Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My first convergence (kind of like a first communion, only without the white dress)

Wah-lah! Not only my first convergence quilt, but my first foray into the fabulosity of batiks. I am hooked. So many fabric choices, so little money (heh heh).

I took a class yesterday morning when I was having trouble grasping the concepts in Ricky Tims' book. Well, actually it was more like I was too lazy to read the book and it was easier to have someone show me the mechanics of this.

I've not got the contrast/pop/in your face effect I was striving for. My fabrics are just too well coordinated. So I had some of the two greens left over and on my way out of the quilt shop I picked up a couple startling contrast pieces that may give me what I want. As soon as I finish this one--inner border, outer border, back, quilt and bind--hopefully all accomplished tonight (in my dreams), I'll do it all over. I consider this an experiment/assignment/homework--this way I can make the same thing again and not feel wonky doing it.

And today we grieve the demise of the flip flops of last week. Poor planning meant that the only clean jeans in my drawer this morning were a pair of really long ones requiring heels. I sucked it up, put on socks and unboxed the ceremonial new first pair of Fall shoes. Eight hours later, this is where they lie, and honestly, I could care less if Bailey carts them off under the bed and pretends they're fine Italian rawhide. :)
Hurry summer! (or trip to Florida)

Monday, September 28, 2009

The party's over......

...the hubs is home tonight. :)

If you're wondering where I've been, the answer is nowhere. The significant other left for Vegas last Wednesday, so I've been on my own and out of control for the past 5 days....well, I've been out of control if you consider tearing apart the basement to have a yard sale on Saturday outrageous, girls gone wild, entertainment. I was having such a good time with this that I totally forgot Project Runway was on Thursday night (fortunately it will repeat this week).

As yard sales go, it was okay. I find that if you go into a yard sale with the mentality that you are so unbelievably lucky that people are paying you to haul off your junk, you will never be disappointed.

For me, the major rule is if it hits the driveway it may never return to the basement (except in the case of the few hundred record albums and never want to just hand those off to Goodwill or Waste Management).

Not only did I get a good deal of my basement cleaned up, but I covered Paco's vet bill and had a little mad money leftover for a Yankee Candle run and a bag of tarts. Couldn't ask for more.

Now, we all know that while the cat's away, the mice will play, and play indeed, did I. After the yard sale I hit the Redbox and rented myself a couple of DVDs that the hubs would never allow in the house had he been here....Sunshine Cleaning and Hannah Montana. (I am a sucker for the Disney channel, though I've never seen the Jonas Brothers show).

While watching those, I quilted two of my sister's 5 (count 'em 5) table runners that she brought over a month's one of them:

It was a fall table runner, so I thought I'd freestyle some oak leaves all around. Hey, it's good practice, I'm just getting started at this, be kind. And, in case you aren't a quilter, this photo is the back of it, you can't see the stitching on the front as well.

I'd better shake a tail feather. It's almost 7 and I've got to leave here at 11 to pick him up at BWI at midnight. I know, I'd say he owes me, but I think we can let it slide considering the sewing machine and a little shopping excursion he did for me in Vegas (I'll post about that tomorrow). I've got a quilt class tomorrow (Convergence quilt) so I need to get everything packed up as I don't expect I'll be in bed tonight until 2 a.m. and I most definitely don't foresee any leisurely morning time tomorrow before I need to leave for class.

Check back tomorrow for photos of what 'the man behind the quilts' (I've decided to call him that because he's the one holding up all the quilts I photograph) brought back from Vegas for moi.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Thank you for your patience, we will now return you to the regularly scheduled SEWING programming

Yaay! Finally finished the 18" wool table mat. It wound up taking a lot more time than I had anticipated as it is all hand sewn and being the perfectionist that I am, there was a lot of stitch-ripping-out.

It's all wool, which is so much nicer to work with than that washed felt you see these made of in a lot of places. Trust me when I tell you that if you do see a pattern for this, ignore the instructions to use felt and go straight for the wool. Last time I bought the so-called 'wool' felt made to do these with at a shop, it was $8.50-$12.00 a yard. Wool is WAY CHEAPER and it is easier to needle through, looks a thousand times better, and doesn't look like something that was 'accidently washed'.

