Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Short, Sharp and Snippy

For the last few months, I've been locked in my office/studio/nap pavilion, slaving away over a hot computer to bring you, my dearest darlings, a lovely (I hope) surprise. Some of you who follow me on Facebook and Instagram know about it already, but even so, allow me to introduce...MY NEW BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bigger! Longer! And (un)cut from the same cloth as my first book, Quilting Isn't Funny. This new volume collects 25 of my signature quilting humor pieces, many appearing in print for the first time. If you've missed anything I've published in the last 5 years, you'll find it here! This book has been a long time coming, and there were plenty of times I wasn't sure it would ever happen. But my goal this year was to get it done by July, because July marks my 10th anniversary writing as The Bitchy Stitcher. TEN YEARS.


I am now taking pre-orders for SIGNED copies at a special price. When the book is available on Amazon, the list price will be $14.99, (and there will be no lovingly applied purple-ink signature) but if you take advantage of pre-order pricing you get it for $11.99 plus $3.00 media mail shipping in the U.S.. When you place this in your cart, please make note of the shipping options—if you are in Canada or any other country outside the U.S., there are options for you to cover the cost of shipping. SHIPPING OUTSIDE THE U.S. IS HELLA PRICEY and there is, unfortunately, nothing I can do to make this cheaper. Please note that the book will be available on Amazon in many countries and will also be available for Kindle, so there are cheaper options—just not ones that involve my signature.

I hope to ship as many pre-orders as possible by July 1. Keep in mind I will keep pre-orders open until June 26, so later orders may ship just a bit later. 

And for those of you who never got a copy of my first book, Quilting Isn't Funny, I also have a pre-order listing that gets you BOTH books at an even better price. If you order both together, each book is $10.00 plus the same $3.00 shipping in the U.S. (shipping is included in the listed price in the shop).

Pre-orders will also be available soon on Amazon for the Kindle version (the paperback listing on Amazon says "out of print" but it's not—I just haven't made it fully available yet.). The Kindle pre-order was submitted today and should go live within 72 hours.

Also, starting on July 1, I will make a PDF version available for less than the Kindle price. SO MANY OPTIONS.

With this book, I do not have the networks in place that I had when I published my first one. I am no longer working for a magazine (hell, that magazine is gone and so many others are shutting down, it's crazy), and I just do not have the industry contacts I had when I was an actual part of the industry. So, I'm going to ask you all a HUGE favor. Whenever you see links to the book on social media PLEASE share if you can, at least once. I'll be promoting it as much as I feel comfortable with (so, not as much as I should) and the more eyes I can get on it the better. There won't be a blog tour, since I know almost no one who keeps up their blog anymore, so social media marketing is the only way I have to advertise this book. THANK YOU.

It must also be said, if you are a quilt shop and would like to carry either of my books, email me for wholesale prices.

So, to reiterate and hopefully make it easier:

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Letters...I get letters...

My email inbox has been a fun place lately. Back when I first started this bloggy-poo, most of the email I used to get was along the lines of "please stop cursing" or "OH MY GOD WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE" or penises (y'all are laying down on the penis emailing job lately, let me just say) but now it's mostly these weird hit-or-miss mass emails that are meant to look as though they have chosen me and me alone among all the bloggers out there to offer up a Special Opportunity.

It started some months ago when I got this email:

Naturally, I began planning both my course and my on-camera wardrobe, since this was clearly my ticket to Fame and Filthy Lucre. To be honest, I struggled with what to teach, finally settling on "How to Make 8 Million Bags and Have Something Massively Wrong With Every Single One of Them," since it's what I do best, but the wardrobe was a no-brainer: slightly too-small t-shirts with Harry Potter themes and baggy yoga pants. Because that's all I actually own. Perhaps they would include a trip to the famous Ft. Lauderdale Fashion Bug Plus as part of my on-site compensation.

But after the heady initial thrill of being a World Famous Quilting Teacher wore off, I realized that doing this would in fact violate my personal policy of never getting up in front of a group of people ever again, even if that "group" consisted only of Harry the producer and his able cameraman, Stu. (Cameramen are always named Stu.) 

Also, I don't teach quilting; I write fart jokes that are quilting-adjacent. Slight difference.

And so, with a rueful sigh, I declined Harry's kind but honestly sort of sketchy offer.

My next email was, if you can believe it, even more exciting. 

THEY ARE REALLY DIGGING MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL YOU GUYS. Of course, I don't have one, but they are clearly digging my potential channel that could exist in an alternate universe where I am not an anti-social, menopausal woman whose "style" consists of wearing all black not because it's slimming but because I'm too lazy to coordinate separates. 

Also, this is obviously NOT the brainchild of some 23-year-old living in his mom's basement who has learned about drop shipping crap from China and making it look like "luxury" goods curated by "travel buddies." Nope, definitely not. 

And the best part was that I would only have to buy something to start! At a whopping 50% discount! (See, if you mark up cheap crap by 600% you can sell it for "50% off" and still make an obscene profit! That's called good business.) 

Sadly, after my last Zulily purchase, I was all tapped out on my "stuff that looks nothing like the picture and is most likely made from petroleum byproducts" budget, so I had to decline their kind but honestly sort of stupid offer.

Then, the Big Boys decided they wanted to play:

I've gone from Instructor, to Partner, to INFLUENCER! For Amazon, no less! Never mind that this is just the Amazon Affiliate program with a fancy name that makes it sound like we're going to rub elbows with Hadids and Kardashians, and never mind that I got kicked out of the Amazon Affiliate program because I never actually sold anything (nor did I try). This is my opportunity to influence my readers to give their hard-earned money to a giant corporation that doesn't actually need the meager profits generated by a quilt-fart blogger with a questionable wardrobe. I mean, who doesn't want to have that kind of influence?

