Thursday, October 30, 2008

Inching my way back

Well, that was unfortunate. I had a migraine that lasted between 3 and 4 days, and the last day was Monday. My husband couldn't take off work and I had no one to call upon to help me, so I watched over my girls while lying on the couch, ice packs pressed fruitlessly to my cranium, hoping that 14 straight hours of TV wouldn't permanently scar them.

Since then, I've just been trying to catch up on all the things I wasn't able to do for those days - like eat, shower, and not want to die - and the girls have been clinging to each leg as I do them. And if I should try to sit at the computer for 10 or 15 minutes to dash off a quick blog post, the little one grabs my hand and yells, "Pull, pull, PULL!" Which means, "I am pulling on you because you are obviously doing nothing of any real importance and ARE YOU LISTENING? PLAY WITH ME. NOW. DON'T MAKE ME GET OUT THE BOOK THAT MAKES HIDEOUS MUSIC."

So thank you everyone who commented while I was away. I'm sorry I wasn't able to answer anyone back, but I'm sure you understand I couldn't risk having my eyeballs explode.

I'm working on a post that I may or may not decide to publish that is not funny at all, but I swear the potty mouth you come here to read will return soon.

In the meantime, I'll show you my next project. I found this tutorial for making soft baby blocks, and it actually made so much sense that I was able to read it once and then do it without having to refer back to it. I could do these in my sleep now, though I would surely still manage to poke myself in the face with a pin each time (seriously) because no matter how good I get at this (ha) I will never lose my capacity to be a total spaz.

From The Bitchy Stitcher

Monday, October 27, 2008

no tutorial yet

Massive migraine since Saturday morning. May last a few more days. May need to remove my own head to get relief.

I'll get back to regular posting as soon as this ends.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sorry about that

Sorry about that last post. When I found that giveaway, I just had to enter to win it, but it required making that post, and my avarice got the best of me. I can, however, promise that if I ever decide to give away something I've made, I will not require anyone to post anything on their own blog in order to win. Because God knows you'd be getting a half-assed piece of crap that I probably threw across the room several times and possibly even stomped on and, really, I should be begging you to take it off my hands.

And speaking of half-assed pieces of crap - I took myself up on my offer to improve the pattern for that last bag I made. I added a "hidden" pocket, cut all the pieces with a ruler and rotary cutter, and took pictures along the way so that I can offer it up humbly as my first tutorial (well, first real tutorial). I call it the Bitch Bag, and I hope to have it up by the end of the weekend.

I can tell you're just quivering with anticipation. Or is that snickering?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thanks, Melissa!

Melissa over at Cornbreadandbeansquilting has posted her first tutorial today - a super easy wallet/coin purse that even a moron like me can do:

I can attest that no foul language was used in the making of this wallet, so, yay Melissa!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Stop me if you've heard this one

Since simple handbags are fun and relatively easy for me to make, I've decided to try a few as Christmas gifts this year. My husband asked me to make one for his mom, and I finally found just the right combination of fabrics for her. I was going to use the same pattern as from the first bags I made, but then I found a pattern in issue of Quilts & Gifts to Give that I picked up on one of my JoAnn runs. Here is the result:

From The Bitchy Stitcher

From The Bitchy Stitcher

Now I realize I may have exhausted this topic before, but it is a freakin' miracle I managed to put that thing together SINCE THE INSTRUCTIONS ARE WRITTEN BY HALF-WITS ON CRACK. They even promise that their team of cracked-out morons has "reviewed the materials lists, how-to directions and illustrations to make sure the information we provide is clear, concise, and complete." And by clear, concise, and complete they mean obtuse, absurd, and seriously fucked up.

They even include a handy pattern to cut out, except they printed it all mashed up to save space. When you are cutting the outside, the pattern is in two pieces because you have two fabrics, see, but for the inside, the lining, you would need to take those two pieces and tape them back together. However, they neglected to mention that part. So, if you follow the directions for cutting the fabrics, you end up with NO LINING. And the pattern for the flap is printed INSIDE one of the other pattern pieces. Sheesh. I hate patterns anyway - I always end up with wonky pieces of fabric with edges that look like they've been gnawed on by gophers or something.

