21 January, 2018

Missing Package And No Communication

The Post Office officially sucks at communication.

They ignored my case.
They ignored my sister's case.
They ignored my son - the recipient of two christmas packages that were placed into parcel lockers at his apartment complex.
They won't even address the issue of no keys to the parcel lockers.

Other than geo-tracking them to the parcel lockers, there's been no word.

I filed my priority claim today - one month after the package disappeared.

I went to Fabric Depot today and re-bought all the fabrics. Of course that's impossible. I bought the first fabrics for the quilt in October. The store is sold out of the original fabrics.

Moving on. Pencil Girl was unable to come today, so we did about a thousand messages back and forth.

Anyway, I did want to address a concern of several of my readers. It is highly unlikely your package will go astray. If you package it well, secure the label (inside the box and outside). Utilizing a good condition new box (for stability), wrapping in plastic (in case it gets wet).

In my 40 plus years of shipping packages, I have only had a handful go stray and I send a lot of packages.

I just drew the lottery on an emotionally charged christmas package to my son who moved out of state.

Fabrics all washed and doing their drying thing. I'll cut them out next weekend.

Oh - the photo above is of the beach south of me, down by Coos Bay, Oregon, taken by my cousin. The moon and the waves conspired to provide the BIG wave.
Very exciting winter surf on the Oregon coast.

My new favorite song heard on the radio this morning.
You  have to listen to that piano. mmmm..mmmmm One of the better re-makes of a classic Bob Dylan song: Don't think twice, it's all right.

17 January, 2018

Pencil Girls Christmas Gift To Me

longer sleeves. I vote for yes.

Pencil Girl made me this Kimono Jacket. She's been a friend since college and we both worked at the same fabric store - so we've sewn our whole lives together.

Anyway - last fall, she and I went to a Sip (wine in a fabric store!) and Sew at Fabric Depot to meet MimiG (look her up) and Deb  Kreiling. We'd met Deb for the first time at Sew Expo last Spring. She pretty much runs Simplicity Patterns.

Deb is shockingly short (my apologies, but she's shorter than me) and was wearing this beautiful kimono style jacket. I ran and grabbed the pattern, as did Pencil Girl. FYI: Simplicity 1108.

The jacket was so simple and so flattering.

straight from work with sweaty tshirt

 Pencil Girl even egged me on to buy this georgette - a fine flowy fabric on one of our recent Fabric Depot trips. I declined  - mostly because I was just starting the holiday season at work. I don't need more fabric waiting for me to find time.

Was I ever surprised to see this in my mailbox the other day. She does exquisite finishing too. And this is a muslin - made quickly to finesse the fit.

It fits!

Deb from Simplicity added some sleeve bands - lengthening the sleeve at the same time. Pencil Girl even made up some longer sleeve bands for me to try out.

Right now - I'm too lazy to change anything. And for the first time in months, I dreamed about sewing during my nap the other day. I may have the perfect fabric to make another in my stash.

I'm still a bit amazed that she sewed a wearable garment for me, and it fits, that I am showing you totally unedited photos. Don't get used to it.

***Update on missing package - see previous posts if you're nosy:
Today - wednesday - I received an email from USPS inviting me to fill out a survey regarding our recent missing package case. I was not flattering as no one has resolved anything nor have they followed up. Hello - here's my email.............

Tonight - ds found a note from the apartment complex manager that he had a package in the office. **** Could it be the missing one suddenly visible again? Is there two?

Stay tuned. It's almost been a month. Well - longer than three weeks. I mailed it on the 20th of December?

15 January, 2018

More Bowls And A Piper J5

 I made a second Orange Clothesline Bowl.
Only differentiated by the amount of Satsumas left in the house!

 These two - the stripey one with handles and the solid orange were destined to my mail carrier as she goes above and beyond to accurately and kindly deliver our mail. I needed a gift for her and I may have gone overboard. Her favorite color is orange. I think this set was my best ever in the clothesline obsession.

I meant to make two bowls in graduated sizes but my organic way of designing had other ideas. Once the rope is under my presser foot, anything can happen.

 I came up with a new finish -  little confetti dots for a design detail.
By the second one, it looked more like confetti.

I also tried out a leather accent piece, to hide the end joins. Riveting, yes? lol

If you're interested, the second bowl is now listed in my etsy store: RunningWithHandmade.

Here's the Piper J5. It will have it's maiden voyage in about a month. Still fiddling with weird small stuff. The engine cowling is rubbing behind the propeller housing, for instance.

