Thursday, September 28, 2006


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

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 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!


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!

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: