Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tally It Up!

The photo above is not my amateur attempt at abstract art.  Nope.  It is a photo of 40 little oven mitt loops.  Half the number I'll need for a new custom order for 80 (yes....EIGHTY!) oven mitts.  They'll be given to attendees at a bridal shower.  What a FUN project!!

I’ve been going a little crazy for the past two days trying to scrounge up 20 yards of discontinued fabric (the Plan A choice). Thankfully, because I knew it might be difficult (UNDERSTATEMENT!!) finding that many yards of discontinued fabric, my customer also chose a Plan B fabric.  So the final deal is 40 oven mitts in Plan A fabric, and 40 oven mitts in Plan B fabric. 

Not counting time spent searching for fabric, buying more supplies and Convo-ing my customer, I estimate it will take me 100 to 120 hours of prep and sewing time.  SO---for the next few Fridays I will be sending out a Tally It Up post –- to keep me motivated to stay on task with this project.  Hopefully, you’ll see growing stacks of oven mitts.

I’ll be off to a slow start – waiting for fabric shipments,  traveling to SD to attend my uncle’s funeral July 2-3, spending time with visiting grandkids July 4, and celebrating a grandson’s birthday two days later. So I’ll need to shift my trusty Janome sewing machine into high gear to stay on pace.   My goal for this week (given the travel and holiday) is to finish 20 mitts, with 30 the next week, and 30 the final week.

Have a great weekend!
Keep cool.

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Monday, June 25, 2012

Deck the Deck

The 4th of July will be here before we know it!

We deck the halls for Christmas -- so why not deck the DECK for the 4th of July?  Don't have a deck? No problem.  Deck a picnic table, your front door, a mantle, or wall -- or your cubicle at work!

Today is Shameless Commerce Tuesday, and I've added this reversible15-flag patriotic bunting (12 feet total span, including 18-inch ties on each side) to the Buntings & Holiday Items section of my Etsy shop:   It's a cheery mix of stars, stripes, dots, checks and other red, white and blue cotton scraps.

Double-sided 6-inch flags are sewn together.  The edges are pinked to reduce raveling.  The flags are secured between layers of bias binding with a zig-zag stitch for extra durability. 

This bunting could also be used for any patriotic holiday -- Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day or Veteran's Day -- or to welcome home a returning veteran.  Orders placed by June 29 should arrive before the 4th of July.

Do you have any big plans for the 4th of July?  

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Sunday, June 24, 2012

She Sells Sea Shells By the Sea Shore

The June Challenge theme for the Blogging Business Artisans Team is "Under the Sea."  I created this small sea shell zipper pouch for that challenge.

Many families will be heading for the beach this summer, and what beach combing child (or adult) doesn't love to collect sea shells?  This little padded zipper pouch will protect those precious shells.  I sandwiched a layer of fusible fleece between the outer fabric and  lining fabric for extra softness and structure, but also as a cushion for items that may be carried inside.

The fabric is high quality cotton fabric from the Marine collection by Lecien Fabrics-Japan.  The fabric features blue seashells and starfish on a creamy white background.  The lining is a novelty print resembling ocean ripples in shades of deep blue, turquoise and aqua.  I used a polyester zipper from my favorite zipper supplier, ZipIt:  The one-inch (2.54 cm) turquoise and gold medallion metal zipper pull is also from ZipIt.

This little bag measures 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) at the top, 4.5 inches (11.4 cm) at the base, and it is 2 inches (5 cm) wide.  You can find it in my shop, Pasque Flower Creations:

Although I designed this pouch as a seashell keeper, it could also be used to carry a camera, cell phone, cash, keys, and credit cards, or other necessities.  And it would make a lovely little bridesmaid gift for a beach wedding.  My son Tim and his wife Carrie are celebrating their anniversary today - June 24. They were married  on the beach at the Emerson Inn in Rockport, MA on a beautiful 72-degree sunny day.  A happy memory!

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Friday, June 22, 2012

My Etsy Shop Makeover (In Progress)

My Etsy shop has evolved since I opened it back in February of 2011, and I decided I needed a new banner and avatar that would better reflect my style and my current shop offerings.  My shop makeover began when I revamped my Shop Sections to more accurately reflect my current product lines.  But the most exciting part of the makeover is my new shop banner.

