Saturday, April 26, 2008

aren't these cute?

They're from the same person who's custom-making table cards for my sister-in-law's wedding.

I might have to invest in these - surely I've got somebody I need to thank this much, right? (ahem, Kylie-Ann)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

WIP Wednesday

I haven't decided what it's going to be when I'm done with the embroidery, but I'm having fun with the mindless follow-the-line stitching. Just what my brain needed this week!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

snort - giggle

I swear, sometimes it's like my sense of humor got stuck in junior high.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

More Burchy goodness

I'm still in destash mode around here, and the next project on my list was to use up more of the Laurel Burch flannel I had left over from a quilt I made before LazyToddler was born. I've finished the second tummy time activity quilt from the fabric, and I only had to use a little bit of the extra flannel I bought last weekend (I can't believe it's still available! Hooray for slow sellers and/or reprints!).
There's a good chance this one is already spoken for, as a friend recently lamented that the first quilt made from these fabrics had sold before she could snap it up. But if she changes her mind, it'll be in the etsy shop soon, along with a couple of other designs from coordinating fabrics. So keep your eyes peeled!

Friday, April 18, 2008

More gifts for the kiddo

LazyToddler's third birthday is looming on the horizon, which means I've been sneaking off to Toys R Us instead of crafting, and I've been spending waaaaay too much time browsing on etsy. I have to admit, etsy is a little short on non-clothing gifts for the toddler set - lots for babies, lots for older kids, not so much for those who are short on attention span and long on destruction. So with that in mind, I've been trying to find things I think she'll enjoy, at least until she breaks them into (hopefully) non-lethal pieces within 20 minutes of opening them.

Not really. I have found a few things that I think are age-appropriate and fun. In the order in which the packages made it to our door:

Pixie Dust star-shaped goat's milk soaps from abreathofFrenchair. These arrived super-fast, in great condition and in the cutest packaging I've seen yet. Yes, there really is that much pink packing paper in that adorable black-and-white box! I think LazyToddler is really going to enjoy using these in the bath, and the small size means that we won't be stuck using one yucky bar of soap for weeks and weeks. And she's going to smell yummy, just in time for the stinky sticky summer season. Bonus!

Handpainted ceramic pendant from LisaEverettDesigns. They're available in all of the colors shown above - I ordered the white one, figuring that it's likely to match more outfits that way. Of course, we're dealing with a three-year-old's sense of style, so that was probably unnecessary :) I'm going to pick up some ribbon to use to make the "chain" for it, which I'm hoping will prove more durable (or at least more easily replaced) than the regular link chain on some of her dearly departed jewelry. If this one works out well, I may pick up some of the artist's other paper-covered pendants for the kiddo or myself - but these looked more durable for now.

"Pink PJs" ribbon wand from (who else?) ribbonwand. I think this is soooo cute, with the stripes and the pinkness and all. I'm hoping that the "Brass swivel hardware to ensure ease of movement" will prevent some of the tangling problems we had with a stationary-mount silk streamer we got for Christmas last year. Plus, the stick is shorter, so it's less whackable than her current rain-stained, knotted, pathetic-looking one. I wasn't sure this would make it here in time for LazyToddler's birthday, since it was coming from Canada, and Canada Post is notoriously laconic when it comes to getting stuff to the lower 48. But it showed up today, a little more than a week after the order was placed, so, Go, Canada Post!

That's it, at least so far. I may keep trolling for a while to see if any t-shirts strike me as must-haves, even though LazyHusband will kill me if I bring one more item of clothing into her room. It's okay if she never wears anything more than twice, right? Back me up here, peeps!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Goddess of Craft - she is a vengeful, spiteful thing

