A Nice Place to Land

Travel is a very real part of my life, and I imagine and hope that it always will be.  Most recently I was back and forth from home in various stints over a stretch of a month and a half.  I will be home for about that long, and then gone again soon.  Then repeat.  Sometimes I travel for fun, like the trips we take twice a year to celebrate our marriage.  Or family reunion.  Or trips with our kids and their families.  Or the occasional quilt retreat that has no work attachments involved.  But while I don’t always travel with fun as the main purpose, it still is always fun.  Like visiting family, especially our kids and grandkids.  Or going to Quilt Market, if or when I go.  Or quilt retreats with work at least partly in mind, although sometimes work is the sole purpose.

For instance, the recent retreat The Green Apricot hosted in Crossville, TN.  I had a great time, and I loved being a hostess and cooking and hanging out and having a good time with friends.  On Thursday when it ended, it was good to see smiling faces packing up cars and heading back home again.  I, on the other hand, was not headed home.  Our granddaughter was having a birthday party in TN on Saturday, so rather than head south to Atlanta and then back up to Nashville the next day, I decided to hang around a bit and take it easy between retreat and birthday party.

As many of you know, I am a bit obsessed with donuts.  One time my husband looked at me and basically said, “If you’ve eaten one donut, you’ve eaten them all.”  I just stared at him.  The donut thing has been real my whole life, although I have hated Krispy Kreme for many years.  Mostly because my dad would get them on road trips, and inevitably I would get car sick, and well, the rest is history.  (As a note, I tried them again a couple of years ago, and I really do still hate them.)  The obsession, however, has really taken flight in the last couple of years because, well, donuts, and I love the idea that an easy way to shop local when traveling is to find a donut shop.  So, I try to look for donut shops whenever I am on the road.  This time I found Ralph’s Donuts in Cookeville, TN.  They’ve been there since 1962, and are located in a fun part of town with boutique shopping and eateries.  It was way off of my charted course from Crossville to Nashville, but totally worth it.  When I asked what was the one donut I had to order I got an immediate answer of, “Butter Twist.”  So, Butter Twist it was, and I was pleased.  I usually get two donuts at places like these.  A standard that I can compare with other donut shops, and their specialty.  But I had just returned from quilt retreat full of Oreos and Peanut M&Ms, so restraint was called for.  However, if I ever get to go back…

img_8067.png

Since I wasn’t in a big hurry, and I didn’t have the husband in tow, I thought I might check out Craft South in Nashville.  I’ve met Anna Maria Horner a couple of times, including once in a restaurant bathroom during Quilt Market, but that’s another story.  I’m kinda a big fan, and I love her work and her style, so I was looking forward to her shop.  However, it turned out that I might have actually been able to go into the store if Jeff had been with me.  I followed Sybil’s directions and found Craft South in a super trendy, fun neighborhood not too far from Vanderbilt’s campus.  But, all that fun and trend has a tendency to equal no parking.  After circling a neighborhood crawling with both construction and hipsters three times with no luck for parking, I bailed and headed to my evening destination.  Thompson’s Station, and Suzy Homemaker.

img_7928.jpg

Who exactly provides a snack bar in their guest room?  Who exactly puts together the perfect dinner because she knows what her guest needs?  Who exactly can cut through the crap and get to the real story with everything from politics to quilt shops?

Suzy Homemaker, of course.  No, that’s not totally her real name, but she is Suzy.  I met her a few years ago as she is Chris Warnick’s right-hand woman in putting on The Stash Bash, and have enjoyed her friendship ever since.  I messaged her a couple of weeks before I was going to be in Nashville to see if I could visit her and crash at her place for a night.  I knew it would be a treat to get to visit with her and her husband, but had no idea just how perfect of a place it was for me to land.

I had a great time at the quilt retreat in Crossville, and very much loved being a hostess for such an event.  But when it was over, I truly was exhausted.  It wasn’t until I settled in at Suzy’s that I realized how overstimulated I felt, and kind of wired.

Suzy keeps a lovely home, which shouldn’t surprise anyone.  So much of it is in the details.  Everything from the soap to the bed that I could barely convince myself to get out of the next morning.  Everywhere I turned there was something to look at and think about, but not in an excessively analytical way or in a trendy, copycat kind of way.  More like a “Huh- that’s cool-  I wouldn’t have thought of that, but it works perfectly” kind of way.

img_7930

She has such a great mix of wood and metal and white and black in her home, and just seems to highlight all the right things in all the right places.  Suzy and her husband are also in the race car industry, and there were hints of it throughout the house, but without being brash and kitschy.  It felt like Nashville, but it also felt like a canvas for conversation.

It was just what I needed- to be hosted for a day after hosting for a few.  We chatted into the night, and picked up again in the morning.  And of course, we had to get a donut, and head to a quilt shop.  This time there was plenty of parking.

StitchersGardenfront

I stole these photos from the internet.  I am admitting it openly.  I’d like to give credit, but honestly, I’m not sure to whom I should give it!  At any rate, Suzy promised I would love Stitcher’s Garden, and she was not wrong.  Not by a longshot.  This place was packed.  I mean packed.  In every good way.  We have a shop in Georgia similar to it called Thread Bear Fabrics.  Both of the these shops have a crazy, serious selection.  You want traditional?  You got it.  You want modern?  You got it.  You want fat quarters?  You got more than you can imagine.  I had a fabulous time sifting through and making plans, and even remembering projects gone by.  I showed a bit of restraint, as I already have plenty and enough, but I did get a couple of things with purpose, and a couple without.

We literally shopped until the last moment.  Jeff flew in that afternoon, and I needed to navigate through Nashville traffic to pick him up at the airport.  It was good to see his face.  I enjoy my adventures, and I feel that I am fairly independent, but I miss him terribly when we are apart.

img_7933.jpg

Jeff and I go to Nashville from time to time as two of our daughters and their families live there.  We have a favorite place to stop and eat- Coco’s Italian Market and Restaurant.  My favorite appetizer is the bruschetta, pictured above.  I’d like to deconstruct it and try to make it at home, but I’m afraid I’d never get the bread quite right, and that I’d gain a couple hundred pounds!

img_7934.jpg

Speaking of low-cal Italian treats, we also never miss a chance to share a piece of Chocolate Eruption cheesecake.  We are kind of known for taking it to go with the intent of eating it a little later, but it never makes it more than a mile or so down the road.

img_7960.jpg

The next day we headed to our daughter’s house to spend the day celebrating our granddaughter’s birthday.  It was such a nice day with family, and I am so grateful that we were able to be there.  I feel very grateful for all of the travels, even the ones that can be somewhat stressful, but I am especially grateful for the travels that take me places like this one.  Some things matter, some things don’t.  Some things last, some things won’t.

 

The Getaway Gang

The Green Apricot hosted two retreats in 2017.  One coincided with QuiltCon in Savannah, GA, and planning for it began two years ago.  The other was just simply a getaway to take a breather at the end of summer and beginning of fall.  This one was a little more last minute, and while based a great deal on the fun time we had at Tybee Island in February, it was intended to be more low-key and have better accommodations.

img_7988

The Fall 2017 edition of  #thegreenapricotgetaway was located at a resort in Crossville, TN called Fairfield Glade.  I think you could call it a mixed-use property, as it is part resort and part community.  There are people who live there full time, but there are also a number of condominiums, and amenities ranging from golf courses to walking trails, from horseback riding to swimming, from medical facilities to a spa.  It’s located just off of I-40 about an hour west of Knoxville, and while the property is huge, I was surprised that not many seem to know about it.  It is not explicitly a retirement community, but it is definitely retirement friendly.

