AmandaCarlisleDesign - Widget
Tuesday, March 31, 2020

An Update: The 411


Just popping in to say hi and that I see light at the end of the tunnel. I'm slowly pulling out of the funk I've been in! This whole skin cancer + quarantine thing just really sucked the air out of me for a while. From the time when the quarantine first went down, to the last couple of days, I've struggled with having any kind of motivation, attention span, or concentration. I 'wanted' to do things, but then I just couldn't focus. I was really confused. Like WHY DO I FEEL THIS WAY, MAKE IT STOP!

But THEN! Then I happened onto this gem by Rachel Marie Martin from Finding Joy

"Right now it feels like this: get up, get through the day, go to sleep. I think it's because every single thing is in flux so my brain doesn't know where to rest."

So much YES! THAT! That is exactly how my brain has felt. Hub and son home all day, when will the school figure out what to do about online stuff, should I send my purchase orders or not, will anyone be there to accept them, we need groceries, will there be any at the store? People ordered pins, but should I mail them or wait? We are only supposed to go out if we're on *essential* business. 

I just didn't know how to articulate it. But that is exactly what was happening in my brain. It felt sort of deer-in-headlights-ish. Here's the link to her facebook post that contained these wise words.

As the weeks go by, I can feel my regular self and energy coming back. This thing is touching everyone somehow. My parents' friend is in the hospital on a vent, another mom that I know from when my son was in preschool lost an aunt, and in our northern California county, it is now a misdemeanor to be out and about for anything other than food/meds or *essential* business. So we are hanging at home as much as possible with occasional bike rides around our circle. I can mail your pins, though, if you order them through etsy. I've got a system now. There is a blue mailbox in our neighborhood pretty close by, that I can drop them at, without venturing to the post office, after doing the postage and labels through etsy.

I just wanted to pop in for an update. I'll be back very soon! Oh, and I was going to link this back in the last post, but I'll link it here, too.

Look at what Bianca, from Thanks I Made Them, made with Sew Chatty for the last Friday of the release blog hop on the Riley Blake website. It's a whole sewing room suite! I love love love it!

Here's a photo from her Instagram post, @thanksimadethem.

Thanks for dropping in for the update!

See you soon!

Be safe, healthy and Happy Stitching!


Saturday, March 21, 2020

Missing Sew-jo

I'm not going to lie, there have been a few things going on lately that ended up burying my sew-jo for the last few weeks. I've been trying to get back at it, but I've been struggling a bit. So I thought maybe emptying my thoughts here would help me clear the brain clutter and move on. But first, a fun quilty picture just because! Check out Barbara's Harry Potter Quilt! I love the green background! It turned out so good! (all the block tutorials can be found *HERE*)

Photo Credit: Barbara Skaret

So the one kinda biggish thing that I had going on for the last couple of months, before the current health crisis situation, that I really hadn't mentioned here, is I had skin cancer on my nose. 😬 I found out in November but they couldn't get me on the schedule to remove it until Feb. 5th. #stress. (I had cancer/chemo, etc. when I was 19 so anything cancer brings back all the feelings 😒) Plus, my NOSE of all places! Right in the middle of my face! As the Dr. says, the sun is not my friend. Of course I grew up when sunscreen wasn't really the thing it is today. There was suntan lotion and suntan OIL of all things. So anyway, in early February I had it removed, and I'm not going to lie. They kind of dug a hole in the side of my nose like the size of a dime, a little bigger. Then they left it open for a week to heal a bit from the inside out, and I had to put Vaseline in it and keep it from drying out. TMI? Sorry.. It really was kind of nauseating and horrifying to look at every day when I had to change the dressing and stick Vaseline in it. I had to psych myself up for it. I wondered if it would ever look normal or if I would just have a mangled nose for the rest of time. That's enough about the open wound. Time for another fun photo! It's my Sew Chatty Fabric! It hit shops March 1st! Colorful fabrics make me happy. It's super exciting, even though it arrived in the middle of some really heavy things going on.

