Blast From the Past: Quilts Completed

A short time ago, in a blogosphere far, far away, a little red headed blogger got in WAY over her head with a self hosted blog and one day–POOF–it refused to publish or save any more posts.  Even her techno savvy friends and family members (hi, Dad!) couldn’t save her beloved blog.  Sadly, the girl (who loves to write, but is only minimally techno savvy, by the way) restarted her blog on WordPress (but not the self hosted kind).  But, hating to lose her previous 800+ posts that wouldn’t be seen, she came up with a brilliant idea (!) to institute a feature to bring back some of her older posts that she wanted to keep or thought were good.  Hence the new feature:  Blast From The Past!

So, if you have followed my blog in that other, sadder blogosphere, you have probably already seen this one.  But, you might like it even more now…  Hey, you never know!

So, from September 29th, 2011….

Here is a little update on two projects that are completed. One is for a dear friend of mine from my Jewelry business. She has been such a blessing to me and has been instrumental in training me for the business. She recently loss her mother and her father has been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and is having a very hard time with the loss of his wife.

Another Hatchett Job blog, quilts, quilting, machine quilting, pieced quilt back, frugal giftsThis quilt was completely machine pieced and quilted. I used a serpentine stitch to quilt it and it added a nice soft effect to the quilt. This is the first machine quilting that I have done on my new machine (or at all in a few years) and I have to admit that it turned out far nicer than I expected it to. And it was wonderful working with the pieced backing. While everything in this quilt came from my stash (sans batting), it was such fun to see that the back was as pretty as the front. Love that!Another Hatchett Job blog, donation quilt, frugal gift, crafts, sewing, quilting, quilts

Here is a shot of the second completed quilt. This one was a collaboration between Mom and me. I pieced and she finished and bound the edges. I think it looks just perfect on the porch of her and Dad’s log cabin.

That’s the quilting view from where I sit. I have a Scrappy Bargello in process that is from the Quiltville site. Love that Bonnie’s quilts! I will also have to start on Mom and Dad’s quilt soon. Shhh! Don’t rat me out, m’kay?

What projects do YOU have underway?

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

Blast from the Past: Quilts for Kids

A short time ago, in a blogosphere far, far away, a little red headed blogger got in WAY over her head with a self hosted blog and one day–POOF–it refused to publish or save any more posts.  Even her techno savvy friends and family members (hi, Dad!) couldn’t save her beloved blog.  Sadly, the girl (who loves to write, but is only minimally techno savvy, by the way) restarted her blog on WordPress (but not the self hosted kind).  But, hating to lose her previous 800+ posts that wouldn’t be seen, she came up with a brilliant idea (!) to institute a feature to bring back some of her older posts that she wanted to keep or thought were good.  Hence the new feature:  Blast From The Past!

So, if you have followed my blog in that other, sadder blogosphere, you have probably already seen this one.  But, you might like it even more now…  Hey, you never know!

So, from September 14th, 2011….

Another Hatchett Job blog, quilts, quilting, crafts, charity quilts, charity, quilt kit, frugal life

Quilt Kit Provided by Quilts for Kids

Quilts for Kids is a wonderful organization.  They are a charity that makes and donates sturdy quilts to hospitalized children.  Often these kids aren’t able to bring anything from  home like a doll or toy or other familiar item.  For very ill children, these items are difficult to keep clean and sterile and for some children, especially cancer patients, their future depends upon controlling the environment and the items that they will come into contact with.

These children can receive a soft, cuddy quilt made to very specific guidelines so that they have something of their own that is cheerful, age appropriate and easily cleaned in the hospital laundry.  How cool is that?

Mom and I learned of this organization and that they would send out quilt kits to volunteers to complete according to instructions and return within 4-6 weeks that would go to a child in need.  So, we each ordered a quilt kit.  They kits came to us in a couple of weeks and the fabrics were adorable and terribly cheerful!