So, a few months ago I reserved 6 condos and got to work planning.  I knew that the condos were not big enough for all of us to sew in, and I reserved the classroom in the community center for three days.  I ended up limiting the attendance to just 12, including myself, because I was concerned about having enough room for all of us to be comfortable sewing in the classroom.  Each person had a 6 foot table, and there was plenty of room for 3 cutting mats and 4 irons.  Perfect size, and no electrical problems!

img_7906

Not everyone knew each other before the retreat, but the beauty of a small group like this is the opportunity to chat on a more personal level with other people in our sewing community.  There was a wide range of personalities and ideologies, and it made for some fascinating conversations throughout the days and nights.
img_7893

Machine name tags helped with getting to know your sewing neighbor, but putting them on the handwheel certainly made them more entertaining.  If you don’t believe me, just try it sometime.  I had prepared and brought several games to play throughout the getaway, but in the end decided to keep things simple.  We had several gifts donated by Rana from Sewn Into the Fabric, some of which were part of daily treats, like this dang cute pumpkin pin cushion called Big Delores, and some were drawn for.

img_7862.jpg

One game we did play was to find the blue Peanut M&M.  Before heading to the retreat, I sorted 12 pounds of Peanut M&Ms by color, and hid a blue one in one of the jars.  The one to find it won the first prize of the week- a Seymore Bones kit from Rana!  Kris didn’t miss a beat and immediately dumped out his jar of M&Ms and found the blue one…

img_7892

That started the drawings that went on throughout the retreat.  Kris drew the name of the next winner, and then also drew what prize they got.  We had another Seymore Bones kit, three copies of “Simply Strings,” also by Rana, and several boxes of Wonder Clips by Clover.

I didn’t get pictures of every project that was made or worked on, but I got a few.  Here’s just a snippet of what some of us were working on…

During the planning process I found that I was less than excited about catering options, so I decided to cook for all of us.  Preparing food for 12 can seem daunting in some ways, but really, I come from/have a large family, so I am pretty accustomed to cooking for a crowd.  I don’t consider myself to be an especially impressive cook, or excessively healthy, but I feel like I do okay in the kitchen and I have learned a lot about improving my own nutrition over the last several months.  I checked with everyone for any special needs, then set a menu based on meals that I’ve made for my own family before.  Most of the shopping had to be done ahead of time, so my car was incredibly weighed down on the drive to Crossville!

img_7889

We ate at my condo because, well, I hate food near fabric!  Snacks are okay, but it really does bug me to sit in front of my machine with a plate of food.  The sewing room was just under a mile away from the condos, so most of us drove back and forth for lunch and dinner.  But the weather was PERFECT for a walk, as well.  I served the same way I do in my own home- countertop buffet style.  I also dislike a lot of garbage, so we used real plates and glasses and I washed cloth napkins between each meal.  I very much enjoyed cooking for everyone, and with a little preparation it wasn’t nearly as much work as it could have been!

Monday:  Lunch- Green Veggie Minestrone with salad bar; Dinner- Acorn squash with sausage, apples, and kale, roasted broccoli, and salad

Tuesday:  Lunch- Salad and sandwich bar; Dinner- Lemon rosemary chicken with brown rice, roasted asparagus, muffins and raw veggies

Wednesday:  Lunch- Sandwich and salad bar; Dinner- Pork roast and apples with roasted mixed veggies and raw veggies

img_7909

Several of us also took a minute or two to visit some of the local establishments, like Little Blessings Quilt Shop in Crossville, and Gina’s Bernina in Knoxville.  This fabulous yarn shop was just a few miles down the road from the resort, and I was glad to have the chance to stop in at the Yarn Patch.  It’s a lovely shop, to say the least, and I didn’t have to look to hard to find something to take home with me.  I was especially impressed with the person working there, who I assume is the owner.  She handled her customers beautifully- gently guiding them as needed, and letting them wander as desired.  It really was a pleasure to shop there, and I hope to support this shop again sometime in the future.

img_7919

And just like that, it was all over.  The weather was wonderful.  The accommodations were perfect- including the enormous mirrored bathtub/shower in every unit- haha!  But the best part was the company.

