Saturday, May 31, 2008
I'm determined to share this today! Here's a detail of one of the quilt tops I finished in the last couple weeks. I was really gratified to see that the same fabric collection was on the cover of the latest Summer '08 issue of "Quilts and More"
My husband knows just the right thing to say. Immediately he noted, "I like yours better." Have I told you how supportive he is? I think they used the little striped fabric more effectively than I did. I'm in a phase where I'm trying to just get sewing and not mull over everything so much so these ecclectic scrappy quilts are good for my mood right now.
We probably won't use this on a bed in our house. I see it as retro-summery and perfect for using on our shady hammock. I wish it didn't cost so much to get batting and backing fabric and have the quilting out-sourced. I really want to use this blanket right away!
Here's a peek at my next project. The pattern is "Wild Thing" from the March/April '07 issue of Quiltmaker. I'm going to make 2 quilts with this pattern, one for my daughter and one for my mom who is redecorating her bedroom nook.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Destructive tornadoes struck uncomfortably close to my cousin and his family out in rural Iowa. Thankfully they are okay, but the storm was frightening for them.
This was the weekend scene at our house:
Saturday, May 24, 2008
I saw this at Lily's blog and thought it was fun. Here's the ABC's of Me and some of the fabrics I got during our recent Mother's Day trip to Shipshewana, Indiana. Yes, we stayed at a water park hotel overlooking the Amish/Mennonite farm countryside (it was a smaller waterpark hotel at least..). We are not Amish... They make the best pies!
Accent: Midwestern and mildly Chicagoan. Chicagoans speak like Dennis Franz from NYPD Blue or those guys from the SNL "Da Bears" sketch in the 90's.
Breakfast or no breakfast: Yes! Always with coffee. My favorite is cold pizza with coffee. I love cereal, but I don't start my day off with milk or I will be quite uncomfortable very quickly.
Chore I don’t care for: Laundry and being responsible for a constant stream of meals. Never ending meals... on and on with the "What is there to eat?" all the time... I like to cook, just not constantly.
Essential Electronics: Hmm... clock radio? Obviously I like the computer and my computerized sewing machine.
Favorite Cologne: Yech.. no cologne please! Makes my throat close up. I like natural clean floral scents like lavender.
Gold or Silver: Thanks! I'll take either!
Handbag I carry most often: I hate carrying a handbag. I get cheap ones, or I try to use a handmade one I find online. Once I had an expensive Dooney and Burke bag. I still have it, but I don't like to carry things with chic brand names on them.
Insomnia: I love late nights and I think if I can't sleep, it's like bonus free time. I can have this attitude because I don't have a job.
Job Title: Slacker housewife. Frustrated former teacher.
Kids: Son 11, daughter almost 8.
Living Arrangements: 3 bedroom suburban home built in a newer subdivision. We have all those cheapish builder details like faux wood trim and hollow core doors.
Most Admirable Trait: I know how to make things and teach myself new skills by reading directions. I can go for a very long time without buying anything new, or spending money so I am very thrifty.
Naughtiest Childhood Behavior: I was a nice, quiet girl, but the mess in my room was epic.
Overnight hospital stays: When I gave birth both times, we stayed overnight in the hospital.
Phobias: I'm not too fearful. I have the attitude that bad things don't really happen and when they do, I think, "Aren't we lucky that wasn't worse?" (I think I get this optimistic attitude from my Dad.) I used to get panic attacks in gym class. Because I was so paralyzed in gym, in the 9th grade they put me in a special gym class with the mentally and physically handicapped kids. They took me out pretty quick, but still.. I really hate sports and I would prefer to watch your softball or volleyball game than participate.
Quote: Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They're about to announce the lottery numbers. - Homer Simpson
Reason to smile: It's a great life!
Siblings: My brother and I are very close in age and had/have many of the same friends. We were in all the same activities together in high school and he was my roommate for a semester in college after he transferred to my university. I wish he and his family lived closer to us. He is really funny and extroverted (I'm introverted). He is hilariously competitive with me when we play card games. I never remember what trump is and I always forget that it is my turn.
