Envelope Project

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Scrappy Experiment

My latest experiment in using up scraps:

In case you haven't guessed, it's fabric tape.  It was relatively easy to make.  I'll have to check back with Donna to see if it made it to Christmas without coming undone!!

Here's the link to the tutorial I used if you're interested in trying.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Book Nook

Show of hands . . .

How many of you listen to Ricë Freeman-Zachery's podcast over at the Voodoo Cafe?  Anyone?  Anyone?

Well, I'm giving it two thumbs up.  I discovered Ricë's podcast a couple of years ago and I totally enjoy her conversations with fellow creative types . . . all kinds of creative types.  It's like listening to a conversation you'd like to have with someone.  She's unpretentious and doesn't interject her "oh, I know just what you mean" and then make it all about herself and her art.  It's refreshing to actually hear an interview that's about the interviewee.  She has fun and she gets people to relax and tell their stories.  It's perfect - I like hearing stories.

So, why am I telling you this???

I just finished reading Ricë's book "Destination Creativity" about the year she and the EGE (you'll have to visit her website to figure out EGE) took off and explored art retreats.  The book is a total easy read for those of you not inclined to sit down and read because there's just too darn much quilting/creating that needs to get done.  But, I like to read and so I did sit down and turned the pages and savored the trips.  Each art retreat I would say to myself "lucky, lucky girl!!".  Hmm . . . I wonder if I could take off a year and just go make some art all across the country.  I can see the dream and oh, it's looking lovely!

If you don't have time to sit a spell and read about the wonderful art retreats that are all over this country (and I'm sure, the world), then spend just a few minutes looking at the wonderful pictures (taken by the EGE).  You'll want to start saving all your loose change and go out and try one, or two!!  The only featured one in the book that I have attended is the International Quilt Festival in Houston.  I discovered it about nine years ago and I've been hooked ever since.  I've taken a few classes there and it was surprisingly FUN!!  Through this book I discovered that we (Houston) host another big retreat, "Adorn Me".  I knew nothing about this one, so I'm excited to learn that it's in my own backyard.  Of course, it's jewelry related and so far I've been able to stave off the jewelry addiction!!  We'll see. 

After reading this book, I'm itching to step out of my comfort zone and go meet up with some strangers in a strange city and make some art.  I know I'll be thinking "I'm not in the same league", but then like everything else, baby steps, girl . . . baby steps!!

So, run, don't walk, over to the Voodoo Cafe and listen to some of the podcasts.  Then head on over to your local B&N (or Amazon) and purchase this book.  It's a lovely addition to any creative library.  If you like the podcasts, you'll love this book because it's written in Ricë's voice and you can hear her speaking while you're reading. 


Thursday, September 22, 2011

All Things Japanese

When I arrived home from work on Tuesday I had a lovely parcel from Japan at my house.  What a nice surprise since I wasn't expecting anything.  It turns out my nephew (who lives in Japan) and his new bride sent B-guy and I some thank you presents for helping out at their wedding this past July.  I know . . . I wish I could say we went to Japan for the wedding, but they got married in Kansas in my brother and SIL's backyard.  (See header picture - that's their backyard!!)  It was beautiful!!

Miyako's parents were able to come to the wedding and although none of us spoke Japanese and their English was pretty limited, we had an awesome time.  Once everyone returned to Japan, Miyako and her Mom went shopping and they surprised me with this package of fabric.  I LOVE it!! 

Oops, I see I forgot to take pictures of B-guy's present, but the fabric was just so much more interesting!!  I'll post a picture of his present next time!!  Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Some Girls Collect Shoes . . .

Me?  I'll take a pair of nice, comfortable flats and several pairs of running shoes anyday and I'll be happy.  It's obvious to me that shoes aren't my thing.  I did go into Nordstroms a few years ago to see what a couple thousand dollar pair of Jimmy Choos looked like.  My impression . . . UNCOMFORTABLE!!!  Sorry, Carrie Bradshaw.  On the way out the door I looked at a $5,000 purse.  Oh, the leather was beautiful and soft, but the purse was HUGE . . . really, you need a purse that big??!!  I'm too practical to spend $5,000 on a purse.  So, shoes and purses aren't what excite me. 

