threading needles, threading words

21 January 2017


Life is a map of crossroads, and my map over the past couple of years looks like graph paper.

We'll catch up in spurts as I resurface. Here's a list of what's on my blog horizon, followed by what Junction is (in my book):

➱ When Thread West items will be for sale again
     (and whether they'll be on etsy, or somewhere else).
Studio makeover!
My best friend, her departure from this world, and the handbags she left behind....
Transparent Tuesday. Or, Technique Tuesday. Decisions, decisions....
➱ Permission to quilt
Singer Featherweight in the house!

Once upon a time, I mentioned that I'd share news of my writing, trips out west, and glimpses of life beyond my handbag designs. It's about time I started.

My short story collection, titled Junction, includes both western and mystery stories. Two never-before-published stories are included, and I'm honored that the western, "Tinsel Town," was a finalist for the Western Writers of America Spur Award in Short Fiction. I was presented with the award during the WWA annual convention, held last June in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The collection is available in print edition, as well as several e-book formats. Publisher: Crossroad Press.

04 February 2014

Think Spring

It took hours this weekend to figure out how to make a clipping mask template in my ancient Photoshop Elements program for grouping photos. I think I finally have it. It was snowing again and I needed something bright to remind me that spring will be here. Eventually.

What's what:

  • Top photo is a fun tote I made for my granddaughter out of a dress she'd outgrown. Such a fun madras plaid. See the cute pockets on the sides? Even though the dress was a child's size, it was gathered--too wide for a bag, unless I wanted to remove and re-stitch those pockets. Perfect time to incorporate Mexican pleating, a technique I discovered years ago. I seriously want to use it on more items!
  • Middle left is interior of the tote, with a pocket and four pencil slips. So exciting to take a scrap of fabric to the store and find the perfect coordinate. If you're a seamstress, you know the feeling. Since it's a busy little print, I added a slice of lime to the pocket top so Miss Lydi could find it more easily.
  • Middle right is a flower I made from organza and glitter netting using the singe technique. Have you tried those? Amazing fun. (BTW, netting doesn't singe. Trust me on this.) Love, love that vintage button I was auditioning in the center, but ended up using Swarovski crystals instead, because I wanted to see how they'd work on sheers. Gave the flower to my daughter, who loves green. Her neck of the woods is experiencing yet another blizzard today, so I'm thinkin' she--along with much of the country--needs this booster shot stat.
  • Bottom left--another for granddaughter, who shares my love for ballcaps and bling. I made this a couple of years ago by combining two clipart images to create an iron-on sheet with Swarovski crystals. As I say in my Thread West shop: They wink at the cowboys so much better than imitations. ;-) Miss Lydi still wears the cap and totes the tote. I never thought about the colors in the bag and the bling matching till I put this photo collage together. Will ask the girl if she's worn them at the same time....
  • Bottom right. In keeping with Spring and butterflies, a Mother's Day card I made for my daughter a few years ago. It got lost in the mail between MI and MO, finally arrived a month later. I'd like to know where those butterflies flitted to in between....
Stay safe and warm....

15 January 2014

Wednesday's West: A Touch of Tombstone

This year, I'll post more bits and photos from life in the West. Mind, I don't live in the West physically, but I (1) grew up on an Oklahoma ranch, (2) journey out West when I can, and (3) have snippets of western decor from around the house to share.

Reenactment (June 2008) of the Gunfight at the OK Corral.

After Mr. E and I attended the reenactment, we joined friends on their acreage outside Tombstone for a wonderful visit, an evening cookout, and an amazing star show after dark. (Our friends hadn't yet built on the property, so they flew into Phoenix and rented an RV in order to enjoy their piece of heaven on earth for a few days.) Next morning, we took in the town. As I recall, Mr. E and I spent another night at a B&B in town, then drove up to Scottsdale to attend the Western Writers of America convention.

