Monday, June 25, 2012

Almost made me cry


Things have been so super busy with TRAC right around the corner and RFKC kicking off this week.

I seriously don't have the words to express my gratitude so I'm going to ramble and hope in the end it makes sense.

All the bags and pillowcases have been absolutely lovely. I'm having such a great time seeing all your creations and knowing there will be some very happy ladies and gents out there who get to take these things home!

But I have some bad news: The format of TRAC this year has changed.

We can only make TRAC happen if we have adult volunteers to attend camp; be counselors to those young people who suffer and hurt. Unfortunately, this year we just didn't have enough men willing to take on that role and since we didn't have many young boys attending anyway, we have decided to merge our boys camp with another one in Scottsdale. The boys will still be able to attend camp (as there are two here in the valley) but it will not be with us. It was a tough decision, but the right one. What that means to you is all the drawstring bags donated will need to be put in storage for next year's camp, where we will hope there will be more attendees. If you do not want your bag to be stored away, please let me know and I can have it sent back to you.

Thankfully, we were able to keep the girls' camp, which means our pajama party is a go! This week a friend came over to help me finish painting all the TRAC pants and I started preparations for our training in two weeks. Our director is at RFKC this week, so it's my responsibility to get final preparations in place. It's loads of work, but it's the kind I want to do; the kind that gives me joy in knowing I am helping other people. So, if I'm a little MIA for the next couple weeks, you'll know why.

The letters and notes you've sent along with these gifts have been tremendous. I'm so happy you all have enjoyed helping out as much as I have! I have had a couple people ask to see pictures of the girls when they get their gifts, and I just want you to know I may not be able to accommodate, as much as I would love to. There are certain legalities involved in a camp of this nature and one of the requirements is that we must not take pictures of camper's faces. As you might imagine, that makes pictures taking difficult so we often don't take many at camp. And, since I have a baby here at home, I will not be attending camp this year so I can't take the pictures for them (you know, since bloggers are so creative with their picture taking and all...) I will do my best to convince the counselors to snap a few pictures of the beds before the girls arrive and, if they can manage it, a few more that I will legally be able to share on the blog.

Things have been emotional this week, what with having to forego our boys camp, getting all these great and wonderful messages and gifts for the kids, receiving the Retro Flowers template from a friend "just because", and, well, just everything else.

That's all. I told you it wouldn't be eloquent or well thought out. Just some blurbs I've been mulling over that needed to be shared.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

ASS Gurus conquer luggage

It's that time of the week again where we band together to give advice to our fellow travellers heading to Sewing Summit.

A few weeks ago one of Katy's readers asked if we had any tips for first time visitors.  We're all first time visitors too, but she thought she would pass on some of the things she's intending to do having closely studied all the blogs from last year.

1. You need to have the right luggage.  Anyone who's anyone was making their own luggage last year, with the Amy Butler Weekender bag the pinnacle of bag-making glory.  Elizabeth, from Don't Call Me Betsy has a review for Purse Palooza this week just to help you along:

Now if, like me, you're flying in for this event, then it's likely the Weekender is just not going to be up to doing the job by itself, so I suggest you start brushing up now on how to make your own suitcase.  Remember you don't want that suitcase to be too heavy - there are weight limits, and you want to be able to cram as much fabric and other goodies in there as possible.

First of all you're going to need a very large cardboard box - you might need to go out and buy a new TV or fridge just to get one suitably big enough.  Now you'll need to cut round the middle on 3 sides part way down so you can open and close it.  Grab a zip long enough to go all the way round the opening and staple gun that baby in place.  Then you'll want to cover that thing with fabric to match your Weekender bag (you couldn't possibly have mismatched luggage)and finally a couple of layers of sticky back plastic over the whole thing - this should stop the fabric getting marked in the hold, and give it some added strength.

If you're not up for trying the cardboard box option, or just can't afford the new appliance to get one big enough, you can always raid the local charity shops and acquire some 'vintage' luggage which you can cover with fabric to match your Weekender bag.

