Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Get the camera!

"Mom, come outside quick! Dad wants the camera and both boys...."

There's a certain tone of voice that means whatever it is is alive and going to get away if I'm not quick. And it's not the hushed urgency that means it's a bunch of deer up on the hill...




Honestly, I was expecting something bigger. This guy isn't nearly the size of the last one. (The one I almost stepped on one afternoon when I walked around the back of the van to get the groceries out, that Bill keeps a picture of in his toolbox at work because it was a good six feet long and very scary looking.)

Would it be too mean to send some pictures to the grandmas without mentioning that it's our own backyard?

Today's inspiration --

mamacjt is making darling little quilts for DQS8 and has some great posts showing her original sketches and how they transformed into finish quilts.

I've finally managed to change from my darning foot to my 1/4 inch foo and raise the feed dogs, and pieced about a dozen 2 1/2" squares together. Doesn't sound like much, but it's more than I've done in weeks. And the quilters over at 15 minutes play are getting all sorts of stuff done in little snippets of time. (Don't tell me if they're actually spending longer, I don't want to know!)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

drooling over play kitchens

I have little boys. I have little boys who like to play with big boy toys. I do not need a play kitchen.

When I had a littl(er) girl, we went through two of the mass produced plastic play kitchens and a ton of plastic play food and no one ever really embraced any of it.

I do not need a play kitchen...

But I seriously wantone, now that I've seen what people are doing with old furniture from garage sales. Like the first one I saw and fell in love with. Or this little sink that used to be a night stand. Or this one.

Like soooo many other things, I wish I'd seen things like this when my little ones were littler....when I had more room to justify things like this....when I had more energy to attempt things like this (but less money to spend on the supplies, so I suppose that part evens out)...

But, while lusting after all of these fabulous play kitchens (I'm too old to make one for myself, right?), an idea started to form. An idea that would be perfect for my little guys if I can work out the logistics.

Friday, July 23, 2010

still not quilting

If anyone wants proof that all is not right in my house, they can look at my sewing machine where the same quilt has been pinned down by the needle for ten days.

Ten days ago, I spent a whole twenty minutes trying to finish quilting the spirals. Before that, the little quilt sat untouched for a month.

The pile of unfolded laundry and the floor that need vacuuming, those aren't that unusual. It's not even unusual for me to leave a quilt neglected for that long.

What is wrong, and is slowly driving me toward madness, is that I haven't been working on anything else. I'm not sure how long that green lace baby hat has been on my size eight circulars waiting to be cast off. I don't want to know.

I keep thinking I'll be able to piece some nine patches or cut a binding, or do just a little bit of something, but my knee hurts and my shoulder hurts and by the time I've got the kids fed and the dishes done, I haven't got enough oomph left to even think about taking that quilt out of the sewing machine or raising the feed dogs and changing the presser foot.

Which takes two minutes. And isn't that physically strenuous. But considering how many typos I've had to fix so far while typing this, maybe I shouldn't play with sharp things. I cut through the back of my fingernail with a paring knife while slicing tomatoes the other day. And then slammed the same bandaged finger in the porch door an hour later.

And no, that wasn't when I was taking any of the painkillers. I'm apparantly that rattled and klutzy all on my own.

While I'm resting my knee and shoulder between doing things that have to be done, I've been following rabbit trails from blog to blog. Not quilting or knitting blogs, because seeing quilts I want to make and knowing I can't start them is just depressing.... but I can read neat vintage and craft blogs and get excited about "someday" projects.

Jan at Bobbypins Boardwalk has a great idea for organizing fabric on a slatted folding door. Now I really want a door to play with.

I'm really looking forward to a series of drafting that's coming up over at ikat bag

And look at the felt doctor's kit over here. Isn't that just the coolest thing ever?! My two little guys would definitely play with the xray and cast. I'm thinking one of the felt playhouses with a doctor's office would be fun. Not that I'd be that ambitious even if I was at my best...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy Hour!



