Friday, December 29, 2006

Santa was good to me!

Christmas Recovery is well-underway at our house. Most of the toys have been sprung from their maximum-security packaging and the house is still littered with the contents of Santa's bag. But I did get all the wrapping paper bits thrown out, and many of the boxes recycled.

So, what did Santa (i.e., The Husband) bring me?

Jinny Beyer's book, Quiltmaking by Hand, which can be purchased at her website.

The hilarious movie "Raising Arizona", starring Nicholas Cage

A Nano Ipod - cool. I didn't even ask for that!

A variety of quilt marking pencils, as The Husband didn't know that I meant actual colored pencils when I asked for colored pencils

A watch (which I really needed)

"Wicked" and "Confessions of an evil step sister", both by the same guy but I don't recall his name.

An extra bowl for my KitchenAid mixer

And a new cookie baking sheet (I only had one, which can get pretty tedious).

Quite the haul. I'm already reading Wicked and I think it is good writing but I am so sad for little Febula (sp?). I hope I don't feel this way for the whole book because it is kind of depressing.

I am in the process of formulating a list of 2006's crafty accomplishments. Unfortunately The Girl's quilt will not be one of my conquests, but it will be done soon. I am about 1/3 of the way through quilting the border.

Happy New Year to all!!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Elf Name

Hey Everyone! I have an elf name.


Christmas Elf Name

My Christmas Elf Name is
Get your Christmas Elf Name at JokesUnlimited.com

I hope everyone had a great holiday. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Cool Magazines

The other day my Grandma gave me an armful of quilting magazines that she saved from the eighties. I have one thing to say: awesome. It's been really fun looking through them, though I have to say, desktop publishing must have done a lot for the magazine business. Today's magazine equivalents are so much more professional looking and...I think the word I'm looking for is glossy.


This is my favorite cover:




In case you can't read it, it's "Quilting Today: The International Quilt Magazine", issue #16 from Dec 1989. It is the newest magazine she gave me, the rest really are from the eighties, not the last lingering breath of it.

I did a quick search and sadly it seems Quilting Today no longer exists. It merged with another magazine called Traditional Quiltworks and sometime last year went under.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Happy Blogiversary!

Hello! It's been a few weeks since I've posted seriously because I've been planning the Big Post, well, since the 22nd. Below is my gift to the world to celebrate my very first Blogiversary. I was calling it my Blirthday but The Husband thought Blogiversary had more snazz.

The free pattern below is pretty rough as it is my first attempt at writing up instructions for something I designed. Take the pictures with a grain of salt, they are not to scale or exact. I mean, come on. How exact can you get drawing with the Paint program? Feedback is of course welcome as I'd like to improve my skill at writing instructions. Is it clear? What needs more or less explanation? Do the pictures add anything for you?

And you have my permission to use the pattern for personal use, which excludes use as a teaching tool or any form of publication. Even if you are teaching how not to write a pattern.

Oh, and not that I haven't received any gifts myself today. My boss informed me this afternoon that I am the lucky (though not undeserving) recipient of a promotion. Woohoo! And just this morning I was pondering some recent costs we've inflicted on our household budget and wondering how on earth we'll manage to pay for it without going in to debt, and wham! A promotion, complete with raise. So I've been blessed today, on this special day, my blogiversary. Thanks for reading, and many blessings to you as well.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Blisswork Pattern

This pattern takes its inspiration from an Ohio Star block. The Ohio Star is made up of three components: four solid corner squares, one contrasting central square, and four squares created by four triangles cut from two fabrics.

The main portion of the Blisswork pattern is simply a variation on the color placement. Instead of two fabrics and four triangles shown above, I used three fabrics and four triangles. The block has been modified to look like this:


The last change to the block design was to add triangles to the four corners of the block, each outlined in another fabric.

When the blocks are sewn together the triangles on the edges and in the corners come together to create squares.

Finally I added a border. I extended the corner triangles into the border for added interest.

The pattern top requires 5 fabrics. The picture below shows the placement of each and are labelled for easy reference.

Cut your fabrics in the following ways:

  • Fabric A:
    • 12 3-1/2 inch x 3-1/2 inch pieces

    • 12 4-1/4 inch x 4-1/4 inch pieces, then cut each square into four triangles by cutting from corner to corner, across the diagonal in both directions.

  • Fabric B:
    • 48 3-1/2 inch x 3-1/2 inch pieces

    • 24 4-1/4 inch x 4-1/4 inch pieces, then cut each square into four triangles as for fabric A.

  • Fabric C:
    • 12 4-1/4 inch x 4-1/4 inch pieces, then cut each square into four triangles as for fabric A and B.

  • Fabric D:
    • 80 2 inch x 2 inch pieces

    • 2-1/2 inch strips from remainder of fabric for binding.

  • Fabric E:
    • 80 1 inch x 1 inch pieces

    • 4 2-1/4 inch x 33 inch pieces (border)

    • 4 2-1/4 inch x 42 inch pieces (border)



You'll also need 1-1/4 yards of backing for your quilt, and a matching sized piece of batting.

Assembly
Step 1) Sew one Fabric A triangle to one Fabric B triangle, right sides together along the short seam. Open the triangle and press seam to one side.

Step 2) Now sew a second unit with Fabric B and Fabric C. Press the seam in the same direction as in the first step. Be sure Fabric B is sewn on the same edge. When you open the second unit it should have Fabric B in the same position as the unit from step 1.

Step 3) Place the two units right side together and sew along the long side of the triangle. Press the seams so that the center point radiates out in a sort of mini pinwheel. The pinwheel shown is in two colors (instead of three) for contrast.



Make 48 total of this unit. They may be chain-pieced for speed.

Step 4) Place a Fabric A 3-1/2 inch x 3-1/2 inch square over one of the squares created above. Sew along the edge of the square so that two Fabric A's are sewn together. Repeat for all remaining 11 Fabric A squares.

Step 5) Repeat for the opposite side of all 12 center A's, as in the picture.

Step 6) Assemble 12 top rows.

Step 7) Assemble 12 bottom rows.

Step 8) Assemble one of each rows into a single block. Repeat for a total of 12 blocks.


Step 9) Set one 2 inch x 2 inch square of Fabric D face up. Align a 1 inch x 1 inch square of Fabric E face down in a corner of the larger square, even with the edges. Sew in a diagonal from one corner of the small piece to the other. The seam should cut across the larger sqaure, as in the picture. Trim the fabric to about 1/4 inch below the seam.

Open the seam and press towards the larger square. Repeat for all remaining 79 squares.

Step 10) Place one of the squares from step 9 in the corner of a block from step 8, right sides together. Line the edge of the small square up with the edge of the block, with the corner of Fabric E pointing in towards the center of the block. Sew from one corner of the square to the other along the diagonal. Trim the triangle of fabric left below the seam and press the seam towards the inside of the block.

Repeat for each corner of all 12 blocks.
Step 11) Assemble the top by sewing three blocks together to create a row. Sew four rows then sew the rows together.
Step 12) Place one of the squares from step 9 in the lower left hand corner of a 2-1/4 inch x 33 inch strip of Fabric E, right sides together. The small triangle should point away from the corner the sqaure is aligned with. Sew corner to corner across the square, trim and press open as for step 10.

Step 13) Line the triangle up with the upper left triangle on the top side of the quilt top. Use a clear rotary cutting ruler to find the center of the next triangle on the quilt top. Then line the center of the triangle seam up with the 1/4 inch mark on the ruler, and cut the strip. Your strip should now be the length from the edge of the quilt to the center of the next triangle, plus a quarter inch.

Step 14) Place a small square in the lower right corner of the newly cut strip. Sew across the square, corner to corner, trim and press.