So, I'm thinkin' that this bag could be seriously improved upon by some - oh, I don't know - directions not written by lunatics and could actually be made without a paper pattern. And, if that is the case, and if I were to actually accomplish such a thing, then perhaps I could post my own (real) tutorial. Perhaps. If, you know, anyone would be interested in such a thing.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Will sell myself for blog hits

Yesterday at Chez Bitchy was spent carving pumpkins and acquiring a very important white Power Ranger costume for a certain 5-year-old. I had hoped that by teaching myself to sew and immersing myself in the world of crafty blogs, I would finally be in touch with the part of the brain that can create cool Halloween costumes. The last time I had a great idea for a costume, I had neither enough time nor willing participants to execute it. It was to be me and three other girls, festooned with crowns and dresses constructed from feminine hygiene products. We would be Queen Tampax and her lovely daughters Stayfree, Carefree, and Maxine. Trust me, the idea is way funnier when you're 20 years old and stoned (NOT that I would know). But other than that the Halloween fairies have never graced me with another original thought, or even with the gumption to copy something else. I think the last time I dressed up was in eighth grade, and I was still using the black cape and grey wig from my role as the hag the wicked queen turns into from my 3rd grade school production of Snow White. Even now, with the plethora of costumes available for purchase online, the "plus-size" selection is limited to "sexy" pirates and vampires. I'm about as sexy as a mailbox, and just as shapely.

I'm so glad my tutorial has been received so well! I have to admit I've become kind of a whore for blog traffic and I've been obsessively looking at my Feedjit stats over to the right. Feedjit gives you a real-time list of who is on your site, listed by geographic location and how they got there. (Don't worry - it doesn't tell me anything private.) For instance, I can see if someone found me through a link on another site (and thank you everyone who has linked back here after receiving your awards!) or if they got here through a Google search. A couple weeks ago, someone actually searched for "quit job fuck all y'all" on google and this post came up second! See - profanity can be useful - don't let your mama tell you otherwise.

Honestly though, I love seeing your comments and seeing so many new visitors come through here. Every time I see that someone from Norway or Finland or Japan has been here, I imagine them shaking their head and muttering "Americans..." as they quickly click on to something more relevant. But if I can make one Scandinavian, one Pacific Islander laugh at a stupid pot joke - well, then not knowing how to sew worth a damn won't seem quite as pathetic.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How To Sew Binding onto a Quilt - A Tutorial for Beginners

1. Wait until the last minute to acquire the fabric for binding your quilt. It is important to have already shown the almost-finished quilt to the child for whom it is intended, so that she will ask you every 5 minutes if it is ready. Realize you are broke and will have to use scraps to make the binding. Tell yourself it doesn't really matter - it's your quilt!

2. Consult a book written by a "professional" that has "pictures" and "tips." Read these directions once then close the book and put it somewhere where you will be sure to forget where it is. Don't be afraid to blame the children for moving it!

3. Cut strips of fabric to the proper width. What is the proper width? Consult the book. Go ahead - we'll wait while you look for it. Don't forget to close it and set it down again.

4. If the book says you can use strips from 2 inches wide to 2.5 inches, go with the smallest size recommended. That way, there'll be no room for error!

5. Lay the strips across each other perpendicularly, then sew from corner to corner. Trim seam to 1/4 inch and press open. Then drop a few f-bombs as you realize you sewed them right side to wrong side. Keep that seam ripper handy!

6. Once you have sewn all the strips together, fold the strip in half and press. Be sure to stand on some of the strip as you are ironing.

7. Pin the open edge of the strip to the raw edge of your quilt on one side. Where should you start? At the corner? In the middle? Consult the book. Wonder aloud why you don't just leave it open to the correct page so you can reference it when needed. When you cannot figure out what to do from the obtuse instructions, close the book and kick it across the room.

8. Start sewing any damn place. Struggle to keep the quilt moving through the machine in a straight line. Wonder if it's possible that the feed dogs on your machine actually move fabric in a circle. Wonder if quilts really need binding. Stop sewing 1/4 inch from the edge. Or less. Or more. Whatever you can manage. Backstitch and pour a cocktail.

9. To create the mitered corner, take the strip of fabric and flip it around aimlessly, trying to remember what you saw in that stupid book, because, god, you really don't want to have to crawl under the table where you kicked it to retrieve it. Look it up on the internet, only to be distracted by those godawful leggings Lindsay Lohan insists on wearing.

10. Get the damn book anyway and study the picture until you are sure you have the angle and flip and whatever thing down. End up with something that looks more like an origami swan. Tell yourself it doesn't matter - it's your quilt!

11. Continue to sew the binding in a meandering line. Pour yourself another cocktail. Since the damn thing looks like you were drunk while you did it, you might as well be drunk while you do it. Viva Cuervo!

