Sunday, December 18, 2011

Winner

The winner of the Modern Log Cabin book and a copy of the Quilter's Shirtless man and Spicy Burrito Calendar is...Cat, whose porn name is Mandy Lawson. Well, not everyone can be a Streaker Beaver. And here are some of the other names that will eventually be included in my future novel, Quickie Quilters, in which members of a quilt guild make porn to raise money for charity:

Topsy CountryClub
Taffy Rutledge
Cookie Blackknocker
Butterball Bearcreek
Puss Rexford
JoJo Beaverbrook
Tripper Topaz
Pinky Orion
Daphne Penistone
Frisky Romance
Dribble Truman
Hoppy Joplin
Cinnamon Charity
Precious Dixie
Bubbles Phantom
Shannon Panorama
Smoky Chilton
Dusty Mimosa
Bootsie Filbert
DeeDee Decatur
Nikki St. Francis
Sniffy Caledonian

And of course, the president of the guild, who also writes and directs the film is... Big Mama Maple.

Thanks to everybody who commented and didn't faint dead away at the nasty, nasty porn reference. And, Cat, you didn't leave an email, so I'll try to contact you through twitter.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

So super nice

My new humor column is up at GenQ today. It's called My First Quilt, and though it's not necessarily an accurate account of my own personal quilt deflowering, it does kinda describe how I remember feeling at the time.

I hope to have something longer here tomorrow or maybe Monday, but it's about something I'm going to be asking your help with, and it's not necessarily funny, but is about someone else who is, so, you know, gird your loins.

And the best porn name so far? Streaker Beaver.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Welcome. And Beware.

Hello! If you are here as a participant in Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day, then you probably have no idea who the heck I am, and you may not even care. BUT I CARE ABOUT YOU. So, first, I am going to show you what I am giving away:


That would be a copy of Modern Log Cabin Quilting by Susan Beal.

Now, a little bit about me. I am a self-taught quilter who has been blogging about learning to sew and other equally riveting topics since 2008. I am a humorist by profession, so what I do here is often irreverent, unrepeatable, and frankly, downright dirty. I curse with impunity, so if F-bombs and other delights give you the heebie jeebies, I suggest you look elsewhere for your quilty humor. Or you could go read my Unraveled columns over at Generation Q Magazine, where I never curse at all, yet still manage to offend people because everybody knows that quilting isn't the least bit funny.

Over the years I have built up a great following of like-minded readers, who have seen me through a lot of things, including my big brother's diagnosis of brain cancer back in 2010. So great was their support, they even bullied, badgered, and bribed their significant others into posing for a fundraising project for my brother and his family: The Quilter's Shirtless Man and Spicy Burrito Calendar. (You can go here to read more about it and here to peruse all the pages or even, I daresay, buy one). So, because I know that my readers want to have their men displayed in quilters' homes everywhere (who doesn't, really?), I'm going to give away a calendar as well, along with the book.

To win (and yes, all my dear friends who have been with me forever, you should enter too), just leave a comment telling me your porn star name (that would be the name of your childhood pet combined with the name of the street you lived on— mine is Minnie Bluegrass. No lie.) and I'll announce the winner on December 18.

Good luck!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The best I can do today (NSFW)

And, no. That is not a hickey on my neck. That is what happens when I scratch. Get your mind out of the gutter.

video

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Skinny is the new black hole

Yes, I know I've become the worst blogger ever. It's just, you know, stuff keeps getting in the way and it's not even exciting or interesting stuff that I could then turn into some wacky post. It's the most mundane, boring shit imaginable so I have a hard time working up the enthusiasm to come over here and go, "God, ya'll. I'm so busy and so bored AT THE SAME TIME. Please pity me. And bring me a snack."

I'm on a goddamn diet again, but this time is not as hard. I have been told by Certain People that if I do not manage to show my face at Market this spring there will be Hell To Pay in the form of...well, I don't know what. Asking my advice on something? But anyway, I am expected to go to this thing and presumably they want me to talk to actual human beings. Face to face. Not even through email or Facebook, like normal people. Which means that tons of people who could potentially be investors or otherwise benefactors of our little endeavor are going to look at me and then look at my big belly and go, "Oh, when are you due?" And then I will have to disembowel them with a plastic spork I stole from the room where press people get snacks and it will be very ugly and messy and some fluids that are rather hard to wash out might splash on David Butler and then every woman within a 1000-foot radius will beat the living shit out of me all in the hopes that he might notice them and leave Amy and run off behind a booth with them to have wild quilter groupie sex and then even MORE people will hate me than ever (yes, there are people in the Q-world who hate me AND THEY WILL BE THERE TOO) and I will have to blog from whatever country I can escape to that doesn't extradite. Unless I lose thirty pounds by then. Skinny solves everything. I saw that on Oprah.

But what really sucks is that I had so many plans for this blog earlier this year, and just plans in general that, if they worked out, I would totally share with you, 'cause, you know, we tight. I really wanted to try to do NaNoWriMo this year, because I have plots for at least three books in my head just screaming to get out (one of which is the Great American Satirical Novel - the other two are just silly fluff, which would have been perfect for NaNoWriMo). And though I did start one of them, I didn't get anywhere close to finishing and certainly didn't write every day. I will say though, that in one section, two of the characters have a drinking-and-talking-about-men tradition that they refer to as "Cocktails and Cock Talk." GOD, I need to get back to writing that.

So, I am going to try harder to keep up here, and I hope you don't mind if it makes absolutely no sense because I'll be writing at night when my brain-power is at a minimum.

Over the long, long Thanksgiving break—during which time my husband, who was apparently a bit depressed about work but couldn't manage to actually TELL me about it, kept his head down over his iPad as much as possible so as not to actually interact with his wife and children (not that I'm bitter)—I did manage to do some sewing. I have somehow produced children who, when I am sitting at the computer, absolutely must have my full attention all the time or must do something on said computer or they will JUST DIE. But these same children, when I am sitting at the sewing machine, will play happily on their own for hours. This is why, when they are home, I get absolutely no writing done, but lots and lots of sewing. So, I finished this:


Made the backing, stippled the living shit out of it, and bound it. All ready for a very sweet baby girl up in NYC who was just born a couple weeks ago.

I've also been playing with my new Quilt Pro software and trying to design blocks and quilts, but it turns out I pretty much suck at that. I keep creating blocks that are next to impossible or require templates (same thing, really). The first one I tried to actually make turned out like this:


Uh, oops. I posted it on Facebook and was promptly informed that setting in a square like that would be SO EASY with partial seams or something, but I had just conquered y-seams (thanks to this fabulous tutorial from That Crazy Quilty Girl) and the thought of trying yet another magic seam trick made my noggin all achy. So then I turned my block into a rectangle and that solved the problem but my seams were awful and I ended up using the block I made to scrub the toilet. Still, it was adventurous and now I know that I should probably not design anything ever, lest I create some sort of fabric singularity by accident and suck the world into a black hole.

 It could happen. I saw it on Oprah.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oh, Thank Cuteness 2: Electric Boogaloo

We are having a week dedicated to showing off the cuteness in our lives over at GenQ (this is the first post and today's post is mine) and we are hoping other bloggers will participate (scroll to the bottom of the first post to add your link if you want to participate), so naturally I am compelled to add my own blog to the mix.

