Friday, October 31, 2008

Freaky Friday

My posts seem to be few and far between lately. There just doesn't seem to be much quilty going on in my life, but hopefully, after the wedding, I will rectify that.

I printed out the MQX catalogue today and I'm in the process of trying to decide which classes to take. I don't want to take too many, and on the advice of my APQS dealer, I'm not taking any hands-on classes. I've never been to a longarm show before, so I'm really looking forward to it.

A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to go to the Houston show. It was amazing and exhausting. One of my fondest memories of that trip with Onalee was the day we spent in Galveston. We rented a car and took a day off from the show and drove to Galveston where we spent time walking the beach, sightseeing and then enjoyed an amazing meal overlooking the bay.

We also spent a happy hour or two in Quilts by the Bay where we sat on the floor going through their considerable scrap bins and filled bags for some ridiculously low price. I was so sad to hear that this lovely quilt store was badly damaged by Hurricane Ike and they are now closed. According to their website, they are planning to re-open so I hope they are successful.

This is one of the pieces of fabric I bought that day - I loved it then and I still love it and it will always hold special memories of a perfect day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday Ramblings

I've been very busy making some Christmas gifts for my Stitch N Chat group. I'd love to share them with you, but one of the members reads my blog and I don't want to ruin the surprise. Let me just say these are so much fun to make and I actually get to be a bit creative - at least as creative as I get! I'll post pictures after they have been handed out.

The crisis with my hair has been averted. My stylist who is on maternity leave heard of my predicament and called me last night. She cut and highlighted my hair for me today at her house! It just goes to show you that you get back so much more than you give. She was one of the recipients of one of my circus quilts and when she called me last night she said how could she possibly let me down when I had made something so special for her baby.

Monday, October 27, 2008

It's All About the Hair

How important is your hair stylist to you? I've been going to the same one for quite a number of years, but she went on maternity leave in August and is planning to take a year off. Her replacement has been doing a great job on my hair since then and I'm really happy with her.

I have an appointment this week for cut/highlights so I'll be all set for the wedding. I'm getting my hair styled the day of, but that will be happening at the venue. Today I got a call from the salon to confirm my appointment this week, but also telling me that the girl that has been doing my hair is no longer there and they refused to tell me where she has gone.

I don't want someone who has never cut my hair before to do it for such a special occasion. Part of me can understand the salon's position as they don't want to lose clients, but another part wonders do they really want such a pissed off customer either?

I have a few plans in the works to try and find where my stylist has gone - I don't give up easily - I'm too afraid my hair might end up looking like this:

Do you ever check out The Daily Puppy in my sidebar? I only see it when I have to edit a post but today's little guy is really worth checking out - he's absolutely adorable, but then, aren't they all!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm Getting There

This is what my sewing table looked like around 11 A.M. this morning.

I took everything that was stacked on the floor and crammed onto my shelves and dumped it all on my table. What a mess, but I knew if I put it on my table it would force me to clean it up.

I sorted through the fabric on my shelves and tried to organize it as best I could with the limited amount of space available. While this doesn't look too bad, what you can't see is 6 plastic drawer units with 3 drawers each full of the 'overflow'. I cannot buy one more book as I just don't have any more room on these shelves. I put all my longarm books downstairs with Tillie to make more room - and still it isn't enough. What I need to do is get rid of some of the books I don't like and never will.

Here's what my table looks like right now:

I'm not quite finished, but it looks a whole lot better than it did a few hours ago. I went to Staples and bought more binders and page protectors. I have a binder full of things I've printed off and loose patterns, but that binder was full to overflowing so I bought another one - and one for embroidery colour chart print outs. I have a few more pages to file then that job will be done.

I sorted all my magazines and arranged them by date. I discovered that not only do I buy books twice, but I also buy the same magazine twice. How sick is that?

I have a pile of things I no longer want and when I get more ambitious I'll list them and see if anyone could use them. You know what they say - one woman's junk is another woman's treasure!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Working on my PHD - Projects Half Done

You'll be glad to hear I didn't have to kill anyone today - my car was ready. They did some major sucking up and filled it with gas, washed it and also cleaned the inside. I'm just glad to have it back.

I need to spend some considerable time cleaning up my sewing room. It really is a disaster of major proportions and I can't stand it any longer. For someone who has only been quilting for about 5 years, it's amazing just how much 'stuff' I've accumulated. I have so many books, but books are a real weakness of mine. I love just looking through them, even if I know there are some I'll never make use of.