Until next time…

Piecing with Patty

img_2297

Here’s the thing.  There really are rules to follow.  And there really are rules to be broken.

To me, one of the wonderful aspects of any art or craft is taking the wildness of creativity and mixing it with the rules of skill.  Notice I did not say taming it with the rules of skill.

Understanding the medium, the tools used, and the variety of desired outcomes means knowing how to bend all of those to the will of creativity.  One may begin by bending inspiration to skill in the process of learning, but eventually, the goal can be the other way around.

Enter Patty Murphy, author of recently released Piecing Makeover: Simple Tricks to Fine-Tune Your Patchwork from C&T Publishing.  This book is an excellent source for everyone from less experienced quilters to those who have been around the block a few times.  It addresses basic construction as well as how to deal with precision issues.  In other words, it gives all the rules, which in the end, gives all the freedom.

Speaking of freedom, how about a bit of improvisational quilting with Patty?  No, I am not confused.  Yes, I did just talk all about rules and block construction and avoiding issues, and yes, it does lead to improv.

I am really excited to host Patty at The Green Apricot Studio on December 3, 2016 for a workshop on her quilt, “Yes Ma’am!”  We’ll be exploring both improv and precision piecing, and talking about how to have quilt tops that extend into boarders.  We’ll discuss some of the pitfalls and how to avoid them.  And best of all, we’ll bust some of our stash while we are at it.

And we’ll find out the story behind the name of this quilt.  Because I really want to know.

Click here to register for “Yes Ma’am” with Patty Murphy, 12/3/16, 9am- 4pm.

From Piecing Makeover:  “Patty Murphy has been sewing since she was six years old.  The first thing she recalls making is a pink-and-white seersucker pillow with the word Dad crudely embroidered on it as a gift for her father on Father’s Day.  Fortunately for everyone, her sewing and quilting have greatly improved since then, and so has her gift giving.

Patty loves to share her craft with anyone that will listen, and she teaches regularly at Intown Quilters in Decatur, Georgia, so she can share her knowledge and support her fabric obsession.  Her work has been featured in several books, on the websites of major fabric manufacturers, on blogs, and in magazines, including an original quilt design for Intown Quilters that was featured on the cover of the Spring 2007 Quilt Sampler magazine.”