I don't have much more to add, but I do need to brag a bit. We had Harper's parent-teacher conference this evening, and when David and I walked out of there we were high fiving and doing chest bumps all the way to the car. It's pretty great when your kid's teacher says, "I absolutely adore that child and one day she won't come home because I'm going to just scoop her up and bring her home to live with me." It's even better when she proceeds to tell you that your kid is basically brilliant. She described her as hard-working, conscientious, focused, good-natured, kind, and sweet. She said that every kid in the class has a hard time not talking when they're not supposed to - except Harper. She showed us a new reading comprehension test that the class took, and which she says was new and turned out to be too hard for second grade, because scores on that test went down all over the school system this year. Except Harper aced it.

Now, I know my kid is freaking awesome. I've always known it. But knowing that her teachers are seeing it too just makes my heart swell with pride.


I can only imagine what it will be like when Devon starts school. Have I mentioned that one day, when that child was, like, three and a half, she just picked up a book and read it to me? And just like that, we discovered she could read. She is ambidextrous and will sometimes draw the same picture on two different pieces of paper with each hand at the same time. Or sometimes she'll do mirror writing. Frankly, it's kind of scary what David and I managed to produce in these kids.


I tried to come up with something funny to say today, but I just can't do it. Not that they aren't hilarious, but right now I can't get past my pride in these two.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Askhat. Askhole. Ask Blaster.

(Please also note there is a new humor piece up at GenQ: My New Fabric Line.)

What the hell has gotten into you people? In the last few weeks my email inbox has been inundated with letters from readers asking my advice about stuff. Did you all get together and say, "Let's all do the one thing that will drive Megan completely off the deep end"? What on earth makes you think I know anything? About anything? I write humor, for Chrissakes; I can barely dress myself. I went to a liberal arts college. I studied ancient Greek and Euclidean geometry. I didn't learn any marketable life skills. Do you remember when my car was apparently dying and I finally took it to the mechanic and the only problem was that I hadn't changed my oil in SEVERAL YEARS? This is who you're dealing with. Why do you think I know anything?

Now if you had been asking things like, "How can I, too, become a marginally successful humor writer, particularly in a very, very small niche such as quilting or perhaps locksmithing?" Or, "I am tired of having friends and an active social life. How can I, too, become a sad and lonely semi-hermit?" THEN I could see why you might come to me to help solve your problems. Not that I could answer those either, but at least I could understand why you would be asking.

Now truly, I am flattered that you would think so highly of me as to ask my advice on topics I know nothing about, but you have to understand I am completely neurotic about doing things right. If someone asks me a question, I get very worked up and sweaty about coming up with just the right answer. Like if I don't, I'll get a B instead of an A and I'll have to have a little talk with my parents about why I'm trying to ruin my chances of getting into law school. I actually lose sleep over it. So when I do answer, I probably come off sounding really cranky because beneath it all there is the subtext, "Why do I have to doooooo thiiiiis? I'm 42. I don't wanna go to law school. I wanna dye my hair purple and get a tattoo."

So, if this is going to be a thing now, then goddammit we're going to have some fun with it. I will start a new monthly feature here called "The Ask Master." You submit your questions about anything at all—car repair, cooking, travel, work, sex, marriage, quilting, the Japanese economy, ANYTHING—and I will reprint your questions here (anonymously of course) and answer them. Will I answer them seriously? TAKE A WILD GUESS. If we have enough fun with it, I may make it into its own website.



Send your questions to theaskmaster@hotmail.com. I look forward to serving you.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Make A Statement

Note: I sat on this piece for months because I was, frankly, scared of how it would be received. This is NOT intended to make fun of artists, art quilters, or the work of Kathy Nida. This piece is what I imagine those who find the work of artists like Nida offensive think when they imagine what an art quilter does. I have a very low tolerance for those who are immediately and automatically offended by depictions of the human body. I also have a low tolerance for those who dismiss or denigrate art because it makes them uncomfortable, and for those who assume that an artist is just tossing off shocking things to get attention. I suppose the point would have been more easily made had I written this from the perspective of one of those people, but that was not as interesting as trying to do it this way. 


I took a risk by posting this. I have probably failed in what I was trying to express. But lately I've been reading another humorist who often has the same problem, and he keeps going anyway, so I guess I will too.


And just so you know, I DO know the difference between the vagina and the vulva. However, for the purposes of this piece, it was better—and, I admit, funnier—to use "vagina." Despite the inaccuracy, in the common vernacular, most people tend to use the term "vagina" as an all-inclusive term for female gentialia, inner and outer. Therefore, to me it made more sense to use "vagina." It was a conscious choice, not a mistake.




 Sure, you may be the prince of patchwork and the queen of free-motion quilting, but if you’re starting to feel that unmistakable sense of ennui after finishing your latest quilt then you need to break free from your bias bindings and start experimenting in the world of art quilts! Anybody can whip out a nice soft blankie to snuggle up under, but you can’t be satisfied with mere comfort quilts. No, you need to make a statement, and despite what your mom says, you can indeed make a statement through quilting. Here are some statements you might consider making with your first art quilt:

- I have a vagina and I LOVE IT.
- Homelessness is bad, racism is wrong, and this vagina will help you see that.
- Some women living under oppressive regimes have no vaginas.
- Global warming is killing our environment. Plus: vagina!

Don’t be afraid to dive into the art quilt pool even if you have no formal training. Talent and skill are no barriers to the art world, and as you’ll see, you don’t even need a sewing machine to create stunning pieces that will be the talk of your next guild show. And remember, if someone says your quilt is the most offensive thing they’ve ever seen and you should be ashamed of yourself because, for goodness sakes, there are children here—then you’re doing something right!

Here are just a few ways you can shake up your stitchery and topple the patriarchy through art quilting:

- Found object quilting. Get out of your fabric rut and discover new media by rooting through a trash bin or walking through a condemned building. Greasy take-out containers, flattened soda cans, and used syringes will add lots of color and texture to your quilts and wadded up plastic shopping bags make great vaginas!

- Deconstructive quilting. Show your contempt for the trite and mundane by taking a traditional quilt and thrashing the living daylights out of it. Beat it with large rocks. Spit on it. Tromp on it with muddy hiking boots, then give it to an untrained Labrador puppy. Finally, tie it to the bumper of your car and do some doughnuts in the gravel parking lot of a seedy strip club. And when you hang its shredded carcass on the wall, give it a vibrant and thought-provoking title, such as Check Out This Vibrant and Thought-Provoking Vagina.

- Performance quilting. Who says an art quilt has to be a static piece chained to a wall? Bring new life into your art quilts by becoming a part of the art yourself. Stand on a busy street corner (naked, of course) holding a rotary cutter and an uncooked Cornish game hen as a statement about farm subsidies. Or, hanging upside-down inside an abandoned warehouse (naked), chant the lyrics to “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” in a deep monotone while waving large quilt blocks in semaphore signals. And, for the ladies, the best part of performance art? Built-in vaginas!

However you decide to make your statement, be prepared to suffer your share of ignorance and intolerance. Most people are frightened of art that challenges and stimulates the mind and it is your responsibility as an artist to show them vaginas anyway. Ignore all those naysayers who claim you’re just being shocking in order to get attention. If all you wanted was attention, you’d be quilting penises instead.



Thursday, October 20, 2011

Quilter War! Who's with me?

(Okay, I probably ought to say this again since I think there's a bunch of new readers: I curse. A lot. Don't read this if a potty mouth gives you the vapors. And for the love of all that is good and holy in this world, don't email me and tell me not to. Or I'll be forced to write a column about you.)

