manderly|rose on etsy

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Studio Tips #2 - Safe Pets

Happy Sunday everyone. I hope all of you survived the holiday and are settling in to celebrate the coming new year. How many of you got new toys with which to create? I've seen on Twitter some sewing machines and a Cricut that Santa delivered across the land, oh the lucky folks with their new toys!

I got my Janome Memory Craft 11000 serviced for Christmas. Once a year, servicing is a good thing. She got oiled, cleaned, tweeked, and she is thrilled. Running perfectly! Not that she was running badly before, as I keep on top of the internal cleaning as best I can. Now she's just extra perfect and ready for a whirlwind of sewing that is coming up this week :-)

Today's tip involves pets in the sewing room. I don't know if dogs are as curious, but it never fails, Cleo and Max want to know exactly what I'm doing, and they must be in the middle of it all when I'm doing it. Sewing of course creates things like small pieces of snipped fabric and stabilizer and loose threads. You want to be sure to keep such things away from our pets, so that they don't eat them. Eating them can lead to vet bills, and who wants that?

I keep an empty (and washed out) soda can on my table. In it goes snipped threads, little pieces of stabilizer and fabric, and used needles. The hole in the top is a good size to let things in, but not let them out. Cleo often knocks it over, I've not had anything fall out yet.

I also keep my pin cushion handy so that pins go directly back into it.
When I'm done, I put it back in my sewing box, as it's a nice size for kitties to grab with their mouths and try to run with. Pins in pets mouths, not a good thing!

Lastly, to help manage my snipped threads, I have recently begun using the scissors built into my machine. What a wonderful invention that I never realized I could use for sewing (silly me, thought it was an embroidery function). Now the machine cuts most of my threads, nice and short, and I have eliminated a lot of long threads that need to be snipped. If your machine does that, you should get in the habit of using it. Excellent invention :-)

That's it for tips today. I'm off to cut out some things and get moving on samples I need to have done by next Saturday. They are samples for classes I will teach this session at work. Have a few things to make :-)

Have a great Sunday!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukka, Feliz Navidad, Happy Kwanzi

Greetings! This is Max and Cleo taking a moment out of our very busy schedules to wish you and yours all the holiday greetings that we could think of. We hope that everyone has a safe, happy holiday, whichever one you celebrate!

We also wanted to share a photo that was sent to the mama yesterday. She showed it to us and said that this is why we don't get one of those pretty Christmas Trees are our house (we voted for one, but she has the oposable thumbs and we couldn't figure out how to put it together.) It is a picture of her friend Elizabeth's kitten enjoying their tree. Now we know we would have no problem doing this, and it looks like so much fun! That mean ole mama...aren't trees made for climbing?

We really don't understand why she is so stubborn about it! She said this pic is the kitten toward the top of the tree. How cool is that??

Monday, December 15, 2008

Etsy Bloggers Street Team Tuesday

Hello all! As a member of Etsy Bloggers Street Team, I must do three things each month. First, I must write a bit about the monthly featured blogger. You'll see a link each month to that shop on the right side of the screen. This month is Spotted Cow Soaps, handcrafted in the heart of Vermont. We're talking some of my favorite things here, with all handmade soaps, lotions, oils, scrubs, how wonderful! Many of her things intrigue me, I can just sit here and imagine how wonderful they smell and feel! Check out her shop, and check out her cool blog. Right now, it is snowing in her blog. You'll also find her blog in my list of blogs I follow. Enjoy!

Second, as a member of Etsy Bloggers Street Team, I must participate in Blog Carnival. This month, the assignment is to talk about favorite gift ideas in my shop, or others. I'll start with mine!
- Key Tags and Bag Tags make excellent stocking stuffers, and you can find those in my shop! They also come in handy if you happen to be giving someone a car for Christmas (you know, you can put the key on it?). Each is personalized how you want it - initial, name, address, phone, website - if it fits, I'll do it. I did a giveaway for these over Thanksgiving, and folks seemed quite pleased. Even sold a few! Not bad for a newer shop :-)

Now let's look at some other shops...
- You will find a large variety of handmade cards for all occasions at Cards By Jenna. I have a weakness for cards, I especially like blank cards with amazing images on the front for anytime use. They make great gifts. I also love handmade holiday cards. Giving one is fun, getting one warms the heart.

- Heather Knitz continues to intrigue me. I actually first noticed her on Twitter. She does it all, and she does a lot of it with fabric and covered buttons. I have made covered buttons since I took up garment sewing, sometime around 8 or 10, but never made any like these! Not to mention, they aren't used as buttons! Check out her shop to see what I mean...excellent stocking stuffers.

- How could I not run across PurrPrints? Yup, it's all about the kitties there, with a few non-kitty items. She also donates a portion of her sales. Check out her shop for more info.

Just a few shops that intrigue me, and have many wonderful gift giving options.

Let's see, the third thing I must do as an Etsy Bloggers Street Team member is participate in roll call. I'm off to do that now!

Manic Monday

Announcement: I am now on ArtFire!

I have a small amount of merchandise available at my new ArtFire shop. Yes, I still have an Etsy shop as well. Those addresses are:

I will be adding more merchandise to both after the first of the year. I have some new items I would like to bring in, and have just not had time to make up.
I have lowered the shipping prices for most of my items, as I don't really want to profit from shipping. Now that I've mailed a few things, I have a better feel for the costs associated, and I have reflected that with the lower rates.

I went to the post office today to mail a key tag...then I got back in my car and drove to a smaller post office down the road. The one I went to had, I'm not kidding, 30+ people in line (I stopped counting at 30), and only THREE CLERKS. That's not bad you might say, except the have room for six. Nobody looked like they were in the mood to hang out in line and make the best of it, so I turned around and left.

The next post office I tried had 15 in line. The key to that one is that they have a tiny parking lot, so not that many people can park there, so less people inside. I was in and out in about 10 minutes. As a plus, they were serving cookies, soda, and apple juice. The whole environment was so pleasant! Especially compared to down the road. In fact, the lady behind me in line commented that she'd seen me leave the other on, and had followed me over, and how much better it was there.

According to the radio report I heard, today is the busiest mailing day of the year. The workers told us that the next three days are the busiest delivery days. I guess it's nice to see that there is a business out there that is going strong.

Kitty update - Her name is Ally, and I have decided to take her in. She is declawed, so that could pose some interesting wrestling with my fully clawed kitties, and everyone will be flea treated before she comes. Sometime early January. Just what I need, a third cat. But, I'd just never forgive myself if she ended up somewhere bad.

Max and Cleo are in denial, they just ignore me when I tell them about it. Boy will they be mad at me! Max was mad when I brought Cleo home, for about two months. I'm hoping that Ally will be a good match for Cleo so that she will have someone to play and wrestle with who will A)enjoy it; B)keep up with her; C)keep her attention off of Max, who really is an old fart set in his ways for such a young one!

Who is ready for Christmas? I keep hearing people talk about how they have last minute shopping to do. Well, there are still 9 shopping days, or 10 if you shop at the gas station on Christmas Day. Car air freshener anyone?

I've got to finish with the order of hankies I'm working on for a gal I know. Her daughter is getting married, and she had me do three monogrammed hankies. One for her daughter, one for her mom, one for her MIL. The mom's hankies also have the monogram and wedding dates of their kids and grand kids in the corners. I found amazing blanks to use, and came up with a really nice embroidery design and layout. I will take pics of them to put on my Etsy and ArtFire sites so that I can offer more variety to my customers. Then I will pack them up in their little gift boxes (included with purchase) and have them ready for delivery. Sure glad I don't have to mail them, ha ha! Who wants to be at the post office? NO ONE!

Max is trying to get between me and my keyboard, and it really being a pain, so I'm going to run. Oh jeeze, he's just gone behind the monitor, I don't trust him back there, he likes to chew cords...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Studio Tips

Beginning today, I will provide tips and techniques for a variety of things "creative" on Sundays. Why? Knowledge is Power :-) I'm calling them Sunday Studio Tips, and I'm including a picture of my studio (before I loaded it up with all my stuff) so you can see where I work, (when I'm not working of course!) I love the pink and black. I worked with the nice man at the Benjamin Moore counter for quite a while before he was able to custom blend the perfect pink for me.

Today's tip comes from my own experience of the care and feeding of my Janome Memory Craft 11000. It's a wicked cool machine that treats me really well, if I return the favor.

Tip #1 - Cleanliness is not only next to Godliness, it can Simplify Your Life!
Machines, no matter the brand, need to be clean in order to work properly. Every time you take a stitch, lint and dust move through your machine. Fabrics and threads hold dust and produce lint like you would not believe! This week, I didn't clean the bobbin casing out until bobbin #3 on a project I was working on...WRONG! It was NASTY in there! Thus, today's tip.

When you change a bobbin, take some time to clean. Pop out the bobbin and use the tiny brush that came with your machine, a small paint brush, or a make up brush, and wipe out the area that the bobbin sits in.

A note on blowing into your machine to remove lint - DON'T! That will only make the dust and lint move around and into places you can't reach. You should also stay away from canned air unless you have the type made for sewing machines, and you have been shown how and where to use it. Don't ever use the canned air for computers, it's too strong for your delicate machine.

Get out your handy dandy screwdriver that also came with the machine, and pop off the plate. It's OK, you won't hurt anything. Continue the cleaning process as far as the brush will reach.

Next, pop out your bobbin casing and clean under it. It should just lift out, but if you've never done this before, look at how it sits in there so that you can put it back exactly the same way.

Brush around the needle area to get anything that has built up down there. If you have an automatic needle threader, clean that too.

Does the left side of the machine open, you know, the side where your thread runs through? If so, use your brush in there too. You'd be amazed what can build up. Not all machines open up like that, so just do what you can.

Your machine will love you, and in return it will sew nicely for you!

You should also get your machine serviced once a year, or twice if you're someone who sews in large volume. Servicing will also make your machine love you. Mine is going in for service this week.

Tip #2, The Importance of Thread
The type of thread you use will make or break a project, and can also wreak havoc with your machine. The wrong thread for a project, as well as old thread, can cause jams, breaks, and thread nests.

Thread has a shelf life. I usually use mine before it starts to break down, but in general, thread is really only good for a few years. One it begins to break down, it will lose it's sheen and strength.

I use cotton thread for sewing and rayon for embroidery. I don't care for poly threads, as they tend to be more linty. My new machine has never had anything but, and it seems to be quite happy.

Threads also come in a variety of weights. Make sure you are using the appropriate weight for your project. For example, machine embroidery thread is smaller than sewing thread. Machine embroidery bobbin thread is even smaller. Quilting threads come in different weights depending on the loft of your project and technique you are using. Make sure you read your pattern thoroughly for thread recommendations. If you don't know what to buy, ask. You'll be happier in the long run.

Come back next week for the next set of tips! Is there something you'd like to know about? Leave a comment with your question, and I'll see if I can answer it (or find the answer for you!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Is it really December 10? Where did 1-9 go?

Who out there still has way too much sewing/crafting/creating to do in preparation for the holidays? ME TOO!

My stomach decided to boycott the rest of my body over the weekend. It came on slowly beginning on Sunday, and by Monday night I was just plain miserable. Really slowed me down, although I did try to get some things done. Now I have all this catching up to do. I think it was brought on by too much yummy food. Yes, I overindulged in a few favorites. Heavy sigh. Funny how the body decides when enough is enough!

Today at work, we are contemplating making potholders. Something quick and easy that customers can come in and say "oh, I need to make those!" We love when they do that :-)

I need to get myself situated tonight and carve out a plan of attack for the rest of the week. Packages must be in the mail next week, and I'm not really ready for that. Must be ready for that!

Cleo was a naughty girl this morning, (surprise), attacking my sofa again. Pulled the blanket all the way off the back so she could lay on the velvet and sink her claws in. I fear that I lost patience, and told her I now understand how she ended up at the shelter, and did she want to make a return trip?

Now say what you will about animal intelligence, but a couple minutes later she got down and snuggled up against me. Hmmmm, I'm sure it's just a ploy to make me think I got through to her...

Max of course is a perfect angel in comparison. One wears a devil suit, one wears a halo, hmmm... I think I need coffee.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Where's Lucy?

Had dinner at a friend's house last night. She has two dogs, one a Jack Russell named Lucy. Quite a character. Races around, so much energy. Through the course of the evening, dogs went out a few times, normal. At one point we realized, Lucy wasn't in the house. Uh oh...

Checked out back, no Lucy. There was however, the slimmest chance she could have gotten out under the gate. So we proceeded to walk the neighborhood, my friend in the back ally area, me out front, calling for Lucy. We just couldn't find her.

Now, my friend has this great house overlooking the water. So, I walked the seawall, looking into the darkness for any sign of white in the water. I did NOT want to find her there. I did find a buoy, a McDonald's bag, and some seaweed. I don't know what I would have done if I'd seen Lucy bobbing out there.

Neighbors joined the hunt, and it lasted a while. Neighbors who were having a big party next door even joined in! Lucy is well liked in the neighborhood. Finally, my friend said she was going to get her car and drive around. I went in the house to find out which way she was headed, and there was Lucy, in the garage, and my friend was so relieved. If I'd have had a tranquilizer, I'd have given her one.

She had been in the garage the entire time. Didn't bark, didn't whine, just out there, hanging out, listening to the commotion. She was probably imagining us running around, and how we would tell my friend's kids and husband how we'd lost her. I think Lucy has a dark side.

Lucy had some 'splainin to do!

After we settled back down, Lucy curled up and went to sleep on my friend's lap. Must be nice to be a dog!

Oh ya, while we were outside, the other dog got up on the counter and ate some cookies. Quite a night!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Me vs the 6 Needle

I got to use the Baby Lock 6 needle embroidery machine today. SOOO diferent from my Janome 11000. I got lots of threading practice, what with 15 color changes and all!

Each machine has its own personality, each its own little process to follow. I growled at it, I snarled at it, I whined, but I eventually got the tea towel embroidered with a Christmas motif. Whew!

I hope to own one someday, it really is cool and so fast!

Kitty update: they are antsy for the weekend, wanting me to be home with them all day.

I have asked them what they think of bringing in the other kitty, but they are still thinking about it. They are not sure they want to share. We'll see, stay tuned...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Wild Wednesday

Or not...actually, I work on Wednesday, nothing to wild about that. I need to pick some fabrics for my samples soon, for classes that I'm teaching after the first of the year. I'm going to teach a basic men's shirt class (very cool Kwik Sew pattern, looks like a bowling shirt), One Seam Pants (no side seam, an amazing pattern by Louise Cutting), a "green" grocery market bag, and the Sophia Bag by Amy Butler. I taught the Birdy Sling bag by Amy Butler a few weeks back, that was fun. I enjoy the sewing classes. Who knew when I would help my home ec teacher so many year ago, that I'd one day teach sewing?

Along with that I must get moving on Christmas gifts. Long list, little time. Can't share that though, prying eyes you know :-)

I have an order for wedding hankies that I'm quite excited about, we finalized design tonight. Yay! I've got a host of other things to do to, other sewing projects, and of course making the key tags that my blog giveaway winners won. Check out my site to see what the winners are so excited about,

I try to do as much as possible to personalize everything. Those are the touches that make things truly unique and your own, ya know?

So technically, if I tried to do everything in one day, it WOULD be a wild Wednesday! I am happy to say that my list is shorter, I did have a very productive day.

Kitty news today is slow. They watched me do laundry, fold laundry, put away laundry. Max tried to chew the power cord for my laptop while I was working on the embroidery files. He has a special ability to grab hold of my USB gizmo with his teeth and pull it out. He does that with the dongle for the software too. He gets a light pop on the nose and a "bad boy" for that. One day he's going to wipe out my work, and I'll be sooooo upset.

Max hates the laptop and the telephone. He tried chewing them, getting between me and them. He is such a silly boy! Tonight he was at the cord and usb thing again. One day, I fear he will be electrocuted, and I'll have an awful time explaining that at the vet!

