Me & My Stitches

Me & My Stitches
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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Just a few new things...

Here are a few of the paper pieced pendants that we finished recently - they are all 1 1/2".

 And a couple of bees.  I have plans for these - I found the cutest bee charms, so these will get some added bling soon...

 I can't wait to get started on our Primitive Garden Sew Along.  We have a Facebook page, if you would like to join in just request to join and I will approve you.  As soon as I finish my Sunflower Gatherings quilt (and I only have a little bit left!!), I'm going to get serious about Primitive Garden.  Some of the blocks have a lot of different flowers and colors in them, so I was thinking that I need a new ruler box to hold everything that I will need for the month.  Hubby whipped this one up for me this weekend.  It's about 2 1/2" wide and 13" long
What do you think? Maybe I'll make a small pin cushion to put in the end.  I may have him make another one that is wider, and shorter.  Hmmm...what would be the perfect size for you?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Ruler box turned adorable!

I have to share this with all of you - look at what Lois did with one of my small (this is the 2" x 4" size) ruler boxes!


Isn't it cute?  Look at all of the neat stuff she has in here...
 She made the clay pins and the little wool balls...
 You can take a look at her website here.  She does all sorts of things - lots of cross stitch, and she dyes tons of different trims, and be sure to check out the beeswax items on her site as well!  She is one busy lady.

Happy Sunday, and Happy Father's Day!  I'm going to visit my dad later today!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Customer Service...the good, the bad, the non-existent

Is it just me?  I am constantly amazed at how crappy customer service is, in general!  My husband and I have said for years that if we treated our customers the way many, many companies do, we would not be in business.  Recently, I have been even more disgusted at the lack of service, and just feel the need to share!  I'm going to start with the worst one, so I can end on a more positive note!

If you read my blog regularly, you probably know that I have had many problems in the last few weeks with my e-mail.  WEEKS!  Almost a month without a solution that I would call satisfactory!  And we PAY for this service!  Well, we used to...my husband cancelled the Tech Help part of our "service" and swears that they will never, ever be allowed to log into my computer again!  They (our provider - I am not ready to publicly out them, as I feel they could make my life worse if they wanted to!) screwed up my brand new computer so bad in February that we had to pay Microsoft $100 to fix it!  Now, they say that they are not equipped to handle the number of recipients that I send to for my newsletters.  This all started when I sent out my last newsletter about signing up for our new program called "Surprise" (I haven't been able to follow up with my customers on that - so go sign up, if you haven't already - lol!).  They say that there were too many recipients, and the server marked it as spam and jammed up our server somehow so that we couldn't send at all.  Bad thing is, we didn't realize it for who knows how long.  The e-mails appeared to be sent.  I won't go in to all of the details, but Tech Help could not figure it out and then lost all of my contacts - which means all of my customer contact information was GONE.  Fortunately they were finally able to retrieve a partial list, but I have spent hours upon hours trying to recreate the list.  In the meantime, we still could not send e-mails.  My husband was on the phone with them one night until 1:00 am and back on again at 6:00 am.   Hours and hours and hours of wasted time.  All for a service that we pay good money for.  Infuriating!  All they want to do is blame someone else.  Fortunately my husband knows a lot about all of this, and he knew they were full of it!  Some of them talked down to him on the phone, treated him like crap, and did not fix the problem.  He finally contacted a VP of the company, who thankfully responded right away and got us to a level 2 rep who actually resides in the U.S. and really knows his stuff.  This was after TWO WEEKS of fighting!!!  It took this guy all of 15 minutes to discover what the problem was, and he diligently worked on it until it was fixed.  There are still some issues that Level 1 Tech Help caused that we are trying to work through.  The good guy (haha) is calling again on Saturday morning to see how things are going and if there are any more issues. It's just unbelievable to me that you have to go through all of this to get to someone who knows something.  I think the Tech Help people that you can reach simply follow a list, run scans, and blame someone else.  I honestly don't think they know much more about computers than I do (which is very scary!). So...Tech Help Customer Service = Non Existent!!