Quilt Market, Fall 2016, Houston, TX

I’m not 20 anymore.
If you know me personally, you know that most of my life I’ve had this strange obsession with acting older than I am.  However, how I feel after this past weekend at Quilt Market in Houston is no act!  Candy, soda, and very little sleep for days catches up to you hard when you are no longer 20.  Or 30.  Or, let’s be honest, 40.  I tried Persian food for the first time (amazing), had some of the best tacos of my life (Cuban style), and the kolaches and donuts were on point, but I should have considered more water.  I’d say I needed more sleep, but late-night time with sweet friends was totally worth feeling like I got hit by a truck.  And I’d do it all again.
img_2029
Market was really fabulous.  I’ve been several times before, but I’d have to say that I felt especially productive on this trip.  While yes, it is fun and exciting to see all the new everything, it is also a lot of investment, and takes a lot of focus to make the trip truly useful not only to the business you represent, but also to your clients and customers.  I hear a lot of people say they wish they could go, and I think they would think it is fun in a lot of ways, but reality is that it probably isn’t exactly what 0ne would expect it to be.
 img_2024
For most business owners and representatives, Market begins with Schoolhouse.  It sounds like you go there and learn how to make stuff, but really, you go there to learn about new product lines and how to market them to customers.  Yes, you get to see a lot of the designers  and their work up close and personal, but honestly, the presentations have a tendency to be rushed, and are kind of just a series of sales pitches all day long.  There are some giveaways, piles of papers, and you go through a lot of business cards.
There isn’t a lot of actual shopping at Market, with the exception of Sample Spree. Sample Spree is in a lot of ways is like Black Friday at Wal-Mart in Smalltown, USA where every resident of the town is there because they have nowhere else to shop.  The purpose of Sample Spree is for businesses to get materials they need to introduce products to their customers before they actually get a shipment of goods.  It takes time and money for shops to make samples for lines of fabric, and the precuts available at Sample Spree make it so that they have what they need to make a sample before the fabric line comes to the shop.  As you may know, The Green Apricot doesn’t sell fabric lines, but what does happen here are workshops.  Workshops that I want people to be excited about.  So, most of the fabric I buy there is to drum up a bit of excitement about what is happening in the studio.  Having said that, I also buy some just because I like it, just like most everyone else there.  I also look for the new products I want to review for guild presentations and the like.  I can buy one or two of these at Sample Spree, but have to buy multiples on the Market floor.
img_2132
The Market floor is all about merchandising.  It’s all about getting businesses to buy quantities of all that is new.  Shopping at Market is not like shopping at Quilt Festival, or other shows.  Quantity is the name of the game, and taking a chance that from the thousands of offerings, you’ll be able to choose what your customers want and need and thereby keep your business profitable.  What will you do if you buy 15 yards of a fabric, and only 2 yards sell?  How about if you buy the whole line, which is more like 300 yards?  It’s a risky business, and it’s a lot of money.  Vendors know this, and they work hard to display the merchandise in a way that helps retailers to say, “Oh, I see how I could show that to my customer.  I see how I can demonstrate how to use that.”  Every stop at every booth involves questions like, “What’s your show special?  What are your minimums?  Shipping rates?  Are you with a distributor?”  And that’s after you’ve already talked with them about what exactly it is they are selling.
 In other words, yes, Quilt Market is a lot of fun.  And it’s inspiring.  And it’s overwhelming.  And it’s an opportunity.  And it’s an investment.  And it’s a lot of work.

Well. That was fun. Albeit a bit stinky.

You know how this goes already.  Great idea.  Takes a lot of time.  Get it 75% done.  Move on to the next urgent project, but you’re gonna finish the first one as soon as you’re done.

Almost a year later, after you’ve moved the first project around twenty times, and threatened to finish it, you finally see a window of opportunity, and BAM!

img_0882

Letters in “Dont Thread On Me” from Jen Kingwell’s Carnival pattern

(Try to ignore the fact that the word thread is crooked.  I can’t, but maybe you can.)

Last fall we had a few days in The Green Apricot studio making these floor cloths.  We had a great time, and it was much easier to do in the studio space than it would have been to do it at home.  I didn’t finish the three that I began last fall, and when we had Stuff Your Stocking days at the studio last week, it hit me that I wanted to combine one of the projects with one of my unfinished floorcloths.

The whole process is a bit complicated because there are so many steps and a lot of dry time in between each, so I think we’ll do it a little differently next time.  And there will be a next time.

The first time I do a project like this, I follow the directions.  I know, shocking.  I do it with recipes too.  In the process I figure out what I think really works, and what shortcuts I can take.  We used the books Floorquilts! by Ellen Highsmith Silver and Beginner’s Guide to Floorquilts by Carolyn French.  Both are very similar as far as directions and products used.

I won’t go into detail about how exactly to make the floorcloths because I believe in obeying copyright laws, but I will say that after finally finishing the three I started last fall, there are a couple of things I would do differently.

All in all, I would advise following the directions in order to get the longest lasting floorcloth, but the main thing I would change is using a bit of fusible web to make the process easier.  For instance, in “Dont Thread On Me,” it would have been a bit easier to have fused the pieces of the letters together rather than trying to decoupage each part of the letters.  Also, in “United We Sew” I used fusible web (Steam A Seam II) to adhere the states and the outer border to the background.  It was much easier because I could arrange things, stand back and make sure I was pleased, then actually fuse them down.  I feel like I could have prevented the word thread on “Dont Thread On Me” from being crooked if I had been able to do that.

img_0880

The map used to make “United We Sew” came from the Flamingo Toes blogspot.

