I was this close to sitting down and writing a rant post about my sewing machine crapping out at a most inopportune moment. But I took a deep breath, did a little investigation, and found a lint ball in the bobbin thing a majig. I got that out and added a drop of oil and hoo rah it's running smooth as can be.
So I can finish the very, very last minute gift for Biscuit's day care provider. Tomorrow is Biscuit's last day at the in-home daycare she's been at since she was 10 weeks old. I thought a handmade gift was in order.
It's almost midnight; I better get back to it.
I must have been sewing a lot more lately because I find myself running out of plain, white thread. Shocking! A spool used to last months. Years? Not any more.
When it comes to thread I've always used Coats and Clark's Dual Duty All Purpose thread. No real reason but it's widely available, reliable and cheap. Over the years have collected spools in several colors and never had a problem with it. That is until I got my new machine where the thread lays sideways.
In this set up, I had lots of problems with the little cut in the top of the spool catching the thread and breaking it. The larger disk to hold the thread in place was too big and also held up the thread. I figured out how to put the thread on top but it seems to mess with the tension.
Then I started having a lot of issues with my machine and the fellow at the repair shop said the thread could be to blame. He suggested Guttermans. I got a spool and it was a lemon! Took me ages to figure out that the thread kept breaking because the spool was rolled wrong and periodically the thread overlapped itself on the spool and jammed. That was annoying.
So how excited was I with the brand new spool design for my same ol' thread? Very excited. These new spools are more compact and have a completely smooth rim (no notch to catch the thread). Highly recommended!
You didn't know I could say so much about thread, did you?
Ok, I've gotta go to bed, between sewing, laundry and Project Runway it's been a busy evening and now it's late. Happy Thursday to ya!
This fall, through the Sacramento Craft Mafia, I've had the opportunity to participate in three craft shows. Had I used my brain back in September I would have realized that I completely over committed by signing up for all three. Then the first one was a bit of a bummer sales-wise. Then the second one was decent, not great. With #3 approaching on Saturday I thought that maybe my "strategy" of throwing everything I've ever made on the table and crossing my fingers just might not be working. I know, I'm quick.
In thinking about it, I'm chalking up my lack of success to 1. lack of organization/table display skills 2. some lack of traffic on the part of the show 3. some pricing issues. If I consider 4. my stuff all totally sucks I'll get too depressed.
If you've been reading here long, you'll recognize that I like to make a lot of different types of things. My tendency at shows has been to cram every type of product I have on the table. It becomes such a hodge podge that (potential) customers really have to work to figure out what I'm even offering. It looks sort of like a garage sale.
I personally find tables like this fun to browse but at a crowded craft fair it's a lot easier if you can glance at a table and have a sense of what the person sells and if you would be interested in the products.
As for pricing, I'm going to lower my prices on a few items. I really hate to see craft people underselling their work and undervaluing their time so my tendency is to go high. But, I don't think my stuff is unique enough (and I have built up reputation enough) to sell at the slightly high prices. So I've been trying to figure out exactly how long it takes to make an item and then turn that into a reasonable hourly wage of $20ish/hour. That may seem high but I really value my very limited time so it's important (to me). I've basically ignored the cost of supplies as I use a lot of scrap material and inexpensive bits and pieces.
SO...all that to say that I will be focusing entirely on children's items for this show. I *think* there should be some interest in handmade, American made toys given all the recalls and lead paint scares so I'll have a fleet of cars and trucks. I'll also have a few doll bed sets hopefully a few children-oriented book clocks and then a stack of baby drool bibs and a few toddler bibs. I may even narrow it down to 3 types of items: bibs, beds, cars.
Who knows, this plan may totally suck but at least I'm trying something different. I'll also have the back stock 'o everything under the table just in case ;)
Things I found interesting around the blogosphere today (geez I read a lot of blogs!!):
Wait, before we begin, don't miss this event.
Ok, now the links:
This post (and photos) about an abandoned building full of school supplies was really interesting. And depressing.
Swistle reminded me that I really should have taken the holiday card photo already.
