Sunday, August 30, 2009

IBOL - One Week Left

Is your box in the net? Mine will be soon :- )

Depending on when you're reading this you have less than a week left to get a box in the mail for Iraqi Bundles of Love. If you haven't read or heard about this project yet click over here to get the skinny. The boxed bundles need to be postmarked no later than 7 September. Just pop into your local Post Office, pick up a large flat rate Priority Mail box and a customs form (2976-A), then go home and fill 'er up!

Edited to add: Okay, we all just realized that here in the States Labor Day is the 7th. That will affect when you will be able to get your bundle of love to your local post office. Some post offices are apparently open on Saturdays, all will be closed on Labor Day (to the best of my knowledge). The word to the wise is ship it sooner rather than later. You'll be glad you did
:- )

This is the list of goodies Art suggests you put in your bundle (and I quote):

Do send solid colors and simple prints.

America, I know, can be the land of crazy prints. Iraq just isn’t that crazy. Maybe less on the people prints, the animals, the flags, etc. Simple, and solids, are good, but prints work, too.

Do send bulk or big pieces of fabric.

Don’t worry about sending the pieces and parts from that project you started but realize you’ll never get it. Those 8000 one-inch hexagons you cut out 7 years ago? OK, maybe not those, necessarily.

Do send other things, like thread, needles, buttons, beads, etc. Think about anything and everything that someone can use to make something by hand or by machine.

Don’t worry about the kind of scissors, or what size bobbin it’s on. Someone will figure something out. This project is about raw materials. Whatever it is, it’ll get used.

Do look around and see if you have heavier fabrics, too.

Don’t worry about batting.

This isn't just for quilters or seamstresses either. People with yarn stashes are encouraged to contribute YARBOL's (Yarn Bundles of Love!). The yarn you inherited that in your heart of hearts you know you'll never use, an extra pair of needles or crochet hook, a pattern that could be figured out from pictures alone (does such a thing exist?!). Again, think raw materials that a mother could use to make something to keep her children warm and clothed.

Here's a link to how to build your bundle (how to pack your box).

And if you don't feel you can contribute directly to the cause please spread the word so that others can! Give them the URL to the IBOL blog ( or to my blog. I'll be happy to fill them in on the details or give them the mailing address for their box.

This whole effort sprang out of one soldier's recognizing a need and doing what he could to fulfill it. We're reaching out to the innocent victims of war and violence in a way that will be more effective than any amount of propoganda. We are supporting the work our troops are doing on the ground and in the villages of remote areas of Iraq. They have so little and we have so much.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Retail Therapy

I'm happy to report that my trip to the Post Office to mail my box for IBOL did not have the devastating effect I feared it might. Hurray! I went to bed with a fairly intense headache but felt much improved this morning. I've noticed a pattern to my recoveries and, interestingly enough, retail therapy is usually a part of it. (No surprise, chocolate is too.)

After a trip to toxic places I eat a custard cup of frozen blueberries as soon as I can. This seems to mitigate the severity of any reactions I may have. And frozen berries are more effective than fresh for some reason. It doesn't work every time but it works often enough that I now make sure there's always at least one package of frozen blueberries on hand.

Once I've run the gamut of whatever physical reactions I'm going to have - which may take anywhere from 12 to 48 hours - the next phase involves a slump in my mood. This can be mild or quite severe. As I climb back up to something approaching normal I very often find myself online, shopping. If it's not books, dvd's, or music at I'm checking out the sale categories at Most recently I went shopping for sequins in the hopes of finding something I could use on my parrot piece (scroll down about halfway). These came from Cartwright's:

Meanwhile, my LQS is having a sale on their clearance bolts. I stopped in there today on my way home from the food co-op to check it out. Unfortunately the air was pretty bad this time. That made it very challenging for me to make any decisions. But I managed to come home with these pieces anyway. :- )

The stars may become the backing of the "big girl quilt" I'm supposed to be making for my youngest granddaughter. The green was just too good to pass up. The pink and the blue with purple dots are fat quarters that were not on sale. Honestly, if I could afford it I would have a piece of nearly everything in that store!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I finally felt able to spend some time at the sewing machine yesterday. Actually, I think the getting up and down to go to the ironing board to press seams may have been good for my back. It kept me from sitting in one position for too long. All I did was some mindless piecing of scraps. Not really Mile-A-Minute, just crumb piecing. It felt like it took forever to produce these 8 "blocks."