12. When you get to the end of the strip, panic - because you have no idea how to join the end to the beginning. Consult the motherfucking book AGAIN. GOD, you hate that book. Read some nonsense about a "tail" and "tucking" and then start giggling as your mind comes up with some really lame dirty jokes. When your 5-year-old daughter asks what you are laughing about, just say "Underpants." It will be partially true and she will totally understand why you would be giggling about it.

13. Thread a really fat needle with some cheap thread. Make a knot at the end roughly as large as your own head. Slipstitch the remaining edge of the binding to the other side of the quilt.

14. What?

15. No, seriously. Slipstitch the binding to the quilt. Yes, by hand. Well, it's not my fault you are 39 and already need bifocals. And I don't EVEN want to hear about your "carpal tunnel" acting up today. Put on your big girl panties and DO IT!

16. Give up after several stitches that can't possibly be right. Consult internet one more time and discover a few helpful videos on You Tube. Realize that you have been straining so hard to see the quilt without proper eyewear, you now cannot see anything smaller than your husband. Ask husband to refresh your drinky-poo.

17. Tell yourself it doesn't matter. It's your quilt! Then topstitch that stupid fucking binding down, give it to your daughter, who is beyond thrilled, and revel in the glory of your first completed quilt!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The package arrived

I found a huge box on my front stoop this afternoon after I put the baby to bed, and immediately ripped it open. My first quilts have been utterly transformed:

The pictures don't really do them justice, particularly since a huge part of the transformation from sloppily sewn quilt tops to actual quilts is the feel of the batting, the pucker of the stitching holding it all together. Every time I touch them I get a little weepy. Of course, I haven't started the binding yet - those will be copious tears, my friends.

But that wasn't all that was in the box. She added other I-work-in-a-quilt-store-and-can-get-stuff-half-price goodies:

AND there was a ruler, some "patchwork" pins, and a thread count estimator. All of which were apparently a late birthday gift.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Back to more relevant topics

Last night I received my invitation to use Spoonflower, the website where you can upload your own fabric designs and have them printed on 100% cotton Kona fabric (up to 3 yards). I only signed up a few days ago, so apparently invitations are not that big a deal. I'll have to start practicing how to make repeating patterns in Photoshop, but this tutorial should help with that.

In other news, my sister emailed me to let me know that my quilts are ready! I sent my first two quilts (see here and here) to The Quilter's Attic in Goodlettsville, TN where my sister works to have them machine quilted. I let my sister pick the pattern and the thread color for both, so it will be a surprise when I open the box. They're due to arrive here on Friday, so I'll post pictures then. And then I'll begin whimpering and breaking out in hives because now I'll have to tackle the binding.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Trying...not to...celebrate...with....doughnut

If you recall, my weight since I began The Bitchy Stitcher diet and exercise plan has been, shall we say, up and down. Let's review:

Week 1: Lost 2 pounds
Week 2: Lost 2 pounds
Week 3: Gained back all 4 pounds, and on one day, apparently another pound on top of that.

Last week was kind of a rotten week for the Plan. I managed to get to the gym on Monday and Tuesday, but then the anemia fatigue set in and I knew it was unwise to exert myself until I got some energy back. Then I got the baby's cold on top of that, and I was just a miserable sack of poo.

I haven't been back to the gym since I want to really get my iron stores back up first, but my eating has stayed relatively the same. I will admit to a few chocolate chip cookies between meals on a couple days, but otherwise the snacking has been low to non-existent. I've still been kicking back the Dr. Peppers, though, cause I'm not a freakin' masochist.

So, I manage to score a shower this evening (and anyone with young children may understand why I chose to use the word "score." The solitude, the yummy smells getting rid of the yucky ones, SHAVED LEGS - it's as good as a hit off a bong (NOT that I would know) and about as easy for someone like me to come by) and I decide to torture myself on the scale that I never threw in the trash truck. And what does that fucker tell me?

THAT I LOST TWO MORE POUNDS!!!!!. All that weight that I seemed to have gained back is gone, plus two more pounds. I have now gone from 197 to 191.

Please excuse me now while I go do a very embarrassing happy dance.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Nothing to do with quilting or sewing or stitching

This made me pee my pants. I love the internet.

