Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Little Rant...

I don't normally vent/rant on my blog...BUT well, it's my blog and today I wanna vent. Monday, I zipped into JoAnn Fabrics to pick up some large Sterlite ShowOff plastic storage containers on sale 50% off. Oh...I would need thousands to satify all my storage needs, but on Monday, I settled for four. I took them in a cart to the checkout and got THAT cashier. You know...the one where I cringe when it's my turn in line and see I'm going to get HER. She's really a very nice lady, but she has a strange habit.

I heard the "I'll help who's next in line!" I said a bad word to myself, took a breath, and pushed my cart to her checkout station. Since that's all I had in my cart, I said "Do you need me to unload all four, or do you just need one to scan?" She said "Oh, I'll need all of them." So I unload all four onto the counter. She said "They make me do this."

She proceeds to remove the lid from the first container and peers inside. I've had her do this with metal tins and other "closed" items. But mind you...these are CLEAR storage can SEE THROUGH THEM. As if that wasn't bad enough, she slowly and carefully runs her hand all the way around the inside edge. Huh? Is she checking to see if there are sharp edges? Could she possibly be concerned my dainty fingers might be damaged if there's a stray gnarly plastic pokey-thing that shouldn't be there?

Nooooooooooooo.....she says "Once someone came through the line with what she said were identical containers, but one of them was actually for scrapbooking and was more expensive." And then she said again "They make me do this." Soooo...she automatically thinks I'm a thief. Never mind that I am a VERY regular customer and she DOES know that, because she sometimes mentions how often I come in. Like she needs to remind me??? She proceeds to perform the same ritual with the other three containers, and she's not particularly I need to tell you how much time this takes?

Now, from experience, I know that if I was also buying fabric, this same cashier UNFOLDS every single piece of fabric and shakes it to make sure you haven't slipped something inside that you are trying to steal. No matter if you have twenty pieces of fabric. Or fifty. And when she does, she always says...yep, you guessed it..."They make me do this."

I guess I must not conceal my feelings well because she said "Am I annoying you? You look annoyed." I WISH I would have said "Hell YES you are annoying me!" but I just mumbled "No, not at all." Her reply? Does she really need to say it one more time? Apparently, she does..."They make me do this."

Now, since not ONE of the other employees has EVER looked inside a clear container or unfolded my fabric, I'm beginning to think "they" must be the VOICES IN HER HEAD. Perhaps she's sniffed too much of that formaldehyde they put in the fabric.

Or would that be the formaldehyde "they" put in the fabric? Heehee....

Anyways...that's my rant for the day. I'll try not to make it a habit because "they" might not like it...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Beer Bag"

Once in awhile, hubby will actually ASK me to SEW something for him - or for one of his "mall wives" - the ladies he mall-walks with every morning - we call them his mall wives,  heehee...and I'm more than happy to let them have him 5 mornings a week (keeps him out of my hair).

Anyways, a couple days ago, he asked me to make a small bag to carry a couple cans of beer from the house up to the shop, where he goes to "putter" which actually means he puts on his "shop apron," drinks beer, listens to music, and stares at his tools. Ok, I'm not really sure about the tool-staring; he might just be staring off into space. He'd been using a plastic grocery bag to transport his beer, but apparently he was tired of that. I perked right up and said "Oh! I've even got some 'beer' fabric in my stash in the basement! I'll go find it!" Fortunately, I found it in the third tub I looked in, and then found some "peanut" fabric for the handles, and a nice, gold solid for the lining.

He knew which pattern he wanted as well - the Small size Grocery Bag pattern from Michelle Patterns (formerly Keyka Lou). In addition to the Large size versions, I'd made several of the Small, in various "animal" fabrics, specifically to use for packages of grocery store seems hell-bent on using plastic for at least SOMEthing in my shopping cart, even though I bring lots of cloth bags. So I made these specialized bags for meat items, and now I've got most of them "trained" to  use them as designed. This way, the meat packages aren't coming in contact with the rest of my groceries, but I don't wind up with plastic I have to reuse, recycle, or - horrors! - throw away! I've got bags made of cow fabric, seafood fabric, chicken fabric, etc. although I have had to use an occasional chicken bag for pork, etc.....ah well...nothing's perfect ;-)

Having found the beer fabric, I made short work of cutting and sewing and soon presented him with his new Beer Bag! Of course, I had to put a couple cans inside for pictures. Off to the shop he went, with his Beer Bag and some ice-cold brews.

I added a hanging loop so he can hang it on the fridge between uses.

With beer!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Labor of Love? Or Lunacy?

