Wednesday, September 29, 2010

TV night

Two shows my husband and I love to watch together are on tonight. Survivor and Tosh.0 will be taking over my living room. So I have hauled my ironing board, all of my interfacing and the pieces I cut out for a new purse for one of my best friend's birthdays upstairs. I wanted to do this yesterday, but I know my sewing room projects migrating north is about as annoying to Phil as nails on a chalkboard, so I fooled myself into believing I'd get it done if I left it in the basement. Looking forward to good TV and having my fabric prepped for sewing.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Monday Moments: Tuesday Edition

Have you heard of Art Prize? It started in Grand Rapids last year and has quite a following for such a short lived festival. Last year it seemed like a local thing, but this year Etsy has posted articles about it and this pig showed up on the Cake Wrecks Facebook feed (Jen talks a lot about steampunk on her other blog, Epbot). It's cool for me to see something that I have seen in person showing up on blogs and in articles from across the country.

We asked our son on Sunday if he wanted to go see some art. He said a very enthusiastic yes and we took his stroller downtown to see just a small part of the impressive entries.

I didn't see a single thing I didn't like, though I did exclaim, "Weird!" a few times. My son had a definite favorite in some metal fish he asked to see repeatedly. The rest of us couldn't choose.

Monday, September 27, 2010

One Thing, One Week Challenege Complete!

Remember one week ago when I announced I would be joining this challenge?

Amy's Creative Side

Well, I did it! I posted my goal was to be done today, in time to enter the contest, but my real goal was to be done on Saturday so that my sister could take the bag home with her. Sadly, I missed that goal. I had work left to do, but decided hanging out with my niece and nephew was worth more to me than the few dollars I would spend shipping the bag if I didn't finish.

Ready to see?

I took the side ties and button closure that my sister loved from the last diaper bag I made and added them to a simple patchwork bag made from the scraps of my Chirp! that I used in the charity quilts I did earlier this summer. She absolutely loved them and I think she will love this!

I lined it in the pink with green, brown and white birds and, in what I think was a genius move, I made a diaper pocket out of the only horizontal print in the Chirp! panel. I should have taken a pic of that before I put the lining in the bag though, because try as I might this morning, nothing I took of the inside turned out.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Moments

My step-daughter had her second soccer game ever this weekend. They change positions a lot during the games and it can be confusing for a kid who has never played the game before this season. She got to play goalie for a little while this weekend and she really had a chance to shine! In a game where it can be hard to know when it's your turn to go after the ball and which side of the line you're supposed to be on in the field, being put in a little box and being told to stop the ball is a really simple job. I think she must have fended off six goals from the opposing team while she was there! It helped boost her confidence in playing the other positions too, knowing that she fully understood at least one of them.

Amy's Creative Side

Off topic, but, as if I needed one more reason (other than late arriving fabric and my sister visiting) to finish this diaper bag up about a chance at a prize? Amy's Creative Side is hosting a One Thing, One Week challenge. Pick a goal and if you finish it by next Monday you can post the link to her blog and get entered to win something fabulous. She hasn't said what yet, but check out some of the previous contests and online blogging festivals she has hosted and you'll know this lady means business.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Business review: Hancock's of Paducah

A couple weeks ago my sister called me. The one who is expecting her second baby in less than twelve months. She was laughing as she explained to me that she had planned on using my nephew's diaper bag as a diaper bag for the new baby. My nephew that will probably be in diapers for the next two years. I laughed too.

She had fallen in love with the Chirp! fabric I used to make my charity quilts and wanted to know if I had enough to make her a diaper bag. I had plenty of the greens, yellows, and even the blues, but after making two blankets I had one small 4 1/2 inch square of pink left. Still though, I told her it was no problem. After all, the fabric I had originally purchased in June was now on clearance all over the web.

I visited my go-to online fabric shops. Fat Quarter Shop had some, but was missing one of the prints she specifically mentioned loving. had none. So I googled it and I came across Hancock's of Paducah. They had every print and for $3.98 per yard! That was a full $2.67 less per yard than the Fat Quarter shop's sale price. They had a little scrolling bar across the top of the screen that quoted customers singing their praises. They had over 11,000 fans on facebook. I am usually smarter than letting a few facebook fans and the advertising on a site lull me into a sense of security, but I did it this time. Within a few days I had placed an order containing 3 1/2 yards of fabric and a jelly roll that was on sale for less than $20!

I was excited when just a few minutes after my order I received the automated e-mail showing my invoice. My bank account had the charges pending. All signs pointed to me being a satisfied customer.

But then a week went by. I had no shipping confirmation. I no longer even had pending charges in my bank account. Some "fans" on their facebook page were saying that their orders were taking weeks, then being canceled because everything was out of stock. Some other fans received packages containing all but one or two pieces of their order, with a simple X over the parts that were no longer available...and they had no prior notification that this would be happening.

I started panicking and sent them an e-mail telling them that I order a lot of fabric online and I know how it normally works, and how I had never been treated this way. Then I asked if my order was actually going to get to my house at some point.

It took over seven hours to get a response from their customer service person. They told me that they were busy. They had sent out a catalog recently and orders were pouring in from everywhere. My order was scheduled to be shipped out the following day...and really, since they strive to have every customer's order to them within 5-7 days, it wasn't a big deal (although regrettable) that they had to extend my order's arrival time to 6-9 days.

Boy, didn't that make me sound like a jerk. Here I am complaining when it's only two days late. Except that I looked all over their site and couldn't find this mission statement of theirs anywhere. Most online retailers will ship an order within 48 hours...and my order didn't arrive in 9 days. It took 10. I never got an e-mail letting me know my worries were over and my package had shipped, either. I just went by what they told me they were going to do and periodically checked my garage for a parcel.

