Thursday, January 17, 2013

Intentions, Imperfection and Acceptance

Do your intentions ever get lost?  Or forgotten? 

I started this quilt before May 9, 2011 (my memory is not that good....I checked my blog posts):

My intention at the time was to make a quilt for myself and use some of the fabrics I had in my stash.  I had a Bali Pop that I liked and I really liked this pattern, Hugs and Kisses, by Jaybird Quilts.  Simple and manageable intention right?  Where did I go astray?

I made all the blocks and that went well.  Then I joined all the blocks and that went well.  I had one seam left to join the two halves of the top together and yet it has hung on my quilt wall for months.  MONTHS!!!  Just waiting for one seam.

You know what it was?  I didn't like how some of my blocks met, they were off here and there so I put it aside.  Perfection got in my way of finishing a quilt for myself.  Not a quilt for some big show.....just a quilt to snuggle under for myself.

I have a confession to make:  I'm not the best piecer in the world.  There....it's out....I feel so much better.  Waldo has even offered to give me some lessons on better piecing. No big deal right?  You know what I tell other people, including my daughter? 

"Just start, have fun and let it be what it turns out to be."

Great advise ay?  I think it is time I start taking it myself.  Acceptance is the word I choose to define my year and I'm guessing I'll be revisiting the practice of ACCEPTANCE over and over again.

I can accept that I'm not a great piecer and I can accept that my quilt will not be show quality and I also admit that if you look for the mistakes, you'll find them.  Somehow finishing a quilt seems so much more exciting than wrangling with all these "issues" so I finished the last seam yesterday.
Instead of tearing out the stitches when the blocks didn't quite meet, I did a basting stitch first.  When I opened the quilt I decided I could live with the imperfections so I then stitched a permanent seam.  There is freedom in letting go :)

Now, to choose the borders and binding.  Here I go again....frustrating the tar out of myself.  I want the quilt to be pleasing to my eye when it is finished.  I'm not the best at choosing colors....so....I went through my stash to see what I had (after all I intended to use my stash...not buy more fabric).  Here are some options:
Exhibit A...LOL
Exhibit B
Exhibit C
Exhibit D
Exhibit E
Exhibit F
Exhibit G
Exhibit G

And these are only the options I want to show you....am I nuts or what?  I need more color confidence is what I need.  After I publish this post, I'm going down and getting my color wheel....it will tell me which one's work best together.  I'd also like to know your opinion.....someone needs to educate me today :)

Perfectly Imperfect Smiles,
Kelly



Monday, January 14, 2013

Holiday Re-Cap

This is a photo heavy post...be forewarned!

The holidays are still with us here at IHAN....if you can believe that.  We were hoping to get our holiday decorations down tonight, not happening!   Too much going on...still...so it will have to wait until later in the week.  I don't feel too bad because I see plenty of neighbors who are still turning on their outdoor lights :)



This photo hasn't been posted yet....hate to be so late in wishing everyone a Happy New Year from the Flamingos, it just happens sometimes :)

(Monday morning now and I'm finishing this post.  You may be shocked to know we no longer have a Christmas tree in our living room....giggles.

Back to the Re-Cap

Wait until you see what "the girls" gave their grandparents for Christmas.  Keep in mind Maddy has less than 3 hours of sewing time under her belt and Krista has none...zero...up until they decided they wanted to give their grandparents matching aprons. 

They purchased some aprons and came with these designs all on their own....using only what I had in my stash.
 Here they are Christmas morning surprising Grandma and Grandpa (they call one another "Hun" and "Babe").

This is their "daytime" aprons.  Grandpa's tie is put on by velcro so it can be changed out for his "evening" apron.  The bottom of Grandma's apron is buttoned on so it is interchangeable.

All Grandpa had to do was unsnap his apron to unveil his "evening" look and Grandma just buttons on her matching evening wear....complete with crystal bling across the top...look closely.

The pride I felt watching those two girls go to work on those aprons made my heart swell.  They did a great job, don't you think?


This is one of the gifts I received from all three girls (yes, we have three grown daughters for those of you who are new to the IHAN blog).  My own sewing tool belt.  They went to the internet and took images of the notions I have and printed color photos and taped them into the tool belt.....they are just tooo clever!  I think I'll wear this and use it to hold my phone too!

A few other very noteworthy gifts I received:
Fleece socks from LLBean.  I have made several pair of fleece socks for myself because I love fleece socks in the winter.  When I saw these in the LLBean catalog, I made sure to point them out to Mr. McSteamy!  I am crazy about these socks.

These PJ's, given to me by my mother, really tickled me too.
Fun frogs really make me smile and boy was I surprised when I opened a package and found these frogs looking back at me.  Yep, I'm a frog lover....and elephants too.  No clue as to what this says about me....but I'm sure it reveals something...lol.

Five days before Christmas my mother moved to a seniors apartment.  It was 40 years to the day that she had moved into my childhood home.  I knew her space was going to be smaller so I bought these small canvases, probably 3 x 3, and let the boys create some "apartment art" for grandma.  Who could help but laugh when you see what they boys drew....too funny.  They were a big hit, grandma loves them and they fit perfectly in her new apartment.

