Archive for the ‘Needlework’ Category

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I am not going to let Facebook ruin my blogging!

Seriously.  I find I update my facebook page and feel like I would be repeating myself here! Not so.  Plenty of people have not gone the facebook route.  Many times I wish I hadn’t! So I am going to make it right!  Starting today!  I am going to catch y’all up on what has happened in my life since I last posted and reinstate some things that kept me writing and hopefully you reading!

WOW, where to start? Go ahead and get that cup of coffee or tea and a biscuit and have a seat, this may take a while!  And I will try not to confuse you and keep my timeline straight.

It honestly isn’t like I have been holed up not living life.  Au contraire, mes amis! This Summer of 2010 has been crazy busy!  Gardening, mowing, kids, grandkids, short adventures, long adventures.  I will admit the cooking bug has been squashed in this horrible endless heat.  We have had so many days over 100 and even a couple with the heat index into the 100-teens.  I don’t know all the statistics but July broke records for heat and drought in my area.  I will never believe anyone who says “But it was a dry heat so it wasn’t so bad.” BULL!  Hot is hot.

Last time I posted was my birthday.  And it was a very very good birthday indeed.  Big OLD 51.  Not a milestone but something about starting on the second half of a century is kinda mind blowing.  I got this great wagon from Jerry.


Isn’t she a beauty?  We have already put her to much use hauling pears from our one, insane pear tree.  These pears are inedible unless you are a raccoon or a possum.  And I forget how many Jerry said he hauled the last day he picked them up but it was a ridiculous amount.  They are gone and now the mama raccoon and her four little bandits are eating our cats’ food like crazy!  When Jerry gets home, if they are still around we are going to trap and relocate them before someone (namely Mo, Julius or Siobhan) gets hurt or killed.

Okay, so August moves along ~ rapidly it seems!  Jerry headed back to Tunisia the Monday after my birthday.  Here are a few pictures of the highlights of August. On the gardening subject, I have started some tomatoes I hope will be winter/greenhouse tomatoes.  This is a new thing for me.  I will see how it goes.  This is an early picture.  They are still alive, and have 6 little leaves, so that is a good sign, right?


Oh and I have new overalls!  I bought these for myself – sort of a birthday present – sort of I fell in love with them and needed them!


And the color is coffee!  Perfect!  And of course I needed new rubber boots and have been needing them for forever.  The ones I have are so dang heavy I can’t walk very far in them without getting leg cramps!


Cute huh?

Okay, let’s see.  OH both girls, Hannah and Rachel started college yesterday.  That is sort of getting my cart before my horse in the timeline but it is pertinent to the next bit of what is going on and what will be going on.  So yes, they are both Northwestern State University Demons as of yesterday.  Hannah is in Accounting.  Rachel in Fine Arts.  I am sure as time goes on, they will provide me with tales to tell!

With Rachel starting college, she is dropping the baking biz all together.  That was a given.  Baking does not fit in her very busy schedule.  So I did this order all by myself last week.


NOT FUN by myself!  Yes, that’s 16 boxes you count!  Petit fours, decorated cookies, mini Bakewells, cream wafers, chocolate chips…but it all turned out lovely and the customer was very very happy.


The person I made all this for is a friend from way back and she called yesterday to say it was all a hit.  So happy to hear that!  And I have a little baking order today and one for this weekend for family and I will try to get postings made of those.  But I learned a lot doing this big (to me) order by myself.  One thing, I want/need help for something that big.  Two, it’s not that much fun working in the kitchen by myself on something so important.  Three, I miss making soap.

There I said it.  I have been saying it to myself for 6 months. And to Jerry for almost that long.  Just blurting it out every now and again in the middle of a discussion that has nothing to do with soapmaking.  Then I would follow up with “I don’t mean that do I?”  I know how much he hated how the soap took over our house before.  Here is just a small example.  Look at all the soap stuff! My poor kitchen!


He even built me a shoppe.



And still there were oils in every corner, soap curing all over the place.  Stacks of wrapped. Girls wrapping soap.


Boxes waiting to be mailed.  UPS delivered something nearly every day. And this was a picture of my porch ONE DAY the week before Christmas 2007:


The post office sent a separate truck to my house. They were so excited!  So was I – as far as I know not ONE mistake in that day’s shipping!  Business was so good and then along came MaryJanesFarm!  WOW.  Amazing.