What took me so long was I had to rip out all the embroidery stitches I was doing. I was trying to connect my stitches so they looked like solid lines and NOTHING was coming out curved. My husband said it looked like a kindergartner had sewn it. So I tore out all the stitching and opted for a broken stitch which looks much more fluid and allows all the curly Q curves.

I like it a lot, but I'm so glad I'm done hand sewing for a while.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Farewell dear, dear friend. I shall miss you so.

Today is the last day of summer. Yesterday I went out and bought actual know, those things you have to wear socks with that totally cover your feet, make them all sweaty, and hurt for at least the first half dozen outings. Such a sad shopping trip, surely a mournful way of marking the passage of time.

These flip flops have racked up countless miles. (At least 50 of them in Hawaii this summer). They will go kicking and screaming to the back of the closet in a few days. Exiled, though by no choice of their own. Damn winter!!

Any-hoo....while I had the cellphone out thought I'd share a couple of office photos. This is where I spend my time three days a week, and here's my office-mate....

Why yes, he is life size (and he really likes it when I bring him back little things from my meetings).It's not the greatest photo...lots of glare from the little window behind me (my office is in an attic of a 100-year old house...lots of weird little walls, ceilings and windows).

And here's something I haven't played with for a long time....

paper mache! I was in a paper mache phase a while back. I should try that again.

Well, so much for my lunch hour. Must get back to work (and mourning Summer's demise. I think I'll dress in black tomorrow, I've got a lovely pair of black flip flops.)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

And the winner is.......

The Aurora 440QEE plus the new, not yet out, Cutwork software package. Woo hoo!

For a minute I was coming home with an 820...6 EXTRA INCHES---seriously, who doesn't want 6 extra inches (of sewing space! get your minds out of the gutter, girls!) But while I'm not an embroiderer, at least not yet, once I found out about the cutwork capability, that cinched the deal and I had to have a machine with embroidery so I could add cutwork. Buh-bye to the 820. (And I'm saving my 830 purchase for when I win the lottery....seriously, you've got to have something to spend those mega-millions on.)

Sure the Artista 640 was nice, but I'd have to buy the BSR, a walking foot, a quarter inch foot, and the embroidery module. I asked Ron Sisto, as a quilter who might embroider, what machine should I buy and he said, hands down, the 440QEE (and he'd have made more money on the sale if I bought the 640, so I have to believe him).

Funny thing is that the one-day Bernina promotion that sent me out machine shopping to begin with is for OCTOBER 17. For some reason I thought today was the 17th and the promotion was today. Silly me! Oh no, horrors! I'm flying home from Houston on the 17th!

Not to worry, Ron wrote it up, opened the Bernina account and assured me that he will run it all through for me on the 17th. And by that time, the new Cutwork package will also be in (the machine also had to be ordered). I never expected to be bringing a new machine home today anyway, so all is good. If only I can get DH to drive up there to pick up the machine on the 17th :)

Are you still here???

Yes, I am. I stayed up until 2:30 so I'd be able to sleep past 4:00. Didn't roll out of bed until 9:15. Still in jammies while the hubs readies himself for the wild ride.

Last night I was telling him my strategy and the prices, and here's his only question:

"So what does the 830 cost?"

Yes, that's my maniacal laughter you are hearing. No, I am not coming home with an 830, at least I don't think I am. And it's entirely possible I come home with nothing (though highly unlikely).

Well, he's just come downstairs dressed and ready for battle, so that's my queue to go get ready--FAST! He's down the basement looking for his missing tournament softball bat (he cracked the other tournament bat in practice last weekend)...wait!!!! I knew he had an ulterior motive......let me buy a sewing machine so he can buy a new bat! I should have known he was up to something. :)

Back later.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Is it tomorrow yet?

Crap, it's only 6:36. This is worse than any Christmas Eve, EV-ah! You know I'll be wide awake at 4 a.m.

