Friday, April 21, 2017

final Drummer prototype and Sulky Printable Sticky Fabri-Solvy is now called Stick 'n Stitch

This No. 9 Drummer prototype is pretty tight. Just a few minor changes are needed. I hope you like him! This sample is in the same Benzie color bundle as French Hen. I'll be sewing up new samples with the final changes in place and then writing the pattern. (Read more about this series here.)

And speaking of the pattern, you know that Sulky Printable Sticky Fabri-Solvy is an integral part of sewing the ornaments in this series. I've posted about its many virtues and also the warning about the batch that is faulty. I wanted you to know that it has been re-branded with a new name but it's the same great product as before. If you want to avoid the bad adhesive you should be safe if you purchase new packs that look like this, with the new name: Sulky Printable Stick 'n Stitch.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

what I'm up to

What is going on with me? You may have noticed I've dropped off social media. It's because we are moving! Just 15 minutes away but this process has taken over my life at the moment. After searching diligently for an ideal (slightly larger) house for 2 years we've pretty much found it. Our poor realtor! After about 6 months of fruitless showings we told him to forget about us and we'd just call him when we saw a house we wanted to see. Last month we saw the house listed online, went to view it and whamm-o, that was it. It's been a contracting/mortgaging/packing/painting/flooring whirlwind ever since. And throw in some home schooling and pattern design. And so much coffee.

My two girls are kind of freaking out. I caught Thing 2 hugging our refrigerator the other day. She's not ready for a strange refrigerator. I need to remember they didn't grow up like I did – moving every couple of years. They were excited about finding another house until we found one. They've never lived anywhere else but here. Unlike the moves in my formative years, nothing will change for them except for their house. Church and school are still the same. But it's still an adjustment and I have to remember to be sensitive to that! But not that sensitive. Adversity makes you grow. And there's a huge consolation for two teen girls in the new house: they each get their own bathroom. That will be epic. Plus they get to pick their own paint color for their rooms. Within reason*.

Our current house is pretty great. We built it in 2001. Picked out all the colors. Brought our babies home to it. It's packed with memories. It's our first house. I remember how huge it seemed after we moved here from our apartment. It has an awesome studio for my business. I think the sentimentality will surely hit me at some point. I'll be sad about leaving it. But for now I just ain't got time for that.

*No glitter. No green. No darks. No color that will be hard to look at. Nothing in the pink family. OK, basically they are constrained to white, blue or gray.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

drummer prototype

Here's the latest diminutive drummer prototype. He's number 9 in my Twelve Days series of Christmas ornaments. (The 1780 version of the song is ordered a bit differently from the one you probably sing, but don't worry. The pipers, ladies, and lords are coming!)

This little guy is still minus his hands, drumsticks and embroidery. And possibly his mustache. Still pondering. I'm mostly happy with the sizing except he needs a bigger drum! The next prototype will have some decorative stitching. Time to tweak the pattern again before my next go!

Spring fever is coming on hard and only a few more weeks left of school! I think I might be more excited about that than my two students.

Monday, February 27, 2017

drummer drumming and gray hair graying

What are you up to? I'm prototyping Mr Drumming Drummer, pattern number 9 in my Twelve Days Series. The process is stalled at the moment because we are in the middle of high school play rehearsals and all the busyness that comes with volunteering for the production.

Seems like school is taking most of my time these days. Like seven days a week. Home schooling for 7th and 9th grades is no joke, folks. Honestly, some days I want to crawl inside a pillow fort and barricade myself in with my coffee. Also I might need to ship my 12 year old to Siberia before Pre-Algebra is over. Love her but. Math. It seems unfair that during a time when teen girls usually have irrational hostility toward their innocent, well-meaning moms that I also have to be the target for school teacher hostility. Double dose. This too shall pass...This too shall pass...when they are twenty they'll LOVE ME.

Also I'm growing hair. Going Gray update! Here's where I am these days. Remember my tiny gray sideburns from December? I went for the all-over highlights that soften the line between my true gray roots and my dyed hair. I went to two different appointments a few weeks apart and both times clearly asked for GRAY highlights but I am still blonde. Blonde does not work well with my coloring.

I'll deal. It's not forever.

Also, new hair color problems:
1) Beloved wardrobe items that don't work well with my blonde/gray. Like the unfortunate sweater I'm wearing in the photo^. Clash-o-rama. I'm learning.
2) Startling acquaintances that have not seen me for a couple months. I keep forgetting I look a lot different than I used to. There's a few seconds lag there where they are mentally sorting it and telling themselves not to blurt out something about my hair.

My selfie skills leave a lot to be desired. I haven't figured out how to make myself look like Elle MacPherson. Puzzling. Anyhow, here's the back. It's darker behind. I have more gray up front. Actually these are not really showing the true level of gray, so here's an extreme closeup:

Now you have the full picture. About an inch and half or so of real gray followed by blonde. Can you see the tonal difference? I'm still holding firm to my resolve. I am LOVING not having to constantly worry about root camouflage. Loooooviinnnnng. Picture Julie Andrews on top of the alpine mountain singing for joy. That's me!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

my funny valentine

Throwback! I posted this cynical anti-Valentine on the blog in 2011 and it still amuses me. Minimal effort required. Just print on letter sized regular paper and fold twice. Valentine schmalentine.

