Tuesday, January 24, 2012

HR Problems

The Growth and Expansion (me) team of Chandler Heirlooms and Design has been hard at work. The IT Department (me) is struggling right now though. The Research and Development team (me) has been working over time to get a feel for the market and the Marketing and Advertising (me) team is at a stand still until Procurement (me) has secured proper inventory.  My Graphic Design Department (me) is working on a logo to properly represent us and after one week has yet to present anything to the Operations Manager (me). I also have someone learning to digitize original embroidery designs (me) as well as creating original patterns for smocking and children's clothing (me). I think I need to speak to my HR department (me)!!!

Our Customer Service and Sales Department received an order from a customer (NOT ME) for some eyelet diaper covers (panties) to be monogrammed. Our Production team (me) just finished those today and here they are!!

They are ready to be sent to the Shipping Department. Our Logistics Department is another "opportunity", as they say in the biz. The Silent Partner has taken the business car out of town. Therefore, there will be a delay in delivery.

In a future post I will laugh at such small obstacles such as these. I'm certain of it. If things grow like I imagine, I'll have real HR problems and that'll be, as my friend Martha Stewart says, "a good thing."

A quilted pillow, "What not to do"

Hi guys, I've missed you!! As promised, I have the quilted pillows for you. It is not a comprehensive tutorial because I assume you know something of sewing, especially how to make a pillow.  Since it is one of my first adventures in quilting, I didn't want to make it sound like this is how it's supposed to be done. I have a lot of "what not to do's" in here. I learn by mistake most of the time. I might have gotten a little lengthy with this one so I hope you can visit for a bit.

First of all I used the "strip piece method" I think it's called. I cut my fabric in 2 1/2" strips.Then I did what I often do, fly by the seat of my pants. I just wanted to get this made quickly. I didn't have instructions to go by and with the little experience I have in quilting, I just made it up as I went along. (*Remember I said I was going to tell you "what not to do".) This is one of the first things of "what not to do".

After sewing the strips using a 1/4" seam allowance. (Supposedly) I cut them into 2 1/2 " pieces and sewed those together with another set of squares. When I opened them up after stitching, I had 4 small squares altogether making a block.

At this point I had to figure out how I was going to piece this together to "look" as if I planned it. So I made some blocks using the ticking and the red check, and some blocks using the toile and red check. Sorry I don't have a pic of the toile and check before construction but it was the same technique as you see below with the ticking and check.

I was careful to make sure I matched my 1/4 " seams together and pressed them going in opposite directions so that the seams would go together nicely. (Please keep in mind this is NOT a tutorial on how to make this pillow, just how I did it.)
One trick I have learned to speed things up when you sew these blocks is to "chain them together as you see in the picture below. You just snip them apart after your done sewing.

Since 2 1/2 + 2 1/2 = 5, I cut (8) 5" squares of the brocade print fabric to use as blocks in each of the four corners of the 2  pillows.  Well, you quilters are cracking up at me right now aren't cha? Another lesson in "what not to do". When you sew with 1/4" seam on pieces that are 2 1/2" you should have 4 1/2" squares. But I accidentally  used 1/2" on some of my seam allowances creating an even bigger problem. The picture below shows the difference in what I cut originally and the size I actually needed the square to be. So I cut all 8 pieces AGAIN. (Trying to hurry, remember?) "What not to do". 

 Can you see the difference in the sizes. I just used the smaller one as a guide to cut the 5" one to the proper size.

I was finally on somewhat of a roll once I got the pieces cut the right size and stitched together.  Ilaid out the blocks in the pattern I wanted then stitched them together. Keep in mind, I was making (2) pillows so everything I say here is double the work. I mention this so you will know why it took me so long to put this post up.

