Friday, November 30, 2007

Fugly House 2007

Since stupid Daylight Savings happened I've been walking the dog in the dark at night and dealing with the complications of finding poo in the grass without a light source. You remember.

Well, as of the day after Thanksgiving, I have a new poo to hunt, and it is much better lit than any other poo I could care to find.

And with that, I kick off this year's Fugly House parade.

See, people, if you didn't know it already I spend the month of December taking pictures of every horribly decorated house I see so that I can put the pictures up right here and make snide comments about them for my personal satisfaction and perhaps your enjoyment as well.

And, yes, I realize that it is only November right now, but if people are going to be assclowns and start putting up ridiculous decorations the day after Thanksgiving when, I'm told, we are all to be out shopping, then I am going to take pictures of them while Jada pees on their blinking lawn decorations because if they are starting early with the shitshow, then I am starting early with the shit talking.

Besides, I'm already standing there anyway since it's easier to find her poo when it falls near a glowing Sant-y Claus or one of those stupid animated reindeer, so why not take photos in the mean time, right?


To start this year's hot mess off on a thematic note, I thought I'd feature a montage of one of my most hated holiday decorations, The Always Crooked and Stupid Looking Light-up Candy Canes.

Seen here with extra barfy rainbow lights:

Seen here standing extra crooked and tall in front of house with rabid dog:

Seen here basking in the nuclear glow of an extremely overdone (and ugly also) front yard:

Seen here amongst last year's leftovers from the discount bin at Wal-Mart:

And this is from just ONE walk with the dog. Imagine the goodness that will come from 45 nightly walks.

Christmas is only 26 days away you say?

Pish-tosh, you know that no one takes their Christmas lights down right after the holiday just like they should and I pray for.


In fact, I could probably provide daily updates of illuminated neighborhood ugliness for the next 90 days if I had the inclination because that is how crazy this whole decoration mania has gotten. Ugly insanity if you ask me.

Anyway, expect to see a few more posts like this one. Where I capture the poor decisions of my neighbors and then speculate on their mental well-being. And if you should care to throw a gem into the ring here, I'm all ready to give your neighbors the same treatment. Just take a photo (whether your dog is currently pooping in their sidewalk patch or not) and sent it to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.

And if you don't like this little activity and would rather I go back to bitching about sewing even quilting lines or hemming over how to fit four billion loaves of holiday bread into my freezer, do not despair. There will plenty of that to come, as well, and I'll even try to tone down the swears, honeybear, for those posts if that makes you more comfortable, you big cry babies.

I kid!


Monday, November 26, 2007


No, I did not run the 10K on Thanksgiving, in case you were doing some uneducated secret wagering or anything. I ran the 5K and came in with a 10 min/mile pace, which for me, is good and an improvement.

Especially given the obstacles the race organizers set before us on that great day of Thanks.

I will sum these obstacles up in a hackneyed holiday list of Thankfulness, yes.

I am thankful for:
  • my ability to recognize the letters, "V-Z", from across a sea of sporadically bobbing ponytails and ballcaps, despite the inopportune placement of the registration area
  • my ability to balance on one leg while simultaneously zip-tying a ChampionChip to my shoelace, dodging occasional blows from passing doublewide strollers (really, people?) and giving directions to the alphabetically challenged toward the registration tents which were LIKE RIGHT THERE CAN'T YOU SEE THEM?
  • Bubba coming equipped with an enormous amount of patience so that when some old bag snarks at him for letting the dog pee on the grass in the giant park which is usually home to a thousand homeless people and their dogs, he does not hit her square in the jaw and remind her that she has probably already stepped in worse, you stupid woman

  • the powerful brakes with which I apparently come equipped. Without which I would have 100% crushed a small woman hovering over the starting pad while she waited for space to clear ahead of her small self, thus allowing her to have a more advantageous chip time while the other 6,000 of us tried to advance at any pace in order to avoid said crushing

  • the fact that I didn't realize there were any hills on the race course until they were upon me

  • the 5K turnaround

  • my wisdom in forgoing the cheesy race Tshirt and post race "goodie" bag because I think we all know that stuff is crap anyway
So, yes, the race was something of a shitshow which I'm sure was directly related to the extra 4,000 or so people that showed up, and for whom the race organizers were inadequately prepared.

