threading needles, threading words

04 December 2011

If I had a six-shooter concho...

Some of my handbag designs include conchos: A skull wearing a cowboy hat, rope-edged circles with Spanish Crosses or awareness ribbons or western stars, ovals with Southwestern designs.... I guess it's a good thing I haven't sourced and used a concho depicting a six-shooter.

Check out this article about a Florida teen who was detained by TSA because of the six-shooter design on her western purse:

I don't know where to begin re: this incident, but Mr. E. and I experienced the same thing several years ago. We were flying from Detroit Metro to attend a Western Writers of America convention, so Mr. E. was wearing on his lapel a tiny pin of a silver Old West pistol with turquoise inlay grip. The threatening weapon pin was 1.5 inches long and thinner than a credit card.

After the agent made him remove it, she actually pinched the grip between the tips of her thumb and index finger, held it up, and said, "You could use this to hold up the plane."

We had two options: go back and put it in our checked luggage (resulting in missing our flight), or it would be confiscated.

It wasn't a pricey item, but it held fond memories for Mr. E. He had purchased it in the Cowboy Hall of Fame Museum gift shop while attending the Oklahoma City WWA convention in 1991. Allowing it to be confiscated wasn't an easy decision, based on principle. In the end, it was confiscated, relinquished to avoid missing our flight and all the headaches that entails.

Sometimes, I wonder who's enjoying that little silver and turquoise six-shooter....

31 October 2011


Brushing this off from a couple of years ago, because it bears repeating:
Me, myself, and I (the one who wears all the hats at Thread West) wish you a safe and happy Halloween.

06 October 2011

Etsy Front Page!

Remember that Card Corral? The Navajo design with colors that remind me of Santa Fe? It made the front page of Etsy. A real honor. I'm beyond excited. Much thanks to the Treasury curator, Kimberly, of 14xbags!

22 September 2011

I'm Trendy. Who knew?

Sandra, a fellow Etsian who blogs at A Little More Than Life, kindly included one of my Card Corrals in her Sweet Finds segment. Today's subject: geometric trends. If you like geometric design, you'll like checking out her choices. Thanks, Sandra!

21 September 2011

Five Six Seven Eight...

When I hear that music beat, prepping one to move at a certain pace, my mind always sets it in quick-time. But, my body? Not so quick. Both mind and body got derailed with a trip to the hospital (no serious worries to report), and I got a bit behind on everything, including reporting features in treasuries. Numbers six, seven, and eight for my Navajo Card Corral in Santa Fe colorway. (That particular card case remains popular. Wish I knew the secret why....)

Side note: When I asked my daughter for a reaction to "five six seven eight," she said, "Who do we appreciate?" I'll tell you who: All those who have shown some love to Thread West. Thanks, everyone.

"Navajo Traveler," curated by B0nafide Vintage. Thanks, Kate...

"South X Southwest," curated by wetlaundry. Thanks, Lynsey...

"Part of the Tribe," curated by SprocketDynamics. Thanks, Jessi...

18 September 2011

Five Golden Rings...

Fifth Treasury for my Southwest Card Corral, and it feels like Christmas!
Curator: Starfly Creations. Thanks, Starla, for including this in "The Beauty of the Southwest."

13 September 2011

Remembering Toots...

Today would've been my mother-in-law's 93rd birthday. After being called "Mom" for much of her life, she asked when I married her son that I call her by her nickname, "Toots." Her mother usually called her "Tootsie." Toots passed in 2002, having lived an amazing, adventurous life before health issues forced her to slow down.

To give you an idea:
  • Among her babysitters were Al Capone's croupiers in Chicago (Her earliest memory was looking up and seeing a man pacing a balcony, holding a tommygun.)
  • She was one of the youngest spectators--if not the youngest--at the Dempsey-Willard fight in Toledo in 1919. Nobody thought Dempsey could win, but Toots's parents had a hunch. They hocked everything--including their baby girl's toys--and bet it on Dempsey. They lived for a year off the winnings.
  • She dated a member of The Purple Gang
  • She won the lottery (not an obscene amount, but enough that she felt comfortable buying steaks once a week for the family)
She didn't like to have her photo taken, and I had hoped to scan a snap from her younger days, but my scanner is on the fritz. When that issue's addressed, I post a nice photo of her...

