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A happy sewing room.

13 Jun

Blog break!  [I feel like a need a song to sing.  Blog break!  Blog break!  Blog break!]

I’m at work on the last day of what feels like the longest week ever.  After being at Synod Assembly last Friday and Saturday, it quite literally has been an eleven day work week.  And so I declare a blog break to tell you about my happy sewing room.

I cleaned it last night.  I technically cleaned it in preparation for my mom and sister [who arrive tomorrow so we can fly out of MSP on Saturday]; the futon lives in my sewing room and someone will need to sleep on it.  That wouldn’t have been possible filled with stacks of fabric and odd sewing supplies.

It’s now a happy place to which I’m ready to return.  I have a couple more baby quilts for friends to complete before the summer is out and I have a silent auction baby quilt to make.

A what?  A silent auction baby quilt.  Jenna, my friend and Luther College fellow alum, chairs a Twin Cities Luther alum event – one that raises money for Luther scholarships.  She emailed and asked if, as a Luther alum, I’d be willing to contribute something to the silent auction.  Oh, for nice.  I was honored and certainly willing.  Give me an excuse to make a baby quilt and I’m there.  I’m ready to start finding new patterns and fabric!  I’m ready to make my sewing room messy again with creativity.


Letterpress, part 1.

8 May

Dingbats, furniture, and ink, oh my.

I drove three hours for a 2.5 hour class on Monday night.  And it was worth it.

I signed up through St. Paul Community Ed to take Beginners Letterpress.  I’ve been oogling over letterpress classes for years; the one at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts is super expensive.  This two-session community ed class was $37.  Score.

The woman who teaches the class is delightfully eccentric.  Her studio is in her home and so I joined five other female students in what appeared to be her dining room.  [It was an interesting, old home.  I’m not sure where the refrigerator was and there appeared to be no television or sitting area in general.  But I give her credit for having a room full of paper.]  She gave us the brief introduction and told us to choose a dingbat.


A dingbat is an image, as opposed to letters which are typefaces.  Out of the hundreds of options, I chose a pig.  Next, you take your dingbat [which looks like a stamp on a metal or wood piece] and using metal pieces called furniture, one sets it in a frame.   I know I’m making no sense.  I don’t have a photo either.  You’re just bound to be confused.

We took turns at the letterpress machine.  As you pull a lever, the press inks your dingbat and pulls whatever you’re printing on towards the inked dingbat and -viola- it’s printed with 600 pounds of pressure.  It’s pretty intense.  And this is just a baby press.  Next week, as I understand it, we use the big daddy.


So this past Monday we used our dingbat to print six notecards.  Next Monday we will set four inches of type in 18-point and print 27 postcards.  The postcards and type we set can say anything so that’s my challenge this week.  To choose the most witty, fun, and awesome saying that will be no more than four inches.  Thus far in the running is shut the front door and – that’s actually it.  That’s all I got so far.  This is where you come in.  What should I print on my postcards?  If you help me, I promise to send you one hand-pressed postcard.  You have until next Monday.

The Giant Mechanical Man and broken teeth.

30 Mar

Have you heard of The Giant Mechanical Man?  It’s a movie.  A delightful one.  It streams on Netflix if that helps you out, and is one my sister would definitely characterize as a Lindsay movie.  [Read: Indie-ish, odd, not mainstream.]


In the movie – in addition to a whole lot of other stuff happening with silver face paint and scenes at a zoo [I’m totally selling it, right? <sarcasm>] – two of the main characters have the same dream.  A dream about their teeth falling out.

I saw this movie weeks ago when Paige & Karen & I had a sleepover at the ROG B&B but it kept replaying in my mind this week again as my own teeth began falling out.  … say what?

Okay.  Not multiple teeth and not even a whole tooth.  It was Maundy Thursday and I had just gone to get the mail from the mailbox.  I was chewing gum.  La di da.  Sorting mail.  Blowing bubbles.  Opening letters.  Chomp, chomp, cho –

There is suddenly something very hard in my gum.  Upon further investigation, it’s a part of a tooth and it’s disgusting.  [Luckily, it doesn’t hurt.  A corner of a molar.  I have an appointment next week to get it checked out.]  Last year on Maundy Thursday, my heel broke during worship.  This year, apparently, it’s my teeth.  Should we cast lots for what breaks next year?  Maybe an arm or a leg?

Napkin cards: a tutorial.

10 Mar

[Napkin cards: a tutorial.]  I’m well aware I missed a Friday of favorites.  I’ll be back with double the fun next Friday.  For now, forgive me if I teach you how to make cards out of napkins with supplies you already have at your house?

Judy is a friend of Marilyn’s, the administrative assistant, and she’ll pop by at every major [and minor] holiday with treats and cards for us.  Judy makes her cards out of  napkins.  NAPKINS.  For a year now, I’ve been wondering how in the world she does it and where I could get the special supplies.

Judy brought me a napkin card kit and lovely directions last Thursday.  Turns out I don’t need to rush off to the store to buy anything special.  And if you’re anything like me, sometimes napkins are too pretty to actually wipe your mug with; here’s your solution to making paper napkins multi-functional and awesome.