By the way, I watched the Biggest Loser, and I still don't like the blue team. I can't believe how amazing they all look!

I hope someone out there has a wild Wednesday!

Tuesday, Tuesday...

Greetings! The holiday weekend is over! I will be notifying blog giveaway winners shortly, yay for the folks who entered! I got so caught up in making key tags this weekend, I even made a new one for me. Yup, I gotta cool key tag.

I made a new banner tonight, I kind of like it. IF I were to put up my Christmas tree and and all the accompaniments, it would be quite Victorian looking, with beads, glass ornaments, all in solid pastels with a bit of burgundy and silver mixed in. All are round glass ornaments, except for a few that have been given to me over the years that fit the Victorian mold.

WHY will I not have a tree for the sixth year in a row? KITTIES. Six years ago, Max was a kitten, and well, he was an expert climber, having been born in the attic and all. Once he hit about 15 pounds, his climbing days came to an end (he's 20 pounds now). Just when I thought maybe I could have a tree again, along came Cleo.

Cleo fancies herself a cross between a ninja and the cool guys in Mission Impossible. She can scale a chair, bench, sofa, window screen, etc, in maximum speed. She actually can climb sideways around my old, nubby bench (I don't encourage this behavior).

Given that I have all tile floors, I don't think a tree is a good idea. So, I have to enjoy my shop banner instead!

Have a great week, and as I come upon cool crafty ideas for the season, I'll try to post them!

Max as a Kitten, about 8 weeks

Max today, 6 years

Cleo today, about a year, year and a half

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cyber Monday

Blog giveaway, drop a note, enter to win a key tag! Winners will be contacted this week.
Happy Monday. Always a Manic Monday (still love that song after all these years). I get to go to the post office today to mail key tags! Thanksgiving shoppers were kind to me, have a few to go out. They are fun to make, and these turned out really nice.

Because my key tags are totally personalized, I had one gal who asked for her address and phone on the back, and another who asked for her website. I did both in a round design that matches the key tag, both turned out lovely.

Today is a work day, so I'll miss out on all the Cyber Monday promo mayhem. Promoting the shop does take a block of time, but it's cool all the new people I "meet" and "see".

Many of them can be found in the blog list to the right. Many interesting Etsy shops there. Be sure to check them out :-)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

One day until Cyber Monday!

FREE SHIPPING on all items in my Etsy shop, plus doing a blog giveaway.

Drop a comment if you'd like to be in the running for a personalized Key Tag. I'll contact winners next week to determine thier "personalization". They are great tags, acrylic, personalized to suit you!

Free Shipping and Blog Giveaway end at MIDNIGHT MONDAY DECEMBER 1, 2008


Happy Sunday! I got a few Etsy orders this weekend, yay! Washcloths and Key Tags. So exciting! I also got a local order for three, THREE wedding hankies! One for the bride to be, and one each for the grandmothers. I'm working on designs for them right now, because all my wedding hankies are customized for the buyer.

I still have a drumstick left in the fridge from Thanksgiving. Should have gotten some gravy and buscuits to go with it...boy that sounds good! Grocery shopping will happen very soon, there's not a lot other than the drumstick and leftover speghetti in there :-)

Today of course is To Do List day, so much to do this week...I fear a second page is needed! Make key tag for customer, make key tag for giveaway in Jacksonville, work on designs for wedding hankies, cut out a pattern, get shipping stuff ready, do laundry, go to grocery, buy cat food, more laundry, trim Max's nails, trim the rest of Cleo's nails (tranquilizers anyone?), wait I lost my other list...

I've gone the route of eliminating my landline and using my cell phone as my only phone. It's kind of scary, so I did it on a temporary type basis, so I can get the landline back if I want to. We'll see how that works out.

Kitty Update - Friends of mine have asked me to take in thier daughters kitty. Kitty lives with the mom right now, and kids visit it a few times a week. The mom is moving, so kitty needs a new home. My friends, and the girls, have asked me to take her in. That way the girls can visit kitty anytime.

Now, we know that Max and Cleo have a unique relationship. They tolerate one another, they fight for my attention. I don't know what a third kitty in the mix might do. I really need to think on this one. I will one day be the old lady with all the cats, the one the neighbor kids fear, I just know it!

Today was "trim the nails" day. Cleo does NOT stand for that, so I had to kind of grab her and hold her foot. I got one whole foot done, two on the other foot. Sadly, she pulled really hard and jumped while I was clipping one, and yes, OUCH! She looked like one angry kitty!

I held her close, scratched her chin, rubbed her paw, apologized A LOT, and she just sat there, staring straight ahead. When I let her go, she hopped away from me (as only a kitty can do), then hopped back at me, stood on her back legs, and HIT ME! She popped me three times with her front paw, then hopped away again. Then, as if she needed to take a breath or something, she paused, hopped back, and then proceeded to bop me with BOTH PAWS! Kitty punches! I've never seen anything like it. She did it a third time, then moved to the other side of the room, where she glared at me, and finally turned her back to look out the window.

About 20 minutes later, she came back over, and allowed me to pet her. I guess she told me!

Max looked at the clippers and ran, haven't seen him since...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Holiday Weekend Promotion

Free Shipping on all items in my shop through Cyber Monday.

Key Tag Giveaway! Drop a comment, five lucky people will get their choice of a key tag or bag tag, personalized of course!

I read an article about a stampede at a Wal-Mart in Long Island which resulted in a man losing his life this morning. I have to wonder, how many other stores did that happen at this Black Friday? So terribly sad that any kind of sale would create such chaos.

I have done the Black Friday thing in the past, but never have seen stampedes. Mostly I saw lots of coffee-driven shoppers who had lists and were shopping with purpose. This year I stayed home to nurse my cold, and promote my shop,

If you have no desire to be out and about this holiday weekend, think about the handmade movement and try shopping on Etsy! You'll find tons of things! Try using "Pounce" to jump around and see what shops Etsy sends you to. Try searching by types of items you're looking for. Use the Etsy Homepage as a guide. Save gas, stay out of the crowds, and shop in comfort.

Many of the blogs I follow are Etsy sellers. Check them out too, their blogs are listed to the right.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Free Shipping and a Key Tag Giveaway

Greetings this Thanksgiving evening! Now that we are all full of turkey, potatoes, gravy, veggies, sweet potatoes, pie, it's time to think about shopping! Tomorrow is Black Friday, how are you spending it? Avoid the lines and the early wake up calls, and shop on line at my Etsy shop!

Now through midnight Monday you will receive FREE SHIPPING on all items in my shop.

Would you like a custom key tag or bag tag? Leave a comment with your contact info and I'll put you in the drawing! I'm giving away FIVE over the weekend.

Key tags and bag tags make great stocking stuffers. They can be used as key chains, to hang on your hand bags or tote bags, as ID for kids school bags and backpacks, for teens first set of car keys, the list goes on!

Looking for a stocking stuffer for the person who pampers their complexion? Try my knitted wash cloths! I use them daily. They are absorbent, cleansing, and they lightly exfoliate. 100% cotton, and yummy for your face and body.

Another great stocking stuffer or hostess gift - knitted dish cloths! Throw those icky sponges away! These are eco-friendly, can be tossed in the washer for cleaning, and safe on your more sensitive pots and pans.

Are you a new knitter, or do you know a new knitter? Try my simple Slouchy Hat pattern. Perfect for the new knitter who wants a good first (or second, or third) project, or for the experienced knitter who wants something easy to do.

Is there a holiday wedding in your future? Personalized Hankies make wonderful gifts for the bride and bridal party. They are also nice "just because" gifts for your gal pal who has everything. Each can be machine embroidered with a monogram or your choice of text.

To the right you'll see a list of blogs I follow. Many are Etsy stores. Check them out, they have great gifts too!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving/Black Friday/Cyber Monday Special

I will be offering free shipping on all items in my shop beginning at 12:01am Thursday November 27, and ending at midnight on Monday December 1.