Then there are the UFOs. I really admire people who make lists of all their projects and know exactly how many UFOs they have. I don't want to know - it would probably be daunting and it's information I can live without.

Let's not forget about the "forever projects". I have at least one of those - a Dresden Plate scrap quilt that needs,I believe, about 140 blocks that finish at 6". It's from this book:

Whoever named this QUICK and Easy should be ashamed of themselves!

I also have another quilt that seems to be turning into a forever project as I keep dragging my heels with it:

It's made with Fossil Fern flannels from a kit I bought off Ebay for a song. Actually, it's more like a "What on earth was I thinking" project - all those curved seams on flannel. No wonder the seller wanted rid of it.

Well, I guess sitting on the computer thinking about cleaning up my room isn't going to get it done. Maybe I'll wait until tomorrow and start fresh first thing in the morning... Procrastination isn't always a bad thing!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Scraps & Shirttails

I got some exciting mail today. Bonnie's new book arrived and I'm looking forward to looking through it tonight.

I glanced quickly through it at lunch and it looks like it won't disappoint. Bonnie has given so much to the quilting community through her website with free patterns, stashbusting tips, mystery quilts, etc. I hope her book is a resounding success - she deserves it!

I haven't ranted about anything for at least a few days - so here it comes. I took my car in for service last Tuesday morning - 9 days ago - and it still isn't fixed. Now this car is just over a year old and only has 15,000 km. (less than 10,000 miles) on it. I took it in for what I thought would be an oil change and was told the cylinder head needed to be replaced. I know absolutely nothing about cars and this didn't mean a thing to me, but I've since learned this is major and requires rebuilding the motor to get the part replaced.

It's covered under warranty so cost isn't an issue. I also have a courtesy rental car so that shouldn't be an issue either - but it is. I'm probably going to end up sounding like the worst kind of snob here, but I'm just trying to tell it like it is. I'm used to a certain standard of luxury in a car. The rental car doesn't even come close. It has power nothing - I think it has been about 20 years since I've driven a car that doesn't have power door locks and windows. The seats are unbelievably uncomfortable and there seems to be a metal piece that protrudes right into my tailbone.

I talked Leo into taking it last Friday so I could have his car for the day and even he complained about the seat - and he doesn't usually care what he drives.

Why is it taking so long to repair? Good question - they tell me it's because of parts availability - some of them have to come from the U.S. and some have to be manufactured. As of today, they are still waiting for some special washers. How special can washers be?

If I don't get it back tomorrow someone is going to get the brunt of my anger - I'm not sure who yet, but they should be scared - very scared. Leo could tell them all about my wrath!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tooney Tuesday

This label for the circus baby quilt turned out so cute I just had to share it with you:

I just ordered some sewing machine needles on Ebay and was saddened to see our Canadian dollar is down below 82¢ U.S. This is good for the country, but bad for poor old consumers like me. We have been spoiled with a strong dollar for the last year and I'm just kicking myself that I didn't buy more U.S. cash when the dollar was at par.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the dollar after the U.S. election.

Monday, October 20, 2008

There's A Bear In The Circus

If this quilt looks familiar, it's because I've made one very similar before. It's become my favourite baby quilt pattern and since I have a bolt of the fabric, I can accommodate a lot of babies! The pattern is from Mary and you can find it here.

I've been anxious to try sewing a Beanie Baby to a baby quilt as demonstrated by Dawn Ramirez in her Pajama Quilter Reloaded video. I did get this little bear sewn on, but I had to use my domestic machine as I couldn't get the bulk under the hopping foot on my longarm.

I think he's sewn on there pretty good though - he won't be leaving the circus anytime soon.

I used Bubbles for this one with Superior's Lava thread. I really like this thread, especially for 'fun' quilts - their variegated colours are great.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What A Difference Fabric Makes

I saw a tablerunner in my LQS yesterday made from batiks in fall colours - it was really stunning. I asked if they had the pattern and they told me it came from this book:

Well, I have this book - and I actually remembered that I have it. When I came home I took another look through it and found the pattern:

Now, I wouldn't have given this a second glance in the book, but made up in the 'right' fabrics, it took on a whole new perspective. The centre was done like pebbles with the fall leaves all around it. Just goes to show you what people with a vision can do.

I couldn't resist buying this pattern:

It's a tea cosy - double sided and the sample looked adorable. Now I don't drink tea, and Christmas isn't happening around here this year anyway, remember, but it is large enough to sit on the floor as a decoration - or even in the middle of a table as a centerpiece. If I get my act together soon enough, maybe someone will get to enjoy it this year in their house.

