Deadlines unmet

I’ve completed all 82 blocks and 28 triangles for my Summer Stash Challenge string quilt, but I don’t think I’ll have the whole thing finished by the end of August.

string blocks

So why won’t I finish it in the next two days? Well, tomorrow I have a job interview in the middle of the day, I have to clean up the basement, including sorting and putting away a ton of fabric, and Sunday we’re having a family picnic at our house.

My job interview tomorrow is with a local dinner theater/restaurant for a hostess position. It’s completely out of the blue because I had applied a month ago for an office position. I’ve never done that sort of work before, although to be honest I’d certainly like to work there. It’s about as upscale as restaurants get where I live, and I’m definitely a foodie. I love to try new things, and they have a very interesting menu. I’ve eaten there a few times, and I’ve attended a couple of shows that were wonderful. I would enjoy being a part of it all. I’m concerned about the wage and the lack of experience, but hey, I’ve accepted a temporary assembly job an hour’s drive away and this job could pay $2 an hour less and it would still come out ahead.

You know, I’d almost welcome a job that’s completely different from the office work I’ve been doing for the past 20 years. I don’t know how much of that is frustration at not finding a job, and how much is a little bit of a broken spirit from the way the last job ended. Of course, a little of it is just boredom.

As for the assembly job, I start Tuesday. Not thinking about it, not thinking about it, not thinking about it…

Butterflies

Oh, my stomach is churning. Nerves, you know. I just created an Etsy account and listed the Neapolitan quilt pattern for sale. Why does this make me so nervous? I don’t want to shove my Etsy stuff down everyone’s throat, so I’ll just mention it here and then drop the subject. Except, of course, if I actually sell something, and then I’ll have to come crow about it just a little.

The pink and brown butterflies aren’t the only ones fluttering around in my belly. I also have job butterflies – big ugly black ones with beaks and scary red eyes on their wings. And claws. Talons. Hey, they’re my butterflies, they can have talons if they want! My cousin’s workplace is looking for temporary assemblers, so I applied, interviewed, and toured the facility. It isn’t difficult work, and the people seem nice, but it is SO not what I’m familiar with. The pay is adequate, although I have to drive to Madison, about an hour each way. That’s a big deal when you’re accustomed to a 13 minute commute. It certainly isn’t what I want to do for the rest of my life, but right now I need the money and it’s a perfectly respectable job. I’m nervous about doing something new, though. That’s always been difficult for me. Not change, but doing something with which I have no experience. I hate feeling stupid. I’ve avoided a lot of things because of this, and I’m trying to force myself past it. I will know if I get the job in the next couple of days, I think. They sent me to a local clinic for a pre-employment drug test and physical, and once they get the results, they’ll let me know. The drug test isn’t a problem – geez, I’ve never even had a full glass of wine or smoked so much as a cigarette my whole life! The doc told me I passed the physical, too.

Finally, I signed up with ANOTHER employment agency today. They also said the jobs were slow to come in, but thought that it would pick up as the college kids went back to school and employers started looking for help. I’d take temp work right now, just to stay in the area. I figure I could take a job in town that paid $2 per hour less than the one in Madison and still come out about the same. My car gets decent gas mileage, but that’s still a lot of driving.

String Theory

Strings

I’ve finally resumed work on my string quilt for the Summer Stash Challenge. Yesterday I completed 20 blocks, and today I worked on another dozen. I have to make eight more 8 1/2″ blocks, then about twenty 9 1/2″ blocks, and then I can put it together. I’m foundation piecing them on muslin and the muslin squares are already cut, so I can see how far I have to go. One thing I like about this project is that it allows me to reacquaint myself with my stash. I scan through it and grab bright, colorful pieces, zip off a strip or three, and stack the remainder on my Little Gracie II. I’m amazed at the different fabrics I have, and I keep seeing pieces that I want to pull for other projects. I’ve managed to restrain myself so far because I’m determined to finish this string quilt before I start another project. That’s unusual for me – I’m not a finisher.

The down side to all of the stash browsing is the giant pile of fabrics that need to be put back on the shelf.
Fabric Explosion

Actually, only about a third of the fabrics in this photo are from the string quilt. The remainder either never made it to the shelf to start with, were pulled for photos of my “baggable” fabrics, or were considered for the Basket Case quilt that my mom is working on. Trouble is, we have family coming on Sunday for a backyard gathering, and I have to have the basement cleaned up before then. I just can’t bring myself to stuff everything on the shelves willy-nilly. No, I have to sort everything by color and place it in the proper location on the shelf. Of course, that’s going to lead to thinning of the stash, since I really don’t have room to make it all fit. And that means that my one hour basement cleaning project will take closer to five hours.

Ribbons

Still, it makes me happy to look at the strips waiting to be sewn into more string blocks. All that scrappy, scrambled goodness! It’s like candy, but without the guilt.

That Damn Cat!

I love my cats, really I do, but they all have little quirks that sometimes make me want to ship them off to kitty camp for a month. This time it’s Rugen.

Rugen Quilting

Ru is a sweet boy, frantically skittish when he sees feet coming, bold if a toy mouse is involved. He has a quiet little “mau” and he rolls around like a curly worm, asking to have his belly rubbed when he’s in a happy mood. He thinks all quilts and piles of folded fabric belong to him, and loves nothing more than to jump on Mom’s back when she leans over.