Next up...I have seen many rants online about Rowenta irons - people being disgusted with them spitting and leaking.  I have had 2 Rowentas in my quilting life and both of them have ended up leaking and spitting.  They still work fine as a dry iron, but not for steam.  So, yes...that stinks, but realistically, we are talking about almost 20 years.  Honestly...I don't think that's too bad.  So when I have seen rants about Rowenta irons and people want opinions or suggestions, I have always defended Rowenta, after all...nothing is going to last forever, especially when water is involved.  Some time ago, my 2nd Rowenta started spitting, and I knew that at some point the steam would completely give out, so when I received a catalog from Nancy's Notions in the mail, I checked out the irons and found one that did NOT have auto-shut off - as that's important to me for what I use my iron for.  I ordered it, and put it in my closet to have on hand when mine kicked the bucket.  Well, you know how time flies, right?  A few weeks ago, my iron really was spitting and spewing out some brown stuff (you are welcome for that description) while I was getting ready to steam down all of the wool onto the border of my Sunflower Gatherings quilt.

  I happen to love this quilt, and it was a TON of work, so the last thing I wanted to do was ruin it.  Yep...broke out the new iron.  Guess what?  Upon the very first use, it was spitting water!!!  And it also left a white residue on my fabric, even after I cleaned the face plate.  I couldn't remember when I got the iron, but have since learned it was 3 years ago.  Yikes!  So, I called Rowenta and explained the situation (still not knowing at that time how long it had been sitting in the closet) that I had had it for over a year but had never used it, blah, blah.  You know that they said?  Too bad, so sad!!  Ok, well they didn't say that, but they wouldn't do anything about it.  I was really ticked.  I mean, I know that I've had it for awhile, but it is a brand new iron!  She tried to tell me that I was using the wrong water (I used tap water, which is what they recommend), but regardless...this is the very FIRST USE!  Ugh...super frustrated and definitely lesson learned - always try it before you fling it in the closet for later use!  I pretty much chalked it up to a lesson learned, but vowed to never support Rowenta again. Rowenta Customer Service = Bad.

 I continued to use the new iron, but was just mad every time!  So one day I decided to call Nancy's Notions and explain the situation to them.  This is when I learned that I purchased it 3 years ago.  I told them that I realize I should have tried it, yada yada.  Guess what?  THEY REPLACED IT FOR FREE!  That's right...FOR FREE!  I had to pay shipping to send it back to them, which is fine by me.  I received my new iron just a few short days later.  It doesn't spit, and there is no white residue!  To everyone who is still reading this boring post, take this into consideration and support Nancy's Notions! I repeatedly told the lady how much I appreciated this, and her reply was...we have great customer service; tell your friends!  I'm not sure if I will ever buy a Rowenta again because of the lack of care from them, but I will definitely order from Nancy's.  Nancy's Notions customer service = Awesome!

I can think of several more companies that I could rant about the lack of customer service, but you probably have read enough.  So tell me, how do you feel about customer service, as a whole, in today's world?

And to leave you with something soft and furry...
Ozzie better not complain about the service he receives.  He meows and I jump!


Monday, June 13, 2016

A little bit of everything

All of the new blingy flag pendants sold quickly, so I made a few more of those...



 I love this big key charm, and wanted to use it with something, thought it was perfect with the heart...

I know I say it every time I show this quilt, but I'm so excited to have it almost finished!  It took some time to get the border all prepped, but I've been trying to stitch a little each night and I have less than 2 sides left to go!

 And of course, Callie felt the need to help me!
Ozzie was being a good kitty, sleeping on the chair!