I have a love/hate relationship with my Rowenta iron. I purchased it about 4 years ago and I love it - when it works. I've had to send it back twice for repair, but since they gave me a brand new iron both times and didn't charge me a penny, I can't really complain. Yesterday, it stopped working - again! I think there is a short in the cord somewhere. I'm not sure whether to send it back a third time or just ask my electrical guru at work if he would replace the cord for me.

Yesterday seemed to be the day that lots of things decided not to work around here. I think I've mentioned that I volunteered to distribute our Guild's monthly newsletter. I sent the e-mail out yesterday morning to approximately 110 members but 'something' was wrong with our computer and people received the e-mail numerous times but didn't get the attachment- which was the actual Newsletter.

So, I went off to do some retail therapy and left Leo to figure out what was wrong. After spending hours on the phone with our Internet provider, they discovered our router had died so he had to replace it. Meanwhile, at least half of the 110 people I'd e-mailed, e-mailed me back telling me they had received multiple copies of my e-mail but didn't get an attachment. Don't you just love modern technology!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'll Try Anything Once

We went to pick out Leo's tux tonight and I got into a conversation with the lady who was measuring him. Leo was shocked at how much his measurements had decreased and I told her I wanted side by side liposuction tables to take the fat out of me and put it into him.

She told me, you don't need that, just drink green tea. Turns out this 52 year old woman has lost 179 lbs in the past year by eliminating coffee from her diet and substituting green tea. She had no hanging skin, looked healthy and, quite frankly, I found it hard to believe.

Then she told me that the owner's son started taking green tea pills and had lost 20 lbs. in the last month - the owner verified this story.

So guess where we stopped on the way home? I've already taken two pills.

I know there is no magic secret to weight loss but what can it hurt?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hail to the Prime Minister

I have a bone to pick with the American news media. Yesterday, in our great (most of the time) country, we held an election for a Prime Minister. This was a totally senseless election costing us more than three hundred million dollars - and we have the same Prime Minister today that we had yesterday - and he is still the leader of a minority government - much to his dismay.

What rubs me the wrong way is I wonder just how many Americans know we had an election? I couldn't find any mention of it on CNN or MSN's home pages today. Are we that insignificant that a major election doesn't rate a mention or is Madonna's divorce more important?

In Canada, we have been listening and watching for what seems like forever to the U.S. Presidential race. We know the candidates inside out, thanks to the media, yet I wonder if any of my American friends could even name who was running for our Prime Minister? Maybe I'm selling you short - it's not personal - it just annoys the heck out of me that the U.S. news media seems so insular.

O.K. - I've got it off my chest and I'll get off my soapbox now.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Forget Christmas - I'm Ready for Valentine's Day

The binding is on and it's done! I had a hard time getting pictures of this one (story of my life) - the colours are really off on the close-ups but I don't have a clue how to manipulate them to get them any better.

These heart wreaths were so easy to do with my Circle Lord heart template - so easy in fact that when I got on a roll, I stitched a couple twice so had to do some frogging. The quilting shows up a little bit better from this angle:

Humour me here please - it's been so long since I posted anything quilty I got a bit carried away with the picture taking!

Of course, as soon as the quilts go on the floor, this little face appears in front of the camera.

That's it for my weekend of quilting. Tomorrow I get to do really exciting things like take my car in for service, take my Mum to the physiotherapist and do laundry. It's back to reality, but it was nice while it lasted.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This

I really am a homebody. I'm happiest when I'm at home with nothing to do but sew to my heart's content - and that's exactly what I've been doing this weekend.

I finished the quilting on my heart string quilt today and used my Circle Lord. This is an amazing tool and it's so easy to use - there really is no learning curve. Michael - you're a genius! My hands are too sore to stitch on the binding tonight, so you'll have to wait until tomorrow for pictures.

In the meantime, I'm going to play with this:

It's 100% bamboo and it feels like silk. The picture doesn't do the colours justice - it looks more blue than it really is. I'm going to sit and wind it while I watch The Amazing Race.

I have American Idol winner David Cook's new single "Light On" in my head - I really like it. Have you heard it yet? You can hear it here.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Perfect Weekend

So far my weekend has gone exactly as planned. I got this small quilt finished yesterday which was very loosely based on Mary's Chinese Coins pattern which you can find here. I actually saw my version in a magazine earlier this spring, but when I went to try and find it to give the designer credit, I can't find it anywhere. I did look - my sewing room is testament to that with magazines pulled out everywhere. When Leo was very sick I needed something mindless to sew and this quilt was it. Doesn't get more mindless than this.

