Wednesday, December 20, 2006

My vow for the rest of this week is to seek imperfection. Work and home lives both have been crazy, and I've been wanting to pull off the Perfect Christmas and Perfect Gifts and why not go on a diet while I'm at it?

Today our babysitter called in sick, good girl, and so I'm forced to just stop and re-evaluate. I do need to go in to work today through Friday (big deadline on Friday, which is amazing timing, isn't it?), and I do need to get the teen to her ice skating party today and everyone to a friend's on Saturday night. Beyond that, what do I *really have* to do between now and Christmas?
  1. Cash gifts for sitters
  2. Food for Christmas dinner
Wow! That's not bad at all! A trip to the bank, I've already ordered the turkey...and some thinking time.

What would I really like to get done?
  1. A clever (yet easy) way to hide the BIG family gift that's a total surprise from me (but fits in an envelope)
  2. Christmas cards (cards, photos ready, stamps purchased)
  3. Little gifts for office mates who have made life good for me
  4. A few more stocking stuffers for kiddies
  5. Knit ornaments for US
OK, worth a shot, but no pressure.

What's a complete fantasy, but fun to think about for some other point in my life?
  1. Perfect cookies made for everyone (gosh, these look beautiful!)
  2. Perfect mitts for ME
  3. A perfect wreath for the door!
  4. Perfect quilts (no link!)
What do I wish for friends, family and strangers alike?
  1. A new year full of joy and love, free from strife!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I Love a Parade


I had fun! The Princess, not so much...cranky teenage afternoon. But we did some service for the community (thanking a major sponsor with a banner walk), met some nice people (TP's friend, who walked the last 1/3 of the way with us, is also shown here), and got a free banana and granola bar. Oh, and the sweatshirt!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Pie, Pie, Pie

(Sung to the tune of The Three Little Kittens)


No sewing, but these pies ought to count for something (they're apple, boughten Pillsbury unroll-n-bake crust, but otherwise homemade, really!) I cooked them up this morning for the TP's school's semi-monthly homemade lunch program.

My subversive plan to cheat on Christmas is working...I've been in a fine mood all week. Saturday the Teen Princess and I march in Oakland's Holiday Parade, and Sunday I hope to knit knit knit and order some gift cards!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

And We're Off!

Holiday season is in the air! I got my ornaments in the mail this morning, my spouse promises to do his decoration extravaganza this weekend, and I'm giving myself the first gift of the season!:



Sunday morning I had NOTHING ON THE CALENDAR. I started to go over alllllll I had to do before Christmas, and I felt the stress level creep up and up. And I just decided I'm not going to do it. Nope. Can't make me. Won't go there.




So I formulated a plan, and spent most of the day watching TV while knitting. Big rainstorm outside, chilly temps, and my sweet mom and auntie even made dinner for us (turkey soup!). It was heaven.

Here's my plan:

  • Ornaments for everyone (I'm over half done with this).
  • Gift cards for almost everyone (some for merchandise, others for charities such as The Heifer Project)
  • Cute Christmas cards (I learned how to use embossing powder!)
  • Thought-out gifts for my kids and spouse
  • And finally, because I can now afford it: A holiday attitude toward everyone I meet!

Wheeeeeee! A Less Than Perfect Christmas. It feels just perfect.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My Pretties

The closing of Yarn! prompted a brainstorm for me - I am having a hard time making it out back to the sewing studio during daylight hours to sew, and it's going to cost some bucks to install new lighting - not likely to happen soon. I was starting to freak a little about the finishing (starting!) ornaments for cake + pie's swap, especially since I've already received two of them in the mail.

But even on the last day before the shop's closing, there were some lovely gilded yarns...and so, behold!

Inside each one are two little Ghirardelli chocolates. Very sparkly, and re-useable as gift card bags, even!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Ultimate!

The best I'll be able to do wrt sewing this weekend is to hem a new pair of pants, 'cause I spent the weekend learning about Ultimate Frisbee! Great game, even in the pouring rain/howling winds/icy temps we encountered Saturday.

And here, topping off two days of play during which we witnessed the gelling of a new girls' team, is my Teen Princess scoring her second point, against (ahem) the UC Davis Aggies. Yeah, baby, a COLLEGE team. Our girls (7th through 11th grade in this game) almost beat them, too, but in the end fell to the slight height advantage and better time-on-earth stats.

