Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I forgot

Class went well last night, but I forgot how tired school makes me! I took a good nap today. I think the fatigue comes in part from driving half hour there and half hour home, but probably also from how hard I have to work to pay attention! As it was, I was more fidgety than a flock of finches. I know I could "fix" the attention and fidgets by taking my Adderall, but frankly, I would rather sleep and have to work to pay attention than take meds that brings insomnia and a racing, skipping heart.

I made an apron tonight. I added it to my pile of things for the PIFF. 25 days!!! If I sold everything I have made thus far, I should bring home $200. I would be happy with that, but I want to make more and hopefully increase the likelihood of bringing home more money, at least enough to make a student loan payment. That would be nice, especially since they are technically "deferred" while I work on my MFA, but we have been paying when we can afford it anyway. So, to make my own payment from the little things I make for fun would be AWESOME!!!!

So, what to make next? Probably some more pie wrappers... I want to make extras if I have time because I think they would be cool Christmas gifts for some of my relatives!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Another semester of graduate school starts tomorrow... I am really glad that I am only taking one class this semester since the rest of our lives are in limbo. Moving won't be as big of a deal, nor will any other catastrophes/celebrations/etc.

It is still strange to be starting my second semester tomorrow, though. I am really looking forward to this poetry class, but at the same time the self-doubt keeps trying to claw its way up. Must ignore negativity from within!!! This class is also kind of a barometer for future success in poetry, since it will be my first graduate level course. If I can make it through this, then I should be able to pursue my creative goal of melding my poetry and my sewing.

As far as sewing goes, today was less productive than most (at least so far). I made a pie wrap. It should be relatively simple to crank out 5 more for the Pay It Forward Festival. If I can do that, combined with the 27 reusable sleeves I already have made, I should definitely turn a profit and be able to donate an additional amount to the festival. I'm trying to figure out what one other item I can make (or make more of). Simple, quick, cheap, but some level of Wow-factor... hmm. TIme to ponder. Good thing I don't have much to do! And, hopefully what homework I get won't be too intense!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Beautiful Day

It was the perfect day for the art festival in the Wellfield Gardens!!!! The flowers all looked amazing, and the art was interesting, and the food was delicious.  If I could have changed one thing, I would have made the temperature a little cooler-- by the time we left, it was toasty!

I came home and got to work on finishing Tim's Xmas present top....

I got it done! YAY! And, best of all, after shopping my stash, I found this green and had just enough to do the background! YAY!!!!

You can see the Contrary Wives better in this one.
Now to figure out backing, and perhaps negotiate long arm quilting from someone who actually has the setup to do this one justice. I would hate to ruin my work by trying to do this one on our teeny tiny table with no frame with which to maneuver the quilt.

But hooray for getting this much done!!! YAY! I have earned a night of rest, though we all know I won't stay completely away from fabric... I will probably end up planning the next project, or working on stuff for the PIFF craft show coming up.


The silver has been sewn on now, too... now to find a background fabric!

Hooray! All three panels are done! I have attached those silver pieces, too-- the shorter panels have them running vertically along each side, while the middle one has them horizontally along the top and bottom.

Contrary Wife block... It seemed fitting!
And here is one of the blocks that will be along the edge above and below the shorter panels. There are 12 total, so three on each edge.

I have been enjoying this project so far. As much as I would love to finish it all by myself, I think I will actually have someone else do the quilting... I simply do not have the set-up to handle a project like this!

However, I did find a quilting frame for a standard machine on Craigslist! I am debating emailing them and asking if it will work with my Viking Emerald 203 machine (I'm guessing yes). Then I would at least be able to do FMQ a little easier.

For now, it's off to the art show in the Wellfield Botanical Gardens!!! Hooray for flowers and art on a beautiful day!

Maybe I'll take my new tote bag....

Friday, August 27, 2010


Tim's back at work, so I have time to work on his Xmas present. HOWEVER, it is kind of difficult to finish a quilt top if you forget to get the background fabric when you go to the craft store!!! ARGH! Hmm... looks like I'll be heading back there (AGAIN). However, I am now up to 17 finished sleeves that I have earmarked for the Pay It Forward Festival in September.... yay!!! My goal is to donate 5% of my proceeds to the charity that the festival is honoring-- The organizers want to put a play area in the park in memory of a little girl who lost her battle with brain cancer last year. If I make a decent profit, I will probably double that. Cancer sucks, plain and simple. It was one thing to lose my dad to it after 10 years of fighting last October, but I cannot imagine losing a such a little girl.

On a happier note, I discovered a great book today-- The Civil War Diary Quilt. It has 121 blocks inspired by several women's diaries during the Civil War. I actually got emotional reading some of the diary entries (perhaps because Tim's deployment is still fresh enough I can remember the anxiety of not knowing how your loved one is doing... or maybe I've just gotten soft, which is ok). I am pondering projects using some of the blocks, like maybe a hanging organizer, or a table runner, or something... whatever I do, I have some green, cream, and burgundy fabrics that would play nicely together.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Brief moment of panic

I broke a needle in my machine! EEEK! I thought I was going to have to cut the bag I was working on free, but thankfully I was able to take the broken needle out and then assess the damage, which seems to be none other than one snapped needle. PHEW!
That was enough excitement for me, though... I stopped sewing early for the night, got all the day's dishes washed, and took a shower. Now I'm debating doing some scrap trimming, but I really don't have much energy, and it's all reruns on tv. Sigh.
I think I was over-productive earlier, having finished the third panel, and then all but the front half of the last seam of that darn bag. Maybe I'll just veg. Hmm...
I'm so glad my machine is ok!!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Progression from idea to actuality

Busse knives.

This is the inspiration for my husband's Christmas present. Yesterday, I bought the fabric for it and then spent 2 hours meticulously cutting 2" strips from 15 half-yard pieces.

Three half-yards have been cut at this point... I really wish I had a table!!!

Tim is back at work, so I have the house to myself. I'm going to try to keep the actual progression of the quilt secret (he doesn't read this blog.. not that anything is secret in here except his present!!!) So, this morning I got up an went to work. I finished cutting the last three fabrics that I was too tired to do last night. Then the sewing began, followed by more cutting, pressing, and more sewing.

The end result! Panel number one!! It's my artistic interpretation of the knife on the far right in the top photo. Considering this was my first attempt at a bargello quilt, I'm pretty pleased with it. Ok, I'm ECSTATIC. I love when a vision starts to come together.

Really, that is what my quilting is about-- getting the pictures in my head made into fabric. I want others to smile at the colors, the textures, the feel of a warm quilt that just happens to be beautiful. While this present for Tim is not my typical color scheme (I prefer COLOR over neutrals), it still makes me want to do a little dance just having gotten panel #1 done. I love it.

As I look at the knives in the picture, I think the knife on the far left is going to be the hardest to get right. If I can get the other two done by Tuesday, I can safely hide them from Tim's prying eyes... why do guys like ruining surprises so much? I also need to get it done because my brother is brining me another project Labor Day weekend. I promised him I would turn his T-Shirts into a quilt for his Christmas present. He's the original surprise-ruiner, so it makes it easy to do the t-shirt quilt for him.

Back to sewing! I think I've got about an hour of productivity left, so maybe I'll finish the binding of a project from last week... maybe!

Friday, August 20, 2010


Secret secret! Well, not really. My husband got his new knives, and I spoke before thinking and said, "I could make a quilt like those handles!" Damn and blast, now he knows what he's getting for Christmas. I made him promise that he wouldn't peek while I make it, though, so it will probably still surprise him.

I spent the evening cutting fabric into strips. I am going to try my first bargello quilt. Can someone please tell me how that is pronounced? Is it barge-ello, barg-ello, or some sort of foreign sounding variation? Either way, I am going to attempt to use that technique to replicate an impression of three Busse knife handles. We'll see how this goes, both the technique and creation of the vision in my head.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My husband is addicted to knives.