My excitement comes with a smaller price tag and it provides me with endless hours of pleasure and enjoyment.  (Hey, get your head out of the gutter!)  I'm talking about BOOKS, lovely, wonderful books.  So, when I need a quick pick-me-up, I head to the bookstore or Amazon.com and I tend to purchase more than one item.  On Saturday, my lovely postman delivered these beauties to my door.  Thank you, Terrance!

This book was written by two guys.  I'm not sure if I'll like it or not, but the finger was trigger happy the day I made my online purchases, so I'll let you know. . .

And since I ordered all of these books from Amazon.com, I just had to have me some instant gratification.  So at lunch one day last week, I walked to the bookstore and purchased these lovelies:

I feel a little cheated on this magazine.  It's my own fault, though.  I didn't pay any attention to the fact that someone had taken the insert out that had all the patterns.  But the really irksome part is that since this is a UK publication, the US$ amount is totally overpriced.  3.50 GBP does not translate to $9.25 USD, yet that is what I paid for this magazine.  Ugh!  Oh, well, it's still cheaper than a pair of Manolo Blahniks!!

On Friday I realized that my envelope a day project had been neglected.  I consulted my spreadsheet (because we accountants love our spreadsheets) and lo and behold I started the project in October 2010.  I am coming up on 1 year and I should have 365 envelopes completed.  Do I??  Uh, no.  Apparently I was busier at work than I thought and dug myself a nice hole.  On Friday I still had 197 envelopes to do in 19 days.  Yikes!  The postage alone will be around $100.  I've managed to draw 10 new envelopes yesterday and today.  And as much as I'd like to push through and get it done, I think I'll admit defeat and just keep plugging along without killing myself. 

So, this weekend has gone by way too fast.  There was some sewing, some drawing, some reading, some swimming, some running and some napping.  Tomorrow, the rat race begins again, but it's better than the alternative.  And who knows, maybe one day, I'll break down and try on the Jimmy Choos before I judge them too harshly.  Until then, I'll just keep curling up with my reading and dream of what might have been.  Oh, if only I hadn't dropped out of that art class in college . . . heavy sigh!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

So Many Ideas

I wonder if it's a good idea, late at night, to scheme up a business plan that includes staying home and being a creative type 24-7??!!  Yeah, I know, probably not a good idea, right?  I mean, the mortgage still needs to be paid , groceries need to be bought and electricity might be a handy, dandy thing to have if I want to fire up the sewing machines!!  But, still, sometimes, it's nice to dream.

So, in my parallel universe that takes place while I'm on my 8 hour nap each night, I am the spunky, witty, charming creative type who's living the dream.  (I'm pretty sure I need to stop listening to creative podcasts while I'm at work.  Talk about a downer!!)

And we're back . . . to reality . . . and this is what I did at work today.  Shh, don't tell!!

Okay, maybe a couple of these I did before today. 

I'm almost through reading this book and trust me, if Sister Madonna wasn't a nun, I'd think she was exagerating part of the tale.  But, I did find something useful to help me in my running.  One of her tricks to keep her mind occupied during the run portion of her triathlons is to write haiku.  I've written several on my runs, but I swear I cannot remember them when I get home.  Well, usually I remember them enough to repeat to myself, but then I don't write them down and then poof, they're gone.  Well, I'm trying to write them down now so I'm incorporating them into my envelope project.  Kill two birds, blah, blah.

And last, but not least, here's the latest installment of the pillowcase project:

Here's the first dozen.  I hope to make at least another couple dozen. 

