{craft mafia} panama city beach

Technically, I'm not allowed to use the lingo just yet. But I'm too excited to wait ~ plus, I wanna get the word out! What better way to attract new members than to holler {craft mafia?}! As far as I'm concerned there ain't a better way!

So, if you're in the Florida Panhandle {hey ... I can dream big, can't I?}, get the hence to my new blog dedicated to crafting craziness. Along with updating {this} blog, I'll be adding stuff there, too!!

I'm in the middle of making dinner for a houseful of teens, so I gotta go for now. Just too excited to wait to get the word out. Updates will be coming up later ~ plus a surprise or two!! ;)

{Toy Society drops}

I was supposed to chronicle the drops we did here on my blog!
Duh!! o_O

This is the "gang" ~ all ready to go and find their forever homes!

You've heard of a partridge in a pear tree?
Well, this is a penguin in a palm tree! :)

Okay, seriously. Here are the details (I'm really trying to behave, here ~ and it ain't easy!)

Dropped: @ Frank Brown Park, Panama City Beach, FL (hanging on a palm tree right outside of the children's playground area)

Number of toys: Just one!

Dropped by: Me, Mara (15) and her BF, Austin (15)

My "Secret Squirrels" said that as soon as they dropped her,
a sweet little one came racing up to claim her and give her a forever home!

Dropped: @ Frank Brown Park, Panama City Beach, FL (near a bench you can't see inside the children's playground area)

Number of toys: Just one!

Dropped by: Me, Mara (15) and her BF, Austin (15)

Froggy wonders if anyone will find her and make her "It!"
She just LOVES Hide 'n' Seek! :)

Dropped: @ Frank Brown Park, Panama City Beach, FL (inside one of those play tunnel thingies inside the children's playground area)

Number of toys: Just one!

Dropped by: Me, Mara (15) and her BF, Austin (15)

Froggy's guarding the brochures! :)

Dropped: @ Panama City Beach Library, Panama City Beach, FL (this is the brochures rack just inside the doorway)

Number of toys: Just one!

Dropped by: Me, Mara (15) and her BF, Austin (15)

Lucky the Lamb! :)

Dropped: @ Panama City Beach Library, Panama City Beach, FL (Austin was so clever ~ he placed her right by a book titled "Lucky!")

Number of toys: Just one!

Dropped by: Me, Mara (15) and her BF, Austin (15)

Mr Penguin's playing Hide 'n' Seek! :)

Dropped: @ Panama City Beach Library, Panama City Beach, FL (Mr. Penguin's hiding by the play table)

Number of toys: Just one!

Dropped by: Me, Mara (15) and her BF, Austin (15)

Mr Penguin's just hangin' around! :)

Dropped: @ Panama City Beach K-Mart, Panama City Beach, FL (Mr. Penguin's waiting for some sweet person to find him in the cart corral)

Number of toys: Just one!

Dropped by: Me, Mara (15) and her BF, Austin (15)

So, those are the drops we did. A wonderful time was had by all ~ especially the softies who were absolutely sure that they'd find forever homes in a jiffy! We know that Miss Piggy found a forever home quickly, but don't quite know about the others ~ if you or someone you know found them a forever home, could you let us know? Miss Piggy has two sisters, Ms. Froggy has one sister and a brother, and the Penguin brothers each have sisters who would very much like to know that their kin is happy and snug in some child's (or a big grown up kinda child) bed for the night. It's getting awfully cold here in the Panhandle.

The neatest thing about all of this was not only seeing the delight on two teenage faces (and let's face it: "delight" and "teens" are two words that aren't always found in the average sentence) at playing "Secret Squirrels" (boy, I love that phrase! How's about that Moroccan Mole?!) ~ but also seeing the surprised-but-delighted reactions of those we told about the Toy Society! I wouldn't be at all surprised if you saw a few more people from our neck of the woods dropping off softies for the Toy Society!

The hardest thing about the Toy Society drops? Waiting to see if someone's picked them up!! Oh well ... while I wait, I can always make MORE softies!! :)

Sew-y craft-y hugs to you all!!


{the Toy Society}

I got a few emails asking about the Toy Society ~ just your average, basic questions, so I thought I'd address them here!

1) Is it easy?

Yup! If you like to sew or craft and have a few minutes of spare time, it's SEW easy!!