These are all at least 5" in either direction. I haven't decided yet whether I want to make them bigger or trim them down to the same size. I wanted to see whether I could live with monochromatic piecing. Half way through I had to stop and make a couple of birds:

Maybe that's why the blocks took so long!

If you haven't ordered your Iraqi Bundle of Love from Sew, Mama, Sew it's too late. They're all gone. My box is still patiently waiting to be taken to the Post Office. Since I have other unavoidable errands to run today I'll take one of the sons with me and have him do the dirty deed. I'm likely to come home ill anyway but I don't want to be any sicker than I have to be!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Boxes of Bundles

My box for Iraqi Bundles of Love is ready to go to the Post Office.

And at least 70 boxes have already arrived in Iraq:

But there's always room for more! (Art's got permission to use helicopters to take some of the loot into other provinces for distribution!) For those who may want to contribute but don't have a stash to draw from, SewMamaSew has come up with a terrific offer. For a mere $15.00 the folks at Sew Mama Sew will fill a box and ship it on your behalf. That includes filling out the customs form, taking it to the Post Office, and the postage. Sweet! There are only 150 of these boxes available though, so jump over to this page now and place your order.

Here's what they will put in the box:

* 5 yards of new fabric
* 16 sewing needles in a case
* 32 pearlized pins on a wheel
* 1 tomato pincushion
* 1 pair folding scissors
* 1 150 yd spool white thread
*The cost of shipping is included in the price.

It couldn't be any easier. In fact, if I'd known they were going to do this I would have saved myself (or one of my boys anyway) a trip to the Post Office!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Iraqi Bundles of Love

So, as usual, I'm one of the last ones to the party (having been laid up with a bad back and all) but I just have to do my part to help spread the word about a fabulous project I learned about from Quiltdivajulie. It's called Iraqi Bundles of Love and was conceived by thoughtful and caring US citizens currently serving in Iraq.

Because I still can't spend a long time sitting I'm just going to copy and paste some of the more pertinent information directly from Mr. IBOL's blog...

It is intended to be a simple project, requiring little effort and little expenditures from those wishing to participate. It is based upon my assessment that sewing fanatics and quilters and knitters tend to have stashes that far exceed their actual needs, and that sewing fanatics and quilters and knitters are passionate both about sewing / quilting / knitting, and about sharing with others.

The general premise is this. I am in Iraq, and I can get mail through the US Postal System. Willing contributors can send to me a flat-rate box of sewing / quilting supplies, all bundled up. I’d open the box, pull out the fully-contained bundle, and hand it off (with others) to our counterparts in the Iraqi Security Forces (Army and others) or the local police, for them to distribute. The stated intent of this operation is to put sewing and quilting and knitting supplies into the hands of two types of recipients: locals who desperately need such things, and local sewing co-ops who have received grants or loans (typically to purchase sewing machines, rent space, etc).

Here you can find out what to put in the bundle.

And here's the link to how to build a bundle.

To get the address for shipping your box you'll need to go to Iraqi Bundles of Love and leave a comment. But be quick - these boxes have to be shipped by September 7!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Back to Beads

It has been a rough week. There were a couple of toxic episodes and then yesterday I strained my back when I picked up one of the Darling Granddaughters. They had been to the county fair and stopped in for a quick visit before returning home. How I wish I could have gone with them to the fair! I would so have loved to have seen their encounters with rabbits and pigs and who knows what else. Their reactions would have been so pure since the girls are only four and not-quite-two years old. {sigh}

I don't say these things to cultivate your pity. I want to put anyone who reads my words on notice: Enjoy what you have, revel in your opportunities, make the most of your health and vitality!

