Monday, April 21, 2014

Smiling at Shutterfly

I had not used Shutterfly for any photo opportunities until I felt the need to make photo books for my family after a weekend ski trip to Crested Butte, Colorado, in early March. There was a learning curve to the process of course, but I conquered it and eagerly awaited my books.

Which, according to the tracking number, were sitting in Dallas for four days. My local post office spent 15 minutes trying to track them down and said they hadn't been checked in by a human, just an electronic scan for multiple packages. Therefore, who knew where they were and what was that mention of Memphis on the track page?

Hmmm.

They suggested I call Shutterfly and so I did. Bless the customer service rep's heart, he couldn't find my books either, so he sent a new set without going through the postal system. Naturally, all the books arrived on the same day.

They're gorgeous. We're all pleased. But that's not what this post is about.

This weekend, I received a handwritten note from that customer service rep expressing his hopes that all had worked out and I liked my books.

HANDWRITTEN! How awesome is that?

Dear Shutterfly,

Welcome another customer into the fold.

Faithfully yours,
Me

Friday, April 04, 2014

The finished product

I finished Emily's dress which matches her doll's and here they are, as promised.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The five-eighths inch seam

Even though I have a lovely Bernina "sewing computer," and I can't imagine not having a sewing machine (whatever) in my possession, I haven't really sewed in quite a while. I've pieced quilts and done some repair work, but when a plea comes in from granddaughter Emily to make her American Girl doll some more clothes… well, Grandmother can't resist.

I grew up sewing. It started by hand, crudely cut squares being fashioned into something for the doll. Eventually, my sister and I graduated to using patterns, but still fashioned with needle and thread. Not until high school did I get the experience of a sewing machine (really a machine) and one of my first big Christmas presents would have been a Kenmore. I kept it for nearly twenty years before graduating to Bernina.

Once in possession of the Kenmore and a few lessons from the Home Ec classes, I sewed for myself. I had a very large wardrobe at a fraction of the price of "store bought." I continued this through early married, but eventually the price of casual clothes came down and with careful shopping I could be in bought clothing cheaper than the pattern, the price of the fabric, and the time and labor to produce the garment.

So I haven't sewed. But given the plea from the grandest granddaughter, I found myself at the pattern book and the fabric counter. I took 90 minutes to make the doll's dress! What? The seams were quarter inch (like piecing a quilt so I had a special machine foot) and the thing was so small, my arthritic fingers and I had to learn a new dance. Then I dove into my scrap box and made a few other items.

I received a lovely video thank you from Emily. Then I got the hint that she'd like a matching dress for herself for her birthday. Well, needless to say, that can't be resisted!

It wasn't difficult to find a similar pattern, but I was very fortunate to get the fabric, as it was almost gone. I can't do anything simply. It was a border print and the border becomes the bodice and the sleeves have to match at the side seams, just like the doll's.

The pattern instructions are different also than I remember and half the pattern is in Spanish. I almost redesigned the sleeves last night when I had difficulty getting them to work out. But I get to have my old friend the 5/8-inch seam back. I was really surprised. I thought maybe it had degraded to 3/8.

I'll post a photo of the finished product. At the moment, it's still on the assembly line.

I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed the art of garment construction. Maybe this is just the start.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Of evening bags and evenings

I'm featured today on fellow writer Vicki Batman's Handbag Monday blog. I shared my love of evening bags with her. Of course what I posted is only half the collection! I can't pass one up when it sits at an estate sale and is so neglected.

And cheap!

Have a look!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

And now on iBooks...

ONCE UPON A MCLEOD is now live and available for your reading pleasure on Apple iBooks.

I'll be working on the print version through CreateSpace in a few days.

Should you read it, I'd appreciate a review.

Thanks!

Monday, February 24, 2014

A new book self-published!

Yesterday afternoon I uploaded my first contemporary romantic suspense, ONCE UPON A MCLEOD, to both the Amazon Kindle store and the NOOK store at Barnes & Noble. I'm working on the iBooks store upload.

The Kindle link is LONG, but should get you directly there.

NOOK Link is much shorter.

And I think the cover sets just the right tone!


The back cover blurb:

"There’s a secret hidden at Ranch McLeod and someone wants Beth Ann Fox off the property before she can find it. But fire, vandalism, and theft only strengthen her resolve to stay out her year--and bring out the protective instincts of Sheriff Bry Phillips, feelings he thought he’d buried long ago.

"But when she owns the ranch, she says she’s leaving and his heart will go with her. Can love overcome stubborn pride and a secret two generations old?"

I hope you read and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A New Zealand Adventure

We were blessed to be able to travel to New Zealand in January of this year. What a wonderful time we had! I've written about it for our internet newspaper and wanted to share the links with you.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Please read and enjoy. It is a truly beautiful land.