This banner was designed by Lisa Gardner, a professional graphic designer based in Worcester, England, who freelances as Blue Button Studio:

I am totally happy with the new design. Lisa completed this project in less than two days, which is amazing, given that she also has a full-time job as a corporate graphic designer.  Actually, she completed two designs, and let me choose (very difficult choice!!).  The price was incredibly reasonable for a custom design -- just 15 British pounds (approximately $24.00 USD).

I've posted the new banner in my shop:  A new avatar will be installed in the next few days.  And I've hired Lisa to revamp my Facebook page using a spinoff of this design.  (The blog redesign may have to wait a few months. Bear with me, please.)

The full conversion from my old green and pink to the new deep purple with yellow accents will take a few days, but I'm just tickled PURPLE with the makeover so far!

So -- What do you think?

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ride 'Em, Cowgirl!

This is a work in progress (near completion, though!).  It is a LONG overdue housewarming gift for my tax office buddy, Faith, who left us to move back to her home state of Wyoming -- and then came back to Nebraska last Fall.  Now, Faith is cowgirl, through and through.  And she LOVES rodeos.  

When she moved back to Nebraska, I offered to sew her a housewarming gift.  After some thought, she decided she would like a fleece throw.  But here's the kicker (bad pun) -- she wanted a bucking horse on it!
I had all tax season to ponder how I was going to pull this off.  But now it is over two months since the end of tax season, and she would like to take it along to the 4th of July rodeo in Wyoming.  

Drawing is not my strong suit.  I gave up trying to draw a horse to size (about 24 inches), and worked on a smaller image, then took it to Kinko's, and paid them to enlarge it.  The front leg is a little fat, and the head may be a bit too long, but it looks like a horse--sort of.  

That big paper horse sat on the table in my girl cave for QUITE awhile before I finally got the nerve to applique it -- fleece on fleece.

Any of you who sew know that fleece is a bit stretchy -- and putting two layers of stretchy on top of one another is double stretchy.  I knew I needed to control the stretch to avert disaster.  So I used fusible interfacing to stabilize the edges of the big brown fleece horse (using muslin as a pressing cloth to prevent possible melting of the fleece), and I used a layer of tear-away stabilizer under the yellow fleece layer, then I zig-zagged with a very wide and fairly tight stitch all the way around. It's not perfect, but I think it will hold:

You can sort of see what I'm talking about in this closeup of the horse's a__  , uh - I mean, pony tail.

Now all I need to do is layer the gold fleece and another piece of brown fleece right sides together.  Sew all the way around (using my walking foot) except for an opening to turn it right side out.  Slip stitch the opening by hand. Make sure it's squared up.  Then topstitch about in inch from the knife edge.  I'll probably add one or two more rows (spaced sort of like a double-matted picture frame):  1" from the edge,  probably 3" from the first row of topstitching, and then a final row, maybe 3/4" or so from the second row of topstitching.  I'm hoping I won't need to topstitch around the horse.  I REALLY want to get this done before the weekend.

I sent Faith the photos.  She likes it :-).  She can't wait to show her cowgirl buddies back in Wyoming.

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I'm Gonna Soak Up the Sun

Ah, yes.  High 90s and humid.  I can almost hear Sheryl Crow singing I’m Gonna Soak Up the Sun.

Actually, I’ve been staying indoors in air-conditioned comfort sewing away on some custom orders, a long overdue housewarming gift for a friend, and some 4th of July garlands. 

But if I DID venture outdoors, I’d be sure to grab a sun hat.

Since it is shameless commerce Tuesday, I decided to share my reversible floppy sun hats for women, made from scrumptious 100% cotton designer fabrics designed by Pat Bravo for Art Gallery Fabrics.   Pattern by Tie Dye Diva.

Cool. Comfortable. Cute.

Here are the listing links, in the order pictured above:

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Eat Your Veggies - Kale Chips!

On Sunday my hubby and I ventured out to the Old Cheney Farmers' Market.

 He loves kolaches, a delightful Czech pastry with a dollop of fruit in the center, so we set out to buy some as a Father’s Day treat.