Time I wake up: At 7:25am, I stagger downstairs to get my daughter's snack into her backpack. My husband does the kids' breakfast and I do the snack and school papers.
Unusual Talent or Skill: Hmm... I have no trouble assembling Ikea furniture.
Vegetable I Refuse to Eat: Squash! I like zucchini, but sweet butternut squash makes me want to gag.
Worst Habit: I keep such a low key schedule that I sometimes forget important things. I also hate making telephone calls and making arrangements for things. Thank goodness I'm already married because planning a wedding would make me crazy. At age 23 when I got married, I had no clue..
Yummy Stuff: My favorite pie is buttermilk pie, bratwurst, Thai food, pizza, country fried steak and potatoes, Toblerone or Lindt chocolate, Mom's chicken and dumplings, mother-in-law's roasts, apple pancake, potato pancakes with sour cream and applesauce. Anything my friends cook at our annual cabin weekend.. Now I'm hungry.
Zoo Animal I Like Most: Monkeys and giraffes
I tag any bloggers looking for inspiration!
Friday, May 23, 2008
My favorite feature was "Bummers" which always began: "Don't you hate it when..." THIS SITE has a copy of Bummers. Click on the image on the lower left to see a readable image.
I wish I could find a great magazine like this one for my daughter. I really don't want to order a magazine for her that has regular features about style, make up, and shopping.
That's Jimmy JJ Walker from the TV show "Good Times" It was one of my favorite TV shows. My very own husband has no nostalgia for the television and media I liked from the 70's. He's crazy!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I'm finished with my dishcloth swap on Craftster. My partner, ashestoashes, sent me a gorgeous set of blue and green washcloths for my kitchen. Aren't they nice?
Here's a closeup of her beautiful knitting:
I like knitting and knitting is the craft that got me hooked up to all the online crafting community in the first place. When I was teaching myself about 2.5 years ago, I went online to find some tutorials and simple patterns. I found all the forums and knitting was only the beginning of the inspiration I found online. It turns out, that I don't have the soul of a knitter, I prefer crochet and other needlework. Nothing is really quite like a knit dishcloth, however. I like crochet for the scrubbies and for potholders, but for the actual cloths, the suppleness of knitting is better.
Here's what I made for her. Her bathroom is blue, tan, and brown so I used those colors for this set of towels in the ballband pattern.
Knitting this pattern is surprisingly easy. I memorized it really quickly and now I want to make many more of them. The little scrubbies are crochet. I made a few for us to test drive to see if cotton scrubbers are actually useful or better as decoration. My daughter likes them in the bath.
Today I hope to get my quilt top done. I have to clear out the messy areas because our cleaning service is coming tomorrow. Our house is neat after they do their thing for about one evening and then the stuff migrates back out again. We really need just one more good work area in our house and some better storage.
Monday, May 19, 2008
I love having an Etsy shop and It's taking much less time for me to photograph and list items than it did at first. The thing is that they recommend that you try to list things regularly, hopefully everyday to keep your shop visible in searches. I find that I can only really do it in fits and spurts and then my listing goes quiet for awhile. I just can't make crafting for the shop my full time activity.
Don't worry! I'm always ready to ship as soon as an order comes in! It's just the crafting that I can't fully maintain at a constant level.
These are the flowers pins I listed for today, even though in most of the world, it is the off season for wool items. I have several more to list tomorrow too, but I am at least going to try to spread it out over a couple of days. I used my recently dyed wool yarn to make these. I want to keep my shop more fully stocked with offerings. That will be my summer goal!
Friday, May 16, 2008
This is my yarn stash of the hand dyed wool I use for my crochet flowers. I use a simple but messy process with Kool-aid packets, food coloring droplets, vinegar, and the microwave. Later on I use bleach to get the mess of stray color off the white counter top.
