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Blown Out

Well, I had hoped to share pictures of our awesome both set up at Elver Park for the Fresh Air Craft Fair today.  But we got blown out.  Literally.  The vendor agreement said that the fair would go ahead rain or shine; it did not say that it would go ahead with crazy, gusty winds.
So here’s our booth part way through being taken down.  That’s when I remembered to take a picture.  It looked great and we actually held out longer than the people around us before the big wind came through.  The secret:  Attach the canopy to cinder blocks.  We were helping someone else keep her canopy from blowing away when the wind knocked everything off our table.
Look at the poor gourd lady.  This is when they cancelled the fair.  It was a bummer to do all that prep work and then have it cancelled but, ya know, shit happens and we met some nice people there.  Also, the wind distributed many of our new business cards far and wide.  
So on to planning our Etsy Shop opening.  It’s May 21st  and I’m too superstitious to make a crack about the weather not being able to affect that opening.  
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Totally and completely finished!
I kept in a couple of pockets but cut them up for fun. 
I made sure the stitching was just on the outside of the pockets so they’re still somewhat usable.  I went over the back side of the quilt with running stitch so it wouldn’t have a blank space. 
Here’s some gratuitous closeups.  Note the red wheels in the back ground.  That’s my tree trunk table, pushed off to the side.
And yes, before you even ask, I did walk the labyrinth.  Several times.  It’s a short trip.
When I turned it over I realized that the backing is upside down.  D’oh.
Nothing to do about it now except call it quirky.
I added a sleeve for a hanging rod at one end but I don’t think it’ll get use much.  Why would someone take up a giant hunk o’ wall with this when it could be keeping you warm and toasty on your couch?
Also, check it out:
Someone else’s picture of my OCD quilt up at Absolutely Art for the Habitat for Humanity ReStore benefit.  …tee hee…
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With the Goal of Enabling Others in Mind

 I have to take a break from this and all other crafty project for a bit.  

There’s still a ton of sewing to do but my hand is sore.

Here’s an earlier version.  I feel like it should look more different now – I’ve done so much sewing on it.  I’m glad that I removed the stitches that went across the middle.  They made it look plaid.
So I’ll take a couple of days off and just stare at it.  Some of the time I love it, other times I’m frustrated with it.  Maybe I should have used fewer or more colors.  Maybe I should have had more of a color plan.
A pattern of darks and lights have emerged in a way that I don’t really love.  Also, I still have no clue as to what it is.  I mean, I know it’s a learning swatch but I feel like it should end up being a useful object.
 Oh well.  I still love the way the cloth ripples and I enjoy the path-i-ness of running stitch.  Also, it’s really fun to take macro pictures of.  
On an unrelated note, I was checking out one of my favorite blogs, The Brick House, and took part in one of my favorite library junky habits:  Putting the books I see in someone else’s pictures on hold at my library.  Especially design and art books.  I love them.  So, with the goal of enabling others in mind, here is a picture of a random pile of books in my living room – some ours, some the library’s – for you to enjoy.
Now, go place some holds!
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Time to Get Busy

 Time to get busy.  I want this tree trunk coffee table in my living room before my company comes for New Year’s!
One side of the slab was 6 3/4 of an inch and the other was 7 1/2 inches so I had some evening up to do.  I went to the good old ReStore and bought some 1/4 inch thick flooring pieces.  Putting the pieces on three of the four corners seemed to level it well enough. 
This is level enough for me. 
 So I gathered my tools and went to work.  First I carpenter glued the flooring pieces to the trunk. 
I used the wheels as weights for the 30 minutes the glue needed to set.  That way I could gawk at what was to come.
(A quickish digression: My husband actually helped a ton with this project.  He cut the wood flooring for me and got the screws and did all the heavy lifting.  It made sense that he should come along to the Woodcraft Store – the guy there had been really helpful before – to help pick out the wheels and just so we could hang out together.  We like hanging out together.
But the guy at Woodcraft only talked to my husband when we were in there trying to figure out which screws to use and what to look out for and whatever other details an experienced woodworker could help with.  I felt practically invisible.  My husband didn’t really notice as this has never happened to us before.  It was exceedingly frustrating and added so much tension to our day.  I have a little sour taste left over still.)  
Back to business.  The evil dude at the wood store recommended these fancy 4 inch screws.  We also had to buy (Not from the wood store, mind you, they don’t sell them there) a special drill bit because we needed more torque to get them into the hard wood.
 First pilot hole drilled!  There’s no going back now!  Every step felt that way a little. 
Then I hit a snag.  The drill couldn’t handle the length of the screws.  It actually started smoking before I gave up.  I had drilled the pilot holes as deep as I could go and the screws were still sticking out at least an inch and a half. 
So we switched to 2 1/2 inch screws and yet another fancy drill bit.  Problem solved.  It added a day to the project but that kind of stuff is bound to come up. And when you procrastinate as well as I do, a little delay is no big deal.
The only thing left do was lug that beast up a flight of stairs!  We used a dolly and didn’t swear at all.
 Now for the gratuitous finished project shots.

This is my living room.  Just to brag a bit:  That’s my jeans couch with a scarf pillow and two stuffed woollies and a linen quilt, all of which I made. To the right you can see a bit of the chair I reupholstered.  And my antenna is perched on an antique toolbox I cleaned up.  A pretty handmade home for my patchwork life. 
I’ve been waiting to do exactly this for months!  My company is due in an hour…Happy New Year!
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I’m Not Done Monkeying Around

So, Matt flipped this over to the non oiled side for me.  It’s pretty light in color but after one coat of oil:
Oh yeah, it’s darker but so much more wood grain detail shows up.  I measured the thickness and it’s about 7.5 inches on one side and just under 7 inches on the other side.  Matt thinks that it will just be uneven on the top and we don’t have to worry about it being tippy because it’s so heavy.  I really hope he’s right. 

