Thursday, November 22, 2012


Remember how I made the two Pot Pinchers for my niece Erica as a belated bridal shower gift?  Do you remember how I shipped them to her in New Jersey?  I used an empty Panettone box from Costco.  I thought I was being very clever -- after all, she's marrying into a very Italian family.

Guess what?  Erica and Tommy took the Panettone box to his family's Thanksgiving celebration today.  I knew it wouldn't go well when I got home yesterday and listened to my answering machine message.  Erica and Tommy were thanking me for the gift and said they 'couldn't wait to enjoy it' on Thanksgiving Day.  Enjoy it???  Uh oh.  I knew they hadn't actually opened the box, just ripped off the brown paper I used to mail it with.

I would have given anything to be a fly on the wall at the Ferraro home today.  I can only imagine what his family must think of me.  I sure hope I didn't embarrass her.  It makes me roll on the floor laughing every time I think of her message.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tired Tootsies

I spent three hours at Home Depot tonight after work picking out things for my kitchen.  You know I'm tired when my feet ache too much to get on my tippy toes to reach the proper wine glass.  I settled for a tea mug instead.  No impact on the wine whatsoever.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Not My Cup of Tea

I'm not really liking where I'm working.  The people are too busy to help me.  They've all been there a while and just keep flying over details when I ask questions.  There's no on-boarding, nothing at all to guide me.  They have to move 100 different systems out of two data centers, splitting the info off of some and moving some servers to two new data centers (a bit too much detail there but that's my world right now).  Since I have absolutely no familiarity with banking and have never seen/used their systems I'm pretty much lost.  Just when I get a bit of confidence going, it all goes downhill fast and I feel like bailing.  

Today was awful -- the woman sitting next to me was clearly coming down with a terrible cold, much as she denied it.  She made a terribly annoying noise when she breathed, coughed, sneezed and moaned the whole day.  How I wish she had stayed home when she went home at lunch time to check on her cats and get some allergy medicine.  Clearly it was not allergies!

The one nice thing my sick cubemate did was inform me that no one would be in the office tomorrow.  They will all be working from home and that I could if I wanted to.  Since I haven't set that up yet with my boss, I'm still going in tomorrow.  Can you imagine how surprised I would have been if it was just me and a couple of other folks there?

I'm going to get busy looking for another job this weekend.  I'm getting all new appliances on Monday so I'll spend a bit of time cleaning and moving things around so the delivery guys can get in and out of the house quickly.  I also have a yard full of leaves to take care of.  Never a dull moment. :*)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Four Bags Full!

I've sewn four bags over the last few weeks.  I made one like this for my friend Sue for her birthday:
The one in the photo is mine -- I had to do a prototype first.  The fabric was too expensive to botch.  I started by making a mock-up using a really stiff interfacing material - Peltex.  Then I sewed the real bag, added an inside pocket, the tab closure (which snaps) and then the handles, reinforced with webbing.  I won't be able to carry a bowling ball in it but it should be sturdy enough for workshop supplies for our upcoming quilt retreat in December.

Next I made this fabulous wool bag for my customer Gerald to send to his sister Diane in England:

And yesterday I gave my friend Mary her birthday present:

Notice the meticulously sewn pocket???
Next time I'll remember to sew the pocket on BEFORE I sew the bag together!

Here's the inside.  I didn't let the cat out of the bag!

I'm done sewing for this weekend but I've got plenty of ideas stirring around my head.  Maybe tomorrow....

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Starts and Stops

The past couple of weeks have been busy -- passing like a blur!  I have a feeling it will be that way all the way up to 1-1-2013.

Last week I started a new job and my roommate lost his.  In a take-no-prisoners kind of work environment I give him credit for lasting as long as he did in the world of mortgage bankers.  His original training class began with over 90 people last December and when he left, fewer than 15 remained.  They chew them up and spit them out.  Thank goodness they didn't hire me!!!!

