October 2019 Recap

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This October, I’ve continued the gift bag project I started last month. In addition to roughly book-sized baggies I’ve tried a larger size for sweaters or other clothes. My thinking is that they could also be used as off-season storage bags or organizers for travel wear, for instance, and not just gift bags.

Personally I’ve really come to like stuffing my underwear and socks into small fabric bags when packing for a trip; they’re so much easier to handle in a larger bunch. Confinement into a baggie also prevents them from being scattered all over in the luggage should the ride be bumpy.

Here are three of the small prototypes:

Gift Bag Prototypes 3 Small Ones

October is undeniably a fall month here in New England. It’s time to start putting the garden to bed, although every year I am re-astonished of how long the growing season continues. Husband and I’ve enjoyed the season. We visited a farmstand to get some bulk supplies…

Farmstand Fall Pumpkin Display

Farmstand Apple Selection

…and pickled our own cukes:

Pickles Done

Although early October was cloudy, we have also had sunny days. The bees are still out, but chipmunks seem to have retired for their winter hibernation.

October Wild Flowers

And Thursday is Halloween! Are you ready for trick-or-treaters?

September 2019 Recap

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The biggest work-related news, perhaps, this month is that I was able to start blogging again. Also, this summer I rolled out a trial of free U.S. shipping on Etsy purchases of $35 or more. Let me know your thoughts on either!

Thanks to a huge, completely unrelated project, I didn’t do much sewing at all this summer. At the beginning of September I got back to it, and it felt really good! Among other things, I made two fabric mousepads and a large zippered document pouch as potential prototypes:

Fabric Mouse Pad Floral2

Fabric Mouse Pad Green1

Large Zippered Document Pouch Finished

Husband and I will be strenuously testing the mouse pads in the coming months. So far so good! I’ve also continued to churn out fabric gift bags in various sizes and types. I’m increasingly leaning towards using and re-using them instead of spending money on wrapping paper.

Gift Bags Wrapped

Reading was especially good this month, including this Earthsea omnibus illustrated by Charles Vess:

Current Reading The Books of Earthsea Complete Illustrated

At some point when I wasn’t looking, fall got here:

Red Maple Leaf on Grass

I hope you’ll enjoy the season! I know I will: we have candles and firewood stocked up and ready to go. 🙂

P.S. Happy Rosh Hashanah!

March 2019 Recap

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Since finishing my tax paperwork early (yay!) I’ve spent a lot of March working on various prototypes.

For one, after searching for an 8-point star pattern in vain, I tried making one myself. Getting the proportions how I wanted while retaining the symmetry turned out to be more challenging than I thought.

8-Point Star5

While this particular project is still ongoing, I also started on a storage bag one. I’ve got one potentially usable detail down and am still working on the rest. In contrast to previous years when I was still doing battle with paperwork at this time, it’s been lovely to be able to sew!

Inspired by Nikki’s tutorial at Tikkido, I made two bookmarks as gifts: a unicorn and a lobster. The images I found with an online search. The unicorn’s tail is made from cotton yarn and floss, the lobster’s antennae from wool yarn.

DIY Bookmark Unicorn

DIY Bookmark Lobster in Book

I don’t own a laminating machine, so I used a couple of layers of clear packing tape.

March started with an odd stop in the progress of spring. February had seemed to bring us an early spring with fine weather, but then we got several dumps of snow in succession. The last big one came on March 10th, and seems indeed to have been the last one.

Hopefully Last Snowfall

Husband and I took a short spring break trip to southern Ohio to see friends. I loved how much further along spring was there!

Spring Flowers in S Ohio

Unfortunately, I also got sick during the trip and have spent ten days (and counting) nursing a very stubborn cold.

Sick in Munchkin Terms

I hope that’ll be it for the rest of the year. At least it gave me the chance to read.

How was your March?

July 2018 Recap

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Traffic at my Etsy shop typically slows down almost to a halt in the summer months. This year was no exception.

Beach Feet Up

Rather than putting my feet up, though, it it allows me to do more time-consuming tasks like brainstorming and planning. I can also spend time experimenting with techniques and ideas plus make prototypes, or concentrate on home projects.

For example, I got back to the pieced placemat prototypes I started in February and worked on in March. I was a little too optimistic then; instead of being able to finish them, I got bogged down by tax prep and sundry spring paperwork.

I’m still very pleased with the pouches I made to use up some canvas leftovers, though. 🙂

Canvas Pouches Collage

On the personal side of life, we had Finnish and Canadian friends visit for a few days early in July. There was much rejoicing, and oh, so much good food. We celebrated Canada Day with HUGE lobsters!

Canada Day Dinner Jul 02 2018

It was incredibly warm and sunny – the raspberries ripened early.

I also started the very last of my Legion-related questing in WoW before Battle for Azeroth.

WoW Legion Silithus Warlock Crucibles Promise Jul 2018

I’m glad I took the time to play this month, for I have some scheduled busy waiting for me in August.

What’s your best July memory this year?

My Con or Bust Donation for 2018

Arts & Crafts, Geek out!

Here is my donation for Con or Bust‘s yearly online auction for 2018: a rainbow heart banner.

Rainbow Banner

Each heart measures approx. 3” / 7 cm, and there’s one of each color (purple, red, orange, yellow, green and blue). They have vibrant fronts made from a variety of cottons and cotton blends, and the backsides are made from a linen blend in a neutral greyish beige hue.

Rainbow Banner Back Fabric

All fabrics come from my scraps bin, which reduces waste, as does filling the hearts with clippings (thread and small waste fabric).