Okay, it's late, but before I can go live the creative life in my parallel universe, I've discovered a triathlon on Universal Sports and I must go watch.  I'm guessing there'll be some yawning at work tomorrow!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Charmed, I'm sure!

Sure, it was supposed to be a three day weekend for me, but I decided that taking yesterday off for my 9-80 might not have been the wisest thing to do.  So, today I went to the office to do the final tax return of the 2010 filing season.  Yay!  I feel better about the start of Monday now and I have four entire days to figure out how to e-file in several new states.  Can you say "yuck"??!!  I'm sure that project will have me tearing my hair out before it's all said and done.  After this week, I hope it's over . . . oh, but wait . . . there's the little matter of two state audits, one Canadian audit and a whole bunch of transfer pricing reports that need to be written.  Yikes! 

So, on my day off yesterday, B-guy and I went to a local quilt show.  In comparison to the IQF it was quite small, but some of the quilts were stunning.  I loaded my pockets with cash and I was in the mood to shop.  But, I didn't find anything that I just had to have.  Hmm . . . what's wrong with that picture?!  The closest I came was to purchasing a $150 iron.  B-guy had me talking to the lady because he felt sorry for her as no one was in her booth.  So, being the questioning person that I am, I had her giving her spiel and before you know it, a crowd (okay, a few people) had gathered and she was making sales.  I no longer felt the need to keep this lady in groceries and me in a pile of laundry that needed ironing.  No thank you!!  I guess I'll save my money for the IQF and just go wild there!

Tomorrow I will start (and hopefully finish) the quilt that's on the longarm.  It's the 2nd quilt for my nephew that his MIL wanted me to quilt.  After that I have my own quilt ready to be quilted.  This is the charm pack leftovers.  I'm liking the way it's turning out.

Here's the fabric for the next batch of yoga bags.  I think they will turn out nicely.

A few weeks ago I received these little jewels in the mail.  I just couldn't resist when I got the email from Green Fairy Quilts and these charm packs were on sale.  A little retail therapy goes a long way to make a girl happy after a long day at the office.

And so it goes for another week.  In addition to the sewing, I've managed to swim a couple miles, run quite a few miles and bike some miles on the trainer.  Monday morning boot camp starts bright and early at 5:15 a.m. so we'll see how that goes.  I have a tri coming up in October and after that it's all about the half marathon training.  It's really hard to enjoy the running when it's still hovering around 100 degrees here.  And treadmill training just doesn't hack it.  Oh, well. 

Until next time . . . happy sewing!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Off the Grid

It's been a busy couple of months for me so I've been off the grid a bit.  This should have been a 3-day weekend for me, but alas and alack, it's busy season and I worked Saturday and today.  Ho-hum.  Boring, boring!!  But, in less than 2 weeks another tax season is over and maybe I can get down to some serious sewing!!  Ha!

I have managed to eek out a little bit of sewing . . .

While my niece and her husband were here earlier this summer on vacation my niece's husband got busy with the Accuquilt GO cutter and cut out these squares for me to piece.  I pieced and quilted it after they were gone and now I'm going to send this to them for their first baby (whenever that may be).

My nephew and his wife are having their 2nd baby later this month and his MIL asked me to quilt a few quilts for her.  This is the 1st of the 2 baby quilts she sent to me.

The 2nd baby quilt is loaded on the longarm and is ready for some magic! Hmm . . . might be there awhile!!

Leftover charm pack squares were pieced into 9 patch blocks and will now be cut up to make a D9P quilt.

This past week Donna from Donna's Lavender Nest and I met up for lunch at La Madeleine and to exchange our Christmas presents.    My Santa Sack is filling up.  Can you say "Exciting"?!!  It is so much FUN getting together and of course coming back with presents.  I love the wrapping theme going on here and I must say my presents to her do not look this nice at all.  I told her that we are just going to have to keep this exchange thing going until I can master the art of presentation!!  Thankfully I've got a few more months to get it down.

And there you have it . . . not a lot, but I think I might be back in the game.