Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ali G, Anyone?

When you're this cool, you can afford not to be crafty.  Lola hires people to do her crafts.

WIP Wednesday

Do the Santa Curtains really have to go?

Yes.  The answer you're thinking is yes.  And you're right.  It's January.  But I'm short.  And the kitchen curtains are tall.  Talllllll.  I mean, obviously they are not freakishly tall or abnormally tall. Or even slightly tall.  The windows in my kitchen are at a very normal height.  But I have to kick the kitchen step stool over to the sink and haul myself up on it and reach out and pull the curtain rod off the wall and slide the Santa curtain off.  Get the picture now?  So.  The curtains are tall.  Last week I found myself once again in the world's best local fabric shop, Sew to Speak, as you do when there are dishes to be washed and laundry to be folded, and frankly, anything else you are avoiding, to pick up the fabric that was destined to be my new kitchen curtains.  As it turns out, Kara, from me and elna, had also seen the same amazing Melody Miller Ruby Star Pyrex fabric, that showcases everyone's great aunt's pyrex dishes, and was having similar dreams of it covering her kitchen.  I volunteered to pick some up for her as well.  I thought I knew what I was doing.  The following is fifteen minutes of text messages (with various totally-inappropriate sections deleted in case her mom reads this) between Kara and I, while poor April tried to remain calm and not stab me with her scissors:

Me: Did you still want a yard of the beige pyrex?
Kara: You know that deer fabric you showed on IG? I'll take a yard of that.
Me: and the pyrex?
Kara: And a quarter yard of the white pyrex
Me: Yes ma'am
(I tell April what to cut)
Me: I think I'm going to use the blue pyrex to make kitchen curtains
Kara: I would totally do that!
Kara: But our kitchen doesn't have windows
Kara: Tell April I say heeeeeeeeeeeey, girl :)
Kara: Do you think two yards would be enough for four chairs?
Me: Wait, TWO yards?
Kara: It's like an off white, yeah?
Kara: Yep
Me: Yep??
(I text a photo of the white print)
Kara: 2.5 yards?
Me: Like a beige?
Kara: Perfecto
(I tell April to maybe stop cutting)
Me: I bet two yards would do it.  For normal chairs
Me: April is measuring their chairs
Kara: Does your name have an E?
Me: Nope
Kara: You two are great!!!
Kara: Alli?
(April asks if she still wants the deer?)
Me: Did you still want the deer?
Kara: That's what I thought
Me: wait, what?
Kara: humm...
Kara: 1/4 yard of deer, dear!
(Me to April: she wants 1/4 yd of deer, dear.  Haha.)
(April's mom laughs.  Kara is hi-larious)
Me: And 2.5 yards of white pyrex?
Kara: Will you show me the blue?
(Me to April: DON'T CUT THE WHITE! She's crazy.)
Kara: I love having a personal fabric shopper
(I text a photo of the blue print)
Kara: I THINK I WANT BLUE!!! (sometimes she types in all caps.)
Kara: Just 2 yards though
Me: ok, to be clear: 2 blue, 1/4 deer
Kara: Yes, dear
Kara: hehe
Kara: I'm sooooooo funny
Me: ok, cutting!
(I tell April, just cut it.)
(April cuts.)

I think I have finally met my attention-span match.  April might ban both of us from the shoppe.

So. A week, one yard of blue (but what I actually think is called "Aqua"), and some red bias tape later, that curtain was on its way.  Generally I end up with eleventy-billion big ideas, and 42 projects actually in-progress, and occasionally, I sit down and just finish one of them.   For the curtains, by far the worst part is pinning them.  And really, that's not too horrible.

(God Bless the Clover Wonder Clips)

(I ought to clean the window sill off) (meh)

Start to finish, it takes probably less than 45 minutes to make new curtains. So you'd think I wouldn't have put the whole process off for so long.  The Santa curtain came down, and the new one went up, and my husband might not have noticed anything at all.  So that's one WIP down, 65 trillion to go.

President Bush did a drive-by...