Just find your favorite softie (what my generation called "stuffed animals") pattern ~ or you can find one online ~ they're {everywhere}! Then, get sewing, knitting, or crafting! It doesn't even {have} to be a stuffed animal ~ it can be a small toy or crayon holder!

2) If I join the Toy Society, am I obligated to make a softie ASAP?!

Nope. Truth be told, because of my assorted health issues, it took me about 3 months or so after contacting them for info to actually do my drops!

3) How many do I {have} to do?!

How many do you {WANT} to do?! I did 7 drops on one day! Once you get making softies, they're pretty addictive ... and the best part's the dropping! We did our 7 drops in 3 different places all in about 1 hour!

4) If I sign up, will the Toy Society send me loads of SPAM?

Nope! In fact, other than their "Welcome" email when I first signed up, I've gotten no other unsolicited mail from them! They really do respect your privacy!

When it comes right down to it, the Toy Society is just for ... fun. For spreading some goodwill and love to others. And {especially} in this economic climate, what else could do so much for so little commitment or cost?

In fact, once I began letting the ladies that work at my fabric sources know about my purpose in buying the fabric, they scrounged up extra coupons and discounts to make it even easier for me! At one store, I got the "
Wild and Wonderful Fleece Animals" book (by Linda Carr) AND about 8 yards of fleece fabric for $25!!

{good softie patterns}

Speaking of the "
Wild and Wonderful Fleece Animals" book, I added it to my {books i love} sidebar. It's really an awesome book! The patterns are super easy to follow and go together so quickly! The critters are really super-cute, too!! And if you didn't know, Linda Carr (the author) has designed a few of the Muppets, too!! :)

Look for this book to be included in a giveaway, soon!! :)

If you'd rather support the Handmade movement, I'd {highly} recommend Vintage Ric-Rac'sEtsy store patterns. She is absolutely {A-MAZING}. If you can't tell, I'm a HUGE fan of hers. Her creations are so wonderful, so precious, so adorable, so ... awesome!!

And you {have} to stop by her blog if you haven't already (what am I saying?! Everyone knows Ric-Rac (AKA Jodie)!! But on the off-chance that you don't already know this amazing woman/crafter/sewist/mom/teacher/business woman/speaker ... you {have} to read the awesome stories and biographies that she concocts for her sweet softies.

And BTW, she has several freebie patterns at her blog!! And these aren't your average-no-wonder-it's-a-freebie kinda patterns ... they're AWESOME and oh, sew lovely!! Check them out!! :)

{the "blahs", the Toy Society and a giveaway!}

{the blahs}
Since my last bloggy blurb, a LOT has changed (TMI warning). We've (meaning, "I") found it necessary to (at least temporarily) take a "vacation" from my MIL ~ whom I believe I've mentioned here oodles of times. She was beginning to say inappropriate things to my kids ~ I can take a LOT of abuse, but I wasn't gonna sit back and watch the poop spill over and affect my kiddos.

So far, I'm sad to say, it's helped a lot. A LOT. There's more laughter in the house, less stress, and less ... drama. And even if it IS only temporary, and we invite Janie back in our lives (DH is still free to see her as he likes, obviously), we really and truly needed this "vacation." I think that this "vacation" really helped bring us together as a family (not trying to imply that my MIL isn't part of our family ~ I just meant our little corner of the family) and helped us to realize that life is good.

Since we took a sabbatical from my MIL, I came to the realization that life really IS good. To that end, I've sought treatment for my depression. Not the movie-of-the-week kind of depression ~ although it really was affecting my creativity ~ just the "enh-blah-blurgh" kinda depression. Where it's every bit as easy to sleep the day away as it is to sit and sew. So, a couple of visits to the doctor and three prescriptions later, I have a good anti-depressant medication that's making all the difference in the world. It's not a "magic pill" ~ it doesn't erase the depression, it just ... makes it easier to be happy. If that makes sense?!

My doctor (whom I adore ~ seriously, the man is awesome!) has also found the perfect blend of headache medications (I've suffered from migraines almost all my life ~ I remember having my first migraine when I was 6 years old). That, too, makes life much more ... Good.