Oh, lordy day. Have you guys seen some of the latest kerfuffles in the world of quilty blogs? (I'm not linking to them; it just encourages them. Plus, they might come after me.) It amazes me that with so many quilters out there, so many blogs, so many things and people in general, that there are some who feel it necessary to pick fights and get all uppity and shit over nothing that actually concerns them. Over stuff that they can ignore. Easily. I mean, not to get all deep n' stuff, but have you looked at the world lately? Does the way one person chooses to blog or to spell her name merit all this nonsense? Cheezy crackers, y'all. I get on my blog to RELAX. To open up and have fun and interact with people who share my sense of humor. Not to get into a turf war over how I wind my bobbins.


HOWEVER. I bet these people are getting LOADS of site traffic out of this! I mean, come on. Who doesn't love a good brawl, right? But, you see, to me, these people are really missing out on the real fun. Sure a blogger can say something and get people all het up to defend someone else, but what the quilt blog world is truly missing out on is a real, honest-to-god Quilt Blogger War. Something that goes on and on. That devolves into personal insults and veiled threats. That makes the comments section look like the censored outtakes from a Jerry Springer show.

For example:

You know what I hate? Quilt bloggers who get all Photoshoppy with their quilt pics and do that soft-focus fuzzy thing around the edges. What makes you think I want to see your quilt shots looking like somebody smeared Vaseline all over the lens? Huh? What else do you do with that Vaseline? Like this blogger, Earlene from Cutie Patootie Quilty-poos. I used to love her blog, but now I am NEVER reading it again. She obviously does not care about her readers OR her quilts OR her jumbo jar of Vaseline which she OUGHT to be using for all that BUTTSEX she obviously has with her sister's husband. 

And then Earlene would put up a post called "Oh, No You Di-in't"

Oh, you think that just because my baby is a redhead and the only other redhead for MILES around is my brother-in-law, that I was somehow ANALLY IMPREGNATED by him? Haven't you ever heard of RECESSIVE GENES? And ADOPTION? And FALLOPIAN TUBES? You are obviously a sad, sex-deprived old hag and when you stop photographing YOUR quilts with that tired old Polaroid you got in the NINETEEN FIFTIES before everybody on earth was even born and start using an iPhone like the rest of us, maybe people would start reading your blog instead of using it as the first example in their class on HOW TO BLOG LIKE A BIG STUPID WHORE.

That is how you have a blogger war. Anyone wanna have one with me? C'mon! We'll hurl insults at each other over blog posts and see how much site traffic we can get and how many people we can get coming to our defense! It'll be fun!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Crib

So over the weekend, just before the 600-pound rock of death settled on my head, I put two quilts that I have finished recently up on my sewing room walls and took a picture. I put the picture on Facebook, because I was feeling quite proud that I finally have a sewing room that looks like a quilter's room:


And everybody on Facebook was all, "That can't be a QUILTER'S room! It's too neat! Where's the dog hair? Where's the piles of scraps? Where's the mound of empty ketchup packets from McDonald's that you open and suck all the ketchup out of without even any french fries because you are hungry and it's midnight and you are too lazy to go down to the kitchen and get a snack like a normal person? Huh? Where's that?" So, in order to maintain my reputation as a Quilting Slattern, I had to promise that I would reveal the REST of my sewing room, not just the part that I keep neat and tidy so that when I am exhausted from writing yet another AWESOME COLUMN for GenQ (I have no shame. None.), I have a place where I can fall down in a swoon without getting ketchup on my pants.

So, here is my desk. WHERE THE AWESOME HAPPENS:


Please note the ice pack for my head, the dirty socks on the floor, and the paper with the tattoo design I am working on next to the computer.

This is the area next to my desk, where the printer resided along with half of the crap my kids leave in my room:


That pile on top of the printer is where I keep all of my important papers. It's crucial to have a good filing system. Also, that little kitty on the chair in the bottom right corner is wearing a white felt dress that I made. It looks like something a prisoner of war would wear AND it took me several tries to figure out how to sew it so that it had armholes and a neck hole and wasn't just an oddly shaped sack.

This is the cutting table:


This is also another area where the kids' stuff has taken over the available space, because where else are you gonna keep a princess castle, a makeup kit, a bag of plastic Easter eggs, and a homemade checkerboard? Please note that the stuffed animal on the ironing board is mine. It is an octopus, because I have some weird thing for invertebrates. Devon labors under the impression that his name is Octie, but I like to think of him as D'Artagnan.

A close-up of the cutting table:


You can see I purchased a set of plastic containers at Ikea, that I hoped would control some of the clutter, but now they seem to be as much a part of the clutter as the shit they contain. This is also a shot of the table in an unusually pristine condition, as there are usually half-drunk Dr. Pepper cans and bowls of potato chip crumbs or unpopped popcorn kernels littering the table as well.

And I have decided to save the best for last:


My crumb collection. Because it is too fucking hard to drag the vacuum all the way up the stairs, and besides, I have to take off the hose thing and jam on one of the attachments and I am usually WAY too tired from writing humor columns to do all that work. You know, I always say that I don't want to get a dog or a cat because now that Devon is FINALLY potty trained, I think I deserve a break from dealing with another creature's poop, but the crumb-cleaning capacity of such a creature might make the poop-handling easier to take.

So hopefully I have now restored my credibility, but I'm pretty sure we are now about to engage in a rousing game of "Oh, Yeah? You Think THAT'S Messy? Well, One Time, I Lost My Youngest Child In The Scrap Bin And We Still Haven't Found Her." So just remember, I spared you all by not showing you pictures of my bathroom. BUT I WILL IF MY HAND IS FORCED, SO HELP ME.

Oh, and, P.S. The migraine is gone today. I feel like dancing. So I think I will.

video

Monday, October 17, 2011

uuuuuhhhhh

Massive. Migraine. Can't. Form. Complete. Sentences.

New. Humor. Column. Is up. At GenQ. Click here.

And then? When you're done? Please. Get a hammer. And beat me. To death. With it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A cool grand

Well, you did it, you crazy man-loving bunch of quilters, you. You helped me raise $1000 in just one month. eQuilter.com and LadyFingers Sewing Studio are carrying it. Luana Rubin, who owns eQuilter.com, has been a huge supporter of the project and has been encouraging me to send out press releases. "You could be in the Washington Post on on Good Morning America!" Yeah, I could see me on GMA or the Today show, vainly attempting to suck in my gut and angle my head so that it doesn't look like I have twelve chins and trying to engage in witty repartee. And I just know I'd get stuck with Ann Curry. I have issues with Ann Curry. Deep, abiding issues. She once did a special on George Clooney in Darfur - and y'all know how I feel about the G-man - and I could not watch it. Could. Not. The woman looks cracked out all the time and her questions are all vague and touchy-feely and she always has bad hair.

I would totally write a press release if I knew what to say and who to send it to. And if I didn't have fears that someone might want to take my picture. Being in a position where I might actually get looked at by another human being keeps me from doing lots of things. Like leaving the house. I like my sewing room. It has a bathroom and a bed and a TV and I keep snacks hidden behind the printer. If it wasn't for the kids I would never leave.

