Monday, December 2, 2013

Eleven down, one more to go!

It is amazing to me that this year is coming to an end so quickly. While I am glad that the hectic and hair raising, October whizzed by, I am not thrilled that there are only a few weeks until Christmas. I dread Christmas. I don't really have a really good reason why, I just get stressed out about it. I know that it comes every year and that somehow, I survive it, but every year, I get stressed anyway. I know I stress about the money issues, the time issues, the what do I get everyone issues, and there are some family issues. I'm one of those guilt ridden folks. And no one is to blame, but me. Honestly, I do most of it to myself.  

So November..... We were still pretty busy, right up until Thanksgiving and now it will be pretty slow until March.  Wednesday (Thanksgiving eve?) was a terrific day. I took the day off from work to spend time with my best friend. We've been friends since grade 10 and she comes home to Florida a few times a year to visit her family and friends. We had a great time at Rainbow's End Quilt Shoppe. If you are ever in the Tampa Bay area, I highly recommend the trip to Dunedin. It is a huge store. The other two LQS were closed, but we got all caught up and had a splendid time. 

Thanksgiving was OK. I would have been thrilled to sit around in my PJs all day and sew or cross-stitch without a care in the world, but Bruce had to have a turkey. And invite his mother.  Here they are in my tiny little kitchen. (and yes, that is a 70's Avocado Green oven you see - it's original, as is most of the kitchen)

Don't take that the wrong way, I like his mom. I just didn't really want to spend half the day cleaning while he cooked, then spend the evening cleaning dishes and entertaining. And did I ever mention that I work for Bruce and his mother? We'll just leave that at that and move on.... 

With all the work stuff and holiday stuff, I barely had any time for fun, crafty, sewing stuff! I did manage to start one new project, which I submit for Catpatches November NewFO party.

I saw this Folded Star Ornament tutorial on A Spoonful of Sugar and wanted to try it. I followed the instructions and it came out pretty good.

 Except that there was a 1/2 inch gap between the two halves when I used a 3 inch ball.
 So I tried again on a 2-1/2 inch ball and it came out better.
 And here are a few I have assembled. I still have to put the ribbons on them and a hanger, but hey, this is for projects started. Finishing is not required! We'll just see if they get finished in time to give them to anyone, this year... Ha ha ha.

 Here are the fabrics I bought on my wonderful Wednesday wanderings with Stella. I'm hoping to add them to the other purples and blues for my niece's quilt. I had hoped to get it done for her birthday or Christmas, but I didn't put any deadline on it. I promised her a quilt, but was sure to tell her she would get it when she gets it. I don't always have the money to buy fabric and I certainly haven't had much time for sewing these past couple of months.

Lastly, I am remembering my sweet buddy Bob today. It was the Monday following Thanksgiving last year that he went missing. I will always wonder what happened to him. He was a sweet cat who liked to wander, so I tell myself that someone took him in. After all, who could resist that fluffy charm ball?

Thanks for stopping in! ~Amy

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Cool Change

Wow, I thought October would never end! It truly was a month of Mondays. Somehow, as always, we managed to get through it. This year was the busiest October I've seen in my 11 years with the tent company. And I don't know if it was some cosmic phenomenon or what, but it was more chaotic than usual too. We have customers we've dealt with for years, that for some odd reason, waited until a week before their event to call us, like we were supposed to psychically predict their order and put them on the schedule.  There are jobs I call to find out and see if the event is going to be held and see if we're getting the job, but I don't just assume anything. And the changes. Ugh.  Some people ordered their stuff back in June for their October event and then changed stuff at the last minute. Like we have unlimited inventory on everything available all the time.  Not in October. Or March. Anytime in between, you're probably good, but not those two months. Not here. 

So, there's a few more weeks of insanity. Oh, did I mention that Dolphin Tale 2 is currently being filmed too?  Yep, Winter the dolphin has a sequel coming. And we do all the tents for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where, Winter lives, so the movie company called us. They are not the most organized bunch. I really had to contain myself, lest I start chanting "Lack of preparation on your part, does not constitute an emergency on our part". Seriously. In the middle of all the rest of the craziness, we're dealing with movie people, and their ridiculous schedules. 
One neat thing to report was that last week, we were at the aquarium, measuring for a new cover over the turtle ICU area, and Bethany Hamilton, the surfer who lost her arm (Soul Surfer), passed by in the hall. She is a beautiful lady! I just smiled at her and she smiled back. Pretty cool to see someone famous. Would have been awesome to see one of the big stars (Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Harry Connick, Jr.) since they were filming. 