When she married Leauvett (nickname: Lutz, pronounced "Loots") Estleman during WWII, they bought an 1867 farmhouse. It didn't have electricity or plumbing, and materials for such things weren't to be had during the war. She made do, and after a young life of being hauled all over the map by a gypsy mother, she stayed put in that farmhouse for the rest of her days.

Toots enjoyed crafts and sewing, and while I was talking to Mr. E. a few days ago about this being National Sewing Month and how his mom would've loved that, he revealed that her toy sewing machine was still around somewhere. Would I like it? (Trust me, he knew the answer to that one.)

It's the little red Sew Master, parked in front of my treadle machine. Both need TLC, and I'm currently researching the proper cleaning materials to use before I tackle them. (Use the wrong stuff, and you ruin the decals.) It's still hers, really; I'm simply the caretaker. But, I know she would approve, and that means everything.

She was resourceful, and fun, and tough. She's missed every single day.

The Card Corral: Treasury #4

 The Card Corral did it again. Chosen for the Treasury titled, "Tribal Inspired." (Last row, #1.) Curator: WhiteFoxDesigns117. Thanks, Shannon!

10 September 2011

Fortunately, Somebody Figured It Out...

The sewing machine, that is. On this date in 1846, the sewing machine was patented. (I've been sewing all day, and almost forgot to post a note about it.) There is controversy over who actually invented the sewing machine, and if you're inclined to read about it, you'll find a great little article at Wired.

My go-to machine is a Husqvarna Viking, and I bought it in 2006 with winnings from a bet with Mr. E. while we were road-tripping to Cody, Wyoming, for the Western Writers of America convention. I had made a handbag to donate to the Homestead Auction, and had faced many challenges getting that Pendleton Wool bag sewn with my ancient, no frills machine. (Sometime, I'll tell you about that bet....)

Here's a photo, taken shortly after we arrived at the convention hotel. I was about to take the bag down to the gathering place when I realized that I didn't recall photographing it. Mr. E. quickly snapped this pic of one road-weary cowgirl with the blinged-out bag. The retro rodeo print band on the front is sporting more than six dozen Swarovski crystals, each handset by me. I love me some bling!

This week, I have a great little sewing machine to show you. Stay tuned....

Enjoy the rest of your 9-10-11.

05 September 2011


Sure, to some Etsy shop owners, this isn't much, but to me it feels like a stampede. Another Treasury, this time it's my Wild Horses Wristlet. Second row, item #4. Thanks, Genevieve, of Turquoise & Bone!

03 September 2011

Third Time's a Charm

The Card Corral (my original card case design) in the Navajo blanket print from what I call the Santa Fe colorway is featured in another Etsy Treasury (top row, #3). Thanks, Tara!

25 August 2011

Thursday's Thread: An Unlikely Thread

On Friday, I hopped over to Jennifer's Quilt Shop (an adorable and tempting place for a fabriholic such as myself) in Pinckney, MI, to pick up thread for one of my latest fabric acquisitions. At checkout, I noticed a fabulous card featuring the quilt shop, made by a very talented paper artist. I was told it was crafted by the owner of Polly's Paper Studio, the small town's scrapbook store. Scrapbook store? Clearly, I've been spending too much time holed up in my sewing cottage.

On my way out of town, I made a quick stop, which turned into roughly two hours. Owner Ginny--and the rest of "Polly's Peeps" who ducked in and out--were knowledgeable, welcoming, and most of all, friendly. Ginny mentioned her Etsy shop and, since meeting other Etsy shop owners doesn't happen to me, I struck up a conversation. (So. There's my excuse for the two hours plus....)

I left with:
1. goodies for my paper stash (yeah, I love to scrap, too, and Ginny has inspired me to get back with it)
2. gifts (a Halloween kit I purchased for granddaughter who also loves paper art can be found in Ginny's Etsy shop)
3. best of all, a few more friends

Thanks, ladies.