Steam A Seam II is a repositionable fusible web that doesn’t use an iron until you are ready to fuse everything in place.  I did a blog post about fusible webs recently, and you can click here to read The fuss about fusibles.  One of the bad/good things about this product is that the release papers have a tendency to want to release a bit too much, and can come apart easily.  This was perfect for building the border around my floorcloth.  I just peeled back one of the papers, temporarily stuck random fabrics to the exposed fusible, lined it up on my floorcloth, then fused down half of it lengthwise to the top, turned it over, and fused down the other half to the back.

Be sure to use two protective sheets when fusing, whether they be teflon sheets or just regular freezer paper.  Otherwise it is easy to get fusible on the iron or ironing surface.

img_0862

There are a number of processes, and stinky chemicals, involved in finishing out the floorcloths in order to make them both durable and safe.  I didn’t take pictures of each step of this, but you get the idea.  Above is one of the last steps- adding a nonslip product to the back to prevent it from sliding on slick floors.  It truly is a messy and smelly process, which actually makes it perfect for the studio.  Nothing to clean up at home because it’s all at The Green Apricot!

img_0877

This floorcloth is the perfect accent in an otherwise bland public restroom.

Then. And now.

I have had an amazing life.  A remarkably full life.  It’s been just as full of happy as it has sad, and I am grateful for every minute of it.

Spring, 1999- I think.  I had taken my four kiddos, ages 6, 4 1/2, 2 1/2, and 6 mos, to pick strawberries.  We were living in Washington at the time, and I had been learning how to make jam.  The summer before I was so excited about the abundance of blackberries- they grew everywhere- on the side of the road, by the park, in common areas around base.  And they were huge.  And free.  But the strawberries were not free, so they were especially precious and couldn’t be wasted.  I packed up the four kids and went to the grocery store to buy what we needed.  Sugar.  Pectin.  Citric acid.  I got to the counter and didn’t have quite enough money, so I handed the citric acid back to the cashier, turned to the kids and said “Our jam is going to taste great, it’ll just look kinda dark.”  The older ones grabbed the grocery sacks, and I grabbed the younger ones.  Before we got to the car, a man hurriedly headed in our direction with a small bag hanging from his extended arm.  He had bought the citric acid for us.  Did we really need it?  It would have been edible without it, for sure, but the real need that day was just a little bit of kindness.  I don’t know his name or remember his face, but I will never forget him.

Summer, 1999- pretty sure it was the same year.  The older two kids had been in Kindergarten and a financial need based preschool program, and school was now out.  We had enough food in the house because I had learned to use the resources we had pretty tightly.  I bought cheap, in bulk, and as close to raw as possible, and kept the pantry as full as I could.  I didn’t need to take advantage of the free summer lunch program offered down the street from our house, but reality was it made my life a little easier.  The sack lunches weren’t always that great, but if we got there early, there was plenty to choose from, and the kids could play on the playground and I visited with my neighbors.  We didn’t go every day, but we went a lot of days, and I was grateful for it.

Fall, 1999- we needed a lot of help that year.  It was time to get the kids ready for school.  It was all excitement for first grade and Kindergarten, until I started getting supply lists.  Then it didn’t quite feel like excitement.  The preschool that we had been enrolled in was amazing for making sure we as parents had access to a plethora of resources, and gratefully we learned of a program for helping families get ready for a new school year.  We stood in line for quite a long time.  I remember kids in front of us playing with Pokemon cards while we waited.  And I remember it was miserably hot.  Once inside the gym, the kids were all given free haircuts, a bookbag with school supplies, and each child was allowed one garbage bag full of used clothing.   Even the two littles that weren’t in school yet.  Relief.

So.  This is a quilting blog.  What on earth does my trip down memory lane have to do with anything?

Well, memories have a purpose.  They shape us.  They remind us to be grateful.  They remind us to be someone with a small bag of kindness hanging from the end of our extended arms.  They remind us that gathering is half of giving.  They remind us that it can be something really simple that relieves a mother’s anxiety.  So, with gratitude, let’s have another semi-annual food drive.