While at the market, I had the great good fortune to meet Alice Henneman, an Extension Educator for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County.  I a am a new subscriber to her Cook It Quick Newsletter:

Alice is a true foodie, and I have enjoyed reading her recipes, including this one for spinach lasagna that I’m anxious to try:

The fresh spinach was sold out by the time we arrived at the market, but Alice suggested I try Kale Chips as another fun and easy veggie dish that is grandkid-friendly. 

All you need is a bunch of kale, two teaspoons of olive oil, and some salt (sea salt would be great) or parmesan cheese.  I made a batch, and, sure enough.  You can’t eat just one!  Here is a link to that recipe: Yummo! 

Hope you all had an enjoyable weekend!

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Craft Fair Lessons Learned

As most of you know, I was a vendor at the Aldersgate UMC Craft Fair on June 16, 2012.  The forecast was hot and sunny with a chance of showers, so I came prepared – sunscreen, sun hat, bottled water, umbrella, and plastic tarp.  I was hopeful and yes, downright optimistic!

Here’s what REALLY happened at the craft fair.

7:50 a.m. – Arrived at craft fair. No tables set up.  No booth assignments.  Foreboding clouds overhead.  The organizers were debating whether to cancel due to anticipated rain.  They decided to go on with the show.

8:30 a.m. – Told to choose a spot.  Table set up.  No rain.  I chatted with my nice vendor neighbor to the south with funky but cute yard ornaments made by her 14-year-old daughter.  Hope returns.

8:50 a.m. – Whoa, Nelly!  Look what just pulled up in the empty booth next to my spot.  If any of you are old enough to remember The Beverly Hillbillies, that theme song came immediately to mind.  Look at that truck!  More rust than metal.  And they kept it parked there ALL DAY!   The leader of this pack (flea market/garage sale—NOT  vintage) kept yelling throughout the day, “Come on OVER and open your wallets!!”

9:30 a.m. – Intermittent rain showers began.  No customers except church ladies.  Bless them.

9:40 a.m. – HEAVY RAIN with thunder (no visible lightning).  Hurriedly covered my wares with plastic tarp and sat under my umbrella.  No customers.

10:30 a.m. – Rain let up.  Uncovered merchandise.  A few brave souls ventured out to the craft fair.  Three sales.  I’m just $5.00 short of my break-even point.  I also did some English paper piecing.

11:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. – Intermittent rain showers resume.  Tarp on.  Tarp off.  Tarp on. Tarp off.  Tarp on.  Tarp off.  No customers.  Gave up on English paper piecing.  My templates were soggy.

1:30 p.m. – Hubby arrives to give me a short break.  He brought towels.  Bless him!!  He’s a keeper.  AND I have another small sale.  I am now exactly $1.00 above the break-even point.

1:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. -  The sun comes out!  It’s a beautiful day.  Shoppers arrive.  I make five more sales, but gross less than $100.  Worst craft fair experience ever.  I calculate how many Etsy listings I could have funded with the money I spent on booth and table rental and become mildly depressed.  I resolve to stick to indoor craft fairs in October, or juried shows that screen out junk dealers.   Jethro and Ellie Mae won’t be there, I’m sure.

The silver lining in this cloud?  I did not significantly deplete my Etsy inventory (now re-activated).  It was a valuable learning experience.  And I didn’t get a sunburn.

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wear Sunscreen!

Over a decade ago, when my son Jeff graduated from high school, one of the popular recordings of the day was Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen) by Baz Luhrmann.  I thought of that last night as I was loading the car in preparation for a craft fair.  I have a fanny pack full of small bills and change.  AND  I have my sun hat, bottled water, and sunscreen.  (I stocked up for the grandsons' 11-day visit earlier this month.)  

I’m off to vend at the outdoor Aldersgate United Methodist Church Craft Fair and Flea Market in Lincoln, NE:

The weather forecast earlier this week called for temps in the mid 90s, but the current forecast is for a relatively balmy  88 degrees with high humidity and a chance of thundershowers.  Okay—maybe not balmy.  Hot and humid.  But not unbearably hot.   