Mr. McSteamy has a snow globe collection so I thought it would be fun for the boys to make him some snow globes for Christmas.  I Googled "hand made snow globes" and came up with several methods of making snow globes.  The biggest challenge was finding glass jars with wide openings that would still look good.  I found some fun things at a rummage sale and at the Salvation Army to decorate the inside.   I found this tiny jar and Zach found a way to get this tiny house into the tiny jar.  He was very proud.

Not all hand made gifts turn out as planned......
These carolers look more like pickled people then a snow globe....oops....stuff happens :)

Just a few more fun pix....

Christmas eve the boys put their cookies, carrots and glass of milk by the fireplace and went to bed.  The girls were up late helping wrap gifts and Maddy decided she should be Santa this year.  After all, someone has to take bites out of those cookies, right?  In true Jackson style....she went full measure with her new job....
As you can see, we don't have much fun around here.

Last week, Maddy returned to pick up a few things including the sewing machine I had given her (by way of MJ :) and some sewing notions to inspire her creativity.  She had just finished a 2 day road trip from FL and her car was stuffed.  I was told the sewing things wouldn't fit.....you'd think she'd know me by now!
 I was able to fit a sewing machine, fabric and some rulers into her already full trunk.  She was traveling with her two dogs as well so I had to plan accordingly.
A large cutting mat fit perfectly against the back seats.
What fun would all those notions be without some beautiful fabric? 



Yep, we had a wonderful holiday season and I'm sooooo glad it is over and all that food is out of the house!

Smiles,
Kelly



Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Mandala Wall Hanging

Christmas, yes it is still up here at IHAN headquarters.  Last Sunday we finally wrapped up celebrating with family and hopefully by the weekend we'll have our decorations taken down.  Notice I say hopefully.  Something always comes up and last Friday was no different.   A group of gals were meeting to make a Mandala Wall Hanging and my girlfriend, Diane, was demonstrating and teaching.  How could I pass that up? 

Diane has made 5 of the Mandala Wall Hangings and here are photos of two of hers:
I figured if she could make 5, I could at least make one and as it turns out, I'll be making two...LOL.

Here is the pattern we used by Nanette's Quilts.

Mandala Wall Hanging by Nanette's Quilts

Choosing fabric became quite the adventure for me.  I wanted to use Aboriginal Fabrics by M & S Textiles but I couldn't find more to go with what I had.  Then I thought about using Patternista by  Paula Nadelstern and I could not find enough coordinating fabrics locally. 
Then I found Love Lives Here"by P. Carter Carpin for P & B Textiles and that's what I went with.  You need a 10 degree wedge ruler to make a Mandala.
The neat thing about Cheryl's ruler is that it comes with a free pattern on the back...can you say BONUS :)
This is how far I got in a 4 hour class.  I thought I did pretty well considering that included cutting out my fabrics.  Once I put the Mandala in the frame I realized the stripe section that I used emphasized the orange.  Sort of clashing with my border.  When I got home I took my stripe fabric and color copied a variety of sections so I could preview the combinations before making another Mandala.
Believe it or not, each of those sections are different and bring out different colors.  I decided to go with a smaller bird for the center as well.
I believe I have settled on the dark red spiral in the center.  Now I just need to re-cut my fabric and make another Mandala.  No worries, I will find another fun fabric to use the Mandala with the orange emphasis.  Unless of course someone says that it is just perfect for something they already have and I'm likely to pass it along :)

It has been awhile since I posted a Flamingo Family update....so here you go :)

Hope you are having a wonderful week!

Smiles,
Kelly

Saturday, January 5, 2013

e-Bosser by Craftwell Product Reveiw


I saw the  e-Bosser by Craftwell last Fall at Quilt Market in Houston. Unfortunately, the person I spoke with while at Market didn't know much about the machine. 

When I returned from Market I decided to order one so I could review it for all of you.   I have owned and reviewed the Big Shot, Big Shot Pro, Vagabond, AccuQuilt Go!, and the Go! Baby.  With all of this experience I thought I'd be a good person to give the e-Bosser a whirl.

December 12, 2012 was my first trial of the e-Bosser.  The machine itself weighs apx. 15 lbs and measures 6.9H x 12.4W x 8.9D.  It is fully automatic, no handle to crank.  The Vagabond by Sizzix is also automatic.  That is a wonderful feature for anyone who doesn't like to crank a handle multiple times. 

The e-Bosser comes with a variety of cutting platforms, a shim, a rubber embossing mat and an embossing folder.  The bed of the e-Bosser measures 8 1/2 x 12 inches which means it will take the compatible dies that are no more than 8 1/2 inches wide by 12 inches long.  It is important to know the size of the dies you have or are interested in purchasing when choosing a fabric cutting machine. 