Well, me, apparently. I did not exactly decline their kind but frankly stupid offer; I just kinda ignored it.

Things were quiet for a while. I thought perhaps my instructing, partnering, influencing days were all behind me. But then I got THIS:

Did I write about cars in August of 2010? See for yourself. I wrote an entire freaking blog post about how my period was late and related this to some recent car troubles:

I just don't think it's healthy for a 41-year-old out-of-shape woman with high blood pressure and questionable emotional stability to have a pregnancy scare, no matter how unlikely. But it does make me consider the fact that my car troubles were entirely due to the fact that I hadn't changed my oil in over a year, and thus wonder if I've done something equally as stupid with my own body that is preventing the arrival of the Ketchup Monster. Or perhaps my own oil refuses to change in some sort of twisted solidarity with my car. Next it'll be wanting its spark pistons re-bored or something.

Naturally, this—EIGHT YEARS LATER—means that I will now be shifting the topic of this blog from quiltin' and fartin' to car stuff. Clearly, however, cars are not my forté, so thank goodness Catherine is on the case. Am I taking pitches? OH FUCK YES I'M TAKING PITCHES. But not from Catherine. I don't know her and in her second email she mysteriously turned into a "we". 

Clearly, "Catherine Metcalf" is actually "The Mafia." I'm on to you, Cat. I must decline your kind but possibly murderous offer. 

But I WILL accept pitches from you, dear readers. Send me your best pitches for car-quilt-fart-influencing-instruction-partner articles and I will send the best one a small wristlet bag hand-made by me. Not this one, but one like it, in fabrics of my choosing.

Good luck, and may the Influencer Be Ever In Your Partnership Program.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

How Pickles Make Quilting All Better

(Author's note: Okay, so yesterday on my Facebook page I asked for suggestions of topics to write about, because I had promised to write more but I could not think of anything worthy of an entire blog post. Alert reader Teri suggested, and I quote her exactly: how pickles make quilting all better. Here you go, Teri. There were some other great suggestions and you'll see more of them here soon.)

Self-care is so important, isn’t it? In the words of our greatest American citizen, RuPaul, how can you love anyone else if you don’t love yourself? And loving yourself requires taking care of yourself, and taking care of yourself requires not getting your panties in a twist over some tiny little problem that isn’t even important in the grand scheme of things anyway. 

But when you are a quilter, your entire existence can be a series of tiny little problems that, added together, become one big problem and now you have an entire row in your guild group quilt that is a WHOLE FOOT shorter than the rest because somebody keeps eyeballing her quarter inch seam and no we can’t just tack on some extra fabric at the end, Donna; we may be modern but we’re not savages.

So yes, it can be very easy to get your knickers in a wad over many things in quilting, but there is a solution. No, I mean a literal solution of vinegar and water and salt and spices and maybe sugar if you’re feeling frisky.  I’m talking about, of course, pickles.

That’s right, I said pickles. The ancient and venerable arts of pickling and quilting have seen a huge resurgence in recent years, but it is not widely known that the two together can rebalance your waveform energies and positively ionize your neuron pathways. Or something. I don’t know for sure - I fell asleep in that TED talk.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are in your sewing room, just happily quilting along, la dee da la dee da, and suddenly your machine jams up, grinds to a halt, and smoke starts curling out of the motor.  And that was the $99 special you got at Kmart because in this freaking economy that’s all you can afford and it’s not like those tax cuts everybody is all orgasmic over apply to you and now what are you supposed to do? If you’re like most quilters, you’ll just go lie facedown on the floor until the sobbing subsides, but just imagine if you had a jar of pickles next to you at your sewing table. Maybe some sweet gherkins. Then, as you watch your only link to sanity dying in front of you, you can thoughtfully munch on a nice crisp and tangy pickle, feeling your chakras triangulate into a pyramid or something, and when you’ve finished the entire jar you can hurl it at the machine, effectively venting your frustrations and putting out what might have been an actual fire inside that thing. See? Isn’t that better?

Here’s another one. Let’s say you are at a guild meeting and the guild show chair is handing out assignments but she is a perfectionist micro-managing hell-beast and your assignment—which is basically to stand at the door and hand out flyers—is specific down to the acceptable brand and color of mascara you are allowed to wear, and the chair is all like, “Is there a problem” because your face is pinched in a fit of unspoken rage and it’s not like you can say out loud what you’re really thinking so you just have to keep it all in to fester like all your unfulfilled dreams. But just imagine if you had a jar of pickles in your hand. Maybe some kosher dills. Then, when the hell-beast is ready to micro-manage your face you can go, “Hoo boy these are some sour pickles—want some?” And when her attention is deflected by the jar of tasty cukes you can run out the door and into sweet, sweet freedom. There. All better.

Really, there’s no problem that a good jar or at least a dish of pickles can’t solve. In fact, the famous Pickle Dish quilt pattern was so named because Prohibition-era quilters used to keep a small dish of pickles handy to mask the smell of homemade hooch on their breath, since in those days quilting bees were really just speak-easies. And that’s where guilds come from, but that’s another story for another day.

I hope you’ll join me in the long lost tradition of the jar of pickles in the sewing room, because when quilting threatens to get your briefs in a bunch, there’s nothing like a bread-n-butter chip to make it all better.