Step 15) Repeat step 12 with the long piece of the cut strip. Trim and press. Sew the short piece from step 14 to this new piece:

Place the strip against the quilt top to check your work. The triangles should match up in positioning.
Step 16) Repeat the process of steps 12 - 15 with the strip until your strip looks like this:

Sew the strip on to the quilt top. Repeat steps 12-15 to create the bottom border and sew to the quilt top as well.
Step 17) Cut a 5 inch piece from a 2-1/4 x 42 inch piece of Fabric E. Sew a square, from corner to corner to the lower right hand edge of the short piece. Sew a square to the lower left hand edge of the long piece. Sew the two strips together, then line up the strip with the quilt top as below. There will be a short piece of excess that sticks past the bottom border.

Proceed as in step 13, and moving through to step 16 until all triangles are matched. Sew on the side border and repeat for the other side. Cut the excess off the corners so that the corners are square.
Step 18) Sew one 2-1/4 inch x 33 inch strip of fabric E to the top edge, then the bottom edge. Then sew one 2-1/4 inch x 42 inch strip of Fabric E to one long edge and then the other. Trim to square up the quilt.
Step 19) Lay your backing right side down, then place an equal sized piece of batting on top. Smooth your quilt top over the other two layers, face up. Baste & quilt. Remove the basting threads, trim the edges and bind.
Step 20) Don't forget to sign your quilt!
Ta Dah!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Broken goal

Ok, I know it was my goal to include a photo in at least every other post. But I've only had time to post from work lately and no photos around.

But I thought I needed to update you on The Girl's quilt progress. I have finished quilting the main portion of the top. Ta-dah! Now I am on to quilting the border. I decided to just stitch in the ditch and add her name in script in one bar of the border.

Unfortunately I still have not finished cutting out her coat pieces, though, so that means no sewing of the coat either. I am thinking it won't be done in time for Thanksgiving wear. I am a little sad about that but not bent out of shape.

And I did finish painting the kitchen window, which had been scuffed up when we had our counters and cabinets replaced last year. I just need to scrape the slopped-on-the-glass paint and also (ahem) sew the curtain. I know, I know. It's been forever since I started that project.

Oh, and a new development. We need new living room carpet. The other day The Husband and The Boy went to get haircuts, and I was left at home to give The Girl a bath. The Husband had started a fire before he left, and while I was upstairs with The Girl in the bathroom I heard a big thump. I knew right away what it was...a giant log that The Husband put in the fire before he left fell out. I raced downstairs and found it sitting on both the hearth and carpet. I used the poker tool to get it back on the hearth, but I wasn't fast enough. We now have a pretty good-sized blackened melted area of the carpet. D'oh. Then of course I'm standing there thinking, this log is on fire for crying out loud, how am I supposed to get it back in there? After several quick fire-tool experiments I found I could lift it by balancing it on the poker and the shovel. I hoisted it back in and this time closed the glass doors. Then I threw a glass of water on the smoldering carpet so I could get back to the girl. We had originally planned to replace the carpet in January or February, so really it's not a big deal. But still. It used to look at least semi-presentable with only shadows of stains. This is like a black hole, irresistably drawing your eye as if your eye is made of of mass, light, and gravity. Ugh.

Nothing else major to report, except that I've started collecting photos for the secret project. That's been fun except the kiddies keep trying to step on them.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Photos on quilts

Chalicat asked about how I would get photos into a quilt yesterday. So here is my (hopeful) explanation. Note it is hopeful because I have not yet tried it and don't know how good the results will be.


First, you take your fabric. You wash and dry it to get all of the yucky potential residues and what-have-you out of the fabric (apparently some manufacturers put stuff on the fabric, I'm assuming to make it drape prettier or give it a softer hand or whatever). Then, you use a product called Bubble Jet Set 2000 to totally soak the fabric. You hang it up without rinsing it or wringing it and let the fabric dry.


Then once it is dry, you can cut it. You cut it into a size your printer can handle, probably roughly 8.5 by 11. Then you iron a piece of freezer paper to the back of the fabric, and give it a final trimming so that it is nice and even on all sides.


Now that the freezer paper is on it, the fabric is stiff enough that you can feed it through your home computer inkjet style printer. Print your picture on to the fabric, then peel your fabric off of the paper when dry.


Last but not least, you need to wash your fabric photo in a chemical that will attract and remove extra dyes so when the quilt is washed later the extra dye doesn't run and ruin the quilt. I chose to use a chemical called Synthrapol. I picked it because I can use it in the first step to also remove the chemical treatments on the fabric. But there are other types you can use.
Ta-da! Once the final wash has occurred and the fabric is dry it is ready to go. There are products you can use that will iron on to the fabric, but I really felt the quilt would have a much softer hand and a more professional look if the fabric itself is dyed instead of a top layer that is just fixed to the fabric with heat.


I sure hope it works. I bought both chemicals from Dharma Trading and freezer paper is readily available at the grocery store, though you can also buy it in 8.5 x 11 sheets to make the work a little easier. All you need in addition is fabric, and I bought my white muslin from Keepsake Quilting. Oh, and also the chemicals must be pretty noxious because there are lots of warnings about using it in a well ventilated area and wearing gloves. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Super-secret project

In a fit of crazyness I decided to create a quilt for The Husband's parents. Next November 4th they will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. I've created a special design for them that will contain (gulp) 128 photos of their lives together as well as some applique and possibly other embellishment.


Yep. I don't know what the heck I was thinking.


But it is a pretty simple design. The applique will only be in the center medallion (is it still a medallion if it is square?) and there will be rings of photos alternating with regular fabric. There will be a total of four rings, each representing one decade, and the border will contain a quilted handprint of each family member--including the parents. The Husband and I will be making up some kind of phantom school assignment to procure those. The color scheme is dominated by the color ruby (or, my interpretation of the color ruby) because ruby is the designated anniversary gift for 40 years. Then I also included some fabric that has dogwood blossoms on it. I guess more or less because The Father-in-law has always admired the dual-colored dogwood in our yard. And it also was a coordinating fabric for my ruby choices. He. Anyways. Here is a photo of the fabric, which just arrived from Keepsake Quilting yesterday:

Note that there are pieces of The Girl's coat in progress in disarray in the background. It is taking me a long time to cut out the pieces for that. I'm excited to start sewing it, which I will hopefully begin this weekend. I'd like for it to be ready for Thanksgiving wear.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Fun Quilting Exercise

I saw this on Jen Moody's page. I thought it would be a good measure of my quilting progress, since my blirthday (my blog's birthday) is coming up soon. Maybe next year I can do it again and see how much I've crossed off.