Apparently the group organizing the event underestimated the staggering drawing power of the Thanksgiving Day Eat All You Want and Don't Feel Guilty About it in Your Stretchy Pants Free Pass, which is what got me there, lest you think otherwise.

I mean, it was 40 goddamn degrees outside and I was not there just to test out the CoolTech in my new long-sleevy running top. Even though, I will say that it was nice, as was my vest, and if my toes weren't little frozen nubbins until mile 2.5 when they turned to hot fiery toe coals, I might even say I was almost comfortable. Except for the toe thing. And the bruises I sustained while trying to dodge the doublewide strollers that did not heed the "Families and Strollers in the Back" rule.

Can I just ask The Universe one thing, here: Why do we have rules, Universe, if no FUCKING one is going to pay attention to them but me? Also, why do people wear those Batman tool belts full of Accelerade for a 3 mile race?

Thanks, Universe. That's all I want to know. Just because I know it clearly said in all the race materials that there were no headphones or dogs allowed on the race course and all the strollers had to be in the back of the crowd, but, like, there they were, all rocking and trotting and rolling around with the rest of us. As though they were allowed to be there, ramming into us and making a big stink about how come it's taking so long to get across the starting line when they're not even supposed to be running the race to begin with.

I'm just saying, you know.

After all was said and done though, it was a fairly decent way to start a Thanksgiving Day. Especially when I had specific plans about how many (four) desserts I was going to be eating and how little movement I was going to be participating in until faced with said desserts. Plus, we supported local charities and walked the dog long enough to justify a two hour truck ride to my folks'.

I was also very thankful for Race Fries and Bubba's steadfast dedication to the rule that all races must be followed by the consumption of Race Fries and their usual accompaniments (cheeseburger and DC).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Running update + Extreme Patchworking

I signed up for a 5K/10K Turkey Trot after finishing the half marathon a month ago. My thoughts at that moment: "10K? Pfffffffft - piece of cake."

And now the Turkey Trot is tomorrow and I'm thinking I'll run the 5K and then go to my mom's and have four desserts.

My thinking is this: most people in the US probably don't do ANY exercise on Thanksgiving, so I'm, like, ahead of the game. You know, even though I'm cutting my distance in half and having twice as many desserts.

Yes, your math is correct. I normally have at least two desserts on Thanksgiving, because duh, it is Thanksgiving. Oh, and I drink beers.

But whatever, it's the Turkey Trot's fault because they don't make you sign up for a 5K OR a 10K, you just sign up as a stupid general participant and then apparently decide how far you feel like running when you get there in your stretchy pants and long sleeves in the 40 degree weather and your mom (who is the best cook ever) has beers and a trough of mashed potatoes waiting on the other end.

Who, I ask you, would be, like, "Yes, I will forgo my Thanksgiving feast of beers by another half hour" when they (me) could just as easily be like, "I will just slam my way through the 5K and be on my way to drunken mashed potato eating in half an hour" instead.

WHO I ASK YOU? No one, that's who.

So, I will be running a 5k tomorrow morning (or trotting, as the race name indicates) and then hauling my ass (and Bubba and dog) to my folks' for some madcap mashed potato and pie eating with the small comfort that I just ran a race and can afford the extra one million calories.

And then maybe we arrive back home and the final pieces to the Extreme Patchworking Project will have arrived and I will be able to close the book on this Extremely unnecessarily complicated project.

See, when I finished with the project before, I was apparently also a little heavy in the Crazy department because I thought that I would make it extra special (and then also Extra Complicated) by going beyond the pattern and making it Useful as well as Finished. Two things that do not always coincide in my world of Just Getting the Fucking Thing Done.

