Tag Archives: abby glassenberg

Dog Days of Summer

It is so hot outside, really just too hot. As I write, the thermometer on the deck reads 95 degrees, in the shade. This means it is about 100 billion degrees in the sun. Hence the reason I am inside playing on the computer! When it is like this, I try to go out early in the morning to do any chores that need to be done. Yesterday I was out early, dropping Julia off at the high school.  (She is volunteering as a teacher’s assistant for a class taught by her English teacher to a group of exchange students from France.) After dropping her off, I worked in the garden, dead heading roses. We have a nice selection of roses which we have to keep inside the fenced area to protect them from the ever hungry deer that wander our property.

The roses are slowing down a bit due to the heat but we still have some really pretty ones.

I spent about an hour working in the yard and while I trimmed and clipped, I listened to a recent podcast from While She Naps by Abby Glassenberg.  Episode 100 was an interview with Alissa Carlton of the Modern Quilt Guild. Even though I was familiar with much of the origin of the MQG, it was interesting to hear Alissa’s perspective as one of the founders of this ever growing organization. The podcast was made even more interesting when Alissa talked about her other job as a casting director for the reality TV show, Project Runway. I recommend this episode (and really, all of Abby’s podcasts) as it covered a lot of interesting topics.

This girl’s been working. Check out these boots.

Because Julia was working at the high school for the day, I helped her out by feeding and cooling off her girls, Ella and Daisy. Ella and Daisy are two market hogs Julia is raising as a project for 4-H.

Measuring Ella to monitor her growth.

This has been a great experience and I think she enjoys it for the most part. As with any animal project, she has had a few issues to deal with.  Ella, the show hog that Julia has been training to show at our county fair, is oddly uninterested in eating.  She isn’t gaining near the weight she needs to gain to qualify for showing at the fair and for selling at the auction at the end of the fair. This is baffling but Julia is treating it as a science project and trying her darnedest to get Ella to gain weight. She is mixing raw cow’s milk with her feed three times a day to entice Ella to eat more. (She gets the raw milk from her very kind 4-H leader who has a dairy cow.) She also makes tons of scrambled eggs to mix into Ella’s feed to make it more desirable.  So far, Ella isn’t having any of it. She snacks a bit and then gives the rest to her roommate, Daisy.  You can see where this is going. Daisy is gaining all kinds of weight!

Ella and Daisy keeping cool in the mud.

Besides concocting these meals for Ella three times daily (which Daisy eats for the most part!) Julia also has to keep them cool during these dog days of summer. Pigs do not tolerate heat well as they have no ability to sweat.  When Julia and Ray built the pen for the girls, they put misters in which is a great help. Julia also goes out multiple times throughout the day to hose both pigs down.  They LOVE this and it is adorable to watch how the play in the spray of the hose and try to drink the water.

If Ella’s slow weight gain continues, Julia will end up showing Daisy at the fair and auctioning her off instead of Ella.  Daisy is bred as a feeder pig, to be raised for meat.  She will not do well when shown at the fair but whomever is kind enough to purchase her at the auction will have a freezer full of great quality pork. Ella will be fed out until she is large enough and has put on enough fat to be butchered. It isn’t what Julia expected but this is life, right?

Even with all that has been going on around here, I had a bit of time to sew this week. I wanted to catch up on my blocks for the Sewcial Bee Sampler. Hosted by Maureen Cracknell and Sharon Holland, this has been such a fun project. They created it to increase the connection amongst the on-line quilters and it has been really successful. Check out the #sewcialbeesampler on Instagram – there are more than 6,400 photos posted to it.

I have fallen behind on my blocks but I did get a few made this week. I tried to combine solids with fabrics by Maureen Cracknell, both her Garden Dreamer fabric line as well as the earlier line, Fleet & Flourish. But I was running dangerously low and still have several blocks to complete.  I had a funky size scrap of 1/2 of one Ex Libris panel by Alison Glass that I have been hoarding. I knew I would find the right thing to use it for and this is it. The colors work perfectly and I can fussy cut the bits of the panel to use just the parts I need.

Here is another block with a bit of Ex Libris in the center.

