Monday, March 18, 2019

~ Stuff It! ~

Normally my weekends tend to be time to catch up on housework and cook a good meal for my dad.  Since dad was having a birthday this week I didn't need to cook a meal.   Instead we met with his sisters for lunch at his favorite restaurant.  Mi Pueblo's has been my dad's favorite place to eat for years.  He eats here at least once a week.  The staff know him so well they no longer bring him a menu.  The picture below was from a year or two ago.  This year we forgot to take pictures due to the non stop talking and giggling.  I think the other customers were annoyed at our loud burst of laughter, but we didn't care.  We had a great time visiting and making new memories.

After dinner it was back to Podunk where I spent a couple hours in my office stuffing my new patterns into the clear hanging bags.  Since I'm fairly new to publishing patterns this part of the process still gets me excited.  To see my work in print amazes me.   Twenty-five years ago I never dreamed I'd be writing patterns for anyone but myself.  It's been quite the journey learning how to go from scribbles on paper to making a product for sale.  I had no idea what went into pattern writing.  Learning to use graphic programs has been the biggest hurdle.

Hopefully someday I can farm out some of the work.  But for now I'm a one woman show.  I do have testers and editors(friends) that work for free.  In the next few months I'll be looking for a few new pattern testers that are willing to work for free or very little.

After all the folding and stuffing it was time to start shipping the weekend orders.  My mail lady isn't going to like me today.  Maybe I should bake her some cookies!  I've caught her complaining about picking up my orders.  I'm sure having a rural route isn't easy.  Appreciation goes a long way, so I think I'll do something to put a smile on her face.  Homemade cookies might not be the best choice.  Purchased items tend to go over better with the mail carriers.  It is a very stressful job.  A friend of mine works for the USPS as a manager of several small post offices in this area.  She has had death threats, small explosives and suspicious packages with powder in them put in her home mail box.  Not by the mail carriers but by upset customers.  So I think my mail lady needs a little something to make her week better.  Who knows what she might be dealing with on daily basis.

The picture below shows my pattern storage.  The turned up containers are patterns  needing to be reordered.  Looks like later in the week I'll have another fun day of stuffing patterns.  Everything in my office is stored in air tight containers.  Even the door to my office is sealed with weather stripping.  This may seem like over kill.  But my thoughts are.....I have allergies and I know many other do also.  So I do whatever I can to keep any type of allergens out of my office and pattern supplies.   We have even closed off the heating vents to the room.  It is heated and cooled separately from the rest of the house.  

A great end to the weekend was the sunset.  Over the last couple of weeks we have had the most amazing sunsets.  This picture was taken earlier in the week but last nights sunset was almost exactly the same.  It looked like the woods were on fire.  This is one time that I found the color purple to be absolutely stunning.

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Sunday, March 17, 2019

~ Dog Days ~

The last three weeks have been full of busy work.  Taking care of our new fur baby Khaleesi has taken up most of my time.  Getting her to bond and trust us is going to take longer than expected.  The bonding part is easy, especially for me.  However Khaleesi is still showing signs of distrust and anxiety.  Quick movements and loud noises stress this poor girl. Stressed behavior for her is a full body jerk, then she will start pacing the living room.  Calming her is a chore, it's as if she is counting the paces and can't stop until she has paced back and forth just the right number or times.  Very strange.  The pacing can often be seen in zoo animals, its a sign they are going crazy being caged. 

We did a little social experiment last weekend by having a small family dinner with my son, daughter in law and my dad.  Poor Khaleesi hid in her cage most of the day.  When I finally did get her to come out she tucked her tail, pulled her ears down and hid in the corner of the living room.  Every movement made by anyone scared her to death.  I'm not sure what she was put through before coming to live with us but I'm pretty sure it wasn't pleasant.   All we can do is move forward one small step at a time.  

Some of you asked about the "CAGE".  Yes it is a cage.   This is where she has spent the first year of her life.  Oddly enough when she is stressed and the pacing has stopped this is where she likes to hide.  It's her safe space.   I feel like we are never going to make social progress with her if we don't get rid of "THE CAGE".  For me it is a constant reminder of the horrible life she had before. We keep the cage open and she is free to LIVE outside the cage.  As someone who has fought many demons in my life, I know how easy it is to fall back into old ways and bad behaviors.

Thank you to each one of you for your encouraging words and support.   Knowing you care means so much.

#germanshepherd #germanshepherdrescued 

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

~ Bluebirds and Blossoms ~

Some of the best ideas come from playing.  This little quilt was started almost a year ago as a way to unwind after weeks of non stop work.  You can see the start of it here.   Playing with a little pile of pretty scrap fabrics makes the world right again.  I call this style of designing "flying by the seat of my pants".  It's hard to describe my process with most of my patterns.  The best description would be I play the "What If" game.  You can see some ideas I played around with here.  It has hung on my design wall all this time because I felt it needed more.  More what?  I had no clue.  But I would pull it down occasionally, play around with a few design ideas and back up on the wall she would go with no changes made.  After several request for the pattern I decided to just leave her as is and write the pattern.  Say hello to Bluebirds and Blossoms!

