Thursday, May 18, 2006

Martha In The Making

My sewing excuse blog...

This week I'm not sewing because the TP and I are re-doing her room, in a style fitting of the fairy princess she really is. We got motivated over the weekend, and we're almost finished with a delicious sage gree paint on three walls. (Here's my blurb for Really Really Expensive Paint - if you haven't tried Divine, do yourself a'll never use anything else. About half my house is done in Divine colors now, with the other half asking to be painted.)

We will wallpaper one wall in a forest scene tomorrow. We're doing a spiffy tulle treatment on her ceiling, to hide the hideous acoustical tile and add to the forest canopy theme, and I have an idea for a super quick and simple quilt that will actually use inkjet photo transfter for a good and not-ugly purpose, and will repeat some of the piecing on some denim curtains we have. She painted her lovely bed a matching off-white, and it's just turning out to be a gorgeous look.

Photos soon.

I did visit the world famous Britex fabrics after work this week (to find green tulle), and will write a post about that someday. Cher and a number of other celebs shop there (proclaims a huge sign at the cash register)...reason enough for me not to. And the treatment I received as someone spending less than $500 on fabric put the kibosh on any further trips. I'll stick with vintage at the White Elephant Sale and my beloved Stonemountain and Daughters in Berkeley.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Motherhood and All That Comes With It

I was watching Love of Quilting on PBS this weekend (yeah, watch other people do it...that's the way to get some quilting done!) and the nice grandma-aged quilting ladies were enjoying talking with a 20-something childless quilter, and each of the three of them produces more in 15 minutes than I can even think about producing in a year. And they each have a $3,000 Bernina top-of-the-line model to work with. It struck me that other than being so ill that I cannot function or so young that I can't safely work the cutting and sewing equipment, I am in the worst possible stage of life to have this hobby. The 20-something has all the time in the world (although I'm SURE she would tell you how busy she is) and the nice ladies have grown children (they know better than to tell someone like me how busy they are), and here I am, with two children who need almost all of my time and energy, financial responsibilities that require me to spend too many hours a week working for money and keep me from spending like I SHOULD on equipment and fabric, distractions left, right and center, and not enough sense to say "NO!" to every good idea that comes along that involves a child.

I will avoid giving you the laundry list of events during my crazy weekend. Just please don't ask if I sewed, OK? I will either snarl or weep, I can't be sure.

But it is always worth it - I know my babies will be gone in a flash. They already spend more time away from me than with. On Mother's Day I received a beautiful card from my son, with 5 coupons I can use to have him do whatever I want him to, no whining (I'm thinking this gets me 2.5 weeks of baths without a fight) and my daughter penned this touching and sweet Ode to Motherhood. It came with a rose. And along with their dad, they helped out all day and made me dinner AND cleaned up. Definitely, absolutely, it's all worth it. Someday I'll have that free time I dream of, but for now I'm good.

Children, children, children, they’re the bomb,
nine months in your stomach (aka womb)!

When birth-day comes, out they pop,
those little radish babies you just can’t top!

But who did all the working here?
Get mom ice cream and you’ll have nothing to fear.

She carried 50 extra pounds,
her belly; it became awful round!

Then a couple days of labor!
(Now that, who wouldn’t savor?)

What to name the kid, that’s the next step,
something full of spunk, vim and pep!

Howzabout Jimmy, Josh or Daisy?
(But nothing that’ll drive relatives crazy)

Oh, I know, let’s name her Xxxxxx! (name removed because that's the deal, but it rhymes with "baby", sort of)
They said to the nurse as she wrapped up their baby.

Now 14 years later, I’m a teenager now,
And we’ll always have our ups and downs!

But I know one thing that’ll never change,
You’re my mom and I’m proud to say,
I’ll always love you, until the end of my days!