Seriously, some men just LOVE weapons. My husband loves guns and knives. He just bought several new ones, three of which have sandstorm handles. The only reason I mention this is that they have inspired a quilt that I will make him for Christmas!!! If it turns out, it will be awesome.

We went to see The Expendables today. I thought it was entertaining, but probably because I did not expect Oscar-winning performances, but rather lots of action. In that category, it was pretty sweet.

I also posted 2 more items on Etsy...

Reusable coffee sleeves!

Reusable coffee sleeves set 2!

Having been a barista for 1.5 years, I endured a lot of customers asking for "one of those brown thingies" so this is my answer to the incredible waste of cardboard that sleeves often seemed to be. Hopefully, others will see the point.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oh, happy day!

I spent 4 wonderful hours at the house of a new friend, Sally. I met her over the weekend at the Essenhaus Quilt Show, and she was kind enough to invite me to come see her Wonderful World of Quilting... I think I'm still drooling. Her set-up is amazing. She has a husband more tolerant than mine even (didn't know that was possible!). She reigns over their entire basement and a large room upstairs, and has more fabric than I have seen outside of a quilt shop! I LOVE IT!!! (I want to be like Sally "when I grow up")

She is not only an amazing quilter, but a very kind person, and giving. She gave me a bag of scraps (EEE!) and a couple pieces of upholstery fabric that might become a new school bag (I have a Very hard time accepting gifts of any sort, so I limited my "plunder" to 5 pieces... also, this way I should be able to use them all before we move, which could be October pleaseohplease). It was a very wonderful afternoon. She invited me back to come sew sometime, which I will have to do.

Also, she has guinea pigs!!! They were so cute! I love critters of all kinds. :)

Upon arriving home, I petted the upholstery fabric a little, then reheated some pesketti 'n' meatballs. Then I got the Butterfly Houses ironed again, cut the lavender border, then pieced the exterior border, and voila!

After having read a complete stranger's blog, I have reaffirmed the fact that I need to read Eat, Pray, Love. MUST, not need. So, perhaps tomorrow when I'm out getting more coffee I can squeeze a stop in at Border's... Tim usually doesn't mind going there with me. They have gun magazines. But for now, i need to get some sleep. I felt almost narcoleptic when I was piecing the outside border... is it possible to fall asleep mid-seam?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Making do

I absolutely love my free motion foot. However, moving the fabric underneath seems like it would be a lot easier with a frame, but given the financial constraints (read: I am a graduate student and homemaker; neither comes with a salary) it's simply not feasible right now. So, using my imagination, I had what might turn out to be a brilliant idea... I took two empty paper towel rolls and rolled up the ends of my table runner
Call it "upcycling" if you will. Paper towel rolls turned into a makeshift frame.
I did not do any actual quilting on it tonight; I want to try this with some scrap fabric first... but the table runner is ready to go.
I also work on a fun project. When I picked my dearest love up in June, I had extra time, so of course I went to a fabric store. I found a set of fat quarters that were on clearance-- 15 of them for ~$9, so I got them. I had no idea what I wanted to make (I implemented a rule against that at the beginning of this month in an attempt to shrink the stash before school starts). About a week ago, I made a wonky house... then another yesterday, and three more today. By this time, it was after nine, but I decided to press on while I knew what I wanted to do with them, and while I was pretty sure I had the measurements for the multi-colored fabric to go between. Here's the end product, finished about 10 minutes ago:
"Butterfly Houses"
I am rather pleased with it. I have some lavender floral fabric that will make a nice border (the picture looks darker thanks to our oh-so-well lit house). I am loving the Butterfly Houses. I might have to keep it... :)

I found a nail to hang up some of my supplies while I was being so productive tonight. We have nails all over; why not put one to use?

Goodnight, finally. I better sleep well tonight again!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Looking forward to...