Quilt activities that you've done (bold means you have...)
1. Taken a quilting class
2. Paper pieced (not yet, but thanks to Chalicat I have a book about it)
3. Hand quilted
4. Hand pieced
5. Created your own pattern
6. Published a pattern in a magazine or book
7. Gone on a quilting retreat
8. Gone to a quilting convention
9. Met someone who wrote a quilting book
10 combined your quilting with some other craft
11. Done any three dimensional quilting - like fabric origami?
12. Made something using Thimbleberries fabric
13. Made something using batiks
14. Dyed your own fabric
15. Made a landscape hanging
16 Made a New York Beauty quilt
17 Made a baby quilt
18 Made a wall hanging
19 Made a journal quilt
20 Submitted your journal quilt for viewing
21 Made a fabric postcard
22 Made a artistic trading card (ATC)
23 Exchanged artistic trading cards
24. Mailed out your postcard?
25. Made a lap quilt (though I actually called it a nap quilt)
26 Made a twin size quilt
27 Made a full size quilt
28 Made a queen size quilt
29 Made a king size quilt
30 Donated a quilt to charity
31 Sent a quilt out to a quilter
32 Thrown away a UFO
33 Given away a UFO
34 Cut up a UFO and made something else with it
35 Ripped fabric instead of cutting it
36 Made a quilt exactly like the pattern, with no changes whatsoever (this is possible?)
37 Done any Sashiko
38 Quilted your own quilt
39 Did free motion quilting
40 Put any embroidery or beads on your quilt
41 Given away your quilt to a stranger
42 Swapped fabric
43 swapped blocks
44 participated in a round robin
45 participated in an ostritch round robin
46 kept a journal about your quilting
47 written a letter to someone who made an antique quilt
49 kept a blog about your quilting
50 participated in a gift exchange
51 sent a quilting random act of kindness
52 joined a newsgroup about quilting
53 made a quilt using a pattern from quilterscache
54 joined an online block of the month
55 made a block of the month quilt
56 subscribed to a fabric of the month club
57 bought fabric at an online store
58 bought fabric from ebay
59 own more than one sewing machine
60 have a room dedicated solely to sewing
61 hid a fabric purchase
62 finished making a holiday gift before July
63 made a landscape quilt
64 made a quilt using a book from the library
65 worked with someone else to make a quilt
66. joined a quilt guild
67 become president of a quilt guild
68 taught a quilting class
69 helped someone else get the quilting bug
70 taught a child to sew
71 made a Dear Jane block
72 Made a miniature quilt
73 watch QNN - quilters news network
73 subscribe to a quilting magazine from your own country
74 subscribe to a quilting magazine from another country
75 buy fabric from another country
76 swapped completed quilts with someone else
77 asked for quilting help online
78 gone to a quilt shop to ask for quilting help
79 bought fabric at a local quilt shop
80 travelled more than 100 miles to go to a quilt shop (technically I wasn't there just for the quilt shop, though.)
81 used nontraditional fabric for a quilt - something other than cotton or flannel
82 made a quilt using instructions given to you on a blog
83 make comments on someone's quilting blog
84 meet a quilter in person after only having talked online
85 had a quilting retreat in your home
86 own quilting software
87 made a quilt you designed on your quilting software
88 done any quilt research - history, interviewing quilters, etc. (Also thanks to Chalicat)
89 had any quilt related subject published anywhere
90 donated a quilt to a museum
91 bought a quilt from a thrift store
92 made a quilt using fabric from a thrift store
93 made a quilt using photos
94 made a pastel quilt
95 made a quilt using brights
96 made a quilt using ethnic fabric from another country - African, Asian, etc.
97 made a quilt using leftover blocks from other quilts
98 had your quilt in a magazine, newspaper, newsletter, TV, etc.
99. submitted your quilt to a quilt show?
100. won any ribbons with your quilts?
101 had more finished quilts than UFOs
102 made a quilt using reproduction fabrics
103 took a break from quilting that was longer than a year
104 made money with your quilting
105 had a job in the fabric / quilting industry

Friday, November 03, 2006

Happy (Belated) Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everyone! You'll be happy to know that both costumes made it to the completion stage, and both actually put their costumes on. I don't post photos of the kiddies because of the wackos out there, but you can trust me when I say they had a blast. Now I need to get started on The Girl's coat.

Here are our fabulous (but already disposed of) pumpkins.





Mine is the cat-head one in the lower left hand corner. The Husband says it looks like I just cut a big hole in it. I beg to differ. Me-Ow!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Quilt Guild night

Just wanted to report that against usual rules, I went to the quilt guild meeting on Thursday night. (Yes, Survivor night.) Unfortunately I did not stay for the whole meeting, but I did see the sponsored speakers. They invited Faye and Merie Pitts to speak about their quilting career. They are a couple that works in tandem to create prize-winning quilts. He designs, cuts, pieces, and then marks the quilts, and she quilts them. They've even won best of show at Paducah. Holy cow. They passed around a lot of lovely quilts and it was really interesting. I guess worth missing most of Survivor, though I hear the challenge at the beginning was pretty awesome. I wish I had a picture to post from the meeting but I didn't take any and I can't find any website that Faye and Merie have. So anyways, that was pretty cool. I heard my first quilt speakers.

Oh, and my last hand-piecing class is tomorrow night. I think my class project is going to become a doll blanket for the kids. That is really the only thing it would be suitable for. It's little-girl pink and mint green, with a touch of baby blue. Not colors I would normally pick--I had it from the anniversary meeting of the quilter's night group.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Peter Pan & eBay

Well, the Peter Pan costume is finished. Unfortunately I have not yet taken any photos, but I assure you The Boy is thrilled. He even loves the somewhat wonky and a tad-too-tight hat.

The other day I went a little crazy on eBay and bought some vintage patterns. First was a dress that I loved but I'll probably look like a dork in:



The second was a lot of thirty little girl patterns. I figure this can keep me pretty busy with The Girl for awhile:


I know. I have a problem.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Tinkerbelle Lives!

I've finished the Tinkerbelle costume! Hurray. Only thing is, The Girl doesn't want to put it on. Hmm. This could be a problem.

I bought fabric yesterday to start The Boy's Peter Pan costume. He is very excited. Unfortunately I still don't have a pattern for it, though, so I'll be winging it. Hopefully it doesn't turn out lame.

In other news, I went a little nutzo on eBay this past week. More news on that later. For now, here's a picture of Tink:



And a close-up of the zipper, since I'm proud it turned out semi-respectable:

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Packages for me

When I got home yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to discover not one but three packages for me! Woohoo!

Package 1) The Girl's coat fabric has arrived. I love it. I hope it turns out right.

Package 2) Mail order from Angry Chicken. This was not as glorious as I had expected but I must admit it was very professionally done.

Package 3) Partylite! A friend of mine had a candle party a few weeks back and my order is in. Ginger Pumpkin, though ist the scent of October.

In other news, I broke out the sewing machine and started on the Tinkerbelle costume. The sewing machine is sewing like a dream, though the needle must not be the right type for the fabric because it is making sort of a tick-tick sound as it punctures the fabric. I stayed up too late working on it, and knowing that it was late I started to rush, and thus I have a seam to rip out later on tonight.

Sorry, no picture today. I can't do pictures from the lunchtime post. :(

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Happy Holidays!

Happy October 1st! At our house, that signals the beginning of the holiday season. The children have already demanded that Halloween decorations go up (and The Husband didn't object, even though it was not yet technically October, which is his acceptable date for such activities) and The Boy wants to know when we are going for pumpkins. Soon, my son, soon.

I picked up the sewing machine Friday evening without incident. I am sad to say I still have not had the chance to sew anything on it. But it will be in full swing within a few days for Halloween Costumes and the Where's-My-Head coat project for The Girl.

In celebration of the Halloween season, here is a photo of our pumpkin family. Enjoy!


Thursday, September 28, 2006

lessons

Ya. So I started to fill in what I learned in the last post and didn't
finish it. Here is the list:

1) I need to think more carefully about contrast. It's not enough for the
fabric to match; there has to be some difference in the color values for a
design to really pop and have dimension.
2) A month is not long enough to make a quilt-show caliber quilt
3) I need to be more careful with my piecing--in particular, I need to learn how to accurately and consistently stitch a quarter inch seam
4) Next year I want to be a scribe for the show. The scribes go around with the judging and write down their comments. Another white-glove lady told me she learned oodles doing that.
5) Simple can win; so can complex. It's all about what works--and the
personal opinion of a group of judges that have their favorite styles.
6) Don't bring The Kids to the show. Maybe they'll be ready for that in
2008.

Quilt at the quilt show



In other news, I bought patterns and fabric for two new projects. Project One I am super-excited about. Angry Chicken gave me the bug to sew The Girl's winter coat this year. I bought some beautiful plum-purple wool and velvet, and also some periwinkle flannel-backed satin lining yesterday at fabrics.com. The pattern is Burda #9736.