Isn't it yummy? I want to work on getting some very light pastels and lavender. Lavender is very hard to do and I haven't achieved it yet.
Pink is a little tricky. It wants to come out really bright like the one in the center. You have to add a little bit of watered down blue to get it toned down.
Brown is red and green mixed together with a little bit of blue too. I just wing it without a recipe. That large ball was too reddish, so I overdyed it yesterday and got a better shade. I haven't perfected orange, but it helps to use a little bit of blue to tone it down or it looks really like neon. That orange is my Chicago Bears orange. Red is really easy.
These make me feel happy. Green is easy. The yellow on the right is very very bright, I use a bit of pink to get a warmer color.
The turquoise is the easiest. (Would you call that cyan?) It's just the regular Kool-aid for blue or the regular blue food coloring droplets. Blue doesn't soak in as easily so it needs to cook longer. I use grape flavored Kool-Aid packets with blue and red food coloring to get the dark blue. The grape flavor is really dark, so it is trickier. I love the way the dark blue has all the rosy mottled effect.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
We took the time to go through the modern section of the museum and looked at a couple of our favorite periods. Last time we went, we saw the impressionists, so we skipped them this time. I only took a couple of photos. I love the fauvists. This fauve painting is by Vasily Kandinsky:
My favorite is Matisse. I think he liked fabric patterns just like me:
This playful one is Paul Klee:
This one interested us. It's by Marc Chagall whose work is full of exuberant storytelling. This one is called Birth, but I don't think it was a happy day for this family:
Finally, these two beauties are by Pierre Bonnard. You must make a trip to Chicago to see these paintings in person. My photos don't capture their beautiful, intense, deep color.
My mom always tells the story of her first year of teaching second grade back in the early sixties and she had a lovely modern art poster up in her classroom. I think she said it was by Kandinsky... Anyway, she enjoyed the painting for awhile until it suddenly occurred to her that it was a big painting of a naked woman. No one ever said anything to her about it and she quietly took it down. Whoops!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I went into my project archive at Flickr. Have you all ever played around with Perler Beads? We also call them melty beads at my house. Another brand is Hama Beads. They are really fun and easy. Here I was going to do the whole Simpson family, but I didn't have enough blue to do Marge's hair and the pixelized images I had of the Simpson kids weren't as good as this one. My son uses this as a coaster next to his bed.
I made these goofy video game coasters as a silly gift for a friend. I think he was a bit baffled by them, but they were only for a laugh.
My very first swap on Craftster was a perler bead swap and I made this Chococat for my partner:
She also liked lotus flowers so I designed this little container with perler beads. The lid is attached and opens and closes.
about a year later she wrote to me and said she was engaged and kept her ring in the box for safekeeping at night,.
I made an elephant to spiff up a notepad. These beads shrink up when you iron them, so if you plan to try this, make it larger than you think you need for the notepad.
Finally, they always have little holes in them from the beads, so I used that to make a little patch for a pouch.
We used these beads as a party activity at my daughter's birthday a few years ago. Be careful with the hot iron around enthusiastic little children! Don't ask me how I know this.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
This one is Whispering Pines by Frieda Anderson
Bride's Bouquet by Maya Chaimovich. The soft colors were very refreshing in this gorgeous quilt. It was one of my favorites.
Color Every Star by Betty Opp. This is from a pattern called Lucky Stars by Atkinson designs, I've stitched up this pattern too, but my quilt is not at all this spectacular.
Dust Storm By Paramjeet Bawa. Cant' you feel the swirling winds?
Kiwi and Fuchsia Meet for Mojitos! By Raewyn Haywood Khosla Kathy York, Francis Holliday Alford, Connie Hudson, Leslie Jenison, and Sherri Lipman McCauley. This one is a great collaboration by a group of quilters. I love the bright pink and green and the funky patterns.
