Monday, March 4, 2013

I Guess Goals are a Good Thing?

This quilt now has binding. I can cross that off my goal list from Monday, and I didn't even think that I was going to be able to get to it. I am so relieved to be getting a few things done in my sewing room. My entire goal list is complete for the week, and I even sewed a few random blocks for other projects.

This is a terrible picture of a cute quilt for a friend that had a baby boy very recently. The pattern is a very simple one of my own that only requires 3 yards total to assemble the top: a light, medium, and a dark print.  Pattern finishes at 50 inches square. To finish the top, all I had to do was locate the border fabric in my stash, and sew them on. Easy, right?  Can anyone tell me why I drag my feet on the easy stuff like bindings, backings, and borders; but jump in head first, with unbelievable excitement and tenacity into things like the Circle Game?

I purchased this pattern at QuiltCon. I totally love Jen Kingwell's style of pattern design and instructions.  Templates are clearly drawn, and easy to follow. My hopes are to begin this quilt as part of a quilt along group on flickr the beginning of April.  I still have to decide on colors, which usually takes a little thought for me. 
She has another pattern that is amazing called Green Tea and Sweet Beans:
The actual quilt is so much more stunning in person. I can't express to you how yummy it is.  Lots of beautiful fabrics on a perfectly chosen background of text fabric goodness.  Made my teeth hurt with sweetness. I will be buying this one next and Steam Punk. I truly feel as if she is designing these pattern just for me...(you are so, so sweet to do that, Jen! :)...) Okay, she doesn't know me from any other (crazy, unbalanced) quilter. She really intended others to make the quilts too, so go ahead and see her stuff HERE!  If you want to confuse the crap out of her, tell her that Button Counter sent you. 
All righty then.  Now for my goal list for this week!  I will be finishing Beca's gift. (and mailing!) I need to begin cutting pieces for an Amy Butler Weekender bag that I am starting (more on that later...enough craziness for one blog post), I will prepare the back for the baby quilt, and I need to make a backing for my toile quilt.
Random fact for the day: In every episode of Seinfeld, there is a Superman somewhere.

Friday, March 1, 2013

In Your Face!

Yesterday, I got that granny square repaired that my lovely daughter destroyed.  She had cut it in three different places.  I also discovered a little spot on the very top of her head where her hair is only a half-inch long.  Hmmm. If only it were as easy to fix that. To say that I have my work cut out for me is nothing more that accurate, pun and all.
Yay!!! I got the back of the Dia De Los Muertos quilt finished, finally, and crossed off of my list from Monday.  Why was this not taken care of earlier?  Let me tell you.  Pull up a chair, and grab a cup of coffee.
I bought the sugar skull fabric a while ago.  A long while ago, thinking that 5 yards would be plenty for the back of this quilt.  After getting the top done, I brought that and the backing fabric with me to my last retreat so that I could get it done there.  Having that extra elbow room is nice for that sort of thing.  I cut the fabric exactly in half at 2 1/2 yards, then sewed them side to side. Now, normally I take extra care to match up the design because I have OCD and OCD and OCD, but there wasn't enough fabric, so I had to grit my teeth and send it on through the Janome.  Got it together, and did a little happy dance that it was done, then measured...and did an unhappy dance (which looks something like a Sioux pow wow, except you use the quilt as a rug, and instead of chanting, you swear).
So when I got home with it, I threw it in the corner of my sewing room and gave it the bird on a regular basis, until yesterday.  I can only take taunting for so long, you know.  I cut it down the length about 15 inches from the side, and cut it across the width about 15 inches from the top.  I added the black fabric, and the green fabric, enough to add another 15 inches to the length and width, and now I also have a cool area to put a label.  I may even entertain appliqueing a few sugar skulls to the black area after it is quilted, just so that quilt knows that I am the winner.  I win.
Tonight, I will work on that border for the baby quilt. Let's see if I can't mess that one up. lol.



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

You're Dragging Me Down, Kid.

Wednesday.  Hump Day. The day that we all share our W.I.P.'s. I have been working on my goal list from Monday, and am very happy to report that I can cross one item off.  I worked at B and B Quilts in Buda last night, helping with the plans for a quilt in an upcoming shop hop.  I have stalled on that because I need to put EQ7 on my new computer from my old one, before I can tackle any plans for that.  Tonight?  I hope to get the border pieces cut on that baby quilt today. Maybe I can start cutting on the backing for the quilt for my brother. 
Here is a new little project for me this week as well:
My dear, sweet, loving daughter, who is enjoying age 3, thought it would be helpful to cut into one of my grannie square blocks that a friend made in a block exchange.  Nice.  At least it wasn't one of my applique blocks...ha, ha!!!  What the hell is applique?!  I don't get a whole lot of time to do that anymore because of my dear, sweet, loving daughter...I hope to get that fixed today.