And then my mom got sick. And everything changed.  Everything.  Soap was WAY down on my list of things that mattered.

When I sold the internet part of my business and forwarded my wholesale customers information about the new owners, I agreed not to go back into the internet soap business and compete with the people I sold that part to.  However, I just learned last week that they are no longer making soap to sell.  And have closed their internet shop.  I found this out when an old customer of mine emailed me to say the site was down, she had been ordering from them since I closed, and I sent out an inquiry to try and help her get what she needed.  I got a response that said “I am still making soap, just not selling it at present.We have closed down the web site and do not now for the time being have an internet presence.”

WOW! Really?  So what does this mean?  Will they never?  Could I make and sell again without breaking my word?  I am still mulling all that over.  I never want to do wholesale again.  About all it did was keep a little money in the kitty for ingredients and work me half to death!  I don’t want to put up a website again.  For one thing I don’t want to maintain one.  That alone is a lot of work.  But I don’t think my making soap for customers who have asked for it since I quit, doing an catalog in pdf form and talking about it here and on facebook violates that.  Especially since they are no longer doing business.  It was almost like that was the door I was waiting to open.  I have not sold soap locally in over three years.  And that was always part of the agreement.  I could make and sell all I wanted to locally.  I don’t want it to get overwhelming again.   Some months I mailed 2000 bars of soap not counting the local wholesale and local retail.  It was too TOO much for just me. I always, ALWAYS, wanted to have my hands on every bar that left here. I never expected it to grow into something I needed to hire someone besides the girls to help with. And as girls grew up and got jobs outside home, they didn’t have time.  And now they are both in college.  And I don’t think Ben has one bit of interest in soap. Other than for his personal use ;)

So yeah…I’m a nut. That’s not news to anyone.  I have felt so happy since I decided to give the soap pot another stir.  I just have to keep it real.  Keep it manageable and do nothing to violate my agreement.  An agreement that may or may not exist any more.

Enough of that.  Here is what’s coming up.  Interviews this Autumn that you will NOT believe.  Seriously. I get butterflies just thinking about it.  Oh please, please, please don’t fall thru!  Opportunities of a lifetime!  To pick these brains!  And then share my pickins with you happy people!

So let’s see.  Soap? covered.  Interviews? said all I can at this time.  Squeeeeeeee!!!!!!! Now…more stuff. I am going to reinstate and reorganize some “Days of The Week with NotQuiteJuneCleaver”:

  • Magpie Mondays ~news from here, chit chat, talkie, talkie, interviews{squeeeeeeee!!!!!}
  • Treehuggin’ Tuesday ~ pretty self explanatory – I’m a treehugger and I am going to talk about it on Tuesdays! Green products, etc
  • Wednesday’s Woman ~ I will introduce you to a blog I follow and the woman who writes it-maybe even a short little something from her
  • Thoughtful Thursday ~ What ever is worth thinking about. Words of wisdom from all sorts of people who have inspired me & made me think.
  • Foodie Friday ~ Recipes and menus, food photography, trends, you know – food news ;)
  • Simply Saturday ~ things that simply find themselves bound to Saturday – movies, books, gardening, housework
  • So…It’s Sunday ~ recapping my week, announcing what’s coming up the next week, soap news – stuff, know what I mean?

This does not mean I will post everyday but I will at least have an outline!

AND I would like to do a  Photo Contest every so often.  Working on the details of that. Will announce that pretty soon.

So…whew.  Told you it would take a while. Okay, that’s what I have in mind.  Actually I have quite a lot in mind.  But the things I am most excited about are stirring up some soap and the interviews.  Whoa, baby! So excited!

By the way peeps, I LOVE comments.  So leave me some, mmK?  I know you visit.  I have a stat counter!  But you never comment.  I don’t mean NEVER never…but I do love comments.  Nice ones that is ;) Okay, neither do I.  I visit the same wonderful blogs everyday but seems someone always beats me to the punch.  I think awwww someone already said that.  Well I have a new rule! I am not reading comments before I post mine.  If I repeat something well so be it!  I am saying my piece anyway!

