Thursday, December 17, 2009

Going paperless

These are some of the packages that will be under our tree this Christmas.  For the past three years I have been making bags for Christmas gifts, instead of using yet more trees and producing yet more waste during the season.  The first year I just got a couple done, the next year a few more, and this year I may make enough for just about all the presents.  It's a reason to use up some of my stash and Christmas fabrics are a great buy, if you stock up after Christmas or during July sales.  I will see how many bags return this year, but my youngest daughter, who is very creative on the sewing machine, caught the bug and made some last year as well.  We will see if she does it again this year with a nine-month old to keep happy. 

If you look closely, you may notice that there are no decorations on the tree yet, only lights.  But the bags are made.  I'm kind of liking this minimalist look of the tree . . . .

Sunday, December 6, 2009


So have you identified what is wrong with this picture?  In the midst of all my other projects, I took a break to work on the Christmas stocking I had promised to make for my granddaughter and that had begun to cast a larger shadow in my mind.  It was going to be a relatively (in my standards) quick project.  Since I couldn't decide between a stripey multi-colored stocking or a more elegant appliqued one, I decided to do one side of each so she could choose, although I envisioned the candle on the front.  I began late morning and by 3 PM even with interruptions I had the back done and the other ready to be quickly appliqued-- a good project for that Coen brothers movie Tom and I had been watching.  I congratulated myself on how quickly the project was coming together. But then the Irish god of So-You-Think-Things-Are-Going-Well-Do-You? started laughing and I saw before me not a front and a back but two fronts.

It's a shame I don't get into assembly line quilting because, after some moments of expressing my utter frustration, I got to work, and  faster than our dog can eat a Kleenex I dropped, I had finished another striped back pointing the right way.  Well, probably not as fast as Terra can eat that Kleenex but repeating something I've already done instead of puzzling it out and making color decisions from scratch really improves my speed, if speed is what I want.

Ah, but that omnipresent Irish god was not done with me yet for the day.  I finally settled into doing some quilting on my major project of the month only to be interrupted by a phone call--I was having a  problem with my laptop and was doing my part to keep the populace of India employed--and a dog needing to be walked.  I left the quilt under the presser foot with the machine on and when I returned there, as if standing on a stage under a spotlight, was a Western Conifer Seed Bug reared up right on the quilt next to the presser foot.  Now I am not squeamish about most bugs, as a matter of fact like many of them, but this one invades even the most sealed up houses, particularly those near pine trees (part of our acreage is covered with pines) as it seeks to escape the falling temperatures of fall.  It is one ugly beast.  And it stinks to boot (a member of the what is familiarly called the Stinkbug family).  And, even more frightening in the present circumstance, it poops.

I grabbed a Kleenex (seems to be a recurrent image in this blog) and quickly swooped it off the quilt, only to see with horror that as I had swooped, it had pooped.  On my beautiful quilt that I had been working on since June a small brown blob sat on a piece of light gray fabric with a circle of brown stain slowly oozing out around it.  No four letter word was appropriate here; only a primal scream would do.  But even as I screamed I grabbed yet another Kleenex and swiped the blob away.  No good.   The oozing stain was still there and now Terra was convinced I was beset by something she must defend me against and so was leaping and barking as I wailed.  Luckily no one else was home--or walking by, for that matter.

After imagining for a while months of work being ruined, I turned to problem solving and decided to try the easiest solution and I made a discovery:  a paper towel dampened with plain cold water takes out a Western Conifer Seed Bug poop stain on a quilt!  Maybe that will come in handy some time again.  But I hope not.