This tiny little quilt finishes at 24" x 24".   A perfect project for using up the small bits of scraps that some would toss in the trash.   The largest piece of scrap needed for the applique would be around 3" x 3" but most of the pieces can be cut from 2" x 2 scraps. 

To keep it quick and easy I combined two different styles of applique, raw edge and turned edge for the dresdens.  Some of the applique was stitched in place with Superior Clear Mono-poly thread and some I matched thread to the fabric.

The over the top quilting was a last minute decision also.  Over the last year I've been doing a lot of light quilting on my quilts.  However I love to quilt things to death.  This quilt was the perfect size for quilting it to death.  It allowed me to do what I love but not take 40 hrs to finish.

Finding the perfect spot for my new little cutie was easy.   I wanted in a place where I could see it everyday.  Some place where it's cheerfulness could brighten my day.  What better place than at my desk!  It fits perfectly!   This will make those hours spent at the computer so much easier to do.

The pattern has been added to my Etsy shop here.  It's available in both PDF instant download and Mailed copies.  The mailed copy has a full size Applique Placement Sheet included.   The PDF instant download the Applique Placement Sheet will need to be glued or taped together.  

#bluebirdsandblossomsquilt #tinydresden #minidresden #podunkpretties

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

~ Happy Pup! ~ Unconventional use of quilts ~

So why are the quilts on the floor?  Well this is my answer to getting little Miss Muddy Paws to the bathroom for a bath.  I don't have enough rugs or dark colored towels to put on the floor.  The next best thing was some of my darker quilts.  Geesh, the things we do for our dogs.  She's worth a couple extra loads of laundry to wash the quilts.  Now I bet your wondering how this shy dog that wouldn't leave her cage yesterday became a muddy mess.

Today has been a full of surprises from the moment I rolled out of bed.  Super shy Khaleesi has decided to warm up to us and her new way of life.  She greeted me this morning with a playful spirit.  What a nice change from the frightened pup we saw yesterday.  This morning she bolted out of the cage ready to take on the new day with a wagging tail.  She frolicked around the living room chasing her tail and tossing her new toy around for about 30 minutes before whining to go outside.   

Keeping a dog on a lead/chain is cruel but for now it's the best we can do.  Being on a lead is better than the life she had 3 days ago.  We are working as fast as we can to get some type of fencing in place so she can run free.

Keeping her on a lead/chain is also dangerous out here in the middle of nowhere.  Should another dog or coyote come around she is at their mercy.  But who can deny her the freedom she wants and deserves.  So for now I'm sitting in the house watching her as if she were a child.  Then I had an the dandiest of ideas.  We have a fenced area, our garden!  I need to do cleaning out there before the planting season.  As you can see it's quite the mess.  Mr. Podunk has been dumping wood shavings here all winter.

And last fall I didn't clean out the old plants. This is the perfect spot for both of us.  Me working while she learns love life again.

Khaleesi is unsure how to behave at first.  Sniffing around and jumping out of fear with every move I make.  Dog like children sometimes need to be ignored.  This is the perfect time to let her figure things out on her own.

 I go about my cleaning as she explores her new space.  Let me tell you it didn't take long for her to realize she had some freedom.  She ran for about 30 minutes straight before taken a break and laying down.

Of course she chose the muddiest spot she could find to lay down and catch her breath.  

That's alright, I'm getting a little muddy also.  Seeing her having fun running is worth a little mud.  As soon as she is up and running again I covered her favorite mud hole with wood shavings. 

We stayed out in the garden for about an hour and a half.  I was tuckered out and thought she was too.....

However, this is the response she gave me when I called her to be put on her leash.(picture below)  Total defiance!  It became a game of chase the puppy. She loved her new space and freedom and had no intentions of leaving.  Can't say that I blame her but we can come back out here again.  A few stern "Khaleesi Blibe!" (blibe is stay in German) and she was leashed and headed back to the house.  She was SOOOO muddy.  Again, it was worth it to see her enjoying life.  I put her back on the lead out in front of the house while I went inside made a cup of coffee and began prepairing the house for her bath. To be honest I was leery about giving her a bath.  Some dogs don't like baths.  She's a big girl, making her mad could be dangerous.  But I charged forward with a stern voice and she did okay.  No she didn't like the bath, but she took it without biting or trying to get out of the tub.

  As I cleaned up the mess we made she calmed herself by going back into her safe place(the cage).  When I finally sat down on the couch she came out of the cage and laid at my feet and quickly dosed off to sleep.  That was a good feeling to know she felt as safe by my side as she does in the cage.  Our hope is to someday not need the cage.  But that is all up to her and whether or not SHE needs it.

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