I will also be giving away a key tag a day between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. That's FIVE key tags looking for a new home! To participate, please leave a comment on my blog on those days, and I'll pull names out of a hat...or a knitted cap :-) I will contact the lucky recipients on Tuesday so they can make their selections.

New items will be added over the holiday weekend, so be sure to check them out.

All of my holiday gifts will be handmade this year. It's a great way to support local and cyber talent, and for me, it's fun! In the spirit of supporting the handmade movement and conserving gasoline, try doing some or all of your holiday shopping this year on Etsy! Most of the blogs I follow are fellow Estians. I encourage you to check out their shops too!

May you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday
~Penny, aka manderlyrose

Monday, November 24, 2008

Manic Monday

So much to do! I was attacked by the nasty cold thing floating around, am finally feeling on the upside of that. Alas, not much has gotten done, and I have to come up with something to take to Thanksgiving dinner. Not a clue what I'll do. I can't believe it's already Thanksgiving week!

Kitties have loved that I've not been well, they lay on and around me while I rest. Sometimes they use me as a trampoline too, but mostly they snuggle in. That's not bad, they keep my feet warm.

Did I mention we've had cooler weather also? Feels wonderful, but chilly nights. Am avoiding the use of the heater. Have only hit it twice, for one cycle, to knock the chill. Otherwise it's sweats and layers.

Tons to do today, my list is overflowing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday with Max

The mama is still recovering from The Biggest Loser. She has taken to yelling at the TV on Tuesday nights. I always know it's Tuesday by her yelling things like "arg the blue team!".

I am usually trying to sleep on the couch when she is doing this. Last night she kept disrupting me, and even Cleo had to move from the back of the couch to the other room. This of course made me happy, as I prefer Cleo in any room other than where I am. This was my house first.

I have big plans for today. Tonight is the mama's late night, she's teaching some sewing class or something. So once she leaves I'll take a nap on the couch. Then I will get up, stretch, eat a little, drink a little, and go to sleep on the bed. I love my pillow in there, so soft and comfy. Once I've rested from my hard morning, I will go lay on the couch, where I will watch a little TV, and take another nap. I wish I could figure out how to change the channels...When the mama comes home tonight, I will be waiting by the back door. I might let Cleo wait too, if she doesn't bother me today. I like to wait by the back door, then I can hear her coming and she sees me first thing when she comes in.

She's a good mama. I hate when she goes to work, but sometimes she comes home with cat food. That's always a good thing!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Manic Monday

Don't you hate it when you are minding your own business and you start to hear that the toilet hasn't stopped filling, and then you realize that you are really hearing water hitting the floor because the toilet hasn't stopped running? Yes, my toilet tank overflowed. Not the bowl, no, I'm special. The tank!

There I stood, pulling the stopper up to re-flush (over and over), trying to bail water out of the tank with my Netti pot (not a good size for bailing), water still overflowing. The kitties came barreling into the room, in fact I'm sure one of them tumbled, to see the commotion and help. Always what you need in a situation like this. I threw down towels to block the water from exiting the room and kept futzing until it stopped. Max and Cleo looked disappointed when the it stopped, I think they were enjoying it. I'm sure they were saying to each other "What a nice departure from the typical day!"

About a year ago I had to replace the gizmo in the tank that makes it flush and fill. At the time, I wondered if I had the water turned back on right or if it was too high. It has sounded loud and fast. Well, just in case, now it's turned another half turn and is much slower. I'm sure there is a happy medium, but I don't need THIS again any time soon. I have no clue what brought this on, nor do I really care as long as it's fixed. I keep going back in and flushing, just to check. I know, that's not very conserving of me, but I'm a little paranoid.

I have a fear of water. Fear of drowning really. I can swim, if I have to. I rarely get my head wet, and I can't bear to have water in my eyes or ears. I don't even like my mouth or nose under water, and I never swim under water. I don't go in water I can't see the bottom of. I used to swim in lakes as a kid, dark lakes, with things that nibbled on my toes, ICK! Fortunately, the water in bathroom didn't rise enough to freak me out, but still...

Kitties are now refreshed from their splashing, and are ripping through the house doing their chasing/pouncing/figure eight moves. I'm trying to remember what I was doing before all the commotion started...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Simply Thursday

Thursday. Not an exciting day of the week. In between the middle and the end. For me it's all about ER, Ugly Betty, CSI, and Grey's. One of the best nights on television. They all get recorded on the dvr, then I watch them later.

My sewing class went well. I love seeing the fabrics people pick out, I feel like they are windows to a persons personality. We had some amazing combinations. I of course was exhausted! I got home and collapsed. I watched Criminal Minds, and fell asleep very soon after. I love Criminal Minds. OK, I only watch medical and crime shows. And a few reality shows, like Biggest Loser, Project Runway. I don't care if they are real life or fiction, I can't help it. There is one comedy right now that I watch, Two and a Half Men. I mean it's just totally hysterical. Jake is priceless. Charlie is...Charlie. The only comedy I ever remember enjoying that much was Seinfeld and Friends.

Still tired today, but I had a good nap when I got home. I'm still getting used to working full time, being on my feet every day, etc. Some days I feel really OLD. There are few of those days, thank goodness! Today, not one of them. I need more exercise, I need to lose weight, I need to be able to stay awake when I get home so I can exercise and lose weight...running in circles.

Cleo and I are still at odds over the couch. It has become a battle of wills. She actually challenged me last night. Yes, I had a stare down with a cat! She also removed the blanket from the back of the couch, again. And of course, now she's trying to eat it. Apparently she loves the terracotta crushed velvet as much as I do.

I will not declaw, so next comes a spray bottle. She's so skittish, I hate to do it, but I'm running out of ideas. Any ideas are welcome!

OH, on the right side of my blog is the list of bloggers I follow. Mostly etsy related, but there are a few who are just darn interesting. If you have a few minutes, please visit "Confessions of a Middle Aged Suburban Diva". She's someone I've known a very long time, I used to do volunteer work with her. She has a post this week, Cause of my Heart, about March of Dimes Prematurity Awareness Day. Yup, that's her amazing baby in the photos. If it's something that strikes you, read her post and check out the petition.

Going to bed now, another day tomorrow. I am still planning out holiday gifts, and have had no etsy time this week :-( Soon...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wild Wednesday

I've spent the morning in the forums, tweeting, ok, reading tweets, and reading blogs. I got some feedback on my wedding hanky pics, and was able to squeak out a couple picture updates. I like the blue background. I'll fiddle with black also, but alas, the morning is gone and I must get to work!

I am going in later today as I'm teaching my first official sewing class tonight. I have my outline and my pattern updates, and I think I'm ready to go. I'm a bit excited!

Cleo is laying on my keyboard tray trying to type, I'd use the word precious if we were not in a battle of wills over the sofa. She wants to scratch it, I want it covered up. She managed to remove the cover last night so that she could lay on the back. Bad, bad Cleo. I will not declaw, but I may invest in a squirt bottle...Right now she wants me to stop typing so I will pet her. Sometimes precious...not exactly a help...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Biggest Loser Tuesday

Without giving away the ending so as not to spoil it for anyone, I just have to get this off my chest. I do not like the Blue Team. I take that back, I don't like most of the Blue Team. I missed the episode where Phil apparently pushed their buttons and they decided to get rid of him, so I don't really get that whole animosity thing. I truly hope that they are not as they are portrayed. I also wonder if Bob likes his team or is just digging in and being a good trainer.

I wear a Karma necklace. It's a constant reminder that what goes around come around. If I had a motto in life, that would be it. I try to live my life simply, I try to be kind, I try really hard not to judge people (but the Blue Team is pushing me), and I get really upset when children or animals are harmed, as they can't defend themselves. I also don't like bullies, and when I see them, I wonder what made them that way, and I usually feel bad for them.

Life is short. Anyone who as experienced loss, or has seen loss happen to those we hold dear know this to be true.