One of our jobs was at John's Pass in Madeira Beach for their Seafood Festival. A friend of ours owns The Alligator Attraction there and we stopped in for a quick visit when we finished working.  We made a few new friends. 

It's hard to believe these cute little guys can become the huge, menacing - looking, creatures that fill us with fear. They are very soft too!
 This is Chompers, the alligator, giving me a "smile". I was only about 5 feet away from him, inside his enclosure, and he was actually holding his pose on command.  He's fairly famous too. He's been on Tanked and Gator Boys on Discovery Channel. It seems  that I am surrounded by celebrities!

 Rudolph, the African Spur Thigh Tortoise. He weighs 100 pounds and has free run of the place. He's quite friendly and his back feet are ticklish.
 Well, all this work stuff, has left me very little time for sewing. However, I did manage to squeak in one little project. I learned how to machine applique in September, and I wanted to finally make the Quillow for Bruce's cousin. I decided I would try out my skills on a practice project first.  A while back I stumbled onto a website of coloring pages for Hello Kitty. She's cute and I've always liked her simplicity and innocence (although I've seen some altered images that just prove how some people have too much time on their hands, and need to have their heads examined). Anyway, here's what I made.  It's not finished yet, but that's not the point of the NewFO party, now is it? 

Barbara at Cat Patches, has graciously continued her monthly linky party, despite some family health concerns. Thanks Barbara for thinking of all of us, even during this stressful time.

  So here's my NewFo. Isn't she cute?

I'm pretty happy with how she turned out. Now I have to figure out what I want to do to finish it. I have a few ideas, but they will have to wait until I have a little more free time to play.  Oops, I just noticed that I didn't iron out the pen, I used to trace out some of the details, like in the camera strap.  I did learn a lot while I did this practice project.  I actually have a recipient in mind, for the finished project already. But I'm not telling who, because she will most likely be reading this! 

One of the things I used for the first time, is the applique pressing sheet. I bought a rather inexpensive one, just to see how they work. 

  It worked pretty well, despite the lack of instructions. My main concern, since I'm new to the fusible stuff, is what temperature setting I'm supposed to use on my iron.This stuff was pretty flimsy and I think I may have had my iron a little to hot, but it didn't melt. I think I will invest in a higher quality one in the future, but for now, this works.

With my new tool, I did get the Scotty fused onto the background fabric and ready for to applique. Now the only decision is what color to use around the coat? White, Yellow or Teal?  What do you think?

Hopefully, the rest of this week, I should be getting home at a decent hour and can play with a few of the projects I've got piling up. We have to work Saturday, putting up, then taking down an event, but Sunday should be wide open. 

The weather is finally starting to get cooler. It's been breezy and that's always my sign that it's fall. We don't get the pretty foliage turning down here. We have Hurricane Season instead. Ha Ha.  On Halloween, I celebrated 18 years in my house. It's hard to believe! Where did all that time go? 

I think I'll close with a rarely witnessed image in my house. Four of the six cats, all in one place.
Not the greatest phone camera image, but you have to take what you can get. Starting at the top, going clockwise, is Dot, Multi, Oliver and Delaney. Sorry for the surrounding scenery, but had I known they were going to pose, I would have cleaned up a bit.