Okay, so a week after the cancer removal, they did skin graft surgery. Which amazingly didn't hurt that bad.. on my nose. But behind my ear, where they took the skin graft from, the donor site, it really hurt like they removed an area of skin where there wasn't any extra to be taken from and then pulled it closed. They should have taken it from my smile lines or crows feet. 😐 Maybe it wouldn't have hurt as bad.. plus free face lift! But no.. It felt like someone had tried to pull skin from the left side of my head and stretch it over to the right side of my head and stitch it in place. It HURT.

After that surgery, I had to have this big dressing on my nose for TWO WEEKS and it could NOT come off. I couldn't even look under it. A big, triangular white dressing of thick gauze folded in thick layers and taped in place with some sort of glue that smelled a bit like paint thinner applied to the tape, because it had to stick literally FOREVER, and WHITE tape! (skin colored tape anyone?) I kinda looked like this guy, but he's way cuter .. And the dressing was way bigger and with miles of gluey tape on my face. Fun pic #3, purely to break up this yucky story.

Sew Chatty Character Preview

It really looked like I had a big cast on my nose. OHH! And to top it off, I couldn't shower OR wash my hair for those TWO WEEKS! Because the dressing could NOT get wet. 😕 Nice, huh. At first I had a pretty good attitude, like hey at least they got all the cancer, small price to pay, I'll just pretend I'm camping in the woods for two weeks, hey wanna sign my nose cast? But by the last couple of days I was so over it. I may or may not have had a small weep. Or big. Okay, it may have been a meltdown, but I felt so much better afterward! And in (finally!) good news, five weeks post-graft, all the stitches are out, and it's healed so wonderfully, you almost can't tell that there was ever a big mangled hole in my nose. It's a little discolored but that will fade with time, the Dr. says. The human body is amazing! But wow, at times, it felt like trudging through a dark tunnel just looking for the light at the end. And now! The light! The light! I'm free.. and my nose miraculously looks like.. a nose! Such a relief. 

But.. 2020 likes to throw curve balls, so here came a VIRUS. smh 

Thankfully, the one week in between, when the plague hadn't made it to our county yet, and the big white bandage was traded in for a normalish size band aid, we were able to pull off my son's school family literacy night! I'm so glad we got it in when we did. We had a bigger turnout than last year, and a good time was had by all! It always takes a lot of time to plan, but it's always so worth it! Here's a pic of the book bag that I designed for it this year. (Dr. Seuss theme!) We would've been sad if we hadn't gotten to do the event before the schools closed. And now kids have some new books to read, hopefully, during this time when schools are closed.

Every year has a different theme, and this is the 6th year another mom and I have helped to plan it. 📚 There was free pizza, free book bag, cotton candy, a photo booth, a therapy dog for the kids to read to, a juggler, face painting, lots of fun activities and tables and tables of free books! The kids start donating their gently used/outgrown books in the weeks before, and then on that night, it's a big free book exchange and kids fill their bags with new-to-them books. That was the bright spot between the nose cast and the virus. 

So now, this last week, our schools shut down, and yesterday our (CA) governor issued a stay at home order. And today, my dad texted me that my mom has bronchitis. Which she gets a couple of times a year probably, but please don't let it be the virus, as she would be in the high risk group. And they live 1500 miles from me. I hate living so far away, esp. at times of uncertainty like these. Praying that she stays free from the virus. All of this is so crazy and I hope you all are staying safe and healthy. 

It's been such an emotional and stressful couple of months. I managed to keep stitching through most of it. I tried to keep doing my National Days blocks, and Harry Potter block tutorials, just carrying on like normal, and it worked for a while, but eventually something had to give and I just had to take a break. 

While I was holed up with the big dressing on my nose, I focused on writing three out of the four patterns that I needed to get written for some other Riley Blake fabric lines, and they are tested and done! I'll blog about them soon! Here's just one of them. It's for a Fisher Price licensed line for Riley Blake. You should see the kit box, it's so cute! I'll share it soon! The dog block is my favorite! 

You can see the other new patterns on my Patterns page or in my shop *HERE*, if you're interested. That was the one thing I could hang out on the couch and do right after my graft surgery, write patterns with my laptop.  Time for another Sew Chatty character! This one makes me sing the Partridge Family theme song in my head. haha! Also.. it's a double wedding ring..

I was so excited about the fabric being released this month, but kinda feel bad that I didn't have anything special planned to celebrate it here. I had wanted to but all the things happened. All. The. Things. I am going to try to plan a giveaway for it soon, though, and Riley Blake is having a blog tour for it for three Fridays. Last Friday, yesterday, and next Friday, if you want to see some really cute projects that were made with it! I'll link the first two here and then come back and link the third one after next Friday:

A Bit of Scrap Stuff
Melanie made some throw pillows, a zip pouch, and some pillow cases.

Cream Craft Goods
Karen made an awesome sewing machine mat with vinyl pockets that doubles as a machine cover. And she included a tutorial. I really want to make it! 

OHH! Another thing that I just want to mention --briefly, because I don't want to give it any more of my brain energy-- while I was going through the tunnel of skin cancer surgery, I got an email from someone who was very critical of my pattern writing. Not of the design, not of the measurements-this pattern is well tested, even by a confident beginner-, but super critical of my writing 'style', I guess. It was very hateful. She used words like diabolical, unforgiveable, and dylexic. Yes, she even threw out an actual disability as an insult. Talk about receiving a kick to the gut when you're already down! It made me want to just quit writing patterns. Quit sharing anything with all of you. I scoured this pattern, trying to figure out what she was talking about, in case there was anything that I could change to make it better. Because I really do appreciate constructive criticism (preferably KIND). It's what helps us all improve. But please, please be kind. There are humans on the other end of your computers, and while it may feel good to "VENT" and click send, being hateful and mean doesn't solve anything. After a few days of digesting her rant, I did try to send a nice message back to her, but of course it was "undeliverable". 🙄 Please, just be kind. 

Well, I think I've now effectively purged everything out that's been cluttering up my brain so hopefully I can find my sew-jo again, and get over this underlying feeling of stress. Because there were a few National Day blocks that got skipped and I want to go back and do them anyway! And it's overdue time for another HP tutorial. And I want to sew something with Sew Chatty and do a proper giveaway! And all the fun things. Boo stress. 

If you've read this far, thank you for this therapy session.. I'll be getting off your couch now and paying the fee on my way out. I just might book another appointment next week. ~haha

Please be careful, stay healthy, and remember not to touch your face! I'll be back soon, hopefully back on track with fun, quilty stuff.



Friday, March 6, 2020

Simple Dress Quilt Block

Happy Friday! It's also National Dress Day. I love a dress, so I had to make one in quilt block form for my National Days Scrap Quilt. This is block 35.  

It goes together very quickly with just a few  clip & flip corners. My attention span has been pretty short lately, lots of life happening, but these blocks have been perfect for it. It's nice to be able to stitch a block in a few minutes. Here's how I made this tiny dress.

Fabric A (background):
(8) 1 1/2" sq. (*)
(2) 1 1/2 x 4 1/2" (****)
(2) 2 1/2 x 8 1/2"

Fabric B (dress):
(1) 1 1/2 x 2 1/2" (*)
(2) 2 x 2 1/2"
(1) 4 x 4 1/2"

Double Upper Corners

1. Place a square at the left end or left upper corner of a rectangle or larger square, right sides together.
2. Stitch from right upper to left lower corner.
3. Clip, flip & press.
4. Place a square at the right end or right upper corner of a rectangle or larger square, right sides together.
5. Stitch from left upper corner to right lower corner.
6. Clip, flip & press.

~Using the above method, (2) 1 1/2" sq. of Fabric A and a 2 x 2 1/2" rect. of Fabric B-long edge at the top, make one unit. Repeat for total of two of these units.

~Using the above method, (2) 1 1/2" sq. of Fabric A and a 4 x 4 1/2" rect. of Fabric B-long edge at the top, make one unit.

~Assemble dress quilt block as shown below, using scant quarter inch seams.


You will have an 8 1/2" (8" finished) dress quilt block. Here's how my little dress block turned out. 👗 The blocks are stacking up! 

I'll be back in a couple of days with another, I think. Trying to figure it out right now.. I'm linking this post up to the National Days blocks page, along with all of the others. You can get there by clicking the button in the right side bar or *HERE*, just in case you want to make any. If you do and you post them on IG, tag me @kellifanninquilts, or on FB *HERE*, or in the sew along group *HERE*.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a great weekend. 

Happy Stitching!


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