That said, I will admit to yelling at the television the last few weeks, and rooting for the Black Team. If positive thinking has anything to do with it, they will win. The negative energy however has left me exhausted tonight. I need to go to bed, let the kitties snuggle up and purr, and try to let it go. I also believe that kitty purrs can cure most anything :-)

OK, my Biggest Loser rant is over.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Just Another Manic Monday...

Happy Monday! It was so nice out last night that I opened a window to enjoy the cool air all night long...and woke this morning with the most hillacious sinus/migraine, and completely congested. I wonder what wonderful pollen is floating around out there? I'm basically allergic to everything that grows. Grass, trees, flowers, molds, dogs, kitties...yes, kitties. Living with severe allergies is possible, it's all in how you manage it. When you should and shouldn't open windows to let in the wonderful cool Florida air...

I'm fortunate I did not have to work today. It's my one weekday off this week, so I have lots of running around to do that I can't do on a Sunday. So to add to yesterday's list...go to the bank, pay a couple bills, maybe go to Whim-so-Doodle and look for a stamp. I have this image in my head, I'm sure there is a stamp for it...oh darn, now I've forgotten the other things I needed to do today.

I've decided to make my Christmas cards this year. Not that I've sent them in the last three or four years...I used to be really good at that, then I went back to school and so many things fell off the priority list to make room for homework and studying. But I enjoy the act of Christmas Cards, and I need to get back at it. I really like the idea of making them this year. It's kind of a green thing I suppose.

I'm also very impressed with folks who live green. I need to do more of that. Or at the very least contribute to a greener society. Check out this Etsy site, JuicyBags. She is doing amazing things involving the recycling/re-use of juice pouches. She also has a great blog, that follows her journey. Check her out, maybe you can become inspired to recycle or re-use.

Well now that I've lost my morning to the dreaded headache (which is FINALLY GONE), my manic Monday is ready to begin. New list added to yesterday's list, then out the door.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Meet the Kitties Sunday, and so many things to do...

If it's Sunday, it's catch-up-on-things-that-have-not-gotten-done-this-week day. AND...spend quality time with the kitties day! Yes, they do demand their quality time...

Today's To-Do list includes...

- Trim the kitties nails. They are way too long, and my furniture is way to pretty. May need to sit on them, I hate trimming their nails...
Max, 6 years old, Sealpoint Siamese with the cutest white socks from his tabby mama. 20 pounds, demands to lay on my chest and lick my face in the evenings after work. Occasionally still does the "snarfle" thing, which was cute as kitten, but now...When he's naughty, I call him Maximilian Pierpont, his full name, after a character in a book I once read. Too smart for his own good, used to be the Alpha kitty when he was the youngest and he shared his home with the dearly departed and often missed Beau and Cassie. That is, until Cleo came to live with us a few months ago...Silly me thought he needed a friend, they are so NOT friends. I do wonder if when I'm gone they cuddle up together and throw parties though. When I'm home, they are fighting for my attention.

Cleo, somewhere between 1 and 2 years, the shelter said she was a drop off and they weren't really sure. A gorgeous Flame Point Siamese. Loves to be sitting close and to be petted, but NOT to be held. Has the the sharpest, tiniest, needle like claws...Puts things like paper and socks, in the food and water dishes so that Max can't get to them. Became Cleopatra Queen of the House after 30 hours of entering the house. Once she came out from under the bed, well, it's never been the same. She chases Max, which is good, he needs the exercise. She went from scrawny 7 pounds to 11 pounds in two months. I changed their feeding schedule...

- Quality time with the kitties. This means letting Max sleep on me, letting Cleo tease me with her clawing at furniture (which I've covered, it's making her crazy), feeding, water, chasing, playing... Who needs children?

- Custom requested key tags from customers at my favorite yarn shop, Knit 'n Knibble (where I used to work part time, yummy yarn...). They ask, I create! It's a great shop, check it out...

- Digitizing some new embroidery ideas. I get these ideas in my head, then I need to get them out and stitchable. Not always easy. Often I sketch them, scan them, import them, redraw them... you get the process.

- Sewing, sewing, sewing... LOTS of things that need sewing.

- Serging, serging, serging, needles holders to post on my Etsy site.

- Groceries, yes, I need more than two Healthy Choice Steamers and some diet Root Beer in the house. Kitties could use some food too, they are running low.

- Laundry! Wow do I need to to laundry.

- Organize all these design ideas I have in my head. Or at least get them on paper with notes so that a week from now I'm not trying to remember them.

- Watch Desperate Housewives. My Sunday guilty pleasure. Although...I did record Sweeney Todd (sp?) last night, may need to work that in too...

- Put together my Christmas Gift Giving List. I need to get that organized, else I end up sitting at the shipping place a week before Christmas wrapping gifts (yes, that was last year, in the parking lot, after going in to borrow tape, the UPS guy was quite amused...)

- Finish that LAST washcloth to fulfill a special order. Tomorrow's list has "ship it" on it!

Oh my, this is a big list. No way I'm getting all this done. But at least I have a list to work from now...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Friday Update

I have worked hard all week at the new job. I like it, great people, tons of fabric, wonderful sewing/quilting/embroidery machines and sergers to drool over. Yesterday I got to learn how to use the mac-daddy Babylock...Elegante machine, yes, I pretty sure it was that one! It's so different from my mac-daddy Janome 11000. We stitched out an amazingly digitized zebra design, hanging out on the Serengeti. I'm always in awe of truly well done designs, as well as how in the world those machines do it! I could sit and watch the stitching for hours. Watching how it works really helps me when I'm doing my own digitizing.

I'm getting used to the routine, and I get to teach my first class next week. I will probably spend some time between now and then making another bag so that I can refresh my memory. It will be a fun class. Some ladies come in last week to get their fabric, and they were just wonderful. I promised them a fun class!

While my body, mind, and soul get used to the transition, I have been sleeping much better. Mostly I guess because I'm exhausted at the end of the day, and I'm working more days than I used to. That's always good. I have not had the time to devote to my Etsy shop though, and that's not so good. I'm sure balance will find it's way into my life at some point. I haven't worked full time for nearly two years. I do enjoy working though, especially at a job where I can really be creative. I never see myself in a corporate environment again.

What I did accomplish this week...
- You'll find my personalized, machine embroidered hankies for the Bride and Grandmother. I have a Mother design coming up soon, and of course all of them can be customized for grandmothers, mothers, bridesmaids... They are also nice for christenings, baptisms, confirmations... the list of hanky gift giving events is endless! They are truly lovely and elegant.

- I'm finishing up a custom order for some knitted wash cloths. The customer chose a color and quantity, and I'm getting those done for her. She is giving them as holiday gifts. I have another customer who is wanting to see more (she's local and moving soon), so today I'm off to visit her and show her my surplus. Knitted wash cloths are just the best!

I've begun listing the blogs I follow on my blog, maybe some of you will find them as fun as I do. Check them out. Most of them are fellow Esty shop keepers. A few are just really interesting people.

I must get on with my day. I've got errands to run and people to see. It's time to start thinking about Christmas gifts! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Post Election Day Notes

I actually dozed off on Election night, before all the projections were done. I awoke in time to hear CNN declare a presidential winner. I'm glad I woke up, I would have hated to miss that! I watched the speeches and am now getting ready to go back to sleep. An early election night for a change. I mean, living in Florida, I really didn't know what to anticipate...

So here are my thoughts on the day. I live in Florida. I voted. I didn't vote early, I didn't vote absentee. I went to the polling place, on election day, and voted.

I understood my easy to use, if not HUGE ballot (I've never seen anything like it). Fill in the spot next to what/who you wish to vote for, run it through the scanner when done. Simple, easy. I'm sure even an somewhat trained monkey could figure it out. Hurray to the state for getting rid of those OTHER ballots!

I scoped out my district this morning, and saw that there were between 500 and 600 people total. I anticipated that the wait couldn't possibly be very long, so I voted after work. I was going to go this morning, but decided I didn't want to chance a morning line. I mean, voting is important, but so is being on time for work.

I parked my car at 6:35pm. I walked out, having finished the whole process (walking the long halls of the community center to get to the polling location took up most of my time), by 6:45pm. I don't know that I've ever gotten in and out that fast.

