Tuesday, July 31, 2012

wfmw -- Is it just me?

This morning, I needed to send a quick email before we took off for the rest of our day. The homepage for my email provider gave me a pop up screen saying that I needed to click on their new terms of service. I was in a hurry and knew I'd have to agree with them anyway if I wanted to get the message I was waiting for, so I clicked....

It wouldn't let me into my email. It wouldn't let me see the new terms of service. I started to worry.

Ever have one of those moments when really need to get to a website and it won't load and you can't tell if the site is down or something is horribly wrong with your computer?

Go to Down for Everyone or Just Me and type in the site you're looking for and they'll let you know if it's you or if the site is having problems. I wish I'd known about this a long time ago, especially those times when my husband and kids couldn't get to the sites they wanted and expected me to know how to fix it!

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Design Wall Monday - Santa Fe String Star

The diamonds aren't cut to their exact size yet, just trimmed enough to give me an idea what they might look like when they're done. Honestly, I'm not sure if I have the nerve for this quilt or not. I haven't worked with diamonds before, and haven't done set in seams, or a big star like this one.... and I've got 200 diamonds to piece...I really feel more comfortable with quilts where you can try out a test block or two before jumping in.

As I sort through strings I'm pulling out anything that looks pink enough for the cotton candy quilt, and anything that's wider than 1 1/2" for the Lego quilt...and using the little strips for diamonds. And since I was finding so many long strings, I decided to start some 7 1/2" blocks for Daylilies... conveniently forgetting that that quilt has set in seams and hand applique... looks like I'll be developing some new skills!

My 1 1/2" strips die that actually cuts 1 1/2" strips came this week (long story which I'll tell you later this week) and it's making cutting the pieces for the Lego quilt so much easier. I just iron anything that's wide enough and stack them so the edges extend past the blades and run it through the cutter when I've got enough layers. I'm loving this!

To see more design walls, head over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

weekly stash report

There are new numbers in this week's report! I finished a quilt I can't show you yet, and bought five pinkish neutral fat quarters for the cotton candy quilt from Bonnie's new book.

Fabric Used this Week: 7 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 38 yards
Added this Week: 1 1/4 yards
Added Year to Date: 135 yards
Net Added for 2012: 97 yards

If I add in the hundred yards or so of unusable stuff I've flung from the sewing room so far this year, there's still less fabric in the house than there was on January 1. Who would've thought that was possible? To see more weekly stash reports, click over to Patchwork Times.

Friday, July 27, 2012

It's here!

My copy of String Fling came in yesterday's mail. The timing couldn't be much better -- I just finished a big project and now I've got a little time to drool over the book and sort through my own collection of strings.

I think I want to make every quilt in the book. When Bonnie showed them all in her preview post a few weeks ago, I thought I wanted to make most of them. Now, I can almost picture myself working through my entire stash of strings and scraps and crumbs. This is definitely the book to do it with.

The "Directions at a Glance" pages are great. They show how many units you need and give the measurements. More detailed instructions are elsewhere in the pattern, and I'm sure I'll still need to read those, but having everything on one page will make it easier to keep track of what I'm trying to accomplish. (Looks like the Directions at a Glance made their debut in Scraps and Shirttails II, but I don't have that one yet, so I missed them.)

Talkin Turkey was my first favorite, but now that I've got the book in my hands I'm seriously in love with Zuckerwatte, the pink cotton candy quilt. Do I have enough pink scraps left to make that one? I'm almost positive I don't have enough red for Talkin Turkey, so I'm thinking of trying it in brown. Brown, I've got. For the moment.

I can figure out what colors I've got while I'm cutting strings into 1 1/2" strips for my Lego quilt. And the bits that are too small for that, or not the colors I'm looking for, can go into a Santa Fe String Star. At least that's the plan for right now.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

sewing again -- finally!

I hope the bees are enjoying whatever's blooming outside, because it's turning my head into a stuffy mess. Maybe I'm just getting a cold, but it makes me feel better to think that the bugs are having some fun.

I could go out and see if they're coming back to the hives with sacks full of pollen, but I'm not quite that enthusiastic.

All of my enthusiasm is tied up in a new quilt. I'm finally sewing again, working on a project I can't show you quite yet.