2. Don't forget to label yourself.  Everybody needs a badge to show off their name and blog - if you have a little known blog though, maybe find a famous blogger from outside the US that's not going and steal their name and blog name for your name badge, after all, who's going to know what they really look like?  You can then dine out on their reputation and hopefully get more friends and attention rather than being billy no-mates in the corner.

3. Next you'll want to make yourself a bum-bag - try and make ones to match your outfits so they blend right in.

Those classes you'll be attending will have freebies, and you want to walk out of there with as many as your little hands can grab, so a bum bag is going to be ideal to store the extras in for you to smuggle out.

I do hope these have helped you with your upcoming trip preparations, we'll catch you all next week.  Don't forget in the meantime, that if you have a ridiculous question that you'd like a ridiculous answer to, just leave us a comment...


Friday, June 22, 2012

Really Pinterest? Really?!

So, it has just been brought to my attention that you can't pin from my blog.

What the hizzity?!

I did not set it that way and I don't know how to change it. Does anyone know how to allow pinning from Blogger? If you know, please share with me so people can pin my images!!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fell off the band wagon

So, it happened.

We stopped working out.

I've been too embarrassed to tell you until now, but I want to be completely honest with you all. We've had about a month hiatus, and have picked back up just in the past couple days.

It all started when I got sick. Then Maze. Then me again. Then we had VBS. Then we just sat around and were lazy. All excuses. Not good. SO not good.

During our time off, though, we started eating much better than we were.

My friend, V, is a track coach for one of the local colleges and just recently had a baby boy. I made him a quilt, 'member??

Anyway, she's amazing and healthy and even though her son is only two months old, she's already lost ALL OF HER BABY WEIGHT! WHAT?! Who does that?!

She does, of course. Because she's amazing, as I mentioned.

She eats (and now Brent and I do too) every two to three hours. Each micro meal is made up of protein and something else. Grain. Veggie. Fruit. We try to mix it up. Mostly, we have cut our carbs by a lot, which hasn't been as difficult as I thought it would be, and we've increased our protein intake. Muscle Milk makes these great little individual shakes (chocolate, of course!) that have 20g of protein and only 150 calories. They have been a lifesaver for us! Grab and go is totally our style, and for me, the protein is the hardest to plan for, so it works well.

Here's a breakdown of what we'll be munching on this week:


-Egg whites
-Fresh fruit smoothies


-Wraps made of low-carb tortillas, lettuce, tomato, sliced deli ham, fat-free cream cheese

Snacks/other meals:

-Veggies (sweet peppers, French green beans, broccoli, baby carrots)
-Fruit (Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, watermelon, peaches, bananas, oranges, grapes)
-String cheese
-Muscle Milk


-Veggie and egg scramble


-BBQ at my mom's
-Pot Roast
-Green chile

We watch our portion sizes, never overeating, but we eat when we're hungry. It's been amazing. I feel so energetic since starting this! V said she lost 5 pounds her first week eating like this and Brent lost 4! I never actually weighed myself because I was too lazy to put new batteries in the scale, so I can't tell you how much I lost, but I CAN tell you I am feeling GREAT.

Oh, and bonus: I've been wearing size 12 jeans. When I started this journey, I was in a size 16. If I'm being completely honest, I'm on the high end of that 12, but the fact I can put on some of my old clothes seriously makes me want to do back flips!

But then I figure I would pull something and make a fool of myself... so I won't.

I really appreciate all the encouragement over the past couple months. Please, if you're thinking about me, shoot me an email! It reminds me to be on top of things!


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Picture story weekend

This was an eventful weekend. Just as a warning, there was very little sewing.

Here come the pictures!

Christi bday

Friday started with my friend Christi's birthday. Christi is the one of the far left and I am the one on the far right. We thought it would be best to put the whitest people on the sides to kind of round everything out!

Danny and Christi

Christi and I

Amanda and Alicia

My new friends Amanda and Alicia. They were really sweet. Amanda is some kind of genius scientist and Alicia is an uber-talented choir instructor. Such amazing people! Our conversation kinda went like this:

Amanda: "Blah Blah Blah I'm an awesome research biologist."

