To be a bit cliché, this shoemaker is a professional Web Developer and her child is this blog, but it was past time to launch what I have of a new design. All the content is still here, everything else is a work in progress (kind of like most of my sewing projects)!
Once I’d accumulated enough college tees, I took a pair of scissors to all the high school ones I’d toted north with me (or, I pressed my sisters into that service), planning to make a t-shirt quilt despite having no idea how to quilt. I was left with various half-shirt chunks, which were far less bulky to move around.
Surprisingly, most of those scraps made it through various moves (often as packing materials), and found their way into my sewing closet at the apartment. After decluttering a variety of other things over the long weekend last week, I decided it was past time to do something with the almost-rags.
Now I have a pile of pressed, interfaced squares and rectangles awaiting piecing. I imagine these will sit in a box for a while yet as my college tee pieces did, but progress is progress.
In addition to eight t-shirts (some with printed backs), I finally cut up my hoodie and baseball jersey. There’s not enough for a decent-sized quilt with just those 17 pieces, so I played in Illustrator and came up with a design that adds in scraps from the jersey with a yard(ish) of purchased fabric.
I may change my mind in the future, of course, but I rather like it right now.
I’m working on a new baby quilt that looks like a very large, squared-off puzzle. It boils down to a bunch of 8″ blocks, but I haven’t yet found a way to batch process them—I have to make each one individually to make sure it has the right fabrics to match up with the next in line, as a piece of each block’s fabric needs to end up in two different adjoining blocks.
But, I did sketch out the whole quilt with fabric placement, so it’s moving along steadily without too much ripping. Here’s a blueprint for the blocks.
Yesterday, I received notice from Amazon that, effective immediately, my Amazon Associates account was closed. This means that the various links to products on Amazon in my posts are no longer affiliate links (and I’ll be combing through my content to remove them in the next week or so). Here is their email:
We are writing from the Amazon Associates Program to notify you that your Associates account will be closed and your Amazon Services LLCAssociates Program Operating Agreement will be terminated effective January 6, 2015. This is a direct result of Vermont’s state tax collection legislation (32 V.S.A. § 9701(9)(I)). As a result, we will no longer pay any advertising fees for customers referred to an Amazon Site after January 5, nor will we accept new applications for the Associates Program from Vermont residents.
Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned prior to January 6, 2015, will be processed and paid in full in accordance with your regular advertising fee schedule. Based on your account closure date of January 6, 2015, any final payments will be paid by March 31, 2015.
Amazon strongly supports federal legislation creating a simplified framework to uniformly resolve interstate sales tax issues. We are working with states, retailers, and bipartisan supporters in Congress to get legislation passed that would allow us to reopen our Associates program in Vermont.
We thank you for being part of the Amazon Associates Program, and hope to be able to re-open our program to Vermont residents in the future.
The Amazon Associates Team
On this humble little blog, with a spattering of links, I’ve earned a grand total of $36.68 since September 2010—hardly worth the time it takes to generate the affiliate links for the few posts I add them to. But, it was a nice bit of surprise fun money once a year or so that I could use to subsidize a book or sewing notion.
For other online marketers and content publishers—possibly even other sewing/crafting bloggers—the impact is thousands of dollars. It’s not restricted to Vermont: Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Missouri, and Rhode Island are also barred from using the program now.
In my case, the impact is minor, but it brings up the question of how other companies will handle this legislation change. I have a few Google AdSense ads on here to help pay for hosting (~$100/year), and affiliate links for American Duchess ($13.88 in total). I’ve considered adding ones for a few product subscription services I personally use and am willing to recommend.
Some of you may not be such small potatoes when it comes to generating so-called passive income with your blog. Some of you may be considering adding affiliate links thinking it could amount to big bucks. But with this legislation in VT and other states, the landscape of internet marketing is changing, which is sure to have ripples throughout the blogging community. It certainly highlights the fact that blogging is not a guaranteed money maker, and your income is entirely at the mercy of the programs you affiliate with.
I’ve always supported bloggers using affiliate links because I am well aware of the costs of maintaining a blog, particularly if you have your own domain. I hope we can weather the storm.
Were you directly affected by this policy change? I’d love to hear what your perspective is on both it, and the idea of affiliate links in general.
