Sunday, January 31, 2010

Farewell to the weekend

Sadly I did not finish the Valentines' table quilt, and there's no way I could finish it in the next 48 minutes to call it an OPAM finish. So, I guess I've just got a phenomenal head start on a February OPAM finish.

I came downstairs for dinner and never made it back up to the studio, thanks to the Grammys. (I am a sucker for music awards shows). Oh well...still counts as something I love to do, so all is good.

I am heading back up to the studio to clean up from this afternoon's stitching, and I've got to watch at least one DVD that has to go back to the Guild library at tomorrow's meeting, so I think I'm going to start working on a pincushion or iron a shirt to wear to work toorrow as one of my last multitasks for the day.

Slow merchandising week coming up, and only one more mystery shop job, so I should have my evenings free this week to get stated on the quilt challenges. I think I'll take my sketchpad to the office tomorrow and see if I can pencil something out during lunch for the Diamonds and the Bloomin' challenges.

Off to see who's the big Grammy winner. I'll be back when I've got a February finished project to post.

Have a good week....take heart, Friday always manages to get here.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

S-Noooooooo!-wing Again

I know, what do I expect, after all, it IS winter. But yesterday the word was this was all going to be south of us, so no one even thought they'd be hostage to the house for the day. Whatever.

The blizzard condition view from the studio a couple hours ago. Just after I finished...

INSTALLING THE TRACK LIGHTS. Ta-da!!! Free track, free lights (cast-offs from the hubs' office). Cost me just under ten bucks for the channel strips  going across the ceiling and down the wall to hide the cord. (I'll most likely paint them to match the wall)

Look at how well-lit the sewing area is now. I can also point them at the cutting table which is to the left and behind me. I am loving it. I've got great daylight with those two large windows, but the ceiling fan lighting and the Ott lights on the desk and cutting table just weren't cutting it for my aging eyesight (which is just now beginning to be obstructed by my super long and full eyelashes ). Now I am all set, and I can see to rip out even the tiniest machine quilting stitches with ease at 1:00 a.m.

I still have one can left, and another track. I could always install that track over the cutting table and take a couple of the cans from this track (which has five 50 watt halogens) and have the best lit studio in the neighborhood. Will need to think about that. Drilling holes in the ceiling for anchors and snapping those cans into the track right resulted in more than one broken nail this afternoon. Maybe next time I happen to be in Home Depot I'll pick up some more channel strip stuff and do it, but for now, I think I'll be satisfied with the fruits of today's labors.

Rearranged the bookshelves the other day. Funny how you can find things laying around that coordinate, if you look hard enough. The papered quilt mag holders have been on the shelf since May, mixed in with blue ones,the box was on top of the armoire, and the journal was one I picked up at Barnes and Noble for a buck to use for embroidery notes. Wah-lah...instant decor.

Studio is looking good, and inviting me to finish those preemie quilts you saw on the machine table. Too bad it's snowing, or I would have felt compelled to run out and buy three frames and take apart that machine quilting sampler you see on the wall next to the window and frame the three separate panels in white frames instead of having it sashed together. Sigh....a project for when the snow stops. (I do not do well waiting for things.....when I want something, I want it NOW!)

Speaking of which, I ordered EQ6 yesterday from Allbrands. The hubs was the one who suggested it. (But that's another story for another day.) So, another new toy arrives next week. Too bad the laptop is enroute to HP repairland. Guess I need to work on my patience quotient.

Enough to sew. Hopefully I can check in with some more January finishes by the end of tomorrow. Wherever you are, stay warm and do something you love.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy Birthday

to the hubs. Just finished cleaning up the cake. I asked Jenifer to come over early to help with dinner and she made a lovely field greens salad with warm bacon vinagrette topped with a poached egg. I sauteed a few fresh zucchini and cooked some rather large New York Strips from Costco that I slathered with herb butter and wrapped in thick bacon before broiling. Melt in your mouth steak.

The boyfriend left before singing and cake to coach his girls' basketball team and Daddy and his little girl are reclining in the family room with the three dogs digesting the pineapple upside down cake I made for the Birthday Cake, and watching House.

Last night's track lighting didn't work out as I planned. I need some type of tubing to thread the cord through on it's way down the wall to the outlet, and since I'm not sure what's available for this, I can't decide whether I want the lights mounted on the ceiling or the top of the wall, so it will have to wait until I swing by Home Depot later this week.