Happy Mothers Day!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Of Casts and Casts On

Lovely weekend, filled with soccer. Unfortunately, if you don't roll right, this is the result! The Teen Princess is out for the rest of what was shaping up to be a great season for her. Fortunately, it's not a bad break, and should heal in time for our big summer rafting trip. She was a trooper throughout the whole ordeal - first we all believed it to be a bad sprain, and then this morning discovered that it was mightily swollen and very tender. Our very kind friend, ER nurse Esther, quickly diagnosed and then also kept track of the younger sib through the whole day, while we visited 2 primary care docs, one hospital x-ray lab and an orthopedic surgeon.

The verdict from the patient: Cool!

In attempt to keep my stress hormone levels under control, I decided to take up knitting for a while, even though I generally don't like to when the weather's nice. But I can carry it with, it definitely takes my mind off things and I had a half-done afghan that I hated that could be frogged and redone in this nice pattern (without the cool and tremendously expensive Berroco yarns), for FREE! My circulars are too short for a full-sized afghan, and past experience suggests I won't have enough patience anyway, but I can make a baby quilt for Project Night Night or lap quilts for around here, all good.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Diagonal Stripe Paper Foundation Pattern

I've struggled and struggled with Microsoft's freebie paint program (named, uh, Paint) because I can't afford PaintShop right now. I like Picasa for photos, but needed something for line drawing and styling as I plan quilts and create patterns.

This morning I was avoiding going to the gym (some of my most fruitful time), and I found Paint.NET - it's FREEware (the very best kind!) and it's so incredibly perfect for what I want to do. PhotoShop and the like have completely overwhelmed me in the past with all the bells and whistles, but Paint.NET is not loaded - and is therefore completely inadequate for anyone who knows what he/she is doing. But it is intuitive, and did have everything I needed to create this paper-piece foundation. I figured it out in no time flat, it has great rulers in different metrics, color choices (including hex code input), unlimited undo, multiple save formats. Can't beat the price.

If you're not familiar with paper-piecing, it's a way of using paper as a foundation (you remove the paper once the block is done) to help you keep seams straight and to keep you from having to cut perfect pieces before seaming. It's explained well here. I don't use the fancy papers they talk about, but I do have to put a little more time into pulling all the little bits of paper out of my seams. Tweezers come in handy.

You'll need at least two of each block to make the striped squares. To keep the golden ratio, you'll need to have the same number of blocks across as down (2 x 2, 3 x 3, etc.) Make sure you match up your colors as you do the piecing (unless, of course, you don't want to!)

These drawings are scaled to be 8 x 5 in blocks. You can scale them anyway you want, just make sure that both foundations are scaled exactly the same before printing them.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Better Days

It's amazing what a little time can do.

Two weeks ago, I was ready to drop everything and run screaming from the Bay Area. I was never going to find a job, it was never going to stop raining, the traffic, oh my god the traffic, $3 for a sccop of ice cream and $3.25 for a gallon of gas...

The rain stopped, and things are actually growing in my garden. The open-ended interview went stunningly well, with assurances that they want me to start as soon as possible (although I reminded of when a guy has said, "This was great! Let's do it again soon - I'll call you!"), my current employer likes me enough to let me work from home one day a week (lessening the from-hell Bay Bridge commute), and my Bernina came home this afternoon, with a total repair bill of only...drum roll please...$135, including servicing, fixing the light problem and replacing the electronic board. Better'n a poke in the eye.

Cue up the theme from the Mary Tyler Moore show..."you're gonna make it after aaaaaaaaaaall."

I will get back to work on sewing tomorrow. Tonight my wonder-chef/son is making Sloppy Joes and I get to finish a cabled scarf while I watch NOVA.

I leave you with two photos. I tried the one of me Me ME for my profile, and that's all well and good, but it also shows up above left on the home page of the blog and on every comment I leave. I feel a little over-exposed. The one of the striped thing is cooler, more humble, and looks more like me on an average day. Is there a way I can get just a photo of me on my profile and then a logo the rest of the places...does anybody know?