He also pees on unfolded clothing and blankets.

I don’t usually leave my bedroom door open at night because the cats can be rambunctious. I left it open last night when Buttercup did her ” ‘dorable me” squawk and ran under my bed. She likes to sleep between my knees, which means I wake up on my stomach, trapped to the bed. This isn’t fun when it’s 2 a.m. and I have to go to the bathroom and I can’t easily wiggle free, because she also sleeps like the dead. Last night she was joined by Ru, and they were cuddled together, too cute to throw out, when I returned from the nature call. Fool. The next morning I found my borgana blanket (borgana is a fake fur fabric – my great grandmother made blankets and pillows from it) on the floor. I scooped it up and got an armful of wet. Blech.

I’ve tried various sprays, multiple litter boxes (we have five boxes for three cats), frequent scooping, and fanatical attention to keeping all loose fabric items covered or neatly folded and put away. (That’s the most challenging for me – I’m a piler.) He’s fine for a while – sometimes months – and then one day he leaves a surprise. It isn’t a physical issue (I’ve already checked with the vet). He just thinks that anything he can scratch into a pile should be peed on. He was neutered at 6 months, so it isn’t really marking, either. He’s just a damn cat.

Will work for food

This job search thing really sucks. I know that isn’t particularly eloquent, but I’m too tired of this struggle to make it sound pretty. I received an e-mail today telling me that they chose someone else for a position that I really hoped to get. It said they only interviewed four or five people out of the more than 100 resumes they received, so I suppose that should make me feel a little better. I had another interview this week with a similar response – over 130 applicants and I was one of five interviewed. I don’t think I did very well in the interview, though, so I’m not holding out much hope. Yes, it’s great that I make it to the top five, but that means I’m competing against others who are also very good.

What makes it especially difficult is that I’ve fallen into the jobs that I’ve had so far. In twenty years I’ve worked for only three different companies. Before this, I’d only interviewed twice, and I got the job both times. Interviewing is difficult for me – I tend to start blathering on about things that I don’t really need to talk about. I’m good with people, but it’s like my brain just takes off down the wrong road.  I have a lot of marketable skills, but not much marketable education. Plus there’s the difficulty explaining just exactly WHY I’m currently unemployed. Hmm, well, see, I f’d up at the last job, although so did the owners. Can’t really go into it (and certainly won’t here).

I’m at the point where I’m considering jobs completely outside my work experience. I’ve worked in an office for the past twenty years, and I just applied to work at a department store makeup counter. Nothing wrong with the work, certainly, it’s just not what I’m trained to do. I’m also applying for a temporary job doing assembly work. Hot, dirty, physical, but hey, it’s an income. I’ve signed up at a temp agency, but they seem to be ignoring me. I need to contact some others and see if they have anything available. I’m sending out resumes whenever I see something reasonable, but it’s to the point that I need to consider jobs that require a couple of hours of travel time every day. I’d rather stay within 20 miles or so, but I’ve exhausted all of those possibilities.

Sigh. It’s been a long day, and I’m a little down. I’ve been able to avoid dwelling on it for the past week or two thanks to the quilting deadlines, but now that I have free time, I’m back to worrying. Part of me wants to jump into another quilting project, but another part feels like I SHOULD be worrying about this, as if worrying will make a job magically appear.

It’s official

The Neapolitan quilt is finished and has been turned over to the quilt shop. I’ve printed and folded and stuffed and punched the patterns. They’re working on kitting it up – most of it has already been cut, but they needed to add a couple of pieces. Best of all, she has confirmed that they will be taking the quilt, the kits, and a couple extra patterns to Quilt Expo in Madison, WI in September! Woohoo!

Now I’m on to my next project, called Basket Case. Mom is going to do the sample for this one since I need to focus on my string blocks for the Summer Stash Challenge. I also need to finish up the website I’m working on for my brother’s boss. I’ve been putting that off for far too long.

Then I can finally get back to new quilt ideas! For some reason I’m really driven by names. I like the naming of the pattern almost as much as designing it. For Basket Case, the name prompted the design, and I have another idea in my head for a simple batik quilt called Sweet Potato Fries. I think that will be my next project. I also want to build a quilt around my Anxiety block.

I just read in Camille Roskelley’s blog, Simplify, that their Cotton Blossoms fabric line has just been released. This is one of my favorite new lines and I hope to be able to work with it. Since I’m not allowed to buy any new fabric, that means I hope I can put together a great pattern and the quilt shop owner will suggest I make a sample quilt!

Oh, back to Basket Case – Mom and I dug through my stash and pulled tons of fabric, but nothing really jumped out at us. (Now my stash is in desperate need of reorganization since about a quarter of it is on the floor.) Then Mom remembered some fabrics she picked up a year or two ago, and it’s perfect for the pattern! I added just a touch of green from my stash, and we’ll probably have to pick up some solid creamy yellow background fabric. The main fabric is from the Picket Fence line by Chloe’s Closet for Moda. It’s a retro 40’s look in soft blues, reds, and creams.