After piecing the squares together I decided to use the ticking fabric for the border. It turned out nicely I think, but could definitely be another "What not to do". You should plan all these details out before you start. It could have been a disaster if I had not had enough fabric. Another thing I didn't do before I started...check to see how much fabric I had or would need. "What not to do."
I again used 2 1/2" strips to border the pillows. As you see in the pic below I cut the strips after I aligned them with the quilted fabric I had just made. No measuring for me, no sir. That would take too much time and planning. (Say it with me..."What not to do")

Then I pinned the strips to the quilted fabric and stitched it using a 1/4" seam allowance. I keep referring to this 1/4" seam allowance in a somewhat sarcastic way. It is important to make sure you use the correct seam allowance. If you use say 1/4" on some of your strips and accidentally get a call and try to sew while on the phone and then sew some strips with a 1/2" seam allowance you might have some problems. Actually you WILL have problems. I have pictures of that but I think you get the point and I am still not sure how to move these pictures around so well.  It has taken me 2 days for what I have so far.

As you can see in the picture above it is looking like something now!!! Yeah! I was so relieved when I got to this point. Now to figure out a back. (what not to do.) I should have already planned that out.

I found some linen in my stash and thought it would work nicely. It just wasn't the color I wanted. You can't really tell in this picture but it had a yellow hue to it. I decided to tea/coffee stain it. Well since I don't drink either of those, all I had was PERO. (Google it) So I mixed this up and soaked my fabric in it to give it more of the color I wanted. Sort of.

While that soaked I prepared my "quilt top". I layered the quilted fabric, some batting (that actually had shiny stuff in it from when I used the batting as snow in my Christmas village one year) and some plain white batiste scraps from my stash. Hey isn't that how quilts got started? Ladies were using scraps they had leftover. Don't judge! AND I just gave you a recycling tip. If you don't have batting go look in your Christmas decorations.

Once layered I had to "quilt" them together. Now here is where I really had to fly by the seat of my pants. I did not know what I was doing and I am definitely not showing all the pictures I took.  Some of you that quilt might never come back to my blog again. This is all I'm going to show you. I will say, I did get to use the stitch on my machine that looks like hand quilting. I did this because I was trying to hurry, but this stitch has several steps to it and takes a while. It frustrated me to start with. But, after I realized it was going to take a while, I just settled in and stitched away and stopped trying to hurry. It was quite therapeutic. Isn't that what this is supposed to be anyway.

After I dried my stained fabric for the back of the pillow,  I sewed the front and back together. I am assuming you know how to make a pillow. I left an opening for the stuffing. The stuffing came from the old pillows I showed you in my previous post.

And VOILA. It was quite satisfying to finally finish them. I hope to cover my couch (which would make a great blog post) or get a new one (I vote for that) to put them on soon. This has been a rather lengthy post and I don't know that anyone would be able to follow these directions to make one of these pillows. I have discovered doing a tutorial is a lot of work and takes a lot of planning and time. Hmmm I thought it was a good idea, but until I get a little better at this I'm going to put that on my list of "what not to do"

Friday, January 13, 2012

Never, Never Give Up!

Well I'm off to a start. It may not be a good one but it IS a start. I set up my Facebook page for "Cheirlooms"...Chandler Heirlooms and Design is the name of FB.  You will have to stop by there and "Like" it for me. I would greatly appreciate that. I feel like Peter walking on the water right now. Well, probably right before he went under at least. It would be very encouraging to know that there are those out there interested in what I'm doing and willing to support my efforts at this time.

I've got another list of things to do today such as figuring out how to get that darn FACEBOOK button attached to this page. I'm also batting around the idea of allowing advertisement on my blog. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing or if it is a non-issue. Comments are welcome on either of these points.

I will eventually have PRODUCT for sale. I'm juggling several things at once right now and so I guess I'm getting that "chaos" I was expecting. I will be using Paypal for online orders, so I'll be setting up a link for that. I just have to figure out how.  I will also be in need of some nice pictures to post of the items I'll be selling. I think my camera is about to kick the bucket so I may have to use my trusty phone cam until I can get that Rebel I've been longing for. Please be patient with me there.

Like I said in my post yesterday, I'm not sure where this will take me or what will happen. I'm sure there will be lots of opportunity for learning. HA! I guess I'm "homeschooling" myself now. I ask that you hang in there with me. I have so many ideas and I know there is something I'm supposed to do here. I'm going to (again with the analogies of faith) be like Indiana Jones and step out even though I don't see anything to step out on. (You movie buffs know what I'm talking about). Even if you haven't seen the movie I'm sure you get my point.