Project Two is The Girl's Halloween costume. She wants to be Tinkerbelle. So
today I swung over to JoAnn's at lunch and bought some lovely green satin and tulle. Get this. With coupons, I have so far spent less than 15 bucks on the costume. Ching! Usually at Halloween time I feel the sting of cheap costumes off the rack. That will be done with Simplicity 5835.

And never fear, there is a Halloween costume in the works for The Boy as
well. He wants to be Peter Pan. Unfortunately there does not seem to be a pattern for that particular costume around. I figure I'm going to make
something t-shirt like and give it pointy edges. I'd also like to get him
some green sweats to wear under it. The Husband thinks he should wear tights but I don't think that will be warm enough. I do intend to make The Girl wear something similar under her costume, for the record.

The sewing machine comes home tomorrow! La!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Quilt Show

The Quilt show was kind of bittersweet. As I rationally expected, I did not win a ribbon. However. That is not necessarily what I emotionally expected. When I arrived I went through the quilts right away, skipping right past fund raising raffles and vendors. Mine was close to the front and I saw it very quickly. 1) The label didn't show that the name of the quilt was Blisswork. 2) It had no prize.  Of course that was not shocking. But it was, somewhere deep inside, a disappointment. Also the categories were very confusing and I had a really hard time finding the quilts that "beat" mine.  In fact, none of the quilts that beat mine were pieced. They were all appliqué. Also there was no honorable mention in the small-hand quilted quilt category.

The quilts were of course mostly beautiful.  There were a handful that I thought were rather unattractive.  And one of the other white-glovers showed me some qualities in a few quilts that caused them to be judged harshly, which was pretty educational. Though she wasn't very nice about it and I hoped the quilter was not standing nearby. It wasn't likely as it was towards the end, but still. It seemed a bit catty, actually. Though I did learn a few things from what she had to say.

When The Husband arrived with The Kids, all heck broke loose.  The Girl tried to shimmy up a display pole and the boy was hopping in circles.  The president of the guild approached me and I asked about leaving my quilt instead of waiting to pick it up.  All I wanted to know was where I could collect it at a later date.  She took it to mean that I wanted the quilt NOW and she took one more look at the rather destructive behavior of my children and took it down for me.  Hurray for not having to wait for all the quilts to be taken down and organized…but now I feel indebted to her AND I didn't get my feedback sheet. That was a big part of the point of entering the show! 

So.  Stuff I learned:

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Hey howdy hey

So the sewing machine is due to come back home September 29th. I can hardly wait. The Husband was going to be running a marathon on the 30th so I didn't think I'd get time to do anything crafty, but he injured his foot. My poor guy. He doesn't think he is going to run now, so maybe craft time with the machine will be a possibility!

In other news, I signed up for mailorder over at Angry Chicken. I can hardly wait to get my first packet. It was a bit pricey but I think I'm worth it. He.

Also, I went to Old Navy today to buy The Boy some pants. I bought four pairs of (adjustable waist, halleluyah!) pants, two long-sleeved shirts and two t-shirts, plus some really cool wrapping paper. The baby/toddler pants were on sale 25% off, so I spent just over 75. I think I did pretty good for ten items! Ok, two of the items were paper products. But they are really cool.

Hey, check out these beautiful plate/tea cup sets The Husband's mom gave me! She was cleaning out her cabinets and I admired them. She packed them up and handed them over. They belonged to The Husband's grandmother. I love them. They are so hostess-y! I must now admit to not being a very good hostess. But I still love the plates. It's so cool how there is a little divit to put your cup so that it doesn't slide around.

Elvis Oatmeal

You may or may not know that one of Elvis's favorite foods was fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Turns out it makes a really awesome basis for oatmeal as well.

Elvis Oatmeal

1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 banana
1 tsp peanut butter
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp vanilla
Enough water, milk, or soy milk to cover

Makes one serving.

Slice the banana into a bowl. Add oatmeal, peanut butter, cinnamon, and
vanilla. Pour your chosen liquid slowly over top just until the liquid starts pooling around the edges of the oatmeal (if you like it thicker or thinner than adjust accordingly...remember it is easier to make it thinner later if it's not thin enough.) Pop in the microwave for one and a half minutes on high. Stir and enjoy!

Wella-wella-uh-huh

Monday, September 18, 2006

Me and my sewing machine

I dropped my sewing machine off for it's very first tune-up today. It's a little overdue since the machine is eleven years old. My parents gave it to me for my twenty-first birthday. I know, a little odd. Aren't most twenty-one year olds more interested in having their first legal booze? I was thrilled to get it, though. It is a White brand sewing machine. I forget the model. It does the basic stuff, and sometimes it is tempermental. But it has sewn a lot of stuff, including a wedding quilt for The Husband, a baby quilt for The Boy, a half-dozen Halloween costumes or so and a baptism gown for The Girl. Not to mention the latest quilt conquests.

So good luck, little sewing machine. You've been trusty most of the time. Come back home with a sprightly step. Err, stitch.

And to keep with the picture goal, here is an awesome school bus The Boy cut out and embellished all by himself.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Final Insane Quilting Update & other news

First of all...I made it. Barely. I handed in the "Blisswork" quilt with just about fifteen minutes to go. I have the comfort of knowing I was not the only one, however. I had to wait in line to turn it in and there were people behind me as well. Shwew! I cannot believe I did it. I don't think it is worthy of a prize, but I accomplished the goal. Here's me with my proud conquest:



The strip you see across the top is the rod pocket. I hope it doesn't show when it is actually hung.



And here is the cool label that The Husband graciously created for me:



There is so much more quilting news, though!

I was mentioned again on Annie Smith's podcast. Check out #64 to hear it. Once again, I heard it at work. This time I managed to suppress the urge to scream like a little girl. Maybe because it was an otherwise stressful day. If you are visiting my blog for the first time, welcome! Leave a comment if you would like to.

But wait! There's more. I got my first Keepsake Quilting catalog and I am totally geeked out. I am overwhelmed with next project possibilities. They have a lot of beautiful fabric, and I'm thinking that I might scrap The Boy's current project (I am not crazy for the colors. It looks so dull and boring now. I thought it would look classic, but the blocks I've completed just look bleah.) and go with something else instead. I got an idea from a magazine that I might try.

So. New ideas brewing, and back to work on The Girl's quilt. The Husband actually said to me today, "I think I've lost you to quilting." What was your first clue, honey?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Insane quilting update #8

The border is still NOT DONE! I am freaking out. Why is this border taking so long?? Luckily tonight is quilt night so I should have two solid hours of non-interrupted quilting time. Also, I lost the second page of my entry form, and now I can't remember where to turn my quilt in! Must find form! Must determine where to hand in quilt!

Trying...not...to...hyperventilate.

Unfortunately quilt guild night has a MAJOR conflict. I will be unable to attend any meetings until the season of Survivor is over. Unless we stop watching, which is a distinct possibility considering how they are doing some kind of race experiment, which I consider rather uncouth.

In other news, a friend of mine sent me this link. I am rather attached to the idea of The Girl using my dress for something herself some day (maybe she could be a debutante! How girlie and awesome would that be?) so I won't be donating mine. But it could be a cool way to dispose of bridesmaid gowns and other sundry wedding attire.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Must learn to check email!

I opened up my email for the first time in three or four weeks. Guess what! Annie Smith (the quilting podcast lady) emailed me. Me! I am so geeked out.

Anyways. I finished the center quilting of the quilt. I'm on to the border. I decided to go with a simple stitch-in-the-ditch. I'm too lazy to figure anything else out at this point, and I only have a week left.

I might as well state out loud that I have a new blogging goal. Lately I've been reading a lot of other crafty-type blogs (I especially like Angry Chicken) and I've noticed that most other people have a lot more pictures and photos on their blogs. My goal is now to include a picture in every other blog entry at least. I have no new quilt pictures to show, but I do have a picture of the new lamp we bought at Lowe's last week. It was the last one and The Husband had to do some wrangling to get the floor model. It is a bit scratched up but I really love the line of the shade. What do you think?

