Friday, February 7, 2014

Technically, It's Called Washington's Birthday.

Have I ever mentioned that we don't really celebrate Valentine's Day in our house? And that a shared love of Lincoln-kitsch was one of the reasons why I ended up meeting my husband? And that our honeymoon was an Abraham-Lincoln-themed roadtrip? And that I sometimes get the urge to get Abe-Lincoln-faced-up and show up randomly at friends' doorsteps?
Because all of those things are true. For as long as I've known him, Brian and I have exchanged our declarations of love and affection on the third Monday of February instead of the 14th. We've always preferred the easy-going, apathetic vibe of Presidents' Day, or, as it is officially labelled by the federal government, "Washington's Birthday". Because who doesn't fondly remember the many filler worksheets of elementary school-- the endless stream of word-searches, scrambles and crosswords that teachers flung at us to escape, if only for a moment, the bleak monotony of February following the Valentine's sugar-rush? I suppose that the answer is: Everyone who isn't American. But 'Murricans, you know what I'm talking about.
 So I've been making silly little Presidents' Day cards for years, and this year I made some for, perhaps, you? Be they on etsy, but I'm also doing a special on instagram-- 3 cards of your choice for $12 + $2 shipping. You can purchase them via instagram, I'm @lauren_hunt, or, if you're not "on the 'gram" (that's slang that no one has ever before used), just send me an email (lauren at auntjune dot com) and I'll invoice you via paypal. What what?
And yes, that is a hand-carved bust of Abraham Lincoln, made by an African man who had never heard of him before. To our knowledge, we own the only one in the United States, or, at least the first one produced by that particular craftsman. It's a good story, I'll have to tell you later.
Abraham Lincoln! Theodore Roosevelt! John Quincy Adams! Just go with it!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pre-Beard Abraham Lincoln Sure Looks Sassy.

I've been drawing presidents and listening to Bruce Springsteen covers on repeat. Winter does strange things to people, amiright? The presidents are for some cards I hope to have done soon, so at least they have a purpose. As to the cover, I have yet to determine whether I have discovered a dormant love for Bruce Springsteen or for Justin Townes Earle, though perhaps it is just this singular combination of the two?
 
  It remains a mystery for now. I seem to have made Theodore Roosevelt's hands a bit too small for his head, or maybe his head too large for his body? Oh well, I don't tend to fuss around with accurate human proportions. Theodore Roosevelt was kinda amazing, by the way, not only did he wrestle bears, make up his own political party, and give a 90-minute speech immediately after being shot in the chest, but he was a really sweet dude. This is his journal entry for the day that both his mother and wife died tragically:
Commence with the weeping. 

What was my point, internetlings? I do not remember, but enjoy the historical tidbits. I will sew something again, some day.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Studio Stitches For You, Stanford Marshmallows, Pattern Sale, Yee-haw.

Ok-- I said I would get this post up last week.
I am a liar. BUT, I am a liar with good intentions and a heinous cold, and I do apologize.
Aaaaaaaand, since my brain is still slowly leaking out of my nose, this will not be a long and flowery post: Would you like to win a copy of this pattern? It is the result of much, much love, mixed with a potent combination of blood, sweat, and tears. Not literally, that would smell awful. I'm sleepy, can you tell?
THE POINT IS! This pattern is my baby, and I love it, and it has both iron-on and traceable templates and a TON of images and DIAGRAMS! Oh, the diagrams, I love them dearly. It's a great excuse to buy shiny happy floss and sit in front of a heater and watch movies and stitch away to your heart's content. I'mma do this differently than I have in the past-- for every 20 comments, I will give away 1 pattern, and each winner will be drawn from that specific segment, so you have a 1-in-20 shot of winning, no matter how many people comment! Sound good? Cool. This time I'm going to make it easy, you don't have to answer any questions, just comment with anything. Although, if you're an overachiever, you can comment with your favorite quote from a Christmas movie. Or any movie. Run with it. I'll draw on the 18th!
And, if you've decided you'd just like to get one, all quick-like, Empty Bobbin now has a shop with downloadable PDF patterns! Instant gratification-- it's pretty awesome. You can eat your marshmallows right now-- no harm, no foul.* AND, To christen the newly launched store, Shea is offering a 20% off code through Monday the 16th at noon on ALL of the patterns! Just enter the code GIVEAWAYDAY at checkout for 20% off your PDF pattern order. Check it outsies.
And now, I shall scuttle back to my lair and return to coughing up phlegm! Victoire!

*When I was a kid, my mom would always tell me about this study in order to encourage me to be a more patient and productive human being. I don't think it worked. And, apparently, no one elses' parents used this as a cautionary tale? My kids will know what I mean when I yell "Wait for your marshmallows, delinquents!"

