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 :-)