I am totally impressed with this sport. Great athleticism, no refs, great (GREAT) spirit. Humboldt State got together after beating our team and made up a song to honor the girls to the tune of Hit Me Baby One More Time. UCLA came and cheered our team on during the match against Davis. Our two teams got public props on the Ultimate boards, and great support from the people running this college tourney. It was really a fabulous, if exhausting, weekend.

Sausalito is done, really done (no more ripping!), except for the sleeves...hmmm. A vest?

Friday, November 10, 2006

When Pigs Fly

I *did* sew some this week, I really did.

Did I make ornaments for the swap?

No.

Did I work on those long-promised baby quilts?

I did not.

Did I work on the skirt I said I'd finish months ago?

Um, nope.


And in the background of the first photo you can see the Most Exciting Purchase since the car. Well, better, even - 'cause I got it for $100 plus buyers' fees at auction. A nearly-antique, grown-up, not hand-me-down, perfect scale for the room, beautiful dining table and 6 chairs (including what my husband calls the King's Chair, with arms). And, to welcome the set to the house and bring the living and dining areas together, I covered the seats in the same fabrics you see in the pillows, each different.

So...matchy and yet not.

This entire weekend will be spent driving teenagers back and forth to an Ultimate Frisbee tournament in Santa Cruz (about 1.5 hours away), and I'm starting to panic a bit about my ornaments for the swap. I have no light in the sewing space right now (long story), so I have to work there during the day. The Flickr photos show perfect, creative, adorable ornaments...um...what have I got myself into?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sherrod My Man!



Sherrod Brown has been declared winner in Ohio. Thanks to those who contributed to his campaign! I feel empowered!

Don't know if the senate will be lost to the GOP, but the predictions are that the Republican lock on the house is ended, and for me...that is enough good news for one night!

It means we're not lonely voices in the wilderness any longer. And that's a good, good feeling.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Isn't It Iron-ic?

Scored an iron at Target - I couldn't help myself, and went for a Rowenta again, although not the same model. I loved that Rowenta, it got SO hot, SO fast, and steamed like a dream. This one does vertical steaming, too, which is nice for...you know...ironing CLOTHES.

I was explaining The Importance of An Iron in Sewing to the men in my family, and in the process realized that I could live for a little while without a sewing machine and still sew, but I cannot do it without an iron. So it was worth the, ulp, $70.

And in other news, with one child at an Ultimate Frisbee tourney in Oregon and the other at an all day birthday party at our neighbor's, Spouse and self had the time and freedom to go see a movie and eat sushi and even have half-caf nonfat iced lattes at Starbucks. Gosh. What a day!

We saw The Queen, with Helen Mirren. Very low-key, very interesting and enjoyable. Two thumbs up.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Cool Public Domain Art

Two crafting posts in one day!

I'm *always* looking for good-quality public domain artwork, and I just found the mother lode. It's not all copyright-free, but the restrictions are clearly spelled out for each piece, and each image comes in various sizes/resolutions, with clever commentary, even.

I've found something here on which to base my holiday ornaments for the swap and for family and friends. I'm all excited about getting started!

www.fromoldbooks.org

Here's one of the images, from Dante's Inferno, 1915 edition.

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Camera

The J Man (boy child has chosen a Blog Name) and I started in on a Halloween costume. He's a creative and flexible guy. He wants to be a Grim Reaper. Beverley's is totally out of Halloween costume patterns, but I think I can fake a cape and hood. Then we shopped fabric - he found a black print with faint ghost figures that he loved, but it was almost $10 per yard. So I suggested we try some discharge work on plain black, and he agreed.

We bought CHEAP black all-cotton fabric. And following Lois Ericson's great instructions, we tied it with rubber bands and went for it with bleach (Cal the Dog was very helpful). I used a mixture of 5 parts water to 1 part bleach, 2 gallons worth total. After 2 and a half minutes, the fabric started to go purple - Lois assures readers that if you get it into Bleach Stop right away, the color will freeze, but in fact ours went red once it went into the Bleach Stop. If I'd been sensible, I would have done a test swatch, but what the hey.