Notice the super-cute Crate and Barrel basket next to it, as well as kid toys. I've noticed whenever I take a picture in our family room that the walls show up very fuschia-tinted. They aren't. The walls are closer to a brick red.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Insane quilting update #7

All the loopy quilting is done! I've created my square template & I sketched it on to all of the appropriate quilt squares. I decided to leave them all pointing the same way, so that it would mirror the effect of the smaller squares. I finished quilting one at lunch, and hopefully will get a few more done tonight. Though quilt work time will be shortened by our pending trip to Chuck E. Cheese's, and also this evening's jog. The Boy memorized our address after much drilling so we thought that (Chuck E. Cheese's, not the jog) would be a fun reward

Even so, I am now have ten days left. I think I'm going to make it!!!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Insane quilting update #6 & some nature stuff

I have a total of 4 squares that still require the loopy quilting. (See the template photo, shown in Insane quilting update #5. That is the "loopy quilting" template Then I think I am going to quilt the cherry squares. I think I'll create a small template that is 1/4 inch smaller than the center square. Then I will alternate the placement of the template so that in some squares, the template simply echoes the shape of the fabric square, and in other squares, the template will be set like a diamond inside the fabric square. There are only 12 of those squares and since the lines will be straight and won't hit any seams it should go faster than the loopy quilting. Then all that is left in terms of quilting is to think of some creative way to quilt the border. I'm thinking maybe a casual meander, but maybe not. It could take a lot of time, and there is a potential pitfall of quilting myself into a corner. Hmm.

In other news, I've recently started trying products around the house that are more environmentally friendly. So in the spirit of sharing, here's a review of some.

I tried two bottles of Seventh Generation liquid laundry soap. I'm not too keen on it. It left a lot of stains on stuff. Granted, when I used Tide, occasionally a stain would make it through also. But it seemed the proportion of stains left was much greater. And if our clothes come out ruined and I have to throw them out or replace them even after re-washing, how have I saved the environment? Also, I do not like products with packaging that seeks to trick the consumer. The bottom of the bottle seems to be weighted somehow, so that I think there is a lot more left in the bottle than there really is. So I'm thinking, hey, I've got like six more loads, and really there is only one. I'm using up the second bottle now (it only gets used on sheets and towels now--I don't like it but I'm not going to waste it) and I just noticed again yesterday that there is actually a lot less in the bottle than I think there is based on the heft of the package. Oh, and to be fair in the Tide vs. SG battle, I try to pretreat all stains with an oxyclean-type spray product. It was stains that I missed that of course suffered the most. I also tried Seventh Generation paper towels, and wasn't too thrilled with those, either. I prefer to use the kind where you can choose the size of the towel. I think it makes for a lot less waste, plus the brand I've been buying (which I don't recall at the moment, either Bounty or Brawny) absorbs a whole heck of a lot better.

Then it was on to Seventh Generation spray household cleaner. It cleaned well. Not much in the way of a "clean" scent but it worked. I especially liked it in the kitchen because I didn't feel like I was spraying potentially poisonous stuff around our food. However I probably won't buy it again due to the price.

Last but not least, I tried Seventh Generation TP. I continue to buy it, though the small size of the roll is annoying since I am the only one that ever remembers to change the roll, and thus I am the most likely person to be left sitting on the pot with a wet bottom.

So. In summary: while I agree with the Seventh Generation goal of being earth-friendly, I am not real impressed with their products. Especially since their products are markedly more expensive than "regular" consumer items, and don't seem to work as well in some cases.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Insane quilting goal update #5

The top of the quilt is done! I even made a template for the quilting pattern and traced it on to the quilt top. All I need to do is baste it so that I can start the hand-quilting process. Woohoo!

Ta da:



And the template, not that you can tell much from this photo:

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Insane quilting update #4

The top is finished!!!! Woohoo!

I hope tonight to get a picture up. I started on the border and I don't think it will be as horrific as I expected.

Also I sent in my registration form. I named the quilt "Blisswork." What do you think?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Insane quilting update #3

Ok. The deadlines need to be adjusted. I know, I know, there is a danger that I won't make it. But I just have to.

To answer Chalicat, I won't be machine quilting it. I don't trust myself to try a new technique with my trusty but wonky sewing machine when I'll be turning it in for inspection. Instead I'll be hand quilting it. Because it is so small (less than 3 x 4 feet) it should not be a huge huge undertaking.

Huh. It sounds almost like I don't know for whom the bell tolls.

New deadlines:

8/28 - all 12 blocks complete
8/29 - all blocks assembled into top
8/30 - begin border pieces
9/1 - attach border
9/1 - basting
9/2 - begin quilting
9/17 - turn-in date

Oh. My. Gosh.

You will not BELIEVE what happened today. I downloaded Annie Smith's new podcast (#62) and guess who she quoted on the show.

That's right, ME!

Right around 4 and a half minutes in, she actually says my first name, then reads an email from me out loud. Holy Cow!

I am star struck. I heard it at work and I almost started screaming like a little girl. This must be what it was like to see The Beatles as a teenager...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Insane goal update #2

I'm making steady progress! I've made all of the triangles that make up each half of the four x-shaped squares in each block. Now I'll need to press them and match up the triangles into the actual square. I've also begun setting out the matched pieces for the corner diagonals. I hope to finish matching those up tonight and start sewing those.

So. Providing I have some good solid sewing time this weekend, I think I am on track to at least be assembling the block pieces into a block.

The insane goal list:
8/26 - all 12 blocks complete
8/27 - all blocks assembled into top
8/28 - begin border pieces
8/31 - attach border
9/1 - basting
9/2 - begin quilting
9/17 - turn-in date

We'll see how it goes.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Pattern

Here is a really rough drawing of my block pattern:

Insane goal update #1

This weekend I successfully bought and cut all of the fabric. I didn't cut the borders or binding yet, but that will come. My current goal is to finish the top by September 1st. If it isn't done then I can safely assume there is no way it will be done in time to turn it in. Also September 1st is the entry form deadline.

This morning I started sewing some of the triangles together. I finished 8 pieces before having to get up from the machine and dress The Girl for the day.

Here is a rough drawing of my design. This is just one block. This isn't my color scheme.

BTW I will take this opportunity to state this design is copyrighted to me, Zegi Quilt Bug!

Oops, I was unable to load my block picture. I'll try again later :(

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Woowoo...

The crazy quilter train is about to leave the station. I went to the quilt guild meeting (which for Chalicat's benefit, is basically a club of people who are all interested in quilting) and found it to be AWESOME. They have a president with goals and lots of nice members.

Admittedly when I arrived I didn't know what to do and I spotted a woman who goes to quilt nights at the quilt shop. I approached her and said hello, you go to the quilt shop, right? And she said yes, I'm Karen. I introduced myself and told her it was my first time and she showed me around and let me sit by her and her friends and it was very lovely. At quilt night she's been pleasant but I don't recall speaking to her about anything in particular.

So I showed them The Boy's baby quilt, and I got some suggestions for fixing it (I just zig-zagged some fabric onto a background fabric and after The Boy spit up on it, I had to wash it. That frayed the edges).

Also I joined the guild. I'm a geek at heart.

The big thing? They are hosting a quilt show at the end of September. I've decided I want to make an entry. I realize this is a hysterically difficult goal to reach. But I drew out the design yesterday and figured out the fabric lengths and everything, and I think I'm going to do it. It's only about 2.75 feet by 3.5 feet. So it won't be huge. It will be a challenge. But I think I'm up for it. I already bought the fabric this afternoon so maybe I can start on it this evening. WooWoo! chugga chugga chugga...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

And another thing...