Instead, I picked up needle and thread and I finished the Beach House quilt....label and all...and surprise, surprise, it already had a name, which I forgot's called 'Just Beachy' least that's what the label I made 6 or so weeks ago identified it as. Works for me.

I'll box that up later tonight so the hubs can UPS it to the beach house tomorrow. It will be much happier there, I'm sure (and come to think of it, so would I....I should just hand deliver it, don't you think?)

Enough rambling for tonight. I need to spend a few minutes with the family before I steal away to the studio.

Have a good night, and a better tomorrow

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Drive-by Blogging

Just stopped in on my way up from the basement. Hauling the ladder and the snap in track lighting the hubs brought home from the office a month ago and I'm going to play Bob the Builder for a few minutes and hang it.

I'm in the hand sewing the binding on the Beach House quilt stage and could certainly use a little extra lighting, so rather than take the easy way out and bring in a lamp from my workroom, I'm going full tilt and installing ceiling tracks and cans and all that good stuff. (Yes, I am crazy).

Be back later with photos if I survive the task.

(I should consider becoming an entrepreneur,,,,my first foray into becoming a millionaire businesswoman would include the franchise opportunity....'Rent A Handy Hubby'.)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Half Way Through the Weekend....Nooooooo!!!!!

Just got home from dinner, and two stops for desserts--Yogi Castle (yogurt) for me, Coldstone (ice cream) for him. While I'd love a cup of coffee, it's almost 10:30, so I think I should just bag it and curl up under the sheets with a book and get an early start tomorrow to make the best of the last day of the weekend.

Almost done with the Beach House quilt. It's recipient is in Park City skiing, so I hope to have it packed up and winging it's way to the Beach House Monday.

Today was retail therapy day. I headed up to Frederick this morning to use my Needles and Pins gift certificate, which was a lovely present from my daughter's boyfriend. Since I don't have a lot of backing fabric, I packed up three stacks of fabric projects with me for the hunt.

The first thing I found was this lovely Alex Anderson fabric that was perfect for the French fabric I bought in Houston this fall.

French looking, oui?

Here it is pictured with the quilt top fabrics:

C'est magnifique!

Next up, I carried all my indigos with me. I wasn't feeling it, but while my fabric was being cut, I looked at the Alex Anderson line one more time, put away the Nigerian and Asian indigos and focused on only the South African ones (shweshwe). And I think I found a good backing:

Not so sure about white, but the pointilism matches a few of the indigo prints, so I think it's going to work out just fine.

Lastly, I had carted along the Gees Bend quilt kit the hubs picked out for me for Christmas. I wanted to be fun and modern...not paying attention to the history of the pattern, but rather the color and the stark abstract, linear pattern. Always a fan of all things dotty, I picked this:

Lastly, after just about 2 hours of fabric agonizing and thread selecting, I meandered over to the batiks and decided that I really need something to use for the Diamonds challenge piece, so why not step even further out of my comfort zone and go a little crazy:

Crazy like a fox...a RED fox. Note the diamond batik on the left.

That's a lot of fabric....just about 18 yards total. I had my 'make my own sale' coupon they give you annually....good for 40% off all fabric cuts 1 yard or more, so it was a definite bargain bonanza.

Now I've got no excuses, and I've got quite a few projects that I'm totally locked and loaded for. And tomorrow is going to be a lazy, rainy Sunday...perfect for sewing. Hopefully tomorrow night I'll be posting a photo of the finished Beach House, and I'll be able to list it on my OPAM finished list.

BTW, this will be the 14th quilt I've finished. Not too shabby.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Egads! What Happened to Monday

I'll tell you what...I missed it. And darn near Tuesday too!

Busy, busy though. Not sure I mentioned, but I fulfilled Guideline #1. Yes, I connected the new laptop in the quilt studio. Set up the antivirus's ready to use, just waiting for me to hook it up to the 440 and monogram it's little heart out. But sadly, no time for that yet, as we are only about a third of the way through with the Beach House quilt. (So much for having it done by the 21st.....still shooting for the end of the month).

Bought a Quilters Fabric Calculator yesterday. Makes me think I've got a TI83. Haven't figured out how to use it yet. Skimmed the quick start pamphlet, skimmed the instruction manual, guess I'm going to have to fire up the DVD tutorial. I'll let you know how it works out, or if I'm required to register for a Calculus 101 at the community college as a prerequisite.