All work and no play makes for exhausted, unhappy, stressed employees.  I am actually glad it happened -- I finally get to see him for a change.  For the last 11 months many days would go by without even a sighting of him -- he left early in the morning and returned late at night, sometimes even after midnight.  How could that possibly be a good thing?  No wonder so many people left or got burned out.

Now he's hurrying up before his health and dental benefits end.  While he was working he never could fit  in his appointments.  Time to finally get those wisdom teeth extracted!

He had a non-compete clause in his package for 9 months -- does anyone know if that means he can't sell mortgages for 9 months?  Work for a bank?  Not too clear about this.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Better Late...

....than never!  I missed getting these Pot Pinchers done in time for my niece Erica's bridal shower on the 4th but never fear -- they're in the mail tonight:

I mailed them in an empty Panettone box!!  My nephew-to-be is very Italian so I know they'll get a kick when they open the box to find my hand-made goodies.

I also mailed a cute outfit to my great-niece in Georgia.  I had forgotten to give it to my niece Carla when I saw her for her sister Erica's shower.  I don't know what I hate more -- being so forgetful or being late!

While I was standing at the kiosk getting my postage inside the post office the unmistakable odor of cigarette smoke was wafting behind the drop chutes.  What the heck?  Since when can they smoke inside???  I hope my package contents are not contaminated with that odor!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ahhhh, Weekends....

....I had forgotten how precious weekends are!  Now that I'm back to work I need to really enjoy my weekends.  This past weekend I DID!!

I went to Cloverleaf Wines with my Chicken friend Mary for an Italian wine tasting, complete with the Italian winery owner -- wonderful!  Mary's daughter Natalie joined us and was even able to speak Italian with Luca Corrado of Vietti Vineyards.  MMMM - check out their recipe page.  I was already a huge fan of their Moscato d'Asti but the other six wines on the tasting were amazing.  The wine was fantastic but the lessons from Luca about his family's ancient vineyard were delightful.  Wouldn't it be nice to have such passion for something you do?

Well, maybe I do.  I am really loving being creative these days.  I made two Pot Pinchers for my niece Erica, a week late but she'll still love them.  Next, I made a shoulder bag for my customer who lives in England:

She wanted a felted bag but I told her brother, who commissioned me, that knitting was out for now and offered to sew a wool bag instead.  He was pretty hesitant but I assured him, hoping beyond hope, that it would turn out great and she would love it.

To be certain of the color I asked that she go to the paint store and pick out a swatch that pleased her and mail it to me with the dimensions of her desired bag.  I bought the wool, etc. at Haberman Fabrics - where else?! - and got to work this weekend.  I had to modify a few things on the Butterick 4147 pattern, changing the dimensions, adding much more fusible interfacing to stiffen it, and a magnetic snap closure.  The button options were put out on Facebook for input and the one above was chosen.  It's a beautiful blue polka dot ceramic button from Marcia Hovland, sewn on top of a plastic Dill button.  The wool/silk lining is the same yellow as the felted bag I made for Diane last year.

I delivered the bag tonight and I think he was surprised.  I am pretty darn sure that Diane will be pleased and am eager to hear the feedback.

It is so nice to be able to leave my Juki set up in my Craft Cave, ready to sew whenever I feel like it or have the time.  For some people that probably sounds silly but for anyone who likes to create I'm sure that sounds wonderful.

If only every day was a weekend day!!  Wait....while I was out of work every day was a weekend day!

Friday, November 9, 2012


Today I felt like bailing from my new job.  In five days I sat at four different desks, no supplies, no on-boarding tools, and to top it off, a boss who was surly at every turn.  I don't think I've had someone treat me so poorly - ever!

I had a touch-base call with another person I support and I flat out told her I was considering bailing.  She told me how the project timeline had drastically changed and everything was in disarray, leading the boss to be out of sorts.  Charla told me that they really wanted me to start now rather than risk losing me to another job, just because their project start date got pushed back to January.

