My Bad

I had intended to share in today’s post some cross stitch patterns that I’ve been working on, but I didn’t get those finished, so alas, I’ll have to save them for another day.

Instead, I’ll share this little quilt that I’ve been working on; it’s been giving me absolute fits!

I bought a quilt kit to make this baby quilt wayyy back in 2007, when Eliot was a baby, thinking that I’d make it for him. Eliot is seven years old now. In seven years, the progress I had made so far on this quilt was to unwrap the fabric from the packaging, read the directions, and proceed to cut the first piece of fabric incorrectly. Then I cursed the whole thing and packed it away somewhere I didn’t have to look at it and face the shame of having measured once, cut Oh, F*#@!.

Now that it’s 2014, and I’m SO savvy and totally know what I’m doing, I thought I’d pull it back out and finish the thing. THIS QUILT KIT HASN’T SEEN THE LAST OF ME YET.

What I’ve learned this week in tackling this once abandoned project is that though my quilting skills have only marginally improved, my tenacity has increased one hundred fold. Ha! Take that! So yeah, I still eff up pretty badly, but now I tend to just keep going.

So here it is so far, photographed with the help of my very reluctant 7 yr old quilt holder:

baby quilt

A few facts about this quilt: the square second from top left is where I embroidered my nephew’s name, as the quilt is now a gift for him, but I photo edited a sticker over it so as not to make his name public. So that block doesn’t look like that in real life. It looks like a green square with his name embroidered in my handwriting. It’s kind of difficult to make out from this photo, but on the other two matching green squares, I’ve embroidered a star and a heart. All three of those blocks were improvised because of the initial wrong cut in the fabric, which landed me with not enough fabric to make the squares according to plan. Oops. Oh, well. Look at me going with the flow of things!

Also, the brown strips and the two brown corner squares are minky fabric, which is now my solemnly sworn enemy. That shit is ridiculous to sew through. And did I mention this kit was a beginner’s kit? Marked “easy”? Those bastards. This is only the second quilt I’ve ever made. Trust me, you do not want to try to piece quilting cotton together with minky fabric the second time you’ve ever quilted. It induces much unnecessary hatred and hair pulling. I was messaging my sister in the middle of the night with swear words, using descriptive detail to explain what I wanted to do to the minky fabric. Seriously. She assured me that unless Baby Boy turned out to be a seamster, he’d never notice that my seams were hideously not matched up, and he probably wouldn’t care in the slightest. Then we had a discussion about how a seamster sounds like a mob-connected quilter who has tattoos that say things like “I share needles.”

Back to the quilt. I finally got the top pieced (albeit badly) and the whole thing pin basted, and have moved on to the quilting part. As I told my sister, I just hope that as he grows older, Baby Boy will know in his heart that Aunt Rachel loves him so much more than the workmanship on this quilt would seem to imply.

Have a good weekend, all! Come back and visit Monday for more horrible tales from the crafting room. πŸ˜‰


Granny Square Progress

I’ve been crocheting granny squares for a few weeks now, and I feel pretty confident about it. Crocheting, at least this one very uncomplicated pattern, is a great go-to craft for when I don’t want to have to think. I can make granny squares while watching TV, while sitting through Eliot’s taekwon do classes, while waiting in lines, etc. I don’t go anywhere these days without a ball of yarn and a crochet hook in my purse.

I think it’s cool to look at all my granny squares so far side-by-side. It’s pretty obvious which ones were my first tries and which ones I’ve completed more recently.

granny squares

The rainbow squares are pretty wonky and uneven, the stitches not consistent in size, with noticeable errors in almost every square. The creme colored ones are a bit more regular, more even, tighter…and then by the time I was working on the light blue stack, I could actually stack them atop each other and line up the holes. Score!

granny squares 2

Now I think I need to start weaving in all the ends and joining them, since I have a feeling that I’m going to be bored out of my skull if I wait until I finish all the squares to do that. I’m not sure yet what kind of pattern I’m going to join them in. I just know I want the finished blanket to be sort of randomly rainbow-y. Is rainbow-y a word? It is now. πŸ™‚

Destashing is hard, people.

I used to scrapbook; therefore, I used to hoard scrapbooking supplies. Now, when I say “used to,” what I mean is although I haven’t made an actual scrapbook page in over five years, I still have a metric shit ton of scrapbooking supplies that I’ve been hauling around from rented house to rented house and jamming into closets and under beds for no good reason whatsoever.

This year I’ve done what I think is a pretty decent job of clearing some of it out. I’ve donated scrapbooking supplies to an organization that works with foster children, dropped countless boxes off to Goodwill, dispersed supplies among friends, and yet I still have stuff that I can’t bear to part with. Because what if I wake up one morning in 2026 and want to make a scrapbook page and I have no 12 x 12 magenta paper with pictures of rainbows, and no paper punch that punches out tiny paper airplanes?! What then?! Ridiculous.

For at least a week, I’ve had a basket of stamps sitting out, thinking maybe I’ll list them on the local garage sale Facebook page or Craig’s List or something and try to recoup a little bit of the money I spent on all of this stuff once upon a time. In the heyday of Stampin’ Up, I swear I spent most of my discretionary income on stamp sets and cardstock, most of which I never used even once.

Instead of actually finding a new home for these supplies, what I did was pass by that basket and glance at it so many times that I started to think, hey…I could use those stamps on fabric…ewwwww…I could stamp on fabric and then embroider over the lines…

stamping fabric 2



I actually think this is a pretty damn good idea with a lot of possibilities. I think it would be especially helpful for newbie embroiderers, as the lines are clear and easy to follow. I should make some kits. Should. But probably won’t. In all likelihood, what will happen is that the basket of stamps I’ve already decided I’m willing to part with will sit in my living room for a few more weeks before I get sick of tripping over it, and then I’ll drop it off at Goodwill.