Alicia: "Blah Blah Blah I'm an awesome choir teacher at multiple schools."

Christi: "Blah Blah Blah I'm an awesome writer and have a great eye for design."

Danny: ".... I can sew?"

Speaking of sewing, I was able to make a couple projects this weekend, one of which was gift for my grandparents.


They love Scrabble, so when I came across this fabric, I knew I had to buy it for them. I just didn't know what I was going to make with it. Then it dawned on me: DUH! Grandpa LOVES to cook. So potholders it is. I'll get a tutorial set up soon to share with you, you know, just in case you don't want to follow one of the other thousand potholder tutorials online.

Later Friday night, Miss Maze learned to play the drums.

Beatles RockBand

Channeling her inner Ringo.



She also learned to pull herself up to standing, but she can't get down. She won't let go and fall on her butt so instead she just stands there and cries, waiting for someone to come to her rescue.

Sunday was Brent's first Father's Day. He spent the morning beating both Modern Warfare 3 and Lego Harry Potter on the xBox. How about THAT for a perfect Father's Day?! So, while he sat around, Maze and I went with my mom to see her dad in Casa Grande, which is about an hour drive from our house.




He's the one who got the potholders.

Then, to round out the day, we headed back to the valley, picked up Brent and BBQ'd at my dad's parents' house. It was perfect. The pool was warm, the food was tasty and none of us got sunburned! SCORE!


So good. I love weekends filled with family and friends. Don't you?


Guest ASS Guru

Today, we invite Laura Jane of Needles, Pins and Baking Tins to make an ASS-guru of herself. Laura Baking Tins and Guru Laura share a first AND a middle name, so Guru Laura is on a mission to make sure everyone at Sewing Summit knows she's the real Laura Jane and that Laura Baking Tins is a pale imitation. 

Anyway, we asked Laura Baking Tins a question posed by a reader: 

“How do I strike the balance between tweeting and talking, social-media-izing and sewing at Sewing Summit?"

Here's what she said:

As someone who regularly walks into doors and has narrowly avoided collision with cars all for the purpose of not missing a beat on twitter, the ASS Guru’s thought I best to answer this question.

I can only offer advice based on how I have been preparing for the big event.

1. Being born in the 80’s is a must. Your mind is still quick enough to handle 2 pieces of information at once. You probably grew up playing Street Fighter on the Gameboy classic and as such your thumbs are used to working at double speed. If you happen to be of an older persuasion, never fear. You’ve seen those miniature dumbbells marketed for men to strengthen a particular, ahem, appendage? Get yourself a couple of those. 500 reps on each finger and thumb every night ought to do it. Make sure you play “eye of the tiger” and wear a lovely grey marl tracksuit whilst doing it.

2. Get your craft on! I am envisioning a functional, yet stylish, device to aid us in our talking and tweeting endeavours. Something like a cross between this:

And this:

Mounting your iPhone in front of one eye will allow you to simultaneously read your twitter feed and keep the other eye on the person you are talking to. If it catches on, as I think it will, you will need to find a talking partner whose phone is mounted on the opposite side of their face (so your free eye is looking at their free eye). This should rule out at least half of the attendee’s and as such, make your job a whole lot easier.

If the above doesn’t work for you, your only other option is to find a scientific research facility specialising in genetics and cloning. 4 months should be just enough time to spawn a carbon copy of yourself and teach it how to tweet. There are no sewing summit tickets left however, so I would suggest you also craft yourself a large tote (like the Weekender Bag for example) and smuggle them in with you. Anyone carrying a Weekender Bag at the sewing summit is likely to have done the same thing, so now you know why they are carrying a bag that large.

See you there! (With one eye, from behind my stylish head gear).

Laura Jane

Guru Laura just HAD to comment, since she has an opinion on everything... Here's what she had to say:

Well, there's nothing for it but for those of us over the age of 32 to go and organise our fold-up zimmerframes for the trip and give up on this new technology thing altogether. 

I hope Laura realises that there will be SS participants born in the 90s who will undoubtedly run rings around her and scoff at her age.