And yet. You know, ever since I did that piece for GenQ on quilty tattoos, I have been obsessed with getting one. And not only would I have to leave the house, I'd have to let some stranger - quite possibly a guy - look at me up close. And I'm pretty sure there would be no way to hide my chins. Not that I would get a tattoo on my chins. I'm just saying THEY CAN'T BE IGNORED. Anyway, I really want something on my arm, like a bracelet, and I've been looking up Art Nouveau motifs because I think I would want something kind of Aubrey Beardsley-ish. But I also kinda want my logo too.

I think the tattoo obsession has less to do with wanting a tattoo and more with the way my brain works when I get in a funk. I have just been so blah and unmotivated and feeling unfunny and lonely, and when I get that way I tend to get obsessive about something, like getting that one thing will somehow make it all better. Maybe when the Joel Dewberry fat quarters I cannot afford but ordered anyway arrive, those will make me feel better and I won't get the tattoo.

Nah. I'm probably still getting inked.

So, ages ago it seems. I got George Jr. back from the longarmer and I slapped a binding on that baby. I also sewed on a hanging sleeve, but the quilt is so damn big, I have no good place to hang it except my stairwell, and I can't reach the spot on the wall where I'd have to drive in the nail without some sort of pulley and harness system. But I could hang it temporarily from the front porch on the one day we've had sunshine here the last month:





Hard to be sad when looking at that, yet somehow, I manage.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The P.T.B. Quilt in Pictures

Yesterday, the quilt I made for the reader who gave me a plane ticket so I could go see my brother just after his brain surgery last year was delivered to its forever home.

From The Bitchy Stitcher

From The Bitchy Stitcher











































Do you see what I mean about Lisa's quilting transforming it into something beyond just a mere quilt? She made it special, which is exactly what it needed to be for my PTB. (sadly the sun would NOT come out all weekend while I was trying to photograph it, and I just couldn't get the exposure right - thus the dark pics) (Okay I just photoshopped the exposure - maybe that's better).

It feels very, very good to close this particular circle. And even better knowing that I have people like Lisa and the PTB (and you, sweet goodness yes, all of you) on this journey with me.

I will get back to being funny at some point, really. But right now, I just feel like hugging everyone I see. Except that guy at the grocery store who called me "Sir." Him I want to kick in the nuts.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Thank you

Today I interview myself about the calendar on Generation Q Magazine. As I would expect of me, I manage to insult myself, then storm off in a huff, then return when lured by Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. There's very little that I wouldn't do if Reese's cups are involved.

Soon I will have actual quilty stuff for you to look at as my Plane Ticket Benefactor's quilt is FINALLY finished (but you can't see it until she gets it) and I am binding George Jr. as we speak. That's right. I am typing and sewing AT THE SAME TIME.

So far the calendar has raised $740 in the first week of its release. That is is incredible, since my goal—and I assumed it was a long shot—was to raise $1000 by Christmas. And I know that is because of all of you who were so excited about the project, who gave me advice and encouragement, and who bribed your men into posing for it. I've been saying this a lot and in a number of different places, but it bears repeating: thank you. We made my brother laugh—which is what I really hoped to accomplish—and I have had an insane amount of fun. That would have made the whole project worth it, even if we hadn't raised a dime.

So again, thank you. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Q.S.M.A.S.B.C. is ready!

(Go here to learn how the QSMASB calendar came to be.)

I need a drumroll. Or some trumpets for fanfare. SOMETHING. Because the most awesome of awesome days has finally arrived. The 2012 Quilter's Shirtless Man and Spicy Burrito Calendar is done and available to purchase NOW.

The price is $19.99, which means I will get about $5 per calendar. And until September 23, you can use the code OKTOBERFEST305 to take 15% off your entire order at Lulu.com (and it won't affect how much money comes to the fund - Lulu takes the cut from their profit).

So, order up all your Christmas gifts ASAP so your friends can thank you for this:


and this:


and especially this:


(FYI - we had 14 men and 12 months, plus some of the photos I got were either in the wrong orientation (i.e., vertical instead of horizontal) or were a bit too out of focus or too small to use as a full page shot—so some guys had to share and didn't get a month all to themselves. But I wanted to get everyone who sent in pictures to be in, so this was the best solution while also keeping the pages and thus the cost of the calendar down as much as possible).

A big, big thank you to all the guys who stripped down and manned up to make this calendar possible. A big, big thank you to all of you who have been so excited about it and given me the encouragement to make it, especially those of you who had to do god only knows what in order to convince your men to let you photograph them.

And once again, thank you to everyone who has ever come here, laughed, and decided to keep coming back. Thank you for reading my stuff at GenQ, for having fun with me on Facebook, and for being the best friends I've never actually met in person a girl could have.

Again, here is the link to where you can purchase the calendar and don't forget you have until September 23 to use OKTOBERFEST305 to get 15% off your order. You can also preview the entire calendar there.

(ALSO - international people! I have heard that LuLu charges outrageous shipping overseas, but I can't confirm this. If you try to order and they want to charge you a million bucks—or marks or euros or whatever—and you can't swing it, email me. If I need to, I'll set up a Paypal system so that you can pay me, and I'll buy them and then mail them to you myself. Might still get pricey with being shipped twice, but I'll do the best I can for you.)

If you want to tell people about the calendar and where the money is going, you can send them to this page, which will be my official QSMASBC page until I come up with something better.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Your monthly dose

My latest humor piece is up today at Generation Q. And have you noticed that I've been putting these things out MONTHLY? Quilter's Home was bi-monthly, so, you know, I had time to paint my toenails and stare off into the middle distance until inspiration finally hit, but now these slave-drivers that I work with are all addicted to how all of you go over there every time I have a new piece up and shoot up our stats and leave tons and tons of comments and make us all attractive to advertisers and whatnot, so now I have to actually put on clean underwear and brush my teeth and act like a normal human being and produce work on a regular basis. I liked being a big ol' sloth. I also liked not having to be so aware of how my menstrual cycle was affecting my creativity.

Back when I was an optician, I had this customer, whose name I should dutifully hide but her name was the same as a southern state where they grow lots of peaches, but like I said, privacy and all that, so lets just call her Idaho (no, you da ho!). Anyway, Idaho was a gigantic pain in my ass because she was one of those rich, self-centered, entitled people who thinks the world revolves around her and justifies it all by announcing every ten seconds that she's a Christian. You know, I've known a lot of Christians of various stripes in my day, and many of them were capable of practicing virtues like humility and charity, but this one? She would say things like, "I prayed about it really hard and God told me that He wanted me to have a new BMW." I AM NOT KIDDING. And this woman spent INSANE amounts of money in our shop, so it wasn't like I could go, "NO, I'm pretty sure God wants you to suck up your pathological need for a flashy car and give that money to somebody who HAS NO FOOD." Nope, I had to nod my head and smile and ask if she'd be using her AmEx or paying cash today.

She was roughly 8 or 10 years older than me, which put her in her early 40s when I was in my 30s, and not only did she torture us almost daily with tweaking her eyeglass adjustments by mere microns and her contact lens prescription by degrees too small for ophthalmic instruments to actually register, apparently she also did this to her doctor with her hormones. Her hormones for peri-menopause. Her hormones were so in need of constant adjustment she had her poor doctor on speed dial and would call her at all hours to discuss how many milligrams up or down she needed to go in order to be able to function normally. NEWS FLASH, IDAHO: IT WASN'T THE HORMONES.