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Somewhat Sad-ish Sampler, or: How I Learned to Embroider, Kinda.

After deciding to dip my toe into the delicious-flossy-rainbow pool that is embroidery, I realized that it would be prudent to, well, uhm... actually learn to embroider? I think maybe I'd done it a few times before, but I can't imagine I had produced anything with any degree of aesthetic appeal or skilled craftsmanship. 

Which is to say, I sucked at it. Thus was born, The Somewhat Sad-ish Sampler! Shifty, shaky, and utterly without skill! It was insanely fun to make.
You could probably guess, but this was not a well-planned project. Basically, I decided to start randomly embroidering concentric squares in different stitches, and it just became a sampler by default. Did I have any idea what I was doing? No. But I DID have a book on embroidery, and a lot of West Wing episodes to burn through. Netflix streaming is the jet fuel of the 21st century crafter.

I think I learned a lot, because that's easiest to do if you know almost nothing. And it was just so much fun to play with pretty colors and spent almost no time thinking about what I was doing-- bumbling along, picking stitches at random and being generally unconcerned by the many, many mistakes and irregularities in the design. When you're in the habit of thinking about projects as (to some degree) commodities, it's really refreshing to make something so haphazard and unappealing that there would never be any question of re-making or marketing it. 
Clearly I'm still no expert, but it was great practice for the MANY hours that I would put into sewing up the Studio Stitches sewing machines, several of which I stitched multiple times before I had acceptable samples. More on those soon-- I promise, I really am getting around to giving some of them away; this week it IS happening.
(For the record, I didn't embroider it in this hoop, but since I had put no forethought into display, there's really no good way to do it. Stitch tension, heh, heh... it was an issue.)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Winner, Winner, Goose-y Dinner.

I must say that I greatly enjoyed reading all of the goose-names submitted, and if it were a vote, I think our collective goose would definitely be named Lucy (or Loosey, or other variations thereof), or Grey. Quilters and vodka-lovers, it seems that a venn diagram would have a significant overlap, amiright? Anyway, drumroll, please...
 Elizabeth! You have done won. I shall email you shortly.
I really do wish I had a bunch more to give away, especially since there were so many interesting and hilarious suggestions. A few of my favorites:

 










Awesome, right? And, even if you didn't win on this one, I hope you'll be comforted knowing that I'm going to try and give you as many chances as possible to get some free stuff in the next few days! If you haven't already signed up to win an Overdue Book Calendar, you can do so here. Also, I just received a nice stack of Studio Stitches patterns, and I am itching to get some of them flying out the door and into your hands... look for it soon!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

It's Baaaaaaaaack... An Overdue Overdue Calendar, and Another Giveaway!

 So, last year I didn't make one. I was indecisive, and really busy with fabric-schtuff, and then it was too late. But I felt a little sadness in my cold, grinchy, heart, and this year I was determined to bring my baby back: The Overdue Book Calendar.
 And if you're new around here, well, first of all, welcome! Thanks for coming! You can leave your shoes on, we don't have carpet! Are you allergic to cats? I hope not, because if you are, uhm, well, I need to go vaccuum. Wait, what was I saying? Oh. Yeah!
If you're new around here and not accquainted with the Overdue Book Calendar, it's something I started making a few years ago, inspired by the hilarious Raych, one of the most impressive library-patrons I've ever known. She reads A LOT OF BOOKS. And so I was thinking, I could do that, but I always forget the due dates, so...
The OBC was born. I'mma copy and paste some of the etsy listing, because I'm lazy. Skip over it, if you know the drill. Salient points are, digital download, so you have it IMMEDIAMENTE! Since it's a digital printable, you can print it a zillion times for all your friends and family, a super-cheap Christmas gift. And, did I mention super-cheap? It's $4. Other than pretty minimal printing costs, it's like the cheapest gift ever, besides gum. And gum is a LAME present, guys. Just sayin'.

Commence etsy listing text! And, if you're already convinced, buy it here!
Books make people smarter, it's a fact. I'm pretty sure that there is scientific evidence to prove it, AND that evidence is most likely located in a book. Bam.

And books are GREAT, but they are not free, and that is sad. But! Libraries exist! Which is awesome, because they let you read books for free! Unless you forget to take them back, and then books costs money again.

So I drew up this handy calendar to help you remember when to take your library books back, because that is a surprisingly hard thing to do, at least for me. Time moves forward, in a very logical and well-documented way, but somehow I manage to forget (or ignore) the consequences of it.

But ANYWAYS! Every month of this 2014 calendar has space for you to write in your library books (12-14 spots) with their due dates. You can also circle the due dates on the calendar to give yourself a visual reminder.