I got that block fixed that was on my goal list. I had made the outer pieces to this block scrappy, when it was supposed to be matchy-matchy in each corner, so I got out my extensive seam ripper collection and went to town on it.  Luckily, these are all fabrics that I currently have in my own stash, in the event that McKenna would like to help me out again.  Looking forward to it.
...and Just So You Know:  When you learn that something is poisonous, it does not necessarily mean that it will kill you.  It may just make you terribly ill. (YAY!).  So, poisonous can mean 'deadly', but it can also just simply make you sick.  I have thus concluded that children are poisonous.

Monday, February 25, 2013

nose to the grind

Okay everyone.  I am about to tell you no more than 3 things that are in my circle of interest.  'They' say that a person cannot focus on more than 3 things at once, and usually begin to lose interest after the third topic in a discussion. 

1. I just finished helping out at QuiltCon here in Austin. The hard part about being local is that you don't get to go back to your hotel room at the end of the day.  You get to go home to your normal grind.  Kids still need to do homework, and be fed, and bathed, you need to pull a bean or two out of noses.  These things don't happen when your out of town.  When you get back home from being in another city, your children welcome you with open arms, and your husband tells you how simple everything was, and how he cannot understand why you have so much drama when you are watching them. I tell him it is because of the beans.  I put them in the top shelf before I left...and now he is totally confused.  But I live in Austin, so the bean jar is on the bottom shelf, ready for action.

I did get to meet Elizabeth Hartman, Denyse Schmidt, Heather Ross, and Alexia Abegg. They were all wonderfully sweet girls.  I now know that I will have to buy the book 'Liberty Love', 'Heather Ross Prints' and a few patterns.  Denyse Schmidt's new fabric line 'Shelbourne Falls' is so amazing that I will have to cut our credit card in half today, so that I am not tempted to do something to cause a divorce.

I bought another machine.  One that I will have to sell some of my stash to make up for the missing money from the savings account (VVBG).  Or I will have to make some totally awesome pillows or mini quilts to sell...or start an ETSY shop, or become a CEO of a very stupid company. I already own a Janome Memory Craft 6600, and will never, never part with it; but it is a little heavy to lug around to bee meetings, retreats, and classes that I teach.  I love the heaviness of it for home use, as it is a stable machine that doesn't bounce around when you put that pedal to the floor.  So I got a show machine from Janome: 3160 QDC. Great, great price and it is lightweight. I will now have a decent back-up machine for when my 6600 is being serviced. Here she is:
well, one exactly like it anyway. It has all of the stitches I need to teach my machine applique classes, and lots of 'stuff'.  So I will be happy when it arrives.

more on Quilt Con later this week...

2.  I have been working diligently on a project for a friend of mine in Flickr land.  Her name is Beca and she is an amazing friend.  We decided to do an exchange of hand made yummy things, and she sent hers on time (the nerve!) So I have had huge amounts of guilt trying to get hers done.  I am not rushing so fast that I do a terrible job, but I am not going so slow either.  I took her project with me to QuiltCon, and one of the magazine companies is interested in doing a pattern for it in one of their publications.  Which means that even if I get it done tonight, they would likely want me to mail it to them so that they can keep it for a long, long while.  I will now either have to hustle to make a copy for Beca or the magazine.  I am pretty sure Beca comes first.  I can't wait to show pictures of that, but it is a surprise!

3.  Goals of the week: get a block fixed that is haunting me right now...awaiting a seam ripper.  Dammit.  I would also like to get a backing done for another quilt for my brother so that I can get it sent off to a long-arm quilter. Finally, I need to put a border on another quilt for a friend's baby.  He outside of the womb, so I need to hustle on that too...oh, and finish binding on a quilt for my sister. Can I do it?

random thought of the day:

'Dammit, I'm mad' spelled backwards is...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Good Time to Change Habits

Connor will be starting 1st grade in a few days.  In the chaos, I managed to get his hair cut by someone other than his 2 year old sister.  I was able to pick up all of his school supplies in one fell swoop.  I bought 4 new shirts for him (all on clearance!).  We even managed to get new shoes for him.  Anything that you can purchase while shopping with small children deserves a huge amount of recognition.  One of these days, at a guild show and tell, I am going to stand up and say "I refused to buy candy for the kids in the checkout line at the grocery store this week.'' instead of showing a quilt...I bet I get a standing ovation.