The issue with this project was that, while cute, this bag was essentially useless to me as a purse and I couldn't really conceive of passing it off as a gift unless I could demonstrate its usefulness somehow.

So I consulted Bubba by holding the purse up at eye level and asking him what HE thought I should do. His idea was to take it to the grocery store and use it as a bread bag. Size-wise this makes sense, but insisting that Already Bitchy Safeway Cashier put my bread into the proprietary bag is about *thismuch* guaranteeing that the bread will be a smooshed useless wad rather than the perfectly packaged loaf of Bubba's dreams.

However, when re-evaluating the bag for potential usefulness, by holding it up to my own eye level and asking the question, "What size thing fits in here?", the answer came pretty fast: Knitting needles.

Like those big long annoying-because-they-don't-fit-any-of-my-needle-cases needles that you want to use but can't take anywhere because of their annoyingly long size that I keep talking about. But now there is a bag for just such annoying things. A bag that will let you take a project and a pattern AND the annoyingly ass long needles all at the same time and in a very patchworky fun way.

Oh and what if there was a matching patchworky needle case for the bag that would hold the long ass annoying needles? YES. We are there.

There = Finished and Newly Useful Extreme Patchwork Bag

So yes, it is finally done. Albeit not in the ultra supermost neato way I was originally imagining (there were secret pockets and fold out this and thats, etc), but in a way where I can give it as a gift without that someone looking at me with that, "Hey thanks for this thing I don't know what it is" look. Which I do get sometimes with my handicrafts.

So, someone, if you get this as a gift, now you know what it is and please don't look at me like that because I'll cry.

Happy Turkey!

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Pile

I know you have this pile.

It is a pile of things which you love but somehow haven't managed to work into your surroundings. So, they end up in a pile. Or a bag. Or tucked neatly into a hand-wrapped Moroccan drum and set on a high shelf with the other homeless but desirable things with the understanding that *someday* you are going to have the perfect place for them but until that day comes, they will just hang out in the pile/bag/drum while Bubba makes quiet but pointed comments about where is that cool thing that his mom brought back from Bali and did we ever unpack the penis gourd from our last move.

See, your life is just like mine. I knew it.

This past weekend I decided to face The Pile. Which is a scary idea since The Pile has things in it so varied and obscure that dealing with The Pile has become a task that I often approach but inevitably end up backing slowly away from while whispering, "I'm not ready. I'm not ready."

See, The Pile has things in it like a Moroccan drum, Costa Rican maracas, prayer rugs, African masks, a tradesman's knife, a cast iron elephant, embroidered tapestries, batiks, wax-dyed fabrics and the penis gourd. So, obviously, all things I love and cherish but also things that really need *a special place* in which to be properly admired or pointed at while going,

"What is THAT for? And why is there a saucy little feather at the end?"

I'm sure you can see why it's taken me so long to deal with these things. I mean, how long did it take you to unpack and properly showcase your penis gourd? See, I bet yours is still packed away in the penny saver wrap at this very moment.

But Sunday was the day. And it was the soonest possible moment that I could have tackled this project, I assure you, because the *special place* in which these treasures were to be showcased wasn't ready until then.

And that is because we finally had rewired and arranged the office just right, with my new white couch in just the right spot across from the new desk on top of the clean rug with the two bookcases and wasn't it all just perfect and ready. Because, as you know, I am crazy and OCD and want to have my cake and eat it too and then have it for dessert so I tend to obsess over things and not budge an inch to make them happen until I know it will be just right.

Imagine if you will, the picnic it must be to be married to me.

Thankfully the stars were properly aligned this past Sunday and I was able to unveil and arrange almost all of The Pile's treasures throughout our perfect canvas of an office, thus satisfying my inner crazy to the point where I was then able to relax and watch football while napping intermittently.

Oh the sheer bliss.