Fall! I hope it comes soon. I would love to be in bed, but the sheets just got put into the dryer since it took until this late at night for the back of the house to cool off enough for me to be able to stand running the dryer.
I am pleased with my productivity for the day. I got several chores done, from dishes to the laundry in progress, and I finished quilting the orange and green baby quilt. I'll sew on the binding when I get in bed... binding a quilt is a great way to wind down at the end of the day.
Given that this project is almost complete, I can now look forward to the next new venture. But what shall it be? I have a couple things in the thinking process (fabrics gathered together in a coordinating pile while a general idea floats around in my head), but none of them are begging to be made. So, over my coffee tomorrow morning, I will ponder.
Let's hope I sleep better tonight.

Insomnia isn't always bad...

Newest item listed on Etsy- a pair of pillow covers.
I just listed my second item on Etsy. I'm trying to finish and add an item every other day right now. Thankfully, I also have a mother who doesn't mind me using her house for "photo shoots," since nothing looks good against panelling.
I wrote the description for the item this morning at 4 a.m. I hate waking up from hunger!  I missed out on the middle 3 hours of sleep last night, but at least I was able to go back to bed around 6 and sleep three more. I also came up with an idea for my postage stamp quilt... we'll see if it translates from head to paper, then paper to fabric!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Smiling again

Even though I did not win anything at the quilt show, I am very glad I entered. I enjoyed most of the experience, but it took me until tonight when I went to pick up my quilt to realize how much I enjoyed it. It didn't hurt to have the other ladies oooo over my quilt a little, either... Their admiration reinstated a little of the confidence that had been shattered. Those delightful women also reminded me of one very important thing: I am young, and have many, many years ahead of me in which to practice and perfect my work.
I also ran into Sally, a lady I had met when dropping off my quilt. I lost her card the first time so she gave me another. I need to call her so I can go see her studio... I was jealous just hearing about it, so I can't wait to see it!
I really love my fellow quilters. Sometimes, it takes some of them a minute to realize I am one, not some tag-a-long, but once they find out I quilt, too, there's this instant bond, this look that says, "I have a secret stash of fabric, too."
Switching topics 180 degrees... I am SO EXCITED right now because there is a Chicago Bears preseason game on tv!!!! Hooray, football is almost back!!! If we move 2 hours south, I hope it's not too far- We'll have to get cable if necessary so I can watch Da Bears!

Friday, August 13, 2010


I officially opened my Etsy store!

Check it out!

Let me know what you think... suggestions are welcome. In the meantime, here is what I am currently working on...
Twin Sister blocks from Quiltmaker magazine
UFO- "Partridges and Pear Green"
As soon as it is finished, it will also be for sale in my Esty store
I also have a set of pillow covers that are Christmas-y with which I am almost finished. I couldn't do any of it without the love and support of my dearest love, my husband... and a little help from my project supervisor, Prudence!

First quilt show, and what I learned...

My quilt got stuck in a corner. I think it was too bright and different for the organizers. I am still glad i entered, and since I got in free twice already, I'm actually a dollar ahead. However, I am disappointed that the winners had ALL used other people's patterns, and it seemed like there was no acknowledgement for originality. I met a lovely lady the day I dropped off my quilt, and her quilts were far superior to mine, not only in quilting design (she has a longarm, which makes me jealous!), but also she had designed fabulous quilt tops, not just used someone else's pattern. The quilt that won the whole shebang was a Dear Jane... not to take away from the attnetion to detail and skilled work, but what about Sue's sunflowers? To me, the fact that she created the whole design would have scored extra points. For this reason, I suggested they add a category for Original designs. Mais helas.

Here's a simplified version of what I learned:

1. In Amish country, art will never win over tradition.
2. Until I turn 60 and by then maybe look 40, I should stop being surprised when they assume I'm someone's child, not one of the quilters.
3. I never want to know the calorie count at Essenhaus. EVER. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A fresh start

This is officially the start of Bombletquilts. Find me on Etsy (soon... ) where some of the projects that will be posted here will be for sale.
I think I have almost everything linked via name now... at times like this, I feel like there is too much technology!!!
However, if it helps me start turning a profit from a hobby, or even shares my fabric adventures with people who likewise find joy in colors and patterns, then it will have been a success.
A bientot....