Happy Hour has got to be one of the best ideas Craft Warehouse has ever come up with, even better than Black Friday sales because you don't have to decide between cheap toys for the kids and cheap toys for Mom. Every Wednesday night, from six to eight, they've got coupons for 40% off one item and 20% off the rest of your purchase.

I'm sure those hours work for lots of other people, but last night was one of the very few times I've actually been up in town at the right time and haven't had to rush straight home after running errands. So I stopped early in the day to make sure they had coupons and see if they had anything I wanted to come back for.

They had quilting fabric on clearance for $1.99 a yard. Bright colors for the baby quilts.... Dark civil war colors for my quilts.... Moda... I spent the next three hours trying to figure out how I was going to wrangle two preschoolers and a ten year old, because the last time I made it to Happy Hour the place was really busy.

Last night, there was only one other woman buying fabric. A couple of others were looking, but seemed immune to the cheap prices and pretty colors. Everything I'd seen earlier in the day was still right there waiting for me, so I filled the cart with bolts and left my thirteen year old to get it cut and took the boys outside.

How can it take an hour to cut fabric? I can understand a long wait in line, but that was just to cut what I was buying and write down the numbers from the ends of the bolts and get out the White Out and re-write the numbers again.... And then it was another half hour or so to pay for it.

Have I mentioned how much I appreciate my thirteen year old? She decided that standing in line by herself would be much more pleasant than standing in line with me and three boys, so I took them out to the van and put on a movie and rested my knee while she spent my money for me.

Fourteen yards of yummy fabric and two nice tote bags for for twenty-six bucks. I'm SO happy to have stumbled across that sale rack! There are a couple of pink prints I didn't pick up that are still haunting me (in hindsight, I really really really wish I'd bought the whole bolt to use as a backing!), but there aren't any "why did I buy that's" that made it home, so I did good.

AND, as if that wasn't enough quilty goodness to bring home, I picked up two huge bags of cotton fabric that I'd seen on Craig's List and had Grandma swing by and check out for me. For twenty bucks, I got a whole ton of backs and bindings to be.

What I need now is the ability to quilt.

My old farmhouse kitchen needs a Mason Jar soap dispenser. I've even got the jars for it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

flashing the thread stash

Inspired by the Show Us Your Stash thread over at Sew Mama Sew, here's my thread stash --



This is all of it. I was trying to hold off on placing another Connecting Threads order until I hit my last spool of off-white. Not counting the one in the machine now, I've got two left, so I guess I'm about due.

How did you select colors for your personal thread collection?

Most are neutrals -- or would be if I wasn't running so low. Some came in a sampler with the Janome. Some I bought because I thought I'd use them in a future project. And some I just loved the colors.

Do you always match the color perfectly to your project?

No. I usually piece with a neutral color, either cream or beige depending on my mood. Lately, I've been trying to use up the thread that came as a bonus with my sewing machine and I'm using whatever color I think I can possibly get away with.

Do you ever use contrasting thread?

Now and then.

Do you use the same color in the bobbin as the upper thread?

Usually, unless I'm trying to use up some extra bobbins.

What if a fabric has big areas of very different colors?

I'd probably use a neutral color and not worry about it. But most of my quilts are lots of itty bitty scrappy pieces, so I haven't had to make that decision often.

Do you ever buy thread because you fall in love with the color (without a particular project in mind)?

Yes, especially if it's on sale. I try to control myself, because I can only spend so much on thread at one time (because it's never just thread that I need!)

Do you “invest” in thread?

I stockpile thread because we live here in the middle of nowhere and I like knowing that I have plenty and won't use up my last bit of something important when my husband is at work with all of the car seats or it's three in the morning or I won't be making the trip to town for another week.

I'm trying to use up some of the oddball thread and replace it with colors from Connecting Threads. Because I love their thread and it fits so nicely in my old treadle sewing machine drawers.

What types of thread do you have? (elastic, quilting, all-purpose, wool, etc.)