Sewcial Bee Sampler, 20 of 25 blocks

I had all of the blocks thus far completed arranged on the floor to look at the flow of color. I need to make sure the last five blocks are made with colors that balance well with what I already have. I think I want to frame one more with the light green and another with the mustard yellow.  As I looked at these, one block jumped out at me – How come I didn’t see the mistake??

I need to spend a few minutes taking apart the upper left corner. Oops!! There is one more block to be released this week and I have four that I still need to make. Then we will sash the blocks and start assembling the quilt top. I really love the blocks I have made thus far – this one is a keeper. It should finish at 72″ square.

Linking up with Oh Scrap and a few others.  Please check out the links at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

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Needle and Foot blog, podcast and newsletter recommendations

Podcast and Newsletter Review

Lately it seems that almost every blog I open has a pop up asking if I would like to sign up for the related newsletter. I rarely sign up for them. My email fills up fast enough and what with reading and commenting on blogs, I don’t really need to start adding newsletters to filter through. Except for one. There is one newsletter that I do subscribe to and I truly look forward to receiving it each week. It arrives on Wednesday at 10:00 am PST, like clockwork. This is the newsletter that is published by Abby Glassenberg of While She Naps.


I am not sure exactly when I began reading Abby’s weekly newsletter but it has been quite a while now.  I haven’t a clue how she finds the time, being a full-time mom to three children, pattern designer, blogger, and book author but each week Abby puts together an amazingly helpful and interesting newsletter.  She gives a rundown on the most current happenings in the crafter’s world and provides tips and links that are very relevant to blogging. It is basically a one stop shop for all things crafter, blogger, and social media related. I appreciate that while she naturally uses the newsletter as a place to introduce her most current blog post and what her next podcast will include; it isn’t just an advertisement for While She Naps. Abby curates a fantastic selection of links each week and I don’t think, even one time, she has included a link that I have already seen somewhere. I have come to the conclusion that Abby must run on very little sleep which is how she is able to spend so much time on her patterns, blog, podcasts and newsletter. She often publishes new opportunities for bloggers (that’s how I found out about Blogging for Books, the source of the books I have recently reviewed) as well as an abundance of useful information on blogging tools and the best use of the latest social media tools. I am so grateful for this weekly flow of information.

Since her blog and newsletter apparently doesn’t consume all of Abby’s time, she also has a weekly podcast. I only recently started listening to it. I have such a love of podcasts and had gotten into a routine of listening to my favorites. (If you want ideas, see this post.) For whatever reason, I finally listened to one of Abby’s. I am so glad I did. She has an affinity for selecting very interesting people to interview so my time spent listening is well worth it. Working my way through her library of podcasts while sewing over the past couple of weeks, I have listened to many wonderful discussions. Here are some examples.

  •  Malka Dubrawsky – Malka is one of my favorite fabric designers. In fact I used her line of fabrics in the Aurifil Block of the Month quilt I did a while back. I love her sense of color. Listening to her talk about her process of dying fabric, designing fabric, and running her business was a treat.
  • Alisa Burke – Alisa is a talented artist and the interview covered her decision to leave her day job and live her dream of being a full-time artist (in addition to a homeschooling mother) and the challenges she faced and successfully dealt with.
  • Amy Marston – the publisher at C&T Books. Hugely interesting discussion of what it is like to publish a craft book, what the company looks for, and how the process works. Even though I don’t have any desire to do something like this, it provided great insight into what the quilters who do publish books go through to get to their goal. Tons of work and not always a huge financial return. If nothing else, it has taught me to buy a quilter’s book directly from their website as that is where they get the most return (as opposed to buying it at Amazon.)
  • Stephen Fraser – one of the founders of Spoonflower. Great discussion of how Spoonflower got their start, what it is like to work there, how they choose employees, the work environment, where that technology is heading and even a fun talk about the esthetics of the Spoonflower offices.
  • Etsy – Abby has interviewed several people that work for Etsy. As an Etsy seller, these episodes are relevant and helpful for me. Her very direct interview style gets right to the topic at hand so I learn something each and every time.