If you must, there are also a couple of sweeter ones on my printables page.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

having problems with your Sulky Printable Sticky Fabri-Solvy?

Hello, guys! This is a Sulky PSA. You folks know how much I love their Printable Sticky Fabri-Solvy. I can't live without it! It's an integral part of my Twelve Days ornament series. However, I've heard from several heartbroken crafters just lately who can't get the Sulky stabilizer washed off of their embroidered ornament pieces even though they have followed all the directions and are doing everything right. If this is YOU, you are not crazy. You have some faulty stabilizer!

I've just spoken to Patty Lee at Sulky. She was so helpful and apologetic! She tells me the manufacturer who makes the glue for the stabilizer reformulated the glue without informing Sulky. While the reformulated glue worked for some industrial applications it did not work for Sticky Fabri-Solvy. Sulky was not aware of the problem until some of the faulty stabilizer had already been distributed to resellers.

Have they fixed the problem?
YES! There are no batch numbers to check, so you will need to test your product before using if you have the old packaging and name. The stabilizer has now been renamed and repackaged, so the new stuff should be fine. New name: Sulky Printable Stick 'n Stitch.

Questions? She will be very happy to help:
Patty Lee
(800) 874-4115, extension 173
(If you are outside the US you might need to visit the website to get the correct phone number)

How do I know if my stabilizer is the bad batch?
If you are breaking open a new pack of the old packaging/name (see above), test it first! Go ahead and print the pattern on the stabilizer just in case it's good. Then cut out a blank corner or strip of the page, peel the backing off and stick it on a piece of scrap fabric. If it doesn't soak away in cold water after a few minutes, you may have the bad stuff. This is what it looked like for me. The bad stuff is on the left (turns clear and gooey), the good stuff is on the right (turns white and dissolves away):

I have the bad stuff. What do I do?
Sulky will gladly replace your faulty stabilizer. Please contact:
Patty Lee
(800) 874-4115, extension 173
(If you are outside the US you might need to visit the website to get the correct phone number)

OK, but how do I fix my current project?
There are some things to try! Patty has a list of suggestions that will hopefully fix the problem and she even offered to foot the bill for dry cleaning for your project if that would help. Please contact her.

Thanks very much to the crafters who let me know about this problem! I'm so sorry you ran into it and I hope you will be willing to try another project with the REAL stabilizer (with the new name!) so that you can discover just how wonderful it is!

Monday, January 9, 2017

what I'm up to

Well, hey there! It's me. Can we talk hair color?
See my nice silver sideburns growing in? This photo was taken at the end of December after about three weeks of no color. It's hard to tell but there was about 1/2 inch of gray all over my head at my roots. Creative combing.

I've been covering my gray since I was about 23. Which means I've been coloring my hair for more than 20 YEARS. Almost 25! I can't tell you how tired I am of it. And the last few years in order to keep the brunette illusion I've had to intervene with either all-over color or touching up roots every two weeks. Dumping smelly chemicals on my head every two weeks doesn't seem like a great idea.

So I made a big decision in December (a big decision in Frivolous Beautyland at least). My silver hair wins. I'm going to embrace it. No more squeezy tubes of color and plastic gloves for me. I'm going gray! This decision feels so right. I can't tell you how happy I am to never have to purchase a box of Espresso brown EVER AGAIN.

On the other hand. I feel like I'm violating some universal female pledge to do what I must to look younger at all costs. My wonderful, diplomatic, seldom negative mom says I won't like it. She may well be right. Gray hair might be a large blow to my vanity. I'm going to have to look at myself in a whole new way. My big sister is also very skeptical. But she kindly went with me to get some highlights to help with the transition right after Christmas.

Because. Y'all. I'm not getting a pixie cut. And I can't just let it grow in cold turkey and have a skunk stripe for months. I DRAW THE LINE THERE.

Post highlight picture! OK, so I asked for gray highlights. Hmmmmm. These look blonde to me.

Right? However, it has softened the effect of the gray growing in very nicely, I think. So far. We'll see how it goes over the next few weeks. Next time I go for a touch up I'm going to ask if it's possible to get truly gray/silver looking highlights with a glaze or something. That certainly seems to be possible, judging by the number of twenty-somethings on Pinterest sporting 'granny hair'.

My plan is to keep going every couple of months for probably the next year or two for these highlight touch ups so that my new gray hair blends with my old colored-to-death hair, and then at some point I'm going to chop off the colored ends and be left with my au naturel hair. I'm pretty curious just how much gray I do have. It's hard to tell until it grows in more. But I think it's a lot.

I have a Going Gray Pinterest board under construction if you'd like to be inspired! This lovely young lady is a great encourager. Wish me luck. It's going to be a rough hair year. I keep telling myself when my silver streaks are grown in I can try occasionally dyeing some of them lavender and be really hip and cool*. Can't do that with brunette hair.

*Possibly using the old school words 'hip' and 'cool' make me inherently unhip and uncool but you know what I mean.