There is nothing like a field trip to a fabric store with ten other women to make my husband cringe make you want to sew.  We packed up the craft-mobile last weekend and headed to Waynesville, to meet up with fellow ohcraft-ers from Cincinnati (Kara has posted a much better description over on me and elna.)  But first, we had lunch, like crafters do.  The Hammel House Inn, which is, of course, haunted, is probably the best restaurant in downtown Waynesville.  And possibly the only restaurant in downtown Waynesville.  As the menu boasts, President Bush was scheduled to stop there in 2004.  Due to scheduling conflicts, he "did a drive-by."  As a New Yorker, I admit that the phrase "drive-by" is generally not something that you put on the cover of your menus, but I imagine this "drive-by" was in fact pretty uneventful. 
And then, behold the Fabric Shack.  Which should be called the Fabric Palace.  There was yardage to be had.  And lots of it.  But I was more excited about the company.  It has been a bit of a slow start meeting like-minded people in Columbus.  For much of the time that I've lived here, I've also lived out of suitcases, either travelling or living abroad for research, or sequestered in my parents' kitchen, writing (because I have the attention span, and therefore work ethic, of a three year old).  When I finished grad school last fall, I was very relieved to finally feel like I was living full-time in one place, and excited to finally begin putting down roots.  So, fast-forward to this weekend, and I found myself at a table with some of the most talented ladies you'll meet. 
Its enough to make a quilter star-struck.  On the drive home, I admitted to feeling very small and un-crafty in such lofty company.  But I am grateful for the new friends, and the inspiration I came home with, and I am looking forward to our next meet-up, as I figure out what on earth I'm going to do when I grow up.
(It also seems that I somehow came home with two packs of Nancy Drew fabric...)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Post-Christmas Excitement

The day after Christmas is always a bit of a let-down.  But not this year.  Today I've been busy thinking about how much promise the coming year holds, and what I want to try to accomplish.  I'm actually pretty excited.  Sure, I'll be sad to start dismantling all the decorations, especially the Charlie Brown extravaganza that I've talked my husband into:
(A whole Charlie Brown Tree!)

But I'm excited to replace all the things I've made this past month with new ones (ok, maybe I'll leave the Santa curtains up a little longer.) (Santa Curtains!!)

I've never actually made curtains before, but at the last minute I realized I still had several yards of Santa fabric that I had planned to use for place mats that hadn't happened, and the dancing Santas were so jolly that they deserved to be *something*, so I took down the curtain in our kitchen that's been there for 6 six years, measured it, and made some curtains! It was a lot easier than I had anticipated, but it somehow came together pretty well, and I'm in love :)  The good news is, I have stacks of Amy Butler home dec fabric that I got in the super-clearance bin at Hancock's in Paducah that have been crying to be made into something crafty.
I also realized that all those charm packs I have been hoarding that I'm always drawn to but never seem to be able to use have a purpose as well: more last minute sewing.  I'm not a huge home-decorator in the sense of lots of things lying around matchy-matchy (except for holidays), but my mother-in-law couldn't stop exclaiming over things like the set I made out of one charm pack of a table runner, coasters, and a giant mug rug, which perfectly used up all 50 squares. 

I decided it's ok to be matchy-matchy at Christmas.  What else was I going to do with those squares?  I have to admit that all the decorations did make me feel, finally, like I could pull together a big family holiday somewhat successfully.  Because of where we live, and the fact that husband usually has to work in the morning, everyone comes to us, which is wonderful but also panic-inducing.  I've always felt a bit stressed out, worried that the food will be terrible, the dogs will be crazy, the gifts totally off the mark.  But it works out ok, and everyone has a good time.  But while I was running around in the kitchen yesterday, I kept catching glances of things like bunting (bunting!) and place mats and curtains, and thinking, I can do this!  Life in grad school has been filled with so many feelings of inadequacy and failure, for so many years, that it's kind of awesome to think, I CAN make ______!  Nerdy, sure, but such a change of pace and emotion. 
And the dogs behaved!  They did not knock over the toddlers, or pee on the rug. (not once!)
And they are exhausted.
Lola dog
Rosie dog
These dogs have the right idea: relax and enjoy life a little.  Instead of that feeling of sadness that Christmas is over, I'm actually looking forward to time to figure out what I want to do in life.  I have been thinking the past few days of something the Pastor said at Christmas Eve services: Christmas is not a single day or season, but an entire year.  The anticipation we feel about impending Christmas each year, and all that accompanies it, should really be an excitement we feel all year long, grateful for our friends and family, thankful for time together, excited about what is in the weeks to come.  Which is what I intend to do.  Which is why I am having this for dinner:

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

And then it was Christmas...

So.  I am, for the first time in 26 years, not a student.  And it is fantastic :-)
I completed grad school in November, slept for several days, woke up and decided to start sewing for Christmas.  I've always sewn and made presents, but for the past decade it has been largely a means of procrastination and thus slightly tinted with feelings of guilt.  There was generally something more important that I should be doing, but nothing as fun as late night binding or pressing seams open.  (that's how boring most of grad school has been.)  But I got that email from my committee approving my dissertation and didn't look back. 

First there was the table runner.

(that the dogs smashed)

Then there were stockings.

And bunting.

And dogs wrestling on top of bunting.

More table runners.


Towels. (Towels!)

More dogs on quilts.
(It's ok because I'm wagging my tail, right?)

Two days left, and a few more projects to go.  But this is the first Christmas in a long time that I have not been recovering from surgery, packing to leave the country for months, or stressed out about deadlines.  And it is wonderful.