

2.  Wendy Ford.    I know Wendy from Crazy Quilting International, and we've been in round robins together.  She's not been feeling well lately, so I hope this is a day-brightener for her.  Wendy, you will get to choose your gift after Abile makes her choice.

3.  Cynthia of So Many Needles.  Cynthia, you'll get the last of the three prizes.  But no matter what, you're a winner.

Thank you everyone for signing up and visiting my blog.  I've already made some new friends and found some GREAT new blogs.  Over the next week, I hope to get by to visit everyone.  And,  I look forward to getting back to posting regularly.   

Have a wonderful week!

Monday, April 12, 2010

200th Post Giveaway - Finally!!

Lately I've been so overwhelmed with Things to Do, that last night I finally made myself a daily task list for this week.  As a reformed list-maker (who swore to herself she'd never let life get that complicated again), it was not in the plan to start THAT up again.  But, being desperate to get control of those Things, I forged ahead.  And you know what?  This post is the final Thing on my list for Monday.  Ta-da! 

So, it's time to announce my 200th Post Giveaway.  Finally.  Drum roll please......  ok, forget the d*** drums, let's just get to it.

There are three prizes, and there will be three winners who will be chosen by Specific Husband Picker (as opposed to Random Number Generator).   The first person selected will get her choice of the three prizes, second person selected will choose from the two prizes remaining, and the third person gets what's left.  (I hate to use that  French term  "Le Ftovers").  

Above is the Threads prize.  Most of it is cotton; floss and perle.  However, the bottom three are silks and there is some fun couchable fiber in there, too.

And then we have the Button Prize.  Lots of these are vintage.  I know, I know, there are no really, really to-die-for buttons here.  BUT, I will beef it up to about 100 buttons and include a carved MOP (mother-of-pearl), and a few other special ones (my choice).  If you are a CQ'er or someone who sews childrens clothes or aprons, there are some great buttons here for that.

This is the fabric pack.  Now that I see it on the screen, it doesn't look too exciting.   Although not all pieces show, this is a group of 20 fabric pieces, each at least 60 sq. inches (9x7", 10x6", 8 x8" or greater).  I will beef this one up also to include 25 total pieces, and will even do a little custom color tailoring for the winner.  I've got lots of lovely new fancy fabrics, including brights for those who (like me) prefer saturated colors.  Oh, and while not all pieces are silk like the front one, at least 25% of the pack will be silk.  

The RULZ:  
1.  This Giveaway runs from now until Sunday the 18th at noon (Mountain time, since that's where I live).  In other words, we'll draw names next Sunday afternoon.
2.  Comment on any post between now and Sunday, and you will be entered 1 time.
3.  Mention this Giveaway on your blog and link back here and you'll be entered a 2nd time.
4.  Become a follower and you will be entered a third time.

That's it!

DH Bruce will return to work next week, and our last big project this week while he's home is to begin photographing items for my Etsy shop and Ebay listings.  I'm also thinking of adding pages to this blog to show some item's I'll be selling.  

A lot of my regular items will be vintage lace and trims.  In addition, I'll concentrate on small antique and/or vintage items - fabrics, collectibles, linens, hankies and other ladies' accessories.  I may sell some aprons online, but mostly the aprons and girls' clothing will be for our Farmers Market and Wheeler Farm country store.   I'd be interested in hearing how you think (or have experienced) certain things will do on Etsy vs. Ebay vs. Blog.  Anyone??

Let the Giveaway begin!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

New Camera & Other Woes

My dear hubster bought us a new camera.  And he knows how to use it.  That makes one of us.  Unfortunately, the user manual is nowhere to be found (already!), and he's got the old camera somewhere in his laBORatory.  If you saw what THAT looks like, you'd understand why I won't tackle the camera issue until tomorrow after a good night's rest.

But I have not forgotten the Giveaway.  All the goodies are gathered, and I will (or DH will) snap pictures tomorrow, come hell or high water.   And I'll get the Giveaway going, too.

A brief recap of last week:  

1.  We went car shopping and bought a new car (Prius).   I love it, but it's unnerving to not hear the car running.  And I admit to being confused at first when I pushed the button to turn on the car and "nothing happened".  Duh.  All I had to do was put it in Drive and off it goes.  QUIETLY.  Now I understand the saying that "magic is just technology we don't understand".  This car is magic.

2.  Sold old car (Passat) to DD & DSIL.  Had to go to their bank with them so bank could inspect car.  Then had the state safety and emissions inspections done and rear brakes replaced.  Finally, had the car gassed, washed & the leather detailed.

3.  We babysat DGD London on Saturday.  All day.  She is the sweetest, happiest little 7-month old girl I've ever known.  She only cried once - when Grammy (that would be me) accidentally bumped her head.   She is very aware of her surroundings and anxious to play and participate in everything.  High energy; I'm glad she's not crawling (or walking or driving) yet.  And I finally admit that I'm too old to do this full-time.   I got some cute pictures, but they're on the old camera (the one in hiding). 

Haven't been out in my yard yet.  It's a first-class mess.  Despite me, there are tulips and daffodils blooming.  I'd take a picture, but.... see first paragraph.  I will get out there this week.  

I apologize for this boring, picture-less post, but it WILL get better.  Talk to you tomorrow! 


Saturday, April 3, 2010