The photo above is of one of the quilts.  I encourage everyone to make at least one quilt for Quilts for Kids.  The sizes that they need are small, they are quick to complete and the fabrics that they supply will make you smile.  Of course, if you make one from stash fabrics or purchase your own fabrics, you help to stretch the donation money of this organization.

Personally, I find it a nice break to make a small project and send it off.  It boosts my spirits to complete a quilt and see it finished and I know if it will boost a child’s spirits when it is donated.

What charities do YOU support?

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Another Hatchett Job blog, old books, stack of books, reading, frugal lifeI simply adore books.  Good books, bad books, trashy books, classic books, novels, novellas–all of them!

It is a love affair of mine that has been growing steadily since my childhood.  With library card in hand, I departed for worlds both known and unknown, real and imaginary for hours on end.  My imagination soared and I lived vicariously through so many writers and times.  It has given my life a sense of context as I have moved through other academic subjects, allowing me to see things from multiple perspectives and potential realities.  Reading, and the rich materials that I had at my disposal during my childhood, offered me an amazing, real life training in thinking, “outside the box.”

“My” books allowed me to glimpse at, and even experience, a world far beyond the boundaries of my suburban upbringing.  The characters I discovered often felt like friends to me as I experienced life alongside them.

But, in a very few books, the characters became so real, so vital and vibrant, to me that I mourned them when the last page was turned.  I love my literary characters, but the book I have recently finished gave me characters of such depth and realism that I actually wasn’t ready to part with them at the end of the novel.  While the ending was lovely and appropriate, I ache from the loss of seeing what is next in their lives.  I have only experienced this one other time.  When I completed, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, I was bewildered, never having felt so strongly for a certain set of characters.  My friend, Margaret, who recommended and loaned me the book, summed it up perfectly when she said that she was, “just not ready to let them go.”Another Hatchett Job blog, books, book reviews, novel, frugal life

At our regular Quilt/Sewing Group meetings, one of the ladies suggested we read some novels to have more to talk about when we get together.  She selected the book, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.  I will admit that I haven’t seen many epistilary novels in recent years, but I didn’t find it off putting.  It almost felt like you were getting to see some priviledged information, like a biographer who discovered some packet of hidden letters that allows him or her to be “in the moment” with the writer as events unfolded.

It is also a reminder that our modern affection for tweets at 120 characters and Facebook blurbs are a weak substitution for letters, handwritten, carefully thought out and composed, elevating a moment into words and emotions.  It took me back to my school days when receiving a letter from a pen pal was worth celebrating (Hi Karen!) and when writing one was important enough to set aside time for.

I have only just realized how much I miss receiving those letters in the mail, the anticipation running wild to see what my friend would tell me next of her life and adventures.  Those memories gave me a feeling of kinship with Juliet, the main character of the novel.  Her exuberance over finding her new pen pals on Guernsey is contagious and she writes to her friends Sophie and Sidney to express the emotion that is bubbling inside her over this new source of discovery.

Perhaps I find a sense of connection in that my parents met via letter writing, when he was in the Navy and she in High School.  Who knew that a chance introduction (from my Mother’s childhood friend and neighborhood paper boy, no less) by letter would start a chain of events that have lead to over 50 years of wedded life?

This story also weaves a very balanced tale of what life would have been like under German occupation during World War II.  Refreshingly, the Germans, while the enemy, are viewed in the story as individuals, with some being horrid and others full of kindness and mercy.  It doesn’t shy away from the pain and suffering that was endured, but showed that the suffering in Guernsey would have been of a different sort than of Londoners during and after the Blitz.  Lack of communication and the inability to know news of family or the fate of mainland England and the rest of the world added a dimension of suffering that may be beyond that which hunger alone could have ever supplied.

The communication and letters that the Guernsey families so craves pours forth with raw emotion throughout the tale.

This is one that is most definitely worth reading and passing along.