And now, having said that, let me show you what I've managed to accomplish these past several days. First off is a little ornament. Silk tie scraps pieced onto a foundation and then embellished just a bit:

The foundation had been cut some years ago; I only just came across it in my search for something else. I have an opportunity to put some of my little things out for sale in the not too distant future so I'm happy to have found a project I could finish off so easily.

The next piece is a bit of bead embroidery I'm doing as an experiment. I found a picture of a pair of Major Mitchell's cockatoos and thought it would be fun to use them as inspiration for a small beaded piece. I've long admired the heavily beaded embroideries of people like Larkin Jean Van Horn and Robin Atkins but have never been able to go that far with beads myself. I'm hoping to get a lot closer with a series of pieces based on pictures of parrots. We shall see.

I tried out several sizes and formats before settling on this one. If I keep to the original plan it will finish at 2.25" x 3.25", slightly smaller than a standard ATC. I've allowed an extra inch for finishing purposes so it could end up being an ATC afterall. You may be able to see the yellow basting thread I'm using to keep my beads within the proscribed area. I have no idea where I'm going with this - I'm stitching it intuitively. I'm actually sort of stuck at the moment. In my opinion the pale pink beads need something next to them to make them pop out more. I just haven't figured out what.

And now I have to go lay down again...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Very Pink Post

I have been remiss in not pointing out the fact that you can now put your name in the hat for this year's Pink Artists Drawing. For every $10 you donate your name will be entered twice! The drawing will be held on October 15. The big prize, of course, is the Pink Artists' Quilt which you can see here. But there have been many additional pieces of art created so there can be many other winners as well. Check out the Prize Wheel goodies here.

You may recall that I made this needlebook for the Prize Wheel.

Yes, it could be yours for only a $10 donation! And you can easily donate through Paypal or by sending a money order directly to Monica (who will then see that the funds get forwarded to the Susan G. Komen Foundation). All the information you need can be found in the left sidebar of Monica's blog. She's even installed a Paypal button to make donating easy-peasy. :- ) Go on now- click over there right now, before you get distracted!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Good Help is Hard to Find

I had planned to get back here before this but have had unexpected interruptions. Ain't that always the way? Not that there's a lot to report...

The new dishwasher doesn't seem to be bothering me. Hurray! We have discovered a slight problem however. The control panel sticks out far enough that we can't open the drawer in the base cabinet that butts up against the cabinet that houses the dishwasher. (The drawer is in the corner of the right angle formed by the two cabinets.) You have to open the dishwasher door to get the drawer open. We're hoping the technician can just bump the dishwasher further into its' cabinet to eliminate the problem. We'll find out on Tuesday.

I did manage to finish up the Priority Quilt:

Then I had to go to the store to get an envelope to ship it in. I thought I had one on hand but it turned out to be too small. Once I finally got the quilt into the envelope it took me three days to get someone from this house to take it to the Post Office for me! As close as we are to the Post Office you wouldn't think it would be such a chore. {sheesh!} But after suffering the trip to the store I wasn't about to take on the Post Office.

This is what I ended up doing along the bottom edge of the quilt:

I have been playing with a couple of ideas for new projects since finishing this little quilt. It's too early to say anything about either of them yet. One or neither may see the light of day. Only time will tell.

I have to confess to setting myself up for further distraction too. While I was at the store I came across this and had to buy a copy:
So far I'm thoroughly enjoying it. :- )

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Good & Bad

I figured I'd better check in this morning while I'm still in good enough shape to do so. We are having a new dishwasher installed this afternoon and there's no telling what that's going to do to me. Hopefully it won't be a big deal. Unfortunately, experience has taught me to expect otherwise.