The weekend after this show is another huge one in Paducah. One day I'm going to that one too. I guess it takes over the whole town and is one of the all time best.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
These are my close friends, Meg and Rich, who have been seeking an open adoption. This successful couple have a very strong, warm, and loving marriage. They have come to the stage in this process where you network with everyone you know to find a connection with a birth mother. It came to me that my blog has a wider reach than my personal life, so I asked them if I could mention it here. A connection can really come from anywhere, so if this "speaks" to you or anyone in your extended personal network in any way, please contact the toll free number they've set up below.
****UPDATE**** All the networking worked! They adopted a beautiful baby born July 8, 2008.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
Here's a very cute one on potty training from Japan (thanks, Cutesypoo!):
As long as I'm putting up YouTube videos, Here's one from my childhood. Morgan Freeman acting a little stoned and dressed up like Jimi Hendrix with Rita Moreno on The Electric Company. Easy Reader definitely has the hots for Carmelita:
And Stevie Wonder performing an extended version of "Superstition" on Sesame Street:
And this church hymn one is funny. We are switching back to our old denomination as soon as the school year is over. We prefer traditional formality at church and I also like hymn singing with the organ.
This song is so catchy. It knocks Stevie Wonder right out of my brain. And since I did that one, here is another one with "translations" by the same guy. These aren't new, so maybe you've seen them before. For the record, I love Bollywood!
Friday, May 2, 2008
It's going to be fun and scrappy and a little bit retro. I love it! I think I said something about working in more subtle colorways for a change, but what can I do? I am drawn to high contrast playfulness.... If I was into garment sewing, I can say that Free Spirit fabrics would be excellent choices. This cotton is very soft and light.
After all that talk about procrastination the other day... I finished writing my Craft Critique article yesterday and it is several days early. When I get started on something I often do not quit until it is finished.
Next weekend is Mother's Day and mom and I talked our husbands into taking us to the Amish country in Indiana. It is a fabric and antique shopper's dream. I'm so excited! More fabric! I feel like I can justify purchasing some because I have actually been making quilts lately. The guys and the kids will probably watch sports, read books and swim at the waterpark/swimming pool.
We're going to see Iron Man now! I'll tell you how it is. (EDIT: It was very good, although far fetched as comic book movies usually are. It was really not a family movie, but we weren't the only family in the theater. My daughter thought it was good but she really didn't understand it. My husband and son give it two thumbs up.)
Thursday, May 1, 2008
I bought the whole collection of Katie Jump Rope prints from Denyse Schmidt for Free Spirit. I had mostly fat quarters and a few 1/2 yard cuts and some other prints that match well. I cut and cut and cut yesterday and I have more than 200 -6 inch squares and about the same amount of 3 1/4 inch stirps (not pictured) to do 4 patch units. I tried to calculate this all out to get a queen size, but then I just decided to cut everything and work it out later. Maybe I'll even get 2 quilts out of all this!
I'm doing a pattern from the March/April '05 issue of Quiltmaker Magazine called "Carmen's Block". I'm hoping for a scrappy look. I adapted the pattern so that my pieces are larger than the ones in the pattern. I was to showcase the fabrics a little bit more with larger blocks. We'll see how it all looks laid out!
I want very badly to work on this today, but I have to get all my thoughts about Japanese Craft Books in order for my first article in Craft Critique. I'm a terrible procrastinator about assignments... One wise graduate school professor told me not to worry about this kind of work style, because it seems to work for me. I am much more productive when I can amp up my stress levels by procrastinating (of course, I'm always planning everything all along in my head). My dad and I have the same sort of low-key temperment, but my mom and brother are the type who get going on new assignments right away and are on-the-ball about making plans and schedules. Teaching was a great job for me because you really work very independently and you have to set your own personal goals. I don't think that procrastinating means that a person is a low achiever at all. I always earned top grades in school and I was quite successful as a classroom teacher. In the end it all gets done!
How about you? What work style do you use for deadlines? Do you like schedules, or do you think scheduling your life just makes it more stressful? I'm curious about other people's styles..