Of the items in The Pile that I was most eager to display was this gorgeous fabric that Kelli brought back for me from Africa a million long years ago.

When she gave it to me I knew a few things right off the bat:

1. I loved it very much and it was perfect.
2. It would become a very groovy set of pillows for my future sofa bed in our future office which would set off the future decorating that I would do. In the future.

You can imagine how much the "in the future" part of this equation annoyed my Crazy since I am a woman of little patience AND one who desires instant gratification. Such a hard, hard combo to manage. Just ask Bubba.

Thankfully "the future" was this weekend and the fabulous fabric that has been taunting me from its side of The Pile for so long was sliced and sewn and stuffed with pillow forms and arranged *just so* on the couch for all (me) to enjoy. I'd like to think that Bubba can appreciate the mind energy that has gone into bringing these pillows into existence, but he is closer to Normal than I am, so probably just appreciates them in the normal way one would usually appreciate a pillow. Like maybe as a cushion for one's back while reclining on a couch.

I don't know what normal people do, I'm just guessing here.

Anyway, my big vision for the office, The Universe and Everything is coming together nicely and thank god because if I had to stare at that fabric in its uncut and unrealized potential state for ONE. MORE. DAY. I probably would have spontaneously combusted from the energy it was taking to hold back the Crazy.

And if you're wondering where is the rest of The Pile and where did I put the penis gourd, well, you're just going to have to wait until it's all put away *just right* so that I can take a perfectly staged photo where nothing has dog/cat/my hair on it and I can pretend that we always live in a house so clean and perfect.

So, like, probably not real soon, but I'll work on it.

Monday, November 12, 2007

To add to the list of random things that excite me, I'm here to tell you that I currently have a crush on the fourth shelf in our hall closet.

Because it is almost empty.

Like, it only has a few smallish things on it and that's all. There is actual room for, I don't know, things. In the event that I need space for something linen-ish, or hall-ish, or whatever-ish - I have a space for it!

Give it a minute - the excitement will get to you, too.

Wait for it...

Whoa - see. That is rad. The feeling of available space. Ahhhhhh.

I will tell you that in our perfect-except-for-the-fact-that-it's-evil-small house, space is a commodity. Even one shelf can make a difference between keeping and Goodwilling something. And we're at the point where I've edited and sifted and cleaned out our stuff so many times that when I'm trying to compromise and make space I'm choosing between two things I really like rather than one thing I'm currently using and one thing that was purchased in 1983, still has the store tags and is so heinously ugly as to be unforgivable.

And if I ask Bubba to store one more thing in the garage he is going to divorce my ever-shopping ass.

So, how did I come to acquire something as rare and exotic as a free hall closest shelf (mostly)? Only buy buying the best sofa-bed known to man which has the most ingenious sofa-to-bed mechanism as well as a perfectly fabulous storage compartment within the sofa itself.


And don't you know that it was set up for approximately 17 seconds before I raced off down the hall (short race) to the closet to grab the spare comforter, pillows, sheets and mattress pad quick like a god damn cat.


That's how fast I was.

It was nearly a religious experience tucking the comforter (with new groovy duvet donchaknow), sheets and pad into the storage compartment and sliding the bed closed like nothing ever happened.

So, the first time I tried to overstuff it. Yes, obviously, because that is who I am, The Queen of Forcing It, but when it became obvious that two pillows AND a KING comforter AND a mattress pad AND a sheet set weren't going to fit in there I surrendered gracefully (ie. no crying or throwing of scissors) and moved the pillows back to the high shelf in the hall closet. It was a hard moment for me *tear* but I made it through.

It was the knowledge of having at least one shelf free that carried me through. And also that when the time comes to put the sofa bed together, I won't have to go hunting all over the property for the sheets and then the comforter and then where are the damn pillows and wait these sheets are the wrong size and what about a mattress pad and then let's just see if they mind a sleeping bag in the yard.

