Tuesday, November 20, 2012

We've had a week of extraordinary weather here--blue skies, sunshine, temps in the 50's. Amazing for the middle of November in Wisconsin. I took advantage of it twice, including today, and finished the last of the "must-do" gardening chores and even some of the "would-like-to-do" chores. I feel pretty good about getting the flower beds cleaned up much better than most years. We'll see if it makes any difference next summer. Had to get it done today since we're slated to go below freezing in the next few days. Brrr!

I didn't get much sewing done but that's okay. The other night at a meeting, I volunteered to make a quilt to donate to the local United Way for their silent auction fundraising event on December 4, I think. I had a top all pieced and thought I'd finish that up instead of starting from scratch but when I looked at it, I decided the border was wrong. I unsewed it last week while at the sale and decided to add a narrow inner border. I did that yesterday and now I'm satisfied. Today, after my visit with my favorite orthopedist, I got the batting I need and after dinner, I'll prepare the backing. With luck, I'll be able to get it pinned so I can begin the quilting over the weekend.  We'll see how that goes (she said wryly).

Yes, today I had my knee x-rayed and had a chat with the doc about, was it time for a new knee. He doesn't think so--not yet. He gave me lots of things I can do to keep it working a little longer which I'm very pleased to try. He told me I wouldn't hurt the knee any further if I started walking! I used to be a runner and then a walker and for the past 2 years a nothing. So getting back to walking will be great!  I think I'll get a pair of those walking sticks that hikers use--I think they'll take some of the pressure off my knee. And there are some other things I can do to keep the knee less painful, but the big one is to lose weight!  I did very well last summer when I was juicing and lost 35 pounds. As I began eating again, the pounds have crept back on. I'm determined to be successful at this again, and the plan is to begin the juicing on Saturday.  Thurs. of course is T day, Friday I'm in the Cities with a client, and Saturday will be the day.

If any of you are interested in what I mean by juicing, watch the documentary, "Fat,Sick, and Nearly Dead." (It's on Netflix, instant view.)  After I watched that movie I knew I had to try it. I juiced for 6 weeks, lost weight, and felt really great.  Now I'll just have to get in the right frame of mind to do it again.  Wish me luck.

Happy thanksgiving to everyone. Enjoy your turkey and pie, but especially, enjoy your time with family and friends.  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sew In day

Yesterday was a guild "Sew In" day that I've been so looking forward to.  I love to gather with the awesome ladies of my quilt guild and spend the day working on my projects, having an amazing pot luck lunch with them, visiting, laughing, and generally having a wonderful time.  Oh, and getting some sewing done as well.

I joined Over The Edge quilt guild in Menomonie WI a little over 2 years ago after searching for a guild for several years. I'd been a member of the guild in town here for 4 years when it dawned on me at one meeting that I felt just as much a stranger with these women as I had the first day I stepped in the room.  There would be a definite chill in the air whenever I spoke up at a meeting to offer a suggestion or whatever. I know now what had changed over the 4 years but I won't go into all that now.  I spent several years auditioning various guilds in my area and while all seemed nice enough, I just didn't feel welcome. One day it came to me that in small towns, these ladies have known each other for many years and have many shared experiences and history. They went to high school games together, dated the same boys, were in each other's weddings, shared the births of their children, helped out in the school throughout the years their kids were students, and so on. They have very solid friendships and have no need to accept a newcomer into their lives. As I'm the newcomer, I realized why I didn't feel welcome in these groups.

Then I heard about OTE guild in Menomonie and Oh, what a difference! We have over 30 members in the guild and while some of them were born and raised in Menomonie, most of us have lived in a variety of other places. Some moved here because of connections with the University. We have a few military wives who settled here for various reasons. Some people have moved here to retire in the North Woods.  I moved here because of my husband's career.

I think this makes the group very special and welcoming to newcomers since we were newcomers here ourselves not so long ago. These Saturday Sew Ins as well as our annual retreat help create a shared history with us. I love the ladies in this guild and hope to be a member for many, many years to come--until my fingers fall off and I can't quilt any more!

So, yesterday was our Fall Sew In. I stayed home with Lily in the morning but arrived at the Sew In around 1 pm.  I had a project to work on and I busily began cutting pieces and, after getting advice on color placement, began to sew the blocks together.  Screeching Halt!  I didn't have enough focus fabric to make the throw I wanted, so change of plans.  I'll have to cut alternate plain blocks and large borders to make it up properly.  So I spent the second half of the afternoon unstitching what I had just finished stitching!

Oh well, in the company of these women, even the unstitching was fun!

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Successful Sale

I survived the angst of yesterday!  The sale went well, even though I didn't sell all the items as I unrealistically wanted.  At the end of the day, I had sold several of my Matryoska doll ornaments.  I made 20 of these over the winter to sell and I'll offer the rest of them on my Etsy store and see if they sell that way.

I also sold a table runner that I'd made last summer. I can't find the picture of it right now but it coordinated with this table quilt--pale green and white pinwheels in the center with a dark green first border and appliqued bright flowers in each end and in the center.

I also sold a set of place mats that I'd finished the night before the sale and didn't take a picture of to show. They were made with a cartoon-ish Christmas print in the center and bands of either red and white or green and white around the center.

