Monday, April 27, 2020

Thinking outside the box

It was nice to get an e-mail yesterday from an online store that had to shut down their ordering process while they caught up on the backlog of orders! That's amazing! I know that some quilt stores are still "open" and doing a thriving business by taking web or phone orders and arranging for shipping or curbside pick-up.

Some have gotten very creative in that process - either by sending out daily or weekly e-mails with the latest offerings or a tip or a video. Others are posting new products or ideas on Facebook and IG daily. It seems to be working as these people are busy!

And one store in the US and I cannot for the life of me remember the name, but they sell sewing machines. So they had the machines in the window with a big sign - MASK MAKING MACHINES. They had a variety of bolts of fabric in the window. You could drive up, call the store, place your order, and after you paid on your phone, they'd leave it outside. Now that's brilliant!!!  Another store is having a live sale on Facebook.

That's how small businesses are going to survive. By thinking out of the box. By trying new things. I applaud the efforts of those small business owners. I wish I could support them, but I really don't need anything at the moment. I have vowed to not spend what I don't have or buy I don't need. So far - we're doing pretty good. I think I bought one thing online and paid for my Zoom subscription.

I am going to buy a USB data cable today to connect my phone to my computer to stream video. We'll see how that goes!

I spent part of yesterday on the phone or Zoom. I did a bit of tidying and I was on the computer trying to get all the written homework assignments done. The last went out yesterday, but as I got thinking later - there are two more e-mails I need to send today with a couple more thoughts. Oh boy -- STOP!!!  But I want the classes to get the advantage of all the things I think of.  I need to be COMPLETELY finished the homework before the class so that won't happen again.

As we're out walking each day, I've noticed several things about the traffic. Well, first, the traffic is considerably less than it normally is, especially at school time since there are a lot of schools in our area. I'm still surprised by the number of cars - the streets are much emptier, but there's still a fair amount of traffic.

The biggest thing? The speed. Some cars are probably going double the speed limit. And they go from zero to 60 in mere seconds - as if they are in a race. It's totally crazy and I sometimes have visions of the car going out of control and hitting whoever happens to be walking along the sidewalk.

The second thing? The number of U-turns is crazy. Right in the middle of the streets. Even this large transport truck did a U-turn yesterday. Enjoy it while you can!!! It won't last forever.

18-wheeler doing a U-turn in the middle of a street

Can you tell me why someone would make such a GIANT candle? This one is huge. Someone purchased the candle and the container for me years ago. You can see that I haven't used it much. I decided as I cleaned paper up that I'd light the candle. I know - all that paper and a candle!! I'm very careful and only have it lit while I'm in the room.

A three-wick candle

Since that empty table was so inviting, I had to make use of the space. I pulled my recycling bin over and pulled out some stuff to sort through.

Getting ready to sort paper
 Ooops - I decided to empty the recycling bin so I could see my productivity.

The recycling bin is now empty

I randomly picked a pile of stuff. Oh boy - this doesn't start well. Here's a photography magazine about digital cameras.

Digital camera magazine

So let's check the date on that. Hmmm - I think that can safely be tossed.

Over 18 years old!!!
I would say that any information in that magazine is probably a wee bit dated. I did have a quick peek through it and found a review on this digital camera that I used to own. I paid a LOT of money for that camera and it was a snazzy camera in its day.

My old digital camera
 How good was it???  Look at the number of megapixels it had. A WHOPPING 5.2.  My phone camera has THREE different lenses and the top one is something like 16 megapixels. Oh yes - times have changed. The magazine is now in the recycling bin.

I also found this ornament. I'm pretty sure that someone gave this to me and I have been meaning to get that thing hung up. Of course, it got stuck in a pile of stuff and got forgotten.

Bicycle ornament

It's now hanging in Studio U where I can see it every day when I'm sewing. Thanks to whoever I got it from. And I apologize that it got hidden away.