After 10 minutes in the bleach stop and then a heavy rinse, I pulled off the rubber bands and we LOVE it. Not black, not by a long shot. In fact, instead of staying black, the area under the rubber bands got lighter, and in some areas is almost white. But it's "blood red" (darker than in the photo) as far as we're concerned, and J Man will be a Grim Reaper of the 1960's.

I really enjoyed this technique, and want to try some other resists besides rubber bands!

My beloved and not at all old Rowenta iron gave up the ghost this week, so I need to buy a new iron before I can proceed...further updates as events warrant.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Distractions, Distractions

I finished NOTHING this weekend, and didn't even start much. I came down with my son's cold, which got in the way, and had to deal with a sprinkler-system emergency. But the house did get cleaned, I did work on the final set of fabulous photos from our summer vacation (see below), and I'm in process on a fabulous almost-gourmet meal of Italian sausage with ratatouille, polenta, zucchini with garlic, salad and homemade pizza for the picky among the children. My family and friends will tell you that I’m in no way A Cook, so this is big stuff for me. We’re entertaining far-flung visitors with teenagers.

Now. This post is to call your attention to a fabulous blog and my very very first ever entry in a swap!

http://cakeandpie.typepad.com/cake_pie/2006/10/swap.html

I sewed ornaments last year for family and friends, and it was easy and fun. I combined stamping, a smidge of quilting and some bobbin thread embellishment, used up a load of fancy scraps and impressed a crowd. So I'm in, and I can't wait to see what I'll find in my mailbox!

Some photos, and then back to the sauté pan...

For those who missed the first round, we rafted the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in late June, with family and strangers who quickly became friends. It was awesome, in a very literal sense. A day did not pass that did not fill me with awe.

My dad took these photos.

This is a mini canyon view. The views that just took our breath away were actually too big to photograph. You cannot fit a mile of rock in your view finder.


The Little Colorado. It really is that color...even greener, really. The tradition is to put your life vest on your butt and surf the river (it keeps your tail bone from being smashed up). Our group had our first big bonding experience here, as we formed a train to go down the river. It was even more fun than you might think.

A bevy of beauties. Me, the Teen Princess and Runs Like a Girl. Next photo, we swim like heck to get behind a wicked waterfall. Way cool.

This was the start of one of the killer hikes. Those rocks were sharp, slippery and brutally hot, and once we got to the top we had to go down the other side over more of the same. But we learned quickly to never say "no" to a hike, because they were always more than worth the heat, effort and peril. This one, if memory serves, took us to a fabulous waterfall that doubled as a diving spot.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Why I Spend All That Time at the Gym

Amy posted this, and it's so good, I'm posting it, too.

Check it out.

What I Did and Didn't Do With the Last 29 Days

YESSSSS! The month-o'-mania is over, I'm home and things are settling back down. And to add to the settling: unfortunately, my kiddies are out of commission for soccer for the next few days (one sick, one injured)...tut tut tut. Just awful, no practices, no games.

Heh heh heh.

Ahem. OK, I did not finish Sausalito, as noted in the last post, but the back and half of half of the front are done. My children did decorate for Halloween, the place looks great! And we have friends with teens and one little one coming over this weekend and will make carmel apples (my VERY FAVORITES) to add to the fall festivities.

The one thing I have been doing consistently during this crazy month is to exercise at the local gym. And thereby hangs a tale.


My gym has a thing - Activtrax - a computerized program that tells me how much of what kind of weight to lift each day. This is part of today's workout. I've been a gym member for about 18 months and a weighty type for just over a year. When I started lifting I had two little fantasies: one was that some day I will do a chin up, and the other was that some day I would need the BIG kid plates on my weight machines.

Well, today the computer bumped me up to 90# on the leg press, and that meant I got to put two 45# plates on my barbell and BOY HOWDY I haven't been that excited in a long time. 45# are the biggest ones we've got. When I first used the leg press machine I was at 40# total, so I've come a long way. I've got a nice butt to show for it, I get to grunt and sweat with the big boys at the gym, and I take the 5 flights of stairs at work with ease now. Not bad for a middle-aged lady.

I know I'm not ready for the chin up yet, but I'm hopeful that it's not too far off. In the meantime, I have awesome shoulder muscles to console me.

