Saturday, July 29, 2006

Not Enough Photos

Photos are hard. Find the camera, delete the oldies, set up the shot (lighting is NEVER right), upload, see if Picasa can get the colors right, upload to Blogger, see if Blogger eats the photo, see if I can get it sized right.

But darn, stealing images from the web is quick and easy! And the models look better than me.

So. Here's the pattern I bought at Stonemountain and Daughters (and then found way cheaper on-line at the New Look/Simplicity site). I'm going for the one that's on the model, and bought a lovely rayon woven that looks as interesting on the right side as the wrong. So the wrong side will be used for the flounce. It should be fun, assuming all goes well and I can manipulate the pattern to work over my weird body (small waist relative to hips...always hard to fit).

After this one I do want to do the Vogue dress. There's some spiffy FabricMart fabric that's calling to me for that one.

But before I get to either garment, the first baby quilt is almost done. I will put the blocks together later today and pin it for quilting - I'm hoping to finish it by end of the weekend. Then the heart quilt. I figured out a plan for that as I was falling asleep last night (always a really productive design time for me, for some reason).

In other news, the soccer league, unbelieveably, found 6 soccer coaches in 4 days WITHOUT MY HELP. Amazing. How the world turns while I'm not spinning it, I'll never understand.

I do have some issues to work through.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Old Dog Learns New Tricks

Re: my inability to say "no".

I got this email this afternoon:

It's coming down to the wire and I now find myself needing at least 4 more (U7 soccer) coaches (and maybe 5 or 6, depending on how many parents are waiting until the last minute to register). I've been trying to strong arm parents (and their youths), but they are not responding very well.
Please, talk with anyone you know, who might know someone who might be willing to coach and send them my way.
My goal is to recruit enough coaches to keep the rosters to 8 (or 9 at the most). At this moment I have 137 registered players and 13 head coaches.
Thanks,
XXXX


I did not respond. I did not volunteer. I did not offer one of my children as a volunteer. I feel just awful about it, and am practically having to sit on my hands, but I think I'll make it. Maybe.

Arrrrrrrrgh!

To take my mind of my newfound slacker-hood, I've been contemplating making some clothing. I'm tremendously inspired by Mamafitz and Liana's recent creations, although I know even if I start now and go at it full time for 10 years I'll never hold a candle to their sewing skill and talent. Ashley is just amazing me with her willingness to explore scary and uncharted territory, and that's inspirational as well.

Here's what I'm pondering, in a crepe for fall...it would require lovely new boots, I think (but not quite so high a heel as here). I'm thinking a way cool patterned fabric with a brown background.

I know, gotta get those baby quilts done first. I'm workin' on it, I'm workin' on it!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Square One

The heat broke, so I took Stefaneener's suggestion this evening and ignored my children (actually, my son wasn't home, and the Teen Princess wasn't interested in having attention paid, so it was guilt-free poor parenting!) I bought burritos, made a bunch of phone calls for my volunteer soccer mom job, and...

...presto: 1/6 of a baby quilt top, done. The other 5 will go together quick, 'cause I'll chain piece them. This one I did bit by bit to make sure there weren't any problems. Then each gets sashed with another strip of white, and I quilt, and I'm done.

The color, as usual, looks better in person than on Picasa. The print is especially lovely, but just looks muddy here, and the pastels don't look pastel. Not to toot my own horn, but I think it's going to be adorable when done.

Quilt Fans, our LQS, is having a non-judged show in September...a woman in the store suggested I show the TP's quilt when it's done, and I think I'll put this in, too. That ought to help me get at least two completed in short order.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Hot, Hot, Hot

Just a whine: MY GOD, IT'S HOT.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/07/23/BAG84K45B21.DTL

This follows on a week of already higher than normal temps. We're in one of those areas where people just don't have a/c. I don't know anyone who has it, not even a window unit. And pools? No way. It rarely gets above 90 here, and even that is maybe 3 or 4 days a year.

It was 101 in our driveway yesterday, 96 in our house. AAAAAAAAACK.

Sewing seems unlikely to happen today...

Friday, July 21, 2006

Baby, Baby, Baby

bfmoma implies, subtly, that I won't get three baby quilts done before these children go off to college - she suggests I knit kimonos instead.

Hah! The gauntlet has been thrown.

The trick will be doing it in a stash-reductive manner, but I'm game. This family lives in Sacramento, the last thing they need are blankets until about November, so I'll give it a try.

Here's the pattern for the one that's been keeping me awake at night, along with the chosen fabrics (click to enlarge). I just have a tiny bit of the patterned fabric, but I want something with a pattern for a little change in the top, and then to serve as the backing. There's nothing for it but to go buy something, unfortunately. That was the only thing in the stash that worked, and there's not even enough to use here.

All the sashing will be plain white (hey, I don't have to keep it clean!).

The second quilt will somehow use up a huge amount of too-cute (literally, it's just too cute for me...ptui) fabric with hearts. It came in a freecycle stash load I was lucky enough to recieve. I think I can make it OK despite the hearts.

The third, for the big boy in the family, will have to have some kind of theme. I'm thinking trucks...I don't know how to do trucks without being icky cute, but maybe something will come to me.

Enough

If you've never struggled with money, just skip this post. You won't get it. In fact, if you haven't struggled with money issues for at least five straight years, you won't get it. So just move along, nothing to see here, I'll post about baby quilts shortly.

Those of you still here will understand how I feel. I just paid my bills - something I usually only do on the first of the month 'cause there ain't no money left on the 21st of the month for groceries, let alone late in the month bills.