Those little strips finish at 3/4". They're not strings. I feel like I have to emphasize that so I get credit for all of my careful measuring!

Monday, July 23, 2012

design wall Monday - broken dishes for the witches' houses

I'm playing with ideas for the pieced center of my Hocuspocusville quilt. So far, Broken Dishes is the winner. Either that or Drunkard's Path. I ordered enough extra fabric to allow for experiments.

To see more design walls, head over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

How could you make your sewing room better?

Is there something small you could do that would make your sewing space more fun to work in? Not new shelves or furniture or paint, but something really simple that you just haven't bothered to do yet...

Like making a duplicate key.

When we moved into this house six years ago, there was one set of keys to the garage where hubby's shop and my sewing room (and the chest freezer) are. I've been accidentally locked out of my sewing room, and been unable to get out to the chest freezer for the ground beef I needed for dinner, more than once. And I might've accidentally taken the keys to town in my own pocket a time or two. It was just dumb luck that hubby didn't want to get at any of his own toys.

A couple of weeks ago, we made copies of the garage keys. They live on my keyring with the keys to the house and van. So I don't get locked out of my sewing room anymore. And I keep much better track of my car keys. :-)

Why did I wait so long for a second set of keys?

Today I stumbled across a second opportunity for sewing space improvement and downloaded the Netflix app onto my Kindle. This is so perfect! I can prop it in the corner by my sewing machine and have something to watch while I'm slogging through some boring piecing. The kids can have the main tv for their own shows or video games, and teenage girl can have my laptop and we're all happy.

Now I'm wondering what other steps to more blissful sewing I've been missing.... Cleaning up my sewing corner was not one of them.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

thread storage

Karen at Sew Many Ways is hosting a Thread Organization Linky Party.

I've tried all sorts of ideas for keeping my thread organized. I've got a couple of those hanging racks with the wooden pegs, but I'm a klutz and knock into them and my thread goes flying and I say words my kids shouldn't repeat.

I've used the drawer from a dismantled treadle machine, which worked well, but didn't hold many spools of thread. These days it lives beside my Janome and holds a couple of spools, along with my scissors and seam rippers and the other little gadgets I need every time I sew.

For about a year now, I've been keeping my thread in this box, which originally held a gift set of perfume and lotion.

I liked the perfume - a lot - but I think I might be more excited about the box. It's the perfect dimensions to fill with spools of my favorite thread. I would love to get my hands on another one of these!

Until that happens, I've found a plastic project box that sort of works. It's functional, but it's not as pretty. And it lacks the whole "it was a romantic gift from my husband" aspect that the perfume box has. I keep hoping that hubby will buy me more perfume that comes in a box, and that the box will be the right size.

I've also got the instant thread stash, which isn't for sewing with. It just sits there and looks pretty until I come up with the perfect way to use those wooden spools it's on.

What about you? Do you buy just as much thread as you can use? Or stock up when it's on sale? Or buy pretty colors just because looking at them makes you happy and you know you'll use them someday?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

1 1/2" strips for my Lego Quilt

I really, really want to make myself a Lego Quilt. I've .got the fabrics for it in my stash. Looking at all of the quirky prints Tanya used in her quilt convinced me of that.

The tricky part is going to be cutting miles and miles of 1 1/2" strips and trying to keep track of how much of each one I'm using.

This started out as an overstuffed bag of strings. I spent Tuesday afternoon sorting through and pulling out anything that looked wider than 1 1/2", then ironing them and cutting them to size.

I've still got a big pile of rumpled strips left to iron, not to mention bags and bags of strings to sort through, but they'll have to wait a bit. I can only manage so much rotary cutting at one time. This would be so much easier if I had a 1 1/2" strip die for my Go cutter!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

making things for the boys

Sometimes it feels like all of the cutest projects on Pinterest are for little girls. There are mermaid tails and fantastic kitchens and so many things I would've made for Alex when she was little if I'd had the time or inspiration... but she's a bit old for that stuff now and I've got a pack of wild boys.

So when I saw the jet pack made from diet coke bottles, I might have gotten a little giddy.

I made it last month, before the roofers came, and it was a hit. I had requests for two more, but by the time I bought more spray paint in the colors they wanted, the original had vanished and the boys had moved on to other projects. Makes me feel less guilty that I forgot to buy orange tissue paper for the flames...

Now I'm thinking the boys need Lego Shirts. Aren't those the cutest thing? And since every lego guy in our house is somehow dismembered, they seem highly appropriate.

Just don't let them see Karen's Super Mario Quilt, which is absolutely amazing!

I'm starting to think that the awesome boy projects are out there -- I'm just not looking in the right places. Got any suggestions for me?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

I wasn't planning to make the trip to Sisters this year, but at the last minute Dad offered to take the boys to the fish hatchery. I wasn't going to turn down an opportunity to drool over quilts without any kids in tow, so we were in the car and pulling out of the driveway at 6am. I know I'm lucky to be within such easy driving distance of something so wonderful...but it's awful hard to remember that when it's so early in the morning!

By far, my favorite quilts were the ones the Cover to Cover Book Club Quilters did based on Peter Pan.

Can you make out the quilting on Wendy's skirt? That texture was absolutely amazing.

And I just love this room with the open window.

And what would Neverland be without a pirate galleon? The boat was so wonderful I didn't even notice Captain Hook and the crocodile until I got home and cropped the picture!

There were amazing appliqued skeletons....

And Dia de Los Muertes skulls...

I want to dig through my scraps and find the perfect ones to make a bunch of dresses -- and I've got a similar pattern somewhere in my stash. These were pieced! As much as I like pieced blocks, I'm leaning towards applique for this project.

I've had this pattern on my wish list for a long time, but I've never seen it done in such cheerful colors.

Lori's Dear Jane quilt was amazing. I dragged Mom over to look at it and was then so busy drooling I forgot to take a picture.

And there was an Orca Bay! I still can't get over all of those itty-bitty pieces.

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 31 yards
Added this Week: 0 yards
Added Year to Date: 133.75 yards
Net Added for 2012: 102.75 yards

To see more weekly stash reports, click over to Patchwork Times.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dry Idea Advanced Dry review and giveaway

There are a few brands that I won't do without. I'll make a separate stop at the grocery store to get "my" brands of dish soap and garbage bags, because they don't sell those particular brands where I buy most of our food. My family keeps two brands of ketchup in the fridge, because my husband and I both have strong opinions about which one tastes best.

I'm also fairly picky about my deodorant. I've had mixed success with different brands in the past, so I tend to stick to one or two particular brands. When Purex Insiders sent me a bottle of Dry Idea Advanced Dry 24 Hr Antiperspirant and Deodorant Roll-On to review, I wasn't all that confident that it would work for me. I don't think I've ever used roll-on before, at least not that I can remember.


I've been using Dry Idea Advanced Dry for several weeks now. While the roofers were here...when the flush mechanism on the new toilet broke because it was made of plastic and I got to spend two weeks flushing for myself and the youngest kids with a pipe cleaner that we'd fastened to the chain....through a binge of Spring cleaning that included the discovery of the horrifying linoleum. I've been stressed, I've been exerting myself, I've given this stuff every opportunity to fail, and it hasn't failed once.

I can't say that for my old brand.

Purex Insiders has provided me with three coupons for free bottles of Dry Idea Advanced Dry, so if you'd like to try it for yourself -- because less money spent on deodorant means more for fabric and yarn, right? -- leave a comment on this post before 11:59 7/23/12. I'll choose three winners.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hocuspocusville - the second house

Since the last time I posted about Hocuspocusville, I've finished my first house and started a second one. This one, with its rounded roof and window full of jars, might be my favorite. It's nice that it has both detailed areas to stitch and straight simple lines that are more suited for late night "just one more length of thread" marathons.

The black fabric is for the pieced blocks. I'm sure I ordered lots more than I need, but I'd definitely rather have extras than try to match die lots down the road!

This post is linked to Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's been a busy few days

We've been at the coast with my parents, enjoying their timeshare. We spent hours and hours in the pool. There were seals to watch on the rocks below the balcony, and pelicans that flew by in a line several times a day, and the bald eagle that kept trying to snatch seabirds from the rock next to the seals. And, because that wasn't quite enough, we went to the aquarium and hiked out to see the really big dock that was washed here by the Japanese Tsunami.

Now we're home and I've got a ton to do. Because when I post here that I'm not getting anything done, I just mean that I'm not quilting or knitting. I am doing laundry and dishes and cooking and taking care of four kids...and revealing my house's quirky secrets.

Like that linoleum I earthed right before we left. I'm blown away by the response to that post. Would you believe that one of my readers even offered to buy it from me?

Before I finished unpacking, I thought I'd share a picture of our "luggage." In our fifteen-plus years of travelling by car with kids we've gone through a whole series of duffle bags and back packs and just about every other thing I can come up with to shove clothes into. The bigger the kids get, the more I've got to pack.

Here's my current favorite strategy --

The plastic tubs hold a ton and fit easily into the back of the minivan. Works for me!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Are you as horrified by this as I am?

I would cut this print into little pieces for a scrap quilt. I might even use it as a backing.

Too bad it's not a piece of fabric. It's the floor in one of our bedrooms. Let that sink in for just a second....this is a floor. In my house.

Are you as horrified and fascinated by this old linoleum as I am?

I grew up in a house that was built in the mid-70s. I thought I'd seen scary floors. But this...this one just boggles my mind. Mostly because it's on my very own floor and I get to decide what to do about it.

When we moved into this house seven years ago, the carpet in the boys' room had a small paint stain. It didn't make sense to replace the carpet then, since it was in pretty decent shape and I wasn't about to put brand new carpet in the boys' room. (If your young children would be perfectly respectful of new carpet, good for you. Mine would take it as a personal challenge.)

My first hint of this flooring came a couple of months ago when I was cleaning out the boys' closet. It was carpeted when we first moved in, but somewhere along the line the carpet vanished and scary linoleum appeared. I was too busy trying to figure out where my carpet had gone to really worry about the new floor.

And it never occurred to me that it was more than a random scrap the previous owners had put down in the closet. I always assumed that there was hardwood under the rest of the carpet, which is what we've got in the other two bedrooms, or that the original wood floors had been replaced with newer wood flooring.

But I'm lucky. I apparently have a whole room full of this gorgeous stuff. I haven't pulled back all of the carpet, because I'm not that courageous.

So do I keep the carpet, or scar my boys for life by making them sleep in a room with flowered linoleum? And, while I'm asking questions, can anyone imagine choosing this as their bedroom floor?

This post is linked to Finding the Funny at My Life and Kids.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

werewolves and moldy rye bread

Ever discovered something moldy in the back of your fridge and joked about growing your own penicillin? I'm thinking I might want to start experimenting with moldy rye bread. That's where Ergot, the main ingredient of my migraine medication comes from.

Ergot also, according to my twelve year old son's collection of books about werewolves, can be blamed for werewolves and the Salem witch trials. It's scary stuff.

But the idea that I can't have any more of it scares me more than werewolves. I took my prescription in to the pharmacy yesterday and was told that they'd have to order it. Later, they called and told me that it wasn't currently being produced. They might be able to get it in a few weeks or months....or never. I checked with three other pharmacies and got responses varying from "no one takes that anymore" to "it's been pulled because the FDA never tested it properly." I've Googled and can't find any definite information, just one article that kind of explains the FDA thing.

I've been taking Cafergot for twenty-some years. It works for me. Apparently there are dangers from taking too much of it (and I take very little) but I was recently taking actual rat poison. How much worse could the risks be?

After spending all morning on the phone, I think I'm going to be able to get my prescription filled. Please cross your fingers for me. I really don't want to start experimenting with new medications to find a new one that works.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Mid Year Report

Halfway through 2012 -- how on earth did that happen?

It surprised me how close I am to where I was at this point last year -- down to the number of baby quilts finished (13) and spools of thread (4) and yardage (31 yards) used.

The big difference is in the amount of fabric that I've brought home. Compared to previous years, it hasn't been much. And I've flung enough unusable fabric from the sewing room to balance it out. I have, more or less, the same amount of fabric I started the year with. That's supposed to be a good thing, right?

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 31 yards
Added this Week: 10 yards
Added Year to Date: 133.75 yards
Net Added for 2012: 102.75 yards


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