Friday, September 28, 2012

Charlie This and Charlie That

So for the last couple of days I've been a bit busy ~ good busy, no ~ Great Busy.

 I've had my little Smooshy! Tell me she's not the cutest little thing ever! She and Julz had fun playing dress up!

 Me, I've been making Micky Mouse scrambled eggs and toast
 Fun hair ribbons for the littlest Dolphins fan

 And last but not least ~ this fun little Doxy puppy. It's Moxie the Doxie pattern by Bad Skirt which I got from which I got from Michele over at Nostalgic Cafe. Thanks Michele. Charlie (well Jen and Jeremy actually) have two Doxies and Charlie just loves them. She helped me pick out the fabric, pink and brown to match her room and of course Polkie Dots, her favorite. I think she likes him.

 Best of all, of course is getting to spend time with the best little grandbaby in the whole wide world!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Psycho Moment

So ever since I saw "Psycho" when I was younger I have this weird thing about taking a shower when I am alone in the house.
 Not only do all the doors to the outside have to be locked, the bedroom and then the bathroom door have to be locked as well.
 Even then, I inevitably hear some kind of noise and am sure there is some psycho killer in my house just waiting to stab me.
 I'll just bet I'm not alone in this either ~ just wondering how many of you will fess up.

Anyway, this morning I wasn't really feeling well and had an appointment to see the doctor so I didn't really have time or the inclination, being sick and living in a 3 story house with outside entrances on the bottom two floors, to do my normal door lock check.
  I jumped in the shower (okay, crawled) and then got out, dressed and headed downstairs and out the door. Imagine how pleased I was to find that my son, who was the last one to leave this morning, didn't lock either lock on the front door!
  Can't believe I am still alive and able to blog about this. Of course it helps that I live in a really safe neighborhood but still ~



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Weekend of Festivals

So this weekend was spent going to street fairs and art festivals. Saturday we went to Haymarket Day in downtown Haymarket Va.    Richard, the kids as well as Jen, Jeremy and the amazingly lovable Miss Charlie piled into our cars and made the 30 minute trip.
It was a beautiful day out. The weather was just about perfect. A great day to be outside and walking. Unfortunately the festival was, eh! Not much to see or do.

We did play a little bean bag toss, we listened to a couple of street bands. What they lacked in talent, they made up for in volume.
But in their defense, they were teenagers and the other teenagers seemed to like them.
There was the beer trucks, which are always a good thing. Makes everything else tolerable. Way to many "Romney" signs for me though.

 Julianne's favorite thing was the big ol bag of kettle corn we bought and scarfed half of on the way home.

Me, I enjoyed spending the day with my very favorite people.

Sunday Richard and I went to the Arts Festival in Leesburg. A lot closer and a lot classier.
Downtown Historic Leesburg is a great place to go regardless. Lots of great little shops and restaurants. Any given weekend you will find lots of folks wandering the streets and having a nice time.
Of course the price tags were much larger ~ but for those with disposable income $3500 paintings and sculptures were very nice.

Vendors were mostly from the area but some were out of state. We even found one from Florida.  Her pottery was beyond cool.

There were a couple of others I really liked and I'm hoping to do a post just on them soon.
Music was much better too.  These guys were very good.   It also helped to not have impatient children with us.  We were able to take our time, talk to some of the artists and really just enjoy the day and the beautiful weather.  I wish we had gone here on Saturday though so Jen and Jeremy could have joined us.  
Oh and Saturday we went to the high school football game. We won ~ 41 to 7. So far we are undefeated. Go Falcons!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Bit Skunky

So who remembers this cutie? Pepe Le Pew was adorable. Everyone loved him and he was quite the lover himself. The best thing about Pepe though was that he was a cartoon and you couldn't smell him!

The real thing ~ not nearly as lovable. We've had a skunk (hopefully just one) that has apparently been visiting our house lately. We started noticing a skunk smell in or near our driveway whenever we get out of our car. We couldn't figure out what had happened. Was he still there? Did he spray the house?
Well apparently he sprayed the hedges just off the driveway outside our house. This is what happens to the shrubbery when it gets sprayed.

 I've looked up some "remedies" to get rid of the smell on the bushes but some of them are pretty nasty. I guess I'll keep looking.

 In the mean time I'm sure hoping I don't run into this guy. Did you know that skunks can spray up to 10 feet? Holy Cow.

 Since we've been working on trimming up the backyard I've noticed a few other places he (or she) has sprayed. Nasty smell and dead branches. Anyone know how to discourage these smelly pests from hanging around?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Front Porch Make Over

Is it really a make over if it had nothing on it to start with?

I've been wanting to do something with our front porch since we moved in last fall but really didn't know what I wanted to do. This summer we were in Target and I saw the cutest cafe set in turquoise and fell in love with it but we were just getting ready to go on vacation and it really would have been an impulse buy so I walked away.
When we got back from Florida I was once again in Target (no surprise there!) and guess what ~ they only had one cafe set left and it was ON SALE! Can I tell you how fast that set got into my shopping cart.