And I almost forgot. I finally came across the second issue of Quilter's Home magazine at the grocery store. Still no subscription info! This is starting to sting. The newstand price is $5.99! I'm going to have to give up on it if next month doesn't bring some relief...

quilt fix

This month I missed the quilt group meeting because it landed smack in the middle of The Husband's mom's birthday. This is an event not to be missed of course, and so I haven't had a quilting fix this month. I find myself looking for other outlets (besides the purchases on eBay, I mean...and I should report that I bought a walking foot and a darning foot recently on that most evil of portals) and so I am thinking of joining a quilt guild. They meet this Thursday at 7. I have to admit to being nervous. Am I going to be the group hack? Will they be nice? Will I be able find a parking spot???

Monday, July 31, 2006

Pictures!

Better late than never. Here are some pictures from the Columbus Trip.
Here's Han Solo lookin' hot even without Harrison Ford:


And The Husband looking hot as always:


And, not to be geeky, but here is a quilt from the COSI museum:


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Testing, 1..2..3

Good Morning!  I am trying out email publishing of my blog.  What do you think?  Did it work?

We went to look at some land yesterday.  Turns out it is shaped like a giant flag, with sixty feet of road frontage that continues straight back for 950 some feet before opening up to about 9 acres.  Hmm.  Do we want a driveway that is three and a half football fields long?  That's pretty darn long.  Also the site was pretty far out there.  It was 25 minutes from The Husband's workplace, and 35 minutes from our house.  That means few visits from The Parents.  So.  We're putting that thought on hold, even though the land is super-affordable.  The first step really has to be selling our own home successfully.  After that entire year of being on the market and not getting anywhere I think we're both a little afraid of getting burned this shot around.

Anyway.  There has been little quilting progress this week because of the cousin's wedding and other events, plus I just don't get much done on weekdays.  I did get my newest newsletter from the local quilt shop and I am thinking of taking a class.  What do you think?  Basic piecing, or basic appliqué?  Maybe I should start with piecing.  I know I've been doing that but maybe I have some really bad habits or something. 

Friday, July 21, 2006

shopping spree

I just got back from the local mega-fabric store. I did pretty well, I think. Yesterday I discovered that I'd lost my thimble, and I couldn't do any quilting without it. The Husband thought this was no great tragedy because I've been "leaving it all over the floor for weeks." Which is not true. It may have been knocked to the floor, but for the most part I keep it in my sewing case which is shoved ever-so-nicely under the couch. Anyway, nyah to him because the loss of my thimble prompted a shopping spree. I am now the proud owner of:

  • A new thimble

  • A seam ripper

  • 5 new rotary blades

  • and 20 new quilting betweens, size 9 (needles for your non-quilters) since I've been quilting The Girl's quilt with bent needles that should have long ago met their demise.


  • Also, last night I started browsing back through some of my previous posts. Just a trip down memory lane, I guess. You know what? My posts used to be a whole lot funnier. This prompts me to wonder: at what point does one's obsession cease to be funny? Food for thought. Have a great weekend!

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    And the book train rolls on

    Yesterday Chalicat came to visit and brought me a birthday gift: a notebook filled with blank pages and page protectors and folders to jot and store my quilt ideas AND a book called, "365 Foundation Quilt Blocks" by Linda Causee. What, you might ask, is foundation quilting? Darned if I know. But I've got a book to learn about it!!! Actually I did look through the book briefly and foundation quilting is done by tracing a pattern onto paper or fabric (the foundation) and sewing pieces to it in a specific order to create a block. It is so cool.

    AND...

    The machine quilting book I ordered from eBay arrived. I am about to fall over with excitement. It is called "The Complete Book of Machine Quilting" by Robbie and Tony Fanning. It is an older book (1980) but I think it should serve it's purpose well.

    So. I got to thinking. What a windfall! I can use the foundation piecing book, which mostly has 7x7 inch patterns, to create little quilts (maybe doll quilts for The Girl and The Nieces?) and practice machine quilting on them without worrying about ruining a quilt top that I spent months creating! How awesome is that? I am so jazzed.

    I was thinking I would machine stitch part of The Girl's flower quilt. Now I am wondering if that is such a good idea. Would that diminish it's value? Vote in the comment!

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    Yet another book

    I've been thinking about my slow-quilting insecurity and decided I should try machine quilting. I've never done that before, though. And where do I turn for help whenever I don't know how to do something? To books, of course! I found a fairly inexpensive (less than 10 dollars) book on how to machine quilt on eBay the other day. I am anxiously awaiting it's arrival.

    In the meantime, I have about a million ideas for quilt patterns zig-zagging around my head. Oh, and I think I am going to use the Charms fabric from Columbus in a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt. I wanted a traditional feeling pattern to go along with the more contemporary (read: hippie) feel of the fabrics.

    I think I may have already blogged that. Sorry for that repitition there. But what can you expect when there is stuff zig-zagging around in there?

    Wednesday, July 12, 2006

    Am I really that slow?

    Last night was quilt night, which was nice. I wore red, white & blue so I got the 30% off quilt items coupon. Woo hoo! Unfortunately nothing really caught my eye. I did need some new quilting needles and also a little ruler, so I spent a whopping three bucks.

    Anyway. During show and tell I obviously had nothing to show because I am working on the same darn thing every time. I am starting to feel a little odd about this. I now have an urge to produce something for show and tell. I have been making slow steady progress on The Girl's quilt, but that still has months of work to go. Sigh. Maybe I should try making one of those miniature quilts, and then I could attempt machine quilting without too much guilt...

    Sunday, July 09, 2006

    Awesome quilt shop! (with disclaimer)

    This is the end of the summer vacation, folks. The Husband and I have been off most of the week and we took this opportunity to go to Columbus to visit some friends & see the Star Wars exhibit at COSI. We had a great time meeting up with the friends, and the kids really enjoyed COSI though they didn't think much of the Star Wars exhibit. I'll try to post some pictures of it tomorrow. The Husband thought it was "all right".

    Also, I decided it is time I branch out and visit other (possibly more wordly?) quilt shops. So before we left I got directions to The Glass Thimble and set out to see it during naptime one day. It was...how can I say it? Awesome. It had room after room after room of fabric. Every time I turned a corner I was sure I'd come to the end, and I hadn't! I found this awesome bundle of fat quarters by Amy Butler called Charms. I have admired it online before but I was always leery of the price. But I found it on SALE!!! So, I picked up the bundle along with two green prints for The Boy's quilt, which I am still collecting a few greens for.

    Then...on to check out. What is it with me and quilt shops? First, I couldn't find the checkout. It wasn't by the door I entered from. I finally noticed it in a room with some books. Someone was helping a customer pick fabrics for a quilt class so I lingered. And lingered. And lingered. Then the phone rang. The clerk (who turned out to be the owner, which pains me) went to answer. She proceeded to talk for an extended period...and during this time, she chit chatted casually and loudly about a customer that she had caught shoplifting. At first she said she wouldn't name the customer. And then she did. Ouch. So I waited some more, several times floating real close to the cash register, trying to casually imply that I was ready to check out. She ignored me. I finally gave up and went to find another clerk. She thankfully sprang into action and took me back to the cash register where the owner was still carrying on about something on the phone. About midway through the transaction she hung up and walked away without acknowledging that she had kept me waiting for her gossip to come to a conclusion. (Which I think it was pretty obvious that she had kept me waiting, since I brought someone from the other side of the store to check me out while she gabbed.) The clerk then mentioned that the shop is for sale and that they think they have a buyer. I hope the new shopkeeper a) keeps it open, b) expands their selection back to 9000 bolts (7000 bolts is their current inventory, which I know is nothing to sneeze at because it certainly impressed me) and c) has some tact. Perhaps the impending sale has er, stunted the owner's own sense of tact.