 I have been admiring several bags from Mona B for quite awhile now, and finally broke down and placed an order.  I love everything patriotic and had to have this one.  My mom, SIL and niece took a quick trip to the Chicago area last week, and this was my car bag - I took my Sunflower Gathering quilt and worked on it along the way.
I showed you this awhile back - and I took it and all of my markers along and we colored at the hotel in the evening (I have a very wild and crazy life - lol!)
Look at what my niece did!  I love it...
 And here she is with her true loves (haha) - her chickens!  I really don't know why, but she loves them to death!  I will be the crazy cat lady and she will be the crazy chicken lady.  Oh well, she is adorable and I love her even if she is a chicken lover!

My computer issues are not completely resolved, unfortunately.  There were too many people "working" on it that didn't know what they were doing (NEVER will Tech Help get into my computer again) and they lost all of my contacts.  That is my entire customer base from the last several years.  They were able to get some, but not all, of them back.  So now I have to recreate that list.  And the other big issue is that I am not able to send out an e-mail to all of my customers, because there are too many and they say that their system is not made to handle that.  We live in rural Iowa, so there really aren't a lot of other choices, so now we need to figure something else out.  Probably an exchange server of some kind (I know absolutely nothing about any of this!).  I've seen that many shops use Mail Chimp, Constant Contact and Elastic Mail - if you know anything about any of these, I would really appreciate information!

Happy Monday - hope you have a great week!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Technology is killing me!!!!!!

I have discovered that for over a week I have been sending e-mails to friends, family and customers that are not being received!  ARGHHHHH!!!!!  On my end, it appears that they are sent and everything is just fine and dandy, but in reality that is not the case.  So...I wanted to let all of my customers know that if you have contacted me (I think I am receiving everything ok) and have not heard back, that is why!  I can not reply. I am technologically challenged, but my husband is not (thankfully!) - he has been working on this and has contact our provider.  They have worked on it for days and have only made things WORSE!!  My hubby was on the phone and computer with them most of the night last night - he had very little sleep - and again...nothing is fixed and now it is worse.  They lost all of my contacts - this is a couple thousand people...all of my customers!  They restored them and said all is well, and it is NOT.  I have discovered that many people are missing from the list.  I'm sure you can tell how frustrated I am, and I will end my rant now - just trying to get the word out to anyone I can so you know that I am not ignoring you and I apologize for not being able to get back to people!  UGH!!!

And to bring my blood pressure down and so you have something to look at - with the help of my very talented friend Kim (Kimmykat blog), I'm making some cool new necklaces. With Kim's help, we made these 5 so far, and most of them are sold, but I will be working on more tomorrow.





Lots of fun new bling and charms!

Have a great rest of the weekend, and keep your fingers crossed that my e-mail gets fixed before I have a heart attack!!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

A little help from the fluffies

It was another busy week here, and some things just take longer when you have help!  I had to make some "Bags o' Bling" for an order that is headed to Australia.  When I make bling, there are a LOT of small pieces spread out on the table.  A LOT!  And guess who thought he needed to walk right through the middle of it?  I was afraid if I tried to move him it would make a bigger mess!  The good news is that the bling is finished and all of the beads and other paraphernalia is safely put away.  No harm came to Ozzie, the beads, or me in this process!


And then there's Callie.  As soon as I start winding bobbins and cleaning out the lint she comes running and has to help.  Even though she clearly thinks otherwise, her paw is not a good lint mitt.

 And in the evenings I have been stitching away on the bottom border for Sunflower Gatherings (block of the week from Primitive Gatherings 2 years ago...YES, TWO years ago).  Finished the stitching and now need to sew all of the borders on and get the rest of the wool steamed down.  I am definitely on the down hill side of this project and that is exciting!

 This is a project that I wish I wouldn't have started!  I just don't have time, but since I started it, I want to keep up with it.  It's a freebie from Buttermilk Basin.  I'm caught up, but not for long, I'm sure.  She hasn't posted any blocks for May (too busy with market, etc.) so not sure if there will be 2 next time.  The good news is that they don't have a lot of stitching.  This one took longer than most, just to go around the snowflake...
 And the "I" block - it will spell out "Let It Snow".  I tried blanket stitching around the stars but they are too small and it didn't look good.  I think this is better, and it was faster!