Also picked up a Bargello quilt book (as if I don't have enough projects in the works) and a Kaffe Fassett I ordered another Kaffe book with the Amazon gift certificate my director gave me for Christmas (thank you'd love Kaffe). Now I've got to rearrange the bookshelf in the studio.

Did I mention those 1930s reproduction fat quarters I ordered last week from Homestead Hearth? They had a special and you got 25 for $25. I figured, how could I go wrong...if I didn't really care for them, I could use them in the Guild's FQ raffle, or donate them for the quilt show raffle baskets. A buck each, how bad could they be?

The answer is NOT BAD AT ALL. In fact, they were fabulous, and none of them duplicated any of the 12 I already had. Here they are neatly stacked and arranged by color in their cubby holes.

Now, in all honesty, there is one that we could do without....unless, of course, we happened to have an 'Aunt Grace' we could pawn this off on.

If you've got an Aunt Grace (or a plan) to make something for using this fat quarter, post a comment with your plans for it and it's yours. If more than one person wants it, I'll pick someone randomly and pop it in the mail to you. I'd hate to see it live as a lonely recluse FQ in my cubbies when it could be leading a happy life being part of something.

Hopefully someone will administer a swift kick to my fat bee-hind tomorrow to get it off the couch watching the train wreck that is American Idol auditions and up to the quilt studio to finish the Beach House quilt. I need a project to list for OPAM.

Enjoy the unseasonable weather, if you live in my neck of the woods, hear we're going back to winter later in the week (I knew I should have stopped on the way home and bought a Mega Millions ticket...I'm never going to realize my dream of Coastal Living at this rate.)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Worm Has Turned

Sorry I've been missing, and didn't update the tunes for Saturday. Picked up what I thought was a virus on Thursday, thought I had got rid of it, only to have it come back guns blazing Saturday morning, when I had to leave for the embroidery lecture.

Really wanted to avoid dealing with it when I got home, so I researched what I had and found out it was the netsky worm. Fired up one of the netbooks, found a geek site telling me how to get rid of it, heaved a heavy, heavy sigh at all the files I'd be deleting and regstry code I'd be slogging through to delete, and decided to just run the Malwarebytes free software scan (the hubs brought this home from work on Friday) as an excuse to put it off for another couple hours.

Putting the sad, sick laptop out of my mind, I headed to the studio to organize and start cutting 7" strips from my Kiwiberry Balipop for a batik French braid I'm classing on in a couple weeks, forgetting about the sad, sick laptop. (And see the pretty backing fabic? Hoffmann, half price at the LQS on Friday.)

After dinner (and a glass or two of Merlot), I decided that I needed to tackle the clean up since this is the computer I telecommute on and it would have to be operational Tuesday. Surprise, surprise! The Malwarebytes free software not only found the 33 infected files, but it also cleaned the registry, and now (knock wood), everything appears to be peachy keen. I must have been living right yesterday.

I was then able to go back upstairs, finish cutting strips, organize a new thread cabinet (a found set of rolling drawers that has been in the basement for years....which cleaned up nicely using patio furniture cleaner).

I had been thinking about acquiring a thread rack but then it would take up a surface, or ruin the total Zen of the room (not to mention clash with the existing art) if I hung it on the walls. Plus, who wants their thread exposed to light? Thread degrades quickly enough all by itself, it certainly doesn't need a sunny, well-lit room to fade it faster...especially when I'm paying six-plus bucks a spool for it. The cabinet also holds my Bernina embroidery unit, a drawer for hoops, a drawer for embroidery needles/ special scissors/other embroidery notions, one for software one for stabilizers, and two for threads (separated out by rayon/metallic and polyester). Pretty darn perfect storage solution, not to mention it was free. (The hubs should be proud, except I think I'm going out to JoAnn today or tomorrow for some more thread, and maybe a fabric calculator :) )

I just love a good organization! (Ah, and a fulfillment of a New Year's guideline to boot!) And yes, I have not yet begun to embroider, which is why you don't see that much thread...though the drawers aren't pulled all the way out and there's more sections...not to worry, I'll catch up with you (which is what worries the hubs).