Plus, there's the chance that next time I need to store something I won't have to go weeping topless to Bubba begging for a little space in the garage because I'll just be able to slam it into the fourth shelf in the hall closet and call it a day.

Exciting! And a little sad for Bubba, I guess.

So, now you know that I like/like a shelf in our hall closet and that I've worn out my welcome when it comes to Bubba and his man-space, The Garage Mahal.

The big question remains, however: how long until I fill up the shelf and OH WHAT WILL I PUT IN THERE THE ONE OPEN SPACE IN MY WHOLE HOUSE WOW?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I have come across another annoying side effect of Daylight Savings Time (because there are so many, I have begun to take note). And that side effect would be my inability to see poo in the dark.

Yes, people. My life is very glam. I am, at least twice during my day, seeking out a steaming pile with a blue plastic baggie over my hand. If the dog comes to work with me, which is fairly often, those occasions increase in frequency since we go out for walks during the day so that she can make piles and I can experience these things that I hear people calling "breaks".

I'm not sure how the dog is able to create so many piles throughout the work day (only during break-time, mind you, she is very well behaved and house broken, etc) while she limits herself to only two piles during non-work days when she stays home and avoids the cat - but whatever. They happen and I expediently dispose of them thanks to the aforementioned blue bags that have become a must-have accessory in my wardrobe.

But then Daylight Savings Time happened and suddenly our morning walks, which were strategically orchestrated to end up in a well-lit park, are now light as high noon and our evening walks, which were willy-nilly affairs where I would wander aimlessly through the neighborhood avoiding the spastic Weimaraner that enrages Jada, are now dark as all get out and it's causing me problems in the pile collection department.

Why don't I just change up my routine and walk her to the well-lit park at night, you ask? Because that would mean an upheaval of my established routine and I won't stand for it.

No, instead I hunt around in the dark, narrowly missing the piles with my feet, so that I can adhere to my passionately coveted routine and also not have to go to that park at night when there might be, *gasp*, children there. SCARY.

Last night was particularly dicey as the dog made her pile in the darkest dark lawn I've ever had the occasion to walk past. I believe it was not a lawn, but instead a tear in time itself where all light, mass and everything were sucked into the tear producing a void I refer to as "way dark".

And then when she was clearly done with her pile-making (as evidenced by her victory lap and immediate "sit/stay for treat" positioning) I set out to bag the business. But I couldn't see it! All I could see was the "way dark" and then a house with well-lit windows where potentially suspicious neighbors were probably lurking waiting for me to leave the pile unbagged on their lawn in an unneighborly way.

I had a momentary struggle of ethics which went something like,

"Dude. I can not see the damn poo. Where is the poo? If I can't see the poo, how can I bag the poo? And if I can't bag the poo, what will happen? I'll have to leave the poo?"

"Dude. You can't leave the poo. That would be shitty. Ha ha ha..."

"Fuck you. Find the poo."

"Dude. I can't. It's too dark."

"ARGH! This sucks. I hate looking for poo. Is this my life?"

"Yes it is. And you better find the poo. Because if you don't you're going to be *that guy* and then you won't be able to bitch at all when someone leaves a pile on our lawn. And what would you do if you couldn't bitch?"

"Dude. I would die."

"Yes. So, find the poo then. I suggest you remove the dog's collar with the blinky thing on it and use it as a spooky blinking flashlight."

"TAH-dow! I will do that."

"Do you smell something?"

And so I proceeded to put the dog in a stern and serious Sit/Stay which consisted of me piling up a lot of treats on the ground, telling her to Sit and Leave it while I took off her collar (with the blinky thing on it) and turned my back while she sat denuded and unrestrained in the most cat populated area in the Bay Area.


But, I'll tell you what, I found the poo (FINALLY), bagged it, put the collar back on the dog without her killing a single cat, let her eat all the treats and then tossed the bag into the "way dark" lawn owner's trash can which was conveniently set out at the curb for this morning's trash pick up.