I've also been busy shipping out charms this week - Charming 4 is almost over already!  Just one more.  I wasn't going to offer this program again, but I've had quite a few requests, so maybe we will do it again.  More good news on the jewelry front - the new Iowa Quilt Museum has only been open a week and they already placed a 2nd order for jewelry!  Been busy working on that and need to finish it up today.  I'm sure my furry helpers will be up to the task!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

New, fun, pretty

I put these on my website this morning...cute little red scissors and a US flag fob.  We sell these (and quite a few other) scissors at shows, but I have a limited number of slots on my website, so I've never added them there.  We've sold tons of fobs lately and I thought it might be fun to offer them together.  I've listed them a little cheaper than if you bought them separately.

Lisa Bongean from Primitive Gatherings sent me some of her brand new Christmas Gatherings fabrics to play with.  These will be pendants soon.  I love the colors in this line - red, green and cheddar - they are so pretty!  And of course, I always like it when there are tiny little prints that I can put in the center.  Perfect!
 And speaking of Primitive Gatherings - look at this!  Not a great picture but you can see that this is the bottom border of Sunflower Gatherings - I'm so excited!  I have most of it stitched down now and then will add the other 3 borders - not a lot of stitching on those but it might take awhile to get the vine placed correctly.  Definitely getting closer to a finish on this one!

And look at how cute this is!
My customer, Pattiann, bought one of our cute little ruler boxes and turned it into an awesome pin cushion!  Look at those tiny hexies!  I really love this - thanks Pattiann for sharing it with me!

I had to snap a picture of this pretty sunset on our way home from my niece's soccer game last week.

You never know what you might see from my sewing room windows.  There are lots of deer in our area, but we usually see them on the other side of the pond.  The other day I looked out and they were chomping on cat nip (that might be interesting later) on CC's grave.  Then they started chewing on small trees so I yelled and they ran off.  I don't think hubby would appreciate them eating the fruit trees and the garden!
 We finally had some perfect spring days and I just had to sit on the deck for awhile.  Isn't that a pretty blue sky?
Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Surprise!!


If you know me, you know that I LOVE a fun mail day!  We decided that we want to be a part of YOUR fun mail day, so we are starting this brand new program called “Surprise!”. In these Surprise boxes we will be including some of our handmade items and also a few things that we sell at shows, but that we don’t have room for on our website, such as handmade pin cushions and other one-of-a-kind things.  In this program I’m planning to include a brand new shape/size of ruler box, that no one else has seen yet, and some other little surprises along the way. This will not be like some of those programs, where you get a bunch of things that you won't like or use.  This will be good stuff - the things that we make ourselves, sell at shows when we vend, and some of my favorite things. The picture shows some of the items that may be included.

Do you struggle trying to find new and unique gifts for your quilty friends? Treat them with fun mail too!  This would be the perfect gift for a friend! 

By purchasing “Surprise!” you are committing to the full 6 month program where, starting in July, you will receive 3 shipments - one every-other month.  Your first payment secures your spot for the entire program. With each new shipment you will receive an electronic invoice for $35.00, (which includes S&H within the US) that can be paid using a credit card, or PayPal.  Space in this program is very limited, so sign up now to secure your spot!  We will ship these internationally, but will have to add some shipping for those.

Go to our website to order your Surprise box now!



Friday, May 20, 2016

A new Sew Along

I recently finished Home for the Holidays by Primitive Gatherings and the ONLY way I got that accomplished was because I jumped on the Sew Along bandwagon on Instagram! It is a quilt that I had hoped to make for a couple of years, but just didn't ever get it started.  Seeing that there was a group on IG gave me that little push that I needed!