And now that the snowmen have been returned to their tote in the basement, I've got a new sewing buddy (a gift from the hubs--he was partial to the palm tree):

Why of course, Jack, I'd love to share the rum...especially since today we are planning to freemotion the Beach House quilt.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Quick photo post

I've been fighting the computer demons (myclockinfo) this evening. Think I've got it all straightened out, no thanks to McAfee, who wanted $89.95 to remotely clean my registry, which I have since figured out would most likely be a huge waste of money, as I'm not sure I've got an actual virus. For now, a simple little disabling of an Internet Explorer mystery add-on may have solved my problems (fingers crossed), we shall see what tomorrow brings.

In the meantime, that shot to hell all plans of working on the Beach House quilt tonight, and while I may still be able to salvage an hour or so in the studio, I'm dvr'ing Project Runway and my new plan is to march myself into the family room as soon as I'm done here and watch that.....gotta fulfill the that, my pretties, qualifies as doing something I love.

Now, why am I here instead of in front of the tv? Oh right, I had mentioned on a Dear Jane list earlier today that I would post a photo of my Omnigrid applique case. The discussion was about how one totes their handwork around, and I love the straight up, no nonsense organization this case delivers.

Here it is:

I hear Tim Gunn calling me.....TG tomorrow's Friday, and for those of us who are lucky enough to have Monday off, a hearty WOO HOO! 4-Day Weekend!. Make it work!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Houston, we have lift-off!

Looky, looky....

at what's on the pinning table tonight...and look carefully....see all the pins? Woo hoo!!!!

As you can see by my sidebar, I was fortunate enough to make it into a motivational group effort....One Project A Month. Seriously, now how hard is it to complete one project a month? (Well, if we consider that this one's been under construction for about 3 months now, I guess it's safe to say that at times I need all the help I can get). Anyway, this is going to be my finished project for January -- I swear! And I hope to gain  a lot of inspiration and enjoy the camradarie of the other bloggers participating in this endeavor. Thanks so much to Peg and Kris for setting it up.

With this new motivation after I cleaned up after dinner I went upstairs, put on my jammies and my Uggs, packed all of my materials in a tote bag, folded up the pinning table and schlepped it all downstairs to the family room where I could park it in front of the tv and watch American Idol with the hubs while I pinned. I told him I thought the reason I was avoiding it was because it's such a long process and it would be so boring to do it in my workroom. Well, that definitely did the trick. It took all of 2 hours to sandwich and pin, and it's done.

The fun part was I got to use the wonky little safety pin tool the hubs put in my Christmas stocking, and amazingly, it worked really well and I love it.

You press it down on the sandwich (which is why my thumb looks so fat and flat) to hold the fabric steady and avoid wrinkling the back and you stick your safety pin in and bring the end up over a little notch in the tool. Then all you have to do is press the head of the pin down and it fastens.

So now we have conquered the Beach House sandwich and pin procrastination madness and will now most likely focus on Beach House quilt freemotion procrastination for the rest of the week.

The Dear Jane book arrived today, so I am one step closer to becoming a Jane-iac (envision me in off the shoulder sweatshirt, leggings and sweatband pumping my legs furiously to the music...okay, bad mental image, I know you're seeing that woman from Quacker Factory, so let's just forget I mentioned that.). The hubs said he didn't quite understand my fascination with this quilt, but if that's what I want to do, go for it. 225 blocks.....definitely daunting. And to think that I've got this snowman quilt (about a million pieces of Piece O Cake applique) book that I've printed the patterns from, cut the templates, organized in a binder and have yet to start on since I acquired it about 4 years ago. Makes me think that this Dear Jane might take a while to launch.

Well, after finishing the BeachHouse quilt, I'll be whipping out a little table quilt for Valentine's Day, that is if I can fit it in with the Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend Challenge. I'd also like to make some little yoyo heart pins, and since I did a Valentime themed tutorial on the blog last year, maybe I'll make that an annual project and get back in tutorial mode with the yoyo heart pins.

If only there were as many hours in the day as I have good intentions.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I Don't Like Mondays

Seriously, is this pathetic or what? This is my desk, and it has looked exactly like this since I got into the office this morning. Decided to take a little lunch break (read: Diet Coke and Christmas cookies from the kitchen downstairs), and update the blog, as it's as close to creative as I'm going to get for the next 8 hours or so.