Now for your Treehugging Tuesday Tidbit: Recycling Soup Cans – so cool! Click on the pictures to read all about it!


See you happy folks tomorrow.  It will be Wednesday’s Woman so stop by!


NotQuiteJuneCleaver’s July Interview & Giveaway!

Comments and Contest Closed!  I will announce the winner later today!  Thanks to everyone who participated.  Good luck to each of you.  And I hope you found and purchased everything you wanted/needed at the FatQuarterShop!  Remember the coupon code is good thru the 23rd of July.   Check back this evening for the winner’s name!

You all know how much I love aprons and fabric and sewing and such!  A LOT.  A WHOLE LOT!  Well, one of  my favorite online shops is the Fat Quarter Shop.  I have purchased my fabric for my Grandma’s Flower Garden quilt project from Kim.  LOVELY fabric, even LOVELIER service!  And super fast too!

Now meet Kim, the owner and VERY VERY generous provider of July’s FANTABULOUS GRAND PRIZE!


Take a look at this!

I know, AMAZING, right? How very generous!  Yes that’s FIVE apron patterns plus the Riley Blake book Eye Candy with quilt and apron patterns. And guess what!! I am adding an apron to the prize! WOOT WOOT! Made from fabric I bought from Kim! Sweet huh?

Someone is going to be one lucky duck! You know how to enter, surely.  But in case you don’t: Leave me a comment on this post and promise me you will go check out Kim’s WONDERFUL shop. You know you should buy some stuff while you are there.  And you won’t believe this but we ALL win here!  Kim has also given us all a 15% off coupon code: notquitejunecleaver (excludes clubs, gift certificates, things like that)! This code expires on 7/23. You will enter it when you check out.  I have about a dozen fabrics I need!

The drawing will be next Wednesday July 21st at noon.  So you have until then to get your name in the jar.  And be nice and tell all your friends, k?

Before further ado, here is my interview with Kim! Not only is she extremely generous with the prizes but what a great bunch of answers!  And what a pleasure it was for me!

NQJC: Please tell us about the origins of Fat Quarter Shop – I LOVE it by the way…GREAT service…GREAT selection of all things fabric related!
Thank you!! I learned to quilt years ago and discovered all these beautiful quilting fabrics. I went looking for one in particular, a 3 Sisters line from Moda Fabrics and surprised that I couldn’t find it at any of my local quilt shops. I found it online, but wasn’t impressed with how my orders were handled. Around that time, things at my corporate job started to slow down, and I saw it as an opportunity to start an online store where you could find anything you needed AND get great customer service. I started FQS right out of my house in 2001, and eventually it became my fulltime work. My husband came onboard a few years later, and we just kept growing, always keeping in mind my mission for the store. That’s why we have so many different lines and wonderful people to help you sort through it all.

NQJC: Do you ever say “What have I gotten myself into”?
LOL! Of course there are those moments…sometimes you wish the world wide web had opening and closing hours! But every day I’m so glad to be running Fat Quarter Shop. It’s been a huge investment over the last few years, while also raising three kids with another on the way, but the rewards are worth it. I love getting emails from customers that say, “I could only find it here!” or “The service I received was wonderful.” That’s the experience I want when I’m shopping, and I’m glad to be able to offer that to the quilting community.

NQJC: What’s the best thing about what you do? And the worst?
The worst thing is that the store never closes! We’re open 24/7 which means you have to be vigilant about making time away from work. But we love our customers, so I can’t complain! The best thing would be connecting daily with people who have the same passion for quilting & fabric that I have, and getting to carry out all the ideas I have, like the Designer Mystery Block of the Month club .

NQJC: Do you have a particular quilt that is your favorite?  And did you make it or was it a gift?
I have a few, but the one I’m working on now is my current favorite. I love making quilts for my babies. I’m making this one for my daughter, and it’s for her “big girl” bed. I used this fantastic fabric, Bliss by Bonnie & Camille for Moda, and I’ll show it on the FQS blog as soon as it’s back from the quilter!

NQJC: Do you have a favorite artist? author?

I certainly have favorite fabric designers. 3 Sisters (who designed the fabric that sparked the idea for FQS) and Lake House fabrics by Holly Holderman  always amaze me.

