Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Lecture and Book Signing at Capital Quilts this Sunday!

If you live in the Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia—heck, let's include West Virginia and Pennsylvania in there too—and would like to take advantage of a great fabric sale while also listening to me ramble on for half an hour about me and my book, then please join me at Capital Quilts in Gaithersburg, MD this Sunday at 12:30 for a lecture and book signing! I'll be talking about the quilt that started it all and doing a reading from the book, and when I'm done you can shop for fabric at 25% off all yard cuts. And if you haven't yet, you can get a book signed too! I'd really love to see a lot of faces there so it would mean the world to me if you came. Please feel free to share this info and image with anyone you like if you know people who'd like to come.

Capital Quilts is located at 15926 Luanne Dr., Gaithersburg, MD.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Great Crap Divestiture of 2014

Y'all. This room. My sewing room/office/nap pavilion. I can't even. I mean it's just. You know. Bad. Like, really bad. Like, intervention bad.

When my mom passed away last month, my dad asked that my sister and I go through her room to help sort through all her things. She also had a sewing room/office/nap pavilion and so genetics are clearly at work here. She was a pack rat and saved EVERYTHING. She also liked to shop and bought everything as well, so as you can imagine, the combo makes for a whole lot of stuff. My dad really needs to sell their house (and if you are looking for an absolutely gorgeous and huge house near a lake in the middle of rural Tennessee, I can hook you up), and apparently one of the things you have to do when trying to sell your home is make it look like nobody has lived there, ever. I understand that with some of those insane listings you see on Craigslist, where someone forgot to wake up the hooker on the floor (they overlooked her because she was mostly covered in half-empty Doritos bags and dirty underwear) before taking the photos of the "master suite," but for homes where people consider a lone tissue in a waste basket "a huge mess," I think the laws of house relativity apply. I think people who come to see those kinds of houses will be so relieved there isn't a possibly dead hooker under the pile o' briefs, that a few papers and things on a shelf won't make them go, "Oh, no, Chauncey. This domicile is entirely too plebeian for a family of our pedigree." But, then, I've never sold a home or even owned one, so what do I know?

Well, I know I have too much crap; that's one thing. I mailed home two massive boxes of stuff, plus more in a duffle bag, and when we return in April, I will no doubt be bringing home more. And that's fine - I'm glad to help my dad out and he can't cart all that stuff around with him. But it makes me realize that my sewing room/office/nap pavilion is already stuffed full of my own crap, much of which I will never use. I'll never be able to try to use Mom's stuff if I can't even find a place for it. So a lot of the old crap has got to go.

Some time ago I did a big fabric sale here on the blog and it turned out pretty well. Except it was a huge pain in the butt to make an individual Paypal button for each item. Recently, Ebony Love cleared out her own studio ( can't say for sure if it's a sewing room/office/nap pavilion, so we'll just say "studio") by offering stuff for sale on Facebook. For several days in a row, she would post items in her Facebook feed and the first person to comment got dibs on the item. At the end everything was tallied and invoiced at once. And yes, I bought stuff from her and I'm not telling whether any of what I bought will end up in my sale. I thought that worked out pretty well and I think I'm going to try that myself, even though one of my resolutions for 2014 was "more blogging, less Facebooking." And by "Facebooking," I mean "repeatedly checking my Facebook feed every five minutes like something amazing is going to appear and writing status updates and comments that I never actually post because I am a freak who honestly believes all my attempts at interacting with other humans is stilted and dorky."

If you are one of those hardy souls who do not do Facebook, I commend you and your strength of character. Unless you plan to whine at me that you can't participate because you're not on Facebook and then I RETRACT MY COMMENDATION. I can't make everyone else happy - I have to do what works best for me and I'm the one running this dog and pony show. If you ARE on Facebook, you will have to be a follower of my Bitchy Stitcher Facebook page. If you are already a follower and want to be sure you see my sale posts, you either need to check the actual page or make sure to turn on notifications for my page (Go to my Facebook page and hover your cursor over the the "Liked" button and then choose "Get Notifications.")

There will be fabric, notions, books, patterns and other quilty, sewy stuff and it will start on Saturday, January 25 at 1 p.m. EST. I will post a few things each day for as long as I feel like it and people seem interested. If it's a bust from the get-go, then we'll just go back to binge-watching British TV shows and eating raw cookie dough. Or I will, anyway.

Here are the rules/guidelines:
1. First person to comment with a declaration such as "Me!", "Me, please!", or "I will perform mild sexual favors in lieu of cash for that item." gets the item.
2. Price will be noted in the post.
3. Once you have commented, please PM me with your Paypal email. You must use Paypal to participate. Even for sexual favors.
4. You will not receive an invoice until the entire sale is over, unless you PM me to say, "For the love of God, woman, put me out of my misery and invoice me now."
5. Shipping will be calculated once invoices are sent. I will be shipping Priority Mail, so keep those general prices in mind.
6. Have fun, BE NICE, and feel free to share this with anyone who would like to score some quilty stuff cheap.

Here's just a sample of what I need to get rid of. I also have a ton of IKEA fabric, plus other yardage and LOTS of older books and patterns if you're into the more traditional style.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The end!