But I did it, paid off everything that wasn't a monthly, and - get this - THERE'S STILL MONEY IN MY CHECKING ACCOUNT.

Working/homeschooling/parenting is exhausting, yes indeed. But today it feels so worth it. It's been about 12 straight years of almost never having enough money to cover expenses. Today I feel as light as a feather. And my benefits haven't even kicked in yet - that'll net us another $400 a month plus dropping from paying most of our medical bills to $10 co-pays and free meds.

Heck, next month we even start building an emergency savings account. Life is very, very good. As Stefaneener's Thing 2 once said to me regarding servings of cheese, "that IS enough."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Knitting Post! (Or: Why Do You Think They Call It "Work?")

Could be our local mini heat-wave, but I think more likely the reason I am too tired to cook, clean, or even change out of my fancy-pants work clothes at 8:00pm is that I just finished my third work week at the new job. I'm exhausted! My husband is away fly-fishing for a few days, and it's Find Your Own Dinner tonight. One moppet had most of a bag of chips, one had most of a bag of salad (and I bet you guess wrong if you try to figure out which was which), and I am having only the very best - Orville Redenbacher's Low Fat Butter Flavored Microwave Popcorn and a lime-flavored fizzy water.

Hush. Don't even start with me.

Tomorrow needs a Starbuck's jolt of uber-caffeine and then a bill-paying, laundry-doing, house-cleaning extravaganza before out-of-towners come for the weekend.

On a positive note, the feather and fan afghan made from my failed attempt at a patchwork knitted afghan is DONE - ends woven in, even. Of course, it's about 92 out, but the afghan looks pretty on my favorite chair.

And I've been having a brain wave of cute quilt ideas over the past few days - it's weird how creativity comes and goes. A far-away friend just sent a birth announcement about her twins, and I never even made anything for her first baby. I haven't done anything traditional in a couple of years, so I'm thinking this is a major stash reduction opportunity. Maybe after the guests leave I can get to work.

(The sewing kind, not the dress-up kind.)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Sewing Post!

The top is done and ready for the long-arm lady - yay! You see it (folded) here with the backing.









I did test versions of the ink jet printing on cotton scrim (left), silk chiffon (center) and silk organza (right). I'm going with the organza. Nicely transparent, held the ink very clearly and crisply, not falling apart after one trip through the wash.

Plus, it's the most expensive of the three. So it must be the best. Right?

It was great to get something DONE. I will bind the quilt when it comes back, and then do a rough running stitch with embroidery floss around the outside of each of the organza pieces to applique it to the top. I have to say that (knock wood) this appears to be one of my Fabulous Idea projects that's going well and according to plan. The majority never quite turn out as well as they start in my head.

To keep this from being all about sewing: A big shout out to A, who is in labor with her fourth baby boy today. I hope for her a swift and easy birth, and an eternity of blessings for all the family.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Just Filler (Lots of Filler)

If I'm bugging everyone else to post, I guess I have to post...although I'm afraid I still haven't seen my sewing machine since coming back from vacation.

Friday night kids, spouse and I went to the county fair. We didn't arrive until 5, and by the time we finished eating, riding rides and arguing about tattoos (what did I have to talk about before I had a teenaged daughter?), the buildings were closing up - so I MISSED THE QUILTS. A bad evening.

So I had more ice cream.

Saturday my indulgent mom and I went to a local estate auction. I liken the auctions I attend to a really good party - we're all single (meaning not there with anyone, not marital status), have some time on our hands while items we're not interested in are being sold, have something in common and aren't drunk. I'm by nature very shy with new people, but I meet at least 10 new people at every auction I go to, and talk about all kinds of interesting stuff.

This time, among other conversations, I got offered a job selling paper products to businesses, which I declined, politely. I met a gorgeous Frenchman who rehabs antiques and sells them, and a divorced auctioneer who wanted to talk at length about midwestern furniture with me. Several people just furnishing their homes, another textile addict and a guy who used to rehab treadle Singers. Fun fun fun.

My party favors: a set of 8 tiny painting in gold frames and two framed Japanese watercolors, a stack of 20 books on the work of modern artists, a small antique desk for my bedroom and a lovely 1920's wooden/upholstered armchair for the living room.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Good and Gooder!

The title is from something the Teen Princess used to say when she really liked something, a few years back.

We're back from a fabulous trip down the Colorado River, through the Grand Canyon itself. Seven days of alternating intense heat and freezing cold (the water temp at the start of the trip is 46 degrees, and the rapids get one wet...very wet). Eight incredible, mind-boggling hikes (some of them better described as "swims" or "climbs"). 18 superb cowboy-style meals. Lots of fears conquered, new friends made, sunburns acquired, sand storms endured, politics discussed, and laughs galore.

Four of the trip participants were English, and they brought a whole new set of stupid jokes to our party. My favorite:

"What do you call a guy with 100 rabbits up his butt?"

"Warren."

I laughed so hard at that one I lost some beverage out the nose.

Here's my brave/insane husband jumping off a waterfall/cliff in a side canyon. The cliff wasn't that high, actually, but the rock you have to jump off is very, very mossy and slippery, giving that neat feeling of "I'm probably going to die here" fun that we just don't get often enough. The kids and I did the jump, too, but my knees were knocking so hard that I had to sit quietly for a while after. :-)

It was great.

I started the new job today, and that will be a fun adventure, too. Different than I expected, but not better or worse. I'm delighted to have a staff badge, for some odd reason. People I don't know (but who also have badges) give me big howdies, and I can park in the employee parking lot and go down the secret back stairs of the hospital to get to the nifty taqueria around the corner. It's just nice to belong, I guess.