Friday, March 31, 2006

We've Got Sewing In Our Bones!

The other day I was at a Sewing & Quilt Show/Exhibition with my mother and sister-in-law. My mother and I have been attending this show for several years now and have always liked it. Of course we both have been sewing for a very, very long time and have sewing in our bones.

This year my sister-in-law decided to attend which was wonderful for us. She has also been sewing for a very long time and has sewing in her bones, too. In fact, when she married my older brother my mother sewed her wedding dress and I sewed her maid of honor dress.

My mother had asked one of my nieces (the cutie pie on the right in the picture to the left of this column) if she wanted to go as well, but she wasn't able to. That picture was taken a long time ago and she is now a young adult. It was unfortunate that she couldn't attend as it would have been nice. She is a sewer, too, and also has sewing in her bones.

It would have been truly wonderful if my other niece (the other cutie pie on the left in the picture above) had been able to attend as she also sews and has sewing in her bones. In fact, she sews and designs all of her own clothes. She may very well turn out to be the MOST talented of all the sewers in our family.

If my nieces had been able to attend we would have been three generations of sewers attending the Sewing & Quilt Show/Exhibition. As we walked around the show I started to think about sewing and how sewing, too, has been affected by computers and technology. Who would have thought that a sewing machine would become computerized? Certainly not I.

Some of the computerized sewing machines that they have today are just unbelievable. You can pretty much design an image and have the sewing machine stitch it for you. Simply amazing.

If you're into quilting as a business or use machine embroidery for your business then you need a computerized sewing machine. However, if you aren't going to do any fancy stitching then all you need is a tried and true basic sewing machine.

When we were walking around the exhibition part of the show looking at all the wonderful quilts I couldn't help but think that there were some fabulous quilts being displayed. My mother, sister-in-law, and I have all made quilts of some sort or another at some time or another. Some of ours were machine stitched, some were handsewn, and some were knit. Over the years we've definitely made our fair share of quilts.

Almost all of the quilts in the exhibition were machine quilted and had the final machine embroidered detailing on them. They were simply magnificent. That is, until we got to the quilt that had been totally handsewn.

The machine quilts were gorgeous. No doubt about that. The handsewn quilt, on the other hand, was a "Work Of Art!" You couldn't help but marvel at the intricate little stitches and the sheer length of time it took to handstitch this quilt together.

My mind kept picturing a group of women sitting in a circle - each having their own section to stitch. They would be there sitting and talking and stitching away. They would probably meet two or three times a week for months sitting and handsewing until the quilt was done. Of course, in olden times the quilts were a necessity for keeping warm. I'm sure the women loved the camaraderie but, the primary purpose was to sew a quilt for warmth.

As we got to the end of the quilt exhibition we noticed that an area had been set up with tables and chairs for women to gather in groups and knit. I know that some of the yarn stores now have sitting areas for groups of women to get together and just knit and talk, knit and talk. I couldn't help but think what a relaxing environment that would be. I made a mental note that, when I had time, I would investigate one in my area.

My mother mentioned that there was a group of women she knew who get together once a week to quilt and I thought that would be wonderful, too. How relaxing. My sister-in-law asked her why she didn't join it. Well, my mother replied, "I can't stand any of the women!" With that I just laughed and my women's quilting group fantasy was brought back to reality. It certainly would help if you liked the other women.

In any event, we had a wonderful time and a wonderful lunch. Between the three of us we, collectively, had over 150+ years of sewing between us. If my two nieces were there we would have had over 180+ years of sewing. Three generations of sewers with over 180+ years of sewing under our belts. Pretty amazing.

If I were to add my sister and my two other sisters-in-law to the mix we'd have, collectively, over 260+ years of sewing experience between us. There's no doubt about it. We're a sewing family. We've got sewing in our bones!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Ask My Grandson! He'll Tell You!

I just love the graphic above.  I think I'll email it to my 15 year old grandson.