Just FYI, the dude on the right is Jed Whedon, brother of Joss Whedon, who created my beloved Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The chick is Jed's girlfriend, Maurissa Tancharoen. Joss and Jed and Maurissa (and Zack Whedon, another brother) together wrote Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, which, if you haven't seen it, is the greatest thing to ever happen to an iPod.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I'd like to thank my agent, my publicist, and my team of lawyers

Molly from Molly's Place has bestowed the coveted Primitive Excellence Award upon this humble blog! I immediately consulted The Google to find out just exactly what this entails; you know - where the ceremony will be held, when my check arrives, etc. Turns out I made that fitting appointment with Karl Lagerfeld a little too soon, though, truth be told, he sounded a tad relieved when I had to cancel ("Oh zank GOD. I do NOT zink zey MAKE fabreek BEEG enough for - "click).

I actually tried, without success, to find the origins of the (coveted) Primitive Excellence Award. Google was no help - at least in the two minutes I spent searching. If someone receives one, he or she is then obligated to pass the award on to 7 more bloggers and link to those blogs, thus giving publicity to some well-deserving, if little-known, crafter/writers. I figured maybe I could trace an award backwards, link by link, until I found the source, but I'd always get blocked by the inevitable blogger who can't make links, and who just says "Sue gave me an award." Like I know who the hell Sue is.

What I did glean from my research is that the award is supposed to be given to people who are involved in primitive-style arts and crafts, not necessarily people who simply craft as well as a primitive creature would. And since I'm not exactly into the whole primitive scene (though it is a valid lifestyle choice), I'd be hard-pressed to come up with 7 blogs to honor. In fact, I'm so new to this blogging thing, I don't think I could come up with 7 blogs, period.

So, I've decided to create a new award. Something to honor any blogger who crafts, sews, quilts - you know, makes stuff - no matter how crappy (or how good). A way to say - I like your blog, like your stuff, and I'm pretty sure you have a good sense of humor. So, without further ado, I present the (coveted) I Love Your Ugly Mug Award:

Now, all the lovely people whom I have had the pleasure to meet through this humble blog are all very talented and not the least bit ugly, but I am sure they will all take this award in the spirit intended. As with the Primitive Excellence Award, the recipients are compelled to pass it on - BUT you only have to pick 3 people to give it to. And the first I Love Your Ugly Mug Awards go to...

Molly from Molly's Place
Myra from Tactile Pleasures in Fabric
Melissa from Cornbread and Beans Quilting
Kate from KateKwiltz
Linda from Just A Quiet Place to Be
Carol from Love to Quilt

I'll post a smaller size of the pic as well - but remember to pass it on! I'm totally jonesing to start a new blog award trend!

Let me know if you need any help grabbing the pics!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Awesome giveaway

I've been spending my baby's naptime catching up on the blogs of all the lovely people who have posted here, and found that Linda from Just A Quiet Place to Be is doing a giveaway - and she doesn't have any entries yet! So get your butts on over there and leave a comment for your chance to win some cool kids' costume patterns. Deadline is Sunday - so hurry, hurry, hurry!

Tired blood - tired blog

I must apologize for the lackluster posts this week. I am once again dealing with the effects of chronic anemia, and it will be a few days before I feel like myself again.

In the meantime, I'll share with you the onesies I made for my friend's baby. I used some of my sushi fabric on some and made iron-on designs (with the nicknames I use for her) for the rest.

My treasures - part 2

And six months after Devon was born, she received this quilt from her aunt:

This was one of the things I asked for when my parents insisted I tell them what I want when they die. Apparently, they figure there's no reason for me to not have some of them now, so on their last visit Mom brought me this pillow. I was probably 8 or 9 years old when she made it, and it used to sit on our living room sofa. This was during her needlepoint phase, which seemed to end around the time I started high school.

She also made me this sampler sometime while I was in high school. She and I didn't see eye-to-eye on much, but somehow we always came together to watch old movies. One of our favorites was Life With Father, and William Powell's character is always sputtering bombastically in an attempt to control his family. In one scene, in an attempt to impart a lesson and quote scripture, he says, "As the Good Book says, whatsoever ye put thy hand to, do thy doggonedest." This became our motto and an in-joke between us for years.

When my father got out of the army he went to art school on the G.I Bill, and for many years pursued an art career in his spare time. Most of his paintings were created before I was born, and most of those were sold or given away. A few pieces remain at my parent's house, and the older ones are only available to me in some black-and-white photographs.

When my husband and I were married in the backyard of my parent's home, I asked my dad to sketch the gazebo under which the ceremony would be held. We then had it printed on the front of our invitations - and I kept the original.