Thursday, December 9, 2010

Accomplishments and Nail Biting

I'm feeling rather accomplished today, despite the fact that I have yet to even venture near a sewing machine today. So why do I feel like I'm just about at the top of a mountain?

Well, we've made our first steps towards Christmas decorating around the house. We went to Papa Noel and bought our tree yesterday, a nice fat Fraser Fir which will fit nicely in our house. My brother even seems to have brought out a number of our boxes from the attic. Yay No. 1!

As of right now, I'm also almost entirely done with my Christmas shopping. The only person I still actually need to procure something for is my dad, and as soon as I can get an Amazon search in with my mom that should be all taken care of. Yay No. 2!!

And finally, I got Tiffany's quilt in the mail today! Yay No. 3! This is, however, where the nail biting comes in.
This quilt has a decent number of firsts built into it. It's the first quilt where I bought all the materials involved, the first one I've ever made for someone else (full size that is, I did make a wall hanging for a friend's birthday), and the first one I've ever put in the mail (please don't lose it please don't lose it).
The guy helping me out at the post office asked about how much it would be worth if I needed to insure it and I kind of blanked on how to explain to him how much it can cost to make a quilt. With any luck, the extra couple of bucks I paid for insurance on the package won't be needed.

Here's to hoping the quilt arrives safely in Louisiana. :D

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Macro Monday

Yes, Monday. Despite the fact that I already acknowledged it being the 7th by wishing a friend Happy 21st Birthday, I fully intend to maintain my Monday mindset.

I've been partaking in a break from blogland for the last week, partly due to 'Oh hey, can you work another four hours today? How about tomorrow as well?'  and partly due to simply being tired in general. But I'm all back now and ready to attack Monday.

Or at least sort of. This is pretty much the sum total of the day today.
Post obliged me by falling asleep in a near perfect pose against my leg this afternoon. It's so much easier to get a clear picture of him when he's not scampering about. Fancy that.

We also managed a family trip to the movies today, taking advantage of my day off and mum's canceled workout to introduce my parents to the Alamo Drafthouse and HP7.0. Somehow, I don't think they quite grasped why we, my brother and I that is, like the theater so much. Maybe because they didn't get to see as many awesome shorts beforehand.
My dad almost successfully grasped the plot of the movie, which is quite good for him really, seeing as how he has a terrible memory and hasn't read the books. And anytime a clip featured in the trailer came up in the film my brother leaned over and sang the corresponding lyric from this version of the trailer, sending me into fits of giggles.
Let's just say it's a very good thing we were almost alone in the theater...

In other news, last Thursday our fledgling local quilt guild had a Christmas party in the middle of our meeting. I ended up winning a pretty poinsettia in the day's door prize and Mom and I both came home with nice White Elephant gifts. (Yeah, I kinda chose to 'steal' one of the very presents that we had brought when it was my turn ^_^)

And finally, if you haven't yet checked out the blog over at Let's Bee Together you definitely should! We've got not just one, but two groups of brilliant quilters ready to make beautiful quilts together. Unfortunately, we're a lady or two away from the full number we need, so y'all should definitely check out the group and see if you'd like to join. :D

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

And so, we come to the end - NaBloPoMo Day 30

It is now the last day of National Blog Posting Month, and I thought I might semi-cohesively ramble about how I think it went.

I did in fact manage to write a new post every day. Unfortunately for those posts, my day day does not normally end at midnight, meaning a number of them seem to be dated a day later than they technically were in my head. Maybe if I change my timezone to something further west, for Seattle or maybe even Honolulu, it might get almost close to my actual sleep schedule.

xkcd knows exactly how I think.
The success on that point hasn't necessarily translated very well though to others. My highest aspirations for the month would have involved thirty days of interesting, well written posts on both quilting and books, detailing the large amounts of sewing and reading I got done during that time. And then I got a job (which is awesome by the way) that took me away from the sewing machine and my comfy reading chair. I would have liked to be able to show off more things I completed in the last month, but hey, things definitely interfered.

I'm very glad I did this though. And I did enjoy it. I may or may not do it again at some point next year, we'll see, but I definitely am happy to have done it. And in the future?
I love the Macro Monday feature I thought up. To be honest, I had the lightbulb for it that first Monday of the month, thinking it would be an easy way to have a fairly wordless post each week. But really? It's far more an excuse for me to take fun macro pictures of things, mostly of the projects I've been working on, but also just of neato things I see. Super close up pictures are fun!

I think I'm going to write two or three posts a week besides Macro Mondays, depending on what I get done each week and how much time I spend at the bookstore.
Definitely the greatest benefit of this has been me coming to check my bloglist each day. I'm actually on top of things on the internet! Huzzah! And speaking of...

I've joined a virtual bee!! I'm ridiculously excited about it, and am already trying to plan out what I'll send out to the other ladies when it's my month. ^_^

So hooray for Blog Posting Month, and hooray even more for now heading back to my sewing machine and its current project :)

PS> I so very much wanted to title this post "Here, at the end of all things" just to please my LotR obsessed self, but I figured the end of a month straight of blog posting is really not that comparable to the eruption of Mount Doom, so I didn't use it. Oh well

Macro Monday - NaBloPoMo Day 29

 On this week's edition of Macro (it's still) Monday (on the West coast), we're going to take a look at some of the quilty things that filled up my day off and made it a delight.