As far as I'm concerned there is nothing better than a hug. Hugs are the ultimate expression of caring and love. It's better than a gift (well....if the gift is homemade....ahh...nope, it's still better). It's better than a card. It's better than flowers (even though I just love flowers). It's better than socks, which I also love and can never get enough of. It's better than a miniature shoe - hmmm... I collect miniature shoes and everyone knows how much I love miniature shoes of all types. Yes (I can't believe I'm saying this) even better than that. Better than crafts? Yes. Better than books - well, it's different. Better than a doll? That's a tough one for me. Yes, even I would have to admit it's better than a doll. YIKES! I can't believe that came out of my mouth.

Why do I feel this way. Well, if you were Dr. Freud you'd say it relates back to my childhood. Even though Dr. Freud has been discounted in today's current psychological community he may have been right. I relate hugs to "bear hugs." You know, the kind of hug that goes right through you. That makes you feel like all is right with the world and you are safe. The kind I used to get as a child from my Dad. He was a giant of a man and gave me the best bear hugs in the whole world. As a child, I never wanted to let go. It was warm and safe buried in there. Sometimes as an adult I didn't want to let go either so I'd just stay there secure in his grasp. My Dad has been gone for 20 years this June. He might be physically gone but his presence is everywhere and I can be transported back to the feelings I had as a child just by thinking about it.

And then, of course there are the bear hugs that I get from my husband, from my step-son, from my older brother, from my middle brother, from my baby brother (another bear of a man with wonderful bear hugs), from my son-in-law, from my brother-in-law, and now from my 15 year old grandson who is almost as tall as I am. He's not quite there yet but he's hoping for it. And, I can't leave out Noodles. At 6 years old he tries to squeeze really, really tight. He does a good job but, let's just say the bear hugs are coming from me. That holds true for my twin grandsons who at 1 year old don't even know what a bear is, let alone a bear hug. Plenty of time for them to learn. If they take after their Dad they'll give wonderful bear hugs too.

My son-in-law would say that I'm being a little chauvinistic, aren't I. Has the feminist in me disappeared? Yeah, dream on - you wish! So, women can't give bear hugs? Well, yes they can. They can do anything they want to. They're just a little different. I like to call them "doll hugs." Why doll hugs? We'll leave that for another Freudian discussion. Let's just leave the bears to the guys and the dolls to the women.

Where's my grandson? I need a hug! A REALLY BIG HUG! A BEAR HUG! A 15 year old Grandson hug!

Monday, March 27, 2006

I Think I've Caught It!

Yup! Definitely! I've definitely caught it! Do I have you wondering what I'm talking about. IT'S - SPRING FEVER!!! I've caught spring fever. It's in the air. It's everywhere. Can't you feel it? I know that I certainly can.

It's not that it was a horrible winter. It's just nice to know that the winter is behind us and the warmer days are just ahead. You get to a certain age where you just don't like the snow or the cold anymore. It's not fun being cold and it's certainly not fun shoveling. Aesthetically just fallen snow on evergreen trees, which is what our backyard has, is just beautiful. Especially if the sun is out, the snow is glistening, and it's just warm enough to melt some of it. It's an unbelievable sight. However, basking in the beauty of the freshly fallen snow only lasts for a few minutes. Then reality sets in. Clean up time. Oh, joyful!

Enough about that. Hopefully, we won't have any more snowstorms. Can't say we won't for sure as the Spring is so unpredictable when it come to snowstorms. All I know is that I've caught SPRING FEVER!!! Spring is in the air! Can't you feel it?

Sunday, March 26, 2006


You could say that our house is ruled by "Bud" and has been for the last nine years. "Bud" is our Cairn Terrier and he is nine years old today and we wanted to wish him a very, very HAPPY BIRTHDAY. So, H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y to our BUD!

If you are a reader of my Linda's Blog then you know that "Bud" controls us. Everything revolves around him and his schedule. Just consider us "Certified DOG Lovers!

First thing in the morning, after he has been taken out to do his business, he comes bounding in the house like a herd of wild buffalo. He stops short, jumps and faces me with his eager eyes and tongue out as if to say "Did you miss me? Did you miss me? Did you miss me, Mom?" I, of course, make a big deal out of this and say "Well, H-E-L-L-O -- H-A-N-D-S-O-M-E!!!!!" Then he's happy and off he goes. You can't bother him now because its time for his #1 obsession - FOOD! Don't even think about patting his head. Get your hands off me, MOM, I'm BUSY!