I voted for a number of things, not everything that was on the ballot. I wasn't informed enough, so I didn't feel comfortable casting a vote for everything. I'm funny that way. I only vote for things I think I understand (do we ever really understand everything?)

I remember voting for the first time in 1984. My mom made me read up on the issues, and she took me down on election day. She told me that I couldn't complain nor be happy with the results if I didn't participate. As has been the case for much of my life, mom was right. She repeated that same thing to me, more or less, tonight when I was on my way, having left work a little late, and hoping I was at least in line by 7pm. She cheered me on (via cell phone) so that I would get there in time. Without speeding or being unsafe of course. Yes, I was wearing my headset while talking on my phone.

I voted. I participated, was part of the process. I'm glad I took the time to do it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mundane Monday, part 2

OK, I totally forgot about daylight savings time. Last night I wondered when it started getting dark so early. Tonight I realized it's very early and I'm suddenly sitting in the dark. My clock is my cable box, my watch is my cell phone, and all those plus my computer automatically updated. I suppose I need to watch the news once in a while or something...

Mundane Monday

I've not gotten a lot done today. I was off today, so I slept a lot (still recovering from my first Saturday at new job), and I did a little laundry, worked on some knitting, played with the kitties.

Tried to take new product pics but...batteries died. This is SO not good. My camera just goes through them like kids eat candy, or kitties eat their food. I'm not sure why. I never have enough on hand, so I'm on my way out to get more.

I put up a new "fall inspired" banner on my etsy page today,

I also made up a fall avatar. What the heck, it's finally feeling a little like fall, my shop may as well look it :-)

Kitties have enjoyed my two days off. Cleo is not letting me out of her sight. Max naps, come and visits, naps some more... They are silly kitties. They have it rather easy, all they ask for is chin scratches, luvins, food, water, and a clean litter box. Ah if life could not be that easy for all of us! This image reminds me of Cleo. Maybe I'll let her blog one day.

OK, I'd better put the wash into the dryer and go get those batteries...

OH! Recipe for Beer-ritas... if I remember correctly, it goes something like this...
- four beers
- one large can lime-aid
- half can tequila
pour over ice.

Now I am recalling there was a two beer version that was really tasty, but had lethal potential, considering it still used the half can of tequila...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ah, Halloween!

I decided last minute to join my friends for Halloween. I was driving home from work and just decided that would be more fun than going home and pretending I wasn't home because I had no candy to give out. I know, I'm bad, but it was a busy week!

As is the tradition, we all met at someones house for pizza and beverages, took a group pic of the kids, and then set out. The men stayed behind to give out candy - that means sit in a central driveway with their drinkies and hand out candies for three houses. It worked out wonderfully!

The ladies started out following the children, then a few of us got separated from the children (an adult was with them at all times, just not me!). We walked the neighborhood, visited, had some drinkies, it was a fun time. (I would like to note that I have not indulged in drinkies in a long time, and my indulgence was quite minimal.)

Ever heard of a Beer-rita? Mmmmm, if I hadn't had to to work today, I would have had more than a few sips! It's a beer margarita. I repeat, mmmmmm. One of my friends made sure to bring the pitcher on our walk so we did not run low. I love my friends :-) Exercise AND drinkies, what else do you need?

It was a fun night, and all the kids had a great time too. Lots of great costumes, lots of fun, I just love Halloween in my friend's neighborhood!

I was a good girl and came home very early as I did have to work today. Sure glad I did, as we were running all day at work, and I'm beat now!

New this week on my Etsy Site: Beginner knitting pattern for a cute hat, monogramed Bridal party handkerchiefs for brides and gramas.

This weekend I plan to take some better pics of the hankies that I've added to my Etsy site, and work on some other things. Keep an eye out :-)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Is it Wednesday already?

Where has the month gone? It's nearly November! I'm sitting here in a COOL home, yes, we finally have a cool snap. In fact, my heater clicked on very early this morning. Considering I have it set for 65, I suppose I'm glad it did. The a/c has not run for almost three days. THAT's amazing.

I posted my first knitting pattern to Etsy last night. I developed it last year as a Christmas gift for my nephew Tyler. This year I dusted off my notes, documented it properly, knitted a sample, wondered why my notes were so bad...eventually, wala! A Slouchy Hat! It's great for a beginner who is tired of scarves and wants to try something a little different. It is done on circulars, and that can be challenging for the new knitter, so again, great pattern.

I have to finish getting ready, have an early staff meeting to attend today, then I get to work. Last day at the yarn shop is tomorrow. I'm sad, the folks I work with there are just great, such a pleasure to spend time with. I'm very fortunate that the fabric store I'm now working for (yup, they are overlapping right now) has a great group also. It's important for the soul to work in a happy place!

As I wish I had some coffee here, jeeze it's early to be functioning, I will think happy thoughts for the Tampa Bay Rays. Let's win this game that won't end and move forward so y'all can come home and clinch it!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

To-Do List Sunday

I may have almost caught up on my sleep. Some say you can, some say you can't, but I like to think I can. My body feels better, that's for darn sure.

Sundays tend to be "all about me". I sleep in if I feel like it, I may not get dressed in a timely manner, I may not even brush my hair if I don't have to leave the house. The kitties like their quality time with me, and I tend to do things that I can do in front of the TV so I can catch up on my DVR recordings. This morning was all about Ugly Betty and Top Design!

I didn't feel well yesterday, tummy was not happy. This slowed me down. Did some sketching, some knitting, some laptop work, some sleeping, some wondering if I would ever get sick (nope, didn't). Day ended with nothing really finished. I hate that...

I haven't seen news in about a week, so imagine my surprise this afternoon when I realized I had not heard my a/c come on since yesterday. I went and checked...73 degrees in my house at 3:30pm! Unheard of. So I poked my head outside, ahhhhh, cool air! We have a cool front!

I opened the windows about 6:30, and Cleo was immediately intrigued. She's not seen an open window since she came to live with me. Right now she's plastered to the front window. The fresh air is wonderful.

I sewed out a sampler for some custom embroidery, cut some knitting needle pouches, deliberated on how to best to put my label on them, and got as far as setting up the serger. The embroidery looks awesome, I'm very pleased. Now that I've had some dinner (ok, lunch, I mean breakfast), I can go back into the "studio" and create!

The labels on the pouches are a conundrum, but I think I've resolved the issue. They are made from double-sided quilted material, thus if I sew them on, you'll see the stitches on the other side. So I'm going with a fabulous product called Steam-a-Seam Plus. It fuses like nothing I've seen before, and I won't have any stitches showing.

So I'm off to finish a few things on the weekend list, and watch my cats enjoying the open windows. I hope the cool front stays a few days, I'd love to wear a sweater to work!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ode to Sleep

I slept a record 11 hours last night! OK, some may think that foolish, some may ask why that's a big deal. Sleep is a big deal to me. I've been getting less and less of it lately, so last night when I was dozing off at 7pm, I just gave into it. I missed NCIS, I missed The Biggest Loser, but I feel so GREAT this morning! I did wake about 2am, but fell back to sleep soon after. That too is a steller moment for me. Usually I wake between 3 and 4 and can't go back to sleep, thus the being tired, and the sleep celebration.

The cats didn't even bother me. Well, they may have tried but I wasn not participating I guess. Max happily climbed up on my chest to lick my face when he saw me hit the alarm this morning. Cleo attacked the sleep area like her usual whirlwind soon after. I wish I had her morning energy!

Sleep. I am jealous of those who do so easily. Those who can lay thier head on a pillow and be out immediatly. It has never been that way for me.

Last night, I slept, and it was a good sleep, and I'm so pleased!

Of course sleep leaves no time for Etsy or other freelance work I'm doing. That is not good, but I suppose it was necessary. Tonight is a sewing night!

Monday, October 20, 2008


I was taught to never discuss religion, salary, or politics. For the most part, I live by that. It is rare that I'll get into a discussion with anyone, as I have a beleif system, it works for me, and I feel it's personal. I also don't like to be saved or converted, so those are the topics I steer away from.