Or I might set up a destash sale on Instagram.

Oh bloody hell. I’ll probably just shove it all back in my closet. Who am I kidding? See ya in 2026, stamps! ;-P


The term “ort” originally meant a scrap of leftover food, but I’ve long heard the term applied to the ends of thread one snips off and generally discards from a sewing project. Some say ORT stands for “old ratty threads,” and I like the way the word works in both contexts at once. Wordnerd over here. Geeking out over language.

I’m not sure when I first discovered ORT jars, possibly on Hugs Are Fun! when she started posting photos of hers along with Daffycat’s TUSAL. In any case, I think they’re a lovely way to keep your bits of thread. They’re like an art project that shows a timeline of your stitching, and, of course, they also appeal to my hoarder tendencies. So when I visited my mom earlier in the week and noticed she had a tall glass pickle jar sitting on the kitchen counter, the first thing I thought was that it would make a great ORT jar.

ort jar 3

Also, I love that my mom had run this jar through the dishwasher and cleaned it up, not because she had any specific purpose in mind for it, but because it was a nice jar, and it “seemed like a shame to throw away such a nice jar.” I concurred. And I took that jar home and gave it a place on my sewing table. (After I took some pretty pictures of it outside, because the light is better outside.)

ort jar 2

Mom thinks it will take forever to fill the jar with ort, and I think she underestimates how much stitching I do. Up to this point, I’ve been throwing my bits and ends in the trash, admittedly only after piling them on the corner of the coffee table or the arm of the couch, or after dropping them on the floor and tracking them about the house for days. I’m not the persnickety-est housekeeper. (Which is Β really just another way to say I’m a total slob while still practicing self-compassion.) Sometimes when I stitch outside, I’ll just throw the bits in the grass, thinking they’ll pretty up some bird’s nest nicely. YOU’RE WELCOME, birds!

So here are the first tiny bits to grace the jar.

ort jar

I’m sure they won’t be lonely long.

What do you do with your ort? Save or toss? And do you throw out nice jars, or find new uses for them? πŸ™‚

Throwback: Perler Beads

I’ve been thinking for awhile that Eliot would enjoy perler beads, since they seem to be a close cousin of Legos and Minecraft–just the idea of building things from blocks or pixels. We visited my mom’s this week, and as it turns out, she had a ton of perler beads and plates leftover from when my little sister was mad about them.

perler beads

Eliot’s first creation was a tank. We glued a magnet on the back and now it lives on our refrigerator.

perler tank


So far, he has enjoyed the thrill of watching his creations fuse together, and he has suffered the sweet agony of upsetting the plate and sending tiny beads flying everywhere, thereby destroying an nearly completed masterpiece. *sigh* Such are the highs and lows of the crafting life.

bead making

So far, he’s created a tank, airplane, police car, tree, and an iPod. πŸ™‚

As far as my crafting life, I’ve hit a slump. I’ve taken on too many hobbies this summer, and now that it’s almost time for me to turn back into a comp instructor (August 25th is the first day of fall semester classes!), I’m not sure where my priorities will lie. Definitely keeping up with the Sheroes embroidery series, hoping to finish one portrait per month. Embroidery is still my main craft love. And I’m still planning on finishing at least one WIP per month, even though I haven’t touched Archer yet. Shhhh! It’s only the 6th! Plenty of time. Plenty of time.

I kind of feel like I have a million perler beads in the air, flung there, hanging on pause, and now I have to choose which ones to try to catch before they scatter to the winds. Oh well. I suppose at least it’s a pretty mess.

WIP: Archer

Since I committed to finishing at least one old WIP per month, for August I’m focusing on Archer. I started this hoop at least a year ago and abandoned it when I got frustrated that it wasn’t coming along as I had planned. I wanted to do some thick black lines to preserve the way the cartoon is drawn, but I started satin stitching without a clear plan for which lines to fill in, so then it started looking weird to me and I got pissed off. Ha ha. Story of my crafting life: start without a plan, get frustrated and angry, abandon project.


But this month, he shall be finished–Oh yes! Yes, he shall.

We’re in the danger zone here.

Finished Object: Maya Angelou

I finished my embroidered portrait of Maya Angelou on the very same day I said goodbye to Ruth Bader Ginsburg and shipped her across the country to her new owner. (The embroidered portrait of RBG, that is. I don’t deal in human trafficking.) I was pretty darned excited to get my first Etsy sale, and I think RBG is one of my favorite embroidered pieces I’ve created.

Until the completion of Maya Angelou, that is. πŸ˜‰

maya angelou

I think she came out rather fabulously. I love how the chain stitch worked to give her hair some texture. The photo really doesn’t do her justice. Sadly, I ran out of 7 inch hoops, which is what she needs to be framed in. This 6 inch is too small to get her centered correctly. But once I replenish my stash and get her hooped, she’ll be going in my Etsy shop as well.

Next shero in line: Malala Yousafzai. She’s an incredible young woman who miraculously survived the Taliban’s attempt on her life and has since continued to advocate for education rights for women in Pakistan. I haven’t started reading her book yet, but it’s been on my list for awhile now, and I plan to start reading as I stitch her portrait.

I haven’t yet decided what Malala’s banner word will be. Any suggestions?

Come back and visit here on Monday, where I’ll commit to finishing another WIP for August. This one has been plaguing me for quite some time, but I’m determined now!