We, like most dog owners, probably feed him too much. Well, actually, there's no probably about it. WE DO FEED HIM TOO MUCH! In fact, next month when he goes for his annual check-up the vet is going to put us, once again, in the dog house. We've been bad. His weight is supposed to go down on the scale not up. It's just so hard to control this. I mean, there's only so many things in a dogs life that give him pleasure - FOOD being the most paramount. It seems like it's wrong, just wrong, to deny him this. But, we know we aren't helping him health wise and have to be his guardians. So, once agin, our "BUD" will be on a doggy diet. This time, however, Mom and "Bud" will go on the diet together. Maybe we can lose some weight together.

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BUD! You can do anything you want today. Well, within reason....

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Why Would A Small Business Doll Pattern Designer Want to Sell E-Patterns?

"Why would a small business doll pattern designer want to sell E-Patterns?" you ask. Well, there are several reasons.

For the small business designer the first and foremost is cost. E-patterns cost less to produce and, therefore, can be sold for less. It's a win, win situation for the customer and the designer.

The second and third reasons are that customers love them. They can get them sooner then a print pattern mailed through the post office as they are emailed. And, now with Instant E-Pattern Download they can get them sooner then email as they can be instantly downloaded by the customer themselves after they pay. Also, cost wise for customers they are a LOT cheaper then print patterns. What does this mean for the small business designer? Well, hopefully, more sales.

Why else? Here's reasons #4,#5, and #6. They are so much easier for their customers to store as they can be saved to their customers computer hard drives. Their customers never have to worry about tearing pattern tissue and destroying the pattern as they can be printed and reprinted over and over. Also, since they're in .pdf format the pattern pieces can be reduced and enlarged. What does this mean for the small business designer? Once again, hopefully, more sales.

Any other reasons? Sure. Here's reason #7, #8 and #9. For the doll pattern designer its means no inventory. No need to have facilities to store copies of print patterns. No need to print hundreds of doll pattern copies which means no printing costs. Which all gets you back to reason #1. More profit. For the small business designer that is paramount to whether or not they can remain in business.

So, if you are a small business doll pattern designer and haven't thought about E-Patterns - you should. In my opinion, they are the way of the future!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Can I Sell The Dolls I Make From Your Doll Patterns?

I get asked this question a lot, "Can I sell the dolls that I make from your doll patterns?" If you're a small business crafter and intend to sell a small number of dolls - the simple answer is "YES!" My doll patterns are intended to be made for fun and/or small personal profit. That means you can make the dolls for yourself and your own personal use or, if you are a small business crafter, you can make them and sell them for a small personal profit on your website, in your store, at craft shows, etc.

If you intend to mass produce them and/or you are a large commercial establishment the answer is "NO!" - they are protected by copyright. You can't mass produce or sell the dolls on a large commercial scale without my permission. Mass production and commercial use of products made from my Linda Walsh Originals patterns (both print and E-patterns), including classes, wholesale distribution, catalog sales, website sales, auction sales and all other forms of commercial mass production are by permission only.

The doll patterns and graphics themselves are protected by copyright - all rights reserved. This includes downloading, mass producing, photocopying, enlarging, reducing, E-Patterns and all other forms of reproduction, website sharing, Email, or any other means of redistribution. Commercial selling or reselling of the doll patterns by any means including EBAY or any other website is by permission only.

So, if you're a small business crafter and want to sell some of the dolls that you make from my doll patterns and want to know if you can sell them for a small personal profit - the simple answer is "Yes!" All I ask is that you please do me the courtesy of crediting Linda Walsh Originals with the design.

Happy sewing and happy selling!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Wow! You've Been Busy! Time To Take A Sewing Break!

"Wow! You've been busy!" That's the phrase I've been hearing a lot during the last few weeks as I've been releasing my BRAND NEW Doll Patterns. So far I've released 21 of my 30 new Linda Walsh Originals doll pattern designs. Next week I'm going to release the remaining 9 and then I'm going to take a break.