This photo is a view from that acreage:

Mr. E and I in front of the Wyatt Earp House and Gallery (I'd love some of that heat and sun right now. This Michigan winter has been a mean one....)
Two personal history notes:
1)  Mr. E had been to Tombstone before, doing research for his novel Bloody Season, which was published in 1988.
2) See those Tony Lama boots I'm wearing? They were my dad's when I was a girl. He passed them along to me before he died, and I'm so very thankful they fit.

22 November 2013

Fussy Cut Friday (or, Some Things Never Change)

I'm still fussy cutting fabrics in order to match patterns. Loving it, though, especially with my latest pattern: The Craft Corral. If you don't need a tote for knitting, crocheting, or embroidery projects, it's quite handy as a Car Caddy, too. And--are you ready for this?--it has 15 pockets! This will likely be the first pattern I create in .pdf format to sell for other seamstresses to make.

Yes, I said "seamstresses." Cannot get used to seeing "sewers" used in reference to women who sew. I mean, where I come from, sewers are something entirely different....

Blogging is not my forte (just in case you haven't noticed). I won't go into the reasons why, but one of them is the sheer time it takes to upload photos. When I add a listing to my etsy shop, it can upwards of 45 minutes to load 5 photos. A few months ago, I decided to make some changes, and try to find an easier way to upload photos. I gave in and purchased a smart phone, with hopes that it would improve my Internet life out here in the country. Not only did it not, it won't even receive calls while I'm in the house.

I'll add more photos to this post in the morning. (It's A.M., and during two cups of coffee, I uploaded additional pics.) Adding three took several minutes, and this ol' cowgirl is gonna turn in.

04 January 2013

Fussy Cut Friday

I'm calling this post "Fussy Cut Friday" because it's Friday. And I'm fussy cutting. The reality, though, is that it's Fussy Cut Friday every single day in my studio. A look at the Sold segment of my etsy shop will quickly reveal that my most popular designs are those made from fabrics with Navajo motifs, like these:

I spend a lot of time cutting out my patterns--one panel at a time--in order to center those motifs. That means I can't stack fabric and cut out, say, four makeup bags or Card Corrals at one time.

Even though the fabulous group of fabrics pictured below doesn't have a featured motif, each one still has to be fussy cut, in order to keep everything centered.

Another thing about these fabrics? There are four different prints. Looks like more, doesn't it? So, even though the design doesn't feature a single motif, the items made from these look completely different, depending upon which direction I lay out the fabric. That's cool, because it gives you more choices; at the same time, I have to make sure I don't have it facing the wrong direction, or it's back to the cutting board for me! The two large makeup bags shown below (2 views of each) are from the same bolt of fabric! Like I said: Cool.

It's not just the Navajo designs, either. Check out the purple guitars:

Bless my heart, it took an hour to upload these photos. Internet challenged, here in the sticks...which means I should go back to fussy cutting. Make your first weekend of 2013 a great one!

03 January 2013

Thursday's Thread: Sliced Bread

The best thing since sliced bread. Truly. No more poking my fingers with pins. No more bunching and distortion of fabrics. Thank you, Clover, for Wonder Clips. They make me happy, happy, happy (a nod to patriarch Phil over at Duck Dynasty).

02 January 2013

Wednesday's West: The Resting Place

June 2008: Road trip from Michigan to Scottsdale, AZ, for the Western Writers of America Convention. We meandered, both before and after the con, soaking up Southwestern atmosphere. Fascinated by Fred Harvey and his work, I checked out a couple of his hotels during the trip.

Here's La Posada ("The Resting Place") in Winslow, Arizona. When I hear "Winslow," my mind starts playing the song, "Take it Easy."

I love that the architect for La Posada--as well as several other landmark hotels and lodges--was a woman: Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter.

Let's call this a teaser post, rather than a lazy one. When I can get a better connection (in-the-sticks challenged), I'll post more photos and link up to some history.


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