29 September, 2011

Snap Bags

Can't stop.
--Making these snappy purses.

These snap bags are so gratuitous to make.
   * Quick to execute
   * Scrap fabric usage
   * Snap Factor

When you Snap these open, there is a snappy sound which is akin to snapping your fingers loudly.

This is a fast bag I made to throw into a care package to my nephews.
The bag, filled with candy, is for my sis.
  Let the nephews beg.

* Also - perfect opportunity to embellish with rick rack!

28 September, 2011

My Stuff

There is something about Spring and Fall that calls out for less stuff.

Today, I'm off to the thrift store, my friends' vintage store, the library and the high school greenhouses.
The car is loaded up and ready to move some stuff out of here.

Here is a video that another friend sent to me that should shame you into moving (some of) your stuff on:
The infamous George Carlin claiming My Stuff is better than your stuff.

 I realize this next request could be conceived as counter-intuituve on the stuff-front.
There are three more days to write more letters, send more postcards, send one more care package and maybe help keep your rural mail delivery intact.

25 September, 2011

I Locked Myself In The Sewing Room

Two cute small bags. Big enough for cosmetics or a wallet and cell phone.

Serious amount or rick rack

Have to go back to the real world now. I canned tomatoes yesterday - they need to be washed to get canning residue off and labeled and put away.
I need to also pick some oregano and thyme before it rains so they can start drying. I've already dried enough sage. My second batch of basil is almost dry enough. I'm trying to get better at utilizing what is in my yard before I have to go buy oregano or basil because I need some right now.
Planning ahead.

And then comes the million dollar question: What's for dinner?

24 September, 2011

How To Teach Children To Sew

My great-niece, Phea, cutting out doll clothes.

Her small table is in her Mom's crafting room.
That's the rocker I found at a garage sale and re-painted and sewed new cushions to make it the coolest rocker at Phea's house.
Phea is not quite 3 years old.

23 September, 2011

So - How Does My Rural Mail Carrier Get Paid?

My little post about Mail Count and the IMPORTANCE of mailing letters right now (thru the end of September) has generated a good question.
How does a Rural Mail Carrier get paid?

The rural carrier gets paid an evaluated salary.
The Post Office periodically conducts mail counts where everything a rural carrier does is counted.
From time spent sorting in the office, to route maintenance, to the number of letters, flats (manila envelope) and packages.
Everything is counted.
My mailbox is part of a group of mailboxes. The carrier gets a few minutes to 'fill' our row of 36 boxes. He gets minutes for each single box on the route and a slightly lesser rate for a group. The miles driven on the route play into this as well. Dismounting from the vehicle gets counted and only certain dismounts are allowed. Generally speaking, a carrier is not paid to get out of his vehicle to bring your parcel to your door. An average number of parcel dismounts is calculated and this goes into the formula.
The annual salary is formatted from this formula.

So on Mondays when mail volume is heaviest (sun. & mon. mail), a carrier may work an 11 hour day. Their route may only be evaluated as an 8-hr day. On Thursdays when mail volume might be less and a carrier gets back to the office before 8 hrs - well- he still gets paid for an 8-hr day because that is what his route is evaluated as. During the summer, the carriers generally get  back well within the evaluated time. During Christmas, the carriers generally get back long after the evaluated time. Essentially, this evaluated time is a salary.

If mail volume drops, then the route may get re-evaluated and the route will either be added onto or the salary is cut.
Things you don't think about go into this formula. Like counting steps. My carrier says it's a bit like black magic.
If someone decides to use a PO Box instead of street delivery, the number of boxes falls as well as mail volume. Letter-sized mail is all route-sorted on the big machines and sent out to carriers which is faster than carriers sorting their own mail. Over the years, as in all industries, carriers have been asked to do more within those evaluated route hours. The average carrier brings mail to over 500 customers - each and every day.

Whether you live far out in the wilds with no neighbors or a close-knit rural community, you get mail every day but Sunday. This is actually mandated  by Congress -over two hundred years ago, that every American have access to mail delivery.

Over the last century, the population has moved closer to big cities as opposed to living way the heck out there. A concern of mine is the number of people who choose to live in isolated spots not having access to the real world - of computers, of Amazon.com, of smart phones. This causes them to drive more to get the goods they need as well as make the rural lifestyle more expensive to maintain. They are getting left  behind.
But these are the people who, by working two or three jobs, maintain that simpler lifestyle. Usually one of the jobs involves mail-order/internet driven businesses. Without  mail delivery, these part-time jobs would go away. I, myself, in addition to working a job, have a part-time hobby business that brings in extra. I rely on UPS and the USPS to get goods to my customers quickly and efficiently.

The thing is, in many rural communities, the only jobs with benefits are government jobs - either with the city, the schools or the post office. The post office is one of the last blue collar jobs that pays a family wage, has benefits and you don't have to dress up or have a college degree. Benefits are the million dollar question for families. How do you afford them?

