Me & My Stitches

Me & My Stitches
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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Silly cats!

Ozzie has had a fascination with the shower lately!  He sleeps here a lot, and walks all the way into the shower when I'm in there!  Doesn't seem to care that he's getting wet, and evidently likes to drink warm, soapy water.  Earlier this morning he was sitting in the shower, meowing his head off.  I finally turned it on for him for awhile.  What a weirdo!

 Yesterday I was attempting to pack up about 40 quilts for a presentation/trunk show that I'm doing in Mission, KS this week.  The quilt in the suitcase is the very first quilt that I ever made.  First quilt in the suitcase...I turn around...and here's Callie, nice and comfy!  It's no wonder it takes me so long to get anything done!

We have a bunch of small orders to finish up today, and a few things that I want to finish to take to KS.  It is soooo hot and humid here, so I am very happy to be working inside!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Boxes everywhere!

We had a big customer order of these cute little 2" x 4" ruler boxes - don't they look fun all in a pile?

Take a look at our website to see all of the different shapes and sizes!

 I try to do a little bit of stitching each night, and have been working on block one of A Primitive Garden, by Primitive Gatherings.  If you want to join our Sew Along, go to the Facebook page and request to join, and we will get you approved.  We aren't officially starting until fall, but we have a lot of people that are already in different stages of working on this.  I love the group - we are already motivating each other to get stitching.  Exciting to have my first block finished!
Have a great week!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Last year we started a program called "Celebrate" - it's a year-long program, where you receive a new pendant or pin every-other month, that are related to holidays or seasons.  It was a lot of fun, and we have decided to run that program again.  This is a sample of what you will receive throughout the year.  You can see all of the details on my website.  

Along with the pendants you also get a free pin cushion pattern each month!  One of my clever customers, Kathie, decided to use her patterns to make wall hangings instead - such a great idea - then you have something cute to hang up for the seasons and holidays!  Look how fun these are...

 Make sure you sign up now - as always, space is limited (because I can only make so many!).  Do you need a unique gift for a friend?  This would be perfect - the gift that keeps on giving!

I started stitching on my Primitive Garden quilt. You can see that I'm using the cute ruler box that DH made for me to hold my threads, scissors, needles, etc.  Perfect!
 I bought a little bundle of wool from Shakerwood Woolens that I used for the purple flowers - it was just perfect.

 We've been busy with jewelry - trying to build things back up for upcoming shows.  I am doing a presentation/trunk show for a guild in Mission, KS in just a few weeks and will be taking some of these with me.

 I had a ton of pendants that I wanted to add bling to - it took forever, but I'm happy with the results. I ordered a bunch of cute charms and had fun adding them to the mix...

I used a lot of little sewing-related charms in these - scissors, irons, buttons, sewing machines - fun!

And now it's time to get busy mailing out the first installment of "Surprise!".  If you signed up, be watching your mailbox this week!

Have a great day!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Pin cushions galore!

When we vend at shows, we usually have lots of pin cushions for sale.  I just don't have time to make them, so my aunt has taken over that job.  Look at all of these! Lots of variety and so fun to just look at all of them.  Now that was a fun mail day!

And speaking of fun mail - our new program called "Surprise" is full - thanks to everyone who signed up - you will be getting a fun surprise in the mail in the next few weeks!

There was another little surprise in the box with the pin cushions...
Haha - this made me laugh - and sounds just like something Aunt Nancy would say!  Now I need to find a couple of these for my nieces!

I bought a fat quarter bundle of this fabric called Bee Creative, by Deb Strain.  I've wanted to make something bee related for my hubby and thought I would give this block a try.  I spent some bonding time with my seam ripper making this, but that was operator error.  Now I just need to decide what to do next.  I keep thinking of just having four bee blocks, with some kind of sashing and a border or two.  There are some really pretty, large prints in this line, and I bought a little yardage of a couple of them when we were in Paducah.  I really don't have time to think about it at the moment, so it will marinate for awhile!

I'm trying to keep up with Merry Christmas from Buttermilk Basin.  Sew Graceful has really chosen nice fabrics and wools, although there were a couple of little things that I substituted in this block.  Awhile back my dad gave me a wool suit that he has had for as long as I can remember.  Of course, I cut it up and felted it!  I have decided to try to use some of it in all or most of my wool projects.  See the 3 Christmas ornaments?  The plaid one is Dad's suit!  I think it blends in fine.  Better than what I used for the toe and heel of the stocking - lol!  I am kind of getting tired of this BOM, but I don't want it to get tossed aside and not finished, so I will try to keep at it.  Glad it only comes once a month!
Hope you have a great holiday weekend!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A finish, a start, and a few other things!

I am so happy to report that I finished Sunflower Gatherings!  I really love this quilt and now I can't wait to get it quilted so I can hang it up!  

 My goal was to get Sunflower finished up so that I could start in on A Primitive Garden.  If you want to join in on this one, we are doing a Sew Along (officially starting this fall).  We will be posting on Instagram and Facebook.  Here are the flowers all cut out and ready to go.  I still need to figure out which greens to use on all of the stems and leaves.
 Some backgrounds that I drug out - still trying to decide if I like them all.  I don't have enough yardage for all 4 borders, so will have to shop for a couple more.

Callie is the one who is usually in this basket, but Ozzie took over to watch me trace my pattern onto Steam A Seam.  Doesn't he look interested?!

I just had to share these cute bees!  They are made out of beeswax by my friend Lois.  She is making us molds for these so we can make our own and sell them at shows.  Aren't they perfect?  That was a fun mail day!
 And look at this one!  It is so stinking cute.  Take a look at her website, she has this and many more - all are just wonderful.

Ok, gotta go, so they can work on my computer some more.  That is getting extremely old.  So sick of it, and I just don't understand why no one can get it straightened out.  I keep thinking we are getting closer, then it seems that something else happens.  Cross your fingers for me!

Have a great day!

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 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!!