Sadly most of the junk in that pile will be packed back up and returned to the home office where it will be piled on that desk until it comes back to this one on Wednesday. (We telecommuters build nice arm muscles schlepping work between offices all week.)

I popped over to Sarcastic Quilter's blog a bit earlier this afternoon and signed on to tackle UFOs with her. Specifically, the SIL's Christmas Gift/Beach House Quilt that seems to be the bane of my procrastinating existence these days. You know, if it were pinned, I might be able to knock it out, but for some reason, I am doing everything I can think of to avoid laying it out to sandwich. Where the heck is the Quilt Fairy when you need him?!

And now I am seriously in need of putting my nose to the grindstone and taking some action on the Diamonds challenge quilt. 'Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend' is our guild's theme for the AQS Ultimate 2010 Guild Challenge. 35-40" square or rectangular piece that must include at least 10 diamonds in it's construction.

I took a look at last years' Ultimate Guild Challenge winners and have just come to the conclusion that I am:

a. so screwed
b. way out of my league here

I have never made an art quilt in my life--which isn't really surpising as I've only been a quilter for about 18 months, and trust me when I tell you that this finished piece had best be an art quilt. So it looks like I will now be jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

I just have to keep remembering some sage advice a really cool boss once gave me when he assigned me to his IT department and I said I feel like I'm about to jump into the deep end of the pool without a pool noodle. He said, "don't worry about it, before long, you'll be swimming with the sharks". (Which, was actually pretty funny as  I was picturing the geeks in his departrment treading water in arm floaties, not chomping on unsuspecting boogie boarders.)

Confidence....I can muster that. Now, I need an art quilter name. Something unpronounceable on viewing.
Damn....Kaffe Fassett is already taken. Hmmm......I've got it! Back in high school Mr. Bledsoe, my inspirational art teacher/creative mentor (who taught me that I was totally not artistically challenged as I had always believed) made up a knickname for me. Let's work with that.......Eureka!!!! (Wait, didn't they just have an earthquake?)

I shall be Suz Zwizzle, prospective art quilter. Let's see if you can figure out how to pronounce that, Kaffy Fassay :)

(And yes, I do know how to really pronounce his name :) )

Sunday, January 10, 2010

And On Saturday, She Sewed

After getting home and putting away the Costco load, I headed up to the studio to assemble the new Bernina thread holder, match the upocoming projects with their new threads, check out the aerosol haul my sister provided, and after dinner, work on the block for next year's raffle quilt for my guild.

Have I mentioned that this block is paper pieced, and that I have only done paper piecing one time, a year ago, on a very small New York Beauty I made for an 'ugly fabric' challenge for an online group I'm in?

Well, here's my 10" corner sunflower block:

Pretty good, if I say so myself. Definitely not bad for a second-time paper-piece. I like this paper-piecing thing. And now I think I'm going to use that as the means of creating my Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend challenge piece, which  I hope to start on next weekend.

And in order to do that, I must now head up to the studio and pin and quilt my SILs Christmas gift. Her birthday is the 21st, and we definitely want this to get to her before then.

Enjoy the tunes today. (Doesn't the first one take you back?)

And remember....sewing keeps you warm.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Welcome to Zombiland

And let me introduce myself as your Queen.

I did not sleep last night. Don't know why (there's no sun up in the sky....)...but I woke up every hour, on the hour, and stayed awake for 10-15 minutes. Talk about screw up your day.

Called in a sick day, slept a few hours (though not uninterrupted), gave it up, and started to de-Christmas.

Have made great progress. 99% of the first floor is done. Had hoped to do a little sewing tonight, sadly, it's 11:25 and I've still got freakin' Christmas stuff to haul to the basement. Maybe tomorrow.

As for doing something I love? Undecorating the Mardi Gras tree today...I LOVE every single ornament on that tree, and to touch and think about each one as I lovingly packed it away for next year qualified for resolution fulfillment.

The daughter calls around 8:30 looking for BBC Misfits DVD that the hubs brought home from work this week, and Lord knows how, but I managed to send her home with an 18 gallon tote full of Victorian Christmas Decorations and the mother of all artificial trees (she had to put down the back seat in her Nissan Rogue SUV to fit the box in.) Fortunately, the boyfriend was with her and could do the heavy lifting. And here I thought I'd be storing that bad boy for the coming year...what a relief! (Of course that only took up an eighth of the space the rest of Christmas does in the basement...)

