Thursday, September 25, 2008

Phew...That's over...

Last week and this, I prepped for a presentation for work. There was a conference this week, with probably about 100 people per session, and I (gasp) volunteered to take over a session that was planned, but unmanned. Saw the room on Monday, it looked to hold about 140 people, and they were all there!

So today was the day! We had one session before lunch, where we did focus groups on different designs, and we got about 80 customers for that, which was great. Unfortunately, they didn't all come back after lunch for my stand-up and talk session, and neither did anyone else. Out of about 40 people in attendance, only about a dozen were actual customers, the rest were other 'softies. Sigh. It's hard to vet plans with customers when they aren't there. Guess my joke to colleagues about how we should encourage people to check out the excellent shopping across the street wasn't a joke after all! That or they were tired of sessions on their last day.

I did fine, my presentation went well, but when you plan to talk for about 30 minutes of your hour-long slot keeping half of the time free for discussion along the way, you don't expect to be done at 36 minutes. But that's what happens with only a dozen participants. Better luck next time? Kind of a let down.

It did feel good to once again demonstrate that I can conquer my public-speaking anxiety. Lots o' prep, plus talking about something you really DO know about, sure helps :-). I mentioned to Max last night at bedtime that my presentation was tomorrow. He said "why are you so scared?". I was hoping that I was showing him that even though I was nervous about doing something difficult, I was preparing and pushing through the fear and accomplishing something. Might be a little too subtle for 5. But maybe it'll be a teaching example later. Who knows.

So that's me, and my week. Tomorrow, my biggest thing is a group lunch at work and date night. Yay - fun stuff!

Oh, and I really liked my outfit. It's a keeper. Thanks for helping me shop, Mom! Isn't it funny how clothes can boost your confidence?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Just a little something…

I was tired of the ratty old Ziploc baggie that I used for storing my hand quilting notions. But I didn’t feel like paying the $20 for a silk folding envelope (with zippered pocket) at the quilt shop when I have SOOOO much fabric lying around. So, I decided to make something up. I omitted the zippered pocket because life’s just too short to deal with a 3 inch zipper. Here’s what mine ended up looking like.

It took me about 2 ½ hours to whip up at Cyndy’s latest Day of Sewing. If you want to make one of your own, here’s how. These instructions may seem lengthy, but they don't take long. I'm just being too thorough (tech writer issue :-).

Sam’s Notions Pocket

Finished dimensions: Approximately 5 by 6 inches when folded up, 15 by 6 inches opened flat.
Holds: A small pair of scissors, a seam ripper, two spools of thread, several needles & pins, plus any other small notions you want to tuck in.

Fabric and notions:
You’ll need 1 fat quarter of an outside fabric and two fat quarters of a pocket fabric (might be able to get away with just 2 fat quarters if you mix & match colors on the inside), matching (or contrasting!) thread, a little sew-in interfacing, and ribbon for the ties.

When I made this, I used a finished-hem cloth napkin that I had leftover from another project. The instructions are for using regular fabric instead. If you want to use a napkin, simply cut the flap & pocket out of the napkin instead and cut them 16/17 x 4 instead of 16 x 8. Also, I used two types of bias tape for the ribbon, that I zigzagged together (like I said, I had stuff lying around).


  1. Out of the body fabric, cut two 16 inch by 7 inch rectangles (for the main body of the notions pouch inside & out) and a 15 1/2 inch by 8 inch rectangle (for the flap).
  2. Out of the pocket fabric, cut one 17 inch by 8 inch rectangle (for the pocket) and two 5 inch by 5 inch rectangles (for the needle & pin holder).
  3. Cut two 5 inch by 5 inch rectangles of interfacing (for the needle & pin holder).

Assembly: Use ½ inch seams for sewing.

Make the body and pocket:

  1. Lay out inside body fabric right side up.
  2. Fold & press pocket fabric in half lengthwise, right sides out.
  3. Pin to bottom of inside body fabric.
  4. At one end (your choice), along the bottom, pin 4 small tucks to take up the extra inch of pocket fabric (this gives you extra room to accommodate spools of thread).
  5. Lay the outside body fabric on top, right side in and pin together with inside body and pocket.
  6. Starting in the middle top, sew all around, leaving a 1 ½ inch gap so you can turn it.
  7. Press the seams, trim the corners, then turn inside out and press again.
  8. Pin the opening and top stitch around the edge to finish.

Make the needle holder:

  1. Lay out interfacing squares, and then lay out needle and pin holder fabric squares on top, right sides together.
  2. Starting in the middle top, sew all around, leaving a 1 inch gap so you can turn it.
  3. Press the seams, trim the corners, then turn inside out and press again.
  4. Pin the opening and top stitch around the edge to finish.

Make the flap:

  1. Fold & press flap fabric in half lengthwise, right sides together.
  2. Sew along short edges, and then flip right side out and press.
  3. With flap right side out, fold down the raw, long edge ½ inch and press (you can zigzag stitch along the raw edge if you like before you press, to give it a finished edge).

Make and attach the tie:

  1. Cut a length of ribbon approximately 40 inches.
  2. Fold the tie in half to find the middle, then fold the body in half (pocket to the inside) to find the middle. Pin the middle of the tie to the middle of the body.
  3. Fold the body in thirds, to find where you want to attach the ties. Pin the ties at the folds, and then open the body up again.
  4. Pin the top of the pocket in place at the fold lines, to prepare for stitching the middle pocket.

Stitch the pockets and attach the flap:

  1. With the outside of the body and ties facing up, stitch along the 1/3 fold lines from bottom to the top to make the middle pocket, attach the ties, and create permanent folding lines.
  2. With the pockets facing up, move the ties out of the way, and stitch vertically halfway between the edge and the fold line on each side, stitching from the bottom to the top of the pocket to create the smaller pockets.
  3. Pin the flap to the inside top of the body. The folded, raw edge should be tucked under at the top.
  4. Stitch the top folded edge of the flap to the body (try and stitch over the top stitching).

Put in stuff:

  1. Slide some pins and needles into the pin/needle holder and tuck it into the big middle pocket. Tuck your scissors and seam ripper in the flat side pockets, and two spools of thread into the thread pockets, fold in thirds and tie it up with a bow.

Enjoy! If you'd like a Word doc of these instructions, just let me know and I'll e-mail it to you.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Highlights - 2nd half of August

What I enjoyed the last two weeks:
  • Running away to Spokane overnight for spa, movie, craft day with Jo, Lisa, and Mom. Great spending time with the girls. Happy 50th Jo!
  • Day of Crafts and Sewing at Cyndy's - always a great time! Followed up with pizza and games, fun!
  • Happy anniversary to us! 17 years - amazing. Palisade was a yummy treat.
  • Catching up on some movie rentals (Waitress, Penelope) and current flicks (had to see Mamma Mia! on my own, since everybody else saw it when I wasn't around).

Lowlight: Sleep, how I miss it. Wish our little bug would sleep more, so I could too. Sigh.