And yes, I have gotten past the whole "don't use a neighbor's trash can for the dog's luggage" thing because I remember an attorney that taught a class in college telling us that trash at the curb is public property, which makes rifling through it (and probably putting things like bagged poo in it) OK.

Don't you judge me.

Anyway, it was such an ordeal that I've resigned myself to ever-embracing my Inner Dork by wearing my headlamp when walking the dog at night from now on.

I just can't be hunched over people's lawns questing for poo in the dark. That would make me look crazy.

Oh, and yes, I did just write a whole post about poo.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Like nothing I've ever seen

I came home last night with a very clear vision of my evening.

I would take Jada for a long walk along whatever lit streets I could find (stupid Daylight Savings Time you know) and then make a big fat salad and White Bean Soup from my South Beach cookbook to wolf in front of MNF while Bubba and I caught up from the day.

Oh, the innocent and naive dreams I harbor. Aren't they nice?

I got part of the way through this grand vision by taking Jada for a walk and coming home alive despite the darkness and poor driving abilities of people in my neighborhood. Perhaps it was the blinky thing on Jada's collar that saved us. Who knows? Either way, the beginning of my Big Evening Vision was progressing nicely.

Until I opened the door and smelled a smell that I will forevermore associate with a Pain in My Ass.

This smell was not what you're probably thinking. It smelled good. Nice. CLEAN. Which was not at all what I was expecting to smell since we're on an off week for The Cleaning Lady and we spent Sunday night drinking a lot of cocktails with friends without doing lot of cleaning up.

I thought that *maybe* it was just the faint waft of detergent from the load of towels I'd tossed into the wash pre-walk that I was smelling.

Mmm, sorta.

It was the DEFINITE waft of detergent from the load of towels I'd tossed into the wash pre-walk.

Turns out that during our successfully realized walk, the washer had been sending out a distress call that I did not receive.


It seems that I *might* have overloaded the washer a bit. I mean, I put it on the "Large Load" setting and all, but apparently I need a refresher course in the difference between a "Large Load" and a "Load So Large It Can Send the Washer Into Convulsions" because the towels (and sheets, fine I admit) had gotten a bit, let's say cozy, in the washer and had bound themselves into a mass that altered the centrifugal force to a point where the machine WOOB WOOBed its way away from the wall so violently that the washer emergency stopped itself right after sending a full GIANT handle of liquid detergent crashing down from the washer shelf onto the laundry room floor.

Oh, and have I ever mentioned my genius method for keeping the cap of the detergent from glooping up the bottle? Yeah, I just throw the cap into the wash with the laundry. The clothes get clean, the cap comes out ungloopy - everyone wins! I seriously thought this was a fabulous strategy for efficient neatness until last night at 7pm.

No, last night at 7pm I found my efficient strategy for neatness pooling in very inconvenient and hard to reach places around my laundry room and kitchen floors. You know, like under the washer for instance. Oh, and under the dryer. And under the catbox. And under the rolling cart that holds my collection of Swiffer cloths. And under the cat bowl. And under the big rolling cart that holds the cat/dog food. And under the recycling bin. And under the cat.

To describe this as a mess would be an impressive understatement of fact. This was a disaster of monumental proportions. Which was amplified by the fact that I had no method by which to contain the wreckage. It was, in a phrase, the Tide Valdez in my house.

I had liquid Tide (or All, or whatever we got at the store that was on sale last) just plain UHverywhere because aside from pooling all around the floor, it also sprayed an ambitious path of cast-off on its way down. And because our house in the size of a pin, I have a lot of stuff neatly organized in the laundry room, which provided nice receptacles for the slippery soap. Things like the inside of my wellies and the inside of the cat box, for instance.

The discovery of such a heinous catastrophe can only be met with one reaction: Paralyzing horror.

And then some giggles, a little wide-eyed wonderment, a few more giggles and then mad grabbing for every rag, towel (not the ones in the wash, those were clean thankyouverymuch) and dishtowel in arm's reach. Plus I think I said, "Oh noooooooooooooo." a hundred times, which is my standard response to situations that are exceedingly bad and messy.

