Saturday, July 13, 2013

I'm Going To Need A Vacation...

... to recover from this weekend, as might be evidenced by the fact that I'm typing this blog post on my iPhone while lying on the couch trying to work up the energy to go upstairs to bed.

Spent the day at the annual Mid Appalachian Quilters Seminar where I took a paper piecing class with Merry May. Mariner's Compass ... 32 point no less. (Photo tomorrow).

Saturday morning we're heading out at 7:30 am (groan) to Charles Town, West Virginia to a flea market. And I need to squeeze in a stop at the nursery and a visit to the Hallmark Ornament Premier.

Then it's back to MAQ Sunday for an all-day class on using Electric Quilt.

I hope to manage a bit of sewing tomorrow night. There's a new Aiming For Accuracy block posted that I need to jump on.

If you've got any extra time or energy to spare, and could channel it my way, it would be greatly appreciated!

And because we can't have a blog post without a photo, here's what I found in my mailbox when I got home this evening:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I've Been Working on the Workroom

Someone call TLC, because I am sure there is a TV show in this room somewhere.

Enter at your own risk.
Before I became a quilter I was a serious crafter of all trades. This is where it all happened. The smallest bedroom in the house, I tore out the carpeting and laid a vinyl tile floor (the better to paint, and airbrush, and clay and pound on). I painted the walls and ceiling soft shades of gray before gray was cool, because I wanted this neutral environment to create in.
I built that official wooden Home Depot workbench, in the room, back when we first moved into the house ('86--I was much younger then, with boundless energy and a 2-year old), with about a million nails, and enough 2x4's that it took me 2 days to cart them all up the steps from the garage (that would be 3 levels, if you're counting).  Of course the table is wider than the doorway, and the window, so it either conveys with the house when we sell, or someone is going to have to take a chainsaw to it to get it out of there.
That workbench has been witness to so much creativity, it's sad that today it stands as nothing more than a place to dump things that need to be put away properly.
Let's get to work, shall we?
Six or so hours later...

The first thing I did was wire for cable (the hubs bought me that little flat screen TV quite a few years back)...that's probably why it took me 6 hours to finish. :)

A place for everything, and everything in it's place.
And a cleared off work surface to do a little crafting. There's a bunch of Ziploc bags in a basket under the bench that are projects ready to go.
Now, I'm not saying I'm throwing the quilting to the wind in favor of the's just a good feeling that now I can walk into my workroom and create something, should the crafting bug bite.
In the meantime, I've been sewing something every day. Be it a few stitches on the Jingle applique block, or this 'Quilt In a Mousepad' that has been sitting around since 2009...the hubs bought this for me the first Christmas I started to quilt. It only took me 3 and a half years to get around to making it. Actually...I lacked motivation up until now....I'm taking an Electric Quilt class on Sunday, so I figured it would be much more fun to have a quilted mousepad to use in class instead of one advertising file management software. Those are some of the fabrics I'm using in the Mariner's Compass class this week--these are my favorite fabrics at the moment--from the Hoffman Bird of Paradise line. So pretty.
It's Wednesday....quilt something pretty, or do something creative. The weekend will be here soon enough, so it's always good to have a head start.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sunday -- A Bit More Productive

I managed to finish cutting the background fabric for class Friday, and I also packed up my machine and supplies. If I feel the need to use a machine between now and then I can always call in the reserves....

I so need to paint that cabinet if I'm going to keep it (and replace the hardware too!). It's one of those things I'd like to get out of the studio, but then the minute I get rid of it I'll probably regret it. It pulls out and folds out to a sewing surface--the machine is on a hydraulic lift, and it would just be perfect for my little beach house where I don't have a dedicated studio (ha ha dream on!). Whatever. I'm sure it'll continue to sit here for another 5 years before I get around to doing something with it.   But here's a neighbor has finally finished refinishing a bunch of furniture for her daughter....once she's back from vacation she'll probably be suffering woodstain withdrawal and I might have just the thing to take care of her jonesing to sand something,,,
The studio orchids are super glad they don't live outside

The top one was a birthday gift from my daughter. I have not owned such a prolific bloomer as this one. Hoping it always blooms this way.

The cyclamen aren't doing as well as in the past. The ones from 2 Christmas' ago that bloomed every day are down to only having one or two leaves, though they still manage a bloom now and again, and this years just aren't thriving. I'm not sure they're supposed to bloom year long, so maybe they're tired.

There is something about the light here...the magnolia tree outside the studio window is on it's 3rd bloom since Spring, and I expect we'll see more after this. (The magnolia in the backyard blooms once each year)

The tomato plants on the porch, weeny as they are, have already had juicy red tomatoes plucked from them (yum!), and we don't normally see tomatoes until August.