Today is for laundry and a little baking and some cool compresses on the boy child's fevered brow, and tonight and tomorrow I hope to finish the fairy quilt (it's so so so almost done), get some throw pillows made for our living room, and then quilt that cute pink baby quilt up!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Froggy Went a-Rippin' (or: Suzee Unknits)

I was halfway through the first sleeve of Sausalito, and running low on yarn. So I thought I'd hold it up and see if I needed to make the sleeves as long as called for - even an inch shorter and I'd probably make it.

Deep, deep sigh.

The sleeve was huge. Gi-normous. Meant for someone twice my size. And so I measured it and all the other parts finished, and found that each is at least two inches too wide. I *did* gauge swatch, I swear to you by all that is holy, but the swatch must not have been big enough to get a true count. Or my math skills are slipping, one or t'other.

And so, I frogged. Ripped and ripped and ripped. It took almost an hour...

(cue segue music)

An hour spent watching news of Foleygate. There are 34 days left to the election. Federal candidates, in particular the Senate, need your help. And yeah, I'll keep being political until November 8, so ya might as well join me!

http://www.actblue.com/page/overtime_for_ohio

Monday, October 02, 2006

Overtime for Ohio

Like many of you, I've watched in shock and horror the changes in our country over the last 6 years, but have felt helpless - without a lot of time, money or influence, what could one person do?

Today an idea came to me.

I can work, literally, for 2006 federal Democratic candidates in swing states. With a few hours of time, I can help return the checks and balances to our federal system of government. Contributing to candidates in other states is not a new idea - below is a link to ActBlue.com, which will happily send your funds to the Democratic candidate of your choice in a swing state. And in fact the Republicans have been using this strategy for years. But I'm posting this entry to urge my readers, friends and loved ones and their friends and loved ones to act with me.

This week I worked enough overtime to net about $100. This non-budgeted money could go to lowering our family's debt, or savings, or a night out. But instead, it will go to the campaign of Sherrod Brown, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Ohio, as will all my overtime from now until the election. Other close Senate races include Montana and Tennessee. And there are many close House of Representative races - every democratic seat in the house matters to our future.

You may not make overtime, but I'll bet you and your family can cut out a movie this week, or eat pasta instead of chicken, or find some other way to pull a few dollars out of your budget. I hope you will join me and use that money to help the blue candidate of your choice. Even five dollars can make a difference.

http://www.actblue.com/page/overtime_for_ohio

or, to donate to any blue candidate: http://www.actblue.com

If you're looking for a non-monetary way to help, use your extra cell phone minutes and a little time to make a few calls for http://www.moveon.org/.

Please pass this on. I know there are others out there like us, and we can make a difference. There are 36 days until Election 2006.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Too Much

I was going to be clever and say that the government had removed my blog due to its subversive messages, but the truth is that for the next month I need to temporarily hang up my bloggin' shoes.

I will get to see a lot of hotel rooms, several airports, a few camping sites and many lovely friends and family members (plus learn a whole lot of technical information at a trade conference for a few days), but in turn will not get enough sleep or enough crafting in. My goal is to finish Sausalito and get Halloween decor up by the end of the marathon (mid-October) - wish me luck!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Summer Sunday

The kiddies vetoed our too-boring ideas for family fun for the day, so:

(Note lack of ratty-looking summer vegetables, and optimistic little white labels where seeds for fall veggies went in.)



(Fairy quilt overlays...2 out of 7 done, Princess chose the upper style of stitching for them. I hope to finish tonight, and also add some beads.)

And now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a $6.00 lavender bath bomb just calling my name...

Friday, September 08, 2006

A Good Day

It takes surprisingly little to blow my skirt up at 45 years of age. I'm having a great day, and it's 3:30pm.

1. Son and self and several of his friends and their parents went to the NUMMI car factory this morning. They make Toyotas and the Pontiac Vibe. This is my second trip (you have to be 10 to go, so son had never gone), and it's one of my favorite field trips. Free, fun, noisy, spectacular, and makes you want to work in a factory.

2. Two fabulous things in this laundry room photo. One is that there is a working washer (spinning right now in the next room and I CAN'T HEAR IT). Delivered today, right on time, efficiently and easily. The second is that, for the first time in 7 years, the doors on both the washer and dryer open opposite each other, so I don't have to lift wet clothes over a door before putting into the dryer.