Naturally, I thought she was full of shit. But then I hit 40 and I started getting my period every two weeks. And then it would skip three months. And then be normally spaced but so heavy I'd wonder if it was possible to need a transfusion just for a really heavy period. Then after about a year of this, it all just went back to normal. Except now, I'm not normal. I am a raging bucket of mad, evil, murderous thoughts for one week before my period starts. Everything pisses me off. I get boiling mad over everything, and I can't write to save my life. Then, my period starts and I have four or five days of relative normality and then, for the next two weeks, all I can think about is sex. IT'S VERY DISTRACTING.

So, now I feel like maybe I shouldn't have been so hard on poor Idaho. Though, I do hope that, like me, she was plagued by naughty thoughts all the time and had to talk to God about it. "Honey, I've been praying about it a lot and I'm pretty sure God wants me to do it with the repair guy on top of the washing machine until neither of us can walk straight."

And what does that have to do with my humor column? Um, nothing really. Except that it is what I manage to do in between wanting to kill everyone in sight and being a middle-aged degenerate.

Oh, and come back on Wednesday. I'll have an announcement that day and I promise it won't have any links you can't click on at work (unless they have a no-burrito policy).

Friday, September 9, 2011

Actual quilting news! Alert the media!

So, do you guys remember ages and ages ago, when I first found out that my brother had brain cancer and I was desperate to go see him but I couldn't afford it and a reader gifted me a Southwest plane ticket? At the time, she said that what she wanted in return - someday - was a quilt, which is of course perfect and doable and then I nearly killed myself trying to come up with a pattern. But eventually I did, and then it needed to be quilted, only I certainly wasn't going to ruin it with my own personal thread vandalism, so it had to go to a longarmer. But those bitches want money and I never have that much at one time, but then suddenly I did because I wrote a bunch of QH articles and they actually paid me for them (after many emails and veiled threats) (and speaking of which, they STILL owe me for the last issue. grrr) So I sent it off to Lisa in Kansas and said "Do what you will." I love Lisa because I can just send her a quilt and say, "Have at it," and when it "speaks to her" (apparently, sometimes this involves alcohol) she quilts it and it transforms from some crappy little thing I made to a magical fairy quilt with super powers and psychic abilities. (I also love her because she sent me pictures of her boyfriend naked. Just remember that if you ever want to suck up to me for any reason.)

She just finished my Plane Ticket Benefactor's quilt and it is currently in the hands of the U.S. postal system, and is due to arrive at my door TODAY. I just finished cutting my binding strips, but I also have to cut and sew a hanging sleeve. It may take me another week or two to finish, but it's coming, PTB, it's really almost done! I'm going to hold off on pictures until I mail it to her because it tortures the poor girl so when she can't read the rest of the post because she wants the quilt to be a surprise. And you are going to be SO SURPRISED.

I have also been working on a baby quilt for a friend who is due in November, and it's possible (not probable, but possible) that I may get it done before the child is actually born. Laura is one of the most colorful people I have ever known and I wanted her little girl to have something just as colorful. I've been dying to work with the Terrain line by Kate Spain for Moda and so I grabbed a layer cake as soon as they were released (yardage still isn't available yet - more grrrrs) and made this:


Still needs a couple borders and then I probably will try to quilt this one myself, since it's a manageable size.

And because I know not all of you are on Facebook, I should share with you what I posted last night. A preview of the cover of our calendar (click the picture to see full size image):


ISN'T HE AWESOME? Don't you just want to run your hands through his hair and then give him a big hug? AND HE MADE THAT QUILT. FOR HIS WIFE. Seriously, I don't think George Clooney's naked ass covered in chocolate could make a better cover than this.

I am going to be using Lulu.com for the printing and the distribution, so you will be able to buy it directly from their site. That way, I don't have to worry about running out or - more likely - printing too many and having a bunch of calendars leftover. If they sell well enough and the feedback is good, I may look into doing pre-orders next year and having them privately printed.

Normally, I would try to sign off with a good zinger, but my Dayquil is kicking in and I am high as a kite right now. Thankfully, I can breathe again and I don't feel quite so much like day-old roadkill, but it's hard to concentrate on—ooooh, burrito!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

This blog is only marginally about quilting anymore

So, okay. First, I'm just sittin' around scratchin' my butt when my whole damn house started shaking. It felt like some big gigantor thing had grabbed my house and started trying to get the loose change to fall out. I then spent the rest of the day explaining to people on Facebook why I thought an earthquake was cool without referring them to this post. (I still keep my bloggy alter ego a not-so-well-kept secret from most people).


THEN I have to fight all the crowds at the grocery store for batteries, PopTarts, and water because we were in the path of a major hurricane. Now, hurricanes have come through here before, and though I think my parents thought that we needed to board up the windows and head for the high ground, we really just needed to be prepared for power loss. And sure enough, the lights went out at 10:30 Saturday night. They didn't come back on until 5:23 am on Wednesday. If it had been just me and David, we would have had a grand time. The weather was cool; the Kindles were fully charged and the grill was fully functional. There was nothing to do but eat cheddarwurst, read trashy books and take naps. And if it it had been just me and David we could have taken some adult naps, if you get my meaning. But that is not possible when you have two kids who are too old for naps themselves and too bored to shut up about it. Harper had been praying on Saturday for the power to go out because she likes to play with flashlights in the dark. I've told her I'm happy to give her a flashlight and lock her in a closet, but she doesn't seem to think that's good enough. By Monday, she was ready to chew off her own arm, such was the depth and agony of her boredom.


We had burritos for dinner Saturday night as the storm was just starting, and we had thoughts of trying to get David's picture with the winds howling behind him, but it never worked out. Fortunately, you people all came through and we have a grand total of 14 burrito-totin' dudes for our calendar. Now all I have to do is the design and layout, which shouldn't be TOO hard, but I'm expecting a volcano or a large meteor next, so that could delay things somewhat. My goal is to get it done in time for Christmas shopping, because you know you want to get ALL your friends a bizarre, nonsensical calendar featuring lots of hairy Buddha bellies.


And I know you are all dying for a preview, so I'm going to give you, from time to time over the next few weeks as I work on production, a little taste of what's to come, just to whet your appetite. I should probably save this for last, but because I love you all so much, I'll give it to you now.




That's it. That's all you get. Stop begging; it's unseemly. And yes, sadly, this is the only bare butt I received, though I do suspect many of the boys were going commando under their quilts (or kilts as the case may be). Probably in anticipation of the various favors their significant others had promised them in exchange for posing. You're welcome, gentlemen.

Monday, August 15, 2011

This link does not involve winkies. Okay, maybe a little one. In text only.

You people crack me up. I would have thought that after the crap I pulled on April 1, you'd know not to take me seriously. I'm actually doing really well right now, happier than I've been in a long time. And a big part of that is GenQ. Having something to work on - and work towards - that is mine, that doesn't belong to some faceless corporation, is just the best. And you know what else is the best? You all are. Because the day my first humor piece went up on the GenQ site, you all went over there in droves and gave us our best day ever. Way more hits than for anything else we've run, and because of that, we're starting to use those stats in promotional materials.

So, I'm asking you - pretty, pretty please - to do it again. My new humor column is up right now so please go over there and read it and leave a comment (at the GenQ site please!) letting us know if you liked it. And if you were offended by it, then you are a soulless demon with a heart made of the blackest coal and I will find a way to make fun of you in a future piece. So you should leave a comment too!

And in return I will come back here in the next couple of days and tell you all about how my husband and kids decided to celebrate my birthday. It involves my 4-year old repeatedly shouting, "TRUST ME! I'M A DOCTOR!"