This Christmas tree is super cool
This contest has some really good prizes--just make an "American" craft project
And I think that's it. Hope you had a great Monday!
I am very busy here. Busy being depressed that my very long (5 day!) weekend is over. And there are several things left on my weekend to do list.
Does everyone write a weekend to do list? I usually write mine Friday evenings and try to have it done by Sunday. I rarely succeed.
Usually, I get lazy and figure I don't have to do everything on my self imposed to do list. The fact that I got my car vacuumed and the laundry 3/4 done more than makes up for the unwritten thank you notes and the 1/4 laundry remaining. Also, I am good a rationalizing.
But for this NaBloPoMo thing I am NOT giving up. I am suddenly very stubborn about completing this challenge even if the entire internet has to read about my weekend to do list. (Actually, you don't have to read, that's the joy of the internet, you can click on by). So sorry about the lame posts lately.
On to the bonus content: ROBOT!
Mr. H carefully assembles the roller skating, clock headed robot using assorted duplos. Note the blond hair coming in from stage right.
The robot is complete. A masterpiece in yellow and green. It is ready to do your bidding. But wait,
in her continuing quest to take away all of daddy's fun the three foot tall, cell phone wielding monster destroys the robot with a single blow
Proud of her accomplishment, the monster moves on to other monster-like activities such as "pulling books off the shelves" and "drinking her bathwater."
The monster was stopped only by bedtime. And then the robot was reassembled and hides in the living room awaiting the monster's return in the morning.
Sick of food yet? Here's a quick, healthy, delicious way to use up that half bag of fresh cranberries in your fridge. I've been making lots of fresh applesauce around here and recently started turning it pink with the addition of cranberries.
All you have to do is peel (or not) seed and chop several apples of various varieties. Ones that are too mushy to enjoy raw are perfect. Shove them in a small pot with about 1/4 cup water and a handful of cranberries.
Cover and cook on very low for quite a long time (an hour?) until very, very mushy. Check every now and again. When you can mush the apples with a fork, they're probably done. So mush them with a fork until saucy. If it's too liquidy, remove lid and cook a while longer.
Try not to let it boil over.
While apples are still cheap I'm going to try to make some and process it in jars to give the families we know for Christmas. I'm sure I'll forever be known as the lame mom who gave applesauce rather than Bratz dolls but there you go. Maybe next year I'll even give raisins for Halloween. Maybe not.
P.S. Maybe I'll try raspberries instead of cranberries, inspired by this pie.
At one point this was supposed to be a home renovation blog (hence the name). Then it was a crafting blog. It may have turned into a baby book for Biscuit (with some crafting for good measure).
Today was her first real haircut (the time I trimmed her bangs in her sleep notwithstanding)
She started out shaggy and uncertain
A basket of toys and lollipop solved the uncertainty. She even got a blow dry, curl and a "pretty"
And then after, in the car. For the first time ever I said "smile" and she did. I just barely captured it on film.
Switching gears entirely, tractors.
Biscuit really likes tractors. Today I found this on YouTube and it was a hit. If you have a tractor obsessed person in your home, search 'square dancing tractors' for minutes of fun and entertainment.
All in all a lovely Thanksgiving
The napkins got sewn late and the turkey got done early but it all came together by the time everyone was ready to eat.
Here's a place setting before everyone sat down. The rock name cards were a last minute addition--couldn't find any pretty leaves.
Here's what Thanksgiving really looks like with four kids 5 and under. Biscuit insisted Grammy read her favorite book, Pooh and TIgger during the salad course.
We walked off dinner and came home at dark for dessert.
A few people had too much turkey
And that was it. Lots of cooking followed by a wonderful day with family.
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving (if you're in the US that is).
I've spent all day in the kitchen. It's been fun getting ready for the big meal tomorrow.
Thanks to everyone who suggested I get the turkey out of the fridge--it spend the day in cold water and I think it finally thawed.
My brain, on the other hand, is fried.
I finished the patchwork table cloth. Now off to watch Project Runway and then bed.