  1. You are happy because you sold eight of your SWAK blankets in a week, so you bought a lot more fabric to make new ones for the shop? Okay, now you won't sell anything for three weeks. Bwahahahaha!
  2. You have a deadline looming and a sample quilt to make? Okay, your stash no longer has three fabrics that coordinate. Bwahahahaha!
  3. And you're out of chocolate! Bwahahahahaha!
  4. And your toddler refuses to take naps! Bwahahahahaha!
  5. You get up early to get some work done before your toddler awakes? Okay, now she'll get up at 6:40am, but only on days when you wake up early. On days when you sleep in, she'll sleep until 8:30am, thus depriving you of 90 minutes of time that could have been spent in the studio. Bwahahahahahaha!
  6. Trying to entertain the kid for an hour while you get some work done? Okay, now the portable DVD player is broken ... but only when you try to use it in your studio. Anywhere else it works fine ... but all of the work you have to finish requires that you be in the studio. Bwahahahahahaha!
  7. You have no deadline and a huge pile of scraps you're trying to use up? Okay, your stash is now chock full of fabrics that coordinate with the scrap blocks ... but you don't have enough yardage of any of them. Bwahahahahahaha!
  8. Oh, and the cat puked on the pile of fabric you stored on the floor because you were too lazy to file it. Bwahahahaha!

Stay tuned - later this week I plan to slice off the end of my finger with a rotary cutter, then set my studio on fire with a shorted-out iron. And, if things go as planned, the kid will pee on a finished quilt that's ready to ship to a customer. Should be fun!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Oh, and Block of the Month folks:

Here's the recipe for the cookies I brought on Saturday:,173,144170-236207,00.html


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Ruffled Yo-Yo directions - as seen in Birds of a Feather April block of the month

Greetings, Block of the Month quilters! As promised, here are the directions for the ruffled yo-yos we used to decorate April's block of the month. Hope you enjoy making these as much as I do!

In all the photographs for the yo-yo construction, the lavender fabric is the “body” and the yellow fabric is the “contrast.”

For each ruffled yo-yo:
1. Using either scissors or pinking shears, cut a 5” circle of body fabric and place it face-up on your work surface. Now cut a 4 ½” circle of contrast fabric and place it face-up, centered on top of the body fabric.
2. Cut off an 18” piece of thread that coordinates with the body fabric and thread it through a handsewing needle. Knot the end several times so you’ve got a decent-sized knot.
3. With the pair of fabrics in front of you so that the contrast side is up, fold the closest edge of one yo-yo up toward the center of the circle – you should mostly see the body fabric. Push the needle through the body fabric and contrast fabric about ½” in from the edge of the larger fabric circle, pulling the knot snug against the body fabric.

4. Fold the edge of the fabrics toward you near where the thread comes through, forming a hem that is a little more than ½” wide on the largest circle. You only need to hold about a thumb’s width of the edge folded over at one time – if you try to fold too much, you’ll run out of fingers to hold it in place and the folds will end up straight instead of sort of curved.
5. To lock the knot in place, push the needle down through all four layers of fabric near the fold about 1/16” to the right of where the thread comes through the hem. Now push the needle back up through the hem and body, about 1/16” to the left of where the thread comes through. Pull the thread through so that there is no slack.

6. Hem the edge of the whole circle with a running stitch, making the stitches about ½” long and as close to the folded edge of the fabric as you can. The longer the stitch, the smaller the hole in the middle of the finished yo-yo. The fastest way to do this is to rock the needle up and down a few times, taking several stitches before you pull the thread through.

7. Leave the stitches loose so there’s plenty of room to work while you sew. When you make it all the way around the yo-yo, take one last stitch to the left of the original knot, then pull the thread tight to gather up the stitches in the center of the yo-yo.

8. Squish the yo-yo flat so the hole is in the center of a gathered circle and the ruffles are spaced evenly around the hole. Take a small stitch in the edge of one ruffle near where the thread is coming out from your last stitch, but don’t pull the thread taut yet. Now put the needle through the small loop of thread you’ve got left from your last stitch, and pull it taut to make a knot around the edge of the gather. Repeat this to make a second small knot.
9. Now push the needle through the hole to the inside of the yo-yo, feeding it along one ridge of a gather until the point comes out near the edge of the yo-yo. Pull the needle through and pull the thread snug. This should have buried the tail of the knot inside the yo-yo.
10. Knot the thread on the edge of the yo-yo by taking a tiny stitch and putting the needle through the loop formed by the stitch (as in step 8). Place the yo-yo in the desired location on the quilt block.