A couple of years ago, I made a "color book" for the child of my partner in an apron swap (see the post here, and scroll towards the bottom to see the "color book"). Even recently, she remarked how much her kids had enjoyed this gift, and that it helped them learn their colors. I've been wanting to make another one ever since. My little friend, Abby, is turning two on Thursday, so I thought that was a great time to present her with her very own "color book."
Of course...I HAD to make this second attempt a LOT more complicated - that's just the way I roll, haha. Soooo...more pieces, more pages, more effects. I spent weeks gathering the bits of fabric scraps I'd need. Instead of just the 6 color wheel colors (red, blue, green, yellow, orange, violet), I decided to add pink, brown, and black and white...just because I COULD. And a page for family pics, a page for Abby pics, and don't forget the cover pages.

Here is the cover and inside cover pages, before I put the book together. I created each page by piecing scraps, then adding "labels" and pictures from inkjet printer sheets I created in Word. I put two pages together RST with a layer of Warm & Natural, adding a flange with two large grommets on the binding side. I stitched all the way around, leaving an opening for turning, and then topstitched. My son, Ben, helped me apply the grommets - thanks, Ben!!! 
Cover - "Abby's Color Book"

Starring...Colorful Colors! (And Fishes!)
Abby LOVES fishes, and her daddy is a fisher extraordinaire - he even proposed to Abby's mom while fishing! So fishies had to be part of the book. I put one or more fishies on every page - many are from my precious Heather Ross scrap bag. Actually, "scrap bag" really isn't the right description for such precious (and expensive!) fabric, haha. Here are the "color" pages. Can you spot the fishies on each page???
Cool Blues!

Yummy Oranges!

I used TWO Heather Ross motifs on the Yellow page!

I love the cellphone fabric!

Robots, pups, white chocolate chips! And fishies, of course...

Sushi! And bugs in jars!

HR Ice cream truck, VW van, and goldfish in a bag. More chocolate chips!

French fish in a bowl, peanuts, and an outhouse!

Birdcages, Moola and Moo Cows, and Scissors

It took work to get all the pics of her family. See the BIG fishie on this page?

Abby, and Berenstain Bears!

How cute is "The End"?????
After I had all the pages completed, I stacked them up and inserted a length of narrow trim and hand-stitched it in a circle, then added a fabric bow. I sewed through all layers so little fingers couldn't untie the bow.

And here's the completed book with both bows in place, reading for gift-giving! I'll let you know how Abby likes it :-)
Open for your reading pleasure....

and closed!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Snakes In A Can!

Warning: Scary Post for Snake-A-Phobes ;-)

When I saw this tutorial for Tin Can Carrier on Sew, Mama, Sew!, I knew I just HAD to make it! Luckily, I have a friend with a 2-year old grandaughter (she turns 2 next week) that I can lavish my sewingness on :-)

I even had the same fabric to use! Since the project uses a large pineapple juice can, I figured I would have to get some rum or something to help use up the juice, although it's still just in my fridge for now - really got to get on that soon!

This project was extremely easy to make. I'm not sure how long it took, but it felt like I was done almost before I started. The only departures I made from the tutorial were to use different fabric (from the same line) for the handles and the circle covering the bottom of the can, and using a needle and thread to gather the bottom, rather than just taping the folds - I think this made the gathering more even, producing a cleaner finish. I also bought one of those "uncrimping" can openers to remove the lid, so there would be no sharp edges to hurt precious little fingers.

Check out these cute jars of bugs!

I also made two snakes to go with the can - also using more fabrics from the line. They are cute and silly and just perfect for little hands, and I was glad the author included the directions for them.

You just never know how the fruits of your sewing labors are going to be received, especially when it comes to kids! But when I gave my little friend, Abby, her gift-for-no-reason yesterday at lunch, she did exactly what I had hoped she would. She's getting pretty good at opening gifts, but then doesn't always know quite what to do after that. But with a little coaxing by me and her grandma, she stuck her little hand in the can and pulled out a...SNAKE! Grandma told her there was something more in the can, so she stuck her hand in again and pulled out...ANOTHER SNAKE! 

Clutching a snake in each hand, she giggled and grinned. Then she pushed one snake back into the can, followed by the other. Into the can went her little hand and pulled them out again, one by one. Back into the can, and back out - over and over. Then she started teasing us with the snakes, like they were striking and biting. She even stuck a snake under her momma's upstretched arm and said "Tickle!" She continued to play "Snakes In A Can!" all through lunch and then happily left the restaurant, can in hand, after having stuffed a couple other little things in it along with the snakes. 

Now who else has a little kid who wants a tin can carrier o' snakes? I'll have to buy more juice, and then of course, more rum....but I think I can make the sacrifice ;-)