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Monday, August 31, 2009

Organizing, A Necessary Evil

Ok, not the most exciting of topics, but it has to happen. You know when you walk in your studio, and then you just walk out because you are too overwhelmed with all the clutter and stuff. I know. There are TV shows devoted to the clean up of the clutter and the recipients are SO relieved!

Well, my studio isn't quite ready for a Clean Sweep, so to speak, but my scraps had gotten out of hand. I know. I can hear you now... scraps? Seriously? But any seamstress or quilter will totally understand. I mean, you might NEED that 5" piece of fabric for something, if for nothing else than to test a stitch. And do a search for scrappy quilts, and you will get tons of hits.

Here are the before pictures:

And the after:

You probably can't read the little labels, but I sorted by color and have 6 groups: white, black, red/pink, blue/purple, yellow/orange, and green/brown. In case you're wondering, yes, I did throw some stuff away!

Now I just need to find some inspiration and get to work!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Road Trip -- Watkinsville

Yesterday was a gorgeous, hot day, and perfect for a little adventure. I had read about a pottery exhibition nearby, and convinced Roland that instead of hanging around the house, we needed to get out. I was just about over my empty nest depression!

Lunchtime saw us heading east toward Watkinsville, a little town just south of Athens. Quite a different drive this Saturday than in recent years when a September Saturday would see us all in red and black, ready to cheer on the Bulldogs. But I digress. Lunch was at a newish sub shop called Submarina, in a strip shopping center on Sugarloaf Parkway. The GPS was on the fritz, due to some unexpected falling off the window last weekend, but how hard can it be to find the Oconee County Arts Foundation building in Watkinsville.

Turns out, a bit harder than expected, but Roland's trusty Nokia phone with GPS got us there! There was 2 parts to this pottery exhibition, called Perspectives 2009: Georgia Pottery Invitational. The first we ventured into was this white building that indicated we would find a giant pottery sale!

Those people on the left were watching a pottery making demonstration. Inside, we found several aisles of treasures!

After roaming the aisles for awhile, and seeing lots of lovely pottery in different styles and techniques, but not buying anything, Roland discovered part 2. Turns out, there was a gallery exhibition as well in another, better airconditioned building. I don't have any pictures of that, but the same artists were represented, but the gallery appeared to show their best pieces. Some of those were for sale, but some were not.

All this pottery viewing left us quite thirsty, and since we were so close, we headed north about 8 miles into Athens. Seemed quite strange not to have anyone to visit (see post about daughter's graduation), but Athens does have a special place in our hearts anyway.

We stopped here, at The Grill, for a milkshake and a root beer float before heading back to Atlanta. Heading home after that, we decided more road trips will definitely be in our future (and not just trips to see football games)!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Product Review -- Frame Purse Making Kit

I've read lots of interesting features on amazing Etsy artists, and seen lots of great pictures of items while browsing, but now and then I'd love to read about the actual product. So, here we go. Everything I review will be something that I have personally purchased and used.

My first product review is on the Frame Purse Making Kit sold by U-Handbag. There it is in the picture from her Etsy shop. It's so cute, and I've been dying to try to make this kind of clutch purse. I make other clutches, so it's not a stretch for me, but needed the basics.

First of all, fast shipping. I think it took just about a week to come from London to Atlanta. Everything you need is in the kit except thread and glue. The thread was not a problem. I'll get to the glue in a minute. I dove right in and made it the day it arrived.

Lisa's pattern is so easy to follow, and she herself describes it as "easy peasy". A couple of notes. Follow Step 1!! At least the part about reading all the way through. I've been sewing for over 30 years, so sometimes I take little short cuts, and this pattern was no diffeent. All went well until Step 10 and the gluing.

To start with, I didn't have the glue she recommended, but hey, I'm a crafter with glue. Got out the E6000 and even have a long pointy tip thing, but it seemed to be just too thick and didn't come out in a smooth line. Next up was Fabri-Tac, a glue that I highly endorse, and have used often in attaching trim to window treatments. But my bottle was not new, and the tip was cut a bit far down, making the hole a bit larger than desired.