Another project I'm working on today is finishing some pillows I'm recovering for our living room. I am not really a quilter, but I am one in my head. I collect the books and fabric and watch the shows. I've taken a class or two and even have quilts in nearly every room of our house. This will be my attempt to do some very beginner quilt piecing.

I am using a 1/4" seam allowance

You can see the yellow and blue pillow here that I want to recover. It came with a blue and white sofa I no longer have. It was a great sofa, we were moving from Nashville, TN and just had to downsize.

So, I've decided to use fabrics that I have used throughout the house here in Lumberton. The ticking is from a valance in the kitchen, the toile is from the stockings I made for christmas. I will blog about them another day. The red and cream check is a Waverly fabric I bought about 10 yards of in Prattville, AL when we lived there a around get this...the turn of the century. Ooh that was a long time ago no matter how you look at it.

Lauren's 2012 Christmas Stocking

The other red and cream print, I bought since we moved here to North Carolina. I used it to recover my bar stools we purchased in Jacksonville, FL in 2000. (Right after the turn of the century. lol)

Kitchen Bar stool I recovered while still unpacking boxes.

Dont worry there's a sofa in the "mancave"  that is in worse shape than this.

The love seat that I'm making these pillows for is in much need of recovering as well, but I just don't know if I have it in me to do that. We will see. It would definitely make for a good blog post though wouldn't it?

I'll blog a little about  the techniques used for the valance I made in the kitchen at another time. For now, I will just post the pictures in order for you to see the fabric that I mentioned earlier. It was the only thing I could think of to match the barstools once I covered them in the fabric I just "had to have." You will see, I fly by the seat of my pants. I guess it works. But, "ignorance is BLISS" they say. As I looked back over this blog the picture of the valance was at the top of my page. It's not where I thought I put it, but I'm leaving it. It's a good reminder to Never, Never Give Up.

Well off to get those things on my list done. Let me know what you think. Please leave me any comments and input you have.  I better get started...
If not now, when?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

If not now, WHEN?

I finally did it!! I'm not sure what I'm doing yet, obviously, to those of you who are professional bloggers. I have only discovered blogs a few months ago. There is a whole world of communication and education out there untapped by people like myself.

I have a motto for the year. "If not now, when?" I'm not sure where I heard it or how it came to my mind but it haunts me. Life is passing me by. I feel that I have something amazing to do and I need to hurry and step out and do it. This blog is one of my first attempts this year in that effort. 

You can read my background information to get more details on me personally. I would like this blog to help me focus on my creative endeavors. I'm sure every now and then, however, I will be compelled as a proud mother and wife, to mention my 3 amazing children or my awesome husband.

I have been sewing or crocheting ever since I was a young child growing up in Northwest Florida. I had a couple of aunts that allowed me to sew on their sewing machines when I was as young as 7. I got my first sewing machine for Christmas when I was 12. I got a top of the line Singer sewing machine when I graduated high school in 1980 and still use that machine today! It is my favorite, eventhough I have others now. I have made many things over the years on that machine such as my suits for church or when I was in banking. Maternity clothes when I was expecting and then some sweet things for my babies. My masterpiece so far, though, has been my oldest daughter's wedding dress.

I taught myself to smock and learned heirloom sewing techniques from SEW BEAUTIFUL magazine when my children were young and we lived in Tuscaloosa, AL.

 I would make everything in 3's. I would make two girl outfits and an outfit for my son that matched his sisters. It was a challenge to pick colors and themes that worked for both sexes and allow my son to still be "all boy".

 My children are grown now and my oldest daughter is married and graduated from BYU last year. My son and youngest daughter attend LDSBC in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

I miss those days of chaos. Trying to sew, cook, clean and balance activities of the children and whatever was going on at church was always a challenge especially since I was homeschooling the children. But, I would not trade that for anything!! I miss it, as I said, and suppose I long for such chaos again while I'm waiting on the next wave to hit. That would be "grandchildren". So while I wait I am going to CREATE and hopefully post those creations and see what happens from there. Please follow me on my journey. I'm not sure where it will take us, what will happen or where we'll go. It should be interesting though. Let the chaos begin. If not now, WHEN?

Leslie Chandler