The Easy Friday List, July 13

Friday should be easy, especially on Friday the thirteenth. This is my weekly list (posted every Friday) of items that have made my life easier in some measurable way these last seven days. Maybe they can make your life easier too.

T-gauge: This little guide thingie screws into your sewing machine so you get accurate seams every time you sew. It was invaluable to me while I was piecing the Etchings Argyle Nine Patch.

The T-gauge on my Juki sewing machine at fig+fence HQ.

The T-gauge (T-guide?) is that little thing on the right of the presser foot.

Hey! There’s the poker from a previous Easy Friday list!

The lit T-gauge on my Juki sewing machine at fig+fence HQ.

Here a pic with the machine on… not that you can see the gauge much better with the lights. It’s still in the shadow a bit.

I’d never used one before the Etchings quilt top and it was a revelation. I love it.

Divider Totes: Love these totes. Bought them on sale at Micheal’s, which makes them even better. My sewing machine is the entire length of the house away from where I cut and iron fabric. Taking one of these totes filled with all my equipment saves me multiple trips back and forth to fetch all the things I forgot. I have the large one for machine sewing and the little one for hand sewing. They’re great.

The divider organizer totes at fig+fence HQ.

Typically, the big one sits on a plastic box by my sewing machine or on the floor where I’m ironing/cutting. The small one follows me around when I’m hand sewing.

Mod Podge: Seriously. It’s a wonder of the twenty-first century. What can’t it do?

The Trouble with Cute

I’m working on balsa wood boxes; this mostly means that I’m covering them with pretty paper. I’ve finished mod podging the pink one. (God bless Mod Podge.)

The result? Well, it certainly was pink. I didn’t like it.

I don’t have problems with pink. (In high school, I did. I think it had something to do with power and baby blankets. Eh, we’re all stupid when we’re kids.) So my problem wasn’t the color.

The problem with the pink one was that it was cute*; it was so stinkin’ cute that I immediately had to do something to change the level of cute. Seriously. The Standard Model of particle physics does not support such cuteness. I had to have made a mistake somewhere; I had to change something. So this is my excuse for the box uglification: I did it for the Higgs boson.

CERN scientists and lab gurus, you may all thank me for my tireless service to modern science in making the box less cute. (Aside: I guess that we’ll find out on July 4th whether they actually found a Higgs at CERN. Exciting!)

Hello topic: I wrote all that nonsense to tell you this: I didn’t get a picture of the paper-covered box when it was really cute. Such was the intensity of cuteness that I, horrified, went on to the next step and completely forgot to take a picture. And the next step was to uglify it by distressing it with brown ink and black paint. Like this.

The non-cute box at fig+fence.

Front view: It looks like a box from a Tim Burton movie. All it needs is one side that's a parallelogram.

The non-cute box at fig+fence.

Do I dare open it? I dare...

The non-cute box at fig+fence.

ARGH!!! Someone call the EPA! HAZMAT team, stat!

Seriously, it looks like some kind of black mold is growing in there. I love it.

* So what’s my problem with cute? I am a post-twenty-something year old woman. There are many attributes to which I aspire in life; I probably have a list of them somewhere. Nowhere in that list of aspirational attributes will you find “cute.” Cute is for puppies and babies and kittehs and tweens and princesses who refuse to grow up.

Overly harsh? Probably. Overly thunk? Yessir. Logical? Maybe not. Still. I hate having anything of mine referred to as cute. I guess we’re all stupid when we’re adults, too.

Even so. I hate cute.

O topic, where art thou? I’m not finished with the pink non-cute box. I still have some embellishment to go. Pictures forthcoming.

The Curse of the Crafty

Just because you could doesn’t mean you should.

I’m good with my hands. I’m creative. I like to make stuff. In short, I’m crafty.

I’m not bragging about it. To many people, it may appear that I am; to those people, these may seem like fine qualities to possess. Oh, being crafty does have benefits. But mostly, it’s a curse.

When you are crafty and see something you like in your particular area of craftiness expertise, it’s almost impossible to buy it outright. Oh no. You have to analyze it, dissect it, measure it, poke it, prod it, draw it, list it, expand upon it, and attempt to duplicate it (plus your expansions) yourself.

I’ll explain: let’s take dress shopping. For the past few years, it has been the the Year of the Dress. Dresses are everywhere. Dresses are cheap. Dresses are expensive. Dresses are at every price point in between. You can’t be fashionable unless you have a few dresses in your wardrobe. Half of the female clothing department is now devoted to dresses. I love dresses. When I enter a clothing store, I intend to buy a dress. Do I leave the store with a dress? No. I leave the store with plans to make a dress based on the dresses I’ve just seen in the store.

This is why I don’t own a dress.

Here I am dressless because I can’t just buy a freaking dress. I have to make it myself because I can do better. I can do it exactly the way I want. The problem: I can never find the right pattern. I can never find the right fabric in the store. I can never find time to do it. I could make the pattern myself. And I could design the fabric myself. But there’s the problem with time again. I am dressless because I am cursed with sewing craftiness.

I am also cursed with jewelry-making craftiness.

Last year, HSN had this wonderfully amazing necklace in the Rarities with Carol Brodie line. The day I saw it, I thought it was too expensive; I think it was around a hundred dollars. It was a delicate sterling rosary-style 40” faceted AAA-grade labradorite necklace. I thought, I can make that myself. (If you are crafty, you are laughing right now at that thought. I know.)

And I can make that necklace. I’m in the middle of doing so. Here it is.

Labradorite rosary-style necklace at fig+fence

Pretty. I love labradorite.

My labradorite is B-grade, non-faceted, because I couldn’t find better. My wire is base metal because the price of sterling is crazy right now. I don’t really have a problem with lesser materials. It’s the time that bugging me. I completed 18” in about 4 hours. I have about 22” – 27” to go before I’m finished. Roughly, I have 6 more hours of work to go before I finish the necklace.

When I invest 10+ hours in a project, I don’t want to cheap out on materials. From a practical standpoint, 10+ hours of my time is expensive. The materials should reflect that, because labor costs alone will drive the price up. I’m not selling this necklace on Etsy or anything – I never had any plans for that. Still. My time is precious.

A hundred bucks for the HSN necklace seems pretty cheap right now. On the bright side, I’m getting really good and fast at making rosary-style jewelry.

And, shyeah, I realize that I could have made a few dresses in the time it’s taking me to make this one necklace.

Cursed, I tell you.