NQJC: What is the hardest thing you have faced being a business owner of a web shoppe?
The worst might be what I just mentioned, and any internet shop owner will understand – we are always open! It can make for a crazy, hectic lifestyle. Thankfully I have been able to find a great staff to shoulder that work with me. If you’ve ever called or e-mailed, you’ve probably spoken with Debbie, Cheryl or Kathy, who have years of experience in the fabric world.

NQJC: Do you have any words of wisdom for women looking to opening their own business?
Know what you do. Know what is going to make your store or service different, and don’t compromise that. Adapting to the climate is key of course, but always strive to have a strong, unique identity that will differentiate you.

NQJC: Do you find it hard to merge home business with homemaking?

Neither is an easy task! I do my best at both and am still learning. Our children are all still very young (3 years old and under) so we’ll see what happens!

NQJC: Tell us about your home. I imagine it is just overflowing with beautiful things you have made.
I love it. I have so many quilts on display on racks and walls, table toppers on the dining set. My daughter’s room is especially filled with girly quilts, and I’m still working on filling up the boys’! I have set up a nice studio tucked in the back of the house where I can get away and sew.

NQJC: Now that I have picked your brain about business tell us a little about your childhood and how you think it influenced your creative spirit. Take as much space as you want here! I am intrigued and I know I am not the only one!

I learned to craft very early on, though I didn’t learn to sew until I was an adult. I started to crochet when I was five. My granny taught me and I still crochet at least one project a year. I learned to cross stitch when I was eleven, and I still cross stitch all the time! I am about to start a new cross stitch project; I make them for all my children. I didn’t learn to sew until 1998, and then when I discovered quilting, I was completely hooked! Now my house is filled with quilts, and I couldn’t be happier.

NQJC: Was there any one particular person that inspired you to follow your dreams?
My father was always my biggest supporter. He always encouraged me to work hard, and that with hard work, success would follow.

NQJC: What blogs and mags do you read and what shops do you shop at?
Too many to keep track of! A few must-reads for me, in no particular order, are L.A. quilter (a good customer of ours who became a great friend – I love keeping up with her stash busting adventures), Moda Lissa (a staple for any true Moda fan!), Bunny Hill (a wonderful pattern designer who also became a close friend, and now she designs fabric for Moda), Sister’s Choice (she is just so darn prolific, and I love her quilts), Pam Kitty Morning (this goes without saying, Pam Kitty Morning is a hoot), and Simplify (Camille’s blog is always a breath of fresh air). Other blogs I love to peruse with great project tutorials are Moda Bake Shop and Sew4Home . And when I shop for fabric, I shop at Fat Quarter Shop of course!

NQJC: As you know I talk alot about food on my blog so I have a couple of food related questions:
What is your very favorite meal, including dessert? Tacos and cookies and cream ice cream!
What kitchen gadget could you not live without? My waffle maker!
Who does most of the cooking at your house? Nobody LOL! To be truthful, we eat out a lot.
Is there a favorite food from childhood that you wish you had the recipe for? Peach cobbler.

NQJC: What three “things” can you not live without?
I couldn’t live without my kids, my sewing machine, and my TV!

NQJC: Any words you live by?

Never take shortcuts. Be a perfectionist.

THANK YOU SO MUCH KIM!!!!  And a big BIG thank you to Jocelyn to help make this all possible!


At the risk of looking ingnorant…

which by the way I am about this particular subject.  I need to know what I purchased this sewing machine foot for.  Okay, I have a tin FULL of attachments for my sewing machine and I can tell you what each one of them is for…except for this baby:



I don’t particularly like to admit defeat but I have spent way too much time looking online at guides this morning.  I don’t necessarily need to know right now, and after I know, I may not want to use it.  But I might!  There is no telling what kind of cool sewing I could have been doing if I had a clue what to do with this foot!! I will even BRIBE you!  The first person to successfully tell me what this is and how to use it*, will win a box of fabric!  I am cleaning out my stash and whatever I can fit/cram/jam/poke/wedge into a small P.O. flat rate box is yours!

*I don’t care if you email me, point me to a site for instructions or whatever…I NEED to know!

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