Thursday, January 29, 2009

And the fun never ends!

We continue in our quest to find the bottom of the box of projects, forging onward through funny movies, delicious meals and tasty libations!  Our little condo is full of stray threads, even though we try to run the vacuum now and then.  I even got the binding done on a quilt yesterday, but am bordering on skin breakdown from a very uncomfortable couch!  The quilts just keep on happening, large and small, simple and complex.  If we hit a snag, there is plenty of help to figure out a solution.  

Debbie made us a yummy breakfast of pancakes and sausage this morning, last night we made pizza covered with italian sausage, kalamata olives, red pepper, green onion, mushrooms, and of course, cheese.  Very tasty!

Our days are numbered here, so I am getting away from the keyboard and back to my machine!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The things we do!

Besides cooking up some good meals and appetizers and sampling wines, we do manage to get a few things done during our wonderful days here.   We had a little car trouble due to the sub-zero nights, but Leisl got that fixed up and haven't had any new problems, except the DVD player went haywire so had to get that replaced because we definitely have some movies to watch.  Today we are in Brainerd to do a little shopping and have lunch out, but we couldn't drag Leisl out of the condo so we had to carry on without her.  Found some really good stores full of furnishing and decorating ideas, good yarn, fresh M&M's, and I even uncovered a new coat!  Our sewing and quilting are going well, a few things being added to our list of accomplishments, and many, many laughs.  We are very comfortable in our surroundings and with each other, so it is a joy to be together.  Some things we are working on:

Monday, January 26, 2009

We've only just begun!

How nice is it when you get to have a whole week of vacation and wake up and remember that it's not over yet!  We arrived at our destination Saturday afternoon after stopping at 2 quilt shops in Brainerd and lunch, then began The Great Unloading Event in which we made about 50 trips between trailer and condo to carry everything inside.  When the person checking me in at the desk said that no trailers were allowed in the condo parking area, I did stay very calm while stating that we would most definitely be driving our trailer to our unit to be unloaded, unless she was planning to personally haul all our our precious cargo to the doorstep herself!  Silly girl!  So we got that all taken care of and thawed out, inspecting our frozen goods and finding only a couple leaking bottles and cans to be discarded.   We had had such a good plan to keep everything in the trailer inside Nancy's heated garage for Friday night, but alas, the garage door acted up and must have re-opened after we shut it for the night, because we can all 4 swear that it was shut.  So it was 0 degrees in the garage and we heated the neighborhood for the night!  Anyway, the casualties were minimal, unless we count the cans of paint and stuff on the garage shelves.  
So we have been totally relaxing, enjoying our time together, and getting some quality sewing time.  This is the living room area right after we got done unloading stuff and then got our tables all arranged.

This is the view of our sewing room from the skycam:

One of our very important projects involves rubber gloves and ruffles:

And much more to come...

Friday, January 23, 2009

We have begun...

First, you see I am wearing my Ashley shirt--you go girl!
So we met up at Leisl's house about 10:30 or 11 this morning, got the trailer loaded up, thanks to Bob and Greg for helping with the heavy lifting!  Took off for Nancy's house (Grey Eagle land) and arrived without any major problems other than when we got gas the pump didn't shut off so we left a little pool of precious fuel on the tarmack.  We are now back home from dinner and drinks at the Hub, and a chance to meet some more of Nancy's family.

Nancy thinks she looks like a puffball in this picture, so her new traveling name is Puff Momma!  She didn't like the ones we picked for her last summer on our trip, they seemed to all have something to do with her desire to shop!  
And Leisl claims the honors for first finished project for the baby quilts she is sending to a friend tomorrow morning---
Winnie the Pooh in all his glory!

So now we are settling down for a little movie watching, and undoubtably we will all be asleep soon!  Have to get rested up for phase 2 of our trip tomorrow.  Nancy and Debbie are putting the finishing touches on something gourmet for us to enjoy, thank goodness, because otherwise we would starve for sure!

one less quilt on the racks!

I have this system of organizing the quilt tops that people bring to me to be quilted, I hang them on hangers on a clothing rack in the order to be done.  Right now I am a little concerned that they are getting too heavy for the rack!  That kind of indicates my level of keeping-caught-upedness!  I would not rate myself high right now!  But some of that is due to a couple people who shall remain nameless that bring 'em by the bagfull, and I mean extra large bags, and don't care when they get done.  So I filter them in between those other folks who are in the queue.  And that also doesn't count my own stack of tops accumulated.  So I could pretty much just stay home for a long time and maybe get to the end of the row, but go crazy during that time because I have to occasionally talk to real people.  Anyway, I did complete this pretty little baby quilt so I can show that to you!  
I'm pretty pumped up this morning because I am soon leaving on vacation!  Sorry, Bob, this one's not for you!  Instead, I am joining friends Nancy, Leisl and Debbie for a week at a townhouse we have reserved at Causeway on Gull, near Nisswa, north of Brainerd.  We are hauling our trailer full of sewing, knitting, and food supplies (and a bottle of wine or 2) northward today, returning next Saturday.  I will try to be the photojournalist and post here when I can get hooked up online, since there isn't internet service in our unit I will have to fit it in when I can.  So I need to get moving to finish up my business here and squash my suitcase shut!  