All day long I was looking at emails from more recruiters pursuing me and thinking how miserable the current situation was.  I was THIS close to calling my headhunter and telling her I didn't want to come back.  But Charla asked me to return on Monday, that she and Bindu, the other person I support, really wanted me and said things would get better.

I.  Hope.  So.

I've already learned a few things, including Microsoft Outlook, and next week I'll take some training classes on some testing tools I haven't used before so maybe I'll tough it out.  But I'm telling you one thing -- if that snarky girl doesn't straighten out her attitude I'll be gone.

Oh, and they expect me to work the day after Thanksgiving -- I haven't done that in nearly 30 years!  Arghh!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

New Beginnings

Today I started my new job as a contract employee at Ally Financial.  I managed to be 3 minutes late.  I know, I know.  Not a good way to start but I headed down the road without my readers and knew I couldn't get very far at the office without them.  I doubled back to the house and grabbed a pair and zipped down the highway to work.

The person I was to contact didn't seem overly enthusiastic to see me and I figured out later on that it was probably due to another co-worker being absent and it was most likely that gal who was supposed to be showing me the ropes.

With just a couple of calls to the Help Desk (actually was helpful for a change) I had my new laptop up and running and access to Outlook (yikes - new to me) and the company website.  I had a couple of calls with the gals I'll be supporting and then spent the rest of the day reading documents and learning about Outlook using Microsoft's online tutorials.

They don't have a cafeteria in the building so you have to bring your lunch, eat out or order delivery.  Today I had Jimmy John's deliver and ate by myself in their break room, surrounded by tables full of Indians - amazing.

Tomorrow I'm taking a lunch, once I figure out where I stuck my insulated lunch sack.  And I'm packing an extra pair of readers in my laptop bag!

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I had all sorts of plans for my latest 'vacation' from work.  I managed to get a lot of things sorted out, given away, and cleaned up.  I wasn't nearly as creative as I wish I had been and now that I'm going back to work tomorrow I'm definitely worried that my crafting time will dwindle down to precious few hours each week.  Oh how I wish I had gotten more accomplished.

Take today for instance.  Today was my niece Erica's bridal shower.  I had finished the quilt I wanted to give her:
But I didn't finish the Pot Pinchers I had planned on making for her.  Darn, darn, darn.  Actually I was saying far worse things this morning as I knew I couldn't get them done in time.  I'll finish them tomorrow but I really wanted to give them to her today.  In the end, though, I couldn't kick myself too hard because I knew I had finished a wonderful quilt that Erica and Tommy will enjoy for years to come.  I had also bought many items off of their Crate & Barrel registry which were shipped to Tommy's parents' home in Pennsylvania.

Tommy & Erica live in New Jersey, which was devastated by Hurricane Sandy last week.  It's really incredible to see the damage from the storm.  I'm so grateful they were safe, even though they were without power or cell phone service.  Tommy even had to drive Erica to her job in Manhattan on Wednesday where she had to assist her doctor with three face lift surgeries.  Can you imagine that people actually expected to go through with their surgeries after that terrible storm??  That astounds me.  Such a vain act in the midst of such carnage.

I also wuzgunna take an outfit today to give to my niece Carla for my great-niece Reese.  Darn, darn, darn.  Left it on the chair in my living room.  I guess I'll send that down to Georgia around the same time I send the Pot Pinchers to Erica.  What a dope I am!  I also went to the shower with my Nikon camera, left it sitting on a table in the restaurant's vestibule, remembered while eating my meal and then jumped up like I had caught fire.  I rescued it from the manager's office only to discover the battery was dead.  Ugh!

I did manage to use my new Toro Blower to blow my leaves to the curb this afternoon.  We'll have leaf pickup on Thursday so I'm glad to get that task done.

For now, I'm going to get ready for bed, put my PJs on and read a new quilt book.  That should put me to sleep quickly and I hope to get a good night's sleep before I start my job tomorrow.

Hope you had a great weekend and enjoy the week ahead!