When wedding planning took over all my free time during the spring and summer, I didn’t expect to finish many quilts this year. Once the day had passed and life settled back to normal, however, I found myself manic with quilting motivation. In the end, I finished two more quilts than in 2013!
In January, I posted about wanting to improve my skill at binding. I ended up only hand binding one quilt (Stars For Lennon) and feel much more comfortable machine binding. Yay!
Four of the quilts were made with specially-purchased fabric, three were entirely from stash, two only required a purchase for backing, and one was an even mix of stash and new purchases. Additionally, three were long-time works in progress which I’m happy to be done with. Better yet, I didn’t start any quilts that weren’t finished this year.
Despite purchasing fabric lengths for a few different dresses, I only finished one, and never managed to blog about it (or take blog photos, for that matter). It’s a second Tiramisu that I have worn so often that the cheap jersey is starting to pill, and needs to be taken in from stretching out. I guess that is a good thing, in this case?
The unofficial theme for crafty projects this year was embroidery, evidently. I embroidered a few things for the wedding that went unblogged (a lingerie bag for me, Carl’s pocket square, and jewelry bags for my bridesmaids). I also made tea towels, potholders, keychains, and stockings in addition to the typical mix of doll quilts and stuffed animals.
Samplers, Meetups, and Exchanges
None this year! Now that we’ve started an official Modern Quilt Guild here in VT, perhaps that will change in 2015.
For once, I didn’t add to this list. I even managed to remove three things from it (well, technically I only remembered to add one of them to the 2013 Year in Review, but the other two should have been listed).
These are projects in progress for which something is cut out, at a minimum:
Farmer’s wife / EPP Crosses
Witches Bubble Brew
Double Wedding Ring
High-school t-shirt quilt
Meta history quilt
I have one or two more with all the components sitting in a box, waiting to be cut.
And, on the blogging side of things, I should probably finish up this site redesign!
I don’t know what 2015 will bring. I would like to continue making quilts for our nieces and nephews (six down, seven to go), and there are a few other people in our lives I’d like to create something for.
The one resolution I will make is that by this time next year, I’ll have done something with every unfinished quilt project listed above. Something might be progress, might be finishing, might even be officially giving up and repurposing/donating the completed parts—there just will be momentum of some sort. And, I won’t add to the list.
We’re heading off on a week and a half-long vacation, first delivering this quilt in NY and visiting Carl’s family, then on to MO to visit my family. Forgive the photos, as we took them the night before leaving on our trip. Hope you’re having a wonderful time celebrating the holidays!
If I’m going to stick to a formulaic fabric selection, I thought I should at least mix up the shapes I’m using. However, a condensed timeline dictated simplicity, so I stuck with squares and rectangles. This stack of six fat quarters from Daisy Cottage; fat quarters of a generic pink solid, Kona Sunflower, and Fairy Frost in snow; and a yard of Essex Yarn Dyed in Flax went together quickly, but the values in the fabrics didn’t work out as well as the stack of blues and greens for the layout I used in Mustang Summing, so I mixed up the layout.
The result is a message to our new niece spelled out in Morse code, with the yarn dyed serving as spacers between letters and words. The whole thing is built on a 4″ finished grid, as I started with 4.5″ strips cut down into squares, 8.5″ rectangles, and 12.5″ rectangles. It finishes at 48″x56″.
I feel bad admitting this, since the quilt became a gift (sorry, V!), but I had such a hard time focusing on this quilt. I cut the fabric into strips soon after finishing Mustang Summing, but kept procrastinating on starting. Originally, I was going to make an equilateral triangle quilt. Then we found out a new niece was being added to the family, so it became her quilt. It took until the day she was born for the idea of Morse code to inspire me. Maybe I was just holding out for the spark.
The back is nice and soft, courtesy Minky in the Dynasty pattern, oyster color (although the quilting hides the pattern). There’s low-loft cotton in the middle, as usual. I quilted it in an all-over swirl using Aurifil thread that I picked up from the local quilt shop. I forgot how much my machine loves this thread. The binding is a print from Brambleberry Ridge by Violet Craft.