And then a frantic call to Bubba where I begged him to get us a mop on the way home.

Why don't we have a mop, you ask? Well. That is a funny little story that begins with me swearing off mopping forever because I hate it SO MUCH and ends with me getting a Cleaning Lady because I also hate dirty floors SO MUCH. So, we have no mop and in times like these where you have goo squirting and running all over the place, the exact tool you need is a mop and I was feeling pretty dumb for not having a tool as simple as this when I have a tool as complicated and useless as a Scooba.

However, in my haste to call Bubba for help (and the emergency mop), I neglected to recognize my Big Bag of Rags in the laundry room as obvious mop alternatives. I mean, didn't they like used to use rags to clean floors in the olden days or some such nonsense? Anyhoo, approximately 30 rags/dishtowels/beach towels later the soap was corralled and the washer/dryer both sat upon the cleanest floors they've ever had the pleasure to know.

Also, the cat had a brand newly scrubbed shitter and everything that had been awash in the detergent tsunami was freshly rinsed or hosed off, as appropriate, and returned to its original home.

And then Bubba showed up (no mop though, I called to cancel after finding the Big Bag of Rags) just in time to hear my mind-numbing recount of the whole scenario amidst multiple outbursts of banshee-esque laughter. Much like you are now (imagine the laughing part as you will).

And not to let an opportunity pass here, let's all recognize the fact that nowhere in this fabulous re-enactment did I mention anything about swears or throwing things or screaming or tears. Which, for me anyway, is a pretty big leap from my days of slaying my bedroom wall with a pair of sewing scissors.

It appears I have something of an hysteria threshold where, if things get bad enough, I go from Maniacal She-Beast into Quietly Insane Crisis Manager rather swiftly. Something I suppose is good to know for futures when I find myself in OMG Is This Really Happening territory and start to reach for the nearest spear-like object.

Sidenote: All I can smell in my nose is detergent. It is not right.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

InStitches: Nov/Dec

Dear In Stitches Participants,

Hi there! Wiping your brow? Exhausted? Sipping margaritas sewing machine-side after a brutal two-month assignment? We hear ya. We know the patchwork bag wasn’t easy, but hey! We learned a thing or two. For example? Make sure your lining is going the right direction before you sit down to sew that sucker in by hand. This is a mistake that will make you angry at yourself for days. And patchwork looks much, much better once you sew all those suckers together. OR, once you throw it in the trash and start over with a single piece cut to size because you are a patchwork loser. In pieces on your kitchen table? It pretty much always looks like a disaster in the making. Hell, some even skipped the patchwork (see, “some”, not just Finny) and plodded forward with beautiful pieces of fabric as is. (Hence the new mantra for the September/October project: Cheaters never win? Nah, Cheaters Finish Bags.)

But you did it! Many of you completed the bag and learned right along with us. Bravo to you! In celebration of your fabulous tenacity, we are rewarding every patchwork bag submission with a prize because that is how we roll around here - pressies for everyone, even people who hate patchwork. Please email us with your mailing details by November 10th to claim your fabulous prize: africankelli at gmail dot com, finnyknits at gmail dot com

If that wasn’t enough good news, we are sending a handful of submissions during the last year to Ms. Amy Butler herself to pick a few grand prize winners. Ms. Butler will be sending along fabulous goodies from her line to reward a lucky few for their sewing prowess. We are thrilled! (And we will be super jealous if she sends you some of her new fabulous patterns. Hello, Spring wardrobe.)

November/December will once again be a two-month project with the holiday time crunch in mind. It’s dealer’s choice: pick any project from the book and share your mad sewing skills in our Flickr pool. Make it a holiday gift or not. Make a dozen, or just one. It is totally up to you!

Thank you again for playing along. We are excited to announce our new 2008 sewing monthly project January 1.

Finn and Donk