So, came home, called G Street Fabrics, asked pricing and feature questions about different machines, went to the Bernina website, printed out the only brochure I was missing (yes, I had all the rest.....a girl can dream, can't she?). Found a U.K. site with a comparison chart, printed that out. I'm ready to crack the old brochures tonight (just need to finish up this glass of wine).

Now, this is particularly killing me because DH is playing softball, so I haven't had a chance to talk to him to see if one of us wasn't 'too many marshmallows in the Lucky Charms this morning' delusional. I can't phone-a-friend and squeal 'ohMIgod's and 'shut UP's/'get out!'s into the friends are sewing-arts challenged, they don't craft, they don't sew. (Actually, Anna knits.). But none of them want to hear sewing machine drivel on a Friday night.

So, the only person left to call is my sister (trust me, I had her on the cell as soon as I left the office). What do you think she said? (Refer to previous posts, if this might help you) "So, this means you won't be quilting my table runners this weekend, doesn't it?".

Really, she did say that, but she didn't mean it. She was being funny, in her own older-sisterly way (emphasis on 'older').

Actually, she is excited for me, and is being very patient listening to sewing machine quilting vs. embroidery drivel. And for that, I'll most graciously use my new machine to embroider her initals on all of her granny panties when she moves into the home.

And with that, I'd better start running now........

Who Are You and What Have You Done With My Husband?

Bernina has a super sale tomorrow. I've been 'thinking' about a new machine for a while now (who doesn't). I forwarded the email to the hubs saying that this is the best deal so far this year and now would be a good time and he replied....

"I think you deserve it honey."

Ha, ha ha. He's too funny. So the thread continues:

"You're kidding? Or you really mean it?"
"I really mean it."

At this point, I'm hyperventilating.

"So you'll go with me tomorrow to look?"
"Can I test drive it? That's more than my first car and 1st 2 motorcycles combined."
"Yes you can."

End of messages. I don't know what to think. Check back tomorrow--we can all be surprised.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It's not quilting..but we can call it 'paper applique'

I spent today at a 'Freemotion Without Fear' workshop. Enlightening. Not as I expected though. I came with all sorts of threads and needles thinking we'd pick up some artsy technique, but as it were only one spool of rayon thread and an embroidery needle ever made it to the table. It was a great day of practice and the instructor had some lovely art quilts to show, so not a total waste of a day I would have better spent working on my sister's table runners.

When I got home I had to do a craft for a Sunday craft-along I promote on a Yahoo group I'm a member of. This is what I finished:

Design Star finale is on in 15 minutes and I need to unpack all my sewing gear I hauled to the workshop today. If my sister's reading this, not to worry, I've learned new skills today that I'll apply to your table runners. Got the Guild meeting tomorrow, but I'll finish them up for you by the weekend.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labors of Labor Day Weekend

I spent all day Saturday in the quilt studio and managed to put together a quick little 16-block tabletop quilt designed by the moderator of my quilt testing group. She calls it 'In A New York Minute'. I had a set of Christmas Gingerbread/Candy FQs that I had picked up at a show this summer so I just used those. Had enough left over to also start a table runner which I'll give to my daughter. At first I was futzing with it to use it as a backing for this, but then just hacked it up and laid it out in true patchwork form...2.5" squares. Didn't have backing or binding to finish either, but I've got some time for that.

On Sunday I finally got to work on my 18" wool table round in penny mat style. It was a chore enough cutting and fusing the wools together, but now I've got to blanket stitch each piece, add embroidery highlights and then attach all the leaves together with squiggly embroidered embellishment. I'm not a great hand embroiderer, so I'm sure this one will definitely fit the 'primitive' bill when it's complete.

No creative pursuits on Labor Day, unless you count a cookout for 21 that was not only burgers, dogs and chicken, but a bushel of crabs, lump crabcakes, shrimp, lobster, and raw oysters (seafood courtesy of my BIL) and all the requisite sides. Started at 2:00 and the last guest left around 7:00. I then spent another 2 hours picking the leftover crabs. My hands don't exactly feel like doing anything today other than trying to heal all their little cuts from the crab shells. Maybe I'll just wrap them around some of the leftover beers still in the cooler.