Thursday, April 30, 2009

Someday, there will be new posts

Oh, lordy, I've been so busy. AND plagued with writer's block st the same time, so that even when I have a moment to jot off a post, I just stare at the screen until I can't take it anymore and I have to go get a cookie. And as you know, once you abandon the computer to get a cookie, there's just no going back.

I am leaving at the ass crack of dawn to meet my sister in Abingdon, VA where we shall hole up in a hotel room for 2 days with beer and sewing machines and I will learn the secret of perfect triangles. And the question is, will I offer up the secret in the generous spirit of quilterly sisterhood I have been so fortunate to find among the commenters here? Or will I stay true to my evil nature and make you do tricks for it? WHO CAN SAY?

In the meantime, here is a picture of what my mother brought me on her visit this past weekend. I'm not sure if it's going to get much use beyond the kids standing on it and playing pirate captains.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Damn you, Blogger!

I knew this blog thing was gonna get me in trouble. Turns out, I can't publish my binding tutorial because it has already been published. Here. On the blog. Apparently, that's considered publishing. I'm not sure I really understand what the conflict is, since probably 30 people have actually read the thing and I'm pretty sure their circulation is several dozen or so more than that (I kid, I kid) but perhaps I'm violating my own copyright or something. But now all of you who have your own blogs can tell your friends and family that you are a published author, and when they ask, you can say, "I'm published on my BLOG. IT COUNTS."

The good news is that they still want something, whether a re-worked version of the same idea, or something else. The bad news is that they sprung this on me during the very specific time of the month WHEN I HAVE NO SENSE OF HUMOR. Seriously, you could probably plot it out on a graph and see a sharp dip every 23 days. (This was particularly evident at today's editorial meeting for my day job. These meetings last 4+ hours and really should be banned under the Geneva Conventions. Fat girls like me can't last that long without Dr. Pepper and snacks.)

So I will spend my evening attempting to pull funny ideas out of my ass, and then giving up and watching trashy TV instead. Because this is also the time of the month when I have no work ethic.

(UPDATE - I actually just think that they want completely original content, and I was careful to say in my initial letter that this had been posted on my blog before, in case they had a rule concerning such things. Mark overlooked it at the beginning, but his managing editor caught it. But it's okay, because I achieved the goal of getting them interested in my writing. No worries!)

Happy 4/20!

Today is a special holiday - have you dipped into your "stash" today?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The winner

Congratulations to Sheila in Ohio who has won the obscene quilt! I have to admit, I'm quite pleased about this, since she is going to bind it and give it to charity, which is exactly what I would have done with it if I had the fortitude to finish the job.

The answer I was looking for in response to my grammar questions was "dangling participle." The word "having" at the beginning of the sentence is a participle, an -ing verb used adjectivally. It is "dangling" because the subject it modifies (the person who put the quilt in the lead box) is not the actual subject of the sentence (the subject becomes "it" - meaning the quilt - in the second part).

Only a handful of people got that answer, and some used "hanging participle" which is also acceptable, but not nearly as funny. I also accepted any answer which managed to describe the problem without actually naming it, and most of you were pretty close. Some were tripped up by the use of the passive voice, assuming that was the error, and still others thought it was a trick question and that there was nothing wrong with the sentence (see me after class).

This was really fun and I hope to do it again sometime, but for now I'm glad my Blackberry will be taking a rest.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Are you sure? Really, really sure?

Good God, y'all. My Blackberry is going to wear out from all this activity. I was truly not expecting so much response to the quilt giveaway, and I'm beginning to wonder if you all are reading the post carefully. So, just to re-emphasize my point that this really is an ugly quilt, I give you the back:

See? Told ya.

Also, the number of entries has made it impossible for me to continue answering each one individually, but I am receiving them and I will be sure to explain the answer when I reveal the winner on Sunday. But here's a hint: IT'S NOT THE COLON.

Just sayin.'

Monday, April 13, 2009

Maybe there's something I don't suck at!

Remember that email I got from Mark Lipinski?


Whew. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Seriously, this is so huge for me. All I ever wanted to be when I was growing up was a writer, and I really wanted to be a humor writer and I pushed that dream aside because I convinced myself that a) I wasn't that good at it anyway and b) humor writing wasn't really a worthy pursuit. There are many, many reasons why I thought these things, reasons I won't go into at length here, but this blog has changed all that for me. Learning to quilt taught me that I don't have to be perfect at something to pursue it anyway, that I can be lousy at something and still enjoy it. Blogging about it has freed me to write, finally, in my own voice, without censoring myself and constantly worrying about what someone might think.

Every time that one of you comments or emails and tells me that I made you laugh, my heart just swells with gratitude. Knowing that I am succeeding, even a little, at the one thing I ever really wanted to do (while writing about something I never wanted to do until recently and can't do well at all) has — no exaggeration — changed my life.