Despite what the USPS is saying in their big ad campaigns, package volume has increased,  and bulk mail (gotta love it or hate it) has increased. The only category that has dropped is First-class mail. E-mail, texting and on-line bill paying are directly responsible for this.

I value the service my mail carrier does for me. I know his wife has diabetes. He needs the benefits and the paycheck to pay his property taxes. I am all for writing a few more letters this week, sending some extra care packages out and doing what I can to keep my carrier. I don't want his route to be added onto.

So - send a letter.  It will cost you 44 cents. What in the world can you even buy for 44 cents?
Send a postcard. Send a thank-you note. I just sent off some ebay & Etsy items today as well as a care package for my daughter. I have a friend who committed to send me a letter each day of this two-week count.
She's writing a serial installment story. Each letter ends with a cliff hanger. It's very entertaining.

22 September, 2011

Ahoy There!

Swimming against the tide  has been my weeks' story. And I know the full moon was last week.
Somehow you get through it. ( I was just e-mailing a friend about some of the techno-trouble I have had this week-- it's like I am the south magnet next to another south magnet on the electronic stuff. Very repelling!)
Just the highlights: My 2002 computer decided to go into a coma yesterday. Still in a frazzle because of the cumulative week's events, I left the house this morning determined not to spend it at home spinning my wheels.
I drove over to my niece's house to see my great-nieces, used her computer to send necessary e-mails, helped Phea pluck a still-warm-to-the-touch egg from Bob (the chicken) and ate it for lunch. They have a second chicken, Spot, who also lays eggs but they are tiny ones. Bob's eggs are the standard large size.

I moved on to meeting Pencil Girl at the NW Quilt Expo where we bought some totally frivolous items and thoroughly enjoyed each others company.

 A modern (Indian) Button Blanket. This  was a kick to look at. 
Stapling a criss-cross  pattern became the quilting. Plastic doodads (from your socks, hang tags, etc) ranged amongst the buttons on the border. Lots of grommets for textural interest .
At the top is spelled out "LOON< LOONEY< LUNATIC".

After surviving rush-hour traffic home and wrecks just one minute ahead of me, I arrived home, fresh (lol) and ready to tackle my computer problem. I was able to open my add/delete program and deleted one gigantic 1700MB Garmin file and that alone cleared my computer enough to get it back up to speed. Earlier in the morning, I was able to get onto my husband's side (segregated computer) and start a serious AVG scan where it was determined there was no virus - just NO MORE SPACE.
Definitely a new computer in the near future - maybe for Christmas when I have a kid home to install all those necessary operating programs.

Here's some movies I took yesterday - once I deleted photos on my "Memory card full" camera. (I have other memory cards but they were stashed in a very important place last year when we did the wood floors).
Thankfully, my next set of rechargeable batteries actually held a charge so I could get these take-offs.

And you might as well see two take-offs:
{and TURN the VOLUME up!)

And if you still want to participate in mailing a letter or a postcard or a package to help keep mail delivery you can see this post as to why it even matters.
Thank you.

20 September, 2011


A lot of grommets.
Found these at a local tool sale. Still figuring out what to keep and what to sell. I don't need all of these grommets and selling some will pay for blowing my garage sale budget.
They came in a metal box about a foot square. Each box (2) has five drawers. Filled with an overwhelming display of grommets.
Each drawer has a hinged lid keeping the different types of grommet fasteners from fraternizing with their neighbors.
Each box came with a grommet press and the lid of each box shows the military designation of each type of fastener.
A lot of grommets.

I think that clutch purse I just made needs a couple of grommets.

19 September, 2011

Deepwood Estate Vintage Flea Market

My friends, Miss Creative and Lavender Girl had a booth at this Vintage Fair this weekend.
They easily had one of the top vintage booths there with merchandise flying out of their chenille covered canopy.

Only a few of these photos are from their booth. I rather liked this black & red vignette from one of the other vendors.

I really liked the repeating roundness of the old records.

Difficult to get a good photo of the fresh hops hanging down from the booth top 
--- showcasing vintage furs.

Lavender Hill Cottage's Ladies Couch - only $225.

 I loved this vendor's apron. Re-purposed from a couch slip-cover(or was that a duvet cover?).
The apron can be worn long or buttoned up to the waist creating a pouch pocket.

18 September, 2011

Random Writings.

First of all, the race plane crash at the Reno Air Races involved people we know.
The flying world is small.

I am relieved at the outcome. I never like to know about plane crashes and I refuse to watch the youtube videos of this crash.
I am still stunned on quite a few levels about this crash. I have spoken to the people I know who were down at the races and just hearing their voices has helped tremendously.

Secondly- can I remind you to mail a letter this week? see my post on why.
I cannot emphasize enough why this is  important.

