Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Profile Photo

Art Bag for our Trip

One of the reasons I've been so lax about posting is I have been busying planning our trip. We leave Thursday!

In the past couple of weeks I did manage to get one last Honu quilt ready for threadwork, but he will have to wait until I get home for finishing. But last weekend I worked on making a totebag to haul my drawing goodies as we travel. What kind of self-respecting quilt artist would I be if I used a store-bought tote bag? Besides, I had certain requirements for size, color, pockets, etc., so that demanded a custom made bag. And here it is:

Many thanks to Aly for loaning me the book (which I will have to post about later, because I can't remember the title!) that got me started! She also happened to be with me when I bought that luscious Bali fabric (background of bag and strap).

I needed it to hold my new colored pencils, a small sketchbook, a pad of watercolor post-cards, a couple of charcoal pencils, assorted paint brushes, my eraser and sporty new pencil sharpener. Not to mention my cell phone, sunglasses and small travel wallet, and maybe one magazine? OH, and my new copy of Danny Gregory's "Everyday Matters" for inspiration and an article torn out of either Cloth Paper Scissors or Quilting Arts (I can't remember which one) on sketching by Jane LaFazio. I love her stuff.

Sounds like a lot, but it will work in this bag. Here's an inside peek:

See all the room in the center on the inside? Plus it has two outside pockets.

It's nearly packed and ready to go - just like me. I can't wait!

About Beeswax

I was reminded about the benefits of beeswax when reading Caity's post the other day. She was talking about the new Clover Yo-Yo maker (which I want but have avoided buying - what on earth am I going to do with yo-yos? But that's another story.) and shared her tips for using beeswax.

I too, use beeswax for all of my handwork. A light drag through the wax keeps thread from tangling and makes it much easier to thread the needle. I also doesn't leave any residue or otherwise interfere with the fabric (unless, of course, you use too much).

I do have one strict rule about beeswax, however. You really should use the real thing. Years ago I started out with the nasty pale yellow stuff in the plastic case in the notions department, because that was all I could find. It was frustrating to use because it crumbled and broke and little bits leaked out of the plastic container all over my sewing box and elsewhere. YUCK. Do you know why it does that? Well, it contains very little beeswax - it's beeswax mixed with paraffin to extend it.

Now paraffin won't hurt anything, but why go to all that trouble and mess? Natural beeswax has a gorgeous honey hue (see above - pure Maui beeswax!) and even has a light honey scent. When I had my quilt shop I bought a couple of pounds from the local beekeeper, melted it down and poured it into candy molds for easy (and pretty!) handling. I kept a big jar of it near the register and sold it by the piece. Now I have just a few pieces, but a piece like the one pictured above (approximately 2" across) will last you several years and won't break apart. It will just wear down to nothing, like a bar of soap.

Word of caution: if you buy your own beeswax and melt it down, be SURE to close your doors and windows! It will bring a HUGE swarm of bees who want their honey back. Ask me how I know. Despite that, it's fun to do and makes great gifts for your sewing friends.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Vacation Planning - Quilt Shops?

As we've been planning our trip, I've been searching for quilt-shop-stops along the way. I've found a few, but I'm considering not making some stops. Why?

Well, I'm not much of a quilt shop binger (is that even a word?). Usually, when I take trips (few and far between), I am working on a particular project, so I have specific purchases in mind. Mostly it will be a particular color of fabric I need and can't get at home. But right now, I don't need any project-specific fabric, and I certainly don't need any more fabric period. I've gotten away from book-buying, and have even sold a bunch at the amazon.com marketplace. I pretty much have all the notions, scissors, needles, pins, etc. I need.

So other than a stop at Superior Threads (in St. George, as we are passing through), because one can never have enough thread, I may not stop at all. Unless, of course, dear reader, you can give me a darn good reason why I should. And if you happen to know of any must-see good shops between Las Vegas and Cody, Wyoming, let me know.

P.S. This doesn't include the shop somewhere in Wyoming or Montana that my Uncle Jim has personally picked out for me to visit, of course! :-) How nice is that?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I have a serious case of short-timer's disease. This mainly affects people who have given their two-week notice at work and are leaving their job (not me!), but has been known to infect those who are getting ready to go on vacation (me).

I have an extremely long to-do list at work, which I am trying to desperately stay focused on, but my mind keeps wandering to my extremely long "get ready to go on vacation" to do list at home. Another insidious side effect is the distinct craving for junk food, which was fueled by the distribution of glazed donuts to the kids at work this morning. I'm trying to quell that craving with a diet Coke and handful of nuts. Good friggin' luck!

It's exhausting driving all night (many nights, in my dreams!). I know all of this nocturnal activity will culminate in a dream about missing our flight (or something equally frustrating) the night before we leave. Do you ever dream stuff like that?

Anyway, it feels good to get this off my chest! Now, back to work...

Friday, July 13, 2007

More About Bags

Seems like the reusable bag trend is really taking off! I posted my rant about this a little while ago and, since then, have found two more links to share with you.

The first is Terry Grant's blog - Andsewitgoes - where she will share her pattern for her classy-looking bag.

The second is from the Whip Up blog - Proud to be a Bag Lady - which lead me over to...

and their Sociable. Guerilla. Bagging campaign. I think this is a FANTASTIC idea am going to try to coordinate something with my local groups toward this effort. Another little known fact is that I work for the Boys & Girls Club of Maui and I think making and distributing these bags would be a great community service project for our teen groups. I'll let you know if anything comes of it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Guilty Pleasure - Hell's Kitchen

I love to cook. I love cooking almost as much as I love quilting, so you can kind of get the picture.

I love cooking magazines and read Bon Appetit, Gourmet and Food & Wine regularly. I sometimes get Cooking Light and Vegetarian Times. I enjoy reading cooking fiction and non-fiction (my recent favs are Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl, Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, and The Apprentice: My Life In the Kitchen by Jacques Pepin). Cookbooks are wondrous things: all of the potential inside of one...mind-boggling! And a good one is worth its weight in truffles.

So, all of that being said, I'm addicted to Hell's Kitchen! Bruce and I are enjoying this season immensely - in all its screaming, crying, tantrum throwing glory. I was especially pleased that Melissa was voted off this week without a blink from Gordon. If I had to see her flying, crazy cavewoman hair for one more week I'd have to turn it off. What was the deal with that anyway?

My prediction is that it will come down to Jen and Rock at the end. We'll see!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Gratuitous Pet Photos

It's been a long time since I've posted pictures of our pets, so here are a couple of good ones Bruce took:

Our darling boy, Cody. He'll be two next month!

Our rascal, Ginger, who just turned two. Our other kitty, Ruby, declined to be photographed for this entry.

More quilt content coming soon. It's been crazy around here!