UHG: Sad it's over.

It's been a crazy whirlwind of a month over here. Despite the busy schedule I knew I'd be facing with work and freelance and weekend adventures that were already planned for August and September, I decided (at the very last second, I might add) to join in on the 2nd round of the {Urban} Home Goods swap that Kerri and Heather organize through Flickr. After having participated in their Pillow Talk Swap back in June and finding some new friends and swap buddies through some Flickr groups, I was feeling like it was something I wanted to participate in but really didn't think I'd have the time for. But, after some gentle encouragement by one of the sewanistas I'd recently swapped some fabrics with, I decided to give it a shot (not without apprehension, though).

A few days later, I received the most fantastic email from my swap mama—Mary/Sewinggeek. I'd been paired with . . . drummroll . . . the very same person who I'd felt encouraged by to join! The very same person who'd been commenting on my blog and making me feel like I might actually have something to contribute to this group. The very same person who now, five or six weeks later, I think I can safely call my friend. 

I had found Mary/Splendorfalls through Flickr one day earlier this summer while searching for some of Amy Butler's Kimono print and a photo of her in a skirt made of the fabric came up in her Flickr stream. After poking around for a minute, I saw she was in need of some specific FMF prints and contacted her to see if she was interested in a swap for some other things it looked like she had that I might need. Turns out she was and so we did. 

Through this swap and some conversation that ensued, I learned a bit about her style and her family and her house and her favorite fabrics and ISOs. So, when I received her as my swap partner, I was completely ecstatic. I instantly knew what to make and felt connected to the project and inspired to create for her. It was the best feeling ever. I could tell this was going to be worthwhile . . . 

I started out with Mary's big project—the tablecloth—and thought I might try to tackle a small clutch or something for her as well. Something to balance the package out—something for home and something for on the go. But, as I got into making the tablecloth and was feeling frustrated by the linen and some other things (like wanting to make it reversible or lined with thermolam) that weren't panning out as planned, I decided to cut into my stash of scraps and make some dish towels for her.

I went to Meijer. K-Mart. Macy's. Homegoods. Joann. I went everywhere and bought a bunch of packages of flour sack towels to embellish with the scraps only to be completely disappointed by the quality of those towels. I eventually resigned myself (after reading that linen soaks up about 30% of its weight in liquid—more than I expected) to sticking with my linen theme and making her some decorative and slightly-usable dish towels.

There was a big lag in time, though, between scouting for those flour sack towels and deciding on the linen ones instead. And, in that time, I used up some more of the scraps to make some coordinating pot holders hoping that those might make up for the lack of thermolam lining I'd wanted to use in the tablecloth.

So there I was, nearing the end of the time frame with 2 dish towels and 2 pot holders and a partially-finished tablecloth—with which I was feeling awfully stuck and a little sad because I felt like my project wasn't quite what I'd envisioned and that Mary might be let down because she was making something so completely spectacular for her partner.

That's about the time that I set out on this applique pattern from the Anna Maria Horner book "Seams to Me". Yes, right about the time that I should have been finishing the tablecloth, I decided my time would be very well spent working on a style of sewing I'd never attempted before while using a pattern (which I'm pretty sure I've previously made clear I'm not very good about following) to make an appliqued storage bag for Mary's yet-to-be-completed tablecloth that needed to be in a box and on it's way to her within 36 hours or so. Yes, that's right. Really. Good. Idea.

But, actually, it turns out that it was a good idea. Suddenly I felt inspired again. And, apparently, working under pressure must be my thing because I found myself doing some stitching in the car during lunch hour with the windows down on two of the nicest days of the summer and still feeling excited to get home to sew on that last night before our projects were to be sent out. I was back in the groove. Thank. God.

However, once I saw the finished applique, plans changed again. I suddenly wasn't sure that a bag was the right project for the super-cute finished product. Hmm. I could make a bag that could turn into a pillow or I could frame it as a piece of wall art, I thought. I was so torn!

In the end, I didn't get my package out on time. I posted on Flickr that I could either finish this cute applique project and send the package out a day late or I could send the other stuff as is and get the package in the mail by the deadline. True to form, Mary saved the day here (for herself, little did she know) again by chiming in and saying to send it out late and include the applique. And so I did.

Saturday morning I was supposed to just quickly iron the finally-finished tablecloth and package things up in the priority mail box I'd snagged from the post office a couple days earlier and get it shipped out. But, wouldn't you know . . . another snag in my plans! The power went out just seconds after I finished posting something on the blog and so I was holding off to pack things up until I could iron the tablecloth. Eventually I gave in and had Chris hold the wrinkly tablecloth up in our livingroom near a window for me to photograph before running it down the street to the post office. I'd wanted to shoot it outside on our picnic bench but between the rain and wrinkles, I figured it wasn't worth it.

Despite my creator's block, the saga of working with linen, the second-guessing, power outage, and going out a day late, my box safely arrived at Mary's yesterday. She gave me the greatest shout-out on her blog today and I am so head-over-heels tickled that she loves everything as much as she does . . . nothing, and I mean not a darn thing, could make me happier today. 

Well . . . there might be one thing . . .

Maybe a little something from my own super secret swap partner?


SplendorFalls said...

I could cry. You are so kind!

I am so glad you posted the story of the swap and everything you went through to get it out the door. I'm a sentimental girl so you can bet this'll be printed and stuck in a scrapbook with some pictures!

We had dinner at home tonight and I got to use my new hot pads! I couldn't eat on the table cloth though - too pretty and well, I have a three year old. You understand. Maybe in a few days I'll be brave enough to use one of the lovely towels!

Thank you thank you thank you again for the lovely swap AND for your way with words!

SplendorFalls said...

Almost forgot to tell you that I completely forgot until today that I have an apron I made earlier this year (one that didn't sell at an open house so I kept it) hanging in my little pantry. Guess what fabric it is? Tablecloth in ICE!! I had bought like 6 yards of it before I even really was aware of Garden Party and made lots and lots of aprons. So perfect!! I'll try to take a picture tomorrow!