    Post-Columbus, we headed to Mount Vernon for a family reunion. It was nice but anticlimactic. Next year we know our summer vacation should start with the reunion, not end with it.

    Hoping to post some pictures soon!

    Friday, June 30, 2006

    Super Day

    Today is the day that The Husband will be taken by surprise. I am pretty sure he never reads my blog. (All that quilt talk, blah blah blah.) So I can safely say that tonight my parents are coming to watch The Kiddies so we can go see Superman. He is quite excited by the release of the movie and has been hinting that I should get a sitter so we can go see it. I guess I should find out where it is playing!

    On a sad note, a coworker that has been a good technical mentor for me (I told him he is my "work dad," which is probably extremely unprofessional of me to say, but he does remind me of my dad) will be leaving the company. Happy Trails, Work Dad.

    Wednesday, June 28, 2006

    Memorial

    Today I got an email from one of the quilt shop ladies. It seems that a fellow customer that I did not know passed away the other day. She was only 45 and died after an apparently long battle with cancer. This I guess strikes a cord for me because it would be my worst nightmare to have my children living the script of Terms of Endearment. (Please note that The Husband is NOT a deadbeat and would never ever give up custody of our children as the jerk in that movie did.) So. I have been thinking about it all morning. I did not know this woman but I am sending my heartfelt prayers to her family, who must be suffering immensely.

    It has been sort of a melancholy week so far. A friend of mine also lost a close relative and I've been thinking of her often, too. Sometimes it is hard to remember the things you have been blessed with.

    Tuesday, June 27, 2006

    Books! Books!! Books!!!

    So I was listening to one of the podcasts from Annie Smith and she mentioned several times a book called "Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!!". She was speaking to one of the authors in the first podcast from set #5. Anyway, I got to thinking. Who couldn't use an inspirational book? Annie referred to it as "the definitive" quilting book so of course I had to have a copy. I found one super-cheap (cheaper than Amazon, yeeha!) on eBay so I bought it. Oh, and also another book by the same author called "Quilts Galore". It was dirt cheap as well, even including shipping.

    I meant to mention yesterday that I did enjoy the new quilt magazine. I should have specified that it seemed like a one-man show because most of the articles were written by the editor. Does anyone know how or if you can subscribe to it? The magazine had tons of those dumb subscription flaps for other magazines, but not the actual magazine. Huh. Curious.

    Monday, June 26, 2006

    Deadline: officially missed

    Well, The Girl's quilt is officially not done. Her birthday came and went over the weekend and in spite of a final flurry of quilting (which I knew would not get me anywhere) I didn't finish. However I did show it to my grandmother who is a long-time quilter (she doesn't do it much anymore, she has bad arthritis) and she admired it. Maybe she was just being polite. But it was nice to hear her say it is lovely.

    Also, in other quiltie news...I found a new quilt magazine called Quilter's Home. It has an interesting start, I think. It is edited by a man, which I think is probably unusual but it has the curious property of seeming a bit like a one man show. But he had a few lovely quilt patterns in it that I liked, both inspired by Vera Wang designs. So, my project wish list continues to swell without bounds.

    Oh, and he also recommended the Simple Arts blog. What is really cool about it she has podcasts available on her site for free that discuss various aspects of quilting. I'm starting at the beginning and listening to all of them. I know. Nerd-dom is my king-dom.

    Saturday, June 03, 2006

    Tent talk

    The tent is supposedly big enough for seven people. I'm not too up on the architecture of tents but I think it is a dome tent. It is just one big room. The Husband says we cannot venture into it until we have mattresses to sleep on. Which does seem like a good idea, since I am pretty sure I'll have a tough enougn time sleeping outside while trying to make sure the fidgets aren't escaping without worrying about rocks jabbing me in the butt and neck.

    Ta da!

    Yes folks, the impossible has happened. I FINISHED a square on The Girl's quilt! Will wonders never cease? And I'm more than half finished with the next square. Awesome.

    Wednesday, May 31, 2006

    Yup

    Well the quilt has made little progress. I've been working on the same square for who knows how long. I am not enjoying all those checkerboards. I thought they would go quick but they really aren't.

    So, to move to something that I can make progress on...I started working on a little sundress for The Girl. I found a cheap-o pattern at Wal-mart (which I normally do not shop at; I was there purely for the convenience of location, and it wasn't all that convenient because I couldn't find anything, which is how I ended up in the craft area to begin with) and I'll be using the scraps left over from my sister's table cloth. I did have to buy a few more things to round out the supply list but I should be set now for at least this dress, and possibly a short outfit as well.

    And we bought a tent. Yup, the clan is thinking of going camping. This will be terrific no matter what we do. It will either be a terrifically horrifying train wreck of an idea or we'll have a terrific blast. I'm hoping for the blast. We're thinking of pitching it in the backyard for a trial run before we go anywhere with it. We're particularly concerned about The Girl since she hasn't slept away from home all that much. So, cross your fingers for some good weather this weekend!

    Monday, May 15, 2006

    Sweater news

    Guess what! I finished the sweater. Ok, so I was finishing up sewing it together on the car ride to my moms, but it was done in time to give it as a mother's day gift. Woo hoo! And it actually looks like a sweater and everything. Sorry, no photos. But a great accomplishment. Now I'd like to make one for myself. But I'll take a break from knitting so I can make at least minor progress on The Girl's quilt.

    The Girl btw is having gastrointestinal difficulties today. My poor baby.

    Oh! And Survivor! I cannot believe Aras won, that jerk. Yoga instructor, my butt. Anyone who is any good at yoga would have been able to stand on those floating platforms until the cows came home. This just proves to me that he is an insensitive jock with little to recommend him, especially since he is mooching off his father without a job. Hey a-hole, McD's is always hiring. Get over yourself and apply.

    Friday, May 05, 2006

    Sweater update

    I think I'm about a third to half way through the sweater...making good progress!!!

    Saturday, April 29, 2006

    No, not the gauge!!!

    So I started knitting my mom's mother's day gift today. Yesterday I bought a nice set of size 15 bamboo needles & Thursday I bought the yarn (a lovely Iceland wool that will be knitted together with a cotton/silk blend). So I'm all set. I start with step 1. The Evil Step. The Gauge.

    It's off. The gauge swatch, I mean. I need bigger needles. And I'm here alone with The Kids. They are sleeping, so I have to wait for them to get up. But we must go to the craft store for the bigger needles today because needles were on sale 40% off...yesterday and today only. I hate taking the kids to the craft store, though. The carts are too small to get them in and there are many many things to grab and break. Plus enticing kiddie-like stuff, too. But I must begin the project today. It is imperative! So to the craft store the kids get dragged. Sigh.

    I guess doing the gauge at least gave me some practice. So. Anyway. What burns me up the most about it is I just got back from the craft store (which, btw, The Boy innocently calls the 'Crap Store'--that is literally what he thinks I am saying) because I needed velcro to adjust The Husband's work costume. Yes, he occasionally dresses as a giant dog for his employer--FREE OF CHARGE. How's that for dedication? So.

    Maybe I'll just drop the 'we need to go to the craft store' bomb on him after dinner...it would be easier if he herded the children.

    Anyway, it is a lovely day outside and we bought some flowers to plant in the de-bushed area of our front yard today. I got this idea from work...they plant this huge bed in a random assortment of pretty annuals. At first it looks a little dorky but once the flowers take hold and start growing, I think it looks pretty fabulous. So I want to try it here. Hopefully it works. Wish me luck. Tah!

    Monday, April 24, 2006

    4 squares quilted. A zillion to go.

    Ok, so The Girl can reasonably not expect to get a quilt for her birthday this year. Maybe Christmas.

    I am now in the throws (throes?) of attempting to make a table cloth for my sister. She has a table that is 64 x 64. They just don't make table cloths that size. So I'm making her one. I bought two 50 x 70 table cloths to sew into one. Trouble is, I didn't think about the fact that 1) the pattern is plaid, and so will be impossible to match up, and 2) I am not a math genius.