The hubs is out playing Poker with a bunch of old guys ...wait...he's one of the old guys! Whatever, I'm sure he's having fun.The plan is to go shopping in Frederick early tomorrow, pick up my new thread rack at Sistos, sign up for the 2010 Hoopsisters BOM, and I hope to quilt AT LEAST all day Sunday.

I am exhausted from making numerous trips to the basement carrying Christmas crap all day, and I really don't know how I am awake right now, but, seeing that I am, I think I need to fix myself a super-strong dirty martini (but apply my Latisse first), to assure that I remain unconscious for at least 4 hours once I hit the sheets....which will be within the next 30 minutes.

Happy weekend.....sure did take long enough to get here!

Christmas is over....this is all that remains of the flocked Mardi Gras tree in the foyer.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Today Was Hardly Blogworthy

I've got the merchandising assignment from Hell this week (and come to think of it, next week as well)  so I'm working 12 hour days for the rest of the week. It's all I can do to get trees taken down. Undecorated 3 today--the two fresh ones went to the curb for tomorrow's recycling, and the White Victorian is undone and needs to be boxed--needed to add some of it's ornaments to the traditional tree ornament box as I'm sending this tree and the majority of it's decorations packing next year (to my daughter). I told you I was cutting back....too much Christmas, not enough quilting makes a girl cranky.

Picked up pizza on the way home from merchandising (at 8:00, no less), and piddled away a couple hours watching the Hangover, which the hubs was sweet enough to pick up from the Red Box on his way home from work. He further impressed me by wrangling solo the two undecorated trees out of their stands--no easy feat, as one of them is 10 feet tall--and down to the curb. I think I need to pick up a pack of gold stars and make him a chart to hang on the refrigerator :)

Well, I really just popped in to update the tunes for you. Pretty boring day for me. Still no progress on Guideline #1, but I'm headed upstairs to lengthify the lashes and do something I love....which is to read myself to sleep with an Elm Creek Quilt book that I picked up at the library today.

Maybe by some miracle, I'll finish the merchandising up early tomorrow night and be able to something/anything in the studio (while watching whatever mindless awards show is on). Sigh.....

Monday, January 4, 2010

Are We Enjoying the Tunes So Far?

It's been fun amusing you with my little battery of day-themed music. Not sure what's going to come tomorrow, but I'm sure I'll find something. I'm enjoying playing DJ. But wait, I need a DJ name.....DJ Q-L-T, yeah, that's a good one. (More on the name obsession later).

Checking in on the guideline progress....nothing on #1 (but you already suspected that, didn't you?)

I think the eyelashes are definitely getting longer. Yay Latisse! Either that, or I've got some really good mascara going on (Bare Minerals Flawless Definition).

And I had a very good day for #3. It all began at Capital Quilts this afternoon when I popped in on my lunch hour to sign up for a few classes.....a 2-hour machine embroidery lecture, a 2-session Bali Pop throw, and a 3-hour couching class...I've always wanted to couch. And I can't wait to confuse people by talking about 'couching this' and how I 'couched' that. Or how I need a 'couching' foot.

Obviously, one cannot go into a quilt store and buy nothing....I did need a couple of fat quarters for the guild FQ raffle tonight, AND then I needed some of the new Robert Kaufmann Vera's Garden prints--light blue, brown, yellows and olive totally groovy 60s, yet seductively 10s:

And with Valentine's Day right around the corner, how could I not buy some of Sandy Gervais' L'Amour line for Moda?

I'm thinking table quilts from both of these. Quick gratification, happy little eye candy pieces resulting.

While at the guild meeting I picked up a little project....a paper-pieced 10" block for next year's raffle quilt. Okay, so I've only paper-pieced once, but give me some was a spiky NY Beauty, I think I can manage without a lot of hyperventilating. You'll hear about as I work on it.  I believe the Guild Vice President may have said something like 'don't screw up' when asking us to pitch in. Oh well, it was either that or carpal tunnel-inducing appliqued blocks. I think I came away with the lesser of two evils, but I'm ready, willing, and (I hope) able.

Won the Dear Jane pattern book on eBay tonight. I am now officially a Jane-iac. You'll soon be suffering--er..excuse me, living vicariously through the whole 225 block journey with me (at least, I hope you will....misery loves company you know).