The Studio Sweep was successful, though it took 2 days...
There's nothing better than a lovely, clean, fresh room to retreat to while the rest of the house is in shambles. I need a cleaning lady...oh wait, I have's supposed to be me :(
Well, inspired by all this beauty, I think I'm going to tackle cleaning my workroom now. It's a certified disaster area...if I had yellow tape, I'd criss cross it across the doorway. Right now I only go in there to pick up paper from the printer and to iron, and then, only when I don't have room on my cutting table to set up my little ironing board. (It's that bad)  I'd like to do a little Christmas in July crafting, so I should prepare my workspace to facilitate that. Check back tomorrow for the Before and After of the Big Workroom Sweep.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Stitch, Cough, Clean, Sniffle, Stitch

Well, it's Day 9 of the Mystery Viral Disease from Roanoke. (I swear, if that man brings something back from Dover he will be taking up residence in the garage.)  I just want it to end. I want my energy back. Today worked out to be a waste of a perfectly good Saturday...I started cleaning, wound up in the studio, repotted one of the plants, started to dust, daughter brought over some mending so I did that for her, then mended my own basket full of stuff, then I wound up rearranging my button boxes and watching news coverage of the crash landing in San Francisco. Here it is, almost midnight, and I've got maybe an hour's or two worth of work to show for the day. Hopefully tomorrow turns out to be more productive. Maybe the trick is not to sit.

Oh, I did label the '6th of Jul'y table runner for my daughter. Printed a label for mine, but didn't bother to sew mine on since it's not going anywhere.

And I have managed to 'sew every day' so far this month. This is the second block in the Aiming for Accuracy Quilt Along:

I was pretty excited earlier this week when the Fed Ex guy came and he wasn't delivering any boring old cover artwork for work...

Wowsers! The Aurifil Thread Collection I won arrived. And just in time too because as I was pulling together the supplies for my Mariner's Compass class on Friday I realized I didn't have the right shade of blue in a 50 wt in my thread drawer... but this collection saved the day, because it had just what I need.

And speaking of thread, I've had this itch to quilt with 'glitter' thread. I've got a table quilt ready that is likely going to my daughter's classroom, so that seems the perfect opportunity to practice/try this out. If it doesn't work out, it's not a big deal...these 4th graders aren't going to be doing any critiques. I stopped at JoAnn on my way home from the office on Wednesday to take advantage of their 50% off thread deal, and I picked up this Sulky holographic thread.

And those rayon blue spools in the back are bonus purchase....Sulky is apparently discontinuing a bunch of colors so JoAnn has them marked down to $1.97 a spool. I walked to the register with about 20 spools of thread, but then I was able to wrestle control of my mind and body from the thread crazy alien possessing me and I only purchased the 3 spools of indigo rayon to use on my indigo quilt....or maybe on my mariner's compass.

I'll let you know how quilting with that holographic thread works out. I have a suspicion that I may have bitten off more than I can chew.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Waiting for the Robitussin to Kick In

So, the hubs brought back some 'crud' from Roanoke which, according to the doctor he saw is viral, so it's a suffer through it for a week and a half, cough your brains out at night, sound like that lady in the anti-smoking commercial kind of illness for which there is no cure. I'm on Day 3, so I've got at least another 5 to suffer through, if the hubs is any kind of indication. Happy, happy, joy, joy.

Unlike men, who must take to bed when they are sick, unless there is a golf match or a softball game, in which case they are well enough to participate, as long as they come home and moan and fall directly onto the couch unable to unload the dishwasher or assist with the daily feedings, women must continue to function. That means errands, cleaning, cooking, and attending theater performances you purchased tickets for 5 months in advance. At my worst, I was sitting in the front row for a performance of "One Night With Janis Joplin".

For the rest of the weekend, I pretty much played catch up on the Jingle BOM quilt. I was behind 3 pieced blocks, so it was definitely an incentive when the designer put pieced block 4 up on her site. And of course, shortly after that I realized I had missed applique block 4, putting me even farther behind --sigh.

My experience with HSTs is pretty much limited to using Thangles, and I think I could count the flying geese I've made on one hand, so these fairly common blocks were pretty challenging to me.

Especially when the cutting directions for a lot of the pieces called for 3/8" cuts. This taught me that one really needs to use a clearly gridded ruler lest you start cutting 2/8".

And then you wind up with a block that won't measure what it's supposed to, after you've spent hours wrestling with that triangular border (they are not geese), so you find yourself wielding a bottle of Mary Ellen's Best Press and trying to iron/block it to the proper size.

So once you finish the last one that was uploaded on Friday, you evaluate your OCD tendencies and CAREFULLY cut new 3/8" pieces and remake that damn third block.

What a difference accurate cutting makes.
And while we're touting accuracy, on Day 1 of the evil throat crud, in between naps, and checking in at work (though I phoned in sick), I began Block 1 of the Aiming for Accuracy quilt project.
It's not much,. but hey, it's done the day after the instructions were posted. Let's hope I can keep up with that pace.
I've covered up the Bernina and plan to spend any free time this week on handwork. What are your plans? Those of you in the Southwest and the West are surely taking advantage of the air conditioning to put in some quality time with your sewing machines, yes?