Rainbow Banner Hexagon

The hearts form an approx. 53” / 135 cm banner with the help of baker’s twine, with loops at both ends for hanging.

Because of the neutral backing, the banner looks best hung against a wall or other flat surface.

Rainbow Banner on Bookcase

However, as I strung it up for photos, I noticed that the hearts have a tendency to swivel, which would make a nice effect if hung somewhere where air currents can gently sway the banner.

Rainbow Banner on Door Frame

Bidding will start next Monday, April 09, 2018. Before that, you can have a look at the 2018 auction info, visit the Con or Bust website for more information or browse the 2018 auction tags.

Con or Bust, Inc., is a U.S.-based, tax-exempt not-for-profit organization that helps people of color/non-white people attend SFF conventions. Con or Bust isn’t a scholarship and isn’t limited to the United States, to particular types of con-goers, or to specific cons; its goal is simply to help fans of color go to SFF cons and be their own awesome selves. It is funded through donations and an online auction held annually.

As I’ve had firsthand experience of being on a miniature budget and having to limit my geeky hobbies accordingly, I decided to add Con or Bust to my list of things worthy of support. This is my third time donating.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Pieced Prototype Placemats: Progress on Quilting

Colors, Fabrics & Materials

I’m slowly chipping away at the small piecing / quilting prototypes that I started in February.

Piecing1 WiP Half Quilted Top View

My goal is to find a good-looking, neat, satisfying and fast way to machine quilt this kind of a pieced surface. I’ve figured it out halfway: I’ll sew diagonally across the small squares to create diamonds at 45-degree angle to the edge.

Half the battle is done! 🙂

February 2018 Recap

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This month started with finalizing and submitting the first tax-related return of the year. And there was much rejoicing!

And there was much rejoicing (yaaaaaaaay) – Monty Python & the Holy Grail via Malarsk on YouTube

I also had the (ahem) joy of hanging on the phone with my bank to try and solve a month-long issue. Fortunately their team did eventually solve the mystery glitch. I am so thankful – YAAAAY for tech support!

I’ve been working on small piecing / quilting prototypes (think placemats or table cloths) made from two different sizes of squares.

Piecing2 Ready Purple Blues Greens Yellows Reds

Unfortunately, a third type of paperwork issue slowed me down – I haven’t been able to proceed as fast as I’d like. That’s part of the creative life, though.

We only had two significant snowfalls in February. The morning after the first one, the yard looked like cotton batting or wadding. (Boy, I do indeed have a quilting brain on!)

Latest Snowfall Looks Lumpy

While sewing, I’ve been enjoying vocal folk hop by Tuuletar in my native Finnish. Blog posts on the group here and here.

Tuuletar Debut Album Tules maas vedes taivaal

And we saw Black Panther, and it was glorious!

Pieced Prototype Placemats

Colors, Fabrics & Materials

I’ve had a hankering to do some piecing and quilting lately, so prototypes it is! At this stage, I’ve been working on placemats made from two different sizes of squares.

Piecing Purple Blues Greens

The placemat colors are based on a rainbow, with each color moving diagonally across instead of the more static horizontal or vertical layout.

Piecing Purple Blues Greens Yellows Reds

After piecing the top on the first one (the photo above), I re-did some color selections for the second one.

Piecing2 Ready Purple Blues Greens Yellows Reds

Better! There are still improvements I could make, but it seems my stash is getting too low on the shades I’d need.

Even though I haven’t yet fully finished the placemats, I can tell that the math seems to work – the dimensions are suitable. That’s the most important part; colors I can always tweak ad infinitum. 🙂

Multicolor Coordinating Bag Tassel

Arts & Crafts, DIY, Fabrics & Materials

Do you ever make tassels? Back when I was playing with book bag prototypes, just on a whim I made a tassel for one of them:

Fuchsia Book Bag w Tassel Closeup

It’s attached to the top of the side seam, so it’s not really a bag charm.

Fuchsia Book Bag w Tassel

 

I made it with yarns that match the fabric colors, with fuchsia on the outside and pale yellow and two different greens on the inside.

I still like how the other shades peek through the hot pink. I’m just not sure how practical it is. Thoughts?

My Con or Bust Donations for 2017

Arts & Crafts, Geek out!

Here are my donations for Con or Bust‘s yearly online auction for 2017: two sleep masks.

One is a sleepy critter. It’s made from brown polyester felt lined with a soft linen blend fabric; there’s also felt applique (ears and nose) and embroidery (eyes).

Critter Sleep Mask Collage

The other has a stylized dragon embroidered as an interlace pattern on black polyester felt lined with navy blue cotton.

Dragon Sleep Mask Collage

Bidding will start in two weeks, on Monday, April 24, 2017.

Before that, you can have a look at the 2017 Auction Index (Google spreadsheet), visit the Con or Bust website for more information or browse the 2017 Auction Tags.

Con or Bust, Inc., is a U.S.-based, tax-exempt not-for-profit organization that helps people of color/non-white people attend SFF conventions. Con or Bust isn’t a scholarship and isn’t limited to the United States, to particular types of con-goers, or to specific cons; its goal is simply to help fans of color go to SFF cons and be their own awesome selves. It is funded through donations and an online auction held annually.

As I’ve had firsthand experience of being on a miniature budget and having to limit my geeky hobbies accordingly (i.e., not that much fun), I decided to add Con or Bust to my list of things worthy of support. This is my second time donating.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.