On to sewing stuff.  Here’s the progress I made on my quilt after I climbed down off of the dining room table (Notice, the quilt’s on the floor now).  I sewed the denim squares into the long strips of corduroy.  I really had an image of lots of squares sewn together when the design of this quilt popped into my head though (Not just the place where the fabric is different) so I decided to sew fake seams into the strips.  Here’s how I did it:
That’s right.  It’s another tutorial for a thing I’ve only done once.  What the hell, why not?  OK, here’s the wrong side of the corduroy fabric.
I folded the end over so that the right sides were together.  I only folded over about 5 or 6 inches of it.
Then I just sewed along the edge.
Halfway down*
Here is it on the right side and it totally looks like two squares sewn together.  Hardly worth a tutorial because it’s so simple.  I kept on going at uneven intervals to make it look patchier.  I did make a few real seams to add interest.  Those are the spots where I changed the direction of some of the squares because I like the way the corduroy looks going in different directionsI even cut a denim strip in half to try that interrupted path thing I mentioned in the last post and …meh…not that exciting.  Worth a try.
There it is.  I have more strips to do but ran out of steam. 
Close up.  I’m not done monkeying around with the strips.  I might shorten some and changes some widths and directions.  For me, that’s part of the fun of patchwork.
*This is where I hit a snag. What had I done?  Threaded the needle wrong?  I guess so.  It looks like only half of the thread went through the needle so one half got wound around the other half and made a mess.  Of course this had to happen while I was trying to get some ‘how to’ pictures.  Sheesh
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Because That’s My Pace

 The tree trunk table is moving slowly only because that’s my pace.  
It’s in the basement and so I keep forgetting to work on it.
 I’m calling this side finished.  It probably has eight or nine coats of Tung Oil.  The Tung Oil did darken the wood but I don’t mind.  I’m really pleased with how it’s turning out and can’t wait to put my feet up on it.
You can see the marks from the chain saw but it feels smooth.  This will be the underside.  I’ll need help flipping it and then I’ll start the other side.  I’ll try to remember to take a picture of it before I start oiling it.
In lieu of actually sewing content, I thought I’d show off my sewing machines.  I have a few and really love them all.  
What looks like an unassuming side table, turns out to be…
 A beautiful vintage Necchi Mira BU from 1954.  I love me some old machines.  They are sturdy and much prettier than newer machines.
Yes, that is denim thread on there.  Perfect for sewing old jeans into new things.
I could tell you all sorts of details about Necchi machines but this person does a much better job of it.  Also, she has a really cute Springer Spaniel who looks like the one we had when I was a kid, but I digress as usual. 
I found this machine on Craig’s List.  A woman had been given it by her Grandmother and was done sewing and so was passing it on.  At least, that was her story.  It came with all sorts of awesome paperwork including a guarantee and catalog.  Very fun.
 I can’t get over the weird way the threading directions are lettered.  Italians have the same alphabet as we do, right?  So how are we supposed to follow this?  S to E to U to D and wha???  There must be a good reason.  I’m just glad there are pictures
How cute is that?
 It came with a Wonder Wheel for fancy stitching and a ruffler foot along with many other feet and accessories in a Bakelite box. 
 It’s a heavy duty, dependable machine and I love using it.  More pictures of my other sewing machines coming in the future.
I also need to organize my corner of the basement.  
It seems to need attention every few months as I keep finding the greatest stuff that I just really need.  
Surely, you understand.
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Spice of Life

That would be variety.  It’s the spice of life.  Anyway, I guess that’s my awkward way of saying that this post is not about sewing or knitting or any other craft that I do on a typical day.  It’s about WOOD!
A family friend brought me a slab of elm from a tree that was cut down.  He figured I’d come up with something to do with it.  
He was right 
(Coffee Table.  Duh.)
but first it sat in my garage for over a year.
It had to dry plus I just didn’t know where to start.  
So much advice out there but so many of the finishing options were just too toxic for me.
My husband brought home some heavy duty caster wheels but still…it sat.  
Finally, I lost my patience with myself. I started yapping about it to anyone who would listen (all part of my process).  
A co-worker told me about a woodworking store in town – I must have passed it a million times but never thought of going in.  I’m so glad I finally did, all my good free advice came from there.  
They were very helpful and told me that Tung Oil is the goo for me.  It’s really good for porous surfaces – which, I learned, Elm, totally is, and it is petroleum distillate free.  It actually hardens the wood from the inside – whatever that means.  It lets you see the wood as it actually looks, not darkened and it’s water and alcohol resistant.  It’s advertised as  “one of the first ‘Green’ finishes” on the website.  
Oh, Tung Oil, you had me at petroleum distillate free. 
I wish I had some ‘before’ pictures.  Bad blogger.  
I do have a couple of progress pictures.  
This is right as I started when I finally thought of taking a slightly before picture.  I spent two days removing the bark (that part was easy) and sanding (that part was soooo time consuming).  I was ready to move on.
That’s it, though.  I took these picture only moments ago.  I’ve got coat one done and and will move on to coat 2 in…40 minutes.  I’ll keep going every hour till I get tired and then get back to it tomorrow.  I’m a little nervous about the wheels being even.  Do I need to be?  I guess this would be learning by doing.
I’ll post some more pictures as I get further along.  
Sometimes it’s nice to be easily distracted.