Wednesday, January 28, 2009

To put it into perspective...

We had to have a roof leak fixed today. We've been in this house longer than any home we've owned and we're running into expenses that just come with a 16 year old home.

Any day now, Michael will be relaxing in the tub upstairs and there will be a crash.....

And he'll be floating in the kitchen sink....

I don't Even want to think about getting that plumbing issue fixed.... or the mold that I can faintly see on the kitchen ceiling where it is bulging and peeling....

Michael falling into the kitchen sink is bad.... but a mold problem is maybe worse!

Anyway, back to the roof leak. We had to get it fixed. No two ways about it.

But peoples....

It was almost a thousand dollars for two stinking sections of the roof. I won't bore you with the details of the quote that suddenly ballooned into a classic rendition of Screwing of the Customer (us!), which resulted in my turning into a screaming banchee at the end of the driveway demanding to know what each extra expense was for, and finally getting a lousy $67.50 taken off the bill for my efforts.


That's over 400 fat quarters. Granted I got 30 fat quarters taken off the bill, and my stash and I are grateful, but still.

Over 400 fat quarters are sitting up there on my roof.


My February block

I had not done my homework when we got together Sunday morning to work on our February block from "Home is Where the Heart Is".... I still needed to trace all my pieces onto the Steam-A-Seam! I basically just kicked back and relaxed and enjoyed the time with Karene and Yvette and especially our guest of honor, Ellen!

I could not for the life of me get the shingle materal to look as good on my block as it did for Karene! I eventually gave up and chose a new roof!

Here's my block, with all the fusing, stitching, and borders done. Honeymoon Cottage!

A slightly closer view...

Close up of the cat and dog..... they are pretty darned cute!

I simply could not handle the last part tonight. This block has Sew Many small curved pieces.... I need to wait til tomorrow to tackle the top band, which will have five hearts and ten little curved leaves! I know, I am a wuss....

I have next month's block instructions out, and hopefully, I will get my homework done this month!


Sunday Morning Surprise

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's official - I'm a little "off!" Teehee!

You Are Midnight

You are more than a little eccentric, and you're apt to keep very unusual habits.

Whether you're a night owl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence - you like to experiment with your lifestyle.

Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it.

You enjoy staying home, but that doesn't mean you're a hermit. You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends.

Thanks Jacque! That was quick and fun!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Kimiko in the sewing room

I worked on Milton's squares tonight - I have only two more to go, so will get them done and then tomorrow night, Karen and I are going to quickly dustmop the swirling doghair out of the way on the living room floor (housekeeping is just not a priority for me this week!) and lay the blocks out. When we get them arranged the way we like them, I'll take a picture. Yahooo! I might get this one done on time!

Karen had help sewing tonight....

But Kimi eventually went back to her favorite hobby - shredding newspapers..... Sigh.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Rick's Brick Road

My first finish for the One Project A Month Challenge.... I put the binding on Rick's Brick Road quilt tonight.

I hope to see him sometime over the next week and give him his quilt! Rick has lymphoma and I chose the same Brick Road quilt that we made for Karene's husband two years ago. Laurie recently spilled the beans to him at a meeting, that "my mom is making you a quilt!" and he was apparently delighted. He told her to tell me to hurry....that he was cold!

She said he winked and laughed, and we're not sure if he's really that cold (we do live in SoCal, after all, and it has been in the 80's for days!) or just eager to have his quilt! I'll post another picture with Rick after I'm able to get it to him!


Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Date with Emma

I got done with my work yesteray......made it to five o'clock on a Friday.... And retreated to my sewing room. I just needed to escape from everything, and so I did.

I had been eyeing the Bunny Hill A Tisket A Tasket BOM for a few weeks. I happened to see the January instructions on my table when I walked into my sewing room. Just for grins, I looked at my scraps and considered what fabrics I'd use, if, you know, I were actually going to make it.

That's all it took!

Emma (my Janome embroidery/sewing machine - don't snicker, I know that's not very original!) had "issues" with the metallic thread I chose for the edge of the snowman, and in retrospect, I'm glad I didn't opt for the same touch of glitter for the edges of the star. I will be looking for smallish buttons. The pattern shows a heart button and two round buttons... I will see what I can find at Joann's later. Wouldn't little light blue star buttons be cute?


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Disappearing Nine-Patch and Coffee

Karen and I were successful in locating some "blues" fabric for Milton's quilt... I've been collecting black/white prints, which I have trimmed to 6 inch squares.

I've added this blue/black print to the mix.

It is the constant, in the center of each of my nine-patch squares.

Which I am cutting to make four smaller squares. These will be turned around and rejoined to make a bit of a pattern....

I don't have a picture of the pattern yet - I only have enough done for the first row - have four more rows to go... more pix later.

P.S. I played with my embroidery machine a bit last night. I have a number of on-sale teeshirts from Joann's and some Hane's Beefy Tees (LOVE those!) which I'm going to try to embellish. I figure, what could be more frugal than a $3.00 teeshirt embellished with something cute, perhaps with shorts sewn in a corresponding fabric?? (You can get blank teeshirts online, such as the Hane's Beefy Tees for dirt cheap!)

This teeshirt was decorated in honor of my high esteem for the Brown Elixir of Life.... without which I could not start my day (at least not without killing some poor unsuspecting soul before 9 AM).

Of course, we will not get into the lack of logic behind my "frugal" thinking.... My "frugal" goes completely to heck in a handbasket if you consider the cost of the embroidery machine.... or the thread collection I snared on Ebay! teehee! Michael thoughtfully refrained from bringing that up when he admired my first successful teeshirt last night! But I will be using it for more than just the tees, as I get more confidence with it! (It's high time - I've been sewing with it for over a year! I use the blanket/applique stitch for quilting. I'm just now starting to play with the embroidery option!)


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Girls' Day Out

Karen and I took off mid day for the local beautician school. The senior students who are in the process of logging 1600 hours of practice time before taking the state boards, are available on a walk-in basis, and at a dirt cheap rate!

They are really sweet girls and guys and I certainly recommend them. Here's our "before" picture.

Scuze my "I've just been blinded by three successive brilliant flashes designed to reduce red-eye" expression. No red eye here...but I look befuzzled to say the least.

Another one of Karen's never-ending golden locks which are a bit uneven and in need of a trim....

And our "after pictures".....

Karen is still in possession of very long beautiful hair (and the longest eyelashes on the planet!) but now it's all even....

And Michael thinks my cut makes me look younger. Well, hey, since I can't afford plastic surgery right now for my "turkey waddle", maybe that's a good thing! I think I will experiment with it, let it settle a bit, and see what I think of it in a few days.

Peace! :)

January - Home is Where the Heart Is - done!

And I'm already eyeing fabrics for next month!


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

What Wuz I Thinkin'?

It was a pretty okay day! I ripped through my work, worked out, and did a lot of "stuff" like paying bills and making Michael some salisbury steak patties for dinner, and then I escaped upstairs.

While Sadie attempted to chew two bones at one time....

Kimi helped Michael recycle some newspapers..... (oops!)

(if you hear screams at 5:15AM tomorrow, you'll know she shredded something he really wanted to read.....)

And I worked on my Brick Road quilt.

I took a break to make Pioneer Woman's Asian salad..... and had a nice big helping for dinner....

And finished the quilting!

I celebrated with dessert: a small bowl of the Asian salad.... I love, love, love that stuff!

And then I contemplated the fact that with my stupendous lack of planning.... I now have a king sized quilt AND a twin sized quilt that need binding.

Binding is my least favorite part of quilting, even if done by machine.....


But hey, as soon as those are done, I can post them on the sidebar as completed, for January! And then I can move on to Milton's quilt, which I need to have done by February 15th....

Yep! I'm an over-dreamer!


Monday, January 05, 2009

Lap Dogs Part 2

Lap Dogs Part 1

It doesn't take a clinical psychologist to figure out that my hesitation around big dogs is due to an unfortunate event involving a raging German Shepard barking in my face (at eye level, slobbering madly) when I was about 7, walking to school one day.... Michael loves big dogs and for a lot of years, that's what we've had. I've not disliked them, but I've not been terribly close to them.... I've helped take care of them (but griped plenty about them being fur factories!)

I figured it was just my personal character flaw.

Then I met Sadie, Tuffboy (Jerry) and Kimi.... in that order. I really enjoy the little guys! Maybe that is because if they got contankerous, I could more easily manage them, and arguments between them are not the ferocious events that used to result in vet bills when Nikki and Tiger "argued"..... I could sit on these guys and end a squabble pretty effectively.... But I think its really because they are PERMANENTLY PUPPY-SIZED!


Saturday, January 03, 2009

One Project a Month Challenge!

What a cool idea! I'm in! My first "finish" will be 440+ inches of the never-ending-binding for Michael's quilt (the Saturday Sampler I've been working on)..... And I plan to do it by machine anyway, so no excuses for not finishing it!

I will have to go through my projects and organize/list them.... This will be fun!


Friday, January 02, 2009

2009 should be full of Sewing and Soup

My mom always reminds me that what I do on January 1, supposedly I will do all year... Let's hope so!

Yvette, Karene and I started our "Home is Where the Heart Is" quilts....Here are a couple of pictures of it... in different fabrics....

And here's a link to pictures of each month's block, with a place to click on a finished color picture of the block. SEW CUTE!

I tried to take some pictures of the process, because it was new to me, even though I made that moose wall hanging last year that was sort of the same technique... Jacque is thinking about making this quilt too, so hopefully the pix will help me remember how to do this, and maybe help her too!

The pattern is great, and it is already reversed. We were supposed to do our "homework" and have our pattern pieces traced onto Steam-A-Seam or Wonder Under type stuff before we got together. I got an F on homework.... cos I had not even started! However, with Yvette helpfully pointing the way, I got all my pattern pieces traced...

And then started the fun. We picked the fabrics from our collective stashes that we each wanted to use on our particular interpretation of the block.

Then we started fusing the Steam-a-Seam (and I think you could use Wonder Under too, which may be cheaper, so I'm going to try that also!)...

Now this is where it gets too challenging for my feeble mind. The following pix and explanation would not apply to Wonder Under, which I don't think has two sheets of paper on its fusable web..... But if you are using Steam-A-Seam, here's what I learned....

The Steam-A-Seam has two papers that stick really well to one side of the fusable web, and not so well to the other side. I had traced onto the looser side.

Yvette patiently showed me SEVERAL TIMES, how to slip a fingernail inbetween the fusable web and the stickier paper, and separate it so that the fusable web was then being used, while sticking to the looser paper.

(In retrospect I wonder if tracing on the other side might have made this process easier on my brain, but I'm not sure!)
Explanation pix below:

These are the three layers.... traced design on top (on the looser paper)....

And here is another view of the three layers.... I will separate and throw away the paper on the right, keeping the paper that has the tracing, and the fusable web.

Here, I have removed the bottom (or better sticking) paper from the fusable web and I have laid the web, topped by the tracing on the paper, on the WRONG side of the fabric...

Wrong side of fabric is topped by fusable web, is topped by traced paper. This is topped by a sheet of paper (like copy paper or parchment paper) to protect the iron, and the whole thing is ironed.

The paper/fusable web is now "one" with the wrong side of the fabric. It is cut out on the paper tracing lines. The tracing paper is removed.

And the piece is laid onto the proper place on the quilt block. I got all my pieces fused, and cut out and laid in place on the block.

And when I was entirely happy with it, I laid paper over portions of it and ironed those portions.....

And it's done! Ready to be zig-zagged or blanket-stitched (my preference) around each fused fabric piece.

(There is also a strip of fir trees I need to do for the bottom of the block, and it's missing a border at this point....)

(Sample picture from online, with border and tree band.)

Now, my hints for Jacque are as follows:

1. Buy more Steam-A-Seam or Wonder Under than you think you will need. Like, twice as much..... because we are from the same gene pool and though I doubt it, you just may screw this up as often as I did, which was embarrassing. I was amazed at how many times I laid the entire "sandwich" of traced paper, fusable web, and second paper, on top of a piece of fabric... and completely fused the paper to the paper and nothing to the fabric. I also have emptied my sewing room trashcan so that NO ONE can see how many times I fused onto the right side of the fabric.....instead of the wrong side! And I have no idea how I managed to get this stuff on my iron.... but I think it had something to do with forgetting the cover paper/parchment sheet.... while simultaneously having things on the cloth in the wrong order.... My iron is fine, thanks to Goo-Gone and a scrubbie (and some creative cursing!)

2. Do set aside a quiet afternoon with no interruptions and have dinner already in the crock pot before you start. This is fun. It is addictive. You will not want to stop for such mundane things as potty breaks or serving dinner.

I can't wait for next month's block! I'll even get my homework done on time!

It's called Honeymoon Cottage!