There are so many more. I strongly encourage you to go to Abby’s podcast archives and browse the many episodes. You will surely find one (or twenty) episodes that will appeal to you. A unique feature of Abby’s interviews is the recommendation topic at the end of the episode. She asks the person that she is going to interview for their recommendations on books, podcasts, videos, websites, anything really – and they all discuss their favorites for just a few minutes when they wrap up the interview. I have a little notebook on the sewing table and it is filled with my penciled in notes from these discussions. Maybe someday I will have some time to check out all of the suggestions! There is only so much time in the day. Abby has somehow managed to turn her day into a much more efficient twenty-four hours than mine!

No Easy Solution

Have you been reading the on-going debate about Craftsy and their (possible) decision to release a privately owned fabric and/or yarn line? People are getting a bit heated about this and I am curious what you think.  I am a loyal follower of Abby Glassenberg, blogger at While She Naps. Abby has built a successful blog, has a fantastic weekly newsletter and a lovely Etsy shop where she sells patterns to make childrens’ stuffed toys. She inspires me and I have learned a huge amount from her informative newsletters. (If you haven’t checked out her blog and newsletters, I highly recommend both.)

Last week she blogged about the fact that Craftsy has registered two new trademarks to (possibly) begin manufacturing and selling a line of fabric and a line of yarn. Because Craftsy has such a huge customer base, they sell a great deal of fabric and supplies at below retail pricing. People are in somewhat of an uproar because they are upset about yet another bigbox retailer squashing the smaller retailers.  After Abby’s post, in which Craftsy declined to comment, there was a bit of conversation – most of it on the negative side. However, much of the arguments commented on this post centered around Craftsy’s treatment of pattern designers and teachers. I am not going to go into the specifics because Abby laid it out clearly in her post already.

My opinion is this. We live in a world of huge on-line retailing. Amazon and the like make it nearly impossible for smaller brick and mortar shops to compete. This makes it a big struggle for those shops to be profitable. I am a frequent on-line shopper (Craftsy included) and also a loyal supporter of my local quilt shop. There are benefits to each. With on-line shopping, I don’t have to make the twenty mile round trip to the LQS and can shop whenever I want. With on-line shopping, I usually get a good deal on fabric but there is a price to be paid for shipping.  At my LQS, I can touch the fabric and get a better look at the colorways. I have a really hard time with color – it isn’t my strong suit and I have purchased on-line several times, only to be disappointed that the colors weren’t what I thought they would be. The added benefit of expertise, advice and a social experience offered at the LQS is not to be matched by shopping somewhere like Craftsy. There is a place for both in my fabric budget (and it is entirely possible the budget needs to be reduced!)

As far as pattern designers and paid bloggers, I am of the opinion they should work for a fair wage. If a corporation such as Craftsy or Moda (think Moda Bakeshop) isn’t offering a fair wage, don’t take them up on the opportunities offered. It is the decision of the designer.  Personally, I love the patterns that are individually designed and offered on Craftsy. Many a quilt blogger/designer has their paid and free patterns posted on Craftsy which provides some exposure for the designer and a huge benefit to us, the crafting community, But again, if the designer doesn’t think the pay is commensurate, don’t go there.

In response to all of this hub bub, John Levisay, CEO of Craftsy, wrote an open letter to Abby for our community of makers. You can read it here. Nothing earth shattering is contained in his response. It is what I might write, were I in his position. They are a large, for profit, corporation. They sells on-line classes, patterns and supplies – for PROFIT. Just as Amazon, Jo-Ann Fabrics, and Fabric.com aren’t overly concerned about the profitability of the brick and mortar shops, I don’t think Craftsy is terribly worried. Is this the right thing? Who knows. It isn’t really a question of right and wrong to me. It is just the way things are and will continue to be. Overall, I thought the letter was respectful and it made sense to me.  Things are forever changing as the world of technology grows and allows businesses to develop in new ways.

Finally, this is the first time I have written a post without pictures. Kind of strange so I am going to add one here for your viewing enjoyment!!  What a huge mess. I have decided that it is time to clean this place up. My sewing room has become a huge disaster. Like beyond ridiculous.  OK – how about you? Do you take issue with the Craftsy decision to market their own lines? Should they be able to sell below retail? Do I have to clean my room? Is your room messier than mine? Is a blog post without pictures acceptable? Do tell.

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Have a wonderfully creative day all.  🙂