We had a 60' sunny break from all our drizzle so it seemed like a great day to run up the engine. A trip up and down the runway to get some oil into the cylinders and flash the neighbors.

It doesn't sound as good as the Stearman big round engine but it was a fine sound on Saturday.

***Update on pkg debacle. Well - it's MLK day and a holiday. Maybe some news on Tuesday....or at least more excuses.

12 January, 2018

Chalk Bag Number 2

 I made a chalk bag for my son's girlfriend. Her request, via my son, was for a Hawaiian-style fabric.

***UPDATE on missing christmas package at bottom of post.

I didn't quite get this done in time to ship (hallalujah! see two previous posts on The Missing Package). I was also sick most of December, finishing out my year with a bad case of bronchitis and flu (and the usual forced overtime which didn't help).

I had made one before in 2010 (!) for my son and the link to the tutorial had broken so I spent most  of November searching for another pattern.

Thankfully, someone else had saved the original tutorial that I liked, and this time, I printed it out to save. The internet is so capricious.

Anyway, most chalk bags patterns are round cylinders with a round bottom. This one is more ovoid-shaped with a gusset. It's narrower because of the gusset. It sits closer to the body.

Oh - for those who don't rock-climb or do gymnastics -- the chalk bag hangs from your climbing belt. You can dip your hand in to chalk up so you don't slip as much. Especially useful in rock climbing gyms. The inner bag cinches up tight to keep the chalk inside of the bag when in storage.

The Happy Face cord lock was bought in Japan

Fortunately, the son and girlfriend drove home for New Year's and I was able to present this, in person, to the girlfriend who wins the very appreciative award. 

I love giving handmade but the properly appreciative recipients get more.

This is the one I made my son, 7 years ago.

These chalk bags are pretty easy to sew - I can get one done in an hour. They require some specialty parts - elastic cording, sturdy grosgrain belting/ribbon, tie strap or something similar.
I saw some newish inspiration while searching for a tutorial online of making them with anime features. Gets  my mind percolating.

***Update on missing Christmas Package. Thursday afternoon we heard some (excuses) words about the parcel lockers. "They appear to have been tampered with."  They did find a package addressed to ds from a while ago. They didn't say from whom.

My question is WHY have no parcel locker keys been given out? And, if someone is tampering with the parcel lockers, why is a package mailed more than two months ago  - not taken? Not given a key either?
Why did it take three weeks to get to this point?

We are still awaiting word on this "Launching a big investigation."


I read this to mean I will have to go through the claim process to get $50 out of USPS. (priority comes with automatic $50)  --- To buy more fabric and re-make.
On a good note, ds put an offer on a house this week so we won't have to deal with apartment package delivery anymore.

09 January, 2018

The Missing Gift, Part 2

Supposedly this gift to my son is in a parcel locker at his apartment complex. The postmaster geo-tracked it, it must be so.

We are still in 'negotiations' to get the postmaster to get off his duff and go open the parcel lockers.

My sister also sent ds a christmas package and it too is in a parcel locker.

We blame everything on Lester.

Lester is a postal worker who threw everyone's packages into lockers and is holding the keys hostage.
We might be making that up. maybe. Not the Lester part. Who names their kids Lester nowadays?

After ascertaining that the package(s) are in the parcel lockers, the son's girlfriend actually got home in time to meet Lester. He threw all the keys on the ground amidst serious grumblings and moanings and basically refused to find the package.

Then ds met two newish postal carriers on another day who tried to open what lockers they could. They didn't have all the keys.

What keeps us hopeful on this 9th day of January is that two packages for my son are in there. Not just mine. With the handmade quilt. But my sister's (his auntie) as well.

In my despairing moments, someone else got the locker key and is now in possession of beautiful handmade gifts.

We are still negotiating with the local post office for the release of our packages.

Inside were another of my handmade gifts this year. Both my kids are amazing Instagram photographers. I took their photos and printed them and then attached them with double-sided tape to quality A4 paper and made notecards for everyone.

L to R: Bridge in Nevada, Yosemite, Seward, AK hwy. Top left is Mt Jefferson Wilderness

 Another image I printed: My daughter in our Stearman biplane.

 My niece in Glacier National Park.

My kids still write letters. My mom was a noted letter writer (haha - pun!)

These are all gifts I can re-create.

My UPS package arrived safely to my son but we have had trouble with the post office at this apt complex. I probably will utilize UPS in the future.