11. Take a tiny stitch into the surface of the quilt block and then back through the edge of the yo-yo, but do not pull it all the way taut yet. Push your needle through the small loop of thread you have left in the stitch and pull it taut to make a small knot.
12. Secure the yo-yo all the way around the edge at approximately ¼” intervals, using a whip stitch that catches the edge of the yo-yo and travels along the back of the quilt block from stitch to stitch. 13. When you reach the beginning of the stitching for the yo-yo, take another tiny stitch, pull your needle through the loop of thread, and pull it taut to make a small knot. Now feed the tip of the needle into the edge of the yo-yo, pushing it along the ridge of one gather until it emerges in the hole in the center of the yo-yo. Snip the thread near the center of the yo-yo.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Guess what

So guess what's printing, even as I type?

Despite a (temporarily) dead computer, a dead DVD player, and a toddler who's lucky to be alive after what all she pulled today, I finished the pattern for Saturday's trunk show! Four printed, twenty more to go. Come on, ink cartridge, don't fail me now!

New pattern will be available here and on my etsy shop Saturday evening ... gotta give the Birds of a Feather folks first dibs on it.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Well, fine. Be that way.

Dear LazyToddler:

Okay, fine, you're almost three. I get it. You don't want to nap, you want to stay awake and become increasingly cranky as the day wears on, finally dropping from sheer exhaustion around 7:30. That's fine with me, as it gives me time in the evening to spend with your father, time that can be spent completing sentences and not speaking in the third person or telling stories about a fairy named Liza.

But I need time to work on Lazy Mama stuff, and since you aren't taking a nap with any regularity anymore, I thought I'd be smart and get up an hour early to get work done before you wake up. You get up around 7:30 am most days, so I'd get up at 6:30 and get a whole mess of stuff done despite still being in my pajamas. And it worked great ... the first day.

But now you've decided to start waking up earlier and earlier, no matter what time we put you to bed. Yesterday I woke up at 6:40, and you were up at 6:49. That's not even enough time to pee and get the computer turned on and operational, much less make any significant progress on the pattern that I HAVE TO HAVE FINISHED BY FRIDAY NIGHT. And when my alarm went off at 6:30 this morning, you were already stirring and making up stories with your stuffed animals. I just gave up and laid in bed for an extra 15 minutes, reveling in the hard rock station you apparently tuned my radio to sometime yesterday. Nothing like "BBBBBBBBBBad to the Bone" to start your day off right, I always say.

So now you're at preschool, and I have one and a half glorious hours to finish this darn pattern ... only I don't feel like it. I feel like blogging about your annoying sleep patterns, and the deer tracks I found in the backyard, and the yummyness of the pork roast I made for dinner last night. Oh, I'm going to get around to the pattern - I always do - but I'm not happy about it.

So you'd better be ready to take a nap this afternoon, kiddo, so I don't have to pull out the Sesame Street video again (although you're getting ridiculously close to being able to read, thanks to the darn video, so it's not all bad to have a DVD player as a babysitter, right?). Because despite my name, Lazy Mama isn't feeling so lazy today.


Mama, aka "George Gershwin" (don't ask, Internet, it's not my fault that she's decided I'm a character from a stupid bedtime story involving Rhapsody in Blue and a little fairy named Liza ... at least I'm not Herr Drosselmeyer anymore)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A whole new world ***

I've always made my first contact with potential customers for my patterns in person. That way I can schmooze and show samples of my projects and generally look pitiful, er, professional enough that the shops buy my patterns. It's worked pretty well so far, especially since I was able to cram a few shop visits into our recent vacations (Hello, San Diego! Hello, Ocean City! Hello, Fruitland!). But there's a limit to how many stores I can visit, especially with an increasingly impatient toddler in tow, so I've decided it's time to try a new approach.

Yesterday I mailed pattern catalogs to a select group of quilt supply stores that I think are a good match for my products. I put some research into this, trying hard to find shops that seem to have a decent customer base and a selection of fabrics that mesh well with my style of crafting. After all, there's not much point sending my catalog to a shop that specializes in country colors and Civil War reproduction fabrics, is there?