I also sold all three pin cushions that I had made and threw into the mix as a last minute thought.  They were the last things I thought would sell!  Go figure.

I'm all calm today and happy that I can make a very nice deposit to my fund.  (Whoever sacrificed that goat on their back yard altar, thank you very much!)  

I spent some time talking with other vendors at the sale about local craft fairs they go to and I think I'll be doing this next summer.  If I do even 3 or 4 fairs and make comparable sales, it'll be good.  There's also a winter farmers' market in the next town and I'm going to see if there's room there for me as well. 

Now I have to get things taken care of at the Etsy store, Jolly Ruby, and see if I can find any buyers out there for my wares.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sale Day

Today is the Employees' Craft Sale day. This is the first year I have items in the sale and I'm so nervous!

I worked really hard yesterday--8 hours in the office, a quick 20 minute tutoring session with the 4th grader I'm trying to help with reading and math, volunteer services board meeting until 6:30 pm, arrive home at 7 to fix a quick sandwich for dinner and then settle down to finish sewing the binding on a set of place mats I wanted to have ready for the sale. When that was done, I had to gather all my items and put price tags on them, pack them up, etc. etc.  Finished about 10:30 and sat down to watch The Colbert Report. Love that show!

I didn't sleep last night. I woke up several times and had a very hard time returning to sleep. I ground my teeth a lot--a sure sign of being anxious.  I've been awake since around 3 AM and just drifted back into sleep around 5:30 when the alarm went off. I hit the snooze button as many times as I could and still have time to shower and get to work in time to set up my display.  Needless to say, I didn't have as much coffee as my poor brain is needing!

Managed to get everything set up and then realized I'd forgotten the box to hold the slips for my door prize drawing. What to do!  Well, there was an extra coffee cup in the break room that didn't look too nasty after I cleaned it out and it will do very well.  It's just not as cute as the box I'd left at home.

How does one decide what price to put on handmade items?  I don't even think of including minimum wage for my labor--the price would be through the roof if I did! I just think about how much I'd be willing to pay for an item if I was at a craft fair--and then I add $5 or $10 because I'm really cheap thrifty and don't like to pay a whole lot.  But what if I've priced my items too high for these customers?  What if nothing sells?  I'd be so embarrassed if all the other tables are pretty much empty at the end of the day except my table, still covered with all my unsold items!  Aaarrrrrgghh!  I've already priced everything but if anybody has advice for future sales, please let me know.

Actually, I sold one thing when the sale first opened up so I know the day won't be a total loss. But still--I want to sell everything!!!!  Any money made from this sale goes into the Jolly Ruby fund to help adults with disabilities lead fuller and more productive lives, so I really want to sell everything!

Please wish me luck, say a prayer, offer up some animal as some kind of sacrifice, or whatever suits you, to help me this day.  I'm avoiding going into the sale room this morning, but at 12:30 I go in to do my shift of being cashier and I'll be able to see all the unsold items on my table.  Why did I do this?  I just want to go home and cry. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Road Trip with my girls

Sunday I took a road trip with Tessa and Lily to Duluth MN and it was a fantastic day!  It was a brilliantly sunny day with a clear blue sky, a little chill in the wind, and a great day to be on the beach.  The first shot is of Wisconsin Point, a huge long sand bar that's totally undeveloped except for the buildings and walls that are needed to maintain the Superior entry for the big ships that come and go from the port. Tessa makes really nice jewelry and is having a sale in early December so she wanted to get some interesting drift wood to use for displaying her earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.  

After we had a very nice lunch at Sara's Table ( I had a yummy tofu and veggie scramble), we headed to Kitchi Gummi Beach or what I like to call by it's old name, Brighton Beach.  You can see how different to two beaches are. The first one is on the "South Shore" of the lake on the Wisconsin side and is all beautiful sand and grasses--and poison ivy!  And the other beach is on the "North Shore" in Minnesota and is all rocks and, off the beach, trees instead of grasses--no poison ivy here!  On this beach, we gathered some nice rounded stones for Tessa's display and some larger ones for me to stack up as a garden accent.  Lily found an agate so she was happy and we looked for sea glass but it was too cold and wet to really search very hard. 

 It was a little more windy on this beach and the waves were crashing with a bit of vigor.  (Understatement here)  I got sprayed more than once even though I stayed well away from the water. That water is very cold this time of year!

After we got all the rocks we could carry, we took a drive down Park Point, a 5 mile long sand bar which has been extensively developed into a residential area--some of the best locations in town are on Park Point if you like living right on Lake Superior, which I would love but will never have the $ to do so.  At the very end of the Point is a huge recreational area of ball fields, boat launches, running and biking paths, and it's also a landing field for sea gulls, apparently.

We came across this huge flock of gulls (the picture shows only about a third of them--we didn't have a wide angle lens!) They were simply standing around, not moving or making any noise at all which is very odd for sea gulls, just standing there with their feathers all fluffed out.  Until I decided to drive through them!  Even as the car approached the birds, they still didn't move. I had to slow down to barely a crawl!  We all started laughing at these poor birds!  I think they should have been flying south instead of thinking they would winter in Duluth!

It was such a great day with my daughter and granddaughter.  Even without the pictures, I'll remember it for a long long time.