Tomorrow we will discuss my new 'nom de quilt'. I'm planning to one day be an art quilter (at least I need to be for the upcoming Diamonds challenge quilt), so I need a new name that is impossible to pronounce (think Kaffe Fassett) correctly. I'd like to kick some ideas by you.

At the moment I've got a lot going on (Beach House quilt, 2 challenge quilts, quilt show entry, charity quilts and pillowcases, machine embroidery....GUIDELINE #1!), so maybe I should just shut up and sew.

Have a tranquil Tuesday...and don't forget to buy a Mega Millions ticket! Remember...Ya' gotta play to win.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Somewhat Productive Sunday

While I didn't get anything done on the Beach House quilt, I did totally clear the kitchen and breakfast room (and part of the family room) of all things Christmas. And considering the amount of decorations I have, that was quite a feat.

I also managed to tone the biceps using a caulking gun for the first time and sealing every first floor window  with a removable weather-stripping caulk. Of course, we will likely wake up tomorrow minus a few thousand brain cells.....the 'pleasant vanilla scent' advertised on the tube smells more like 1965 Tester's Model Airplane Glue, and it lingered throughout the house for a good 6 hours (which I would expect since I caulked every possible escape route).

I woke up this morning with visions of  coloring my hair after breakfast, but that wound up being trumped by the caulking, which morphed into de-Christmasing part of the house. Today was one of those 'go with the flow' kind of days, and the flow was to undecorate and meticulously clean while restoring the area to normalcy (and stay in my pj's until 3:30).

Is this pic interesting or what? This is what I saw out my newly washed kitchen window when I took a second to sit down after removing all those kugels that were hanging there. Kind of roller-coaster-y, don't you think?No weird lens used, just a straight-up picture taken out the window.  I never really noticed how skateboard-park like our backyard is. Pretty nifty.

And here's some nice, back to normal kitchen photos, so you can see I really did accomplish something today.

I piddle away a lot of time doing things like foraging through the Christmas flower arrangements for stems that have another few days life so I can transfer them to lots of little odd-shaped bottles and set them in little table/windowsill displays. Oh, and repotting in terracotta pots grocery store basil and dill plants that clearly will not live past two weeks, and playing Edward Scissorhands with the holiday rosemary trees. (And I wonder why I seem to accomplish so little over the course of the day.)

Aww, the gingerbread tree has been bagged and sent to exile in the basement. How sad. And now poor Paco has to relearn that this corner is his dining area and will be for the next 11 months. (He's a chihuahua, he's easily confused, this will be a challenge for the next week or so).

Okay, anyway, 1 tree down, 15 to go. I seriously need a nap. But I also need to brush on the magic eyelash  potion (Guideline #2) and watch the paper piecing DVD that has to be returned to the guild tomorrow. I hope it's only 30 minutes long, that's about all I've got in me. (Sorry about that, Guideline #1)

I'm sure you're wondering, did I do something I love today? Well, I think the total cleaning thing is something I'm quite fond of. While it's only fun for a while, the end result of having a super-clean kitchen with no more claustrophobic Christmas clutter underfoot is a sweet payoff. And, when I finished, I flopped my weary self down on the couch with a glass of red wine and a bowl of popcorn, so yeah, I'd say Guideline #3 had a presence today.

Let's see about's back to the office after a super long weekend (Groan!)

Happy Monday everyone! Stay warm, stay focused and seize the week.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Oooh, ooh, look, a daily post!

What has become of me? A posting, two days in a row!

Just checking in. Guidelines 2 and 3 coming along nicely. Took the 'before' photo of the eyelashes, used the 'stuff' on them last night. No noticeable difference this morning...I still needed to put on mascara before I left the house, but I'm a big girl now, and I can understand that there is no such thing as 'instant gratifiication' in most pharmaceutical endeavors pursued at my age.

As you may have suspected, Guideline 1 hasn't been acted upon, and most likely will not be...I have to put somehting off, and that just seems like an easy one to do. My current lame excuse is that I need a mouse (I don't really, I'm perfectly capable of using the touch pad, if I have to).