Until today.

May I just say that I am OVER this whole political season? I think it's been two years now, I'm tired, I just want the election to come so we can get on with other great news worthy stories. Not that all this isn't newsworthy, but it's not all that's going on in the world. Tibetans are still living without human rights, gas prices are still too high, poison food items are still coming out of China, and the Dalia Lama had surgery this month (did anyone even know this?). Just a sampling of news stories that are over shadowed.

Today a couple came into the yarn shop, totally excited about a rally they had just come from. Yes, it was one of the presidential candidates, and they were wearing thier "vote for..." pins and singing that persons praises. Then I found out they were from Canada. I was kind of surprised, I mean they can't vote, they know they can't vote. What intrigued me was thier enthusiasm.

I have to wonder, if more Americans felt the enthusiasm that these folks did, would we have the issues we have today? I've quit watching the news, the news shows, reading the news stories, I just don't have the energy anymore. Two years is exhausting.

That said, here is my challenge. Become informed, by more than one source. Ask questions about what is important to you, not what you are told should be important to you. I'd say "remember to vote", but I doubt that any radio station, tv station, newpaper, or the internet will let us forget to. So instead I'll say make the time on Election Day and vote. If you don't vote, you really shouldn't celebrate a victory, or complain about defeat :-)

'nuff said.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Head is Exploding with Color

My head is still exploding. I had the pleasure of going to the Kaffe Fassett lecture last night. Two hours of Kaffe, photos of his work and inspirations, and him just telling us what he does. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I held back the ooooos and aaahhhhs as I didn't think that was appropriate, but it was like watching fireworks or something.

I love people who are not afraid of color. My spare bedroom (I like to call it a studio) is FULL of fabric by Kaffe Fasset, Amy Butler, Joel Dewberry, and others who really do color and patterning in a great way. I'll walk into a store, and find myself drawn to certain things. Then I look at the designer and giggle, because they are almost always one of my favorites.

The lecture was great, as he went into all of his work - Mosaics, Painting, Fabrics, Knitting - with wonderful examples of his works and stories about the hows and whys. He showed two quilts at the end that was unbelievable. I don't make quilts, but I use those fabrics for lots of other things, and I'm very much in awe of quilters. I probably could pick up quilting quite easy, but that's another hobby, another medium, more time...

I left thinking about my stash differently. I've got some ideas how ways I can use some of the amazing florals in ways I hadn't thought of before. I learned the term "fussy cut" too. Have heard it before, but finally asked someone what it meant. I may have to play with that...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Once upon a Halloween...

These days, I try to spend Halloween with my friends. They live in a great neighborhood, and the parents and kids there get together for pizza (and beer) and then head out for group trick-or-treating (with a wagon holding an ice chest of beer). We walk for a few hours, watch the kids do their thing, visit, it's a whole lot of fun. Plus, I don't have to give out candy at my house. So much pressure to do that. Have to have enough candy, don't want to give out too much, don't want to give out too little. I either run out or have too much left, so now I just go to someone elses house. No pressure!

When I was a kid, we lived in the boondocks. Seven miles from one town, three from another. No neighbors, certainly no trick-or-treaters. We would "go into town" for trick or treating. Everyone went to all the same houses, as it was a small town, and we'd compare what we got where. There were always the relatives that gave us special stuff, or the nice old lady who made us candy apples or popcorn balls. I was never allowed to eat one (razor blade scare of the 70's), but it was so great to get the "special" stuff.

One year, I think I was in the sixth grade, my folks got this amazing idea (they always had great, amazing ideas). Dad brought home a pumpkin on steroids, stood a good three feet tall. He painstakingly carved the scary face. He then rigged up a light that was wired into the top, and down into the cigarette lighter of the car. "Jack" sat on top of the car. Testing was fun, we'd shut off all the lights and plug in the cigarette lighter. He lit up big, bright, and very scary, especially in total darkness with no street lights or city lights.

Mom's job was the music. We had (still do somewhere) the original "Haunted House" record. Yes, RECORD, round black thing that needs a needle and speakers... She put my little tape recorder next to the record player and recorded all the scary sounds and music.

Halloween arrived. We kids piled in the car, oddly enough an orange Malibu, same color as the pumpkin. We went into town. We didn't really get much candy that year, because it was more fun to ride in the car, up and down the streets, lights off, sneaking up on unsuspecting trick-or-treaters...

We'd see them. We'd drive up, then WHAM! Lights, music, screaming, running of children down streets, it was fabulous. We scared about every kid in town that year, and a few adults and drunk teenagers. I think my parents had way more fun than we did, dad driving along at a snails pace plugging in the pumpkin, mom hanging out the window with the tape recorder...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Summer is still here...Baby Friendly Beads...The Kindness of Strangers

Hi all, happy Tuesday! It is mid-October, and it was STILL in the upper 80's today. While I LOVE living in Florida, it is this time of year that I begin to hope for one or two cool evenings that only Fall can bring. I'm thinking fall is going to skip over us this year, and we'll be sitting pool side at Thanksgiving again. Don't get me wrong, that's actually fun. I'm sure it will cool off soon...

So I find myself at the computer on warm evenings rather than outside, and that gives me loads of Etsy exploring time. In keeping with a "breast" theme, today I became aquainted with Baby Friendly Beads. I wish I knew someone who needs a shower gift, these are pretty cool. I've only been a mama to kitties, so specialty baby things intrigue me. Jewelry to enhance breast feeding. Check it out! Perfect shower gifts or gifts for the new mom who may just be touched by a gesture of a gift for her AND her baby all rolled into one. Wish I could figure out how to add her pics, so please visit her shop and take a looksy.

This warm day began with my having to deal with a little speeding ticket I got. I had basically spaced, and didn't realize that I only had 30 days to take care of it. So I went down to the clerk's office today to throw myself upon the mercy of them (or at the very least, thier counter), terrified that I'd be thrown in jail or something ilke that for not paying my ticket on time. (I only get tickets about every 15 years, what do I know?). A very kind lady told me that I was not one day late as I had thought (ok, laugh, go ahead), I was actually early by about 6 days, and she gave me a 30 day extension to get the driving school done so I won't get points against me.

It's truly amazing how a kind gesture from a total stranger on a hot day can improve one's outlook! I didn't get her name, but she's tops with me right now! Was it Blanch DuBois who said that she depends upon the kindness of strangers? I think so, if not, great movie none the less. Anyhow, that stranger was most kind today.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

October is National Breast Cancer Month

Last night I was catching up with programs recorded on my DVR, and I watched the Oprah show from a week or two back that had Christina Applegate on talking about her breast cancer, as well as other guests that have been impacted by the disease. I had to cry a few times, as the people and the stories never cease to touch me.

I did volunteer work for our local Race for the Cure some years back, and I was quite fortunate to meet a number of survivors. It opened my eyes about the disease and how it changes lives. I've known other survivors since those days, mostly because people aren't afraid to talk about it anymore. Some have come and gone, some have become great friends. All have inspired me in one way or another.

There was the girl in her 20's who "wasn't supposed to get it so young". A spitfire of a gal who's mom was a survivor, and who was diagnosed in her 30's, She was so incredibly brave and opted for the "radical" double mastectomy in an effort not to have to have that battle again, understanding family history was not on her side. There is a friend of mine who is now a 10 year survivor who who found a lump while preparing for the holidays and didn't waste any time getting diagnosed and treated. There was an amazing woman who beat breast cancer once, fought it again, fought ovarian cancer, and after so many years of fighting, passed on, reminding me how precious our lives are.

For my 35th birthday I scheduled a base line mammogram. Every girl should do that, or do it sooner if you have family history. That first one was kind of scary, that huge machine I'd never seen before, remembering how women complained how "they squish your boob flat!" I was terrified...all for nothing. It didn't hurt, but it wasn't comfy either. At times it was down right amusing. Funny what the human body can do! Now I go for my yearly with a sense of humor, and I'm glad that the machine moves and gets in all the right positions, because I'm not that limber!