What have YOU been reading lately? Would you recommend it?

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

Project 333 Is a Go!

project 333I know that I am a little bit late on the New Year’s post, but I have had a bit of a chest cold and am moving kind of slowly. But, that being said, just because I was moving slowly, doesn’t mean that I wasn’t still moving forward! A couple of days after my previous post, I made a final decision to give Project 333 a go.

After ridding myself of closet clutter and clothes that should be donated, I selected my 33 pieces (I went a tad over, but that is my option and it’s okay for a trial run), packed the rest up and put them in hiding.

Unlike some who start this Project, I don’t have an unlimited shopping budget to fill in the holes of my wardrobe to make the items I selected work together and play nice. While there are a couple of items that I would like, unless I find them at a super sale or at a thrift shop (or make them myself, which is only partially an option as I am not a great seamstress), they won’t be joining my selections.

So, I am making do with what I have already and I think I can do it.

I am starting out with (in no particular order):

1 dark denim dress
1 purple vest
1 brown heavy coat
1 denim jacket
4 pair of jeans (2 are really only for muck work and horse riding, so I may move them to workout clothing)
1 pair dark dressy jeans
1 pair gray trousers
1 gray ballet cardigan
2 long sleeve black shirts
1 purple short sleeve shirt
1 aqua short sleeve shirt
1 burgundy long sleeve shirt
1 aqua long sleeve shirt
1 purple print tunic
1 aqua short sleeve sweater
1 charcoal waffle weave long sleeve shirt
1 white button up dress shirt/tunic length
1 green short sleeve camp shirt
1 purple long sleeve shirt
1 black skirt
1 brown skirt
1 black jersey short sleeve dressAnother Hatchett Job blog, quotes, Da Vinci, Simplicity, Creative Commons attribution

That is only 25 items (not counting the horse riding jeans). That leaves me 8 items to spare for shoes and accessories. I am cutting myself some slack in that department as my shoes are all utilitarian and orthopedic (doctor’s orders) and not fun. I have brown and black boots, black and brown flats, tennis shoes, and horse stall cleaning, brown tie granny boots. I only own 3 scarves and only wear 1 necklace and a choice of 2 pairs of earrings.  I don’t consider this an ideal wardrobe by any mans, but this is what I have to work with.  I can honestly say that after looking for ideas about capsule wardrobes, etc., I will be far more picky about what I obtain in the future.  So, to that end, I feel that my wardrobe will be slowly becoming more ideal for me and my lifestyle over time.

So, there it is in it’s ugly truth. My bad denim habit! LOL! Okay, I am a mostly stay at home Mama who writes, takes horseback riding lessons and who volunteers to help take care of the horses with her oldest son. So, I guess that the denim isn’t too bad, considering.

I think that many people want to clear out their wardrobes so that they can focus on a few things instead of being overwhelmed by too many choices. I am using Project 333 to create a better looking wardrobe and not spend my life in either pajamas or ratty t-shirts and jeans (the homeschool mom wardrobe). This is forcing me to look a little closer at making an effort when leaving the house (and even when staying at home most days). I think that my family is worth looking human for.

My outfits aren’t terribly exciting, but I have enough pieces for layering for warmth. It will be interesting as the weather warms up early here in Georgia to see how I do before April 1st, when I will be transitioning over to warm weather clothing. I do reserve the right to trade out some items for warm weather gear, but if something comes in to the closet, something else must leave. For example, I may end up trading a pair of capri pants for the purple down vest if it gets really warm in March. We’ll see. I won’t do any swapping unless it is necessary.

Ditto to new (to me) items. If I come across a great dress pant in brown or black, they will have to swap for something like a pair of jeans (I can spare some–ha!). I will end this with the same number of items (or fewer) in my closet as what I started with on January 1st. And my current wardobe fits just perfectly in my side of the tiny closet that hubby and I share. That alone is good incentive!

