craft business

A small, but significant, step

I chose to keep my weekly sewing club over starting up the new video production club. 

In the day job, there was a “realignment of responsibilities” based on my decision; however, I have zero regrets about choosing to keep the sewing club.

It also marks the start of a conscious shift to focus more on the things I want to do and less on the things others think I should be doing.  I am learning to stay in my lane at school and I try not to worry about things which are out of my control.  Yes, this is easier said than done, but I’m trying!!

Priorities:

  1. Health (lose weight, improve sleep, exercise, meditation)
  2. Relationships (outside of work and family)
  3. Improving skill set in both the day job and the side hustle

As I sat at Panera Bread tonight, I drew out a life bubble map that encompassed different areas of my life and where I want to be 12-18 months from now.  (Don’t feel like sharing all the details here, but suffice it to say that I am making progress toward those goals.)

The catalyst for all this:  I started doing WW Freestyle in late June.

Today, I am 15 pounds lighter and about 1/3 of the way down to where I want to be on the scale.  I have more energy and self-confidence, which set the wheels in motion for improvements in other areas of my life.  I also added some “mindful living” podcasts to my podcast feed. They have been helpful in my learning to let go of things at work. I don’t let stupid stuff get to me as much anymore. Friends and coworkers are starting to notice.

The surprising thing my bubble map exercise revealed was how closely intertwined my goals are and how change in one area impacts the others.

I’m excited to see what Fall 2019 has in store!

 

 

 

craft business

Fabric Snobbery

Fabric snobs must be first cousins of the Quilt Police.

You know, those people who faint at the mere thought of using fabric from a chain or big box discount store instead of fabric purchased from the local quilt shop.

The key is to use QUALITY fabric in your projects. Price and retail location aren’t necessarily the best indicators of quality.

My philosophy is – if you love the fabric, then use it.  After all, it’s your quilt.

‘Nuff said.

Kid's Sewing, craft business, sewing classes

Look, Mom! I made a skirt!

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Yes, these young ladies made their very own skirts at the most recent Kid’s Club at Stitch N Quilt in Mableton.  The girls chose the Roxy Skirt Pattern from Simplicity. I dusted off garment sewing skills learned long, long ago to teach these eager stitchers how to read a pattern, the importance of grainline and how cut out pattern pieces. Fortunately, each girl had an adult (grandma or quilt guild volunteer) to assist her.  I’m so proud of them!

 

craft business

Why I Matter

Each year, we are required to write a personal narrative in response to question posed by administration. Our response, along with our picture, is posted outside our classroom (or library in my case) doors for the world to see. Here’s mine. 

  • I am a person who is uniquely made.
  • Boomer chose me as “his” human.  Together, we have made 200+ visits as a pet therapy team to area libraries, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and events.
  • Sewing is my superpower. It feeds my creative soul and geek girl tendencies while providing the opportunity to share my love of making things with others. (Backpack and uniform repairs included.)
  • As a librarian, I introduce kids to the magic of books and the joys of reading.
  • In the library, I offer a safe environment for kids to explore what interests them and “windows” to take a peek at the outside world.
  • As a librarian, I guide kids through the inquiry process (aka how to find answers to their burning questions) by modeling search strategies, showcasing resources and demonstrating my own critical thinking steps during the process.
  • Here at the RIVER, the library is often the first stop many students and staff make when they have a question or need something (even if unrelated to the library). Simply put, we are the hub of the school!
  • While often found behind the scenes (where I prefer to be), I work hard to find solutions to challenges and figure out ways to get the resources we need.
  • I care – sometimes TOO much – and willingly share my time, talents & resources with others.
  • Finally, I come to The River every day where my kids show me how much
     I DO MATTER.

This year’s essay was particularly vexing for me to write. You see, my day job title is that of Media Specialist. It seems like this year I am being asked to do everything but that. The school district’s library department has issued one set of criteria for libraries and my administrative team seems to be doing the exact opposite. It’s extremely frustrating, especially when you feel your concerns are falling on deaf ears. And after the tense meeting on Friday afternoon, I truly felt as if I no longer mattered as a person to certain individuals or added value to the school as a Media Specialist. Instead, my value to the organization seems to lie in having a big library space and in supervising students to provide teacher release time. As one of the other specialists said, “Welcome to the Babysitter’s Club.”

No, thank you. 

I hold value as a person, creative, librarian and entrepreneur.  The essay I posted here finally came about after I snapped out of my pity party.  If this organization doesn’t appreciate what I bring to the table, then it will soon be time to find one that will.

 

craft business

Finding your happy place

My happy spot right now is the kitchen table.  A sewing machine sits on one end flanked by my Martelli turntable cutting mat on one side with the pressing pad and iron on the other. Yes, I have a beautiful sewing studio in the basement, but I like to sew where I can binge watch TV on the big screen when no one else is home.  The project I’m currently working on is portable – lots of Flying Geese blocks that I cut while at the ILA Conference in Austin a week ago.

It’s helped get me through a rather rough start to the new school year. I came back from the conference excited to really work on reading and literacy skills at my school. Instead, I find myself trying to figure out exactly what my role is. Let’s just say that it’s been a week and leave it at that.  I do know, however, that my elementary school librarian days are numbered. It’s time to move in a different direction.

So, I will focus on some extreme self care and sewing this weekend.

Happy Sewing!

craft business

Stitching on the Go

20180716_163620Meet my new travel companion!  This little 5 pound wonder is going with me on a plane  later this week. I’ll be gone for nearly a week with a fair amount of downtime built into my schedule. I won’t have a car and there’s not a lot to do in the evenings near the hotel unless you’re into the bar and band scene (which I am not).  So why not stitch? It’s amazing what you can get done in 2-3 hours of uninterrupted sewing time – if you plan/precut your projects ahead of time.  It’s like a mini sewing retreat.

I typically carry a hand embroidery project with me whenever I travel. Hand embroidery and reading are good for 1-2 nights. This is why I pack a machine whenever I travel by car and will be gone more than a couple of nights.  This time, my original plan was to pack a folding cutting mat, small ruler and rotary cutter in my suitcase. I would do all of the sub-cutting for an upcoming project (there’s a lot of it!).

Then, I met this little purple machine. It’s a 1/2 size sewing machine (think Janome Sew Mini). It uses REAL sewing machine feet, makes a nice straight stitch and can do buttonholes. I thought, why not give it a try on a simple quilt top I wanted to make from charm squares and 2-1/2″ strips?  My test using the 1/4″ foot was fine. You do have to use metal bobbins and a piecing thread like Mettler, Gutermann or Missouri Star for best results. Love me some Aurifil, but it’s too fine for this machine – thread breakage and skipped stitches happened frequently during my test. Switching to a smaller needle didn’t seem help either.

I don’t expect this little purple machine to replace my regular travel sewing machine, or to go with me on sewing retreats. However, it will be interesting to see if it is a viable option for machine stitching on the go when traveling by air is the chosen mode of transportation. If not, it’ll certainly look cute displayed on a shelf in my studio and will be perfect for my 5 year old neighbor as she learns to sew.

craft business, Kid's Sewing, Quilting, Tech Editing

Check out this super cute pattern!

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Meet Josefina and Jeffery!

Ira Rott is a well-known designer in crochet circles, but decided to translate one of her most popular crochet patterns into a sewing pattern.  This is the result!

Although rated for intermediate sewists, an advanced beginner would be fine with this pattern. It does introduce some techniques with which you might not be familiar, but it’s all part of the learning process, right?

And yes, yours truly assisted by tech editing this delightful pattern.

It’s available in her Etsy shop as a pdf download.  Get yours here.

Happy sewing!