What kind of break will I be taking? Why, a sewing break, of course. You see - I just love to sew. I would actually say that I have a "need to sew." But, what does that mean? Anyone who loves to sew knows what I mean when I say "I just have an urge to sew." An overwhelming desire to create. And when you do, you get into a mode - "a sewing mode" which may last for days on end. Sometimes, even months on end. You must be wondering, "Is that relaxing and taking a break?" For me it is. It's the best form of relaxation.

So, I'm going to take a sewing break. Well, you know what that means. I'll sew 20 or 30 more of the 100 or so doll designs that are on the back burner. Then, I'll put the dolls all together, take their pictures, create their patterns, add them to my website, and then start promoting them which puts me right back at square number one. Design, sew, photograph, write, add to website, and promote. A viscous circle. Well, not so viscous when you love what you are doing. And, I do love it.

So, yes, I've been busy. It is time to take a break. A "sewing break."

"I'm sewing!"
"I'm sewing!"
"The old lady is Snoring!"
"Sewing not snoring!"
"The old lady is Sewing!"
"I'm Sewing!"
"I'm Sewing!"
"The old lady is Sewing!"

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Will You Come To My Tea Party?

Childhood tea parties with ones dolls and friends were just so delightful. Weren't they? Not only did you get to have all your dollies around you, but you also got to play dress-up, too. I can remember having tea parties as a child. Sometimes it was just my dollies and me, but that was okay. They were always great company. I'd serve my dollies tea in one of my tea sets. They would carry on about this or that. We'd have a grand old time.

As a matter of fact, I still have the three different tea sets that my Grandmother and Mother gave me as a child. One is very, very tiny china pieces. One is made of royal blue glass, and one is white and gold bone china. A couple of the bone china handles are broken, but other than that the sets are still in good shape. I take them out from time to time. They always remind me of a time of pure innocence.

In fact, when I was a child my mother started giving me a different bone china tea cup and saucer every year for about ten years or so. The trend back then was to have a bunch of beautiful and delicate cups and saucers to use when you had your friends over for tea. Of course, I couldn't use them until I was an adult. I still have them and they are still very pretty and very delicate.

No matter how hard I tried, and how much I begged I could never get my older brother (who is only 10 months older than me) to have a tea party with me. He just wouldn't. He always said "I hate dolls." In fact, he still hates dolls. How can anyone hate dolls? It boggles my mind. I can't even get him to visit my Linda Walsh Originals website or read my Linda's Blog. He thinks they're only about dolls. Boys! Men! Who can explain the illogical way they think! In any event, my sister, when she was old enough, was always willing to have a tea party with me. And, of course, there were always my dollies willing to so as well.

Maybe my love of little girl tea parties explains my love of tea. I love having several cups of tea in the morning and several cups of tea in the afternoon. It's always very relaxing. I've decided that I would have been well suited for the Victorian tradition of afternoon teas. I could attend a Victorian afternoon tea party and wear a beautiful Victorian dress. Why not? I love the dresses and I love tea. My problem would be when I opened my mouth to speak. I don't think they cared for feminist viewpoints back then.

Oh, well! In thinking about all this my usual curiosity got the better of me and I began to wonder "How did this all begin and what exactly were the rules for a Victorian Afternoon Tea Reception?"

Tea was introduced into Britain around 1650, was very expensive, and available only to the very wealthy (of course). Tea gradually become more and more popular and less expensive. It was viewed as a refreshing non-alcoholic alternative to ale. It was thought that tea cured headaches, fevers, colds, dropsy and scurvy. Some of the first tea brews were spread on bread and eaten. Others were brewed in a cup with butter and salt added. Yuck! What a way to kill a perfectly good cup of tea!

In the town houses and country homes of the rich it was fashionable to take tea after meals. Women would retire to the Drawing Room after dinner and would enjoy tea and coffee. The men stayed at the table and drank port wine (probably discussing the important issues of the day. No wait. That was done by the women in the Drawing Room!). As the tea trade increased and the prices went down tea became a popular drink for both the rich and the poor. By the mid 1800's the coffee houses of London were centers of tea and conversation attracting all the notable men. You notice I said "men." Women weren't allowed to frequent such establishments (gosh, they might get corrupted) and as a result began to invite each other over to each others homes.