Now I am determined to finish Sunflower Gatherings (also a Primitive Gatherings design).  I've had all of the blocks stitched and pieced and just needed to put it together.  There is a lot of stitching that overlaps onto other blocks/rows/borders, so that is what I'm doing now.  The center is together and the first border is on.  I have all of the wool pieces prepped and ready for the final border - exciting!  I don't have a lot of time to work on it, but you would be surprised at how much you can do in an hour or two in the evening.

When this one is finished, I will be starting a big project...Primitive Garden!  I'm so excited to be committing to this one.  I WILL get it started and finished.  I say this with confidence because...we are doing another Sew Along!  Here is Lisa's original quilt...


She has done this as a BOM for a long time, but is now offering it as a full kit, see it here.  You have to purchase the pattern separately.

When I was in Paducah there was a version of this quilt there - I really love the flag that she added on the right border!  I'm really sorry that I can't give credit to the person who made this beautiful quilt, but I can't quite read the name  - I think it is Rosemary ???


Nancy has a Pinterest board for this quilt, and I have done the same - see it here...  I love some of the little details that people have added to their quilts and be sure to check out the picture that has TWO of these!  I read that they were made by a mother and a daughter.

I will be hosting this SAL with Heather from Mountain Home Quilts.  We will both be posting information on our blogs and we can all post on Instagram.  We have also decided to start a Facebook page for this SAL so that we can better communicate with everyone.  I love IG - but it's best for just posting pictures - not a lot of dialogue, and for this project we decided it would be nice to be able to have more conversations.  This will be a closed group, so you will need to request to join - check it out here.

Here are the few details that we know so far...we will not be starting this until the fall - September/October.  Until then you can start gathering everything you will need.  Ordering the kit will take a lot of work out of this, but I will be using my stash, so that will take some thought!  Lisa at Primitive Gatherings also offers a thread kit for this, if you don't have a thread stash.  I use Steam A Seam Lite 2 for all of my wool applique - so that is something else to think about - if you use a product like this you will need quite a bit for this project. Our plan is to do it just as the pattern is laid out - which will take 14 months.  It is completely up to you how you handle it - there will be NO RULES, just a guideline to follow if you choose.  We are doing this because it's a gorgeous quilt and I know for me, I probably won't get it done if I just work on it by myself.  Seeing everyone's pictures and progress along the way really helps you stay motivated.  And it's a great way to meet some new quilty friends!  I'm sure we will have some fun stuff along the way - maybe a giveaway - we will figure it out as we go. Hope you decide to play along!

If you are interested in making this quilt with us, be sure to go sign up for the Facebook page and we will start getting to know each other!



Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Get out the crayons!

Do you like to color?  I have always loved to color - I remember having those great big posters that were a huge coloring page - did you have those?  I wish I knew where mine were...one had butterflies and flowers all over it.  So fun! I, for one, am thrilled that adult coloring books are now "the thing"!  My sister-in-law gave me one for Christmas, and my friend, Nancy gave me one for my birthday - with a big package of markers.  Amazing!  I love the look of the rainbow of markers.  Or a big box of new crayons...so pretty!  Oh....another thing I have always loved is the big wall of towels in large department stores.  I'm just drawn to that array of gorgeous colors!  Ok...back to what I was really going to post about (but think of me the next time you look at one of those pretty towel walls!).

Have you seen the quilting of Karen at Redbird Quilt Co.?  She does the most amazing machine quilting on her home machine - it really blows my mind. Last year she started posting pictures of her doodles - which are also just amazing to me.  Wow - if only I could doodle like that!  Anyway...she published a book of her doodles for us to color!  SO FUN!!!  Of course, I had to order myself one!  Here is the cover...
Cool, huh?  The whole book is really fun - I can't wait to break out the crayons.  Or should I use the markers? Or maybe colored pencils?  Maybe I'll just go to the store and stare at the towel wall...