So, thank you - all of you. My dear husband brought home champagne and when we pop it open this evening and I raise my glass, it will be a toast to you.

And when I pass out in a pool of my own vomit, and wake up with a nuclear hangover, I promise not to blame you. Now that's love, people. That's love.

Happy Day After Easter

Friday, April 10, 2009

Because I care. And I'm lazy.


I was scrolling through the Craftzine blog a week or two ago and came across a post that was advertising a giveaway of the new Martha Stewart Encyclopedia of Crafts, and since at that particular moment I did not have a small child asking me for the billionth time where her baby hippo was and pulling on my leg to force me to go look for it, I decided to throw my name in the hat - and I won! Well, me and several other people, but still!

I've started carrying around a Blackberry because I get so many emails for work and even if I can't do anything about them right away, it's still better to know that I'm going to have to rewrite an entire 2000-word article in one evening ahead of time. Anyway, since I am fat and cannot wear normal clothes, none of my elastic-waist pants have pockets, so I have to carry said Blackberry tucked into my bra. I have it set to vibrate whenever an email arrives, and this makes my pervert husband unbelievably happy, knowing that I have a random vibrator between my boobs. So when I got the email telling me I won the book, I got all excited and ran in to tell him and the kids. Still holding my Blackberry, I was all, "Guess what? Guess what? I just won a Martha Stewart book!" And there was nothing but crickets until pervert husband looked at the Blackberry still in my hand and suggested that perhaps I needed to put it back in its "happy place" in case I won something else.

So, put your Blackberries in your happy places, folks, 'cause I'm giving away a quilt!

Remember this thing?

It came back from being quilted a week or two ago, and I am still not that happy with it. My sister and I couldn't decide what thread color to use and we settled on a yellow/orange/pink that I thought might look neat contrasted against the deep blue sashing and borders.

It does - and it doesn't. In photographs and from far away, it looks nice, but up close it's just a testament to my lack of skill. Pervert husband's coffee quilt came in at the same time, and I am struggling to get that one bound, so I doubt that this one will ever be high on my list of priorities.

So, I'm gonna let you do it!

Yes, you can be the proud owner of an unfinished piece of crap made by the incompetent hands of the Bitchy Stitcher herself! When friends and family spy your prize, they'll want to know who managed to sew a quilt that looks like an insult, and then they'll back away slowly so as not to get any of it on them. Scare away neighborhood dogs, frighten small children on Halloween, or just wrap your self up in it while crying and drinking. But wait! You'll have to actually pick a binding and sew it on. Do you have what it takes? Will the acid that drips from the alien flesh it is so clearly made from burn through your fingers as you attempt to poke it with a needle? WHO CAN SAY?

But I am not going to make this easy. There are rules and a hurdle you must cross in order to win the coveted piece of crap:

1. First you must comment here at this post.

2. Then you must answer this question:

What is the grammatical error in this sentence: Having placed the poisonous quilt in a lead box, it was mailed to the winner after several years in quarantine.

3. Do not answer the question in the comments. Email me your answer at harperland at mac dot com. If you answer in the comments, I'll have to remove it and you'll be disqualified.

4. You do not have to answer correctly to win; you just have to give an answer. HOWEVER, correct answers will receive an extra entry. (Really. Any answer will do. "Frog semen." "Screw you." "What is 'A stupid thing to make people do do get an ugly quilt?'" I'll take anything.)

5. Only those who have both commented and emailed an answer will qualify.

6. Linking to this post is not required, BUT I will throw your name into the hat an extra time if you do link to it (you have to tell me, though).

7. Deadline for comments and answers is Friday, April 17 at midnight, EST.

8. A winner will be picked at random from qualified entries and announced on Sunday, April 19th.

Good luck! My bra will be anxiously awaiting your emails!


Friday, April 3, 2009


I just got the April issue of American Patchwork and Quilting, and scattered throughout the articles and patterns are tips from experts. Little tricks and shortcuts that can make a project a little easier - and most of them are pretty good. This is my favorite:

Time-saver: cut accurately so everything fits the first time.

I'll have to try that next time, since my close-my-eyes-and-slash-like-a-maniac method hasn't proved to produce reliable results.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Oh, for Pete's sake

I was ironing the binding for my husband's coffee quilt (which just came back from the quilter) and because I can't see too well I was leaning down over the ironing board and steam shot out of the side of the iron and burned my big, fat belly. Not that that stopped me from finishing. Once I took a peek, I saw a massive blister, the skin already starting to peel away.

Frankly, I wouldn't have been at all surprised if I had picked up that iron and pressed it right to the side of my head when the phone rang. And the fact that I have not yet tried to amputate a digit with my rotary cutter means that IT"S JUST A MATTER OF TIME.