This is incredibly wonderful, and also very humbling. I watched them swap the door around on the washer and thought, "ohhhhhh...I could do that..." and then I slapped myself on the forehead ala Homer and cried "DOH!" 7 freakin' years I cursed my laundry set-up. And in exactly 3 minutes, I fixed the dryer door and am done.

3. The greatest pair of pants ever. Gap, back of the clearance rack, no tag. Tried them on despite not knowing the price, and said to myself, "I would pay $100 for these pants. I would. These are perfect pants, I look great, they're comfortable, machine washable, good for work."

Ready?

$11.97. Man, I wish they had a few more pairs lying around, but even an on-line search netted nothing.

4. Fairy quilt binding = done. Fairy quilt overlays = done. Me + needle + thread + about 2 hours ought to do it. And here's the reason I haven't finished yet...I'm having too much fun knitting Sausalito.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day Weekend - No Time for Work

Friend extraordinare Tina emailed me Saturday night with an offer of her brother's company's season tix for Sunday's Oakland A's game vs. the Baltimore Orioles. 8th row, right over the bullpen. Ummmmmm...YES! She even had a parking pass. She and her son were two sections over, so we hung out with them just for the ninth. The game was silly lopsided - 9 to 1 in the 1st inning. Here's a shot of the 7th inning one-run homer by...somebody (I'm not a fan...so shoot me) and another of the kiddies after the game (free teddy bears for kids, too!). We had a great time, and only a little sunburn when it was over.

Saturday was housecleaning, and today...drumroll...was LAUNDROMAT day. No new washer until next Friday, so there was more than a little.

To answer the critics and nay-sayers, the dog loves the bed, and the spikes have worked so far.

Soon I will have Fun with Fiber. I really, really will.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Chapter 77: In Which There Are Tears, Cheers, Spikes and a LOT of Money Spent

The Teen Princess started school, and had a rough but ultimately rewarding first week. Here she is in her sartorial choice for the first day. Note the time on the clock. And even at that, we were almost late. We homeschoolers do not do early well.

I'm hopeful that she'll blog about her experiences, but I'll just say that she is someone to be proud of. You rock, TP. (She's getting great grades so far, too!)

Our washer died this week, which was probably a good thing. It had been unpredictably putting black spots on clothes, and I was afraid to wash my work clothes or quilts or new fabrics in it. So as of next Wednesday, I'm the proud owner of a new Neptune front-loader.

I made the mistake of taking my spouse shopping, and came home with a delivery date for a dishwasher, too.

Some women's husbands complain about spending, my husband believes in it as a vocation. But in his defense, we will surely have the quietest dishwasher in our town.

And then, since he was on a roll, we bought a new sofa. And two rugs. Egad.

And then, since we didn't want the dog to ruin the new sofa, we bought plastic spike sheets to keep him off, and a dog bed. And treats to help in training him.

Good God.

Crafting? Who has time? I'm a professional shopper.

Knitting: I did start Sausalito, by Dolce Handknits, in a lovely brown cotton - for work.

Quilting: I am almost done with the binding on the fairy quilt and have printed out the overlays. I might be able to get it done this weekend.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Fairy Quilt Progress

It's back from the long-arm lady (Do you picture someone with impossible sleeve problems? I do.), squared up and halfway bound (I have to do the slip-stitching). The quilting is fabulous, just exactly what I asked for and neat as a pin.

The silk organza has been soaked in Bubble Jet Set and is drying outside...I'm making progress! I'm also learning t hat I shouldn't predict when things will be done, so I won't!

My back is improved, and my head is much better since I stopped taking too much Advil and Aleve. Nasty stuff. I'm back up to at least half speed.


In other news, we had a very successful birthday party last night. The birthday boy got some great loot - including a model rocket, nice drawing supplies, and yet another computer game that won't work with our ancient system. He also picked up his new bike today, with TWENTY ONE GEARS. Amazing. What will they think of next?

And the Princess starts school in...15 hours and 24 minutes. She's very calm, very poised. She'll do wonderfully.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Pedal to the Metal

Ever watch a 7 or 8yo play arcade driving games? The ones where they sit in a driver's seat, foot on the gas pedal and steer? The strategy is universal for the young kids I've watched: floor it, smash into things, and then do it again.