(Did you miss that link up there? It's here too: http://generationqmagazine.com/2011/08/unravelled-quilting-with-kids/ .)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Birthday thoughts

Good grief, y'all, I'm 42 today. Every year, my birthday makes me feel more and more melancholy. I wonder about how little I've accomplished, and whether there is much more to look forward to in the second half of my life. Yes, I have a wonderful husband and two great kids. I've become a humor writer and I'm starting a new publication. But somehow, on this day, I wonder if it all means anything, if I'm doing any of it right.

I'm honestly not fishing for praise or birthday wishes here. Just having one of those mid-life moments where you start to think that maybe something is missing from your life. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I just feel like there's an emptiness, a space in my life just waiting to be filled. It's hard to grasp, but I just don't think I've experienced everything that life has to offer.*

I think what I really need...is this.




*Y'all know this is all bullshit, right? And it's just an excuse for the link? Just checking.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Your opinion, please

So, when I first had the notion of this calendar project, I wasn't really thinking about any profits that might come from it, because, well, I figured there wouldn't actually be any. I mean, who besides me, would want to see some very un-model-esque dudes sans chemises holding burritos while lounging on quilts? To me, that is pretty much the very definition of awesome, but then I'm a middle-aged woman who doesn't get out of the house much. I get excited over new yogurt flavors. ("Pomegranate-mango-guava-gooseberry? And a three-cents-off coupon? Why, yes, I will have 10 of those!")

Then it seemed perhaps I was wrong and I might be able to sell five or six and I figured that, like my t-shirts, a few extra bucks in my pocket on occasion wouldn't hurt (I make about $15 a month off the t-shirts). Particularly since I now have no income at all and probably won't for the foreseeable future. Then someone asked if the models will get paid out of the "profits" or will it go to charity and I said charity because I really, really want to make this calendar and if I have to get all altruistic and shit to get it done, then fine.

So, now I have to decide on a charity. What I would like to do is take any profits (and I'm still not convinced there will be much of that, but we'll see) and give it to my brother. Most of you know, but some newcomers may not, that just over a year ago my brother was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, a very aggressive form of brain cancer. The chemo has been keeping the tumor growth under control, but we just had a big scare when he got pericarditis, most likely from having a compromised immune system. At some pont, he may get sicker and possibly unable to work, and as anyone who has had or knows someone who has had a long illness, it can wreak havoc on your finances. Insurances don't cover everything, and sometimes they run out. And anyway, you get the point.

But maybe that's still too self-serving to count as a charity? Maybe you'd prefer to see the profits go somewhere else? I'd like to hear your thoughts and suggestions on what I should do with the twenty bucks and change (that's a rough estimate) that I could potentially make from this project. Let me know in the comments here or on Facebook and I'll try to make a decision in the next few days.

Meanwhile, I have 6 sets of photos of some very awesome and adorable guys (and I might just have a tiny little crush on Mr. October) and more have been promised me this weekend. And if you want to participate, but your guy won't cooperate, I'll give you the advice I gave someone on Facebook last week. Just wait for a morning when your man-candy is lounging in bed (and of course you have a quilt on the bed, right? And naturally he has no shirt on, right?) and offer to bring him breakfast in bed. Then you bring him a nice breakfast burrito, and once he's got it, you whip out the digital camera, wing off a few shots and then run like hell!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Please ignore the funny man on my other website

Whatever you do, do not go over to Generation Q today and read the guest post by Josh Cacopardo. The boy cracks me up, and I'm a humor snob. People are always sending me links to stuff and saying, "OMG thi sis SO FUNNY I know youll love it LOLOLOLOLOLOL" and in my head I'm composing doctoral thesis-length essays on why it's not funny at all. So, when I tell you I think somebody is funny and an excellent writer I mean it, so obviously I cannot let you go read his column, because then you'd all abandon me in droves. I'm pretty sure Josh doesn't ever link to penis pictures though he does apparently drink a hell of a lot more than I do, so who knows what could happen after a few highballs. The man could be a penis-linking machine and we'd all be taken completely by surprise. Oh, and - he's an infant. Like, 29. Way too young to be writing this well. Maybe his mom is doing it for him. So, like I said, don't go over there and comment or anything like that. We don't want to encourage the boy.

Okay, fine. Go. He's awesome. You'll love him.

Meanwhile, our calendar is moving right along. I have received four sets of photos and hoo boy are they good. I am so tempted to describe them, but I really want the whole thing to be a surprise when it's done, so no sneak peeks for you. And the gentleman who runs the Quilt Guy online group sent the call for models out to his mailing list and now I've got a few bachelor fellows eager to strip down for the camera. So, just to reiterate: the Quilter's Shirtless Man and Spicy Burrito calendar does not discriminate based on age, physique, marital status or sexual orientation. We do however discriminate against all other forms of south-of-the-border-food. So, no sissy tostadas, hombres.

In actual sewing news—I don't think I ever shared this, except on Facebook. I have mastered curved piecing. You may freely hate me now:


I loved the fabrics before I put them together in this configuration. Now I think they look stupid. BUT my curved seams are all damn near perfect and so I planned to hang that sucker on the wall just so I could look at it and gloat. I went to JoAnn for batting last weekend, and like the chump I am bought some cheap-ass package of fusible polyester batting. This stuff was supposedly fusible on both sides, unlike the Pellon fusible fleece I usually get, and I thought that would be right handy and it would have been if the stuff wasn't about as fusible as an old Band-Aid. But I got some of it to stick and then I headed for the sewing machine to stipple the living crap out of it (I don't do "free motion quilting." I stipple the living crap out of things.) It was a disaster. I don't know if it's the fleece or my needle or the simple fact that everything that can go wrong in one person's life has done so in mine over the last week, but I finally gave up and am now in the process of ripping out all the stitches. I don't know what I'll do with the damn thing now. Other than curse it for all eternity, I mean.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Quilter's Shirtless Man and Spicy Burrito 2012 Calendar

Okay, remember what I said yesterday about not sending me pictures of your pudgy significant other in his skivvies?

I lied.

Okay, well, I didn't exactly lie, but I changed my mind. Somebody commented that if I hadn't put on the "he's gotta be hot" restriction, she would have totally dressed up her personal man-companion in a quilt and handed him a burrito while she charged up the Minolta. Somebody else mentioned the Starry Night Hollow  quilt calendar, and I thought, well, hell. I can't fulfill my dream of making Quilter's Shirtless Man and Spicy Burrito Monthly into a real publication, but I can make a calendar! Or I can if I can get 12 guys to take off their shirts, drape themselves with a quilt, and hold a nice, spicy burrito (and I mean a REAL burrito, not a metaphorical one, ya dirty minded crew, you).

I took the request to Facebook last night, as many of you know, and at last count we had 5 men willing to participate. One person thought she could get more of her male friends to do it as well if we need to pad the numbers. We need 12 altogether, so I need seven more guys to step up to the plate and take off their shirts for the sake of art (and comedy). So, ladies, flutter your eyelashes, pop open a beer, promise him exotic sexual favors. My own chunk of man-flesh was asleep when I had this lightbulb moment last night, but I will be working on him soon. And I know we have some guy readers out there, so you're not off the hook either, Willy, Joey, and Gene!