Now I'm off to sharpen my quill and refill my portable inkwell. Remember, if you have a question for the ASS gurus, you know what to do.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Indian Summer Mystery Charm Swap

So my friend Jenelle hosted the Orange/Aqua/Grey Mystery Charm Swap a while back (for which she chose AWESOME fabrics, BTW) and has decided that she would like to host another mystery charm swap. Enter Danny who always has an opinion and BAM! The new theme was created. She will be choosing fabrics to create an "Indian Summer" themed color swap with rich hues like Purple, Magenta, Cerulean, and Spice. These colors are right up my alley, being bright and jewel-toned, and the patterns will be bold and exotic. How fun, right?

Seriously, guys. I'm REALLY excited about this one!

Here is the official button and some general information about the swap:

This is a Mystery Charm Swap format, so Jenelle will be selecting the fabric, cutting the charms, and sorting the packs all under the utmost secrecy. :) The idea is to surprise you with a collection of fabulous charms based on a theme. All you need to do in order to participate is to sign-up and buy in via Paypal.

Sign-ups will start WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20TH AT 1:00PM PST and will be open until the swap is full.

Jenelle will send confirmation e-mails to all of the participants once the last spot is filled.

Paypal Payments will be due by July 1st (at the latest).

Charms will be winging their way to you by the end of July.

Wednesday's sign-up post will have more information about the swap details.

So what is Indian Summer exactly? Jenelle's plan is to be less rigid about creating a true rainbow of colors for this swap and instead focus on selecting a range of jewel toned colors and prints that compliment each other and also feel summery. How gorgeous! Here is an example of some of the prints and colors that would fit her Indian Summer vision: 

Just like last time, Jenelle will be partnering with the fabulous Pink Chalk Fabrics for round two and will be selecting all of the fabrics for this swap from their wonderful online inventory. They have a great selection of prints, solids, and blenders that will help to round out our charm packs nicely. :)

Pink Chalk Fabrics Logo


Oh yeah. I've already signed up. Perk of coming up with the theme.

Jenelle has a little more information on her site as well as a vote going on for how many charm squares she should include in each charm pack. Head over now and vote! Then, keep an eye out for sign-ups which will be right around the corner!

What are you going to make with your ah-mazingly beautiful Indian Summer Mystery Charm Pack?


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Such a Tease


Here you go Helen. Your tease! :)

It's taken me long enough, but this is my very FIRST block for my Stitch-Tease International Quilt Bee. It was "due" April 1st. I'm a little behind.

Truth be told, I've been crazy busy with TRAC and RFKC this year. Then, the day I bit the bullet and got a babysitter for Maze just so I could sew, my stupid, nasty, hateful vicious little Vera broke. Again. I am so frustrated. I've called the store a couple times and left messages to see when I could bring the machine in, but I haven't gotten a response. And I can't afford a new machine. And I can't quilt on my back-up machine (can't do much of anything on that little bugger Brother.) And I don't have friends with machines I can borrow. *sigh*

I have a couple WIPs left that I really wanted to get finished this week, as well as an awesome new little thingy-majiggy I am doing for Miss Rachael at Imagine Gnats but I can't start without a machine... *double sigh*

If any of you win the lottery, promise you'll buy me a new machine, ok? I'll even send you Vera so you can take a baseball bat to her!


Monday, June 11, 2012

TRAC Stuffs

I am getting really excited about this camp. It's coming up so soon!

This weekend, we continued preparations by painting and decorating some scrubs to make them look more pajama-pant-ish. I think they turned out really nice! We aren't finished, but at least we've started!

TRAC Pants

TRAC Pants


TRAC Pants

TRAC Pants

TRAC Pants

We littered our TRAC director, Shelly's, house with freshly painted pants. I think the girls are going to love them!

TRAC Pants

I'm kicking myself for not checking this one before turning off the camera. It's SO blurry, but I just HAD to show you my paisleys! I think this is my favorite pair.

While I was at Shelly's, I dropped off all the beautiful bags that have been donated so far:


AMH Pouch!!

There was even an AMH bag! Love it!