Richard and I put the set together ~ well he actually did most of it ~ and I loved the way it looked. Amazingly the next time I went to Target, they had some other outdoor chairs ~ also in turquoise and on sale ~ snapped three of those babies right up!
 Of course I wasn't satisfied there ~ I wanted some tables to put in between the chairs. We were at Home Depot and they were clearing out their summer furniture and they had some unpainted Adirondack tables ~ so that and a couple of cans of red paint for contrast to all the turquoise and we were in business.

Thanks again to my wonderful hubster for painting the tables for me.
 Oh, and they also had citronella candles in turquoise buckets!  Can you see a pattern here?   

 A few final touches of the red checkered table cloth I made. The two butterflies on sale at 70% off at Jo-Anns and the adorable frog candle from Pier One ~ and we LOVE our front porch! I can't tell you how many evenings or afternoons we sit out and enjoy the cooling weather. Oh, and we also put an additional bird feeder up in one of the trees, which has been bringing some fun visitors to watch. Oh, and believe it or not ~ two flowering plants that I have managed to keep alive for a few months now which is a record for me for sure. I was born with a black thumb.
 Last weekend we were sitting out on the porch and a beautiful little hummingbird showed up, checking on the flowers in the hanging pots. I was so stunned and I was afraid to breath and scare him off.
We've since put up a seed bird feeder and a hummingbird feeder in the backyard and have been doing lots of work back there. Still lots of work to come though. We have about 5 pine trees that Richard has now removed the lower branches from so we can walk through that area. We have tons of flowering bushes of all kinds. I've cut those all way back to give them room to grow again in the spring.

Never thought I'd love working outside so much but I sure do these days. Who knows, maybe we'll even attempt to grow some tomatoes or something next year! Miracles happen all the time right? So anyways ~ come on over for a visit sometime. We can sit outside and watch all the birds come and go. Better hurry though, while the weather is still nice. I hear we are in for a cold cold winter!

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Really Long Story About My New Baby!

Well not THAT kind of baby

 I'm waay past that. I got a new sewing machine! It's a brand new Baby Lock Ellure Plus. I love this new machine ~ of course I also loved my old machine too.... What I don't love is how I came to get this new machine.

 This is quite a story so make your self comfortable while I tell you my tale of woe..

So this summer the family and I took a trip down to Florida. We saw family and friends and actually had a few touristy days in there as well.  Visited some attractions as well as beaches etc. A great trip for the most part.

 While planning for this vacation I also planned on taking my sewing machine in for servicing while we were gone. I didn't know of any local Baby Lock dealers  here so I decided that I would take my machine in to the shop in Ormond Beach, FL on the way down (Tues) and pick it up on the way back home (Sat).  I called the shop and told them what I wanted to do and they said it would work for them because their tech comes in to work on the machines on Friday. Great!

Packed up the car (over packed really!) and headed south. Will tell you more about our vacation in another post another day but for the sake of this one, lets just move along shall we? Drop the machine off at the shop, which I will not name here ~ but it's a Baby Lock dealer in Ormond Beach, not too difficult to figure out... anyway, I digress... explained the situation again to the very very sweet person working that day. She said it would not be a problem but that they didn't have any other machines at their location that needed servicing so they may send it to their other shop to be serviced if that was okay. I was fine with that because it was also on our way back and I had never been at their other store which was about 20 miles north. I did some fabric shopping and continued on our drive south.

The shop called me on Friday to let me know my machine was cleaned and all ready to go. That it would in fact, be at the Ormond Beach shop for pick up. I verified that they are open until 5:00 on Saturday ~ "yep" and said I would see them the next day on my way back to Virginia.
On Saturday we stopped in Rockledge, picked up the kids and headed for Ormond Beach. Although I didn't think it necessary, Richard called the shop just to verify that the machine was there, ready and someone would be there until 5:00. Again, "yep."

 Well I'm sure you can see where this is heading... We get to the shop at 4:00 on the dot and guess what ~ NO ONE IS THERE!!! The shop is closed. Checked the doors, looked in the windows, called the phone inside ~ nope! I also happened to know that the owner lives about the shop and so I went up there and knocked ~ no one there either. What to do? Got a bright idea and called the security company. They have signs in the window for a number to call in case of emergency and in my mind, this was definitely an emergency!!! Good thing it really wasn't though cause I had to call the company 7 times before I finally got someone to answer ... and when they did they really weren't sure where to find a number to call. They finally did give me a cell phone number but no name, which turned out to be the owners' cell. Unfortunately she didn't answer that either!

We waiting outside the shop until 5:00 thinking maybe they had to run out for a bit or whatever. Kids were soooo not happy with me but I wanted my machine back NOW! But at 5:00 I gave up the ghost and we got back on the road for home.

 I finally heard from the owner on Sunday afternoon. I'm thinking the first thing out of her mouth should have been an apology but what I got were excuses. This one didn't tell this one, that one went home early ... WHATEVER! I had spoken to four different people over the course of the week and they all knew the situation. I told her I needed the machine shipped back to me in VA ~ at her expense and she agreed.