Here are some guidelines for taking and sending in your pictures:

1. Take a horizontal shot, not vertical. That will work better for the calendar.
2. You can take multiple shots and send them all or a selection if you want.
3. Use as much natural light as possible. Try to avoid using your camera's flash, if you can.
4. Be sure to send me the full size picture files, not a reduced version.
5. I'll need the beefcake's first name. If I don't get one, I'll make it up.

Twelve men. Shirtless. On, near, or wrapped in a quilt. Holding a burrito. And I'll make a calendar. And it will be awesome.

(And if we get more than 12, maybe I'll make a coffee table book!)

Monday, July 25, 2011

George + double wedding ring + steak and bean = hell, yes.

Last week, I tried to take a few precious, precious moments to actually quilt. Not just write about other people who quilt or make jokes about quilters or edit somebody else's article about quilting—just quilt. And I was apparently so giddy from the very idea of handling fabric that I lopped off a small chunk of my left index finger with my rotary cutter. It wasn't a major injury and it didn't bleed as much as I was expecting, but it did leave a nice flap of flesh hanging off that had to be dealt with. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, so it was fun to open up the wound and show Harper ("COOL!") and torture my husband ("Oh, holy crap, I told you quilting was dangerous...oh dear...fainting now..."). Then two days after that I dropped a wine glass on the kitchen floor and as I was trying to clean it up, I got a sliver of glass embedded in the little finger of my right hand. Next it'll be a rebar through my skull or something. The glass is starting to work it's way out, but is too small to grab with tweezers, so I just go around with my bandaged pinky sticking straight out all the time. Perhaps this is my punishment for being such a big meanie.

Now, when my partners and I were creating Generation Q, I was actually pushing to go in a completely different direction with the magazine. As an editor of a quilting magazine, I get to combine my love of writing and journalism with my love of quilting, but I have long had a dream of combining ALL my great loves into one publication: Quilter's Shirtless Man and Spicy Burrito Monthly. But noooo. We couldn't do that. Too weird, they said. And there was some concern that I would try to sneak in penises. Sissies. Anyway, since I cannot possibly try to start up two publications, I will have to content myself with creating a Pinboard on the topic. (You're welcome, Meg H.) If you have any great pictures of quilts, shirtless men, or spicy burritos OR—and you will be crowned, adored, and festooned with gifts if you find such a thing—a shirtless man holding a spicy burrito while wrapped in or standing near a quilt (and the man has to be hot - so no pictures of Fred in the altogether, please), then please send me the links and I'll post them to the board.

Happy pinning!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Unravelled

Today, my first humor column for Generation Q is up. And while it's not the one I told you about (the one that might make certain unsuspecting readers—ones who aren't quite so used to me—faint from shock and horror), it is pretty funny. And the topic was suggested to me by my own personal husband, thus rendering him officially Worth The Trouble for at least another day.

I hope you like it and I would be truly grateful if you left a comment over there if you do.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

T.L.M.I.T.B.

This past weekend, I got Harper a Lego set and she immediately set to work on it. I was pretty proud of her. She had no problems interpreting the instructions, and anytime she had trouble or messed up, she just pushed through until she got it right. Just a few months ago she would have burst into tears and refused to touch it. She was very pleased to reveal the finished product to me and her daddy last night:


Naturally, David and I were most fascinated by the item on the left:


Me: "Look, honey. It's The Little Man In The Boat!"

David: "Hey! I love The Little Man In The Boat!"

Me: "Me too. But it is sometimes hard to find him."

David: "Not for me. I ALWAYS know how to find The Little Man In The Boat."

Me: "I'm not so sure you do, babe."

David: "I'm shocked. Perhaps I should demonstrate my ability to put my finger right on The Little Man In The Boat for you. Like, soon."

This went on ALL EVENING, through dinner, right up until I put the kids to bed. The kids were oblivious and never questioned it, since we were clearly talking about Legos. Talking A LOT about Legos. And giggling.

So, now David and I are trying to plan a weekend away since we have some dear friends who are willing to take our kids overnight, and at the grocery store this morning I was talking to Harper about the possibility that she and Devon might stay overnight at Bella and Sam's so that daddy and I could have some alone time. She asked what we were going to do and as I was talking about going out to eat or to a movie, she blurted out, delightedly, "YOU COULD HELP DADDY FIND THE LITTLE MAN IN THE BOAT!"

"Already on the schedule, kid," I said. "Already on the schedule."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Let them eat layer cake

Holy buckets of sweat, y'all. We finally got the first post over on Generation Q Magazine up last night, with me and Jake trading phone calls, emails and texts until we were both punchy and hyper and next to hysterical. We're working on Wordpress and it's new to all of us, and whenever I have to learn a new interface, there's always these first few moments where it all looks like Sanskrit and I think, "I'll NEVER figure this out." Then, invariably, I figure it out. I guess there's something in me that just likes the drama of going THIS IS STUPID. I'M GONNA HOLD MY BREATH UNTIL SOMEBODY DOES IT FOR ME, even though I like the satisfaction of doing it on my own much more.

If you head over there, please note the logo. I did that. Yep. Me. When I got my first real job as an editor I worked for a VERY small magazine which had a full-time staff consisting of the owner and me. His son was our graphic designer, but he only came in a week or two before we went to print and worked at night with his dad. I taught myself InDesign and enough Photoshop to do layout for the mag and also to design ads for businesses who wanted to advertise but couldn't afford a real graphic designer. So when we were all wringing our hands and wondering who was going to fall out of the sky to magically design a logo for us, I finally said, Well, hell, I'll just give it a go. It was so much fun and I hope I get to do more.

With all of this excitement and work, I haven't had much of a chance to sew. I am currently working on this pattern:


and I'm using a Central Park layer cake for it:


And though I've had the fabric and the pattern for over two weeks now, I've only managed to cut about eleven pieces. Some of that is the GenQ stuff keeping me busy, but it's also my youngest child, who is determined to pick as many fights with me in the course of a day as she can, and it's dangerous to hold a rotary cutter when you so desperately want to throw something. She is the queen of rolling her eyes and acting all exasperated and cheesed off over every little thing, and I've done all that "positive discipline" crap and doesn't work worth a damn on a kid who needs to have a screaming fit in order to feel she's made her mark on the world today. Nothing else works either. Not even bribes. I know this kid, and I know it's a phase, but for the love of all that is good and holy in this world, some days I really want to sell her to the circus.

We took her and her big sister to the Natural History Museum in D.C. yesterday and had a pretty good time. Demon - I mean, Devon - was very patient and calm under the circumstances and we were smart enough to bring a stroller so she could sack out when she got tired. The best part was the butterfly exhibit, particularly how the butterflies would just land on you, not skittish at all.



Devon wanted to see the gem collection and the dinosaur bones. At the gem displays, there was some big-ass diamonds that had belonged to Marie Antoinette, as the little plaque informed us, and we stood and looked at those for quite some time. And as we stood there, people - usually in pairs - would come up and read the plaque and go, "I wonder if she was wearing them when she got her head cut off?" You could have conducted some sort of social experiment - the number of people who made the same lame joke vs the number who didn't because they didn't know who the hell Marie Antoinette was and couldn't pronounce it anyway.

My favorite goober couple was these twenty-somethings who were at the dinosaur bones with us. In part of the display, a set of bones (or casts of bones, really) was laid out on the floor to show how the bones look when they are exposed during an excavation. They even had some handy tools laid out near them to show what a paleontologist in the field would be using to dig up a dinosaur skeleton. And as we're looking at it, this chick walks up and looks at it, then pulls her boyfriend over and says, "Look, this one just fell apart!" They then had a deep and meaningful discussion about the sorry state of museum goers, who probably knocked it over and the poor job the museum was doing in maintaining its displays. And I'm standing there, holding my tongue, and trying not to go HOW DO YOU EVEN GET DRESSED IN THE MORNING?