If my success rate with the catalogs is anywhere near my success rate in person, the mailing will have totally been worth the effort. Ideally, of course, I'd love to sell to all of the shops I've contacted ... but I know that's a long shot, especially since a lot of craft-related businesses seem to be tightening their belts. Stupid recession ... But at least now that the catalog is written and my research is sort of down pat, I can expand my mailing list pretty easily if I want to send out subsequent mailings. Wouldn't it be nice if I had to worry about making sure I wasn't selling to competing stores in the same geographical area? Squee!

Anyway, I don't get nervous about approaching store owners in person, even without an appointment, but sending a catalog out cold gives me pause. I'm not sure if it's worth the effort - who knows how many of the catalogs will end up in the trash can, unread, no matter how well-reasoned and insightful they are? And I'm not sure if this approach comes off as amateurish, too forward, or just normal business. And, of course, agonizing over it on my blog is soooooo professional, right?

Right. I'll just shut up now. If you're visiting from one of the shops I mailed, Hi! I'm really not as neurotic as I seem!

*** Can you tell that I've been forced to watch waaaaaay too many repeats of the stupid Little Mermaid song on YouTube, all in the name of brushing a Certain Someone's hair without listening to indignant screams?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Dear Copyright Infringer:

I won't even mention your company name here, for fear of driving up your spot on google's search ranks. You know who you are, and if my readers don't, they can read your name on photos of the toys you made at a factory in the Philippines after stealing the design from an independent artist and trying to pass it off as your own.

You're a fraud, a fake, and a liar. You suck.


The entire legitimate Internet crafting community

Come meet Lazy Mama!

When: Saturday, April 12th, 10am to 5pm
Where: Birds of a Feather, 36840 Detroit Rd., Avon, Ohio 44011
Why: I'm going to be showing off my new ruffled yo-yo technique, as featured in the shop's April Block of the Month design. I'll also have a trunk show featuring samples of all of my patterns for sale in the shop, as well as some goodies to share with my adoring public.

Have a question about one of my quilts? Hesitant to buy a pattern when you've never seen a sample in person? Curious about whether I really am as drop-dead gorgeous as you imagine? Stop by and mention that you read the blog and I'll have a little something for you!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I'm sure you understand

In order to accommodate the higher prices I've had to pay for fabric, paper, ink, plastic bags, and just about everything else on the planet, I've decided to adjust the wholesale price of my patterns to $4 each. Prices for individual patterns purchased through etsy for personal use have not been changed.

Thank you for your understanding - now, go sew something!

Button, button

I just spent 15 enjoyable minutes sorting through a box of buttons my mother picked up at a yard sale last summer (I think it cost $1). It's one of those squat round metal boxes that used to house butter cookies, but now it's the repostitory of two pounds of the Ugliest Buttons in Ohio.

I have found that if you need a button sorting cohort, a potentially OCD not-quite-three-year-old is the perfect answer. I'm telling you, she was picking up on MY mistakes ("That's blue green, Mom, not green blue!") and was fascinated by the whole experience.

The tackier the button, the better, as far as she's concerned, which makes the whole process more interesting. Rhinestones, spangles, sparkle-embedded-resin ... she's all in favor of it, and she has to show every "coooooool!" button to me for inspection and approval. This gives me plenty of time to muse about the rest of the mundane buttons, trying to figure out what sort of outfit they might have come from. I mean, there aren't that many uses for 2.5" purple plastic buttons that would end up leaving them with huge deep scratches across the front (and who would save such a thing, which would only be useful in the case of a Huge Button Emergency). And why are there a dozen teal shirt buttons in there, each still attached to the metal bale that stuck it to the display card in the store?

Any suggestions on how to store these suckers once they're sorted? I'm thinking one of those hardware caddies from Home Despot, but I'm open to other suggestions. I need room to store about a handful of about a dozen colors of buttons.

And now, if you'll excuse me, she's shouting "Let's play the button game again!" so it looks like I might get to finish sorting out the navy buttons tonight, after all.