    Needless to say, the first time I sewed it I tried to put a faux table runner down the middle to camoflauge the lack of pattern matching. It looked dorky and also my math skills totally screwed it up.

    So. I cut out the faux table runner and will instead be creating only one french seam, pattern be damned. Maybe I'll make her a real table runner to put over top of the seam.

    Also, my mom gave me this knitting book for my birthday and now I want to knit something. I am so easily molded, people. Just give it to me to read, and any project you want done (maybe not very well, though) can get there. And...get this...I actually chose a sweater as my first project from the book. The instructions say it can be done in a weekend, so I am going to give myself a modestly larger amount of time (about 2.5 weeks) to make my mom a sweater for Mother's day. I know it is getting into summer and she won't be able to use it, but I think she would like it.

    Anyways. If I ever get any of those three projects done (oh, and the curtains for the kitchen which are now obsolete since the kids destroyed the fabric that I recovered the chairs with) I'll post a picture. If I get to it. He.

    Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    Back to normal?

    Well the strange schedule I was on for work has finally expired so maybe I'll be blogging a bit more these days. Hard to tell though because the weather outside is beckoning, so lunch time blogs could be hindered by my urge to see the sun.

    Recent things...my mom is in Seattle now, working on building up stem cells to donate to her brother. Send her some positive thought waves if you have a moment.

    The dining room floor is finally covered in laminate. All that remains is trim work.

    The stove hood has been installed.

    I don't think I've finished any quilt squares recently. I have pretty much resigned myself to not making The Girl's birthday deadline. Maybe for Christmas. Tonight is quilt night, though, so I'll probably be finishing up a block for The Boy's quilt. At this rate I may have all the blocks for his ready to go by the time I finish The Girl's quilt.

    Besides gearing up for The Boy's birthday party here in a few days, there isn't much more to report. Hope everyone out there is having a nice spring day!

    Tuesday, March 28, 2006

    Not gone yet

    New quilt update: I finished another square over the weekend. It's slow-going, folks.

    Not much else going on. The Husband and I have been working on the dining room floor. It's about 1/3 done, but once we get past the doorway we are working on now it should be smooth sailing until we hit the corner cabinets.

    My mom leaves on Thursday to begin the process of donating stem cells to my uncle. Send them your happy thought waves!

    Friday, March 24, 2006

    It's been quiet

    Sorry I've been so quiet lately. I haven't had much free time in the past few weeks. I haven't been reading other people's blogs, either, and I think I've fallen behind in current events.

    But I'm still kicking. Just a quick how-do and a quilt update: two and a half squares quilted.

    Have a great weekend!

    Tuesday, March 21, 2006

    1 down...28 and stripes to go

    I have managed to completely quilt only one square. Yep, that is right. Just one. I am almost done with another one but I couldn't quite get it finished last night. At this rate I definitely won't be done by The Girl's birthday. The Husband keeps telling me not to worry about making it for her birthday. At this point I'm not too worried because June seems so far away. But I know as it gets closer I'll start feeling the heat. So maybe I should just say now that I don't expect it to be done. Then maybe I won't be disappointed.

    Not much else new except the hole in the dining room floor. The Husband hopes to work on getting that fixed this weekend. I hope it isn't too stressful.

    Today is Benito Juarez's birthday, according to my calendar. Not sure who he is but since it indicates Mexico I'm guessing he is some kind of liberator. Have a nice liberated day.

    Wednesday, March 15, 2006

    Something to look less forward to

    The problem with looking forward to something for a long time is that it doesn’t exactly live up to expectations. I guess I wasn’t sure what to expect at quilt night. The Husband thought they would be nice but have little cliques and probably be little old ladies. Chalicat also thought they would likely be old. I guess I figured they would be a mix of ages and generally be a friendly bunch.

    Ok, they were a friendly bunch. And yeah, I was most likely the youngest person in the room. I am guessing the youngest people there besides me were in their forties. But they weren’t as old as I expected, either. Most of them had not yet hit the big six-oh as they talked about that a bit.

    But I am easily intimidated. Instead of being friendly and open myself, I mostly spoke to the person next to me and that was about it. I didn’t try to jump into any conversations they were having (except once when I mentioned I went to school with the granddaughter of a shopkeeper they knew…that seemed to touch a nerve or two, oops) and I definitely didn’t try to lead any conversation. There wasn’t tons of quilting talk but most everyone seemed to be working on something, even if it was not a quilt. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a hey-there-is-a-new-person, let’s introduce ourselves and give a brief self-history moment. The woman sitting next to me did tell me everyone’s name and said a little something about each person, but it isn’t the same, especially since nobody really seemed interested in learning anything about me. A few did ask about my project. This maybe is to be expected. Maybe they see tons of people come and go and until I demonstrate regularity I’m no big deal. Who knows.

    So. I’m going to go back again for at least two or three more months before deciding if I like it or not. I mean, I did enjoy last night. I just didn’t feel like I fit in. That is not an unusual feeling for me, though, so I should just get over it.

    Tuesday, March 14, 2006

    And so it begins

    I started quilting The Girl's quilt last night. Like I feared, flannel is not as easy to quilt as cotton. Which is what I was getting at when I spoke to the clerk at the quilt store, but she seemed so convinced that I'd insulted the wares somehow that she wasn't very helpful. I am going to continue to quilt with this backing, though. I am considering trying invisible thread to do the quilting so that the giant stitches won't be visible on the backing.

    And tonight is my first quilt night. I am so geeked out for it. I even got my "bookbag" ready on Sunday night so I wouldn't have to scramble last night. Maybe someone there will have some advice for me on quilting the flannel. Wish me luck!

    Monday, March 13, 2006

    Those dang fates

    The crafting fates were apparently trying to kill me Friday afternoon. I took the afternoon off to trot home and make truffles for the impending Bridal Shower on Saturday. I got the truffles started and during steps where I had to wait (like for the cream and chocolate mixture to cool) I went off and worked on the quilt.

    I had already washed and dried the quilt back multiple times (for shrinkage and to make sure that the bright color will not fade onto the other fabrics if the quilt is washed) so all I had to do was cut it into two panels and sew them together. Simple, right?

    Nope. As I said, the fates were trying to kill me.

    I carefully put the quilt top out flat. Then I wanted to approximate where to cut the flannel without too much work. I folded it in half across the short side to make one long strip, hoping to see where to cut. I laid it down on top of the quilt, (luckily) all the way to one side. Hey, that’s funny, I thought. It’s not covering the midpoint. So I made some adjustments, and eyeballed it again. Definitely wasn’t covering even half of the quilt. I ran for The Husband’s tape measure. Holy Crap. The length of fabric that I spent 8.50 a yard on with the understanding that it was 43-44 inches wide was ONLY 38 INCHES WIDE. I measured it long ways, just to be sure I didn’t shrink it that much. Nope, still about the same length I bought. This fabric was labeled with a completely different number from reality. (I still have the bolt it came on, so I don’t even have to rely on my shady memory for this fact.)

    After a few streams of obscenities made their way from my lips, I tried to regroup. Turns out I barely had enough (thanks to the clerk that threw in that extra six inches or so) to cut it into three panels and change the direction of the seam. Which is really no big deal. However it is a big deal to me that the fabric was not labeled correctly. I tried to call the shop to quasi-complain but they were already closed for the day. I don’t want my money back or anything. I suppose I am worried that others will suffer a worse fate than I when they realize they’ve been shorted. Or maybe I just want an apology. But I feel the need to let them know they screwed up big.

    So anyway. The truffles turned out fabulous, and they were a hit at the shower. I got my back panel sewn and the layers are all pinned together and ready for quilting. Now if only I could find my quilting hoop…