So it was good to come home and stay up late making something cool on the internet. I hope you'll come over and play with us and I'll be sure to let you know what fun stuff is happening. I will say this: I wrote a humor piece for it and we're all still trying to decide if it's too offensive. I can't help it. IT'S WHAT I DO.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

New Beginnings

I told you a few days ago that things are not over for me and the former editors of QH, Jake Finch and Melissa Thompson Maher, and I am very excited to be able to tell you today that we are launching our own blogzine: Generation Q Magazine. We go live on Monday, July 11. Here is a description and mission statement from our Facebook page:

Generation Q Magazine is a community of modern and contemporary quilters, sewists and crafters who revel in their creativity and want to share the fun with anyone who will bother to play with them.


Generation Q was created to apply the specific skill sets of a handful of creative stitchy types in a way that intrigues other creative stitchy types. Jake Finch, Melissa Thompson Maher and Megan Dougherty spend their days rooting out the best in the world of quilting and sewing. It's all about the fun factor!


As a blogzine, website, pattern and periodical publisher (print and digital), Generation Q seeks to inspire, delight, challenge, instruct, reflect and report on what makes us creative stitchers tick. Sometimes cheeky, other times insightful, our mission is to entertain and inform the masses, to hopefully convert the most stalwart sewing critics into fiber minions and to ultimately take over the world with quilts. We are GenQ.


This is one of the most exciting projects I have ever been involved with, because we are truly building it with our bare hands. We know there's a whole community out there of like-minded quilters who love to read, have a quirky sense of humor, and have a passion for DIY creativity. GenQ is not just about quilting or sewing, but about people who live to create, and we want to add lots of fuel to that creative fire that is burning across the country and around the world.

Please save the link above and check it on Monday, July 11th. Meanwhile, head on over to our Facebook page and "like" us so you can stay informed about all our developments. (And not to worry - this blog will keep going just like always. I would never leave you, baby. I looooove you.)

Long live GenQ!

Friday, July 1, 2011

A fond farewell

Most of you know that besides writing about my lousy quilting and penises on the internet, I also write for Quilter's Home magazine. Just over two years ago, on the suggestion of one of my readers, I sent in this blog post for consideration, and almost immediately it was accepted. Ultimately, that one wasn't published because it had been on the blog and they wanted "unpublished" content, but I wrote more and they accepted that and a year after I had begun quilting and started this blog I had fulfilled a lifelong dream of publishing my humor writing.

During that initial process of publishing my first article, there was a big shake-up at the magazine, one I've never gotten the full scoop on, and there was a new editor and then she was gone and the founder, Mark Lipinski, left, and for a time it looked as though the magazine—and my dream—were going to die. Then I found out that Jake Finch and Melissa Thompson Maher, who had been managing editor and senior editor before the shake-up, had been re-hired as co-editors-in chief. And they wanted me to write for them. Every issue.

For two years, Jake and Melissa have been my friends and my champions. They gave me feature articles and a second regular column (on sewing collectibles) as well as my humor column and often came to me for ideas and editorial consultations. I even got to copyedit one issue when the regular copyeditor was ill. Had they ever been granted enough of a budget to bring on a real staff, I think they might have actually hired me.

Jake and Melissa put that magazine out every two months with almost no support staff, which, if you know anything about publishing, is a major feat. They poured their hearts and souls into it, and took me along for the ride, for which I will always be profoundly grateful. I think they did a damn incredible job.

The August/September issue, which is now being placed on newsstands and mailed to subscribers, is the last issue of Quilter's Home. I can't begin to tell you how hard it is for me to write that, to make it finally public and to know that the publication I have adored and which gave me the freedom to write what I love is now over.

To everybody who bought the magazine and subscribed: thank you. Your support was vital to keeping us alive for the last two years, but, unfortunately, it was not enough. To Jake and Melissa: thank you for absolutely everything. Your faith in me, your support, and most of all your friendship. I truly love you both.

But it's not over. You can't keep a bunch of smart-ass women down for long. Things are afoot and I will be posting again very soon (I hope) to tell you more about it.

So long, QH.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Peeps and peels

Geez, has it really been two weeks since I posted anything? I have excuses, involving bouts with more than one chronic gastrointestinal problem plus a new one that has decided to crop up all of a sudden, plus a couple of semi-major life changes, one of which I can't discuss and the other being that school is out. Harper and I have had several long talks about how she is going to have to find Things To Do On Her Own and that we will Do Some Things Together, but I also have to Get Some Writing Done or we will Never Make It To Disneyworld In Her Lifetime.

In between periods of intestinal distress, I did manage to haul my carcass to the Annapolis Quilt Show last weekend. Since I haven't been feeling well, I didn't try to hook up with anybody local, figuring nobody wants to see the woman who writes funny quilt jokes on the internet doubled over and grimacing every few minutes. Tends to take the bloom off the rose.

I remember feeling kind of blown away and somewhat intimidated last year, seeing all those quilts with patterns and techniques I would never in a million years master. But this year? I don't know - this year was different and I don't know if it was the quality of the entries or just the increase in my confidence or some of both. I kept thinking that I could do better, and I'm not even sure if I'm right about that. And most of them had been quilted by the same person who pieced them (and apparently a LOT of people own longarms) and I can't compete with that, but I just didn't have that same sense of awe and wonder. I just thought, well shit, I need to get started on a new project.

I did score some fabric while I was there:


Castle Peeps in the red colorway. This is one of those lines I have coveted but never purchased because I knew I would just hoard it and not cut into it, but it's not so easy to abstain when it's all bundled up and giving you come hither looks from across the show floor. She had the green and blue colorways as well, and when I spotted them there were two women fondling them and trying to decide whether to buy one, and as soon as the one woman put this bundle down I swooped in and grabbed it. Yes, I turned into one of those If You're Not Touching It, Bitch, It's Mine people - and I didn't care. And, oh, she had all kinds of good stuff: Echino and Anna Maria Horner and Heather Ross and Erin McMorris and I was drooling everywhere. She has an online shop: Some Art Fabric and her business card (which I have lost) gives her title as Enabler. Her tagline is: We Sell Fabric. Wanna Make Something Of It? I love that.

Since I have my sweet baby girl all up in my armpits for the next two months, I thought it would be prudent to have some handwork to do. Remember this project?



Yeah, well. I abandoned that. I got this far:


and couldn't take it anymore. Those were probably the hardest pieces to do out of all of them, but just doing those was tedious and difficult and I hated sitting there with my Clover mini iron, trying not to burn myself or anyone else. But I still really, really want to do turned edge applique. So I thought that maybe something simpler would be better, and I settled on an orange peel design.



If you have not tried turned edge applique and want to, I highly recommend this route. It's easy to make the template, easy to starch and turn the edges of this shape. So far, I've made 48 squares, and I stitch them whenever I need to keep an eye on the kids without being drafted into participating in one of their games ("Mom, pretend that I'm a princess and you're the evil queen who says mean things to me when I HAVEN'T DONE ANYTHING WRONG.")

I am now going to attempt to choke down a piece of gluten-free bread and some water. Cheers!