My job with benefits is leaving me with a bit of free time this fall. I am loving it as I can address my health problems a little more in depth and I have been spending more time in my sewing room.
I have a bunch of unfinished projects to show you.  --I  thought to wait until I actually finished one but these are a tad more in depth than my usual quickie projects.
 This is a very ambitious quilted sewing machine cover. I came across it here. Thimble was reviewing a quilting book and sewed one up herself. I loved hers.
It involves squares and log cabin strips. The squares end up wonky because of how you place the blocks.
I am hand-quilting this because I want it to be reversible. I wanted to emphasize these wonky  squares from small scraps of fabrics that tell a story of who I am.  Machine-quilting wouldn't do this plus I was afraid I would muck up the back side which is a fabric I love.
After quilting it, I need to bind it. Still a few hours from being finished.

However - if I had seen it from the book- I would never have made it.  What is it about colors and design that inspire us?


Fresh Quilting - top right - sewing machine cover

Today's quick sewing:
Here is a small clutch purse I made today. I am not overly fond of the resulting bag but feel my second attempt will rectify those tiny problems.
     1. do not use metal zipper just because that is what you have in black.
     2. adding thin cardboard for structure sort-of worked but do we really need those credit card pockets and divider in this small bag? change up the interfacings.
     3. playing with those gathers - I wish there was a bit more of them.

 This is the fabric that is the reverse side of my sewing machine cover. 
Lovely shade of green highlighting old sewing advertisements.

 This is a kindle cover. Never mind that I do not own a Kindle nor am I likely to own one. But I have a friend who might like this. I was entranced with playing around with the gathering of fabric to create another textured textile.  You can manipulate the gathers to highlight the rooster, for instance.

13 September, 2011

Flock & Fiber Festival 2011

It's hard to believe that summer is disappearing at a rapid rate.  I am not missing those 90' days but instead am enjoying the beginning of a long Indian Summer season.

It's time for the Flock & Fiber Festival held at the Clackamas Fairgrounds in Canby, Oregon.
September 24 & 25, 2011 for the public with a whole lot of classes and behind the scene trading going on for those who raise sheep, rabbits & llamas.

10 September, 2011

Letter Writing

Getting something in the mail unexpectedly is one of life's little joys.

A national mail count takes place the last two weeks of September 2011. What does a mail count mean?
This is the primary means of determining a rural letter carriers wages. Each letter, each manila envelope, each package counts towards a formula. The heart of the post office is your rural mail carrier. If there isn't enough mail to deliver, carrier routes and paychecks will get cut.
I am proposing a grass-roots effort to up the volume of mail during the last two weeks of September. I am asking each person who reads this to send one item through the mail.
It could be a postcard to your friend: 29 cents (2012 price 32 cents).
It could be a letter to your mom: 44 cents ( 2012 : 45 cents).
Or, a get-well-soon card to your friend: 44 cents .
It could be a book to your dad: $2.38 Media mail rate(2012: 45 cents).
It could be a small package of Rubber Bandz to your nephew: $1.71 ( $1.95 for 2012)
It could be a huge Priority Flat-Rate package of candy to your favorite nephew: $10.95 ( $11.35 for 2012).
Or a more restrained Priority Flat-rate envelope: $4.95 ( 2012: $5.15).

One item from every person in the United States would ensure the continuation of Rural mail delivery without restrictions for the next four years. Even if only a few participate, every letter counts. Every postcard counts. Every package counts.

If you have ever dreamed on starting your own business or currently own one, chances are - part of it is on the internet. Chances are - you rely on the postal system as part of your delivery system. Please order USPS (FREE!) supplies during this period (free delivery too!).

This is a helpful & funny place to peruse if you have difficulty in starting a letter. The Bureau of Communication is here to help.

Plan on sending your mail during September 15 -28th. The mail count starts on the 17th and continues through September 30th.

Does this have something to do with people too busy to send a letter?  yes.
Does this have something to do with me in the city?   Well no - but your recipient may be on a rural mail delivery route.
Does this really matter in the giant scheme of things?   It's a bit more permanent than a text message.
Is letter writing proven to make life more simple?   no.
Do I need to go to the post office?  Yes, to buy a stamp.
Do I need to send it asap?   Yes. The IDEA is to have mail volume increase during the last two weeks of September. Try to send it between Sept. 15th & Sept.23rd.
Will my mom like getting a letter from me?  No - she will LOVE it.
Will my nephews & Nieces love getting candy?  Duh.
Will this count towards random acts of kindness?  Yes.

09 September, 2011

Enough Tomatoes to Can

My first batch (Wednesday). By next week, I'll be swimming in tomatoes.

 For more info. on canning, go here.

08 September, 2011

Miss Ella

My practice grand-child #2, Miss Ella.
I found this chair at a garage sale for $5 before her sister was born.
I repainted the whole spindled chair and sewed up new monkey cushions.

So - it's now an heirloom.
This makes me feel better about tackling the biplane rocker my sister found.