Kids are out of school, which means many of them are not getting the one or two meals a day that they qualify for during the school year.  Families that are working to make ends meet get hit hard at this time of year.  Almost harder than during the holidays, when most people think of contributing to their local charitable organizations.

With that in mind, let’s have a WIP Week at the studio.  From June 21-25, 9 am to 4 pm, bring your Works In Progress to The Green Apricot studio.  The fee?  Two pounds of nonperishable food per hour, or in other words, twelve pounds of food for each day you come to sew, knit, crochet, paint, talk, eat, or whatever.  No, I am not going to weigh your food.  You will have to read labels or weigh it yourself, and it is on an honor system.  Space is limited, so please register to reserve your seat.  We are notorious for ordering a little something for lunch, so be prepared for that, or bring a lunch from home.  There is a small fridge in the studio, as well as a microwave.  Food donations will go to United Food Force– a food pantry in McDonough, GA serving Henry and surrounding counties.

I hope you can come and hang out where the makers meet, but if you can’t, I still hope you can contribute to your local food bank.  It will make a difference.

Reasons why I sometimes look like I’m going to explode or chew your face off.

  1. You are the third person today to ask me how long does it take to make a quilt.
  2. You just asked me to hem a pair of pants.  Or replace the headliner in your car.
  3. You think it is okay to copy purchased patterns to pass out to your friends.  And then you all go out for lunch at $25 a head.
  4. You just laughingly informed me that I’m not making any money if Juan isn’t running.  After you just spent 20 minutes hanging out in my studio eating chocolate and chatting about your grandpa’s knee replacement surgery.
  5. You just whispered, posted or otherwise commented that using a computerized longarm is not real quilting.  As you slip your smartphone into your pocket and slide into your fully automatic vehicle to drive to your day job at the bank where you use the Internet to transact business in a building built with power equipment while at home someone uses a riding mower to make your yard beautiful.  Because technology is stupid.
  6. You make a comment under your breath indicating that you think your style of quilting is superior to that of other quilters.
  7. You think your way is the only way.
  8. You think that the way to make your dreams come true is by trying to crush someone else’s dream.
  9. You think nobody should be talking about you, but you don’t mind talking about everyone else.
  10. You think that you have just invented the wheel.
  11. You get yourself tied in a knot when I am not able to do what you have asked after you ABSOLUTELY WOULD NOT listen to me when I told you that I was underskilled or overtasked.
  12. You refuse to understand that people’s lives and relationships are way more complicated that you will ever know.  Withhold judgment.  You will never have the whole story.
  13. You either don’t understand or don’t care that when I give you a handmade gift, it is the emotional equivalent to giving you a piece of my flesh.
  14. You are angry because I no longer give you handmade gifts, but I still do them for other people.
  15. You ask me for my opinion and then argue with me about it.
  16. You get angry with me for not giving you special treatment over someone else.
  17. You belittle or criticize me after I have finally broken down and asked for or accepted your help.  It will only happen once.
  18. You drop off 5 trash bags of 35 year old acrylic and polyester fabric, yarn and stuffing, then giggle and call me a hoarder.
  19. You lightly tease me for having so many unfinished projects, right after you ask me if I have time to help you with decorations for your big event.
  20. You call me at 8:30 at night and say, “Do you have a minute?” And then proceed to ask me to be involved in some emotional manipulation of a third party.  Let me be clear on this one.  Do not ever ask me to help you manipulate someone else.  In any form.  Especially if said third party is a teenager.  Or an adult.  Or female.  Or male.  Ever.
  21. You make note that my house is dusty, my extra rooms are unorganized and that I haven’t made dinner for my family in three days, then ask me if I wouldn’t mind dog sitting while you go on vacay.
  22. I am hormonally unstable.  In which case, all of the above may still warrant a trip on my crazy train, but I am much less able to prevent myself from printing you a ticket.