BTW, I’ve listed a couple of reversible cotton sun hats like the one pictured above in my Etsy shop. (They’ll be Deactivated along with several other items from my shop during the craft fair on June 16, 2012.)

They are made from beautiful 100% cotton fabrics (so unbelievably soft to the touch ) designed by Pat Bravo for Art Gallery Fabrics:   I used a Tie Dye Diva pattern (with permission) for the floppy hat:   The 3-inch topstitched brim will provide some much-needed shade from the sun, and the cool, breathable cotton fabric will be light and comfortable.

Have a wonderful weekend!

LeAnn aka  pasqueflower

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Please Don't Open That Email!!

This is a short but urgent post.

It appears that someone has hacked into my Yahoo email account.  If you get an email from me that is not in direct response to a Comment, etc., PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not open it.

A big THANK YOU to Nancy Chadwick who alerted me to this problem. I am SO sorry she received such a disgusting email.

If you see this link DO NOT OPEN IT!!!

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Man-Sized Oven Mitts

It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday.  With Father's Day JUST around the corner, I decided to feature these newly-listed man-sized oven mitts.  I designed them to be slightly larger than my regular mitts to allow a little more wiggle room for people with large hands.  Perfect for barbecues, grilling, or cooking in the comfort of an air-conditioned kitchen.  So if your guy fancies himself to be the next Emeril, Galloping Gourmet, or Mr. Mom, consider these handcrafted mitts as an affordable Father's Day gift option.

Only want one?  Not a problem. Just send a convo.

More to come, and large sized mitts are always available via custom order.  Domestic orders placed by June 14 should arrive via USPS Priority Mail by Father's Day.

To view other oven mitts, visit the Kitschy Kitchen Stuff section of my Etsy shop, Pasque Flower Creations:

Short post.  I'm sewing in overdrive preparing for a craft fair this Saturday.  Unfortunately, it is an outdoor event and the weather forecast calls for 97 degree temps :-(.    I need to sew myself a wide-brimmed sun hat for this event!  Perhaps I should offer a free chilled bottled water with purchase?

LeAnn aka pasqueflower


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pistol Packin' Granny??!

My Uncle Bill died June 3, 2012, after a long illness.  He never married, so his nieces and nephews were his family.  He was a benevolent curmudgeon.  We will miss him.

While planning Uncle Bill's memorial service, my brother and cousins have been looking over old photos via email and internet.  My cousin Deb found this photo of our Grandma Quist (Genevieve Parrott Quist).

The photo was dated December 2, 1923, and on the back it says, "I'll learn someday."  I have no idea what she was shooting at -- or why she was shooting in December in chilly South Dakota.  Apparently, eccentricity runs in both sides of my family!  So I come by that trait honestly.

This photo amuses me because it seems so totally out of character for my grandma -- a very strict and proper librarian who always wore her hair pulled back in a bun and zealously guarded "the collection" [of library books] in the Carnegie Public Library in Madison, South Dakota. I never pictured her as the Annie Get Your Gun type -- and certainly not as a pistol-packin' granny!

She had a four-year college degree, which was quite unusual for women of that era.  And her mother, my great-grandmother, was also a public librarian.   My cousin Deb, who found this photo, is our generation's librarian, carrying on the family vocation.  And most of us are avid readers.

Grandma Quist died of Parkinson's Disease within months of her retirement when I was quite young.  Much of her life is a mystery to me.  And this photo is one more odd-shaped piece of that unsolved puzzle.

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Friday, June 8, 2012

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

This Saturday I will be taking the three visiting grandsons to Haymarket Park to watch the home town Saltdogs take on the Sioux City Explorers.  The weather forecast is perfect -- 70 degrees at night.  And (the big attraction) there will be FIREWORKS after the game!  The boys have been rehearsing the song, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" for the 7th inning stretch.  This is the last hurrah before they boys' parents return from their anniversary cruise on Sunday night.

I've always been a baseball fan.  We listened to the Minnesota Twins on WCCO radio when I was a kid.  My brother and I could earn a "bye" from doing evening livestock chores if we would keep a play-by-play account of the game in a scorebook so Dad could see how the game progressed when he returned to the house after milking the cows and feeding the livestock.  We once took a family trip to Minneapolis and saw the late great Harmon Killebrew win a game winning home run in the bottom of the 9th inning.