Saturday, January 17, 2009

We are out of the deep freeze!

From yesterday morning's -32 to today's +22, things are really looking up!  And this afternoon I made a trip out to the J store and it appears that every other person in the county had the same idea, the lines were longer than I've seen them for the after-Christmas sale!  All those crafters were holed up until the temperature rose above zero, and they all converged on the store at once!  I picked up my 2 measly skeins of yarn, Soy Wool Stripes, to use in making the Inside Outside scarf which I hope to start soon.  I spent my morning working on quilting a little baby quilt that Nancy made from my Hocus Pocus pattern, it's not your typical baby quilt but I like it!  I just finished this quilt that was a bunch of flannel scraps that I pieced together a long time ago.  I wanted to work on something as a practice piece for making freehand feather designs to cover the entire top.  It was very good practice and I learned a thing or two.

Celebrating a big day for Brita today!  My little girl is 29!  Here's to you:

You are the best!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

warming trend

Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to notice a significant warming trend!  Never mind that it still didn't get into positive digits!  -14 is so much better than -24, if only in my frozen brain cells.  So today I'm looking at trouble, because it's -22 at 9AM, which is probably about the peak for the day!  Poor Bob had to go to work today, I am lucky enough to be able to work at home today.  He even started the fire and filled the woodbox before he left.  Our garage door is angry about the cold, it won't close without a helping hand, literally.  I have to hang on and push to help the motor get it down, otherwise it only closes a bit and then reverses back up.  I think it's trying to tell us that we should just stay inside!

Now, for another topic, remember all those Christmas calories?  I'm having flashbacks to these trays of goodies while trying to remain firm with my plan to eat more healthily and get back into a comfortable fit for my jeans!  I think I better go look at a head of lettuce!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

finished object!

This has to be one of the most fun projects I have ever knit, because I got to see so many color changes as I worked my way through the yarn.  It was a free pattern that I learned about through another blog site, the Yarn Harlot, which is very, very entertaining!  This is the pattern from Brooklyn Tweed, very simple, and I ended up using 4 different skeins of Noro Silk Garden to add more color variation.  Not sure why I did that, because there was plenty going on there with the first 2 I picked out.  Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I let myself go back to the yarn shop (All About Yarn) and I had an overwhelming urge to put something else into the mix.  I have to admit that at first, I wasn't liking the feel of the Noro Silk Garden yarn, it seemed just a little rough.  But when I finished the scarf, and blocked it like a good girl, I was rewarded with a much softer, gentler scarf.  By the way, if you are looking at the Yarn Harlot blog, you have to go back to her post from Dec. 18, it is one of the funniest!
I am just starting my day, actually still under the covers as I write this, and listening to the house creak and pop so I know it's pretty cold.  Bob just informed me that the thermometer dropped a degree since he got up, it's -21 now, and the house doesn't like it.  Smart house!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hocus Pocus updated

My pattern, Hocus Pocus, was first created in November at Nancy's Shangri-La, made in Christmas fabrics for the store's window display.  I really enjoyed all the positive comments from people, it is kind of weird to put my own design out there for all the world (well at least the Bear Patch world) to see and analyze.  I knew that it would need to be remade in some new fabrics so now that we are past the holidays, I put together a new sample and used those bright, bold Kaffe Fassett prints along with the Rowan shot cloth solids for a new look.  It really turned out lively!  It also makes for a very good learning project for quilters who want to do something past their beginner quilt, so I added it to the class offerings.   It will be fun to teach it to others, and get their feedback.  I was mortified when I discovered I had made a typo on the fabric requirements, shorting the border fabric 1/4 yard, actually less than that, but nonetheless too short to reach.  There is a way around it, but made me really feel badly for people who have purchased it and will end up facing the same problem and cursing the designer (me!!).  So if you are one of them, make the following change:
Twin size lengthwise border fabric should be 2 1/2 yds, NOT 2 1/4 yds!
Hope you are having a wonderful day!  It is sunny here and I get to sew!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

An ordinary day

My felted hat experiment turned out OK, modeled by my mom!  I felted it twice in my own machine (front loader) and I think my mom washed it twice in her own machine (top loader) to get it to fit.  I used Paton's classic wool, double stranded.  It was a free pattern on Ravelry, by the way, if you aren't familiar with Ravelry you need to explore it.  I really wish there was a quilter's equivalent.
Worked on sewing my new blocks for the Block of the Month quilt for Bear Patch, it is a very pretty group of fabric and the blocks are coming together well.  I am hoping that possibly I will have it together by Monday, though not quilted.  At least it can be on display until I get it on my machine.  I have another sort of practice quilt on the frame right now, something I put together from flannel scraps a few years back but never finished.  I am practicing how to do an all-over freehand feather design, trying to add a new skill.  It's not coming quickly!
Bob did me a very big favor today and installed some new lighting above my longarm machine and table.  We had thought to just add 4' onto the existing 8' track lighting, pop in a couple new fixtures, and voila!  However, the existing track didn't mesh with the new track, so Bob ended up going back to Home Depot for more track and replacing the old.  The old fixtures do work on the new track luckily.  And there are worse things than a guy making 2 trips to Home Depot in one day!  So now I have improved lighting for the length of the 14' table, which I greatly appreciate.