{the Toy Society}
All of those things, all mushed up together and stirred well ~ along with a healthy, heaping dose of Toy Society softies making with my dearest daughter ~ has really made for a wonderful sabbatical from my bloggy-life. I feel refreshed, renewed ~ and for the first time in a LONG time:

{giveaway coming up!}
So, to celebrate, I'm going to come up with a giveaway. I dunno what it will be just yet ~ probably a squishy of some kind, plus a pattern or two. Maybe even a book. During my sabbatical, I've been going bonkers buying crafty books (and learning machine embroidery ~ but that's gist for another post!) ~ so I've got several {awesome} titles to choose from.

So, hopefully, my TMI post didn't turn you off so much that you won't stay tuned for details.

{more Toy Society}
But first {and this is ALWAYS great for inspiration}, my daughter and I will be playing "Secret Squirrel" tomorrow. We've got 7, count'em SEVEN, softies to hide for some sweet child to discover. Three penguins, two froggies, one piggie and one lamb that will hopefully find new, loving homes tomorrow.

So, if anyone's reading this in the Panama City Beach area and has small children {or just loves softies}, be sure to sneak over to Frank Brown Park, Hobby Lobby (on 23rd Street ~ at the Fabric Counter/Patterns Corner) and the PCB library tomorrow afternoon ~ those are the first three places we're going to go all Secret Squirrel at.

And if you've got more ideas on where great places are to leave stuffed critters needing a nice Forever Home, holler at me!! I have several more softies all cut out to sew up tomorrow!!

For now, though, I'm going to bed. Hopefully, I'll have a cute pixie of the softies we made ready for this post in the morning. I hate not having a neat pixie for my posts!!

Anywho, love to you all ~ and great BIG sew-y craft-y hugs!!!


{compliments, complaints & commiseration}

I've been getting oodles of emails, and this heading just seemed ... so appropriate in describing them. And since I'm still waiting for my uncooperative server to stop being such a pain-in-the-you-know-what, I figured I'd post about'em (not going to quote any or use names).

Duh ... my favorite of the three. Not only have I been getting compliments on the two embroidery patterns I posted, but The Rachel of One Pretty Thing wrote to say that she is {again} going to be linking to one of my patterns.

Now, if you've been paying attention - heck, unless you've been living under a rock or are *totally* new to the whole handmade art scene, you *{know}* who Rachel is. Rachel is the Supreme Goddess of All that is Handmade and Good.

{and no, I'm not sucking up -- I follow her blog like it's manna from heaven}

So, for Her to say that she likes my patterns enough to give me some linky love is a HUGE deal. My daughter (a fan of The Rachel, too) was astounded (see how much my daughter respects me?!). Seriously. At first, she honestly thought I was putting her on and laughed. Then I threatened to ground her and take away her sewing machine. That worked like a charm. No more laughing. And now, she at least *pretends* to believe me.

Thought I'd address these publicly. The blog I had before was mostly (90%) quilting. The other 10%, since my tongue does seem to be hinged at both ends, was mainly blah-blah-blah. So, the quilters that "followed" me from that blog to this one have complained that so far, there are no new quilt patterns.

True. But I {do} still quilt. And I do still use EQ as often as I do Adobe Illustrator (meaning: a LOT). So whilst I don't have a quilty pattern ready to upload this moment, I {will} soon. My previous lappie died (as I mentioned in a much earlier, whinier post) and I've had to not only re-create those patterns (while I didn't have back-ups of those files, I *did* have print-outs ... so there's *that*), but now, I have to re-create the little illustrations that went with them. Yuck. Phooey. Time consuming at best.

Also, please remember that we're *still* moving into our new home. Okay, not such a big deal, right? How 'bout this? : I'm *still* moving into my new studio (thought *that* would be more important!). I still have a gazillion boxes all stamped "Sewing Studio" on the sides. Magazines, fabric, tools, trim, thread (oh, dear goodness ... how much have I spent over the years?!) ... And I've been promised that I could paint my new space, too (like that's going to happen soon). Shades of aqua/teal, chocolate ('cause if you can't have the real thing everyday, why not the color?!) and French Provincial yellow. I don't even have window coverings for the 5 windows, yet!

So there you have it. My excuses for not being more productive. Sad, pathetic, but all too true.

But bottom line, is that there {will} be new patterns. Soon. Part of the fun of handcrafting is *sharing* it, right? And we're going to have that fun together, right?!

I left the most ... amazing for last. What I got a lot of is commiseration for my Evul MIL.