I also had the chance to play on the boys' 4-H softball team long before Little League allowed girls to play.  Farmington Township was short on young boys, but there were plenty of young girls, so sisters (Farmington Farmerettes) were drafted to make out the roster so the Farmington Farmers could have a team.  

My brother is still a true baseball fanatic.  He has visited every major league and minor league ballpark in the country, and he goes on an annual baseball odyssey with his former college roommate.  He has kept scorecards from every game he has attended since he was 11 years old.  (Borderline OCD if you ask me, but he'd probably say the same about my fabric stash.)

Enjoy your weekend!
LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Holy Cow! June is Dairy Month

Holy Cow!  June is National Dairy Month in the USA.  What fun to welcome a new June baby girl with this whimsical reversible bib.  One side features a cow jumping over the ...daisies! (Gotcha!  Bet you were thinking moon.)  And not just any daisies, but bold white daisies on a baby blue background.  Too cute.

The reverse side is a dainty pink and white Carolina gingham check.  You need to feel the Carolina gingham to truly appreciate the exceptional quality of this fabric.  It's "heavier" than typical apron gingham fabrics, beautifully woven, with a soft texture.

The natural cotton fabrics, including a preshrunk layer of cotton flannel lining for extra absorbency, are cool to baby's skin on hot and humid summer day.  All my bibs feature a capped metal snap closure -- no Velcro to catch in baby's fine hair.  The bibs are made using a Mod Tods Baby Bib pattern: 

June 14 is also Flag Day in the USA, and that means the 4th of July is just around the corner.  I've also added some cute patriotic baby bibs and a patriotic infant sun hat to my shop.

The sun hat was made using a Tie Dye Diva pattern:

For more bibs and hats, visit the Bibs, Hats and Baby Shoes section of my Etsy shop, Pasque Flower Creations:  Several of my newest bibs are made of super soft organic cotton.  Here's what one happy repeat customer, Audra, had to say about her recent custom bib order:
This is such a wonderful product, soft material and quick service/mailing. Love them :)

Well, that wraps up this shameless commerce Tuesday post.

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Monday, June 4, 2012

That's the Berries

Our first crop of berries this season!  Don't they look yummy?  My Danish relatives would serve these with heavy cream and sugar, but I love them just the way they are.

Short post.  Busy week with the grandsons!  More swimming and sightseeing to come.

Note to self: Use MORE sunscreen!

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Friday, June 1, 2012

Easin' On Through the Day

June 1 was the first full day of playing tourist in our own town with the three grandsons.  It was Oliver’s day to be tour guide.  And the energetic almost-six-year-old did not disappoint us.  

We started the day with a quick trip to Walgreen’s for swim goggles, then headed to the Lincoln Children’s Zoo where we saw the sights, dug in the sand, and rode the train.  AND we got another stamp on our Discover Lincoln:  Be A Tourist passports.

Then after lunch and some gaming at Chuckee Cheese’s (clearly not Grandma’s choice of cuisine), we headed home to regroup and refuel before heading out, umbrellas in hand, to attend a free outdoor concert at SouthPointe Pavilions—Lincoln’s newest and nicest mall.   After collecting another passport stamp, we settled in to listen to some FANTASTIC music by a local band, Soul Dawgs:

Seriously, for anyone old enough to remember the music of the band Chicago, this was music to keep you swayin’ and groovin’.   Loved the mix of Chicago-style brass, sax, and guitar, not to mention an American Idol worthy lead vocalist and a talented bunch of backup singers in perfect harmonly.  I knew all the words to all the songs.  The playlist included some slow and easy listening music, as well as some MoTown and R&B.   (No, I did not sing along.  That would have mortified the grandsons!  I only sing oldies in the car—after my hubby turns his hearing aids off.)

As I swayed to the refrain of Lionel Richie’s tune Easy (Like Sunday Morning), I knew this was a DELIGHTFUL ending to a full day.  And we didn’t even need the umbrellas!

LeAnn aka pasqueflower