Are you paring down your wardrobe in 2014?
Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

 

What if Christmas Meant Something…Less?

I know that some people don’t celebrate Christmas and if that is what works for their value system, it’s okay with me.  Others celebrate the season as the birth of Jesus Christ.  Others believe that it isn’t a true religous holiday (like Easter where we know exactly when it is) but is a nice time to remember the birth of Jesus.

Another Hatchett Job blog, Creative Commons attribution, stress, overstressed, modern life, overworkedActually, I am not terribly concerned with how anyone else views Christmas.  My concern is that in this country (and possibly in all of Western culture, I fear) we are living our lives in a completely overstressed, emotionally bankrupt way to try and impress people with cheaply made material goods so that they will feel “loved.”  I see parents giving presents and electronics and “stuff” to kids in lieu of spending time with them.  I see families who are overwhelmed with debt clamoring to give more and more presents, even if the presents will be flimsy and break in a day or two.  Nobody wants to be the parent whose kid didn’t get as much as the next kid.

And we do this ostensibly to celebrate the Savior’s birth?

How, exactly, does out of control materialism in any way help someone to focus on the miracle of deity being born in human flesh as a perfect atonement for all of our sins?  I fail to see the connection.

I have heard arguments that it is because the wise men brought gifts to the baby in a manger.  Okay, then 3 valuable gifts could make sense.  But, how do we justify all of the candy and filler and just foreign made junk under our trees and in our stockings?

I have heard it is because with Savior’s birth brings with it the “Good News” of salvation and therefore we want to make our children smile.  Methinks that might be reaching a bit in the gift excuses category.

However, it is pretty clear that is the retail establishment that is pushing this ol’ purchasing train round the tracks each year.  Advertising (that we watch when we could be doing productive things or spending time with our kids) invoke feelings of guilt and desire.  We all want that perfect Norman Rockwell scene, but when we people it with our own personal foibles and quirks along with those of our friends, families, and communities leave us feeling like Clark Griswold having a bad year!  Why is that?  Why can’t we find a level of togetherness and family that is comfortable and attainable for us and make our own traditions without the pushy influence of those who would all to happily part us from our money without a thought to providing a useful product in return?

When did Consumerism trump Christ in becoming the driving factor in this holiday that bears His name?

Better yet, why don’t we care?Another Hatchett Job blog, Creative Commons attribution, calendar, schedule, overscheduled, stressed, modern life, overworked

The truth is we’ve all been a little bit brainwashed.  We want to believe that in the midst of the late fall doldrums that there can be a touch of magic, a reason to smile and to be happy and together as the days get shorter.  Frankly, our quest for “stuff” and our inability to distinguish “wants” from “needs” leaves us overscheduled, overstressed, up to our eyeballs in debt (because we are so stinking tired.  Too tired to cook.  Gotta hire a housekeeper, a babysitter, a yard man….) and unable to see real enjoyment in our lives.  No matter how much time we spend with our kiddos, we always wonder if what we are doing is good enough.  Hey, I am a stay home Mama and I wonder if I do enough for my kids.  When I was working full time, I still had those thoughts.  It has taken me a lot of time to understand that those thoughts are just my being a tad anxious about being a Mama and not some real nagging to do more.

And certainly, not to buy more.  Every year, after we purchase Christmas gifts, I wonder, did we do enough?  Enough for what?  According to who?  Hubby reminds me that we aren’t getting in debt and paid cash.  It is plenty.

And it always turns out to be just that.  Plenty.

I want to do for my kids, but I don’t want to forego having a good future by racking up debt.  I don’t want them to be spoiled and unable to feel or express gratitude.  Yet, I always wonder….    And, I bet you do to, sometimes!

To that end, as Christmas 2013 begins to grind toward a halt in the next few days, I have been trying to look forward a bit to try and have a plan for the upcoming year.  Maybe not so much of a plan but a nice, general guideline to help me through the year.  Maybe you would like to create one of your own.