Since I didn’t expect to finish any more quilts in 2014, I didn’t have any labels to put on this one. For now, there’s a handwritten one on the front. Perhaps I’ll have to add another in the coming months once I order more.
I hope the size of this can grow with her and keep her warm for years. Now I need to get started on quilts for her siblings!
It’s right around this time every year that I remember how much I dislike the season of giving. I love giving presents when I find/make just the right thing for someone; I dislike having to buy something just because it’s xmas. I hate, hate, hate being on the receiving end when someone clearly felt required to give me something—it takes all the fun out of being able to appreciate the thought behind the present.
Growing up, giving holidays were always followed by a series of trips to the store to exchange all manner of things that didn’t fit or really weren’t my style—that, or trying to find a way to donate things that couldn’t be exchanged (which generally didn’t happen, so they became clutter in a mini-hoard). So, that’s the long-winded bah-humbug excuse for why my tween and teen niblings are all getting gift cards this year—instead of having to go return things from us in the days after Christmas, perhaps they can go to the store with us while we’re in town that week and use their gifts on things that suit them best.
Gift cards are boring to unwrap, so I made a few gift card stockings as well. I personalized them with embroidered initials, and topped them with a bit of stashed fleece. Really, I was procrastinating on working on a quilt that I’ve lost the drive to finish.
The easy way would be a single layer with pinked seam allowances to stop potential fraying. I made mine with a lining, because it means neat insides and I wanted to experiment with ordering of seams (that is, sewing the lining, cuff, and outside for one half together, then to the other, rather than some complicated nesting process).
Charm squares are the perfect size for these if you want to make a few of your own—you’ll need four per stocking. The cuffs are 3.5″x5″ rectangles (quilting cotton can work there too, or stash bust some fleece/Minky scraps). You can download the template I used if you want to muddle through construction on your own.
Despite my current lack of Yuletide gaiety, I am looking forward to the vacation time and chance to head back to MO to see my family! What’s your favorite part of the holiday season?
I’m lusting after the new American Duchess carriage boots right now, in anticipation of winter and my denial that it is as long and as cold and icky as it probably will be. Of course, I’ll always long after impractical-for-every-day-wear Victorian boots instead of practical snow boots like the ones I have even if mine are boots with the fur and all.
In between bouts of covetousness, I realized I should mention my AD purchases this summer—one of the last pairs of ivory Gibsons (they’ve since reordered) and a pair of seamed stockings.
I swapped the ties out with ones I made using a bit of stashed blue silk dupioni.
My wedding dress was not remotely Edwardian, but it worked. The Gibsons rocked all night long, no cliché reception flip-flops required. And, I had the perfect excuse to skip the whole bouquet/garter throwing—my garters had a real purpose. Thank you, American Duchess.
The links in this post are affiliate links for American Duchess, meaning I may get a bit of money if you buy their shoes after clicking one, however the above shoes were purchased with my own hard-earned cash, and the excitement is my own. The affiliate links will just help subsidize my next American Duchess purchase, I hope. If you don’t like affiliate links, here’s a normal one.
I’m absolutely the worst at remembering to pop gifts in the mail on time for my various niblings’ birthdays. I think they’ve all come to expect that Aunt Rachael’s cards come sometime in the general month, likely mailed on their birthday or a few days after. Take these, for instance. Two of my nieces recently celebrated their 16th birthdays, one this past week, the other in September (to be fair, I didn’t have a mailing address at the time).
For birthdays, I usually drop a gift card in the mail, but since this was a special one, I added a small additional gift as well—a keychain composed of a free-standing lace design from Urban Threads and a pair of charms from Danforth Pewter (made here in Vermont).
This is the first time I’ve tried stitching out a free-standing lace design, and it was a little rocky. My first attempt failed compeltely. The second time, I doubled up the water-soluble stabilizer and it turned out okay but the top thread broke about ten times, and it skipped a ton of stitches. The final product seems okay, despite all that.
The third time, I used three layers of stabilizer, and didn’t have to fight broken thread, however the stitches pulled the stabilizer apart, scrunching and mis-stitching a part of the key. It still came out okay, but I definitely have room for improvement.
Now I just need to remember to make it to the post office tomorrow to send them on their way!
Have you had much experience stitching out free-standing lace designs?