She ended up shipping it Fed Ex ground on Tues and it got to me on Friday I think. I was happy to have it back and decided to open it up and check it out. Took it out of the box, plugged it in and THUD! Thud is the noise it made before doing absolutely NOTHING. The machine light is not working, the needle is bent, the threader is missing and the wheel crank seems to be at an odd angle. I called her immediately to tell her what happened. Guess what, she didn't answer my call. I called again and texted, and called again.... finally I got through to her.

 Again, more excuses. She gave the machine to her husband to ship. He took it to Fed Ex but they were supposed to pack it but they didn't... but at least they insured it. She suggested I take it somewhere local to have it fixed and she would reimburse me for the costs (Duh!). I found a shop about 45 minutes away and took it there, explaining the situation. He was kind enough and curious enough to put my machine at the front of the pile for servicing. Several days later he called to tell me that it wasn't good but he'd fixed it as well as he could ~ to the tune of $250. which I paid him. He said that my machine had to have been either dropped from pretty high up or thrown to do this much damage. That the metal inside the machine was actually bent.

 I called the shop owner in Fla (taking me several more tries to get in touch with her) and she whined and complained about the cost but agreed to reimburse me. It did take several weeks to get her check. In the mean time I could sew with my machine but the tension was off, the led light was funked up and it really wasn't sewing as well as it should, making weird noises and such.
 I decided that this was not an acceptable situation and told the shop owner that since she had insured this machine for a couple of thousand dollars (her words), she should really send me a new machine and file a claim with the shipping company for damaging the machine. Well push comes to shove and it actually wasn't insured!

 Now she ships machines all the time. Who doesn't pack correctly and insure a machine that costs that much money? No one! I was beginning to have some idea of what had probably actually occurred. I think she or someone at the shop actually dropped my machine BEFORE it got shipped back, didn't pack it correctly  and that's why Fed Ex wouldn't insure it. Also the shipping box was in perfect condition. Wouldn't it show signs of being dropped if it happened in transit.

Well her big idea now is for me to bring it to the dealer here, let him repack it and then send it to Baby Lock to be worked on there. It will be at least a month now before I will see my machine again.
At this point I decide ~ no more! This is where it pays to have friends.

 I actually worked at a Baby Lock dealer in Tampa ~ Keep Me In Stitches ~ and they are awesome. I called the owner Melissa and asked her if I could get the number of their rep from Baby Lock who I'd met several times while working there. Not only did she give me her number, she asked me to wait a few minutes to give her time to call Rose first and let her know I was calling and to help me. Well I was beyond thrilled. I called Rose and she had actually just heard from the shop in Ormond Beach... something about a machine damaged in shipping ~ so I told her the whole story and my suspicions. She said to let her do some checking and she would get back to me.

 The next morning I got a call from a very unhappy shop in Ormond Beach, telling me thatTHEY had decided to send me a new machine rather than hassle with the other one. But I needed to send my old machine back to them with ALL the original parts or they were going to take them out of my new machine! Blah blah blah... I called Rose to thank her for the call I just got and she said "that better have been a call telling you that they are sending you a new machine!"

 Not only did Baby Lock send me a new machine ~ they sent me an upgraded version of the new machine. My new baby is amazing and awesome and a dream to sew on. I've always loved Baby Lock over all the other machines I've sewn on ~ and I've sewn all almost all of them including Bernina. I have recommended them to so many friends and will continue to do so.

 Not only is the machine itself wonderful ~ the employees who stand behind them are fantastic as well. I don't think I'll be going to the shop in Ormond Beach again ~ but I have now know where I can take my machine here to be serviced. They unfortunately don't sell fabric but that's probably a good thing!

2 Down and So Many More To Go..

So I know I've been gone forever ~ but I am back and trying to be better about keeping up with things.

 I have been busy though. I made this set for myself just in time for the fall. Purse, wallet and snappy bag! I fell in love with these little owls and couldn't resist taking them home with me. Now I can take them everywhere!

The temps are really starting to cool off here and I'm looking forward to the change in wardrobe! Richard and I have been spending a lot of time both out in the backyard and our front porch which I recently decked out in red and turquoise!

 I've also been working on some new stuff for my Etsy Shop. I've been ignoring it as well ~ though fortunately I'm still getting orders here and there. Just finished some custom pillow cases for a customer. I think she was really happy with them. These two beauties are going in the shop today
I've signed up to do three craft fairs here in November and have had lots of people asking for wristlets. I have been making all kinds of bags, purses etc for quite a while now and this pattern is my own ~ derived from all that I have learned over the years. It has a little pocket inside and comes with a matching wallet. It's got room enough for the wallet (naturally), your phone, keys and a few more incidentals. I think it just may be a best seller. I am trying to decide how much to charge for them though. I'd love to get some feedback from you all though.

Hope so cause besides these two I've got about 20 more cut out and ready to sew. Everything from fun and funky to romantic to seasonal. I've also got a table full of fabrics waiting to be cut. I think I might be a bit addicted to making these.

I've even been playing with my "Go" cutter and some discarded jeans to come up with this cutie!
So drop me a line ~ let me know what you think.... I'd love to hear from you...