Thank you all for being so helpful with this whole process. I wanted to make sure I keep you updated on our preparations as we go so you can see how much we appreciate all of your help and donations! If you are interested in donating, we are still looking for people to make pillowcases. Go here to sign up and learn more.

So, I'm wondering, is there a charity that's dear to your heart?


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Left Out in Lexington

Today I, Danny, have the privilege of laying some knowledge on the poor Left Out in Lexington.

Dear ASS Gurus,

I am not coming to your summit. Should I wear something special to not come? And should I provide some special foodie treats, to not bring? What do you suggest?

Left Out in Lexington

Dear Left Out,

Sewing Summit is THE premier sewing convention. The world had not seen greatness until Sewing Summit emerged from the 241 Totes of the American Southwest. That being said, it is entirely acceptable (and should become mandatory) to throw your own Sewing Summit soiree. It should be as glamorous as an Oscar party (shall we call it a Kermit party?) replete with snacks made from pinned recipes. Being that I am a guru of this sort of thing, I have a few suggestions to make your party hip and successful:

- D├ęcor: A party isn’t a party unless you spend copious amounts of time and energy on decorating. You want guests to feel like they are attending the real Sewing Summit, after-party style. So those little figurines your grandmother gave you must go. Replace them with small Pyrex bowls of antique wooden spools and buttons. Your beautiful and bright modern quilts should lay over the furniture, giving your guests a chance to oogle your craftsmanship and giving you a chance to show off your king sized, hand-stitched, English Paper Pieced Mendocino quilt. Let’s face it: the Oscars may have pretty dresses, but the Kermits have exquisitely designed and crafted quilts. Who needs Gucci when you have Heather Ross? Am I right?! Anything that stands still should be covered in Devine Twine and washi tape, and for goodness sake: don’t forget to fly the SS flag (which, as luck would have it, makes great bunting).

Image Source

- Food: If the food at a party sucks, the party-goers will leave, so make sure it doesn’t suck. Pinterest has an endless supply of recipes for outrageously sweet treats. As excruciating as it may seem to you to carefully and precisely paint stitches onto your quilt block sugar cookies, or pipe icing onto your pin cushion cupcakes, remember that people like to eat pretty things. I suggest offering licorice ropes that your guests can use to knit a pair of socks with (or other things...) before chowing down and perhaps some round Ritz crackers guest can adhere to their clothing as buttons, should they so decide.

Other things...

Image Source

I would also keep a nice supply of energy drinks hidden in the back bedroom to give to guests who become surly and unruly as they come off their sugar highs. There is nothing worse than running out of cookies in a room full of sugar-drunk sewists. Nothing. Your best bet is to toss them in a room with a 5-Hour Energy drink and hope they come out well enough to send home immediately. You don’t want them sleeping on your couch and throwing up sprinkles onto your Mendocino. Give them their keys and send them packing!

- Attire: You must require guests to make their outfits. They aren’t attending the real SS, after all. They have time to make a tunic. Be warned, however. If you don’t want to show up to your own party wearing the same thing EVERYONE else will surely be wearing, steer clear of the Tova pattern. Might I recommend something a little more vintage? See Guru Katy’s post here for options.

Because SS will not have a live camera feed, you will be forced to follow our movements via Twitter, Facebook, email and blogs. Hook your laptop up to your TV so you can all cheer in unison when Guru Laura tweets about her run-in with Kate Spain (who just happened to stop in, of course) and when I, Guru Danny, Instagram a picture of my hot new maxi skirt I just made in class. You will be kept up-to-date on all the happenings, including when we hide Guru Katy’s rotary cutter (which is inevitable considering Laura is always touching other people’s fabric stash and Katy likes to cut people who go near her precious Good Folks).

The only thing you could possibly do to make your Kermit par-tay even better is host it in Salt Lake City the same weekend as SS. Who knows, maybe the gurus will stop in with their entourage and make your party the talk of the year!

Best of luck with your party planning!

ASS Guru

Now don't forget, if you have a ridiculous question you would like a ridiculous answer to, please submit it in the comments below so a Guru can address it for you.

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