Inspired by Mary, I tried some freemotion flowers on this which again were very loosely based on the technique that Dawn Ramirez demonstrates in her Pajama Quilter Reloaded video. There is absolutely no comparison between Mary's and mine - hers are good, mine aren't but for my first try I'm not going to beat myself up over them.

Several years ago I attended a Wondercut Ruler retreat in Idaho with my friend Onalee. This quilt was one of the ones we worked on that weekend. I finished the top eons ago, but I don't really like the colours in it, so it's been sitting on my rack ever since. We didn't get a lot of choice in fabric selection - all the kits were pre-cut and this one just isn't me.

I loaded it last night and just finished the quilting on it now. Bon Jovi was turned up on the iPod and Tillie and I just 'rocked on'.

It actually looks better in the picture - probably because you can't see the detail in the fabrics. I used Chantilly Lace on this one - I just wanted something simple that wouldn't detract from the tumbling blocks.

I'm going to try and get the binding on this tonight then it's done.

Tomorrow, my Circle Lord heart template is going to get a work-out on this one:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Can I Finish Something?

July 28th - that was the last time I posted a finished project on Webshots - how pathetic is that! I intend to remedy that this weekend. I'm off for the next 5 days with no commitments (YAY) and I plan to give Tillie a workout to get some tops finished. Heaven knows I have lots of tops to pick from - there must be at least a dozen on my rack downstairs patiently waiting. I think they have probably 'aged' enough by now.

Grey's Anatomy is getting it's last shot tonight. If it doesn't get any better, it's being deleted from my DVR. How can a show that used to be so good, get so bad? It used to be my favourite, but has now been replaced with Brothers & Sisters. I think Sally Field is so well cast in this show - she does an amazing job.

I'm off to a Guild Executive meeting tonight then tomorrow the quilting marathon begins. Stay tuned for (hopefully) lots of finishes.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It Can't Be Wednesday Already?

Aren't these little boxes darling?

Since Sandra is a very girly girl, I thought they were perfect for the little thank you gift (filled with chocolates) for those attending her shower.

This shower was hosted by my Aunt and was for all my girlfriends and Leo's sisters. Since I am an only child, other than Leo and the kids (and my baby, of course), my family consists of my Mum and Aunt. Family reunions can take place in our kitchen. I think everyone had a good time - the food was yummy and the strawberry & cream cake topped everything off nicely.

This came from the bakery that did the engagement cake last year that was such a big hit and they will also be doing the wedding cake.

Once again, she got some beautiful gifts - I've got the best friends! Sandra got to wear another great hat - Lorie did a terrific job on it. I think she looks like Little Bo Peep.

Yesterday my Stitch Group got together for a sew day. Jean was working on this:

This wasn't the finished layout - she did lots of rearranging.

I worked on this:

I just have 4 more half blocks to do, then I can sew the rows together. After that, the fun starts when I have to remove all the paper. It's done on vellum, so I'm hoping it won't be too bad. I had hoped to get this finished yesterday, but I had a bit of a distraction.

This is Jake, Doreen's little dog - all 5 lbs. of him and he spent a lot of time sitting on my knee getting cuddled. Too bad Ben doesn't like other dogs or they could have had a play date.

After sewing all day, I headed off to bowling. It was a really exciting night as Ursula and I decided last week to order our own bowling balls. I'm sure my average will at least double now that I have such a great looking ball. I had to go back tonight to get it drilled, so I'm all set.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Important Announcement

Christmas isn't happening in my life this year! Lately, it seems like every other sentence I utter starts with 'after the wedding...'. Then, someone who used to be my friend, reminded me that after the wedding it would soon be Christmas. I had to use all my restraint not to do her physical harm. So, in an attempt to keep my sanity, I've decided that Christmas just isn't going to happen around here. Christmas is for little ones and since we don't have any of those, we can pass it by this year. I'll give the kids a cheque each and make a donation to a local charity in lieu of other gifts. I'm not kidding!

Sandra had a dress fitting yesterday and we had hair and make-up trials. Tomorrow is the shower.

While my life seems to be going non-stop right now, it doesn't make for interesting blogging. I've noticed a lot of faithful bloggers are taking some time off right now - must be the season. Dorothy is on hiatus, Tommy who usually never misses a day has only posted once since Maggie's wedding last Saturday, and Deb's posts are few and far between.

We're having a sew day on Tuesday and I can hardly wait. My machine won't recognize me and Tillie probably thinks she's been deserted. I'm hoping that on Monday I can pull something together to work on, as a day of piecing sounds like heaven right now.