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'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!

 Posted by Picasa


Like fabric? Check this out. Can't you just imagine petting it?

I just can't justify $60 for 3y, not knowing what I'd do with it... even if it is a bargain.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Props to You Knit What?

My favorite laugh-a-day blog, You Knit What?, is hanging up its needles. If you didn't have it on your must-check list, go cruise the archives for a while. It's lots of fun.

And speaking of blog fun, a few people have asked me lately about the Bloglines link you see to your left. Bloglines rocks, and I'm happy to spread the word. For the uninitiated, blogs create "feeds" (RSS or Atom, for the somewhat-initiated). With a reader, which is what Bloglines is, you can go to one web page and see which of your listed blogs has been updated since the last time you looked, and head over for a look-see. If you're like me and have 20+ blogs you love to keep tabs on (seriously, it only takes me a few minutes...I'm NOT an addict, I can quit anytime I like!), this is a super way to spend more time reading, less time checking.

Best way to get there is to click the icon (which will subscribe you to ME), but you can also go to

Current score (cumulative), half-way through the 3-day weekend:
  • 1 trip to gym
  • Q1 done
  • laundry done
  • house cleaned
  • 5 hours at soccer club office

My god, caffeine is just a wonderful, wonderful thing, isn't it?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Photos! Quilt! Feet!

Original photos, finally! Here's the quilt, it just needs a quick trip through the wash. And lo! You can't see the error, which is why the error happened in the first place - it doesn't show up in low light.

The story: I pulled out a bundle of white cotton that I had in the stash. Not all of a piece, but all clearly and obviously white, quilting weight, all together in the box.

Whoops - who remembers that white comes in different colors?

It only shows in daylight, though. And I can honestly say that there aren't any other significant errors in it, which is always nice. It looks like I planned! Just did a simple stitch in the ditch quilting in white, and a mostly white but a few patches of color binding.

So checked off my weekend list are:

  • - all things Q1 related
  • - laundry
  • - one trip to the gym

And the TP talked me into a pedicure (Mom: at The Nail Shop, on Park). It was her first, and my first in ages - badly needed. Very nice foot massage, softening of callused feet, and we have lovely, lovely toes.

TP says, if I'm going to write about the pedicure in the blog, I'm to be very clear that it was NOT A BONDING EXPERIENCE for us.

Hope that was clear enough.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Most Boring Blog Entry Ever

I'm NOT done with the first quilt. But I am 9/10 of the way done with the quilting, will finish tomorrow and then bind. There is a significant error, which I'll fess up to once I post photos. But the heck with it, by the time I discovered the error I'd already squared up all the blocks and ripping would have been disastrous.

And it's a baby quilt, for heavens sake.

And no, I haven't started the skirt. But I did keep myself from becoming distracted like a kitten by pretty bits of string, er, yarn at Stefaneener's house today. I want want want to go buy more yarn and make yet more ill-fitting and unattractive sweaters for myself. But knowing that I have projects on the cutting table that will go much more quickly than a sweater and look much better on me and cost less helps me keep my debit card in my wallet.

Goals for 3 days off:
  • Laundry
  • 2 trips to gym
  • Vacuum/dust/mop
  • Finish quilting Q1
  • Attach binding to front of Q1 (back half is done by hand, I'll wait 'til there's a good movie or ball game on)
  • Cut skirt
  • Put in 4 hours at soccer club office on Saturday
Hmmmm. This looks daunting, now that it's listed in black and white.