Until I got my package, there were two things that angered me about the whole situation. First, Hancock's of Paducah has been in business for 40 years. In all their years of mailing out catalogs a person would think that they might come to expect a rush of orders. That they might even prepare for it by putting a few more people on shift. It just seems like good business practice to me.

Second, and worse than the first is the complete and total lack of communication. As a customer if there is any problem with my order I certainly expect to be told about it. If I go to McDonald's and have to wait 3 minutes on an order of fries that cost $1, I am told they're being cooked and apologized to. And while I may be hungry, and may not want to wait 3 minutes, I am completely pacified and I stand there politely. Why, when I am spending 40 TIMES that amount, am I not notified at all that there is a delay? An e-mail two or three days into the ordering process letting me know what to expect would have kept me from getting suspicious and angry. I would be annoyed, but I wouldn't be writing up a terrible business review on my blog.

Did you notice how I said that was what angered me the most until I got my package? Because when I opened it up this was folded nice and neat, right on top...

Like a giant middle finger. Had this happened in my local fabric shop I would have gotten a discount at the very least. More than likely they would have cut me a new piece without even saying a word. They wouldn't have sent me out the door with it.

I looked around and found these holes too. The moral of the story here is that I would gladly have paid $2 more per yard to know that I was getting a quality piece of fabric, in a decent amount of time, with a shipping notification. The rest of my order was intact, the prices I got were phenomenal, but it wasn't worth it, not in the least.

FYI, Hancock's of Paducah is not affiliated with Hancock Fabrics. I have no experience with Hancock Fabrics and would hate for someone to take this review as a reason not to shop with them just because they have a similar name.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday Moments: Tuesday Edition

We started potty training this weekend. It is not going well. Basically, my son is very keenly aware that he is growing up and cries a lot that we should let him be little (keep a pacifier, wear diapers). So we think it's more of a him being stubborn thing than it is a thing where he isn't physically ready to begin training.

Yesterday was hard. Fighting over him having to sit on the potty. Today he came right over to me. He's getting used to it, but we still have him peeing in his training pants all day. Not a single drop has hit the potty I bought months ago. He is almost three and I definitely want to get over this hurdle before I come up against the binky.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Here is my finished monkey wrench (I've also seen it called churn and dash by the exact same magazine I saw it in as monkey wrench, go figure!) quilt top. My initial plan was to do all whites and creams in the center, but I just thought it looked too bland on the tan background. So I added in a mottled black and a stripe made of a green and gray holly berry print.

The majority of the fabrics in this one are RJR Nativity. I was looking at backing it in an RJR fabric from this year's Christmas collection since I figured I wouldn't be able to find Nativity anywhere (another downside to fat quarter grab bags), but I have seen it around and for pretty cheap. I still might not back it in that though, I want to bind it in black and that might not look too great. I have awhile to decide.

Here is my disappearing nine patch with all of its borders. I love this one. The fabrics here are mostly Charity Collection for a Cause. I used a charm pack, plus anything that vaguely resembled vintage shirting (the inspiration for this collection) from my stash. There is tons of this still around, and on clearance at most places. I wasn't sold on it from the online pictures, but it was a great deal. Once I got it in the mail though, I was very impressed.

I'm backing this one in that blue with red flowers and binding it in the tan dot. I didn't buy quite enough to back it though, didn't think it through, so I am going to have to do some kind of piecing to make it look intentional.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Monday Moments: Tuesday Edition

Ah! September! It is a blur of activity much like this photo. Today was the first day of school for my step-daughter. It's nice, because I theoretically have more time to sew now, but I always seem to forget every year how dreadful the experience can be for us.

We soldier through and don't let on because we're the parents, but sometimes my husband and I sit down and just scream about it when we're alone. Like it isn't hard enough being part of a blended family, my step-daughter came home today with homework papers that "Dad has to sign." It might sound normal enough, but the implication that appears to have been made to her is that even though I fully qualify for the parent or guardian signature line, I am, in fact, neither. "Dad has to sign."

It's nothing new. One particularly memorable time my step-daughter was given a homework assignment and I made the mistake of trying to discuss it with her teacher at the time. I was put in my place very loudly in front of every student in the class by the teacher who told me, "Maybe you should talk to her mother about this." I was humiliated and because it happened at the beginning of the year it colored the whole school experience for me until we were done with that grade and that teacher.

Let's hope this is no indication of how this year will be going.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Progress report

I pieced the bulk of my disappearing nine patch top together, but when I laid the fabric out for the black and red border it just looked too black. So, even though I bought a binding and backing fabric to go on the quilt, I am currently awaiting a yard of dark brown to complete the top.

In the meantime I have started working on yet another small quilt I want to finish by Christmas. This one is a monkey wrench design in some religious fabric I got in one of those fabric shop grab bags. It's really not my style, but I think I know someone who would appreciate it, so I am piecing away. Pictures to come soon!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Double Edition

My niece's birthday is over. I made her two more doll outfits that were so much more adorable than all the ones previous, but I finished them up at 7:00 in the morning the day of the party and wrapped them without taking any photos.

I also made a little blanket for my yet to be born niece out of some more Chirp! fabric and took no photos of that either. I'm awesome. But I do have a photo of my niece opening her doll and just loving it. I have a picture of her in bed with it and the memory of being asked to help change her clothes and her diaper about three dozen times in the course of the afternoon. It's nice to know my hard work is well loved.

And despite drinking the soda I have mostly quit at her party and eating three delicious cupcakes, I have managed to re-lose the 0.4 pounds I gained last week. It was a great weekend with great results!