The Card Corral Scores Again!

My Card Corral, which was featured a few weeks ago in the Etsy Treasury, "Colors of the River Canyon," has been chosen again. This time, it's featured in the Treasury, "Under the Desert Sun." (Top row, last image.) Thank you, Iveth!

24 August 2011

Wednesday's West--hunting down the goods

It's challenging, living in Michigan and locating fabrics with appealing western design. Granted, it's much easier with the Internet (except that I'm Connection Challenged here in the sticks). Although it's easier, ordering online also means that I'm not always sure what the exact color will be, or the scale of the pattern.... It took awhile to round up The Sierra Trail collection from Windham Fabrics, but it was worth it for these fabulous Navajo designs and wild horses. Here are a few items I've made from part of the collection. You can find them in my etsy shop:

Navajo Handbag with Spanish Cross concho and lots of details!

Two-Step (Wristlet/Clutch) with 6 Credit Card Slots
The Card Corral in Navajo blanket print and lined with clay pottery print

The Card Corral in Navajo blanket print and lined with horseshoe print

"Round Up Your Gear" in this large makeup (or gadget) pouch.

09 August 2011

In Another Etsy Treasury!

 I'm excited to report that one of my new designs made it into a treasury (bottom row, three over). "The Card Corral" is in the etsy treasury, "Colors of the River Canyon." (Thank you, Beth Cristine!) I'm making these card cases in several fabric combos.

17 February 2011


My two favorite, favorite flannel shirts are pictured here. What's left of them, anyway. Both have become so threadbare that I've regretfully realized they must be retired.

This turquoise one started out as Mr. E.'s, and quickly became his go-to shirt for winter outings. Woolrich. 100% cotton. Made in the USA. Possibly the best piece of brushed flannel fabric I've ever encountered. I can't tell you how many years Mr. E. wore it before handing it down to me on one of those raw cold days at winter's start. It's practically been my uniform these past months, my work smock (over two other layers). Michigan winters can be brutal, and being wrapped up in a cozy flannel shirt has been my saving grace more than once. 

Truth be told, this khaki/navy/white plaid flannel one went into semi-retirement at the beginning of the season. I'm not sure whether you can tell from the photo, but the placket edge is completely worn through. The entire shirt is that way. Thin. Frayed. Threadbare. It was a gift from my daughter almost ten years ago, and it has served me very well.

Flannel. Not stylish, perhaps, but necessary, both for my physical and mental health. Is it because they're flannel that they've kept me so snug, or is it because they were wrapped around me by loved ones? Yes.

Stay warm these last few weeks of winter....

14 February 2011

iPad Valentine's...

I've never held an iPad, but my four-year-old granddaughter received one for Christmas. (Is that a generational thing? I mean, four-year-old iPad owner?! Every time I mention it to a friend, I get, "My grandkids have 'em, too.")

Anyway. She's in Missouri, I'm in Michigan. She needed a sleeve for her new techno toy, and I fretted over getting the fit right--until it finally occurred to me to use a book. (As a writer, that should have dawned on me much sooner than it did. Just sayin'.) Rulers in hand, Mr. E. and I headed to our bookshelves. (He's sweet that way, which is one of many reasons he's my Valentine.)

I've made a Kindle3 envelope sleeve for a custom order, using western fabrics and my own saddlebag flap design. I'll be making more of those for my etsy shop. This iPad sleeve is a non-western version of that design.

Although I've heard a few complaints about the cost of sleeves for gadgets, I totally get it now. Designer quilt cottons, padding (two kinds for iPad), labor....  And, yeah, I put a bit more time in this one, because it was for my tie-dye lovin' gal who goes crazy over funky stitches and likes printing her name in all caps, except for the "i." Credit goes to my daughter--Lydia's mother--for suggesting the heart over the "i." Perfect for Valentine's Day, and for LYDiA.

22 January 2011

Featured in Etsy Treasury!

How about that? My "Round Up Your Gear" zip pouch made from Buffalo Bill fabric was featured in an etsy treasury. Check it out:

'wild wild west' by kokodiablo


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