Afternoon tea became fashionable during the early part of the 19th century and was usually served around 4 o'clock. At first it was kind of "risque" for the ladies to "take afternoon tea" in their private sitting rooms or boudoirs. After all, the men were in their "coffee houses." Then, around 1850 as afternoon tea receptions grew in popularity, they were moved to the Drawing Room. Both ladies and gentlemen were invited to attend then, but it was usually ladies in attendance. At least the ladies had the good manners to invite the men to their afternoon teas. The "afternoon teas" soon became the focus of social visits and an "afternoon tea etiquette" was established which involved a complex set of rules. Of course there were rules of etiquette! We're talking about the Victorians here.

The lady of the house would hold an "at home" party on a set day of the month. Visiting cards were sent out and included details as to what to expect and prepare for. Ladies usually dressed formally and wore hats and gloves. Sometimes the Victorian women would bring their own tea cups wrapped in special boxes. Whatever was required of the guests was clearly communicated in the visiting card so as not to embarrass the guest.

The creation of the cup & saucer occurred at this time, as did cream & milk jugs, sugar bowls, tea caddies, tea kettles, dishes, plates, teaspoons, and teapots. China was used for intimate teas. Silver tea pots were used for formal teas.

There were two distinct forms of tea service: "high" and "low" tea. "Low" tea or "Afternoon Tea" was served in the aristocratic homes of the wealthy in mid-afternoon. It featured gourmet appetizers to eat while engaging in polite conversation. "High" tea was a main or "meat" meal of the day. It was a family evening meal in the homes of the middle classes and working families and consisted mostly of dinner or supper items such as meat pies, vegetables, bread and butter, cakes, and a pot of tea.

According to the rules of etiquette, only simple refreshments should be served at an afternoon tea. Thin slices of bread and butter, sandwiches, fancy biscuits or cake, tea, coffee, or chocolate, ice-cream and bouillon. Punch and lemonade could also be served, but no wine or alcoholic beverages.

As the afternoon tea was considered an "informal" event the hostess would shake hands with her guests. If the number of guests was small the hostess would walk around the room and talk with her visitors. She would also, pour the tea and make sure everyone's cup was always full. If the number of guests was large the hostess would remain at the door and other ladies would help entertain the guests. She would also ask some of her friends if they would serve as a "pourer" of the tea at their table.

When drinking a cup of tea, the rules of etiquette say "keep your pinkie down" for to extend one's pinkie was an indication of arrogance, an inflated self-importance and was considered very rude. Also, you should always lift both the cup and saucer to your mouth. And, do not let the saucer sit on the table alone (god forbid, if you do you might cut struck by lightning). If you add milk to your tea it should be added first, then the tea should be poured in. A lemon slice or sugar should always be added last. When stirring your tea, you shouldn't make noises by clinging the sides of the cup while stirring. Remember, in Victorian times "ladies" did not bring attention to themselves. Never leave your spoon in the cup and do not sip your tea from the spoon either. That would be scandalous! After stirring, the spoon should be placed quietly on the saucer next to the cup, on the right hand side under the handle.

Afternoon tea parties usually lasted for two hours or so. When leaving the tea party guests were always expected to thank the hostess and a proper thank you note was always sent afterwards. To not thank the hostess was considered rude and would probably exclude you from attending tea parties in the future.

Now that you know the rules of etiquette for an afternoon tea party I have a question for you. "Will you come to my tea party?" I promise my dollies won't criticize you for having your pinkie up!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

We Could Use Some Etiquette Today!

In case you've never heard the word "etiquette" it means "The body of prescribed social usages" and "Any special code of behavior or courtesy." In a polite society it is the way in which individuals deal with each other socially. It is a set of rules of good manners and behavior that changes with the times. Etiquette contains rules for the simplest actions ( such as, "Hello" or "How are you?") to rules for the most elaborate social event.

Why am I telling you this? Because I think a lot of young people today are growing up in a society that is, in many ways, lacking in social etiquette. In some cases, manners have been thrown out the window entirely. What ever happened to "Please!" and "Thank-You!" What has happened to table manners, thank-you cards for gifts received, common courtesy, polite telephone manners, polite rules of the road, treating others as you wish to be treated, lending a hand without worrying about "what's in it for me (or, my personal favorite, why should I?)" and, last but not least, respect for your elders?