I remember thinking when he finished school this last spring, that I would be able to get some things done now that I don't have to get up early to get him off to school. HILARIOUS!  Now I am thinking that it would be nice to get some stuff done now that I will be getting up early to get him off to school. My brain fell out when I was a small child, you know, the part of the brain that controls reason.  So now I have to get by with what I have left up there. 

I am going to go take a shower. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fabric Hibernation

Well, I have really had a 'come to Jesus' meeting with myself in the past few weeks.  I spent crazy amounts of money on fabric.  Fabric that, in all fairness, I have been waiting on for arrival.  They all came out at the same time and dented the hell out of the (our) pocketbook.  I actually am quite ashamed of it, and glad that I am; otherwise, I would turn into someone I really hope to never meet.  So, I will be paying very close attention to what I am spending my money on in the next few months, so that I (we) can catch back up again.  I am not saying that I won't be cuddling any new fabrics, because I did pre-order some things that will start showing up soon....but I really need to start cuddling finished blocks, or a quilted 'something or other'.

The remainder of July, and all of August will be spent in non-shopping mode.  I will be getting a spectacular amount of things done in the sewing room (like cleaning it), sewing projects that I would like to get the hell out of there (for a change), really making an attempt at tutorials...(I would do fancy video ones someday if anyone out there has some tips for me; but for now, pictures will do the trick), I have designed some patterns, tested them, and completed all text directions, but I need to figure out how to build the cute little diagrams that the professionals use.  I have been putting that off because...I have been too busy melting the credit card.  I have some patterns that I still need to test and maybe submit to a few periodicals.  I might even have time to feed and bathe my children...or do laundry.  But not both.

Living 'skinny', I thought that I might have to put the family on a ramen dinner diet for a while, but that would not be fair to them.  What I did do, is attack the recipe card box that mom gave to me years ago.  We grew up very simply and ate very well.  I remember this recipe being a very healthy, very inexpensive one, and surprisingly delicious:

Lentil Casserole

1 cup lentils (remove stones if needed)
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients except cheese in casserole dish.  Cover and cook at 300 degrees for an hour.  Sprinkle cheese on top, return to oven without cover and cook for 20 more minutes.

the great thing about this recipe is that all of your protein and carbs are right there, so all you have to do is add a side salad, green vegetable, and/or dinner roll.  Do any of you have low-cost recipes to share?  Because there is this Chicopee line that I have been eying.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Big 10 Inch Rules

The rules:
This swap is for 10 inch square charms of fabric in masculine prints.  Each sign-up person will cut 32 squares out of 2.333 yards (or 2.5 if you like to occasionally crooked cut).  You should be able to get 4 squares from each width of fabric.  

The fabrics that we are looking for can be geometric, large or small prints, tone on tones, or medium to dark in color.   They are muddy, earth tone-type fabrics.  They can have minimal amounts of white or cream on them as long as the fabric mostly reads a medium to dark, muddy color.  Please do not use prints that are light, or have a light background.  Email me if you have any questions on this.  No florals. No feminine prints.  No theme fabrics (such as fishing, hunting, hobbys, sports, etc).  No solids.  No bright colors. (no bright reds, bright blues, bright yellows, or bright oranges) These colors are fine as long as they are a subdued earth-tone version. No batiks.

Here are some examples of lines that have great prints, but please don’t limit yourself to these.  I just wanted to provide an idea:  -Hope Valley (the greens and grays), Painters Canvas, Gatsby, Modern Meadow (think Timber colors), Woodgrains by Joel Dewberry, Curious Nature by David Butler, Michael millers zen garden (blenders), Arnolds Attic, Neutral Territory (the non florals),….

*Yes! Medium to Dark earth-tone prints, such as slate, gray, brown, brick, ocre, terra cotta, dark mustard, denim, smoke blue, get the idea

Fabrics should be 100% cotton. Use quilt store quality fabric (no JoAnn’s or Walmart fabrics)  I say this, but I think that the DS Quilts line at JoAnn is fine, unless anyone raises a stink about it.  Please let me know if this would bother you to receive. Do not prewash, but ironing is okay; in fact, please iron if wrinkles are present.  When cutting 10 inch squares, please do not include selvages.

You will need to have a flickr account to join so that you can post pictures of your fabric choice(s).  This is done to avoid duplicate fabrics.

I will post a sign up discussion page, and a mailing instructions page in the flickr group.

Mail date is June 15th.  

Please pass this information on to anyone who you may think would want to join!

Here is the Flickr group page:

Feel free to join for this and future 10 inch swaps.