We're finally here! the very last day of the Endless Book Blog Tour of 2013 and 2014! Damn, I need a cookie.

Yesterday, we heard from the very lovely Elaine Haselhuhn from Dashasel Sews. I was pretty sure Elaine was not going to end up participating, because in the course of planning this thing, I had to email people to let them know dates and whatnot and EVERY SINGLE TIME I would spell her name wrong. And she would write back, "You spelled my name wrong again." And I would flog myself repeatedly with the nearest floggy-type thing. And then get Jill's blog name wrong. Sheesh.

Elaine has the distinction of being the designer of the very first project we showcased on the Generation Q website way back in...July of 2011. This was a big deal for us because we were trying to produce daily content—daily, magazine-quality content—and having full projects to share was a huge thing for us. It turns out, Elaine's project—a wall-hanging that incorporated two bud vases— was inspired by Project QUILTING. Which conveniently brings me to today's stop on the tour.

Kim from Persimon Dreams is the genius behind Project QUILTING, an online contest that runs in seasons much like Kim's favorite TV show, Project Runway. During each season, a challenge is posted on Sunday by Kim's mother-in-law, Diane, who is also a quilter and quilting teacher. You then have one week to complete a project according to the rules of the challenge and post pics of your finished creation on the Project QUILTING Flickr group. Participants qualify to win weekly prizes as well as a Grand Prize for the entire season. You can also post your pictures in a special Flickr group if you want to receive some constructive criticism of your work ( I love this aspect of it.) Kim is all the way up to Season 5, so you know that this has been an extremely successful venture.

And if that isn't enough mad creativity for you, Kim is also doing a year-long quilt-along called 52 Blocks. Each week for all of 2014, Kim will post a pattern for a block. Each block is something traditional that has been tweaked in some way to reveal something else - perhaps a set of little houses or a fish or a bird. Go here to get all the blocks that have been posted so far and book mark it because you'll be able to go back and see them as she updates each week.

Both Kim and Elaine are doing giveaways, so these are your last chances to win an autographed copy. Go now and enter. And THANK YOU SO MUCH to every person who helped promote my book, to every person who bought it, and to every one of you for joining me on this crazy, 5-week adventure.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Book Tour Day 9853

I am so happy about today's stop on the tour because I get to tell you all about my friend Meg. (Yes, Meg and Megan—we're planning a sitcom; it's all very hush-hush.) Meg has written all about this from her end on her post today, but here's the story from my perspective. One day 2 or 3 years ago, out of nowhere, I get an email from a woman in Ireland who happened across a copy of Quilter's Home on a day when she really needed a good laugh. She had been a reader of my blog, but had never been able to read my column, and that column—A Quilter's Survival Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse—made a bad day better, so much so that she wrote to me to tell me about it.

Mail like that is basically what I live for. And I was so happy about it I forwarded it to my QH editors, Jake and Melissa, so they could feel the love too. I mean they published it, after all. And so they responded that hey, we just got a really nasty letter about that same column and have been trying to figure out what to do with it. Do you think Meg would let us publish her letter so we can have it alongside the nasty one in the Letters to the Editor section of the next issue? I said yes, and Meg said yes, and so here is what was printed:

I had a Bad Day today. A truly horrifying day in work that left me worried that I'd get fired for others stupidity, wrists that exploded into painkiller-untouchable shoots of agony, and the weather decided to make up it's mind at the exact moment I was far enough from work to not be able to duck back in to avoid the shower and drench me. It was a world of suck.
I called my other half, told him I'd meet him in our regular meetup- a bookshop/newsstand of interesting stuff. He was late, despite me already whining at him that the day sucked.
And I stood there fuming and getting pissed off looking at the magazines because I KNEW already that my favorite embroidery mag would not be there because it is no longer distributed to Ireland just to piss me off. 
And then I saw it. A Quilters Home with one of those gold stickers they usually stick on anything that's an American edition over here. And I had to look twice, because I've looked for this magazine repeatedly and given it up accepting it was just one more of the things I couldn't get over here. 
But it was here! And yes, you had written in it! And I finally got to read you in something that wasn't computer-screen based. And as I stood there, sniggering and giggling about how you and I will survive the zombie apocalypse, the sun came out, the other half showed up, and all of a sudden my day was all ok. It didnt matter that life had sucked before, cause I was laughing. 
I've always enjoyed your posts on all of your blogs. But I thought you deserved to know that your column saved my day. 
Thank you for your humor, your honesty, and your writings. You have inspired me more than you will ever know. 

And from the other person

Okay, I've been on the fence about renewing my subscription for a while now, but the newest issue has thrown me from the fence. 
I'M DONE. Thanks to the "Zombie Apocalypse" article by Megan Dougherty, you made the decision for me. 
What were you thinking? Do you really not understand your magazine's demographic? 
I thought I was alone, but at our state guild meeting last week, it was a topic and the room seemed to mirror my sentiments. 
Farewell, Quilter's Home. May you go quietly into the sunset.

Now, wasn't that a brilliant move, putting those two letters together in the print magazine?

Naturally, Meg and I have become friends. She is an amazing woman, studying international law abroad and being an ice skating judge and a gamer and just generally awesome. We are fellow introverts and have a goal of hiding under the table together at some insanely crowded event. Being an amazing woman living in Ireland (Meg is from the U.S.), she has an Irish boyfriend and I WANT HIM IN MY CALENDAR, DAMMIT. Ever since the day Meg first wrote to me I have been on a long campaign to get her boyfriend to be in the QSMASBC. Meg assures me that he is rather lean and pale, as is your general male denizen of the British Isles—like that means anything to me. I just want an Irishman who also happens to be the significant other of someone I am rather fond of, that's all. IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK? (And yes, the fact that he has been so reluctant may have played a small part in how passionately I want him to take his damn shirt off and hold still for five minutes.) So, for all you Eire-o-philes (that's a word, right?), I assure you I am working on it, and I may have made some headway in my campaign recently.

Now you, my loyal readers, must—MUST, I SAY— go to Meg's blog right now. To win a copy of my book, you have to leave a comment telling her the most creative expletive you've ever heard. DO ME PROUD, PEOPLE.

Now, I have a grievous wrong to right here. In copying and pasting the list of the last stops on the tour, I have been a total asshole and have inadvertently lopped off Friday's stop: Kim of Persimon Dreams. You may already know Kim from Project Quilting, and if you don't, well, you're about to. Kim, please forgive me and know that I will shout your day from the rooftops to try and make up for it.

Tomorrow's stop won't be happening for reasons beyond Laura's control, and that's totally cool. I can't get into it but, just send some good thoughts to Laura in Australia for me, won't you?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Playing Catch-Up

Did everybody get to see the cool stops on the tour last week while I was gone? On Tuesday, Jake at Generation Q wrote a lovely piece about how we met, though she made the erroneous claim that I never actually swear in person. LIES! DAMNED LIES, I TELL YOU! Then on Wednesday, my friend and partner in sex shop crime Rose Hughes did a fun post and a giveaway (now closed). Thursday was Janice Ryan from Better Off Thread - she's an amazing designer and teacher whom I've admired from afar for a long time, so when she agreed to be on the tour I was very excited. She even complimented my quilting, which automatically means we are friends for life. Then we had my dear friend Flaun Cline on Friday, except it wasn't Friday, I  think it was Saturday or Sunday because life happens—and believe me, I know this as much as anyone—and she wrote about farts. Specifically, my farts. She threatened to do this and she followed through, which just goes to show you what you can accomplish when you set your mind to it. Flaun is truly a role model for us all.

So, we are starting the final week of the Endless Book Tour of 2013 and 2014, and I will let you know of the final posts as they go live. Then we will get back to the usual programming of quilty whining and dick-rolling.

And again, I do want to thank everyone who wrote to me, commented here, and commented on FB about the loss of my mother. Her death has hit me very hard, but as I go on, I want to remember the one thing about my mom that everybody who knew and loved her has said about her—she was funny as hell and loved a good laugh. My mom and I always laughed together whenever we talked, and my siblings and I have always said that we got our sense of humor from her. The last time I spoke to her was on Christmas Day, and she was so ill. She was hard to understand and much of what she said didn't make a lot of sense, and her hearing was bad and she couldn't understand everything I said. But still, we laughed, because that is what we always did.

I struggled for a long time with wanting to be a humorist, because I had convinced myself that it wasn't a good enough or noble enough goal. But I have come to understand that laughter is the light that shines through everything. It makes the worst things in life bearable; it lets you know that even when you feel you are at the depths of sadness, there is hope. It doesn't even matter what you are laughing about—a stupid pun or some particularly clever and witty repartee—it is just the act of laughter itself that makes you feel that there is still something in the world to feel good about. That's an incredible thing, and nothing to scoff at.

The last moments I had with my mother and my brother were spent laughing. The least I can do in their memory is to keep the laughter going. Thanks for laughing with me.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Book Tour Days 16-19

Hi, all

Tomorrow I am finally headed out of here to go be with my dad and sister in Tennessee for about a week, so I won't be here to kick off the second half of the book tour. My dear friends at Generation Q will be starting things off tomorrow, followed by transcendent quilt artist and author Rose Hughes, modern quilt designer extraordinaire Janice Ryan, and stunt quilter to the stars and all around ace lady Flaun Cline. Big thanks to all of them for carrying on without me. Please go visit each of them and if any of them are new to you, I promise you'll have some new virtual friends to keep you company this winter.

I will be back next week and anything that gets ordered directly from me will go out after I return.

And thank you all for your messages of condolence, which have been a huge comfort to me in a very hard time.

Jan. 7 – Generation Q

Jan. 8 – Rose Hughes – Rose Hughes – Quilt Artist

Jan. 9 – Janice Ryan – Better Off Thread

Jan. 10 - Flaun Cline – I Plead Quilty

Jan. 13 – Heather Jones – Olive and Ollie

Jan. 14 – Meg  – Without A Stitch On

Jan. 15 – Laura Lochore – Quokka Quilts

Jan. 16 – Elaine Wong Haselhuhn – Dashasel Sews