Most of my thread is 50 weight cotton, except for a couple of spools of hand quilting thread that I bought when it was on sale and I thought I'd use it. Now I'm thinking maybe I could use it up sewing down bindings.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

fabulous accomodations

Bonnie posted a gorgeous picture of where she was staying in Sisters. So did Lori and Spicewood Quilting Diva, and I'm sure there must be lots of others. With every hotel room and campsite in that part of the state booked months and months in advance, there just have to be!

So I decided to share a picture of my own fabulous accommodations from Friday night, carefully staged not to include the two inflatable mattresses and four sleeping bags my children were using.



I called dibs on that concrete floor last year right after my parents told us they'd bought property in La Pine. (The cot was an unexpected bonus and meant I didn't have to share an inflatable mattress with my two preschoolers.) Dad offered to take all three of the boys with him for the day.

Which made it my first quilt show without the kids, about a decade before I expected it to happen. I was not staying home.

The quilt show was a totally different experience from my rented wheelchair. (It probably also helped that I wasn't chasing three little boys in three different directions.)



I couldn't read the tags without getting up and walking over to them, so I missed out on the "read the tags on every quilt that caught my fancy" chunk of the kidless quilt show fantasy. To my surprise, I was able to see the quilting on most of the quilts.

This is the one that's haunting me today --



I want it! Or my own version of it, which would be more of a throw size, with 1" finished squares and slightly different log cabins... I'd be cutting pieces today if it wasn't so hot and if I was able to quilt.

What's this one? I thought it was fifty-four forty or fight, but I looked up that block when we got home and this is something else.Whatever it was, there were a bunch of them this year.



I'm glad I went and I'm brimming with ideas, but today I'm exhausted.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

I need a clothesline.



I've been saying that for about twelve years now, but at times like this, I really wish I had a clothesline so I show off my new fabric in style. Fourteen men's shirts that I think I spent a grand total of four bucks on. Three or four came from a free box at what was otherwise the lamest yard sale ever, and the rest came from a sale at the local thrift shop's storage unit where they sell clothes three for a dollar.

They'll be an absolutely great start for a quilt I've been wanting to make. I just don't know when.

At my last appointment, the doctor said to stop trying to quilt for a while. Not what I wanted to hear, especially since it's been a couple of weeks since I even tried to quilt. I've been patient -- now I want my life back!

I thought I'd take the boys to McDonald's this afternoon to burn off some energy in their playland. How mobile do you have to be to sit on a chair and sip diet Coke and keep two preschoolers from escaping through the one door? More than I am, apparently.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Halfway Through the Year

Because I saw someone else post June totals and thought it would be a neat idea, and because I fear I'm at an actual stopping point here, I decided to scan through my blog posts and figure out my own progress for the year.

In 2009, I made twenty quilts. I gave seven of them away, but that still leaves thirteen quilts and since I hope to be quilting for many many more years...

The math concerned me a bit. Especially since I've got this bad habit of looking at a pattern in a magazine and thinking "That might be fun!" closely followed by "I think I've got scraps that would work for that." Which left me with tops I wasn't that wild about.

This year I'm saving those blocks that might be fun for the baby quilts. I've made (I think) thirty so far. They're fun, there's no pressure because I'm not going to have to live with them for the rest of my life, and because I know they're not staying here, I don't use up my last bits of some precious print in them and then decide I don't like the quilt but I can't part with the fabric.



I've made three quilts for myself so far and I'm attached to them all. Madder Snowballs used a fabric line from Connecting Threads that I absolutely loved. Sawtooth Chain was my birthday present to myself. And Courthouse Steps was a pattern I'd wanted to try ever since I finished the log cabin twins.



I worked up my courage and started quilting bigger quilts on my own machine. Sparkling Gems, Fun With Bricks, and my log cabin twin all got finished without a trip up to use the long arm.



Not sure what's next -- I think I'll try to finish the blocks for Grandma's Donuts and the nine patches for By the Lake. And there are those Jelly Roll wanna-bes and Quinn's green quilt, but I've got to work up a lot more energy before I tackle anything new.
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