Monthly breast exams, yearly ladies exams, baseline mammograms, yearly mammograms, do them all and be diligent. Everyone should be an advocate for their own health. If you aren't, you may not be lucky enough to find someone who is. Educate yourself. has tons of resources and information. Volunteer or be a participant in local events that support research and finding a cure. If you can't do that, support a walker in the 3-Day walk, or donate to your favorite Breast Cancer organization. Giving back and becoming part of a solution are good for the community and the soul.

As a means of giving back, 1% of my etsy sales for the month of October will be donated to support breast cancer research. I look forward to writing a check at the end of the month :-)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Being Thankful for the Good Things in Life

These days I am repeating the mantra "I'm very lucky, there are people in this world with bigger problems than I have." I think it's true, we can have a huge ole pitty party, or we can be thankful for what we have and what is working, and remember that there is ALWAYS someone with bigger fish to fry.

I know a couple people who have had a week...a week I don't know how I would handle in thier respective shoes. My heart goes out to them and thier families, and then I feel guilty for feeling thankful.

That said, I was inspired to try some new tag designs tonight, and I got a few that are working nicely. I need to get some pics so I can post them. I am also on the edge of some cool embroidery designs that will be coming soon, need to stitch out my samples.

Machine embroidery is one of my new favorite things. While embroidery time is the perfect time for multi-tasking, I find myself mesmerized by how fast that needle moves and how the designs just flow out of that little needle. I can lose hours working on my little machine!

Tonight I pinned a hem for someone who needed a dress hemmed. Yup, I do very nice hemming, and it's good for occassional gas money. I'm a little bit, what's the work, obsessive about the perfect hem. It's all my mother's fault, she insisted on hand hemming. Now I just can't bring myself to use a machine. Here I am with the mack-daddy of machines that slices and dices and serves me coffee in the morning, and I've NEVER used the hemming feature. Maybe some, never!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Mini Etsy!

yay! I figured out how to put mini Etsy on my blog. OK, many of you may be shaking your heads saying "who doesn't know that???" I confess to being a newbie at most of this stuff.

I've not had time to be creative this week, as I've been working at my favorite yarn shop extra hours. It's so nice there, all that wonderful yarn, so many patterns, so many talented customers. The owner is a dear friend of mine, we go way back. She's created this amazing shop and I get to work there a few days a week. How cool is that? Check out where I'm spending my week at

In the evenings I'm working on some new tag designs, ironing out some machine embroidery designs, and working on finalizing a couple knitting patterns. Sleep? Who has time for that when there is so much going on in my head to keep me busy 24/7 :-)


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Game of Tag

I've been "tagged" by akeepersjackpot, a fellow Etsy shop keeper. The name of the game is to learn about people, so I need to list six things about myself...and I need to tag five others. I shall randomly choose them from the etsy bloggers...Please take a few minutes to visit these shops, they have some cool stuff! At some point I'll learn how to do mini shops, but for now, take my word on it :-)

6 secret things about me...
1) I love quilting fabric but I don't quilt. Never have, but sure admire people who do. My mom was a quilter in her day, made beautiful things, by hand. She says that the technology in my sewing machine is for cheaters. I say you gotta roll with the times.

2) I love scrapbook paper, but I don't scrapbook. I made one once, for a friend. The scrapper bug didn't bite me, but the paper facinates me.

3) I'm addicted to my dvr. I rarely watch anything that is on tv, when it's actually on. I record everything I enjoy. Then I watch it later. I love fast forwarding through commercials. Most 1 hour shows are only about 45 minutes long. So much saved time! The dvr always has something on it, for nights when I can indulge and enjoy

4) on that related note, I love the CSI's, Criminal Minds, NCIS, Desperate Housewives, The Biggest Loser... but I also have seen most every episode of American Justice, and I really love the true crime stories, bizarre medical programs, and historical shows that are on TLC, A&E, Discovery, History channels.

5)I'm allergic to everything. If it grows, is natural, or smells, it will probably make me sneeze. That include my kitties, but they don't seem to mind. This makes me extra sensitive to those around me, and what is in thier environments. I rarely wear perfume.

6) Not a secret or new thing for most of my friends, but for those just getting to know me...I love Mt Everest. The whole history of that amazing mountain facinates me. She is a living, breathing being in my book. I would like to go to base camp some day, just to see those amazing people who climb each year. Those people are machines!

OK, now I must hop in the shower and get over to the yarn shop, it's a work outside the house day!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Photos and First Postings to Etsy

Big day! This afternoon I finished a light box of sorts that I've been working on, so that I could take better photos of the things I'm posting on Etsy.

Cleo, ever the helpful kitty, immediatly jumped in the lightbox. What followed was a variety of poses, her cleaning herself all all the wrong places, and basic intrusion on my photography time. I would toss her out, she'd jump back in, and so the afternoon went! .

At one point, the kitty, the sun, the moon, and the stars were all aligned and I got this amzing picture of her. She was actually looking to see if Max was watching, as she has more fun if she's taunting him. He was, sitting in the hallway, with that look on his face that says "bite me".! .

Anyhow, the lightbox was a huge help, and the photos eventually got finished. I tried both white and black backgrounds, and white finally won. I'll give instructions and photos of it in a future post. I love my new lightbox! .

I used natural light from the windows in the room, plus the overhead. The washcloth shots have interesting shadows, as it was getting later in the afternoon. I left them that way, what the heck, a little more interesting to look at.

Once the photos were uploaded and futzed with, I started my postings. What a process. I've got it down now though. I successfully posted some key tags, wash cloths, and dish cloths. I also have a document with all my info so I can just copy/paste. Plus it has reminders, like prices, shipping prices, tags, etc.

If you've not used a hand-knit wash cloth in the shower or for washing your face, you're missing out. That's all I use now. Basically, I have a stack of wash cloths that are kind of like those poor misfit toys from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. While not shaped in perfect squares and really not right for gifting or selling, they do me quite nicely. Anyhow, you should treat yourself. Your skin will thank you!

I'll be adding more things in the coming week. Thanks to everyone who has shown interest and support. Happy Sunday!


Friday, September 26, 2008

A little bit about me...

I decided to start a blog to keep in touch with folks interested in manderly rose. It's a little shop on Etsy that sells some fun and unique things.

I have spent the past few months fine tuning what I might sell, designing the perfect solutions, and in some cases, giving friends some of my prototypes to test in the form of birthday and graduation gifts :-) This weekend I'll be posting my first items. I'm rather excited!

I love things that are handcrafted. There is something to be said for craftsmanship and the time and devotion to the craft that goes into it. I've come to believe that my finding Etsy was inevitable. A customer at the yarn shop I work at told me to check it out one afternoon. She was right, sooooo cool!

I live with two kitties, Max and Cleo. You will no doubt hear about them from time to time, as they keep me entertained, and they are wonderful company when I'm creating. Both like to sneak into the work space and get as close as possible. Both show no fear of rotary cutters or sewing machines, and love to lay on keyboards. They play fiercely, as you can see from the picture (Max is the one being pinned down).

I love to make things. I love fabric. The world of scrap booking intrigues me (the paper looks like fabric!). Knitting...something my grama taught me eons ago, and a dear friend re-introduced me to a few years back. Yarn is as cool as fabric! Sewing. I learned when I was 5 (thanks mom!) and have done it ever since. Clothes, accessories, home dec, I don't discriminate :-) More on the things I love in later posts.

You might be asking, "What's with the name manderlyrose?" I've been asked that a lot the past few weeks. When I was teenager, I read the book Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. I loved that book. First of all, I was about 3/4 of the way through it before I realized that "Mrs de Winter" had no first name. Cool. Second, the name of the estate in the book was Manderly. I thought that was a wonderful name. Now you are asking, what about Rose? It's my favorite flower. White roses to be specific. Perfect white roses, with a little dew on them, perfection. Rose is a lovely name too, and the two have rolled around in my head for years looking for a home.

Oh ya, my name is Penny. My friend's kids nicknamed me Money. It stuck. I answer to either. Welcome to my creative world!