The ornament is now hanging up on my new (and mostly blank) inspiration board
 I didn't get as much done as I would have liked because I had some paperwork that had to be done and that took priority. But it's a start. I should NOT add anything else to that tabletop until what's on it is dealt with (oops - too late). I even filed some stuff in my filing cabinet. Now that's a miracle!!!!

Speaking of not adding things to the pile. This is what my "work" for the week looks like in Studio U. Good grief - almost the same as last week. It was all that homework that I had to get done so nothing from the laundry basket got accomplished.

The sewing for this week
Nothing new got added. Oh - that's not right. I have some homework due this Friday so that did get added. A couple of focused days and I could get through all that and then I could go shopping for NEW projects. The weather is not supposed to be that great this week, so we'll see and I do need to get back to the long arm.

So here's what I was working on last week. These are the homework blocks for Summer Moon. It's one of the ongoing classes from The Hobby Horse, but we held the class online and via e-mail.

Block set number one

Block set number two

Block set number three

And then we have also started to work on adding some frames to some of the blocks. I got the frames on all six blocks that were applicable for this month. Six blocks of 72 completely done!

Six framed blocks
 Other than a quick e-mail to the group, this project is now shelved until next month when it'll be time to get the next set of homework instructions done.

This is my Aviatrix Medallion quilt. This is the ongoing class at Oh Look Fabric. Well, the part that has been assigned to date. I'm loving this quilt and excited that I'm using up some of my orange fabrics. Once the fabric has been used, I won't use it again in this quilt.

Aviatrix Medallion
I'm such a bad teacher. Here's what the original pattern looks like. And we've done up to the black line I drew. Looks like a wobbly line, but hey - you try drawing a line with the mouse! Anyway - I've changed the center block as I felt the original one was too busy. Then I changed the half square triangle border by only using two colors, not the neutral as per the pattern. The next border was also changed. I used only one of the five blocks provided. But I think doing this to a pattern is important. It's one thing to copy exactly what the designer did and way more fun to take the structure of the original and make it your own. I used to follow patterns to the letter. No more!!

The pattern for Aviatrix Medallion

I'm having a lot of fun and now I need to come up with some ideas for the next borders. What to do? What to do???

I managed to get TWO more of the mini half star blocks sewn. I think there are still 24 to sew. They are fiddly!!!! And they are slow to sew. But progress is being made and that's all that counts. Slow and steady - my new mantra. There is NO NEED to hurry for any of this. Slow down and do a good job.

I've heard it said several times - if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right!!!

The status of the mini-blocks

So I'd like to do a practice webinar. Something free for you. All you need to do is log into the call. Any suggestions on a topic?? I'm thinking we could do needles? Threads? Rulers? Good sewing habits? I'll try to get that set up for next weekend - e-mail your suggestions and I'll let you know what I choose. If you give me suggestions, I'll just pick something. Remember - I'm at home so I can show you anything.

People comment on my energy level all the time. Hmm - I'm not sure how I got blessed with that, but I think it goes back to my early adult days. From the beginning of my adult life which is a few years ago now, I've always been active. I remember cold winter mornings (5 AM), trudging to the Metro (subway) in Montreal with my gym bag and my briefcase and heading off to the gym. I had asthma bad at that point in my life (it's totally gone now and I attribute it to the exercise but I'm not a doctor - that's just my rationale). I struggled through some of those workouts. Then headed off to work where I had breakfast at the cafeteria at work. Imagine that! I did that for years and if I couldn't get to the gym, I often walked. To me - energy makes energy. So the more you do, the more you generate.

Anyway - that theory works for me.

OK -- I know this is going to sound really bad and terribly selfish and totally a first-world problem. But you know what I miss the most during this self-isolation? My cleaning lady!!!!  I know - I'm such a princess!  I had better vacuum today before the dog-hair dust balls get so large that we trip over them.

 I've got a ton of stuff (again) to go through today and hopefully hit the long arm or the sewing machine.

Have a super day!!!!


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