Gather your supplies.  You will need the napkins of your choosing [mine are clearance Hanukkah napkins from last year], saran wrap [Judy emphasizes that the cheap, off-brand stuff works best!], card stock, and an iron.  That’s it.


Begin by peeling the layers of your napkin apart.  Napkins come two- and three-ply.  We just need the one layer with the pretty stuff.  Peel the other layers away but keep them on hand – they’ll help protect your iron later on.


To the ironing board we go.  Make sure your surface is protected and make a sandwich – napkin, saran wrap, cardstock.  [Above are the bottom two layers of my sandwich – napkin wrong side up and smoothed saran wrap.  The cardstock goes on top!] The saran wrap – when melted by the iron – will be the adhesive that holds the napkin [the outside of your card] to the cardstock [the inside of your card].  Cover the cardstock and any bits of saran wrap that are peeking out with the extra napkins layers.  Make sure your iron makes no direct contact with the saran wrap!  That would be one sticky mess.

Iron away using medium heat and no steam.  Iron, iron, iron.  Whistle while you iron.  Sing a song.  Just don’t scorch your cardstock and take care around the corners and edges to make sure they stick together.


Check to see if everything is adhered where it needs to be adhered.  Trim the excess napkin/saran wrap/cardstock away.  Fold in half.  Welcome to the world, a card made from napkins.  Write a note on the inside or add some stamps/stickers to the outside.  Just remember – it’s for greeting now.  Not eating.


I made a couple napkin cards and then, as I stood in my craft room surrounded by fabric, wondered why I couldn’t make a fabric card.  Hmm.  Turns out saran wrap will not adhere to fabric but heat&bond you have in the cabinet will.  I made a couple fabric cards and added a sewn boarder.  It’s a little something – something different.  Next, I think I may experiment making them into books.  Oh, the possibilities of paper and fabric together!


a thankful november: childlike surprise.

3 Nov
I went to Austin today to fetch sewing machine needles [it was a dire situation; my last one had snapped mid-quilt] and to return library books.  Oh so exciting, right?  I went to the fabric store.  La di da.  And then I went to Target because Target is right next to the fabric store and why oh why would I not go inside to see their fall decor on clearance?  [scored: a black metal jack-o-lantern lantern for 70% off]
Next I drove downtown towards the library.  As I drove past the Hy-Vee and neared my turn, in the open part to the my right was a hot air balloon.  You know – giant.  ‘uge.  I thought, well, that’s cool but nothing much beyond that.  I’ve seen that before.  Kept driving.
I returned my library books and as I was walking to my car again, a stranger – an older gentleman – was a couple cars away from me.  He yelled to me, Look!  A pie in the sky.  I first I thought, wow, this man is crazy and yelling about pie.  I followed his finger pointing to the hot air balloon, now floating above Austin.  Okay, pretty cool.  I smiled at him and said something lame about it taking off from over by Hy-Vee.  He said again, It’s a pie in the sky.
He was so surprised by the sight.  He was so excited about it that he shared it with me, a perfect stranger, in the library parking lot.  But he wasn’t the only one taken by the balloon.  As I drove away thru downtown, people had spilled out of the VFW and other businesses to stare up at the pie in the sky.  [This makes Austin seem pretty boring, if people go out of their way to watch a balloon.  SPAM, we need some excitement.]  
It was like a small child seeing Christmas lights, or an airplane fly overhead, or the delight a kid gets from seeing polar bears wrestle at the zoo.  If only things surprised us like that more often, eh? 


23 Oct

Source: via Zanny on Pinterest

my next screen play.

31 Aug
[and by next I mean first.]
I just spent an hour dropping off bulk mail at the Austin Post Office.  The LOG [our monthly newsletter at ROG – get it?] is en route to members thirsty for the latest word from this church.  [or maybe it’s their recycling bin that is hungry for it.  whichever.]  Anyways, Marilyn usually drops this off.  She’s the one who weighs it, fills out the appropriate paperwork, and makes sure when it is dropped off that it keeps the lovely USPS clerks happy.  This time the cookie crumbled and it was my job to deliver.  I got a sneak peak at the world that is church administrative assistants.
Behind me in line was another church dropping off their monthly newsletter.  I spent a fair bit of time at the counter this time around because the weight on the group of 10 newsletters was off by .009.  Off by too much apparently.  The clerk who was helping me had to go ask someone else a question, and then she had to reweigh, and then she had to explain to me how to fill out new paperwork with the appropriate weight, all the while this administrative assistant behind me waited for another clerk.
Another clerk appeared and the admin assistant behind me went to her with the boxes of newsletters in her hands.  She kinda giggled, looked at me, and said, More of the same thing, in a sing-songy voice.  But her weight on the group of 10 was correct.  No further questions, no reweighing.  She was in.  And then she sneered at me with a mix of pity and a mix of superiority as she left the counter, arriving after me and leaving before me.  What a smug church basement lady.
Okay.  No, she didn’t really sneer but what a movie screen play it could be if she did!  The entire drive home I wondered what the secret lives of church administrative assistants is like.  Competitiveness at the post office counter over bulk mail, bragging rights over who could fold bulletins the fastest, and who also played the organ.  I imagine the movie would be a lot like Drop, Dead Gorgeous but with less murder and more lipstick stains on coffee cups.  
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