About 10 days ago our old dishwasher, the one that came with the house when we moved in, leaked and flooded the kitchen floor. I've never been happy with that machine - it's hard to load and never did a very good job getting the dishes clean in my opinion - so my Dear Husband said we could just replace it rather than repair it. Woohoo! He went out and found a floor model last Saturday. Although it may have off-gassed some sitting on the showroom floor it has never, to my knowledge, been run. Once all that hot water hits the new plastics or vinyl or whatever in the interior of the machine I'm sure there will be fumes released into my otherwise safe environment. But today it will be the fragrances that the installation technicians carry in on their persons that is my main concern. I didn't know they were coming early enough to be able to ask them to forego any colognes, aftershaves, strongly scented deodorants, etc. so it will be a crap shoot. Let's just say I'm not likely to come out the winner.

So until next time, whenever that may be, let me show you the bit of progress I have made in the last day or two. Yes, I think I'm finally satiated on novels for the time being! I picked up needle and thread and started beading the background of this Priority Quilt:

Hopefully you can click on the picture to get a little bigger version to look at. Here's a detail shot just in case:

There are tiny purple seed beads in the purple areas around the heart. I haven't figured out what I'm going to do in the lower section of the quilt yet.

Ami has put out a call for Priority Quilts so she can take 1,000 of them to the big quilt show in Houston in October. I really want to get this done, registered, and sent off to her so it can be part of that group. If I thought I had it in me I would try to do another one to go with it but I think that might be unrealistic.

I'm also just about ready to move around some books. I may even bite the bullet and get rid of a few. {gasp!} I need to make room on my shelves for the binders of the books I've had taken apart and for my collection of studio journals. Currently my shelves are full of books I can't look at without making myself ill. Where's the sense in that?! I figure I'll be better off with ready access to the binders and journals (instead of tripping over them stacked around the perimeter of the room on the floor) than the tomes that I can't even open.

Because the journals I use are spiral bound once I get them on a shelf they're all going to look the same. No spines with titles, no real color differentiation. So yesterday I spent some time cutting up old business cards and wrapping them with colorful folder labels to make these tags to hang from the tops of the spirals on my journals. I think this will work.

I like the way they look like tassels hanging from the journals. I could really get carried away and decorate the hanging loops with beads too! :- )

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Not So Hot

The temperatures have come down to what is normal for this area at this time of year. It's very pleasant most of the time. Gets pretty warm and humid in the late afternoons, but the mornings have felt wonderfully cool lately. Amazing what a 20* drop in temperatures will do! That hasn't helped me to be more productive however. In fact, I've all but declared myself on a reading vacation. I've been spending my time in Regency England the last several days. I may spend more time there before I try applying my nose to the proverbial grindstone again. I guess I'm hoping that if I indulge myself, reading all I want for a week or so, my enthusiasm for stitching will return. We shall see.

I've also had another run-in with toxins. I was foolhardy enough to venture into my local used book store in search of reading material one day this week.

This place used to be one of my favorite haunts. They moved to a new location and refurbished their new digs maybe a year ago. Well, the new carpet and maybe the paints and varnishes they used on the walls and shelves are still too toxic for me.

The next day my local bead shop had a one day sale and I had to go check that out.

I just bought on spec, not for any specific project. I was trying to flesh out my stash with various sizes and shapes. I have everything from size 15 seeds to 4x4 cubes here. And wouldn't I just LOVE to go to Portland for the Bead Fest?!! You betcha.

Unfortunately, those two outings in quick succession nearly did me in. Not physically so much as mentally or emotionally. There were physical symptoms but it was the depression that really took me down. (No pun intended.) I'm still trying to get up out of that pit. Hiding out in lighthearted romance novels is a pretty safe place for me to be at the moment.

To those whose blogs I regularly read and comment on - if you're reading my blog as well - I'd just like to say that I'll be back one day soon (I hope) to catch up on all that you've been doing. Right now I just can't handle the energy and enthusiasm and productivity that I so admire in others. Sometimes reading about your activities inspires me to get up off my butt and get busy myself. Other times, like now, it just depresses me further.

Time to look for a new book...