{oh, my, am I ever so happy that she's not 'net savvy}

Seems like I'm not the only one. And I really thought I was. Every single friend I have tells me how much they adore their MIL (except one ... but then, believe it or not, her MIL's worse than mine!). I'd get so ... jealous ... at their relationships. Cooking together on holidays, crafting cute ornaments for Christmas ... spa parties, for pete's sake! SPA PARTIES. Really. I kid you not.

Honestly, my MIL? Every holiday (since they tend to be a bit on the stressful side as it is), I have to bite my lip not to shoot her with a tranquilizer gun, drive her out to the Everglades (yes, it's a 12 hour drive, but it would be sooooo worth it) and leave her there.

(And don't worry ... I don't think she'd actually KILL any 'gators. Just torment them as she walks home. They're tough. They can get over it. Might take therapy, but they'll be able to move on with their lives, I'm sure.)

Before I begin to *really* vent (why should I do that, when I can be crafting? Right?), I'll just say: to everyone who took the time to commiserate with me about my Evul MIL, thank you, Darlins. It *really* means a lot. Really.

And to the ever-so-sweet lady who told me that she almost peed herself laughing whilst reading about my MIL, that's okay. My MIL makes me almost pee, too. ;)

(FTR, the pix-ie at the top of the yelling woman? That's not supposed to be anyone who complained in an email to me. That's how I see my MIL)

{next up: more embroidery patterns!}

{grow your dreams embroidery pattern}

(this the first one I managed to digitize and get uploaded - my server's having one of *those* kind of issues today ... there's *lots* more to come!!)

{btw, you can just click on the thumbnail above to automatically open the pattern}

Anywho, my daughter and I were goofing off after reading Aimee Ray's "Doodlestitching" (which will be joining the "books i love" ranks shortly) and came up with this. We did oodles more (well, *I* did, after she bugged out to go swim with her friends) and they'll be coming up SOON.

Just so's you know: page 1 is the actual pattern. Page 2 is the stitching suggestions ... as always, what *always* counts most is *YOUR* personal twist, so feel more than free to ignore my suggestions and do it how YOU want.

Since I'm new at sharing embroidery patterns, any feedback you can give me is much, much appreciated. Like, "the lines are too thin," or "the stitch key is too confusing" or "leave my brain alone" ... okay the last one was just silly, but you get the point. ;)

I'd really appreciate it! :)

{until the next patterns ...}

sewy-crafty hugs!

{give-away winners}

Okay, it's only been what? two weeks nearly? since I gave the deadline for the give-away (and have been promising to announce the winners) and {finally} here I am!

Before we get to the winners (if any of you still actually *remember* that there was a give-away here), here's my excuses in no specific order:

  1. Wanted my dear daughter to be in the pix-ies showing the drawn names. Since she's really been an super-eager supporter of all of my sewy-crafty pursuits, I really wanted her to be a part of it. Alas, though, she's been spending all of her free time either with her friends or preparing for her upcoming SCUBA diving class (Yay for her!).

  2. Me be in the pix-ies?! You gotta be kidding. Bad, bad, bad, bad hair year. 'Nuff said.

  3. MIL issues. Driving. Me. Crazy. Good thing FL has decent gun control laws. Otherwise, I'd be blogging from a 6x6 cell in our local pokey, wearing lovely orange overalls.

  4. {and the NICE excuse} I just can't seem to stop looking for little add-ons. Every single time we went out these past two weeks, I have been obsessively hunting for cute 'n' funky add-ons to the give-away. I even put Mr Creative on "cute alert." And no, he wasn't happy about it.

Okay, so now that I've begged for forgiveness for being behind, may we have a drum roll, please?!

* ba-da-
ba-da-ba-da-ba-da ... DUM*

The winners are:

suesueb (who said: "found you through one pretty thing. darling embroidery patterns! Easter will be here too soon!!)
{suesueb wins the red-y-orange Anna Maria Horner FQ bundle}

mushyhed (who said: Love, love, lor new embroidery patterns!)
{mushyhed wins the greenish-blue Amy Butler FQ bundle}

YAY!!! Darlin' winners, if you please, send me your addies and I'll get these squishies (though, perhaps a bit stiffer than the average squishy) off to you tout de suite! :)

In just a bit, I'll see if I can't give you a teaser of what your "squishies" will look like! ;)

{next up .... spring embroidery patterns}