 A legitimate quarter inch foot. Not just the 'I know the quarter inch is about two millimeters in from the edge' foot I'm accustomed to using, but a real one, with a guide bar and everything. ^_^

String piecing, which not only lets me sew 128 Oriental squares together in a flash, but will keep them nicely organized during pressing.

 Seams that go together perfectly. My Oriental BOM from Shibori Dragon is now halfway blocked. I'm surprisingly decent at keeping up with the block making too. Yay! 

A beloved fabric as it peeks out from a quilt top. I didn't really expect to cut this one up so quickly, or I probably would have bought more than a quarter yard this summer. Every time I spy it in this project I like the fabric more. Yeah, definitely gonna need some more.  

And finally, the project that I'm just not sure how to finish. The tops of these placemats are sewn, but I'm stuck as for how to quilt them. Something kind of French looking maybe? The toile, which is also going to back the set, has a very French countryside feel to it, but I have no idea how that can translate into quilting.

And that's it for this week. Hope y'all are having success in your quilting ventures today :D

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya, tomorrow! - NaBloPoMo Day 28

Out of the catalog of American musicals, that song is not actually one I particularly care for, but it does have an appealing turn of phrase to it.

Cause I do love tomorrow. Not in a general way, but rather two specific ones.

1) Tomorrow the store starts its two weeks of employee appreciation, meaning I get to pick out what presents my parents are getting me for Christmas and save money on them. Plus I get to shop for my friends and figure out what I'm going to get for each of them. I have bits and pieces figured out, but not everything yet.

Oh, speaking of gifts for friends, I should probably remind myself to get Tiffy's quilt in the mail. Would probably be helpful if it got to Louisiana before she moves up to New York. Maybe...

2) I have tomorrow off! So I'm going to wake up on the early side of sleeping in, probably do a bit of cleaning at the bottom of the stairs so that we have a place for a Christmas tree, and then shall spend the day sewing away. I might attack my Shibori Dragon BOM, or could get to sewing on Oriental Quilt 1, or could even try to get Molly's quilt top completely finished. We'll see! Either way, it's a day off with no other responsibilities or commitments, one that I can fully enjoy at my sewing machine. ^_^

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Moving On Up - NaBloPoMo Day 27

My mom headed out to the local quilt shop the other day and ended up coming back with a mighty present for herself. As she puts it, this is basically her Christmas, anniversary, and birthday presents for at least a year, if not two. It's comparable to when my dad bought himself a fancy grandfather clock, or when he suddenly decided he needed to spend over a thousand dollars on a small painting he saw in a shop in Arizona.

So what did my mom buy?

A Brother Quattro 6000D Sewing and Embroidery Machine.



This thing needs its own theme song. It's absolutely ridiculous (both in what it has and how much it actually cost *wince*).

She actually bought it a few days ago, but we only just dove into the many packages involved in bringing it home. Technically we only brought out the machine itself and its almost basic accessories, the feet and toolkit. Which have their own little plastic case by the way. We haven't even touched the embroidery accessories or the technology and software that came with it.
She also got a rebate to get a free mini-laptop to use with it. Not joking. An emoticon can't even convey how much this machine makes my eyes goggle. O_O times a thousand.

And the neat part for me in all this?
See that machine in the back there? That's my mom's previous machine, a Brother (insert numbers here, I'm not sure what they are). She bought it when she started quilting and has loved it, heck I've used it quite a bit as well and I love it.
I normally use a machine passed on to me by grandma. It used to be her back up machine, the one she had to work on when she flew from Washington down to Arizona for the winter. She let go of the house there a few years ago and didn't have a need for the second machine anymore, so she gave it to me. It's a Kenmore machine from Sears, purchased no one knows how many years ago, and it does pretty much anything I might need for basic sewing.
Ooo car analogy!
My machine's kind of like your old Plymouth van from the nineties. It takes care of your basic driving needs as long as it has gotten its regular tune-ups, but it can't particularly handle curves or any kind of fancy driving.
"Ooh, a new playtoy!" says the cat
My mom's previous machine is a BMW. It's fancy, gorgeous to look at, pretty dang nice in every way. Does everything you might want your regular car to do. It's the car she sometimes lets me borrow for special occasions, as long as I make sure not to get any nicks on it.

And this thing? This is a Porsche, a Lamborghini, and a Ferrari all rolled into one. It's the supercar of your dreams, the one that deserves to be driven through Monte Carlo and along the Autobahn, the one you never thought you might actually be able to drive. And now we have one. Squee!!

Right, the point!
So, now that my mom has a super shiny new machine to use, I'm going to be getting to use her lovely Quilter's Choice machine. I'm moving up from the Plymouth and will be using the BMW on a regular basis. Yay! *fireworks*

Hand me downs RULE! ^_^

Friday, November 26, 2010

It's November?? - NaBloPoMo Day 26

That's pretty much what the weather has been saying this entire month, at least up until during the wee hours of last night. Suddenly, the weather in South Texas actually feels like the right time of year.

And now that it's the end of November, it's just about the right time for all the shiny Christmas bits to come out of hiding.
Well, except for my mom's Rudolph figurines. Those are a year round feature in our curio cabinet. BUT! My ornaments get to come out. I can actually hang up the wall hanging my grandma made me. We can start to lay out the music boxes, the random fake poinsettias, and most importantly in my opinion, my nutcrackers. I'm so excited about getting to put them out!

Oh wait. I might want to clean up bits of the house that I've made a mess in, seeing as how those are places where pine trees and presents are supposed to go. Oops. :D