Etiquette is a French word meaning "ticket" that came to mean a prescribed routine that is passed down. In France, this began with court behavior and quickly spread to requirements of good behavior in court circles and among aristocrats. Eventually, etiquette became the responsibility of the parents to impart some degree of good manners and behavior down to their children, and so on and so on. So, do we blame the parents, the grandparents, or the youth of today? Do we then hold the youth of today blameless. I don't think so.

Etiquette became the norm for all social behavior and there wasn't a society more in tune with etiquette then that of the Victorian Era (surprise, surprise, one of my favorites.) So, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the Victorian Rules of Etiquette (and there were many of them) to see if, perhaps, it could be applied to today. The Victorians had so many rules that it would impossible in a short posting to capture them all. Some of their rules were appropriate, others down right foolish. So, I thought I'd take a look at the Victorian Rules of Etiquette a little at a time and post different articles to my Linda Walsh Originals - Linda's Blog from time to time. Something for all my Blog readers to look forward to.

First of all, you need to understand that ninety percent of everything you might find in a Victorian Rules of Etiquette manual is nothing more than "common courtesy." So, the first Victorian Rule of Etiquette is "If it would be rude now, it was rude then." The ultimate Victorian Rule of Etiquette was in always trying to follow the "Golden Rule", and that is "To Do Unto Others As You Would Have Then Do Unto You." I don't believe that the Golden Rule has changed, do you?

For this article, let's take a look at "Victorian Visiting Etiquette" and see if any of their rules could be applied to today.

Some rules while visiting:

1) Do not enter a room without knocking first and receiving an invitation to come in - That definitely applies to today. In fact, any brother or sister could tell you that you NEVER enter someone's room (especially a sibling) without their permission. What do you think all those KEEP OUT - AND THIS MEANS YOU signs on the door are for?

2) Always Be On Time - This definitely applies to today. In fact, it's one rule that I'm sure is broken more today then it was in the Victorian era. Definitley, a pet peeve of all company managers.

3) Do not toss over cards in the card receiver - Calling cards were used during the Victorian Era to announce intentions to visit, etc. and they were usually kept in some sort of calling card box or receiver. In other words, DO NOT SNOOP! This definitely applies to today.

4) When friends come to call on you, don't look at your watch, lest they think you desire them to leave. Conversely, if you are the caller, do not look at your watch. - AM I BORING YOU!!! It's really kind of boorish to convey to your guest, or for your guest to convey to you that they find you boring and have better places to be. Definitely applies to today.

5) Don't walk around the room when waiting for the hostess. - Kind of goes hand and hand with #3. Don't be a snoop.

6) Don't open or shut a door, raise or lower a window curtain, or in any other way alter the arrangement of a room when visiting. - Definitely applies to today, especially to mother's or mother's-in-law.

7) Turn you chair so your back faces another guest. - Really, that's just plain rude. Definitely applies to today.

8) To remove one's gloves when making a formal call. - Probably one of the rules that Jack-the-Ripper followed. Can't you see all the CSI detectives, today, hearing this and thinking DNA. This is not a good rule. Nor should it apply to today.

9) To make remarks about another caller who has just left the room. - In other words, NO DISSING!!! Oh, yeah! Definitely needs to be learned by the youth of today.

10) Do not laugh at your own wit, allow others to do it. - Today, this is called being "full of yourself" and certainly applies to the "me, me, me" ego.

11) NEVER pick you teeth, scratch your head, use a toothpick, comb your hair, blow your nose, pass gas, or clean your nails in company. Use a hankerchief when necessary, but without glancing at it afterwards. - Gross!!!! Definitely applies to today. Can't you hear all the kids giggling at these rules!

12) Do not place your arm on the back of a chair occupied by a woman. - Okay, everyone, picture all the teenage boys on their first movie date. Stretch, hands over head, cough, stretch, arm lands on the back of the chair of your date. Phew! Harmless rule. Need not apply to today.

13) Do not go into public smelling of onions or garlic. - I think you should add "unless you're in the presence of Dracula or traveling through Transylvania" to this rule. I don't even want to know how or why this rule came about. Suffice to say, I don't think it's a problem for today.

Wasn't that fun?