Guideline 2 however, I'm overachieving. :) I spent yesterday afternoon in the studio making a lovely gift for my Secret Sister in the quilt guild, and sadly, I cannot show it to you, lest it unmask me. Suffice it to say that it's darn cute. And, tomorrow I'm making another cute-crafty something for a woman whose aquaintance I made on a Bernina machine group--who was kind enough to send me copies of patterns she picked up a couple months ago on a local quilt shop hop. I'm looking forward to meeting her at Monday's guild meeting. That's the thing I love about being a quilter....the camradarie of total strangers. It's truly amazing.

Anyway, it is COLD here in Maryland. Now I have some idea about how those scientists in Antarctica feel. We've got a hellacious wind that makes it feel like it's about negative 30 outside. I felt it necessary to buy myself a hat while we were out shopping today. Not too shabby for $5.99 at JCP (and to think, I almost paid $20 something for a hat at Macy's). (Pretty tricky not showing the eyelashes, eh?)

And the hubs was kind enough to be cajoled into a run into the JoAnn Fabric superstore on the Golden Mile in Frederick (I plied him with lunch at Famous Dave's Barbecue first--he did get a bit whiny when I strayed from buying more than just the batting I told him we were going in for--8 yards of 90" Warm and Natural snagged for a mere $4.01 per yard---I love how they rolled it on a tube for me--it will fit nicely in a corner of the studio closet this way.)

And how could I not buy some Sulky and Superior threads, just because I had a 20% off coupon and it was already on sale for 50% off. (If he hadn't been with me, that little gold block box you see behind the thread would have most likely come home filled with Sullky. Seriously, Sulky rayon at less than $3 a spool -- unheard of!

And I snagged one lonely machine quilt pattern book. I went in for a Dear Jane book, but they didn't have one, and you just can't not buy a book when it's 40% +20% off. I was pleased to see there were some starfish and sea creature patterns in this book/pattern package that I can use when I finally get to the freemotion on my Neptune quilt.

Well, I'm off to put away my playthings and snuggle into bed with some books. I've got a bit of reading to do, as I've got books that need to be returned to the quilt guild library Monday (along with a paper piecing DVD I need to watch).

Obviously, the 'happy' thing today was shopping for quilt stuff, though I did do an obsessive-compulsive reorder of the hubs closet and drawers this morning, and strangely enough, I was counting that as something that took me to my happy place. (I know, I'm a very strange bird sometimes).

Hopefully on Sunday I can show you photos of some progress on the Beach House quilt. Tomorrow we have no plans....tomorrow we sew!

Friday, January 1, 2010

It's a New Decade, Let's Talk Resolutions

First off, I'd like to wish everyone a Happy 2010, and I sincerely hope that this decade brings us all the peace and prosperity that was lacking in the last.

Who's made their resolutions for the New of hands.

I've decided that since I never actually carry through with any resolutions I make that I'd try something new this year and just set three or four loose guidelines for myself.

The hubs would suggest that the first be to immediately go upstairs to the quilt studio and set up the new laptop that's been sitting there unused for the past 6 weeks or so and get off this one so he can check his fantasy lineups -- okay, I'll consider that one. In the meantime, he's occupied in the kitchen making cream of mushroom soup for tonight's prime rib, fettuccini, Caesar salad New Years' dinner (yes, I am a very lucky woman).

While I'd love to lose some weight (wouldn't we all), that's a no-brainer, and a wasted guideline. Since we're always wanting to do that, why resolve to do something that should be achieved without needing a spot on a 'list'. That would kind of be like putting 'change underwear daily' on it. It's a given. Let's use that space for something more achievable in a short amount of time....something like.....grow longer and fuller eyelashes in 30 days. (Seriously, I'm not kidding here...Santa brought me Latisse for Christmas)

Okay, so now we've got 2....

1. Set up new laptop
2. Grow longer and fuller eyelashes in 30 days.

We need one more. Any ideas? Oooh, oooh (hand waving furiously....'pick me, pick me')...I've got it. And I think it's the mother of all guidelines. While the first will be accomplished today (okay, so maybe by the end of the weekend), and the second will be over in a month, this one will play out ALL YEAR.

3. Take the time to do something I love to do every single day.

There you go, resolutions (loose guidelines) done. Now I'm going to go pour myself another mimosa and go work on two of them (and no, the mimosa isn't fulfilling one of them).

But first, this is the last quilt completed in 2009. The Christmas coffee table quilt. (Can't have a blog entry without photos now, can we?)

Enjoy your day! And if you'd like to borrow any of my loose guidelines, especially the third one, feel free.