One year, several bloggers I knew chose words that would provide some structure to their year.  They used that single word as a motto to drive their lives forward a bit.  It was a great idea.  But, I think that I will require more than a word this year.  I need a concept that encompasses more than a word.  I need a word and then a general way to keep that work working for me.

And I think I have it.  My word for 2014 will be (drumroll, please…….)  LESS.

Think of it….  Less Stress, Less Materialism, Less Clutter, Less Stress, Less Distractions, Less Fabric (gulp, there, I have said it…gotta use up what I have first), Less Meaningless Crap filling up the moments of my life.

simplicity creative commonsLess can definitely be MORE in 2014.

Clutter and organization is going to be an ongoing challenge since we moved 18 months ago in to much smaller surroundings.  Sometimes, it isn’t as though you have too much stuff as it is that it just can’t be all in the middle of the room and on display all of the time.

I am also seriously considering something called Project 333.   The goal of Project 333 is simple.  Live with 33 items of clothing for 3 months.  This includes shoes, clothes, accessories, and jewelry.  It excludes any sentimental jewelry you never take off (wedding ring?), sleepwear, workout wear (but only wear it to work out), underwear, and in home only lounge wear.

I even found this wonderful plan for making 56 outfits out of 10 key pieces from GoodWill.  Even if you don’t want to purchase your pieces from GoodWill or another thrift shop, you can still use the plan to fill in among your current favorite pieces to make a great wardrobe for yourself with just those 10 pieces!  That leaves you 23 pieces for shoes, accessories, jewelry, or just an extra dress or shirt or something fun.  The more I think about it, I have clothing that doesn’t go together or that doesn’t really fit well or make me feel great, so I don’t wear them.  I probably wear the same few things over and over and over.  Why keep the rest in the way so it is hard to find my favorites?

I also hope that by having fewer key pieces, as they wear out or need to be replaced, I can find nicer pieces (preferably made in the USA or somewhere without sweat shops) to replace them with.  Less stuff, more versatility, more wearability, less junky stuff that will just be thrown out.  I am definitely working toward more Reduce, Reuse, Recycle in my life.

Also, I am definitely working toward more healthy eating and less junky filler in my diet over the next year.  But, that is a post for another day.

So, what is your plan for 2014?  Will you join me in wanting LESS this year?

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

 

Great Kid Gifts!

One of my favorite blogs for finding great, budget friendly ideas is the One Hundred Dollars a Month blog by Mavis.  I love the projects, recipes, and ideas that I find there and this year has been no exception.  Because of my recent injury, much of my Christmas sewing ideas have flown right out of the window.  However, Mavis has had some stellar no-sew ideas this year and she has not let me down!

That being said, here is what I made for the students at the homeschooling co-op where my kids and I attend and teach, respectively.

Another Hatchett Job blog, Candy Cane Sleigh, One Hundred Dollars a Month blog, frugal gifts, frugal crafts, frugal living, gifts for kids, Christmas

Another great idea from Mavis!

Ain’t it just too stinking cute?  What kid doesn’t like candy?  It isn’t a toy that will break or a doo-dad that needs to be stored and dusted and taken care of.  It’s just for fun and it is easy to do.  Check out the simple tutorial that Mavis posted here.  These could be really cute stocking stuffers or gifts for your kids to give their friends.

What cute Christmas crafts have YOU found on the internet lately?

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

No Sew Christmas Gift Tutorial

While my errant shoulder continues to heal, I have been looking at a few more simple gifts to make and give. I have seen variations on this type of Christmas ornament over the years and decided that I would put my own spin on it. Please bear with the video below as it is my first video tutorial!

Hope you enjoyed this little gift idea. I think it would be lovely to use the ornament as a gift tag that can be a permanent reminder of the giver. Great to tie on the handle of a gift basket, too!

What crafts has your family been working on this Christmas?

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett