Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bad Things Come in 3's

I don't know who said it, but whoever said it deserves to be shot.

"Bad things come in 3's" 

Yeah, let's see how many bad things we can have happen to us.  Why not say "Bad things come in 1's", huh?  That would be so much better!

And, actually, now that I think about it, for me, at least, bad things have come in 4's lately.

First there is my car:  I need a new muffler.  Never mind that I replaced it 2 years ago.  And that the one I replaced was the FACTORY muffler that was was 12 years old.  Don't you think the new muffler should have lasted more than, oh, 2 years?  Yeah.  Me too.

Then there is my computer:  I've had issues with the corner of the screen case and the hinge for about a year.  The screw that holds the case together was stripped, so it's been missing for a while.  The hinge has slowly been breaking.  But I have't had any trouble with it for months, so I didn't worry too much.  Besides, I don't have "droppage" coverage at Best Buy, so I couldn't really take it in to get it fixed because, even though the damage wasn't caused by a drop, they would not have believed me.  Thursday night I closed my laptop, took it home from work, and then couldn't open it back up.  Wanna know why?  The hinge was totally broken.  The metal frame inside the plastic case had snapped and twisted in half, breaking, and making it impossible to hold the right lower side of the screen together.  I was so depressed.  Laptops are expensive!  And I can't afford to not have my work computer right now, when it's my busiest time of the year.  UGH.

Hubs fixed my laptop so that it's at least functioning, but I can't close it. Ever.  It now has to live at the shop.  I'm going through some serious computer withdrawls at home.  My phone is great, but you can only look at certain things online with it.  :(

So, once the computer was permanently installed at the shop, I went home, determined to sew since I couldn't do my normal computing stuff.  Well, I recently got my machine fixed and the old man who fixed it totally screwed up the tension on it.  I didn't ask him to fix the tension.  I asked him to fix the broken hand wheel.  Yet, he seemed to think that he needed to adjust my perfect tension to something less than perfect.  OH I was pissed to say the least.  I had to loosen my tension significantly, and hope that I don't have any more issues with it.  I have seriously never sewn with my tension set to 1.25, but that is where it currently is.  Factory setting was at a 3.0.  He had it set to a 5.25!! 

Lastly:  The Munchkin woke up this morning sad.  He opened his DS up and discovered that it was broken.  Oh, he can still use the touch screen, but the upper screen is cracked.  Sad day.  Luckily Hubs knows where to purchase replacement parts online.  In addition to purchasing a new upper screen, he also bought a new housing unit for him (it will be blue instead of silver now).  My DS Lite has had a broken hinge for about a year, so we also bought me a new housing unit.  Munchkin is so excited to have a "new" blue DS.  He was all smiles when we showed it to him.

Now I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that bad things really don't just happen in 3's, and that there are 2 more electronics-related bad things coming my way.  That would not be cool!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Just a Little Stressed

I don't know why I do this to myself, but it seems that I always take on a little more than I can handle every few months.

Like, we're having our Annual Christmas Open House at Sweetbriar on November 4th.  So of course I would like to have some festive projects done in time to display.  Like my Fat Quarterly quilt-along quilt.  It's Christmas fabrics, so it would go perfectly, yes?  That's what I thought! :)

I also want to have my calendar protoype made up.  Yeah, so not going to happen, but I can dream, can't I?  I really would love to have it done.  I've only been working on it for, oh, over a year. 

I've also signed up for NaNoWriMo again.  It starts Nov. 1st.  You're supposed to start working on a new project.  So what does this mean?  That I have 100 pgs written on another project already, with a hopeful 150 pgs or so to go, and I would like to have it finished by the end of this month.

Also, I have 14 quilts at the shop waiting to be quilted, which I would like to have quilted by the end of the month.  1 of them belongs to me.  It's the cable quilt I started earlier this year for a class I took.  I really would like to have it finished by the end of the year.

At least I got my laundry (mostly) folded, and my kitchen cleaned up.  I feel like I'm in a little less of a mess now that the kitchen is clean and the laundry is folded. 

Monday, October 18, 2010


I have recently come to a realization.  I really enjoy mythology.  Particularly Greek mythology.  I took a course when I went to the U many years ago and it was one of my favorite classes.  My mom lent me the first 3 of the Percy Jackson series earlier this year, after I watched the movie, and I read them in just a few days.  Then I got the last 2 in the series and read them just as quickly.  I was so sad when the series ended, because I wanted to read more. 

This is what I'm asking for for Christmas, although I am pretty sure I won't get it. 

I'm currently watching Clash of the Titans (the new one, not the old one) and thoroughly enjoying it :) 

I also can't wait to pick up the newest Rick Riordan bookThe Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero  I so want to get it on my Nook, but I have to wait until our next pay period.

I am also seriously wanting a book with just the Greek myths.  You know: the Titans, and how Zeus took them over.  Maybe the stories of Perseus and Jason and Theseus and all of the Greek Heroes.  I don't want anything too textbook-y.  I really would prefer something more story-ish.  Does that even make sense?  My mom lent me her copy of Mythology  but I found it too textbook-y for my liking.  So, what I am in need of are some suggestions of books that might fit my Mythology-loving needs.

Serious Cuteness Warning

Is this seriously not the CUTEST thing you have ever seen?  Notice that it is Marshall the Marshmallow?  Remember that we call Munchkin  Toasted Lumpy Marshmallow?  Yeah, I thought it was perfect.  :)

Now I'm just waiting for the "toasted" version of the little figurine to get back in stock.  It's gonna be awesome!

P.S. - you can purchase Marshall the Marshmallow here.

More October Finishes for OPAM 2010

*The following is the story of a quilt that has taken me FOREVER to complete.  Sorry it's a little long, but the quilt took me a lot of time to make, and I wanted to document it for posterity's sake :)  *

I am happy to finally report that this MASSIVE quilt project is finally completed.  Yes, it took me over a year (just barely) to finish it, but it was a lot of work and I am really, really pleased with the end result.
No, you don't get to see the full thing laid out because I don't have a clean floor space large enough to do that!  It ended up about 101 x 121.  Yeah, it was HUGE.

I can't even believe how overwhelming the project had seemed at first.  When she had brought it to me, with all of the plastic storage boxes filled with ziploc baggies containing the triangles of fabric and their coordinating ties, I was very overwhelmed.  It took me about 27 hrs just to unpick the ties. (There were a lot of ties!)

Piecing it was a challenge, as I had never worked with ties before (most of them silks) and I didn't want to interface the backs because I wasn't sure how the fabrics would work together, if at all.  I did end up interfacing most of the fabrics used in the Sisters' blocks, pieces from shirts and skirts and dresses, and they turned out nicely, I thought.

My biggest mistake was picking such a weird size for the blocks:  9.75 inches square.  What was I thinking??  Apparently I was not.  I had to square up each block, then add pieces to the edge to both stabilize and enlarge them to the proper size.  Yeah, like I said: I was a little stupid.

But, the end look is really nice, and I can't imagine trying to sash all of those blocks without having the cotton quilting fabric as a small border around them.  It definitely would have been much harder to keep everything square.

I was really pleased that I had purchased enough fabric, too, as the project took me so long to complete.  I was worried, toward the end, that I didn't have enough of the sashing of sashing post fabric to finish, but I had just enough.

As far as fabric selection went, my client left it all up to me.  I wanted to keep the fabrics I used for the sashing, posts, and border very neutral and not too distracting from the blocks.  Since the quilt itself was so colorful, I opted to use neutral creams/tans/beiges for the sashing/posts.  The border I knew needed to be darker, because she wanted words quilted in it, and darker fabric with a light thread would work so well, I thought. 

Now, I have to add that I am old-school when it comes to mixing brown and black.  I abhor it.  Seriously.  I do.  My husband is not allowed to wear a black belt and brown shoes.  I even have a hard time liking couches that are black leather with brown upholstered cushions (even though, I admit, they do look nice).  I just have a hard time with it.  It makes me cringe a little inside.  But, I am getting better, obviously, because the border fabric is black and brown!  I know, so bold of me, huh? haha

For the backing fabric I wanted something close to the sashing fabric I had used on the front.  I had also hoped to purchase some 108" wide fabric to use.  Unfortunately, that was not to be.  Instead, though, I found this really great 58" wide fabric in a soft, crinkly neutral color.  I think it is in the Kona Crush line (is that even a line?  I don't remember the name of the fabric, sorry!) 

As I got everything onto the machine and ready to quilt, I had an epiphany of sorts.  I had recently quilted a quilt of my own, and had done words on all 4 borders, turning the quilt 2 times to get the text the direction I had wanted it.  To avoid having to unpick basting stitches, I quilted the border area with monofilament thread.  It worked like a charm.

So, why not use that technique here?  After all, I was going to quilt the center of the quilt in an all-over meander in monofilament thread anyway.   Why not just quilt the entire quilt that way?  So I did.  :)

The meander is fairly tight, and it was amazing how nicely all the extra fullness from some of the tie blocks (I had been seriously stressing about it for days, to be honest) worked its way out.  There weren't any puckers or tucks.  Everything was fabulous.  I was very pleased with it.

I added the binding using my longarm.  I knew that there was NO WAY I was going to be able to feed all 442 inches of binding through my tiny little domestic machine.  There was NO WAY.  It went on really nicely, and then my client took it for their mission reunion.

I've had it back in my possession for a few weeks.  I finally finished binding it.  It took forever.  My poor living room was dwarfed by the sheer size of the project as I sat on the couch and watched Amazing Race while I bound it.

But now, it is FINISHED.  And I am so proud of it.  It looks so great, and my client was really happy with it when she took it to the reunion.  It's the best possible outcome I never would have imagined when I first saw how much time and effort would be needed.  (Seriously, you don't know how daunting it is be staring at 2 rubbermaid tupperware storage boxes, 2 large bags, and a couple of grocery sacks full of ziploc bags with ties in them.  Ties that all needed to be unpicked and kept with their coordinating triangles.)  But now it is done, and I am happy, and a little bit relieved, to not have to worry about it anymore :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

A funny thing happened the other day.....

The other day at work, Marshy was tired.  It was a cold, rainy day. You know the kind, when all you want to do is snuggle down and watch a movie.  That's just what Marshy did at work.  We pulled out his couch, folded up a quilt to use as a pillow, and wrapped him up in a nice, heavy jean quilt while he watched his movie (I think it was Duck Tales, but I'm not totally sure.).
He also had been eating his BK Kids meal.  The dogs could apparently smell it.  They wanted some food.
They inched a little closer, in the hopes of snagging some tasty chicken nuggets.  Bella, the little dog on the left, is notorious for snatching food right out of his hands when he isn't paying attention.
After a few minutes he realized what was going on.  He sat up, saw me with the camera, saw the dogs, and that was game over. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

I'm a Bad Mom.....

We had a birthday party for Marshy tonight.  Do you think I took any pictures?  NO!  Did I have a camera with me?  YES! I had the Nikon. The Kodak's battery was dead, so I got the Nikon out.  I am such an idiot.  I do this all the time. 

He was so cute, too.  He loved opening all the presents....even the clothes!  Buzz Lightyear was definitely the prize winner though.  We got him the little karate-chop-action action figure.  He went to sleep holding him.  yeah, that's a pretty good sign he likes his toy. 

He also got some monster trucks from Nana and Pop-pop (to go with the Monster Truck playmat I made him).  He loved that, too.  So much that he wouldn't let anyone else touch it or be near it or play with it!  Silly boy needs to learn how to share.

I also made 46 cupcakes, and a round cake.  I brought home 10 cupcakes and the round cake.  I figure that's pretty good, right?

Well, I guess I'll just have to take pictures of him playing with all of his presents later.  His aunts, uncles, cousins, and other grandparents all gave him some pretty cool stuff, too.  He's pretty stoked about the birthday haul he got this year.  (YAY!)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October OPAM finishes - 2 quilts

This weekend I finally finished 2 projects I've been meaning to work on for a while.  The first is this baby quilt for my cousin's new baby girl.  I've had the fabric for forever.  A few weeks ago I finally sewed it into the cute little quilt top, quilted it, and folded it up on my cutting table to be bound.  It's been sitting there for at least a week, waiting. 

Fortunately, this weekend has been General Conference (2 weekends a year, members of our church gather together and listen to our prophet and other church leaders speak to us, either on TV, satellite broadcast, internet, or attend in person in Salt Lake City).  This gave me an excuse to stay home, sit in front of the TV, listen to my church leaders and work on binding quilts.
Isn't it precious?  The fabric is Sweet by Urban Chiks for Moda.  I used a pantograph, Clematis by Jodi Beamish, and antique rose colored thread by So Fine!
The second quilt I worked on was this fun Monster Truck playmat.  I bought this last year, after quilting the shop sample for Gracie Lou's.  Marshy loved it, and thought it was for him, so I bought him the panel and matching backing fabric.  It's been sitting on my "to be quilted" rack at the shop ever since.  Well, Thursday was Marshy's 4th birthday, and that gave me the perfect excuse to get it finished!  My parents are giving him some monster trucks at his birthday party today.  So, last night, I sat down and bound it while watching Prince of Persia (and I even liked it! shh! don't tell!)
I'm pretty happy with my two finishes this month - so far!  I'm hoping to finish 2 more quilt tops this weekend, and then get them quilted and bound by the end of the month.  One of the tops is for my cousin who just had a baby boy last night.  The other is my Fat Quarterly Quilt Along quilt.  I'm halfway done with the blocks for this top (it uses a jelly roll cut into pieces that go together to make 80 blocks!) and hope to finish the quilt top today during Conference.