07 January, 2018

The Gift That Went Missing

Wonder clips holding binding in place. While it was foggy outside, it wasn't raining on this sunday for a photo shoot. I work during daylight hours, so this was my opportunity to get the whole quilt photographed.

 I made a quilt for my son and his girlfriend. A huge gingham style flannel throw.

A while back, he sent me a photo of their living room and the used rug his girlfriend had just bought on ebay.
A few days later, I saw my inspiration quilt over at SOTAK's site and I started planning a quilt.

What could go wrong?

Other than the fact that I don't quilt. ahem.

I carefully worked out the yardage and then grabbed Pencil Girl for a Fabric Depot visit.
We found the gingham colors of black, grey and white right away. The backing fabric in a deep red was easily located as well.
But then it took an hour and a half to decide on the binding fabric.
(this is number one of my reasons for why I don't quilt - endless fabric decisions that take hours).

Pencil Girl saved me by reminding me there isn't an even amount of squares of each color. We had to find an actual gingham and pen out a mini-map of the squares.

Then I washed  my flannels - cuz they shrink. Even though they were quilter's flannels, they still shrunk and not in the same way.

I cut my first squares with no problem. The 2nd fabric wasn't long enough to yield the same squares because the stupid fabric shrunk widthwise instead of lengthwise.

I left plenty of time for this quilt . I started it in October for a christmas finish knowing how busy I am during the holiday season at work.

This super easy large-block quilt required way too many overnight decisions. I decided to piece my squares on the 2nd and 3rd colors to get the right amount instead of going back to the store and hoping they still had the same fabrics.

It's flannel and no one would notice.

Uhhh...did I mention that flannel stretches? Each time I handled it, or ironed the seams flat, it stretched. It was a fun party attempting to get my squares to line up as I sewed the rows together.

 I wanted to add a small gingham motif to the backing to break it up but because of the afore-mentioned piecing of the squares, I barely had enough scraps to create a smallish motif.

I thought I had pieced my backing to the same size as the front. 70 inches x 70 inches across for a square quilt. But I didn't.

More overnight decisions. It's coming on Thanksgiving and I need to be further along on this project.
I decided a square throw is over-rated and decided to lop off one column of the gingham. Each square is 10" wide. So now my throw will be 60" wide x 70" tall. Better all around.

I finally get my quilt sandwich together and because of the stretching I encountered while piecing, I decide to hand-quilt this puppy. Machine quilting would probably result in wonky and wrinkly on the other side.

The hand-quilting went very well - probably the only thing in this darn quilt that did. I was contemplating stitching on both sides of the seams but it's flannel and there's enough nap to hold the fabric layers stable.    And the christmas time-crunch.

 I used a sashiko stitch which is really just a running stitch but a tad more refined.
For instance, in sashiko, you don't meet at intersections. There's a little space left in the middle, by design.

 For the binding, I used pillow ticking fabric to recreate the stripe
This fabric behaved as expected.

I hand-stitched the binding down. I zig-zagged my edges of the quilt to compress the layers.  I machine-sewed one side of the binding down and then folded it over to hand-stitch and finish.

And got it finished in time to ship to ds and girlfriend to arrive before christmas. Which  the tracking showed it did.

But it didn't.
Stay tuned for part two of why I don't quilt.

02 January, 2018

Another Super Quick Christmas Gift

 A Portland Timbers Soccer Team Pillow.
Done as a no-sew fleece cover.

 I had a 20" Ikea pillow form - which is not lofty enough folks. Instead, I used a pillow form from a garage sale acquired pillow that was fuller.

To begin with, I bought enough polar fleece fabric to cover the pillow with fringe.
20" plus 3" fringe all around. 20 + 3 + 3 = 26". Fleece is generally 60" wide. I bought 27" aka 3/4 yard and had enough to cover one pillow.

I squared up my two pillow sides (back and front) and started cutting my fringe. 1 1/4" wide snipping 3 inches in. I used tape to make my snips even.

Then I folded one fringette back and snipped a small hole in the middle of the four layers and fed the end of the fringette through, thus securing it.

 When you have three sides done, slip your pillow form inside. If you need to cut more to tighten up the cover, this is your chance. Mine was fine and I continued flipping the end of the fringettes through the small slits.
 Twenty minutes. Promise. Easy peasy.

And off it went, mailed to Alaska and the only Portland Timbers Soccer team fan up in the far north.