This is an apt analogy for the way I seem to do things. I go as fast as I can for as far as I can, smash into something, recover, and repeat.

The obstacle I've smashed into twice in the last 3 months is my lower back. Just when I get up to speed, and I've got it all going on (kids, work, home, hobbies, workouts, bills paid, etc.), SMASH! And as with the mini-drivers, it just strikes me as quickest to wait out the injury and then go back up to full speed.

I like all that stuff, and I like doing it well. There's none of it that I don't want to be doing (OK, bill paying stinks, but the alternative is worse).

But today, stuck in a chair with my laptop, dosed full of anti-inflamatory drugs and applauding myself wildly for at least getting through schoolwork with the boy child and making a cake for his party tomorrow, I'm wondering if there's a better way.

Cloning, perhaps? Methamphetamine use? Paying someone to...what? Sleep for me?

I *did* turn down yet another job that came my way, this morning. I was offered a job teaching data analysis at San Francisco State University, which was very gratifying and would have made me feel very good about myself in exchange for a LOT of work and very little money. So I'm not totally insane.

In fiber news, I am picking up the Teen Princess' Fairy Forest quilt, probably tomorrow (I'm thinking I shouldn't be driving today). It needs binding and the panels printed and embroidered on, but as soon as I'm functioning that'll be easy. I came up with a plan (which Blogger will not let me upload!) for the last baby quilt for my friend with 3 - easy but fun - and will probably buy fabrics for that rather than stash hunt. I don't have much in the way of toddler boy-appropriate stuff in the stash.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Happy, Happy Birthday, Baby

It's the end of a long day, and every spare moment has been spent trying to make my son's new computer game work...argh! It looks like there' s nothing for it but to eBay it to someone with a better graphics card.

My intention had been to scan some photos of his first day ex-utero 10 years ago, but it didn't happen.

What did happen was that we went to see the Pirate of the Caribbean movie, bought him some goodies (the new bike should be ready tomorrow), went out to pizza with his grandma and auntie, and were treated to ice cream by those same, and came home pooped.

And since I don't have the baby shots, and since all my blogger friends are convincing me to include photos of my kids in the blog, here he is driving the boat on our vacation this summer (John, our boatman, watching carefully):

He's the very best son ever. And he's going to be a Colorado river boatman in a few years, mark my words. Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 18, 2006

Mom Stuff

Why I thought I could quilt a big old baby quilt by Sunday, I don't know. I haven't even started. (I *work,* you know. ;-)) And my day off was spent trekking one child to our homeschool charter school meeting, the other to the pediatrician for the high school physical, and - what else? Back-to-school shopping for the Teen Princess!

Man. I don't know how the rest of the world pulls that off for multiple kids every single year. I'm exhausted.

We found some cute stuff, including a First Day of School outfit. Adorable sparkly flats ($19.99 at Shoe Pavillion), perfect top and jeans (under $25 total at Old Navy). Just 179 days left to outfit her for. We also ran into a friend who plays on the high school soccer team - she insisted TP try out, and the schedule works well for her recreational soccer season, so I think she might do it. It would be cool if she made the team.

When I got home I was chagrined to find my mailbox full of my children's state testing results from last spring's test. Never fun. But lo! Growing up seems to be paying off for them, as they've improved by leaps and bounds over previous years on what the government expects of them. Given that I teach almost nothing the test is looking for, I was surprised and pleased to see my children listed as "well above average" in most subjects, and with suggested reading lists of 12th grade for my 9th grader and 6th grade for my 4th grader.

Another milestone approaches - Sunday is my son's 10th birthday. I'm little kid-free, now. Tomorrow will be bike shopping for him, and Sunday a small party with family, with the big party fun next weekend.

And here, just for the sake of having a photo, is something I finished exactly 2 years ago - another baby quilt. Note the cute chickens in the intersections of the sashing. I should have done them in all the intersections...it's the kind of detail that just bugs me no end once a quilt is done. But it was still a cute and fun piece to do.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Q2 - Top Done!


The top is done! I'm pretty thrilled at how it came out. Maybe a long break from traditional quilting was good for me.

White patterned background, stitch in the ditch in white - that's the plan. I hope to have it finshed by Sunday night...