I opened the instruction manual and started with the first set of instructions, which is for embossing paper.
I opened the embossing folder(8 1/2 x 11) and placed a piece of scrapbook paper inside.
Next, I placed the embossing folder between platforms A and C and then tacked them on top of platform D as instructed in the manual.
Then I inserted the platforms into the e-Bosser and nothing happened.  I turned the machine off and on a few more times, still nothing.  I phoned the customer service department at Craftwell.  Oddly enough, while on the phone with the customer service rep. the motor started on the machine.  The platforms went into the e-Bosser and then it stopped working again.  The platforms were stuck in the machine and I could not get them to go any further.  The CS rep suggested I take a rubber mallet and a piece of wood to attempt to dislodge the platforms.  I was afraid that I would break it so I opted to attempt to pull the platforms out with my hands to no avail.

Now, I had a machine with jammed platforms making it difficult to re-pack so I could ship it back.  Craftwell did pay for the return shipping which was very much appreciated.

Late in December, I received what I thought was a replacement e-Bosser from Craftwell.  Come to find out, it was the same machine I had returned to them.  They had dislodged the platforms and sent the machine back to me.

Khris (SewPrimKhris blogspot) was here visiting with her husband from AU.  I invited her to join me in reviewing the e-Bosser so together we unpacked the machine and set it up for our review.
I repeated the instructions for embossing paper (the only difference was the color of the paper).
This time, even though it was turned on, the e-Bosser would not start.  I turned the machine on and off a few times and then after a few minutes, the platform fed into the machine.

Unfortunately the platform stopped and was stuck again.  You can imagine my frustration.  Because they sent me the same machine back, I don't know if it is just a defective e-Bosser or if this is prone to happen on all of the e-Bossers.

Then I had a beautifully embossed piece of paper.  The design was lovely and the quality of the embossing was excellent.

The e-Bosser is compatible with a variety of embossing folder brands as well as cutting dies.
The instruction booklet gives instructions for the order of platforms to use with the different dies.  According to the Craftwell website, the e-Bosser is compatible with the following dies and embossing folders:
  • Craftwell eBosser Embossing Folders
  • Sizzix
  • Ellison
  • QuicKutz
  • Lifestyle Crafts
  • Fiskars Fuse
  • Spellbinders
  • Cuttlebug
  • AccuCut
  • AccuQuilt

 The first cutting die I used is the Sizzix Bigz Hexagon die.

For Sizzix Dies, the instructions say to put platform C on the bottom followed by the cutting die, the fabric and then use platform A.  You can see that is exactly what we did.  There was no tips or instructions for where to place the die on the platform in the manual.  I am aware that there are several you tube videos with instructions for the e-Bosser but I'm considering the consumer who isn't connected to the internet.  Where would they find more information?   I think the instruction manual could be beefed up.

The first time through the machine, the platform stalled and would not go through the machine.  Again I was frustrated and told Khris it was on her to see if  she could get better results.  She was more than happy to take over for me....ya got to love friends :)

Now, it's Khris' turn to give the e-Bosser a go.  She put the platforms into the machine and......

yes....it went in
and came out. 

After removing the excess fabric, I had two very nice hexagons.  On other trials, we used up to four layers of fabric and found the e-Bosser to be a bit sluggish. 

Time to give an AccuQuilt Go! die a run through the e-Bosser.  
 The order of platform placement for the AccuQuilt dies is different.  The correct order for the AccuQuilt dies is, platform D on bottom, cutting die, fabric and platform A on top.
This time we made sure the die was in the front of the platform before we put it into the machine.  Khris said she had to give it a push to get it to go through the machine.
Success, we ended up with three circles.

Unfortunately I did not have an impressive experience with the e-Bosser.  I plan on returning this one as it still does not work consistently.  I won't be asking for a replacement because I've already spent quite a bit of time reviewing, photographing and now writing my post.  I hope others have a better experience that I did.

All of you who know me, know I don't write negative reviews.  I understand all products have a failure rate and this could be attributed to "one" faulty e-Bosser.  Who knows?  What I do know is that when I called Craftwell Customer Service the first time,  I did inform the gal that the only reason I purchased the e-Bosser was to review it on my blog.  I  also shared that I am the owner of "I Have A Notion"" not because I think I'm somebody.....but to give Craftwell the heads up that my purpose was product review and I figured they would want to put their best foot forward.  If it were me, I would have opened a brand new one, tested it to be sure it worked properly and then shipped a replacement.  But then again, that's just me.

Smiles,
Kelly




Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happiest of New Years to You :)

I hope you had a wonderful New Years Eve, I know we did.

Khris, from SewPrimKhris Blog, and her husband Glen are here visiting with us.  They are from Australia and have been traveling the US for almost 3 months.  How fun would that be?  To go traveling and visiting other Bloggers in other countries...sign me up!  If you'ld like to see their travel blog, click here.

It hasn't been all fun and games, I put Khris to work at IHAN and she helped me do a product review.  That will be the next post.

RESOLUTIONS- who likes those?   Every single New Years resolution I've ever made I've never kept.  Who needs a set up to feel bad?   Not me!!!  I've seen where people are coming up with a word or phrase for their New Year.  I'm one who can't seem to find one word ....but this year, I'm making a change.  I've decided my word for the year will be "Acceptance."  I'm willing to accept things in my life just as they are and when I'm not willing, I'm going to become willing.

Have you thought about any significant ways to mark the New Year?

Smiles,
Kelly

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