Thanks for stopping in! ~Amy

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bracing for Busy

 I used to love October. It doesn't really get cold hear yet, but it starts to get breezy and for me that's the signal that fall is coming. Leaves don't change here, and if they do it's just to brown. No pretty colors in between in West Central Florida. I still love the weather, but October is the busiest month of the year for us at work. Everyone is having festivals and Octoberfests, and I mean EVERYONE. I work for a tent rental company, as in festivals, weddings, car sales, back yard party tents. Summer time is so hot here, that it is too hot for anyone to be doing much outside, even under a tent, so it's famine. Then WHAM! October and it's feast, to the point of sinful gluttony and then some. We are literally booked to the point where we may have to start turning people down, if they plan on having tents on a weekend.  It's not that we don't have the inventory. Oh no, we have the tents. It's time and people. We only have so many people (and you can't just hire a bunch of newbies for this type of work) and time. So, I'll be working some crazy hours, with little time unspoken for. Which means not much time for sewing and fun.  Actually I've already started being busy, since I am the one who answers the phone, types up the contracts, fills out the permit applications for the different municipalities, and makes sure the schedule board is updated for the crew to know when all the jobs are. I have to have as much done before the jobs all really start, because once they do, I'm out on the road setting up the tents too. Ok, I didn't mean to whine. Just meant to tell you that I'll be pretty busy and may not get to do much fun sewing stuff in October.

I do have one bright spot in the month. That is Dal O Ween. This year is Dalmatian Rescue of Tampa Bay's 10th anniversary picnic. We have one every year, but 10 years for a small rescue is a big deal. I'm proud to say that I've been a volunteer from the very beginning and watching the group grow and seeing so many dogs saved, has been very rewarding. 

I did get to start on a few things to post over at Cat Patches for the 

 I assembled and stitched down four of the Hello Moon BOM blocks. I still have to stitch the faces on them.


I also started to cut and assemble the Scotty for the Quillow I am making for Bruce's cousin, Kenny. Kenny is into vintage campers (actually everything vintage) and has a Scotty camper. He belongs to a group who all have vintage campers and they set their camps up just like the good old days. Isn't it cute?

The interior, is also done in teal and white, so I decided that the Quillow should match. 

I am going to be using a satin stitch to applique the pieces and I hadn't tried it before, so I took a class at Happy Apple Quilts. I know I could've just watched a video online, but I enjoy the personal interaction and having a human being to ask questions and learn from their experience, right at my fingertips.  Karen, the owner taught our trio and we had a lovely evening. The new shop is beautiful and bright and I just wish it were a little closer to me!  Here are a couple of pictures of the shop. I should have taken a better one, but these were quick, phone shots I posted on my Facebook page. 

The owner and her employees are all quite nice and it's a very inviting environment. Lots of trouble to be had here.

And speaking of trouble...  
Oliver decided our boating tote looked like a comfy place for a nap.

Apparently, it looked inviting to Riley too.

Bruce and I enjoyed a yummy Sushi dinner at Fuji Yama. Tuesday nights they offer a Sushi happy hour with half off!  Yummy. 

Which reminded me of the awesome fortune I got last week at the Oriental Super Buffett. How appropriate for the keeper of a kendle of cats.

For my fellow feline fanciers, here's a little FYI that I found interesting:

According to 

A group of cats is referred to as a clowder, kendle or kindle. A male cat is called a tom (or gib if neutered), while a female is called a molly or queen. The cat family is quite vast and includes tigers, leopards and jaguars.

Thanks for stopping in! ~Amy

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sitting around on Sunday

Last Saturday, I did something that I am very excited about. 

In reality,  all I did was take a cross-stitch that I completed to the framer; something I've done dozens of times. What is so special about this one you ask? Well, it's the first time I've ever had something framed for myself. I've made many many things. Quilts, cross-stitched items,  knitted things,  but pretty much the only things that get completed are the ones that I give away.  

Don't get me wrong,  I have purses, scarves, a hat and a pillow case that I made for myself,  but until my trip to Phoenix,  in February,  to visit my friend Stella, I had never completed a quilt for myself.  And now, my first cross-stitch.

 For clarification, my definition of "complete", means to the point that nothing else can be done to the project.  For me, a quilt isn't truly finished until I and sew the label on it. A cross stitch isn't completed until I have it framed. So even though I've stitched a ton of patterns and completed the patterns, I've never had one framed for myself. So that's why I am very excited about this. 

Here is what I dropped off. She's the Emerald Mermaid by Nora Corbett of Mirabilia. The picture really doesn't do it any justice. There are a bunch of beads and she's quite sparkly.   I can't wait to see it officially framed and finished!

It's that time again!!  Barbara at Catpatches is hosting her monthly NewFO challenge! 

And continuing with my mermaid theme, my NewFO for August is a black work Mermaid (well actually green work).

  I've actually gotten much further with her, but didn't get a chance to take a picture yet. Maybe tomorrow before I do any more work on her, I'll take one of the progress.

Our friend, Dave, went in for a heart valve replacement, and after the surgery, he suffered a stroke. He's doing ok, but has lost the majority of function of his right and left arm. He has some hard work ahead of him, so to keep him company during his stay at the rehab center, when his family and friends aren't able to be with him, I made this teddy bear. Dave is a big University of Michigan fan, so I found this cute, bandana style, Michigan fabric. So a NewFO and a finish!!
 This is Dave and his wife Marcia with their new friend.

I also started two donation vests for one of the dog rescues that I support. The dogs wear these at rescue events and collect donations. The lettering is painted on. First I make a stencil, then I paint them, then I sew.

They asked me to make one to fit a puppy. Since I didn't have a puppy, I used  a couple of my cats as a size guide. Lilly wasn't exactly thrilled to model the finished puppy vest. "It says 'DOG' on it, Mom, Do I look like a DOG to you?"  Sorry sweet Lilly, but you were there and I couldn't resist.

Here in Florida, we have tons of lizards. I like them. Even if the ones you mostly see are the invasive, Brown Anoles. They have chased away the pretty Green Anoles from most of the populated areas. You can still find them occasionally in wooded areas, but around our house, it's the brown ones. I think it's adorable to find them sleeping in my plants at night. I like to walk around when I let the dogs out to potty, and try to find the lizards in their sleeping spots. It's like a nightly treasure hunt. What an exciting life I lead.  :)
This one is a little too big for the leaf she has chosen. She sleeps here almost every night since she was just a baby. (I know it's a girl, because she has a red head).

I almost didn't see this little guy, hiding in the pineapple.

And another little girl in the outer edge of our Orange tree. There were quite a few in the tree, and a couple of baby tree frogs. Hopefully, they will all eat, whatever little creepy bugs have been eating at our tree! See the leaf to the upper right?
Speaking of tree frogs, I didn't have any way to scale this guy, but he's almost 4 inches long! I was all excited about having such a big bug eater around, until I discovered that he too, is an invasive species. He's actually a Cuban tree frog and in addition to the bugs, he will also eat the smaller, native, White's tree frog. 

  Today, I dropped off my Dad's sewing machine. An antique Domestic (which I forgot to take pictures of - DOH!), at Ember Sewing Machines to be checked out and tuned up. Here's one corner of their shop.  They repair, refurbish and also sell sewing machines. I love this place.

Oliver says that this post is almost as long as he is, so I should stop and go to bed. 

Thanks for stopping in! ~Amy

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Stitching a tail

This past Saturday was fantastic.  We went scalloping and had one of our best trips ever. The weather and water were perfect, the company was fun and we limited out on scallops! Here I am with some of the ones I collected.

Sunday was a day of getting things done. We cleaned the scallops and I did some chores. We visited some friends and the puppies they're fostering. 10 adorable fur balls and their sweet mommy.

I decided to postpone the last few chores I had intended to do, and workk a little on my niece's quilt. I got all of the white cut, but am a little annoyed at myself for misreading the quantity of the blues and purples that I needed to cut. So there is still much to cut and sew (and possibly buy). Since funds are extremely tight right now, it may have to wait for a bit.

I had a bad head ache and neck ache, so I took the day off and slept it off.

Meanwhile, I have started a new black work project the other day. It's a little bigger than the last one. Here's where I'm at now.

 And here's my favorite stitching buddy, Oliver

Thanks for stopping in! ~Amy

Friday, August 2, 2013

Great Giveaway!

 First of all, TGIF!

 What a wonderful surprise I got when I checked out one of my favorite blogs today.  The absolutely fabulous, Barbara, over at Cat Patches is having a

Just-for-the-Fun-of-it Barn Quilt Giveaway!!

She's giving away a 12" x 12" Barn Quilt, just click on the link above, or here and follow her ridiculously simple instructions to have a chance to win.  It is only open to U.S. readers, due to shipping costs. 

Here's the one I want, if I win!


Good Luck if you enter her giveaway!

And Thanks Barbara for being so awesome!

Thanks for stopping in! ~Amy