Still, I'm impatient, and wanted to see the finished product, darn it! I forged ahead, mostly making do with the fabri-tac, but I had neglected to read the part about "working with one side of the purse at a time". Oops. Once I started to stuff the edge of the purse into the channel of the frame, well, it was a gluing nightmare. After getting it all over my fingers, and having it squish out around the edge, I did somehow manage to successfully insert the bag into the frame. Mind you, this has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the kit itself. Just a reminder that this kit maker knows what she's talking about!

Bottom line: If you enjoy sewing and trying new projects, this one is a very fun and satisfying one indeed. The fabric and frame included are high quality, leaving you with a wonderful finished product that closes with a satisfying snap. Here's my finished purse. Not too bad, but I need practice.

Besides buying U-Handbag products on Etsy, you can also purchase them via their website,, and check out her fun blog for more tutorials on making handbags.

My rating for the kit: A+

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back to School

The Etsy Blogger Team's Blog Carnival is always so timely and topical, and this time is no different. What does back to school mean to me? For all those Etsy Bloggers with the young children heading off to elementary school, getting up early, making lunches, and mounds of homework... enjoy it if you can, because all too soon back to school will mean something totally different. Time flies is a saying that really is true!

My oldest graduated earlier this month, but my youngest is just starting his sophomore year in college. Back to school for us meant last minute packing, with nagging on my part, and declarations like "it will only take me an hour to pack all my stuff, mom" on my son's part. Shopping was kept at a minimum this year (unlike heading off to a freshman year) so that was good.

So, after a day's worth of packing (that was one LONG hour!!), last Saturday we headed north, spending the evening walking around campus, scouting out the new dorm, checking his mailbox for the coveted parking permit, and a last evening of bonding. OK, honestly, after dinner he met up with his friends that he hadn't seen in a couple of months, returning to the hotel room in the wee hours of the morning. We didn't even hear him come in, but about 2:45 a.m. I heard my husband shuffling around, and then a frantic, "have you heard from Kyle?" Um, no, I was sleeping, and my cellphone was somewhere in my purse across the room. But then, he said, "never mind, he's here sleeping." About 3 feet away on the sleeper sofa.

Sunday, after snagging a prime unloading spot by the dorm, we had a nice "free" hotel breakfast, and then the unpacking started. Kyle's dorm room is so small, that it's crowded with 2 people, downright uncomfortable with 3. He's so happy to be there, though.

Mama and her Baby Bird in his new nest

Since getting home, I have been wallowing around in our nest, which seems much too big for just the two of us, looking for birdies to take care of. I should snap out of it soon, and enjoy sleeping through the night again. Life is so much easier when you don't know what time they get home or what they've been doing!

Monday, August 24, 2009

August's Etsy Blogger -- Memories for Life Scrapbooks

The featured blogger for Etsy Bloggers this month is Edi from Iowa. As you can guess by the title, she's makes scrapbooks for her shop, Memories for Life Scrapbooks. I love these unique word albums that she makes:

But I think my favorite albums are from her Simply Stunning collection. Here's a great one for all the memories you made this summer:

Edi is one busy girl, working as a machine operator while working on her MBA besides running her delightful Etsy shop and blogging. You can read more about her by clicking here, or (until August 31) on the Etsy Blogger Featured Blogger logo just to the right.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Where Have I Been?

Added on Friday, Aug. 14: Just checked into the Etsy Bloggers message board and discovered this is one of the topics for the blog carnival! What luck!

Well, it seems that I am no longer grateful on a daily basis. Not so, dear friends, just haven't recorded anything here for what appears to be several weeks. I've been preoccupied with things out in the real world like daughter's graduation and party, and guests, and her move, and just all the other more mundane parts of life. My Etsy shops have been neglected as well, but a few lovely buyers have stopped in to both of them and I am truly grateful for them.

So, with all that busyness, some time in early July I decided we would need a vacation. After taking my mother and mother-in-law to the airport last week, 6 of us headed southeast to the Georgia coast. Specifically to St. Simon's Island. And we had a lovely time. Lots of pictures were taken, but here are a couple. The first is our view of the Atlantic Ocean from our condo balcony. The second is standing on the beach looking back at our condo. See the red swim trunks hanging from the balcony? That was ours!