In other news, no major holes in my clothing today, the tomatoes are starting to come in big time, the first faint hint that fall might be coming is in the air, our homeschool charter school starts up Thursday and the TP's high school starts 10 days after that. I have adorable brown poly fabric waiting for another shot at a skirt, more drapy this time.

And that's all the news that's fit to print.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

What Mamas Do When Their Children Go Away

My children and spouse are away backpacking with friends for 3 days, conveniently timed for my days off work.

So here's what I did yesterday and today. Note, please, that I have never (ever) lived in a house long enough to paint a non-kid's room more than once. But the last time I painted this breakfast nook, Bill Clinton was president. And since that time the room has served as a schoolroom, then an office for my now-defunct eBay business, then an office for my nearly-defunct self-employment. It's been everything but someplace one could have breakfast.

The cleverest bit was dressing up IKEA shades with snazzy fabric. Smaller scale of same will be used to make placemats and a prettier cover for the bird family.

The hardest bit was the accursed track light fixture. I could write three or four (really dull) blog entries about that, but I won't. Here's one tip, though: Halogen = HOT.

Finally, to prove that I'm as totally embarrassing as my teenager thinks I am - here are the back of the jeans I wore ALL OVER today. IKEA, the fabric store, the burrito shop, walking the dog right through my neighborhood. It is a much bigger hole than it appears here. It left nothing to the imagination.

I have no idea when the rip happened, but I'm really grateful that I didn't run into anyone I know. And really really grateful that I was wearing underwear. And eternally grateful that I didn't run into one of the TP's friends.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Quilt 2: Day 2

Day 1 of Q2 was spent agonizing over how to make those stupid heart fabrics be something cute. And in the end, the best quilting advice I've ever received prevailed: don't use crappy fabric. So I see a fabric purge in my near future.

There was nothing else even remotely adequate in the stash...until I spotted a pile on the floor. Back in September I made a quilt to give away, and just loved the girly colors. Can you believe...? Enough scraps for a baby girl quilt. (Sad, so sad, that I haven't cleaned up thoroughly since September.)

Simple 4.5" squares in a grid with sashing and pink squares at the intersections. And for an off-the-floor idea, I really like it.

This evening, D2, I cut and began stitching.

One of the things that is cool about sticking with the same hobby for a few years (I bought my Bernina for my 40th birthday, which was...erm...5 year ago in a few weeks), is that - hey! - you get BETTER at it. And I have to say I'm proud of both the colors and patterns together (many came out of the stash for the original quilt) and especially proud of the piecing. Everything's going together perfectly, I remembered to slightly jig my tiny pieces so the feed dogs will even them up by the end of the seam, stagger my direction of ironing so the blocks will fit together snuggly, all that good stuff. It should be nice.

Traditional, which I said I wasn't going to do anymore. But nice!

And here, because I feel I've been negligent about original photos, is one my camera took all on its own while I was plugging it in. The underside of my desk.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Month of Milestones: 1


August is always a big month here, and 2006 has some milestones in it.

Not quite a milestone, but 1 year shy, today is Mr. P's and my 19th wedding anniversary. It hasn't always been pretty, but there's no one I'd rather have spent those 19 years with. He is the love of my life.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Skirting Reality

Here it is - cute, no?

Wondering why the photo doesn't have me modeling it?

Because despite my carefully, oh so carefully, measuring my body and checking and double checking that I really was, gulp, a size 18 in Simplicity's world, and despite my determining halfway through stitching that it really was going to be too big and so cutting it down to a 16, it's still at least 1, if not 2 sizes too big!

What's up with THAT?!

The Teen Princess said, "At least it's not too small..." This is true.

I like it enough so that I will rip it all and cut it down again, if nothing else for the learning experience. Then I'll know better how I'm sized with these patterns, anyway.

Things I've learned today:

The rolled hem foot on my Bernina is AWESOME.
Pinning - a classic example of a "more is better" concept.
I like the look of lined skirts better than unlined (although this one doesn't lend itself to lining).
Shortening things at the waist - not easy (I will be shortening the regular way when I re-cut)
Zippers - it's not as hard as I'd remembered.
I adore this fabric, just wish it draped better.

And to finish off the weekend tally, yes, I got it all done! Woohoo!

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