And, yep, I know, E-Readers exist. I have one. (I have two, actually. What a traitor.) But it doesn't mean you don't need the calendar! Just use the blank version of it as a record of the books you read. An heirloom, if you will, because without paper proof, how will your future (or present, I don't know,) grandchildren know you could read? Also, you can print two and keep a decoy calendar on your fridge that makes you look super-fancy, and keep the real one hidden away. I'm not here to judge.

Two versions of this calendar are available for you to download, the standard calendar as well as a blank version without the words "Due By", so that you are able write in your own text. This makes it possible to alter the calendar for many purposes, including recording books read or setting specific reading goals. Downloads for both calendars are included in this listing, so it's kinda like two for the price of one!

Also included is a completely customizable page of books with a single large space for you to fill up- perfect for any number of uses, like recording your favorite (or least favorite) books read during the year, or making up fictional titles for books you wish existed, or listing books you want to read in the future.

And if you are NOW convinced, it is still here. Woot!
But wait, you're saying, what's that about a giveaway? Welp, since I'm in the away-giving mood, and your duck names were all hilarious, I'm giving away 5 copies of the calendar, freesies. If you want the calendar now, you can go ahead and buy it, and if you win, I will refund your $4, I promise! I'll pick the 5 names and announce them on the 21st, and because I like to ask silly questions, we'll go with this: If you could alter the size of any wild animal and keep it as a pet, what would it be? Tiny hippo? Giant spider? (I reeeeeeeally hope it isn't giant spider.) Oh, and if you do the thing where you "like" or "share" or whatever on facebook, you'll be entered into the drawing, but twice more! Social media, I am harnessing it? Do so if you wish: https://www.facebook.com/auntjune.etsy
 Yay! I hope you win! No giant spiders!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Classic Modern Quilts: A Real Book, That I Am In! (And Of Course, A Giveaway!)

So, many months ago, which translates to two posts ago, I was all, I'm done made a quilt! For a thing! A book thing! For reals!
Well, y'all, I was not lying, and now I have the proof to prove it! (Yeah, I know that's a redundant sentence, but isn't it fun to say?) It's a book! With my name on the cover! Which is weird! But awesome! Exclamation point overload!
Classic Modern Quilts: 10 Quilts Inspired by Historical Kansas City Star Blocks
And it's a PRETTY book, my friends. There are some very fabulous quilts in here, so you should take a gander at it when you get a chance-- and definitely check out the blog tour that's going on from now until the 22nd, at the fabulous blogs of the other contributors!
Nov. 11: Lisa Calle, www.vintagemodernquilts.com
Nov. 12: Lynne Goldsworthy, www.lilysquilts.blogspot.com
Nov. 13: If you're reading this, You Are Here.
Nov. 14: Heather Kojan, www.heatherkojan.blogspot.com
Nov. 15: John Kubiniec, www.bigrigquilting.blogspot.com
Nov. 18: Adrianne Ove, www.littlebluebell.com
Nov. 19: Trisch Price, www.hadleystreetquilts.com
Nov. 20: Tammie Schaffer, www.craftytammie.com and Tia Curtis, tiacurtisquilts.blogspot.com
Nov. 21: Amy Smart, www.diaryofaquilter.com
Nov. 22: Susan Strong, www.strongstitches.wordpress.com

And, the lovely folks at My Stars, the newest imprint of Kansas City Star Quilts, are letting us each give away a copy-- that's unlimited ganders, and all for free! Just leave a comment on this post before November 22nd, and I'll do one of those random-number-drawing-things to pick a winner! Of course, it wouldn't be as much fun if we didn't have a theme for the comments, so let's go with: If you had a goose, what would you name it? (Optional secondary question: Why would anyone want to own a goose? They are TERRIFYING.)
The theme of the book is taking traditional blocks and remaking them in a modern way, and I've got to say, I really enjoyed the challenge of it. I chose a block called "Many Roads to the White House", and to tell the truth, I'm still not sure how the original block was constructed, but I had a lot of fun figuring out how to recreate it in a way that's surprisingly simple, with no paper-piecing.
My goal was to take the relatively basic block and make it look far more complex, and I'm really pleased with how it came out, and especially pumped about the method of construction. Because yeah, it LOOKS like a lot of small pieces, but it's actually strip-pieced in a way that makes it MUCH faster than it would seem. I mean, I finished it, so it has to be pretty basic, ya know?
Anyhoo, it makes me smile. Now, leave your goose-name in the comments, and check out the other stops on the blog tour! Because, QUILTS! They are awesome.
And of course, so are photo-bombing cats. Named Baxter. Ahem.